i first started going to squat parties when i moved to london to study. i guess i already had a vague yearning towards alternative culture since i knew about cooltan, which unfortunately got evicted just before i got there in september 1995.
i was already into underground music and had been to some exodus raves in luton plus a few free festivals in london. there was the deptford urban free festival, where i heard zebedee DJing for the first time on a rig called something like avinit army, plus one on clapham common where the revolutionary dub warriors played. then there was hackney homeless in clissold park, whre i took mushrooms for the first time. it ended up in a riot... aaand that was the excuse for that not to happen again
above is the nme report thanks to historyismadeatnight, which also links to a film about the fest
i picked up some advance party flyers at the festies and of course once actually living in london had a lot of places to explore. back in those days i thought nothing of clubbing thursday through sunday (without drugs even!) and i remember being given a vox populi flyer at the end of megatripolis. i didn't go and then they headed off to europe. spiral tribe were already gone. but not to worry, i found the infoline for an immersion party in manor house or somewhere in north london and headed up to a bingo hall and a party which blew my head off.
another early rave was a NYE bash on the corner of well street / mare street in an old cinema which is later became an iceland supermarket. we walked there from highbury and islington tube, not knowing london very well! i think my first rave was in farringdon, or maybe that was later than the NYE party...
the farringdon party (above) was great, the guy on the door with a pierced lip said he thought spiral tribe were in germany but he wasn't sure and we sat in a corner as all these crusties (which in 6 months would be us) just kind of stood around and chatted. i don't remember anyone dancing and i couldn't process the music, it was just a wall of noise.
systems around at that time were mainline, virus, oops, insanity, jiba. all playing seriously good underground tekno, a language i started to understand. on rigs like immersion and also at parties like club alien and kinky techno (a semilegal immersion venture under kingsX station) acid trance was just getting going and that was great for a while before it stagnated. i remember when drum n bass was controversial (like there being a dnb room at hellraiser WTF!?!) but that soon started to feature.
parties that stand out for me were:
the hackney wick mashups - dace road, carpenters road ... one was a benefit for curley's family, since he had just died. i remember turning up late on acid, then taking K and forgetting i was on acid and spiral tribe's 'goign all the way' eviscerating my body.
the (unsound)cinema in wood green was pretty awesome for a few weeks - we turned up fucked after pride with little flashing wands (acid again - it doesn't get much better than seeing the pet shop boys sing go west as thousands sing along and the sky explodes with fireworks).
the bullring at waterloo was pretty funny - outside, in the place where the IMAX stands now, as a benefit for the homeless who were being evicted. dan hekate talks about it in this resonance radio show:
my fave memory is someone playing this wicked anticore track:
come to think of it there were K-related religious experiences galore at that time. molly's book documents a lot of the places, even if i remember them slightly differently.
and of course we were travelling out to europe for teknival - for a few summers that was what summer meant. systems like metek, dstorm, lego, furious, foxtanz, total resistance, sound conspiracy, samovar, damage control all twatting out amazing music through electrical storms.
czechtek was always great - cheap booze and amazing weather;
dutchtek tended to feature loads of gabba and speedcore;
paristek 2000 was where i made a lot of good friends before my travels had even started in earnest;
slovtek; poltek; the list goes on..
and there were english festies like tolworth
and the travellers field at glastonbury (RiP)
and some great quarry raves in wales.
by this time, there were newer systems like headfuk and hekate. and panik.
whilst i was living i europe i carried on raving, going to parties in and around prague from people like cirkus alien and vosa, but of course it's not the same without your drug buddies and a scene which you are part of. by the time i ended up in NL i preferred hibernation.
nowadays its hard to find a good party, they still exist of course. the kids are no doubt doing it different now but i still (2013) try to make NFA and pokora parties.