Confessions of an Ageing Raver

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One night I’m raving hard, neon hi glow phat pants swishing in the bass breeze, hair spiked, feeling the PLUR, sweat dripping down from my neck to my Nikes…then I wake up the next day and my friends all have babies.

Time is cruel. You just never know when you’re going to blink and be old – it could be happening to you right now, go check. I’ve learnt to accept the process, but that doesn’t mean I’m not living off the sweet, sweet memories. The 90s really were something weren’t they? Our jobs were mindless, our raves illegal and we really lived for the weekends. Have you seen Human Traffic? All true.

But memories can only go so far. I know it’s not appropriate for a pruning punter like me to be chewing face every weekend, but surely the life of responsibilities, pressures and mortgages of a middle-aged adult warrants the occasional blow out even more so than the carefree degenerate lifestyle of a student, whose only responsibility is which flavour of Pot Noodle to steal from the off license? Don’t try and tell me it’s not true, I’ve been there.

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I go clubbing because I still love the music and I still love to dance – though the moves have changed somewhat. What is this shooff-leeng, why are they spasming like this? What is this tworking, and how can I make it go away? It’s hard not to feel alienated sometimes. Some of you kids in the club with me were actually born in 1996 and it’s been tripping me out all year – and not the good, My Fingers Feel Like A Million Tiny Stars Won’t You Hold My Hand Let’s Make A Galaxy Baby kind of trip, more like the Jesus Christ If I Lower My Hands The Whole Sky Will Fall Down Wait Where Am I Oh No I Think I Need A Shit kind of trip. When I was getting ready for a big night, gelling my hair into perfectly formed spiky tips with fluro on the end – you were coming out of your mama’s vajayjays and screaming like Dirty Harry on bath day. Life’s crazy man.

The bright side of my situation is I have enough money to buy whatever drinks I want, but the down side is nobody wants to see me drunk. And let’s just say what we’re all thinking – the drugs just don’t work like they used to.

Whilst my type usually lives a solitary existence in the clubbing spheres, I’m certainly not alone in this world.

Here are some things we antique gurners do better than you:

Buying drinks

Getting into Berghain

Knowing where the after party is

Knowing the old school songs

Taking lots of drugs without anyone noticing.

 

Some things you foetuses do better than us:

Looking good

Getting into Marquee

Actually going to the after parties (if you can find them you little punks)

Dancing

Having your future ahead of you

 

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So what are the rules here? Am I supposed to stand at the back out of the action? Can I engage with the rest of you? Should I put a lifesize image of my face on the back of my head, to avoid those awkward moments when someone taps me on the back for a sip of my water than unsuccessfully suppresses their alarm at finding Dorian Gray’s hideous soulless portrait where they expected the smooth faced Dorian Gray himself? In fairness, a lifetime of wicked deeds probably does show on my face. Worth it though. The last thing I want is to be one of those creeps in the corner sliming over young girls, but maybe we can come to a compromise; maybe you can wear hot pants that cover your whole bottom instead of half… I don’t know, just a thought.  Sometimes I feel like the only safe place for me is Ibiza during closing parties, where ageing ravers with deep and destructive tans line the walls like strips of beef jerky.

The other night I went outside the club for a cigarette and got chatting with a young girl about her dating life. I felt like I was following the conversation reasonably well until she started talking about ‘swiping him left’ and ‘hashtagsorrynotsorry’; I thought wistfully of the mix tape and chocolates days. You speak differently and you party differently too. The clubs are cleaner, more expensive, with a lot more pretty lights to look out… but you all end up facing the front like you’re at school assembly, what’s with that? And nobody’s wearing cargo pants, not a one. Except me, obviously. You lot hardly know how to experience anything anymore, only record and share. You’re narcissistic, compulsive multi-media addict short-short wearing novices… but my god I want you to think I’m cool.

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Sometimes it feels like I’m making friends in the club: we’re sharing drinks, we’re hi-fiving, we’re grinning at a particularly juicy hi hat… then you’ll say, “I wish my parents liked this music! They just don’t get it.” You’ve broken my spirit and you don’t even know it. Or even worse – sometimes I’ll get a pack on the back, with a patronizing “Wow! Good on you!” Great. I’m that guy.

Well maybe I’ll have the last laugh. You’ll either sell-out, forget how to have fun and settle into a life of two and half kids, dinner dates with married types and crossword puzzles for kicks, or you’ll end up like me. A solitary bastion of the rare-ole-times, a raving relic, the token old guy, the one people can’t decide is a cop, a dealer, or a pervert. Hi there. 

 

Jordan Smith