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The History and Context of Club Culture.

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THE HISTORY AND CONTEXT OF CLUB CULTURE "History is hard to know because of all the hired bullshit, but even without being sure of history it seems entirely reasonable that every now and then the energy of a whole generation comes to a head in a long fine flash, for reasons that nobody really understands at the time, and which never explain, in retrospect, what really happened" (Hunter.S.Thompson, "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas") The late 1980's saw the emergence of a hugely significant social phenomenon. Rave culture (or club culture as it is now most commonly referred to), is of massive appeal to many young people and statistics by Mintel show that 15.7 million people in Britain go clubbing each weekend (Mintel:1996). Clubbing has become a major cultural industry and cities such as Sheffield, Leeds and Manchester to name but a few, all have well developed clubbing industries making a substantial contribution to the local cities economy. Many cities have actively pursued inner city regeneration programmes partially based on the nighttime economy and attraction of clubbers (Malbon 1999:6). Club culture has become a notable area of study for two main reasons. ...read more.


Whereas previous youth culture movements such as the punks or the hippies posed a threat to social order, club culture provided another way of dealing with an oppressive society - an option of temporary escapism. Rietveld has suggested that Acid House music was perfect to enable such escapism; "When one is in opposition, the thing that is opposed is acknowledged. When one escapes instead of opposes, no alternative moral values are proposed at all" (Hillegonda Rietveld quoted in Redhead et al 1993:66) The details of the emergence of club culture are complex, however the broad outline is clear. Acid House was the first genre of music to played in British nightclubs, its name holding heavy connections with the drug LSD. The roots of acid house lie with American black and gay club culture, and the music was imported from that being played in New York, Detroit and Chicago; "Out of New York, Chicago and Detroit had come sounds that would change the world of popular music: garage, house and techno, three interlinked strands with similar premises - the use of technology to heighten perception and pleasure, and the release from mundane, workaday existence into fanatic visions of drama, vitality and joy" (Collin 1997:24) ...read more.


It is no longer a separate underground leisure activity, it now has specialised (or niche) radio, television and written media, has created an abundance of jobs both directly and indirectly involved with the scene, and Dj's are no longer seen as faceless disc spinners, but are now household names to many and can arguably be described as 'celebrities'. Clubs such as 'Ministry of Sound' in London, 'Gatecrasher' in Sheffield and 'Cream' in Liverpool are all now globally recognised, producing a variety of albums each year which many young people buy without even being old enough to attend the club. Magazines such as 'Mixmag', 'Musik' and 'Ministry' have all referred to these clubs as 'brand names'. In addition to this the Island of Ibiza has been described as "the clubbing Mecca" (Mixmag June 2002), attracting thousands of young British clubbers each year with one aim - to club! Despite the massive possibilities this pastime holds for study "the latest and by a long way probably the largest and most influential of recent young people's cultures or styles in Britain can be found in club cultures" (Malbon 1999:16), the sociological literature on the topic is in fact quite sparse, and what is available tends to be quite diverse and with distinct preoccupations. 1 See Appendix for definitions ...read more.

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