Ghettos, Schemes and Dreams
You may, or may not be aware of an American writer by the name of Seth
Godin. Originally a successful entrepreneur/businessman, he intuitively
(let’s call it a self-salvation) strolled away from that world and its
predefined soulless system. He wanted to be so much more, to do so much
more, so he did, and changed the world by becoming one of the best
selling authors around.
Seth may seem to have no direct relevance to Brian Welsh’s movie ‘Beats’
(2019), a beautiful, poignant and heartfelt homage to friendship and the
last days of Scottish/UK ‘illegal’ rave culture in 1994, but as I’ve
been watching quite a few interviews with him all day, a point he
repeated a number of times deeply resonated upon my rewatching of
‘Beats’ now that it’s released on DVD.
Godin’s point was about how the modern structure of state education was only created by wealthy businessmen to basically create/nurture controllable factory fodder, who’s life aspirations were equally guided, resulting in a contained, herded, self-serving industrialist ecosystem.
Any attempt by free-thinking individuals could seriously through a
spanner into the money printing cogs, so such notions would have to be
crushed at the soonest opportunity.
The rave culture that swept the fields and derelict factories across the UK in the late 80s/90s were a prime example of EVERYTHING the system would abhor, it’s music, dress, friendships, unity, vibrancy, colour and utter disdain for abattoir lives that had been handed to them since birth. Through music, people, lights, smoke and drugs, the shackles had truly (if all too briefly) been cast aside while everyone danced on the podium of possibilities. Of course this would not be tolerated by the Tories, nor the equally ‘Neo Liberal’ New Labour. There were factories (well call centres) to be filled, and the elite weren’t going to be making money if their staff had been on a three-day binge unravelling the chains of life in a forest. So various ludicrous laws were introduced to crush the freedom (or at the very least make the establishment money out of it).
‘Beats’ does an incredible job transporting us like a time travelling jukebox back to these bleak yet weekend rainbowed’n free days. Where so much was seemingly grey, yet there were lucid flashes of colourful futures bursting with aspirations and dreams. Quite aptly this is the approach of the actual movie too, in that it’s predominantly shot in rich black and white, where colour is strategically utilised at key moments to glorious ‘break on through to the other side’ effect.
There’s a longer more detailed review of the cinema release here: [Film
Review: Beats | Flush theFashion] but now that the film is out on DVD, it’s time to celebrate it once again from the back to mine chill of your own home/rave cave, and makes for a wonderful double bill with the recently broadcast BBC Jeremy Deller documentary about UK rave culture ‘Everybody in the Place: An Incomplete History of Britain 1984-1992’.
And of course nothing is complete without having a soundtrack to trigger
the memories, flashbacks, and thankfully 16 of the key tracks from the movie are also available on CD, Double LP. So it’s the perfect opportunity to reignite the next generation into dancing our way to freedom. I’ll see you on the podiums.
‘Beats’ is out now on DVD, the soundtrack is also available on CD, 2LP.