Monday, November 03, 2008

A Nostalgic Ramble on the Subject of Renaissance: the Mix Collection by Sasha & John Digweed

I had Goosebumps this morning. And they weren’t caused by the chill November winds. After searching for ages, I finally tracked down a copy of Renaissance: the Mix Collection by Sasha & John Digweed. This was the soundtrack to my rave era back in ‘94 and ‘95. As soon as I listened to the opener – ‘The Song of Life’ by Leftfield – I was transported back to a time when I could wear a fluorescent lime green t-shirt, dance for 8 hours solid and not feel like a twat or, indeed, a knackered twat. It was a time in my life marked by Ecstasy, wind machines and deafness.

Although I went to raves before then, I first took E at a Megadog at the Rocket, Holloway. It was revelatory. It was liberating for someone as buttoned down and English as me to just go nuts on the dance-floor and make instant friends with complete strangers.

At no other moment in my life, for instance, can I imagine dancing frenetically with a topless scarified S&M freak with chains hanging from his pierced nipples. In fact, I must have looked freakier than my new pal because the security guards kept bringing me cups of water. I thought they were being lovely and kind, but a friend pointed out afterwards that they were worried I was going to collapse from dehydration.

Before that E, I could take or leave dance music. I was still into Blur, Nick Cave and indie in general. Afterwards, however, my brain was entirely rewired.

I suddenly ‘got’ house. I could see how the music fed the experience – that you needed E for it to get its hooks into you. The music brought on the rush and the rush informed the music. The best moment of a club night for me was when the music was banging away, then suddenly paused; the wind machines came on; everyone stopped dancing and stood with their hands in the air; then the beat would slowly build again, my rush building at the same time. Then the music would kick in and everyone would go mental. It was genuinely as good as sex.

Then, in someone’s front room on a Sunday morning, we’d share a spliff and listen to the Renaissance Mix Collection. Then I got it on tape and listened to it EVERYWHERE. Just trying to replicate a little bit of that high from the Saturday night before (especially on Wednesday when my comedown would hit rock bottom).

As you can imagine, listening to it for the first time in 10 years, even as I walked through Welwyn Garden City, gave me a real high. I’m just hoping the comedown won’t be quite so savage.

Footnote: Of course the downside of ecstasy is memory loss - it literally took me 30 minutes to drag the word 'Megadog' from my addled brain just now. And that was a watershed night in my life!

1 comment:

Steve said...

See, this is why I never bother to take drugs. I just read your blog and live vicariously...

P.S. With great apologies - you've been tagged!