Pills and Thrills on the Early Nineties Rave Scene : Memoir

I am quite puritanical by nature but I suppose there are two types in this world. Those likely to try drugs and those who will never touch them. I have to be honest and say even though my rave days ended in disaster it would be hard to say I would prefer to have not done them. To have experienced the bliss of ecstasy, the thrill of thousands of people dancing in unison in a warehouse.

My first night went like this, ‘Do you want some doves?’ ‘What are they?’ Say I. Too young to naïve they said to me in Beijing. ‘What you’ve never had one?’ He looked at me with shock and disbelief. I still didn’t know what on earth he was talking about. I bought some not really thinking too much and with my sister we headed to the bar to get two beers, slipping a white pill down our throats with the first swig. Of course I was familiar with the rave scene and its drug culture but my previous party culture had always been beer and shite discos, encouraged by the NAAFI discos provided by Her Majesties Royal Services. It wasn’t too long before the first rush came along. These were the days when pills worked. Whoosh, up I went into a chemically induced heavenly realm.

Did it have an effect on me? Well, shy and quiet David, went from talking to no-one throughout the week, to sitting happily on the warehouse floor chatting to a group of about fifteen girls and boys as if I had known them all my life. After the endless blagging the bass and cheer from the main room next door started to seep into my veins and work their way to my feet. I arose a different man and strode through the crowds effortlessly, flowing through a sea of love, where every breath made you feel you were in union with the whole ocean. The music was soulful house and it was Philip Salon’s Mud Club at Bagley’s, probably long after its stronger early eighties influence.

As the pill took a hold of me all forms and sounds merged into one. A hug was never just a hug. It was a transcendental experience that elevated the soul beyond the sounds to produce a smile that felt like it would stick forever. Since then I have tried many forms of Buddhism and spirituality and yet to reach the dizzy heights of those experiences. I was hardly the most avant-garde or adventurous amongst us, just a boy wandering through the fields of laser lights, and hard-hat drum beat sounds. Waiting for the sun to rise. The walk home. The conversations in a stranger’s living room. A pint of Guinness in the afternoon. A Sunday roast to bring me down. Early to bed and then back to work Monday. Waiting for Friday and the continuing adventures.

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