Tag Archives: toronto raves 1990s

Comfort Zone 1998


Comfort Zone's Flyer Wall

Well well…judging from the number of hits my review on The Comfort Zone has been getting, many of you just can’t seem to get enough of that infernal den of iniquity. Yes, it’s a sleazy little dive but let’s face it – CZ is one of a kind and has definitely earned its place as an afterhours legend.

As a special treat for all you CZ lovers out there, I’ve included an excerpt from my e-book, ‘Tuned In Mashed Out,” where adventure raver G-Fly, heads down to The Comfort Zone with her compadres after a rambunctious house party. It’s 1998, Toronto’s rave scene is kicking up a storm and CZ is still reasonably priced at around $7, long before the era of extortionary cover charges kicked in….

TUNED IN, MASHED OUT: Confessions of a Rave Junkie

by Frankie Diamond

Carlos interrupted my Planet Synth excursion to say goodbye. I gave him a hug & promised to call him later. I was still wired. There’s no way I could go home now. About a dozen people were left, dancing in the living room. I needed to find Griff & those guys so I went to the kitchen. Beercans & bottles were scattered everywhere. An E’d out couple sat at the kitchen table with their arms around each other. I asked them if they’d seen Griff & they said no. I checked the backyard. No-1 there either so I went to the basement where I found Griff, T-Rex, Karen, Tippa & others chilling out, playing video games. Reese sparked an L & waxed poetic on how great the night was. And it was far from over. There was talk of going to the afterparty at Comfort Zone. Apparently DJ Sneak was supposed to be spinning. Turned out every1 down here was too fucked up to go home, courtesy of Craven’s fruit punch. Griffin was the only 1 who hadn’t tried it, but he’d dropped an E & was rushing large. I asked Griff how he ended up being friends with someone like Craven & he smiled mysteriously. “Craven’s not your average gino,” he said. “We go back a long way.” Turned out Griff & Craven’s dad had known each other for years through business ties. Griff’s dad owned a Greek restaurant & happened to be good friends with Craven’s dad who ran an autoshop. Craven got his nickname cuz he craved drugs so damn much it was a wonder he hadn’t keeled over yet. “I keep telling him to slow down but he won’t listen,” he said. “One day he’s gonna find out the hard way.”

Griff finally pulled the plug around 4. The sparse group of hard core ravers remaining clapped & showed their appreciation b4 bouncing. Griffin’s long departed guests showed theirs by leaving a huge mess behind. Empty beercans, bottles, roaches, chips & glo-stix littered the floor. Griff didn’t seem to mind. “I’ll deal with that later,” he said as we drove to the afterparty, blazing up on the way down. Eight of us made it down to Comfort Zone, which was strangely comforting in all its grimy glory. The perfect haven for those who couldn’t go home….or didn’t want to. CZ won’t judge you. I could still see my name etched into the peeling, plastic upholstery of the couch where I’d inked it on in a drunken stupor last summer. Welcome back Gemma! Some unknown guy was spinning progressive. Where the hell was Sneak? At least 50 people were here, with more to come. Still early. Griff brought Tonya & I bottled water & we proceeded to dance. Sneak finally snuck on & threw down some deep house. Which was fine but I would’ve preferred something harder. It was getting busier & a tad hot so I went out for a smoke with the fellas. Moments later, I was rushing like a frigging express train. The weed brought me right back up. Fuccckkk…my eyes were rolling like mad so I donned my shades & zoned right the fuck out. Black light action was going on up in here too. I could see my fucking teeth glowing fluorescent green in the mirrors. God I looked like a freak – but so did every1 in here. We’re all freaks to be here in the 1st place at 8 o’clock on a Sunday morning, when decent God fearing folk were either still in their beds or getting ready for church. We were in The House of Ecstasy, which is as close as we’ll come to God (for now anyway). Plus I saw a good number of people from Griff’s house party down here too.

I got my wish when another DJ took over & dropped some hard fucking house. YEAH!!! THAT’s what I’m talking bout! Holy…now the party’s getting started. Griff, T-Rex, myself & every1 else are all stepping like mad. I’ve stripped down to my tank-top, with my sweater tied around my waist. Man, this is the shit! Steve Venom on the decks. Bite me! Later I dropped half an E, blissed right out & finally sat down what seemed like half a lifetime later. Reese had passed out on the couch. He was not alone. About a dozen whacked out ravers were crashed out right beside him. I planned on joining the slumber party soon so I sipped some water & just nodded to the beat which gently vibrated my bottom. Some dodgy looking guy asked me for water. He looked like he might have some kind of disease, so I asked him not to touch the rim with his lips. He looked offended but I didn’t give a fuck. Guy must’ve been really thirsty or really broke cuz after giving me a weird look, he took the bottle grudgingly while following my instructions. Afterwards, I made sure to put it into my pouch for safekeeping.

Next thing I know, T-Rex is shaking me. “G-Fly, let’s go.” It’s after 3 in the afternoon. Can’t complain. We said our goodbyes to some of Griff’s friends who decided to stay, & went out for breakfast. I finally got home around 6. Thankfully mom wasn’t there. She’d have something to say for sure. She really has no clue what I’m up to these daze. Whenever I go to raves, I just tell her that I’m going to an all night party & I won’t be back ’til the next day so she’s kind of used to it now, though she kicks up a fuss every now & then. 

Copyright © 2012 Frankie Diamond. All rights reserved. Excerpts of less than 200 words may be published to another site, including a link back to the original article. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety and posted to another site without the express permission of the author.

 Like what you’ve read? Check out more excerpts from Tuned In, Mashed Out under the December and January archives!
 Tuned In, Mashed Out – available now on Amazon: http://amazon.com/author/frankiediamond

Another Juicy Excerpt from Frankenraver’s Book, “Tuned In, Mashed Out”


Tuned In, Mashed Out chronicles the hilarious shenanigans of self-professed rave junkie, Gemma “G-Fly” Anderson. Set in 1998 during the height of Toronto’s burgeoning rave scene, G-Fly is encouraged by her gorgeous supermodel friend, Katrina, to keep a journal for forty nine days as an exercise in artistic liberation. What follows is a mind-blowing excursion into underground youth culture, where Ecstasy reigns supreme and the Dj is GOD. While her long term relationship with Delroy teeters on the edge of collapse, 23 year old Gemma finds herself falling for charismatic 19 year old centrefold, Shastri. Can she withstand temptation and discover her true identity in the midst of all the madness? Brilliant, best-selling author, Frankie Diamond, takes you on a fantastic, roller coaster journey into Gemma’s angst filled world. There’s never a dull moment as our plucky protagonist grapples with vexing dilemmas such as racial identity, recurring nightmares, Ecstasy overload and raging hormones. Get ready for a page turning, thrill addicting experience, guaranteed to leave you in stitches and jonesing for more.  

Tuned In, Mashed Out: Confessions of a Rave Junkie by Frankie Diamond

Sat Oct. 17 – DAY 31 

             Khareem took me to a lounge on Richmond St. where we met up with his homies. He was happy to feed me drinks & I knocked back a coupla shots, plus 4 beers. If it’s 1 thing I love about Khareem is that the brotha’s not cheap when it comes to drinks! The music was kinda boring; commercial RnB mostly, but the DJ played some house, which kind of made up for it. I told him he should try raving sometime. He said it sounded interesting & he might check it out 1 of these days. I don’t remember much about last night apart from dancing on a table & being asked by security to come down, subsequently slipping on a wet patch & falling flat on my ass. All in all, it was a good night. I got home at 4, to be up for work by 7. Woke up with blinding headache, regurgitated stomach contents. Even saw bits of undigested hot-dog floating around in there. Life’s a bitch, ain’t it? Somehow, I managed to get through the Saturday morning frightmare. The customers must have noticed my zoned out zombie expression & decided it was probably best to refrain from asking me dumb ass questions. Might chew your face off for that price tag infraction, lady. Finished work at 3:15, went home, crashed out, only to be awakened by T-Rex calling to say she’ll be picking me up in half an hour. I haven’t even showered yet. Now I gotta get ready for Griff’s party. My outfit’s laid out on the bed. T-shirt, matching beaded necklace, sweater & jeans. I save the expensive gear for when I go to the clubs – like my shiny cargos for example. I would really hate for gum to get all over that. Hope I have time to blaze 1 up b4 I step out. Should be a good night!

Sun Oct. 18 – DAY 32 

            Last night was da bomb! Oh my God, Griff sure knows how to throw a friggin party! When we arrived, Griff & his homies had cleared out the living room to set up turntables & speakers. Crates of records were stacked on the floor. T-Rex, her friend Karen & I, set the chips, dip, & snacks out on the dining table. The fellas proceeded to do a sound-check which consisted of Reese, a Jamaican brotha, rhyming on a mic to some jungle. Carlos sat on the couch with T-Rex & me, bopping his head while rolling a blunt. “Dis here’s some good shit!” he bragged. “We’re just getting warmed up.” This was mykinda scene! I was dying with curiosity about what those boys were doing behind the decks, so I approached them & they gave me a tutorial on how to mix. It was fun! I loved the feel of vinyl under my fingertips. I thought, hey, I could be a DJ too! Griff gave me pointers on beat-matching & showed me how to man the switches n stuff. When I first started raving, I asked him about the special FX producers used on the tracks & he schooled me on basics like sub-lows, filters, panning, etc. He’s so cool. I learn a lot just from hanging with him. He asked T-Rex if she wanted to give it a try but she shook her head no. We took a break to get blessed with Carlos’ creation. Damn. That was some kick ass bud! After 3 hits, I couldn’t toke no more. I sat there chilling & next thing you know, I felt a weight pressing against the side of my head. I moaned in protest. “Oh my God, I’m so sorry!” I looked up groggily & saw a white girl I didn’t know sitting next to me on the couch. T-Rex & Carlos were gone. Shit, I passed out!

             I sat up immediately. The room was filled with people. A hard house track was rocking full tilt. I could hear chatter & laughter all around me. The pungent odor of sess & cigarettes filled my nostrils. Alright! I woke up just in time for the party!  I walked around, looking for familiar faces. The clock on the wall said 11:40 so I was out for roughly 2 hours. I turned right & walked down the crowded hallway towards the kitchen. I couldn’t believe how busy this place was! I squeezed my way in and saw Griff sitting on the counter, beer in hand, chilling amongst friends. Boxes of partially devoured pizza laid open on the table. The noise in here was a virtual uproar. I walked over to Griff & he gave me a hug. “Hey Gemma, u ok? You were out for a while! Here, have some beer.” I took a sip while he introduced me to his friends. I was dying with hunger so I inspected the contents of the pizza boxes. Meat lovers was way too heavy for my taste. All that was left of the vegetarian were a few lonely pieces of green pepper & mushroom. I managed to score the last 3 cheese & settled for picking off the pepperoni on another slice. I got a beer from the fridge to wash it all down. Mmmm….yummy! At that moment, Delroy ran across my mind. I wished he could be here with me. That really made me sad so I put it out of my mind with another swig of beer. Everywhere I looked, it seemed almost every1 was hooked up ‘cept for me. Shit. I tell myself I’m being paranoid cuz Griff’s single too…well, sort of. It seems like him & T-Rex r kinda seeing each other. SHIT! I really need to forget about this else I’ll drive myself crazy, so I returned to Griff’s corner & listened in on the conversation. They were discussing rave related stuff like upcoming parties, headliners, & the best type of E currently available. Eric couldn’t make it cuz he’d gone on a business trip to Amsterdam. That lucky bastard.

Copyright © 2012 Frankie Diamond. All rights reserved. Excerpts of less than 200 words may be published to another site, including a link back to the original article. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety and posted to another site without the express permission of the author.