Wednesday, 9 July 2014


This is a (hilariously late review of a) book about free tekno parties in the 1990s by Bert Random. It is set over the course of one night at a fictional Bristol party, which serves as a metonym for the free party scene as a whole.

Whilst I liked the book and thought it was fairly good at expressing the inexpressible pleasures of being on drugs at a rave, I also found it slightly embarrassing. These personal insights which you have on drugs mean a lot to the person concerned but otherwise tend to sound a bit facile. And the groups of mates with funny sounding names, whilst perfectly appropriate, also seems a bit of a cliche.

The illustrations interspersed throughout the text by five different artists (with pretty different styles) were .. ok.

Whilst Hunter S. Thompson is name-checked, this book isn't quite in that class. It's a good read, but Random doesn't pull meaning out of all the drugs experiences. And maybe that's becuase there isn't much to be found. Thompson got high in Vegas and wrote about the American psyche. Random took drugs in Bristol and wrote about feeling fucked. Yet I feel more could be said here. The act of people partying on industrial estates in derelict warehouses to drill-hard music does seem like it can be read as a statement on the way society is going, but that sort of stuff will have to wait for another book.

There's an interview with the author here which is more interesting..

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