I was born in April of 1973. This makes me (at the current time of writing) forty one years of age.
For as long as I can remember, electronic music with repetitive beats has dominated my life, I grew up on a diet of force fed electronic music, it completely dominated the charts; Yazoo, Kraftwerk, Yello, Gary Numan, Depeche Mode, Duran Duran, The Human League. Even the latest blockbuster films had synth heavy soundtracks, for example John Carpenter’s Escape From New York And Alan Parker’s Midnight Express, I could literally go on forever.
This broad introduction of the electronic synthesiser into modern day media caused a seismic change in youth culture and the way the way that young people interacted with each other.
There have been many changes in youth culture, all wide and varied and all inextricably linked to both music and fashion. The first real example we see of it was in the 1940’s beginning most notably with Rock and Roll, leading onto the Teddy Boys of the 50’s, the Mods and Rockers of The 60’s, The Skin/Suedeheads and Punks of the 70’s and then the Acid House explosion of the 80’s.
Since then (in my humble opinion) there has been a drought with no really significant changes in youth culture, with Simon Cowell et al totally dominating the charts with their pre-fabricated churned out pop dirge, purely designed to do nothing but make the major record labels obscenely rich stockpiling gargantuan piles of cash.
Then the question occurs to me; where did all the creativity go?
For me an epiphany moment was in the late eighties hearing “Voodoo Ray” by A Guy Called Gerald.
This music was unlike anything I had heard before, totally fresh and completely new, I still to this day count my lucky stars to be involved in such a burgeoning scene so early in its conception. At fifteen years of age I attended various warehouse parties in and around the capital. Acid House Music was everywhere and I was firmly bitten by the bug. This was my time, my own youth culture moment. My time to jump on something new and make it my own.
So here I find myself at the grand old age of 41 and still just as obsessed (if not more) with this incredible music. But for me it is all about pushing forward, listening to all the incredible new talent that is rising through the ranks. I believe there is more really, really great music around today than ever before.
So now we arrive in 2014. What has happened to youth culture in the UK today? For the last fews years we have seen young people “shuffling” at parties/raves/festivals.
This dance movement has received some really bad press and received extreme ridicule, even accused of racism in some cases, however, I believe it is the single most exciting thing to happen in UK youth culture since Acid House and I applaud and encourage it’s arrival in equal amounts. Its really, really great and refreshing to see something new and genuine being born out of the current UK House Music scene, but is it really new?
I read an amazing article written by a DJ so deeply entrenched in the UK electronic music scene that he literally has become an integral working part; Mr Greg Wilson. Last summer he pointed out on his blog that foot shuffling has indeed been around a lot longer than most people think. Below is a youtube video of a recording made in the Moss Side Community Centre in Manchester on September 27th 1987, so well before messers. Oakenfold, Holloway, Rampling and Walker returned from that genre spawning trip to The White Island
Here we see young black teens enjoying some very early house and breaking out some very similar moves to today’s shufflers. Food for thought.
There is always and will always be a glut of “back to 88” or old school nights. I personally have nothing against these events and agree that we should never ignore the past, however, I don’t think its healthy to live in it.
Absorb the past and use it as inspiration for creating something new, push the boundaries of this wonderful sound. It would be truly extraordinary and inspiring to see the youth of today create a new exciting culture to give Cowell and his cronies a run for their money and bring creativity back to the masses.
You can read more on Greg Wilson’s blog: