When I look back there is no other movement in history that would really describe or come close to explaining the lifestyle of a Raver. The closest comparison I can make would be to that of the Hippies. Only Ravers weren’t exactly like Hippies, because we were sort of materialistic. We loved our swag, whether it was funky technical backpacks, clothing with secret “stash” pockets, or accessories lined with “fun fur”. We were all about image, music, community and love.
With that sort of openness, naturally came drugs. One can’t possibly keep dancing for 8 hours straight without the aide of some kind of stimulant. Many Ravers (those who indulged in drugs) chose to party with E. Ecstasy is one of those drugs that can make you feel so fucking good, that you almost want to stay like that forever.
I remember meeting strangers in bathrooms, holding their hands (guys, girls, whoever) looking straight into their eyes and smiling at them. I remember telling people I loved them and that they were beautiful. I remember not being afraid of expressing myself, reaching out to people, or telling people what I really thought.
The people in the Rave scene were so profoundly intense and beautiful, that it almost took your breath away just walking into a party with lights, bodies, and music all pulsing simultaneously. People smiling, throwing their hands in the air and feeling the music with every fibre of their being. Although drugs were an aspect of the rave scene, so was safe partying. Everybody encouraged each other to drink lots of water, to pace themselves with their alcohol, and to monitor their drug use. There were even people who would test your E’s for you to make sure they were safe.
I always felt as if I was embarking on a new journey with every party I attended. It never got old despite the number of years I did it. Who would I meet? How would I feel? Would I be feeling the music? The drugs? What weird and wonderful things would happen?
When the rave scene was at it’s peak, it was an exciting time, but as with anything that becomes too popular, it crashed and burned. Eventually cops were everywhere, drug-frenzied youngsters were ODing (some dying), and the media was having a hay day attacking the entire scene.
I remember the last party I attended. I knew it would be my last. It felt like the end of a long love affair. And then, I grew up.
Now, I have kids of my own, and I often wonder if they are going to embark on similar journeys with new drugs and new music and new experiences. And I wonder if they are going to say to their friends one day “my mom was a raver when she was young”. And if they did, what would it mean?