Flyer from my collection above. Here’s yet another report from Amino Clang, who’s now overtaken yours truly in terms of the amount of memories he’s contributed to the site 🙂 Thanks again old friend. And for anyone else who’s got anything to contribute, please feel free, I’ll publish pretty much everything you write (as long as it’s about free parties from 91-94 in the UK)…
Not long after the New Year’s party in Uxbridge, there was another party in the same area billed as “Spiral Tribe’s last party in the UK”. It was to happen on Easter weekend and it was going to be a killer party.It was – this party had a profound effect on my being, my psyche, my understanding of raves and of Spiral Tribe. Allow me to elaborate…
When we found this party it was fuckin’ massive (I think there were three big rooms with three big sound systems, lots of freaky projections, lights, backdrops etc and shit-loads of ravers. The main room had two HUGE pyramids of speakers covered up with camo netting and banging it out at full tilt from the minute we got there until the minute we left (and then some).
This party was particularly interesting for me because I had two groups of raver mates – one group from Dorset (where my Dad lives) and another group from Wales (where I grew up and lived with my Mum) – but there were members of both groups of friends at this party. One of my mates from Wales gave me some free acid (always the best kind!) and as I was starting to come up a group of my mates from Dorset bumped into me (quite literally because of the “Super-K” they had all just done). One of them was lying on the floor in a bit of a pickle and because I was the only one who was not Ketamized, he was left with me. I got him to lie down a bit more comfortably and put his head on my lap and in an attempt to keep him calm I gave him a gentle head massage.
After a while I started to get a bit worried, but I was happy that he was still breathing so I asked somebody if they knew how long Ketamine lasts. They didn’t, so I went back to my mate lying on the floor. After another minute or so he woke up and asked where he was and what was going on so I tried to explain but by now I was starting trip a bit harder so I think I just said something really useful like “Spirals innit! You’re in a warehouse, a party, just look – it’s wicked innit!”.
Luckily I saw one of my friends from Wales who knew a little bit about K and he just got my spannered mate to stand up and walk out of the warehouse. After a few more minutes he properly came round and said that he had a full-on re-birth experience, took some more drugs and bounced off back into the party with a big fat smile on his face.
That’s when things start to get a bit hazy so let me bullet point some key points from the morning…
1. I remember doing some juggling, but becoming totally distracted by another guy who was doing some amazing juggling (I was also a pretty good juggler and I was well impressed by his mad skills).
2. I remember walking into the main room and feeling something tugging at my trousers – it was a stranger who recognised me from the NYE Party in Uxbridge only a few months earlier. I sat with him for a minute as we exchanged disjointed bullshit about “Spirals in Uxbridge again eh! Two great parties in a row, still fuckin’ avinnit” etc.
3. I remember sitting at the back of the main room quite late in the morning watching the basslines wash over the room and crash up against me as Spiral Tribe Sound System started a live set. At least I think this is what was happening – I remember seeing them set up loads of keyboards and drum machines and asking another mate (the one who gave me the acid, who later went off around Europe with the Spirals and took his brother with him) what they were up to but he was no wiser than me. It all looked very serious though.
Another flyer from my collection. The one below (front and back) is a postcard, rather sturdier than the floppy photocopies I’d picked up for Spiral raves before. That’s because they now had a record deal with Big Life and were due to launch the Sirius 23 EP three days after this party. Apparently the money from the deal was invested wisely (for at least one event it was spent on renting a ‘sacrificial’ soundsystem).
4. I remember sitting at the back of the room watching the party go on, watching the people fall over, feeling the bass and I got to thinking (just like most Spiral Tribers have at some point I’m sure) that there must be more to these events. It could be political, it could be religious. They could be some sort of cult or some sort of terrorists. It was a bit worrying really but I will come back to this a little later (at the first party in Nantyr Picnic Area), but for now I think it is enough to say that I became convinced that there was something significant happening here and I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.
5. I remember sitting in a car later again in the morning and watching a group of coppers turn up (I decided to sit a bit further down in the car). I saw the gates to the warehouse being closed and I saw a crusty hippy type with more dreds than brain cells left (not meant to be an insult, just an observation) being dragged off by the coppers and I remember feeling so sorry for that poor bloke. He looked like he was having a lovely time until those fucks dragged him off to (no doubt) take a beating and spend his comedown in a cell in police custody.
Eventually the friends who I came with (the K-hole surfer from Dorset) said they were ready to leave and the driver was straight enough to drive. I was not convinced (I certainly wasn’t straight enough!), but he seemed quite determined and so off we went.
This was the first time I realised that my friends from Wales actually already knew some of my friends from Dorset and that they had met up totally independently of me, but totally dependent on Spiral Tribe (the network grows stronger). In fact the links run much deeper, but I won’t get into that here.
Epilogue: Nantyr Picnic area spring ‘93
I have put this party alongside the Spiral parties in Uxbridge because they really blend into each other in my mind.
Nantyr Picnic Area is a beautiful spot where we used to put on parties up in the hills of North Wales and it will always have a special place in my heart because of this party (and lots of others). This was the first party that I went to that had been organised by my friends and I probably knew everybody there. In fact, it was the first party that I took my Mum to, there were lots of the same people who were at the last Spiral party in Uxbridge and although I’m not going to go into all the details of this party here believe me when I say that it was a significant turning point for me.
During the proceedings I had an epiphany moment. While at the last Spiral Party in Uxbridge I was starting to become convinced that there was something more to these parties, at this party I came to the firm conclusion that actually, people just love to meet up with their friends, get fucked and have a dance. People have done it for thousands of years and they will always have a need to do it. It doesn’t need to be a political statement (but it has been), it doesn’t need to be a religious experience (but it has been), it doesn’t even need to be anything else or anything more special than just a party with people getting wasted and dancing with their friends under the stars. What could be more natural than that?