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Digital Transition - Horley, Liquid Lounge.
20 June 2003

Knowing, as a librarian, the folly of not giving customers what they want, I thought Iíd give a Drum & Bass event a try.

My sons try to warn me off. "Thereís always trouble nowadays ... you might not be allowed in" (I donít think they meant to connect the two); you donít like the music" etc. I say I donít like it coming through the bedroom floor at 1000 decibels, any more than I like their brotherís banjo playing when Iíve just staggered in from a sweaty commuter train but, in their own environment, things might be different. I go at about 9.45.

The bouncers take one look at me and try to send me to the cheesy downstairs disco. I manage to demur and am pointed round the side of the club. I recognise the young blokes on the door; they work in HMV. They tell me that the music coming through the swing doors is Nu Skool Breaks (have I spelled this ok?). For the aerobics connossers among you, itís about 140 bpm (beats per minute if youíre not). I gather that this is the D & B equivalent of a band playing a succession of slow blues to warm up before the main event. It doesnít sound very slow to me and I wonder how Iíd manage moving to anything faster for an extended period.

I stay talking to the blokes about Glastonbury and stuff. They say theyíre playing Led Zeppelin with 15-minute drum solos at work in the shop. Stone me, I hope I donít have to go there to buy anything. There are very few people inside the club. People are getting tanked up in nearby pubs, because itís cheaper. A few blokes pay to go in. Women are few (in single numbers) and accompanied. That takes care of my unspoken query about how youíd ask a girl to dance if there wasnít a slow number Ė there are none to ask.

Itís pretty loud through the door. I could hear it from a distance when I was coming, but that would be true of most popular music. While weíre speaking, the DJ cranks up the volume to eleven. No one blinks. The music is seamless. No talking. As I expected, it sounds much the same to my untutored ears, but I can recognise that itís not the same as when I arrived and that it takes skill to mix in this continuous way. I ought to be able to tell you the DJís name. I know him as Marc, but that wonít help. They tell me the sound system is rubbish and has been wired by monkeys. One turntable comes from one set of speakers and the other from the others Ė not good if you want to play two tunes at the same time apparently (I should think not). The monitors are broken and Marc is mixing in headphones which makes it doubly clever, not to say tedious and painful I should think.

Drum & Bass mixing son arrives. Heís ignores me. Heís got a gig to do. I learn later that heís brought a lead to fix the monitor. Heíll be playing the faster, louder stuff, later. MC-ing son may be MC-ing later if the mood takes him. Itís 10.30. I havenít even had a drink (I still prefer it from a glass rather than a bottle) but decide itís time for cocoa.

This may not be helpful as a review. I don't really review, only share enthusiasms (on the whole). An editor had knocked blokes for their interest in music. It could have been football or beer or DIY. Some women have equally odd enthusiasms which are not shared by males - shopping, cake, chocolate and food as a whole.

This event was much as I expected - loud, continuous, not many there so early in the evening. I was interested in the social aspect. This is not an event for courting but if you like this sort of thing, this is the sort of thing youíll like. I heard one son come home at 4.20, the other one didnít. It must have been good. There was no trouble either.


Copyright © John Scott Cree 2003

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