We’ll Stay Young Forever – The Truth About Raving In Your Mid 30’s.
I first went to a club in 1995. It was the week before my 17th birthday. I got hammered on one and a half Diamond White ciders and threw up in my handbag in the taxi home, but that’s not really the point of this story. The point is, I had my first experience of a dark room filled with thumping music, twirling coloured lights, a smoke machine and a crowded dance-floor and I absolutely loved it!
A year or so later, I had my first experience of watching the sun come up on the way home from a club. It didn’t really matter if I was drinking or if I was the designated driver, a weekend was never quite complete without going out for a dance. Time passes (a couple of decades), life goes on, somewhere along the way I moved from the UK to Sydney and honestly, I still don’t have any other way I’d rather spend a weekend.
You may well be thinking that of course I’ve got time for all this fun and nonsense in my 30’s! I haven’t got kids and whilst this may be true for me, let me tell you about another girl that I know. She’s a mum, she’s got a full time day job, nips up and down the east coast of Australia to play DJ sets, runs hard dance club nights in her home city not to mention, she’s the dance-floor at every other event too! And on top of that, she also finds time to run a cake decorating business. I’m exhausted just thinking about the pace of her life!
Speaking of cake (yum), as another birthday creeps up to push me firmly from mid to late 30’s, I thought I’d give you an insight on what it’s like to sometimes be, as we might say in Australian terms, “the oldest c*nt in the club.”
Some things just shouldn’t be sugar coated, so I’m going to start with…
5 Brutally Harsh Facts
1. Your sleep patterns are pretty much non-existent
If you’ve spent your whole adult life staying up all night at least once every weekend, probably combined with a fair bit of burning the candle at both ends on week nights in years gone by, you may have spent years in what really amounts to a constant state of jetlag.
2. You will have some aches and pains after a long night on the dance-floor
For example, my knees are absolutely fucked. When I least expect it, I get a sudden strange pain and suddenly I can feel my knee moving with every step. Watch out for the knee supports I will likely end up wearing next festival season. I’ll be starting a trend, I tell you.
3. A lot of people you see at events look really young
This is something that bothered me for a while and then I just got over it or got used to it and now I don’t really notice. I’ve accepted that I am the odd one out.
I’m just grateful that the all ages rave scene is a thing of the past – every event in Sydney now is either 18+ or underage. I’m OK partying with much younger people, but not with actual children. When I first moved to Sydney I went to a rave called Godspeed. I was 27, my friends were all the same age or older and all from the UK. No-one told us that this event was all ages – we walked into an arena full of 15yr olds all dressed up to the nines in their best rave gear – gas masks, fluffy stuff and more kandi than we’d ever seen in our lives. I think the only other people anywhere near our age on the dance-floor were the undercover cops.
4. Your friends do not always appreciate some of the older music in your collection
If you find that some of your rave friends are a bit younger than you, just be prepared for some differences in your music taste. I must be fair and stress that this is not always the case, but certainly when my close friends are at my house I cannot get away with putting on any 90’s music whatsoever. No matter how timeless or classic I think a tune is, they’re simply not having it.
So then I have to stop and remember – its 2016. 1996 may seem like yesterday but it was 20 years ago. In 1996, my Dad would try and tell me how great music was in 1976. I don’t want to sound like my Dad.
5. Friends will drop out of the scene and you may end up flying solo
Whatever your social scene in life, friends do come and go sometimes – people’s interests change, people go travelling, get demanding jobs, have kids, whatever. Close friends will still be close friends even if you are no longer dancing ‘til dawn together. If you want to carry on going out, you might sometimes end up going out on your own.
Now, because I’m a glass half full kind of girl, brings me straight into…
5 Awesome, Positive Truths
1. You’re happy to go out on your own
By the time you get into your thirties, the chances are that you’ve lived in a few different places, travelled, or even just had different groups of friends in your home town over time. You know that it is possible to meet new people; you should also have learned that you can’t force friendships – they’ll just happen along the way.
There’s no way I could be happy sitting at home knowing I’m missing a great day or night of music just because none of my friends wanted to go. I think FOMO is just as much of a thing for a late thirties raver because instead of thinking “I’ve got years to do this,” I’m thinking “I’m too old to NOT do this!” I’m not going to sit around forever wondering if maybe next year someone will want to go to this event or that with me; if I want to go, I’m going, doesn’t matter if I’m on my own.
2. You can look after yourself in a crowd
My first experience of getting near the front of a festival crowd was at a rock festival in the UK in the 90’s. I got dragged out of a mosh pit just in time before I disappeared underneath it. That didn’t put me off of crowds but I do avoid mosh pits like the plague. Fortunately, there’s not much of that nonsense at hard dance festivals and now that I’ve been in the thick of the crowd at plenty of events I’m more than happy to get right down the front of the main stage, even when I’m on my own.
3. Dancing is great exercise
I know a hell of a lot of people who have stopped going out and instead now devote themselves to hectic schedules of fitness activities. On the other hand, I must admit that I take a less disciplined approach to exercise. Last year I bought a Fitbit to see if I could do 10,000 steps a day. I went out one night to see Scott Brown play at a club and I hit 10,000 steps by 1.30am. At Defqon.1, I clocked up over 53,000 steps in a day.
Pro tip: If you’ve done your exercise for the day before you’ve even gone to bed, you can have a nice sleep-in the next morning.
4. New music is really good too
Not all of it, however saying that, not all of the old music was good either; we simply choose to remember the good bits. Music fluctuates throughout phases in time. Think you don’t like new hardstyle? Go and listen to some Wasted Penguinz right now! Didn’t like UK hardcore ten years ago? Try it again this year you might be surprised!
In my opinion, Trance is currently at around a ten year high point, with the 140bpm psytrance sound definitely hitting the spot for me and attracting a lot of harder styles fans to also attend trance events. Even friends of mine who have sworn off any new music for as long as I’ve known them and who go out strictly for old-skool or reunion type events have managed to get back into trance in the last year or so. Even they’re admitting that, yes, there is good new music out there.
5. The hard dance scene is the most welcoming, friendly and inclusive scene for anyone, of any age
Of course I’m being a little bit biased here towards the scene I love best! I think the same can honestly be said of any scene that revolves around music first and foremost. The friendly vibe and the community that you get at a hard dance festival, club night or rave is amazing, even when the music might sound brutal the people are incredibly friendly.
Among the crowd of familiar faces at my local hard dance club is a friend of mine who usually takes up residence sitting at a table at the back of the club. He’s been going out forever and knows absolutely everyone. He’ll get up for a dance now and again but usually he’ll just sit and watch the world go by, knowing that in the course of the night each of his friends will come and visit him for a chat. His regular visitors and drinking buddies include some of the youngest, nicest and most enthusiastic ravers in the place. I’ve already told him that when my knees start to give up completely I’ll be sitting up the back there with him.
Are you a 30+ year old hard dance music fan? Are you and your friends all still going out regularly? Do you still enjoy the atmosphere of a crowded club or festival, or would you rather just listen to music at home instead? Let us know your views in the comments section below!