Saturday 11 April 2009

The Middle-aged Club Revival

Middle-aged clubbers are apparently coming out of retirement to relive their glory days of clubbing from the early to mid 1990s. Reading in the Times last week, the famous Leeds club Up Your Ronson that closed over a decade ago, has now re-emerged for a number of monthly one offs catering for clubbers now in the late 30s and early 40s.

These were the types of people that raved hard in the 90s but then got married, had kids, mortgages and decided to become sensible grown ups.

Having discovered House music and dance music culture back in the late 80s and early 90s the article immediately interested me. Most of my clubbing glory days were back in the 90s and there are many nights that I will remember for the rest of my life, although at the age of 33 I’m not quite ready to consider myself middle aged, my clubbing days are now becoming fewer and far between.

Most of the clubbers and promoters interviewed in the article talked in terms of nostalgia and reliving their youth, and trying to recapture special moments from the past.

I thought about this myself. I’m still interested in going clubbing if and when I get the chance, and I still love good House music and a bit of Drum and Bass when I'm in the mood. It’s music that’s been a big part of my life since I was a kid, but if I started going out clubbing again on a regular basis it wouldn’t be because I’m trying to recapture my youth, but because I still enjoy dance music culture and clubbing.

For me, the article confirmed something that I’ve suspected for sometime now and that is, we no longer appear to live in a society where we have generation gaps in the ways we used to.

There was a time that when people got married, settled down, had kids and got a mortgage, they were considered middle-aged. They no longer took an interest popular culture, cutting edge new music, or kept up to date with the latest fashion, but this doesn't seem to be the case anymore.

Many of the DJ pioneers and originators in House music and dance music culture are still around today djing and producing music. Many of them are now well into their 40s and 50s. In rock music you have 30 somethings dominating the attendance of the country's biggest music festival Glastonbury; and of course you can't forget the Rolling Stones who are still going strong despite most of them all being in their 60s. The fact that they haven’t really produced anything new or original of any note in the last 25 years doesn’t seem to matter to people. Nobody is telling them they should be at home looking after the grand kids!

I’m sure that back in the 1960s people would have struggled to imagine that in 40 years time men in their 50s and 60s would still be playing this new rebellious form of popular music known as rock and roll!

In my own family my dad has always been a huge fan of Rhythm and Blues, Jazz, Soul, 50s Rock and Roll. I love this music! Having discovered Hip Hop at an early age, it always amazed me the number of records that my dad would play that made me think, ‘I know that bassline, Tribe Called Quest sampled it’ or ‘I know those vocals, didn’t Wu Tang Clan or Jay Z use them in such and such a track?’

My dad’s music is my music. The generation gap simply doesn't exist. Equally my dad doesn’t mind electronic forms of dance music, jazzy Drum and Bass a bit of Soulful House, he can relate to it! He can even pull off wearing a pair of my old Paul Smith jeans cast offs without a problem.

Maybe I just have a hip dad, but I do believe that today we now have more freedom to do what we want to do, to be what we want to be, without worrying that we might be considered too old, or concerning ourselves with what other people might think.

Of course you can’t avoid the aging process, In the Times article the Liverpool DJ John Kelly spoke about how he had to pace his sets in accordance with catering for an older age group, he said in relation to older clubbers:

“They haven’t got the energy that they used to have. You’ve got to give them little breaks. They’re certainly not taking as many E’s as they used to. It’s more about the music.”

For me its always been about the music, the House tunes I discovered back in the late 80s and early 90s I still love and I hope to pass them on to my kids in the same way my parents have passed on their music to me. The article gave a list of classic House tracks that are supposedly appealing to this new breed of middle-aged clubber. I have therefore decided to list a few of my own personal classics that all middle aged clubbers need to know.

Tears: (feat. Robert Owen) Frankie Knuckles Presents Satoshi Tomiie

Let the Music:( Use You) The Night Writers

The Promised Land: Joe Smooth

Alison Limerick: Where love Lives

Marshall Jefferson: The House Music Anthem (Move Your Body)

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