Monday, September 12, 2005

Dadrave and Getting Older

Last weekend they had here in Tampere an event called "House Nation - The Resurrection". I wasn't there, so I'm not going to comment its musical content in any way whatsoever, but why did the words "flogging", "dead" and "horse" occurred to me when I heard about this? As the name indicates, this was a rehash of the popular House Nation parties about a decade ago. Yes, it's the nostalgia time for the ravers of 1990s. We already have "dadrock" (a.k.a. "classic rock" of the "heydays" of the 1960s and 70s: your typical nostalgia for the Zeppelins, The Whos, The Stones, etc.) -- now enter "dadrave".

Were you a PLUR-infested happy raver in the golden days of early 90s and its illegal warehouse parties, smileys and stupid MDMA-fuelled grins filled with love for everyone and everything? Now ask a permission from your missus and kids for a night out with the boys, try on your old smiley T-shirt (even if it's too tight these days for your potbelly), lovingly tap your balding pate and on you go. C-Tank forever!

Usually people stop listening to any new music after they have turned 30, preferring to stick to the records of their teenage years and their young adulthood. If you're a teenager or twenty-something now, hold on to every moment because you're going to re-live them for the rest of your lives in the form of nostalgia. (Personally, there's no way I would miss my own 1980s or especially 1990s, the recollections of which are mostly darkness to me.)

When you get older, it's easier to stick to what is cosy and comfortable, tried and true. Your body cannot take similar punishment as it did when you were younger: no more all-night partying out on the tiles with legal or illegal stimulants. Instead you prefer a good book, slippers and sleeping in your warm bed. You find yourself getting more conservative in your general outlook and curse the teenagers, who appear to you more rude, obnoxious, shocking and out of control every year. In other words, you're getting to be more and more like your parents ("In my youth we had no...") and forget you were exactly like those kids once.

I'm both sad and glad of the fact that I never exactly had a chance to be "young": my life was never what you could call wild and reckless, I always kept a certain distance to what my peers were doing even when participating in some of their activities. When you start to think of it, it was probably sad about all the fun that I missed, but even then, all this is very relative. I'm still that way now about being in an outsider position, and this is why I'm glad about it when I'm getting older: the people of my own age group have their families, their mortgages, their rat race, their increasingly growing conservative views, while I find myself almost totally out of that game.

I was a good, silent kid at school, I never revolted or caused any trouble or defied rules. That resistance only came later on, with the painful realisation of my mental well-being being downright threatened by having to adjust to certain facts usually taken for granted in society (the route of getting oneself an education, getting a job, getting married and so on): it never worked for me, only made me feel there's something terribly wrong with me, having to pursue that route everyone else was taking. I admit I'm only an armchair anarchist; you will never see me at demonstrations or on barricades, but there are still ways for me to question the way people do things, try to shake their self-indulgent comfortability and barren mental landscapes, just at least a little bit.

I'm still hungry for a change, I'm still a non-conformist. I still refuse to dwell in my past glories, since honestly, I can't see many of those existing. The future is unknown and uncertain, but even taking a road into the unknown is better than to get stuck in a rut.


Tiedemies said...

There's a good reason why you don't get so easily into new music once you hit the big three-oh: By that time, you've browsed through so many recordboxes and CD-racks (or filled so many harddrives with MP3's, I guess is more appropriate nowadays, eh?), that just listening to everything you've already heard is quite enough for the rest of your life.

I have to admit; I was once one of them people you mentioned. Not that my grin was fake or MDMA induced, I never did drugs like that. But yes, I was tempted to visit House Nation, if only to see if that Eliot Ness guy is as cheesy beatmix-hotshot as he was a decade ago. I was even tempted to contact the staff and see if they would get me in as a VIP, but I guess those days are long gone now. So I stayed home with my wife and kid.

There is one thing, which I do to water down and relive the PLUR-past: Whenever I go jogging, I take some old mixtape (or rather, an MP3 of one) in my MP3-player and listen to that while running. It takes the edge off and feels surprisingly similar to an all-nighter at a club or warehouse party. Plus it's good for you.

Peter said...

I never really had an era in my late teens or now my early twenties that i can say I've been a "part of". I was listening to pirate rave stations here in London from 9 years old and that got me into techno, then electro and so on from there. Its a huge part of who I am, but I have always loathed these "movements" in dance music.

Take electro, it was all the rage here and NY 2001, but it thankfully went back into the underground where music is best. The big labels can leave well away and cash in on some other genre.

I love the term "dadrave" - my neighbour seems to be a sad victim of it with his 1990-1993 tunes playing and his son saying "what the hell is this??".

Juri said...

It doesn't happen to everyone, you know. I have two kids, own an apartment (or, actually, the bank owns it), think about buying a summer cabin, all that, but as for the music: I just don't listen to the same stuff that I dwelled in when I was 15 to 25. (I didn't go to raves or concerts then, so it's no big deal not to go to them now.)

It's a funny coincidence, as I just wrote two pieces about my childhood memories and growing up with them. One of them, about politics, is at my blog.

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