PREVIEW: Relive the Nineties' Decade-Dance

Ah, the 1990's...

...a time when raves were getting banned, streets were being reclaimed, guerrilla gardeners were re-sculpting urban landscapes, Chiapas was being re-taken by peaceful radicals; a time of mass squatting across every urban centre. It was also a time when half of this blog's readership was still in its diapers! That sucks for them but this Thursday, January 24th, they'll get a second chance to see what the 1990's were like at On the Radical Roots of Rave #2

The fact is, even with photography and hand held video cameras - not to mention CD, vinyl, tapes - my generation couldn't capture all the best parts of the 1990's. There were too many parties, riots, happenings and actions taking up our time. And remember, camera phones didn't even exist back then! But this party and exhibit on Thursday aims to share a few of the 'stroboscopic artefacts' that we managed to grab; in particular, the parts that are relevant to sound system culture. And quite a lot of what happened in the 1990's was

The 1990's were a decade that saw the last big explosion of Western revolutionary fervour. Everything was on the brink of change: music, people, culture, activism. All these myriad factors soon melded into one beautiful, crazy, multifaceted entity on the dancefloors at free parties and festivals. 

There are those who would say that such a mass uprising can't ever happen again - well, I'm sure they said that after the 1960's too! The fact is that a lot of what happened in the 1990's was started by underemployed, well-educated teens and adults with nothing but the wastelands and cast-offs of transnational capitalism at their disposal. They had about as much as the Millennial generation has today, in other words. What they (or should I say 'we') did with that was a testament to sheer strength of will - a resource that anybody can acquire. 

It's true that almost every act of repression that has happened since the 1990's has been a reaction by the system against my generation (and the ones before it). The Man wanted to prevent a decade like the 1990's from ever happening again. The US and UK's  terrorism bills were introduced, not just because of 9/11 as many young people believe, but also because authorities were scared shitless of the direction 1990's counterculture was taking. Similar stuff is definitely happening in Berlin, a sort of Final Frontier of megatripolis I mean, metropolitan subculture and counterculture.

Sound system culture, which was often based in squats and influenced by anarchism, played a huge part in all of that has happened, and is still happening, in the international 'rave' scene. The culture was hit by the fallout of the early 2000's backlash against rave-activism but, as the  'hedonistic' side of the activist scene, it has survived with much of its traditions intact. It still can and does radicalise people by giving them a hands-on experience of autonomy and unity - a phenomenon summed up by the PLUR in the Americas) And that culture still exists today in Berlin, as well as the rest of Europe. To me, it feels like those seeds of counterculture are just waiting for the right moment to sprout again. 

My 1990's peers and I struggled to keep on creating free spaces for the 'yoof' who came after us, but eventually that effort had to stop due to the usual reason, i.e. a little hereditary disease called 'age'. Now it's up to those kids who were in diapers in the 1990's to take the reins from us. 

The people born in 1999 will turn twenty, this year. It's a great time to review what happened 20 years ago and start thinking about the next 20 years. Berlin needs a bit of healthy chaos like we had in the 1990's to push things forward again. Whether you're looking for inspiration to do that or just a trip down memory lane, Radical Roots of Rave is where you'll want to be. 

Thursday, January 24th
A Secret Location available by request on Facebook
Starts 8:00 p.m. until late, late, late. Or at least until the trains start running again...
Will have: food, photos, quiz, rave stylings, DJ's, prizes & more...!


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