Greetings Fellow Ecstaticans,
Welcome to Frankenräver! Chances are if you’re reading this, you’re probably pining for the good ol’ days of the mid to late 90’s, when the rave scene reached its apex in Toronto. When Ecstaticans would hug each other and scream with joy as the whistles and horns blasted our brains to oblivion amidst a sea of glo-stix while the high priest of rave (aka the DJ) messed up our minds royally with technical wizardry. All duly facilitated by state of the art sound systems emanating seismic frequencies so powerful that it literally transmogrified your DNA (whilst pissing off sleep deprived residents on Toronto islands). Those days are long gone my friends. However, like yours truly, you may have become permanently infected with the rave bug. Symptoms may include all or some of the following:
a) A maddening reluctance to let go of the glorious past. You recall your first E trip like it was only yesterday.
b) You blatantly refuse to allow your mind to be turned to mush by commercial crap stinking up the airwaves and blast vintage sets by Jeff Mills and Richie Hawtin.
c) You still have those cargos or Modrobes from way back when stowed away (to be auctioned off on E-Bay perhaps. Hey, those Snugs could be worth a fortune now!).
d) Despite the fact that you’re steadily approaching that middle aged hill, you still have the stamina to pull an all-niter just like the good ol’ days. Though it might take you an extra day to recover now….bummer….
See? You are not alone! I totally feel your pain. No, really. I’m halfway through a six-pack as I write this. It really helps to take the edge off life in a world that appears to have gone stark raving mad. Nevermind the Greek tragicomedy playing out in the Eurozone – Rodgers & Hammerstein could make a best selling musical out of that one. Actually, the world was going bonkers even back then, but at least glo-stix cost a buck and Ecstasy didn’t contain rat poison (at least not yet!). I first discovered The Joy of Raving in 1998. Some of the old heads would argue that I was a newbie but it’s all relative. True enough, I was inducted into The Hall of Rave at a time when it was dangerously close to going mainstream. However, it was mostly a mostly underground scene even though it had grown to epic proportions by that time. Mom had no idea what the fuck I was really up to when I told her I was going to those “all night parties” and neither did the media. At that time, private security was in full effect at raves, and we never saw cops unless the rave got busted. Thanks to visionless politicians like Mayor Lastman, police presence at raves became the norm from 1999 onwards. And that, as you know, was the beginning of the end. Things were never quite the same afterwards. Thankfully, I got a taste of the real deal before it curdled and went belly up like a carton of expired yogourt.
I decided to start this blog as a tribute to ravers of my pre-2000 generation. Mainly because raving is a counter-culture movement with as much significance as that of the 60’s and deserves to be recognized as such. In my opinion, it doesn’t get the respect it truly deserves. Up until 2009, whenever I googled “Toronto rave scene,” practically nada would surface in search results. Yet I could find a wealth of literature and films on the rave scene in England and Europe. It was as if Toronto’s scene never existed. Why was that? It really bothered me because I knew from firsthand experience that in the late 90’s, Toronto had a world class dance culture vibe on par with that of England in its heyday. Due to draconian by-laws created by British politicians, raving was effectively outlawed in the U.K. by 1995. Despite its untimely demise, it was successfully transplanted in North America, thanks to the efforts of idiosyncratic British pioneers like Captain B. Mental. Raving was an epoch in Toronto’s party history that can never be duplicated. It was the era of the super DJ, much like the age of the supermodel, when notable disc jockeys like Carl Cox earned a whopping $10,000 per set. Armand Van Helden, Roni Size, Josh Wink, DJ Sneak, Derrick May, Sasha and Digweed, Kevin Saunderson, Daft Punk, Sven Vath and more ALL breezed through here and I was lucky enough to have witnessed this stellar period in Toronto’s underground movement. Our scene was so huge that Americans would come over for a weekend just to party with some of the biggest names in dance culture. This is something that us Torontonians should be proud of. Fuck American Idol….RAVES ROCK!
Even more telling is the triumph of raving at a time when Facebook and cell phones did not exist and you had to call the hotline to get directions to the location on the same night….when the internet was still in its infancy and you had to type in the fricking http:// plus the address to get to the webpage which was uncluttered with invasive advertising and the layout was simple and clean….POWER TO THE PEOPLE! During that time, I used the net to glean information on MDMA and DJs making the scene. The world wide web changed my perspective on how I accessed knowledge and empowered me to make wise decisions on how to act responsibly with regards to Ecstasy, as it did for many others of my generation.
So my fellow Ecstaticans, rest assured that you are not going crazy. There is truly more to raving than meets the eye. I like to think of it as a cosmic insurrection against the rotten, vampiric, capitalist system that’s currently bleeding the world economy dry, draining Earth’s citizens of their vitality, fucking with people’s dreams and their right to exist and evolve beyond this materialistic hemisphere. As Public Enemy famously said, “Don’t believe the hype!” I encourage you all to come forward with your comments, photos and experiences to share amongst our thriving community. Please keep it simple and clean. Pornographic or racist material is not welcome here. Let’s make this a place where we can share and relish in the wealth of unique experiences that rave culture has to offer. Let’s take a stand once and for all and be proud of what Toronto has to offer, and put a stop to the “Imitate America” inferiority complex that is currently ravishing our t.v. screens and airwaves like an errant strain of diehard retrovirus.
Major shout-outs to my peeps – Stephen, Collin & especially Shane 4 helping me get this blog started. To Ricky, Jeff, Shaft – thanks for all your support and your fête joie de vivre! Big props to all the peeps who helped to make my rave experience truly immense: Ed, Jeffrey, Big Papa, Gio, Maria, Cindy, Sue, Ian, Leslie, Eric, Stu, Simon, the amazing DJ’s, underground mags and the promoters who’ve put on fantastic events for us to enjoy. Last but not least, to all the countless ravers who’ve ever showed me love. YOU GUYS ROCKK!!!
Copyright © 2011 Frankie Diamond. This article may not be copied in part or whole and posted to another site or reproduced without the express permission of the author.