For some reason—maybe because we're shit at sports, or maybe because of the bloody weather—we Brits take a great deal of pride in how fucking great we are at getting fucked up. We have an entire and diverse lexicon dedicated to getting trollied, bladdered, blottoed, and wazzocked. We were also the first nation to really, properly combine huge raves with ecstasy, opening the world up to a totally new way of getting on it. For decades we have reigned unbeaten, whether we're three-pingers deep in Ibiza, upsetting the locals in Magaluf, or just waltzing around rainy town centers with our arses out and traffic cones on our heads. We are surely the international premier pissheads.
Yet, it's starting to feel like maybe, just maybe, we're being overtaken. Perhaps we've spent so long getting all misty-eyed over the second summer of love that, almost overnight, we've been usurped. What if—and christ, this is painful to type—the Americans have decided to beat us at our own game? Now, before you get all defensive and come on like an MDMA soaked Al Murray, bear with me. This theory is based on a simple dynamic. If EDM is the huge, ugly, monstrous mutation of authentic dance music, then doesn't it stand to reason that it will have spawned a huger, uglier, more monstrous form of partying?
Festivals like Tomorrowworld and Electric Daisy Carnival play host to a new, manic form of partying. This nihilistic strain of going in hard comes without the rosy-cheeked gawkishness that accompanies British boozing. Even the biggest twats from the UK have at least a thread-thin streak of humanity, a splinter of camaraderie if nothing else, that holds their binge drinking and gak bumping together. Even the most infuriating British bachelor party revelers have their shared nicknames and crap Unilad-lifted banter giving their hedonism a purpose of sorts. The hedonism of the EDM USA, however, seems to know no such allegiance to communality. It is about going bigger and harder than previous generations or club incarnations could have conceived possible. Still feeling protective? Still ready to argue that Brits can party anyone under the table? Well, consider the following…
EXHIBIT A: ARRESTS
Photo via Pomona Police Department Twitter.
At two California raves last weekend, nearly 500 people were arrested. That's more people than were arrested during the UK poll tax riots of 1990, and they looked liked this. Yes, of course, American police in general are over zealous to say the least, but still, you need a lot of people getting pretty aggressively fucked up for a couple of parties to inspire more convictions than nation-shaking anti-establishment riots.
EXHIBIT B: THE MUSIC
America's new form of hellbent hedonism is as present in the music as it is anywhere else. When the second summer of love rolled around, the music got about as hard as squelching 303s, popping TR-808s. Yeah, acid house was a bit scary, but y'know, it was tempered by the fact that everyone was absolutely fucking smashed on a drug that makes you want to hug strangers. Even now, when a bunch of the most up-for-it Brits get smashed, the likelihood is they will start the night with David Bowie and end it singing Robbie Williams in the back of a taxi. Americans, however, are getting down to something far more menacing. We use the term "EDM" a lot too, and of course it can refer to loads of different stuff, but broadly speaking, it encompasses a form of music that is so reliant on drops that listening to it is like falling down the stairs repeatedly. For example, take this popular EDM track from Dutch producers GlowInTheDark.
Now of course, there is darker music. The UK is still very good at sinister, weirdo bass-led basement music, but in terms of face-smashing, completely unfettered, gross-out party music, this exists on an unprecedented scale. It sound like a Transformer with the squits.
EXHIBIT C: THE "BOOTY EATING INCIDENT"
Photo via Facebook In the UK, sometimes somebody might get fingered in a stairwell. The most infamous it's ever gotten was a blowjob at T in the Park. Nobody, to my knowledge, has ever received anal oral sex in the middle of music festival. No more public rimjobs, please—we're British.
EXHIBIT D: THE DRUGS
Photo: Still from True Life: I'm Hooked on Molly The whole 'molly' thing has put a spin on ecstasy that makes it seem a lot less "big night out" and a lot more "holy shit, are you 13 and are those bath salts?" Shit, one of you even managed to get addicted to it. Also, loads of you keep dying at these massive festivals which is probably a sign you should take it easy.
EXHIBIT E: THE STYLE
Both of the above images are examples of young males getting "on it" at respective events. Both, likely have problematic attitudes towards women. Yet with the first picture, we make this assumption based on the implied cultural codes in their dress, their postures, and the event they are attend. We don't know their views on women, but we hazard a tentative suggestion that given the connections between lad culture and British nightlife, there is a probably chance they harbor some less than honorable thoughts on the opposite sex. With the second picture however, we make this assumption based on the literal endorsement of rape printed on his T Shirt.
EXHIBIT F: YOUR FESTIVALS
What is that? Seriously, what the fuck is that? Our festivals look like, at best, a yard sale with BBC Introducing stage. That looks like Andrew Lloyd Webber Presents: Hunger Games The Musical.
This, without any doubt, is the dystopian future of getting fucked up. It leaves our mild, cosy, nostalgic "getting shitfaced" and drives right over it like a molly-fueled-turbo-tank. Drop a Brit in a bucket hat, with a tinnie in one hand and a limp rollie in the other, into the middle of this new world and he'd be left like a confused Grandad trying to cross a dual carriageway. This is getting smashed on a new scale. It is wildly screaming, post-apocalyptic hedonism. It has, to quote the internet, "no chill."
Perhaps it is now time we accept that the days of the infamous Brits abroad are over. We are now dinosaurs. Dinosaurs in lager-sodden bootcut jeans and polyester "going out" shirts unbuttoned down to our tired flabby bellies. There is a new kid in town. Born in the USA. Jacked up on molly. At a festival the size of Disneyland in the middle of a desert. Going in hard. Rimjobs eternal.