Staring intently at an artfully framed display of pasta shapes with their given names found me in a trance at a friend’s apartment, in the background I hear a record that I knew they cherished and under that, softened chatter between them, it took me a moment to snap out of my Trofie Trance – I was asked to spare a thought.
The magic of night has always held a special place for me, but it requires redirection.
This is that a level of uncertainty should always be retained to help stimulate and encourage excitement for the dance – it should not be a collection of absolutes – ‘there will be this, this and this’. It needs this preceding excitement with little give away to lend to the conversation on the external tarmac, the odd beer bottle clatter in cold weather – big coat on, where will I store it? Who cares just dash it down or tie it around your waist.
The increasing consumerist audience yearn to harvest information for their mental checklist of expectations, dare I play the entire recording and watch the uncertain wriggling of feet shuffle door-wards before moving outside for an entire evening of conversing? A friend would tell me I shouldn’t.
With instant access to music we let no actual journey commence, the full piece is disrupted by somebody else’s unnerved response of letting the second chorus play out, our heads are jammed with the almost unlimited options and there is the inability to select one thing and let it do, like grabbing the conductors sheet music and replacing it with your own, 7 pages before ‘Fine’ – “this is well too long mate, have you got any Earth Wind and Fire?”
I will spare the vinyl revival bullshit here as digital mediums can be wonderful when directed correctly and the rise of Bandcamp has given us a platform to admire, providing abundant access to music that we can own instantly that works in the artists favour without sacrificing a hefty percentage to Sir Suit, Tie and Trousers. Let us practice the art of listening again and let the recording start and finish – don’t start 15 seconds in and don’t cut it 3 minutes short – endure the art.
This memory was evoked spontaneously as I read through lull and dull articles of the art of DJing videos displaying soft dancing moving side to side, faces in some airy-like ecstasy slowed down for optimum effect; I reflected back to when we had begun our night at a then not so popular place for parties – perhaps a few ran at the time and I could count them on one hand even if a couple of fingers were removed. We (me and two close friends) put together this evening of dance with little to no description and hand written cards given to people in person, nothing new by any stretch, but it was a return to something a little more personal. An overwhelming response had taken the card with glee and would tell us they would see us there. But, the other side of the coin triggered a flurry of jack-in-the-box questions asking what they would expect on the night – we didn’t answer these messages for a simple reason – it’s like explaining the individual art contributions before an exhibition instead of letting your imagination unfurl. ‘Pretentious asshole’ came beaming through and all for the act of keeping our art out of the direct certainties or knowledge of the populace – I failed to see why I should explain in detail what would be on offer – if you are uncertain or feel like you would miss out, then so be it I thought.
It was not a night set for any particular scene, nor any other agenda than just allowing some magic and mystery to pour into our lives, even a small drip of those would be enough, for us and them included – to stray away from the guidelines of life that guide us in to the certainties managed by time and place.
Those checklists of expectations we speak of that are in hand help to rationalise their reasons for leaving the safe confounds of their front room, commonly found with mandala on display secretly nourishing their broad stroke life guidance manifesto of typical wellness quotes unsupported by any real core philosophy – just shit people are begging to hear to be honest, nobody wants the truth – ‘give it to me, but only half full’, that or they are so scared of anything that challenges what they know, the concrete foundations of nightlife they read in some magazine may not be true behind those doors, light booming and clatter of snare – ‘where is room two?’
Though, can anything now be kept behind a cloak, even a light cloak, without being exposed? Extras filling their Instagram stories for validation of existence in the moment often found not actually being in the moment, a social media post validating they were there for approval of their certain coolness? I dream of a time where it can be – leave your phone at home – everyone you know and love is here.
Nightlife should be magical, you should be guessing what is to come, to be left waiting to open the door to see what lay inside – stick genres on the poster, go on – you’re already half dead.