Wednesday, June 14, 2006

THE SUMMER OF ’89

Processed nostalgia isn’t normally my kind of thing, but I ended up watching The Summer Of ’89 last Saturday night. You know the kind of thing. Lots of talking heads reflect on the popular culture of the day with a bit of politics thrown in to make it seem clever (after all, it was shown on BBC 2). Much time was devoted to the M25 orbital raves that happened that summer. There can’t be many people who aren’t familiar with the story. Even my mum said, ‘Oh yes, I remember this.’ Indeed, the narrative ran on rails: dance music’s big, everyone’s taking ecstacy, promoters throw big parties, you have to ring up to find out where it is, big convoys of ravers circle the M25, and so on. However, in amongst the commonplace reminicences (did anyone really need to hear Lisa Loud explaining how ecstacy did more to reduce violence on the football terraces than the police ever could?) there was one gem. It was an interview with a farmer who hired out his field for a rave. The following day, his neighbours were mightly miffed. He remembered, with a somewhat hurt expression, that for a long time afterwards whenever he went in the local pub everyone else would move up the other end. “It was a nice pub, as well,” he said. But he added that in retrospect he didn’t mind because 20,000 people had a good time and he felt quite proud. Forget Anthony Wilson banging (again!) on about the ten year youth culture cycle and every youth movement having its own drug. The farmer summed up the spirit of the time better than anyone.

2 comments:

Emma said...

Too right! Music culture has been mined so extensively that it's about time we got the viewpoint of unexpected participants. An interview with the toilet attendant at Heaven perhaps?

Are we going to have I Heart 2001 retrospectives where talking heads rave about the first time they saw The Strokes at Heaven (sorry, that place again) or their first eye-poppin' night at Nag?

Chris said...

I don't know about the toilet attendent at Heaven, but I read a story on Popbitch a few years ago about some outrageous behaviour in the VIP room there in the '80s.

Freddie Mercury was making liberal and rough use of a rent boy, when the boy suffered a severe chaffing. At which point Mercury said: "This one's burst! Bring me another!"

Blimey