15
Aug 07

Blog ’92: Introduction

FT/12 comments • 2,140 views

Rave 92On my eleventh birthday I received a copy of a tape called “Rave ’92” through the post from my sister Grace, who was away at university. It was the second tape she had made for me whilst she was away, (the first being a random mix of grebo, soul, indie and ‘Love Shack’ by the B52s) and the 4th tape I owned in total – tapes 2 and 3 being the Best Of The Seekers and Roxette’s Joyride.

The inlay sleeve for my new tape had the tracklisting neatly written out in capital letters: black biro for the track title and red for the artist name all the way up until track 2, when the track titles were black and the artist names were red. On the inside of the inlay was written:

HAPPY BIRTHDAY KATHERINE!!
p.s. Mum & Dad will really hate this! So PLAY IT LOUD

Grace had taped the continuous mix from a CD (I didn’t figure this out for some time) and as such there was no side A or B on the tracklisting, which confused me greatly. How would I know where one track started and one ended? Where was the mysterious break in the middle? Who were this ‘Tinted Oval Window‘ band, whose ‘Cassette Shell’ album Grace had cruelly taped over? I could hear their indie warblings on the space at the end of the tape, and decided to scribble ‘???‘ at the end of the tracklisting, for completeness.

The technicalities were important to me: a few months previously, Dad had hooked up a 2-deck tape player to an old amplifier he had made himself years ago* and a pair of speakers. Now I had my own disco! Music whenever I wanted! The vinyl downstairs had always been deemed too precious for my grubby mitts to put on the turntable, so this was a new freedom! I obsessively studied my meagre collection of tapes, rearranging them in the drawer and inspecting every detail. I spent hours trying to transcribe the words to ‘It’s The End Of The World As We Know It’ on my pink notepaper** so I could sing along properly.

Despite my paltry tape collection (ah, the materialism started young!) I was no stranger to pop. I had watched Top Of The Pops since the age of five, under the close supervision of Grace – Thursday night was Mum and Dad’s ballroom dancing night, and my conscientious babysitter said I was allowed to stay up and watch it as long as I went to bed straight afterwards. I clearly remember asking Grace a) whether Vanessa Paradis was actually French or not, and b) what on earth was she talking about taxis for? Then when Grace left for uni I inherited her old clock radio and happily listened to Kiss FM every morning before school.

By 1992, the concept of ‘Rave’ excited me much more than the ‘Indiebop’ on Grace’s first tape. I knew who the Prodigy were all right. I sang along to Ebenezer Goode and 2 Unlimited in the playground with my mates and I was certain that my sister was having the time of her life going to crazy discos every night and having fun. One day I marched up to Mum and semi-seriously asked, “When I’m twelve, can I go to all-night raves?” This being at (unbeknownst to me) the height of the media furore following the Castlemorton Common Festival, Mum calmly replied: “We’ll see.” I made sure to remind her of this when I was twelve. Her answer? “Ask your father.”

As you can probably guess, at the age of ten I couldn’t tell you what Acid House meant. I had never heard of ecstacy, or any of the clubs my sister was too skint to go out to. I thought ‘rave’ was just another word for ‘party’. But all that didn’t matter to me. The music was fantastic, and when Grace asked me what sort of tape I would like for my birthday, I confidently said “RAVE!”

And… that’s what I got. The cassette is sat on the sofa next to me as I type this; the tape itself has a hole in it, worn through furious rewinding back to the beginning of The Orb’s ‘Blue Room’. To my joy, a friend found me an original CD copy on ebay a couple of years ago. Though I owned most of the songs separately, it felt very good to be ‘reunited’ with my favourite compilation ever.

Which I plan to tell you all about, track by track, in a new 24-part FT series!

*Random pieces of electronic equipment reside and multiply within Dad’s cluttered study to this very day. It drives Mum potty.

**I once wrote a poem about Nigel Lawson’s resignation on the same notepaper. I rhymed his surname with ‘awesome’.

Comments

  1. 1
    Ben on 15 Aug 2007 #

    I’m really looking forward to reading this. Although I was slightly later to pick up on this “rave” lark, I did have a copy of Rave ’92 at some point, and it probably explains why now, after nearly a decade of listening almost exclusively to guitar bands, I am suddenly embracing my inner dance-being again.

  2. 2
    Tom on 15 Aug 2007 #

    I was slow on the ravin’ uptake too – I listened to a bit of dance music but was a little frightened of it, and I think only really got going with it thanks to some kind of Rave Monsters tape from Leatherhead Library, end of 1991. It had a green cover & featured K-Klass, Bizarre Inc, the KLF I think – can remember no other details :(

  3. 3
    Geoff on 15 Aug 2007 #

    I can’t wait for this too – my intro to rave / dance music was at a similar age although a few years earlier. As an avid listener to the charts, dance music started to appear in 86 & 87, at first as a trickle and by 88 (when I was 13) and 89 growing into a flood. I had no idea about drugs or raves themselves but fell in love with all kinds of dance music to the exclusion of pretty much all else (something that lasted pretty much until my late 20s). My friends (who were all listening to rock & metal) thought I was mad.

  4. 4
    Geoff on 15 Aug 2007 #

    was it this one?

    http://rateyourmusic.com/release/comp/various_artists___labels___emi/the_ultimate_rave/

    It features all the ones you mentioned. It was brilliant, one of my favourite dance comps

  5. 5
    Tom on 15 Aug 2007 #

    Great comp but I don’t THINK so, I think it was a bit greener! I will have a hunt myself…

  6. 6
    Kat on 15 Aug 2007 #

    I think this tape is one of the main (if indirect) reasons I love music the particular way I do. But I shall shut up now and save my comments for the forthcoming posts :)

  7. 7
    stevem on 15 Aug 2007 #

    I bought this and it’s follow up on vinyl but they didn’t come out until 1993. I guess they would be my personal favourite collections of tracks from the time.

    There’s only one track on Rave 92 I’m unfamiliar with and that’s Mello Core’s.

  8. 8
    Pete on 16 Aug 2007 #

    Bah – do a blog about Roxette’s Joyride instead.

  9. 9

    i am looking forward to reading the nigel lawson poem!

  10. 10
    Geoff on 16 Aug 2007 #

    Seeing these compilations has reminded me – I’ve always wanted to hear the original mix of Blue Pearl’s ‘(Can You) Feel the Passion’, which had the familiar vocals sung over Bizarre Inc’s ‘Playing with Knives’. It was a bootleg remix (I think) that couldn;t get clearance so they recorded their own backing track and released the version here. I’ve been trying for ages to track it down and failed.

  11. 11
    Steve on 16 Aug 2007 #

    Probably not a bootleg remix so much as just sampling ‘Playing With Knives’ and getting Durga McBroom (best name ever) to sing over it. Interesting tho!

  12. 12
    Kat on 18 Aug 2007 #

    I’ll try and dig up some youtube links as I go.

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