In spite of metal detectors and pat-downs, UK garage clubs have become the most violent places in the United Kingdom with several shootings and stabbings in the past year. This development has come as quite a shock to me, and the causes are not very clear.
The evolution of two-step garage has taken an interesting turn as MC's begin churning out rap-like lyrics about the life in the poorer sections of the East End. Moreover, the music has found very wide ranging appeal. This seems to parallel the development of gangsta rap in the US, which, as ecstasy has crept into the culture, has begun to move in the opposite direction from garage, which developed from the Britain's rave scene. The two musics and their cultures seem to be on a collision course. I think the result of this will be a global urban culture of which violence is a part.
Perhaps this is not so suprising after all, since urban life is often defined by exteme competition due the immense numbers of people with which there are to compete. For the rich, this often leads to corporate growth which mostly advances through taking advatage of the undereducated portion of their labor force and through marketing, but the poor do not have access to that outlet. The postitive side of this is the cultural developement that gave birth to electronic music with techno in Detroit when it had the highest murder rate in America during the 80's. My conclusion is that the urban attitudes of merciless competition that gave birth to our music are catching up to it.
This has caused an unfortunate split in electronic music culture as suburbanites stick to older styles of music, such as trance and techno, where the urban prefer the more advanced beats of garage. Thus, the music and culture associated with raves that once promised to be a unifying factor for humanity have split into two subcultures that definitely do not get along. Suburban ravers talk shit on their urban counterparts and segregation seems to be the order of the day. Oh well, on second thought, utopia seems like a boring place to be anyway.