May 242015

Last weekend, Mr. Royale and I went to go see The Jesus and Mary Chain perform their album “Psychocandy.” It was a sonically excellent show, and as we were standing pretty close to the stage, I got some photos of the Reid brothers doing their stuff. But I’m still amazed that these shows by the Rock Icons of my youth, which sound so good, look so odd: Jim Reid looked svelte and dapper, not like an angry Scotsman; William was still bent over his guitar, but all his unruly curls were grayish-white. Still, there was something about being in the midst of a crowd of others (some my age, some younger) who all knew the words, danced along, cheered particular choruses, etc., that brought back the experience of other rock shows of my youth.

Last week, I also read an article about the English artist Mark Leckey. After living in the US for a bit, he was feeling nostalgic for England and some of the music and dance experiences of his youth. He ended up making a video piece reflecting this nostalgia. I give you this early piece of his, from 1997: “Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore.” Please give it 15 minutes of your time.

This being an art piece, there are many intellectual things to be said about it. But I’m interested in your feelings and impressions, and what sort of reactions you have. Does it bring up feelings of nostalgia for you? Do you have to be a Brit to enjoy it? Did the musical “score” irritate you? Why are there so few women shown?

Thanks for watching and sharing your impressions.


  23 Responses to “Nostalgia and Rave”

  1. 2000 Man

    I watched it for ten minutes. It just all seems the same so I kind of figure I already know what’s going to happen. It doesn’t make me feel nostalgic. I never did that kind of stuff. A lot of my younger days were spent trying to hang around with girls. The movie made it seem like those guys never really get past the social activities of ten or eleven year old boys.

  2. ladymisskirroyale

    Touche, 2000 Man. That’s why I didn’t marry a Brit. However, I found the video very compelling, and have watched it about 4 times now. There’s something about the individual/group dynamic that I think is interesting, and how the group can be supportive yet also menacing (like the football youth footage). Plus, some of the fashions and dance moves were pretty sweet!

  3. tonyola

    I watched the whole thing but I don’t feel much nostalgia mainly because I can count on one hand the number of times I went to a disco in the 1970s. Though I was a working musician at the turn of the 1990s, I felt too old for the house and rave cultures and I didn’t like Ecstasy very much. However, it was fairly interesting to watch this video which seems to tell us as much about the artist (and his seeming preference to tape boys) as it does the culture. In the quotes in Leckey’s Wiki article, he denounces pretentiousness yet seems to be afflicted with a form of the disease himself.

  4. ladymisskirroyale

    I think it’s interesting that in a country like England (and especially working class or middle class parts), you have to be inebriated or high to get let your freak flag fly (as Mod would say). I think dance parties, like the Northern Soul and raves depicted in this video, were places boys and girls, especially boys, could act more enthusiastically and emotionally.

  5. 2000 Man

    I guess I hung out with a pretty coed group of people. We were definitely more rock n’ roll than disco or soul fans, so I look at what those guys are wearing and I think they look like their moms dressed them and they weren’t allowed to wear Levi’s. I think in high school the only pants I owned were Levi’s Big Bells and Levi’s black cords. I had nothing but flannel shirts and T shirts to wear under those. I needed the flannel for pockets that wouldn’t get my smokes smashed.

    One similarity is that we also very often hung out in big groups. But definitely in cars. We’d have ten or fifteen carloads of us hanging out together. We took up a lot of space!

  6. Zero nostalgia for me. I don’t like to dance at all so the footage is a mildly interesting historical artifact set to a rather annoying soundtrack (granted I didn’t listen ton the whole thing. I just skipped through it a bit.) Even in my late teens and twenties when it was in my best interest to go to a dance club to increase my odds of meeting girls, I still preferred old man bars.

  7. ladymisskirroyale

    In agreement, not much nostalgia, but maybe it’s a generational thing? I think that raves/dance parties didn’t carry as much weight/cache here as they did in the UK at that time period. Maybe the closest anthropological parallel for us would be Dead shows?

  8. misterioso

    Doesn’t resonate with me, but speaking of Steve Coogan, LMKR, what is your view of The Trip? I enjoyed it immensely, more entertainment than I would have supposed possible in a movie about 2 guys driving around the British countryside doing Michael Caine impressions, quoting Wordsworth, and eating exotic meals, but there you have it. Haven’t seen The Italian Trip yet.

  9. It’s a nice time capsule and does hold a bit of nostalgia for me. I hung out at First Avenue in Mpls in the 80s. It’s known as a great concert venue, but remains billed to this day as “Your Downtown Danceteria Since 1970.” Bands would play and then after the show, it would be electronic dance music with a lot of visuals — some mainstream videos mixed in with stuff by visual artists. When I went, it was more co-ed than depicted here. I recall one evening, after seeing Modern English (!), a group of us hanging out a bit after the show to watch the dancing break out.

  10. The Trip totally caught me off guard. I wasn’t expecting much, and maybe there wasn’t much to it, but at one point I was laughing so hard that I couldn’t see. The Italian Trip is more of the same, good but I liked the first one better.

  11. That’s a good point about Dead shows. Also, the footage would have been much funnier.

  12. 2000 Man

    Maybe a little funnier, but definitely every bit as boring.

  13. Thirty-five seconds into watching young, slim Jack Black prance about I already want to throw up, but I love ladymiss, so I’ll stick with this. We’ll be right back…

    Oh boy, floppy slacks and skirts…dudes with long floppy slacks and no shirts. The long pants with no shirt thing never works for me…

    People jumping in unison while doing jazz/born again hands? No thank you! I’m feeling under siege!

    Slo-mo ecstasy eyes…more self-absorbed group dancing…can’t someone take their clothes off already?

    Freeze-frame forelocks, adidas sneaks, too many dorky young guys walking together..Who am I to argue with that?

    REALLY bad butt-fuck dancing and people watching their own trails, man…UGH! I’m feeling sick again. Please, somebody, SHOW MY YOUR TITS! I couldn’t stand that goth-disco scene in the ’80s. (I never made it to a rave in the ’90s.) The only thing I could hope for was the occasional sight of a girl who was so good looking that she could transcend the terrible fashions of the era: the asymmetric hair and buttoned shirts, the high-waisted jeans… Maybe I could hold on for 3 seconds until the throbbing drum-machine kick drum and whiny vocals took hold again. I accept the fact that I am a sick man.

    The guy in the bucket hat doing the bad dance in the strobe light and all the knuckleheads who follow…this is the beginning of the point in history that we now face, the self-absorbed, self-important Twitter age, where in 20 years time we’ll walk the streets freely jerking off, because – hey – that’s how we roll.

    I’m sorry for being so crude, but I have NO good feelings about that period or the period preceding it – the goth-disco age of the mid-’80s, which I actually made the mistake of dipping a toe into. I have so little interest in that behavior. I don’t get it. I’ve done really stupid things with my friends, but I’ve never considered myself having that many “friends” in public, except for when I’m at a sporting event. Maybe that’s my “rave” or whatever. Other than cheering on my team and being a total fool in that setting, I’m not a group activity guy.

    The soundtrack was by far the only part of the 15 minutes that I enjoyed. Thanks for making me watch this and getting a reaction, ladymiss!

  14. ladymisskirroyale

    LOVED The Trip; Italian Trip was good but a not as good. I still think of those Michael Caine impressions…

  15. ladymisskirroyale

    Ah, Mod, tell us how you really feel 🙂
    Actually I liked your stream-of-consciousness response. Very…edgy.

    I did attend one rave in Manchester in the early 90’s, and I would say it was more the “bucket hat” sort of folk. My cousin and I scored E, but for some reason it didn’t take for me (or else we were sold crap stuff) and while I had a good time, I never had the “I love the whole world” experience that my cousin experienced and others seem to feel.

    I guess there’s something appealing to the fact that you can lose your sense of yourself in a crowd of other folk enjoying the same scene. Some do it with sports, some with drugs, some with music…I never had the dance experience that seemed to depicted in this video, but I can imagine if that’s what I grew up with and was the acme of my teenage/early 20’s experience, I would feel nostalgic too.

  16. ladymisskirroyale

    Ok, if you’re a real glutton for punishment, watch this:

    This is more “portraiture,” rather than club footage. Mr. Royale and I saw this show at SFMOMA a few years ago and ended up being mesmerized. Dijkstra does more formal portraits of people on the beach, etc. but her video art is pretty interesting. She set up a video both at clubs and just video taped individuals dancing to the music. Skip around if you want, but you do get a sense of the individuals by watching how they dance and how they rest.

  17. I loved both of those Trip movies!

  18. ladymisskirroyale

    We just spent the last hour watching this documentary of Northern Soul. It ties together the film footage included in Mark Leckey’s video art with more historical footage from the clubs, djs and original Granada TV special. Cool!

    Anyone interested in the line connecting Booker T to Motown to Pharell Williams will enjoy this.

  19. BigSteve

    Wasn’t rave music designed to be listened to on Ecstasy? Someone should watch the video under influence so they can judge it on its own terms. Someone, in other words not me, should do it in the interest of science.

  20. ladymisskirroyale

    Scientists in the Hall, please describe your methods for future replication.

  21. The appeal of “Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore” is definitely heightened if you’re interested in the tribal permutations of youth culture. I find the footage mesmerizing and, by the time it was done, as if I had been there and was coming down. It did in fact bring me back to my Studio 54, Heaven (in London), Limelight, The Beat (Port Chester, NY) and warehouse party days.

    By design, the new Jamie xx album makes a perfect (see the New Yorker a few issues ago) soundtrack to this.

  22. ladymisskirroyale

    Thanks for the recommendations, Slim.

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