Saturday was the Vortex
. In keeping with tradition for the end-of-january party, Tsuyoshi Suzuki
was playing, but this time Atmos
was the other headline name on the bill.
I guess it says something that I'm only starting to write this up on Thursday. Maybe if I'd known what it would be like I would have stayed at home. Your party probably was different, but this is how I felt it.
From Wednesday last week I was aware of being under the weather. I came to gym to row on Thursday, and gave up after 10 minutes. I figured that if I rested and slept, I would be fine by Saturday.
Actually, I was unhappy and uncertain for much of the night. I irritated lots of people, including myself.
On the way there I got a call on my phone - it seems that friends had gotten to the venue without any trouble on the road. Good. Trouble with the law, only a few weeks before I leave the country, is the last thing that I need.
But when I got to the turnoff, there up ahead was a roadblock. Men in uniforms with automatic rifles and thick blue bulletproof vests. Fat plain-clothes cops. I began to get tense, and tried to look calm, fidget, and realized that sitting immobile trying to be calm makes me look tense. There was a backlog of about 10 cars waiting to be searched. It was 5:30. I rapidly and discreetly phone fiends that are en-route.
after a while my car trickles to the front of the search queue and I am waved over while two plump uniformed cops approach. They don't ask to see my driver's license, or ask me where I'm going. They say they're looking for drugs, but they are not trained narcs and they don't ask me to deny that I have any.
One asks me to open the cubbyhole, and he pokes briefly therein. The other gets my bag and starts rooting through the clothes. Then they decide that there's nothing there and let me go. They haven't even opened the huge cooler box. They'd have to search a lot harder than that to find anything. I am tense but relieved.
That roadblock was hard to fathom, despite the fact that a few arrests were made, it was not conducted in a particularly professional manner. It was targeted only at d, but not at all thorough. It was only a hundred meters from the party entrance, on a road with little other traffic. Was it intended as a "fuck you" from the cops to Vortex? Was it Vortex in some strange attempt to be serious about security?
The party was far smaller than last year - by the time set the campsite was only half-full of tents. Last year it was packed by this time. There was, by and large, space to dance all night.
The night was colder than expected. The acid put me into an uncertain state, I guess the result of hidden stress. I rapidly ran out of energy, long before I usually do. I didn't want to sit and freeze, so I kept moving on spasming legs and back.
Saffa's early set was nice again. He was attempting a housier idiom than at new year, which he was less confident in, but still good.
Tsuyoshi Suzuki's set was patchy - the sound was sharp and clear, unlike the earlier Djs who overdrove the bass, he got it perfect. He clearly has lots of experience driving a bit rig, and knows just what to do with it. He was still in the the same techno/hard house vein as last few years, but the music at times felt like we were not listening to a unified set, but being dragged sideways across genres.
However, the opening sequence was fascinating:
Starting with a tune with a "New York" sample and city sounds, merging into heavy, aggressive music, industrial, distorted angry voices,(I think I heard a newscaster say "And no God but Allah" in the mix there somewhere)
pretentious? yes, very. Good too.
THE LIGHTS GO ON. THE LIGHTS GO OFF. LIFE IS SHORT. WAKE UP.
C- remarks to me "he's not a DJ, he's a preacher
." I must agree. This is a sermon
"What is techno?"
"It's nothing but a groove 'ainit?" So we are supposed to again be questioning our understanding of music. Last year it was Break down the system
After that it got less interesting. A short set, ending with only one track that could be called psychedelic trance.
we climbed up top a hillock and watched the sun rise.
Creator was decent, danceable music again. By now I had warmed up enough to move.
Atmos in the AM was OK, but not awesome.
The sea was far too cold to swim in on Sunday at noon, much more so than a few weeks ago, when it was marginally swimable.
I swam in the tidal pool, which was much warmer, i.e. refreshingly cool. There were small fish, as big as a finger, darting around in the water.
After that I had some GHB, which hit me quite hard and I had to lie down. I stopped so that I could sober enough to drive, but as I came around I visited the dancefloor, stayed about an hour and had the most fun that I had the whole party.
Vortex exists in it's own space, parallel to everyday life. As the world around it changes, so slowly does the trance-continuum
I'm really disliking the presence of so many drunken, aggressive kids. It sucks.
The organizer sent round email on Wednesday apologizing for incidents, listing steps that will be taken, and promising not to use that venue again.
I'd like to hear the gossip about exactly happened that they feel the need to appologise, but I think it's just going to be the usual: even more alcohol and violence, even more petty theft. I don't hold Vortex responsible for the way that the scene is going, but it must be sad to start out making a wonderful, innocent, idealistic underground scene, build it up and watch it turn into that without being able to do a damn thing about it.
The teenagers of 2002 are not the teenagers of 1995. They live in a quite different country, and have quite different priorities. They live in a freer, more open society, and have less important battles to fight. It is an inevitable prerogative of age to disparage the youth of today, but IMHO they have as a consequence fewer ideals and goals.
Techno really was a new new thing in the early 90s and we will not see the like of that cultural change again for decades. Now it has settled into it
s role of provider of mass-market entertainment, not for kids eager to innovate, but for kids eager to join the adult world of debauchery.
As for the venue, I don't see why it shouldn't be used again - it is a good venue with good facilities, nice swimming and owners who don't mind a lot of noise. If Vortex doesn't use it again (which I doubt actually, good venues are hard to find), someone else will.
The aftermath of the party left me exhausted until Wednesday. I would like to leave this scene on a high note but if it was a high note I wouldn't want to leave. And yeah, I've had enough of putting myself through this.