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Fiorucci Made Me Stay in More: My Journey Through Old Rave Clips

And why these broadcasts are amongst the most pleasurable artifacts on the Internet.

Sat bored at my desk last week, my day brightened a little when I was sent this video:

A field empties. Car alarms sound, accidentally triggered. The lingering remnants of last night's drugs still circulate round hollow bodies. Dancing. Silence. This is the joy of the rave video. I was back. That evening I did something I hadn't done for a while: I voluntarily sucked myself into a wormhole of never ending club footage.


Like any good art school graduate, my first proper in-depth, close-up experience of rave footage was Mark Lecky's still sublime and sublimely still mini-masterpiece: Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore. Lecky's film is fifteen minutes of undulating, melting bodies manipulated in stuttering slow-motion like transcendental human .gifs, gesticulating into an eventually empty howl of hedonism, and it gave me pause for thought. I thought back to those wasted evenings trawling through YouTube, trying to find the funniest videos of mums revving up misfiring motorbikes and felt myself fill out with a sense of regret. Forget Vine compilations, fuck fail compilations, this was it, this was all I wanted to watch: hours of sweat-soaked hordes convulsing to high energy hardcore under the influence of original quality drugs.

These videos captured moments of genuine ecstasy that seem almost alien to us now, and remind us of what once was. And how that which was, can never return. They don't just take us into the warehouses of Huddersfield and nightclubs of Warrington they were filmed in - they take us into the deep, dank recesses of a common cultural consciousness that felt like the future, but was forever stalled.  Let's look at exactly why these videos can have such a profound effect on the viewer, and, more importantly, why these broadcasts from a vanished world are amongst the most pleasurable artefacts salvaged from the wreckages of the Internet.



Nostalgia is a largely terrible, disruptive and infantilising thing. It is a way of mythologising and romanticising your own inability to deal with the difficulties of the present. But, at the same time, nostalgia is undeniably potent. It seeps into us. It can overwhelm us. Take this clip for example.

We watch these videos knowing that these are our parents, our uncles, our older sisters; knowing that these are nights that are never spoken of really, but are encased in the museum of the forgotten self. This is a world, which is so close to ours that it feels surreal. We've recycled the fashion, recycled the music and we're in thrall to its' sense of abandon, but at the same time unable, or unwilling, to completely abandon ourselves. In turn, we're nostalgic for these nights, even though they were never ours in the first place.


The modern clubbing experience is - with notable exceptions, of course - a procession of anti-climaxes. Clubs really do make you realize that reality very rarely lives up to expectation. Twatty doormen, exorbitant drink prices, bad drugs, stale smells, crowded smoking pits, and the endless gallery of cunts in the audience dash your dreams of an unforgettable night. Invariably you leave and never talk about the night again. The footage we're looking at here is the antithesis of that attitude - this is clubbing in excelsior, a night out as a transformative and transcendental experience. Just look at these people. Really, look at them. Study their faces. This is a vision of heaven soundtracked by Altern-8 remixes:



In this life there is nothing better than the sound of a chunky synthesised piano chord progression banged out infinitely over a kick drum. That's an undeniable fact. That half these videos are soundtracked by this stuff makes them even better. The other half are set to the terrifying late-night-on-the-waltzers style songs with hardcore synth stabs and thick jets of commandeering propulsion. Fuck knows what Carl Cox drops 4 minutes into this video below, but I do know that it still sounds like the future of music 24 years on.


A certain sadness sets in after consuming too much of this footage in one sitting. It's the realisation that this sense of freedom found through a shared, communal, cultural experience is something we've been forever denied by the introduction of the Criminal Justice Bill. On some level, I'm definitely being a rave romantic. For instance, I imagine waiting about on motorway junctions for cryptic clues as to the whereabouts of that weekend's blowout probably wasn't actually that much fun. But looking back at that which you've never had - but has had a huge impact on you and your social life and the friends you've chosen and the life you lead - is always going to be tinted by the rosy lens of the romantic. Those endless fields, those swarms and hordes of loved-up revellers with no concerns outside of what Slipmatt might play next. Those never-ending Saturdays and never-arriving Mondays. In present day, the cosied confines of the European dance festival circuit might offer us the chance to watch Jeff Mills in Capri or Moodymann in a Croatian castle, but there's something missing: there's no mud, no danger, no surprise… No freedom.



Let's end with the most obvious reason as to why you'd neglect actual clubs for the safety of the sofa, a laptop and a few joints on a Saturday night: to watch people at their most absolutely fucking terminated. Within these clips, the stars do not give the slightest of fucks that their highest highs are being captured and preserved forever more. In the same way that You've Been Framed is inherently funnier than any other television programme ever made, watching a bloke's jaw swing down past his dick before grinding methodically into the floor as 'Let Me Be Your Fantasy' plays is as close to visual perfection as you can get.

This is art. This is when clubbing fought to be a culture rather than an industry. So, join me in rejecting Steve Bug in a Hoxton warehouse or Jamie xx in a Nottingham carpark. Instead, join me in this retrospective internet k-hole. Honestly, we're going to have a great night.

Josh Baines sometimes tweets about what he's watching on YouTube: @bain3z