My largest resolution going forward is helping to make clubbing more into the safer space it’s supposed to be.
In my life, dance music clubs have been my no.1 “Safe Space”, where I go to be with other people in joy and artistic inspiration, where everyone’s friends, if only for the evening. Where any dance move is cool, where your only authority is the thunderous bass, and you check any grievance at the door.
Unlike the safety of thought and expression though, physical safety has always been a little so-so in clubland. Depending on the venue you run a far higher risk of getting a nosebleed at the club than at the grocers in the morning. Throughout my career as a DJ, artist and audience member I’ve always been lucky to have my favourite clubs also be the ones in need of the least guards per person, our audiences have always been far more interested in listening to music, talking to their friends and dancing than trying to fuck or fucking someone else up. That does not, however, mean that clubland is considered a very physically safe space in general. But obviously nothing like what we have seen in Orlando and Paris last year, and in Istanbul at the turn of new-years, not 24 hours ago as I’m writing this. Many peaceful places have become crime scenes lately, and nightclubs are certainly not a singular target. But proverbially, this is MY HOUSE. And so I feel compelled to speak, if only for a small piece of this maddening puzzle.
To the right-wing extremes of east and west alike, nightclubs are the greatest example of the decay of good
Christian Muslim whatever morals. To us, it is the greatest example of freedom of thought and expression we have built. This makes clubland some strange battleground of the culture wars, and to us, an avatar of our world-view.
Our culture has always been one of carefreeness. The club is a place where we disavow the moral responsibilities of regular society, although we have never been afraid to take a stand in political matters, such as in the AIDS crisis. It’s not necessarily the time to change but to again dust off our ability to take a hard stand and rise together to a cause. To better recognise our culture as a power, and a force for integration and celebration of our diversity alike. For music’s ability to act like a religion. For many I know, the club is very much a church. And so it’s time to be missionaries once again.
We must remember what built this house, we must change, and we must never change. We don’t give in to demands, we will not censor ourselves, nor will we baby-proof our culture. Several subcultures and music styles have been co-opted by fascist groups lately, it’s not just Pepe memes. Judging by comment sections(never judge by the comment sections), it seems the internet itself has been overtaken by nefarious forces in some strange coup. Don’t let them. Like the bumper sticker says, then they win. So it’s time to find the essence of what we do. And do just that, hard as fuuuck.
Dance music’s biggest moral obligation is to always be open to anyone, no matter your [insert your thing here]. Which, ironically enough, makes clubland a prime target for hateful dicks of every ilk.
To me, club music=love. Some asshats hate love, it seems. The biggest irony of this age, what I suspect my hypothetical grandchildren will ask me about, is how the two extremes, determined to tear the other apart, really seem to agree on most almost every policy. Angry racist Christian grandmothers and teenage ISIS prospects have pretty much the same world-view, it seems. They just put the pin saying “nuke here” different places on the map. So what do we do, tolerate intolerance? Never.
One thing I do know is that all this makes me just the more resolute. To make the house that Jack built even more awesome, for anyone that wants to come. As the recent hubbub surrounding the closing of several hip-hop clubs in Oslo by local police shows, we have work to do. Not in child-proofing, mind you, but in making clubs a bad place to want to bring a weapon, for any reason. It’s a celebration for fuck’s sake.
I love every single one of you pricks,
this article first appeared as a Twitter rant on January 1st, 2017. All images courtesy of the original artists. Updated throughout 01/01-16 for typos and clarity.