It was more than raw, and well before HD realism. Through its pelting script and alongside rudimental visuals and camera work, it managed to create an clear picture of a standard weekend for the youth masses. It was presented in a surprisingly uber cool for the time, and it ended up as an extremely watchable piece of observational art. We love the quick dialogue and monologues of this movie, the hyper zoomed in scenes and the feeling it creates inside of us, nostalgia.
It is 20 years since its first release, Mixmag did a ‘Happy Birthday Human Traffic post’ which currently stands at 2.5m views, 36k comments and 15k shares, there is a lot of love. It has stood the shifting of trend, and continues to spark not only hard yearning feelings for 30+s’ers, but can rise relevant smirks and rye smiles in our modern day band of party seekers, how come?
The script is an sharp slice of how life was ‘back then’ its comedic style and realism we can really feel, we know it. It has bizarrely become more current, as enough time has now passed to make it a reoccurring trend, and my god is it trending in 2019, it is everywhere. The Rave Renaissance - the clothes, the music, the artwork, it’s even in the Saatchi Gallery and on my 4 year old’s high street T Shirt.
It seems not much has changed or we wouldn’t still get it, and we do, so it hasn’t, has it? Parents of teen children today, unbelievably talk with such fondness of that time, a dream haze, a picture painted in neon pinks and green, UV vapour trails in misty eyes....when really, it was a dark and dirty time. There was political unrest, it was pretty grey in every sense from the weather to the concrete estates and so, the eagerly awaited weekend, and its music, were a glowing escape pod. The music and the drugs it paired with, was our temporary saviour, it brought us together like never before in a graffiti scarred bog, where our smiles and laughter had never been more deep and some of our happiest memories forever inscribed on its Formica doors. We lied to our parents, we skipped college, we asked the geeks to cover our shifts and we would as a collective somehow at any personal cost seek out the party.
Ecstasy the love drug was tripping the nation, this small pill with an inscribed sign on one side that gave away its unique personality, made our heart beat as fast as the bpm of the music. Your mind was opened up to colour and pattern never seen in the everyday grey of 1990s English high streets. It would drag you up soaring high above the grim waste bins of the fast food joints we worked in. We had to work for one goal, to be able to afford the next time. It was perpetual servitude, every minute and hour was the countdown to the next 5pm on a Friday night. The radio would tease us, though the tones of Danny Rampling, Oakey, Pete Tong, Carl Cox, Judge Jules who would actually ignite the cells inside of us, they would begin to resonate and bump off one another, hummm as if the remnants of the chemicals of the previous weekend were causing a beloved memory. The home phone would start to ring, phone boxes would chime and the chat between us would strike up, passed from lips to lips, one question was raised ‘what you doing Friday night? ‘.
Those once loud echoes inside our mind, the Monday morning mantra of ‘never again’ would have the volume slowly turned down, by the volume going up on the radio as your favourite dance classic brought us closer and more eager for the weekend, once again.
With drugs freely available and with the place society was in, crawling out of the bust of the 80’s, we were literally finding our feet again on every level. The current mood fuelled the movement of music that had evolved out of the predominant anarchic punk sound and its messaging, to a juxtasound, a new inflamed Balearic pulse that carried deep electronic beats and repetitive soul soaring peaks. It promoted love and yet still released the insecurities, anger and angst of youth, in the perpetual hard stomps of our feet on the dance floor and air punching hand ballets.
Weekends started on a Friday and more often than not ended on the early hours of a Monday morning. It was the same rituals every weekend. The multiple missed phone calls, pub hook ups, agreed and missed meeting places, the car journeys down curling dirt tracks to empty mansions, temptress like titles like squat rave or underground party would make us ‘Lynx Africa’ up and drive fast. The crumpled flyers, now hanging on prestigious gallery walls, were thrust into Oliver Twist style grasping hands, acting as a crude map to paradise, a smoke filled sweat box. The ear killing sound levels and whistles, the shifting lasers creating shadows for shifty exchanges of small transparent packets and crumbling pink chalky substances. Then the waiting would begin, the silence in the eye of the storm, your life on pause for around 30minutes, endless breath holding waiting for that one moment, when you begin to feel the tingles and you start to come up and your night would really begin.
Hysterics in the toilets with its thumping muffled bass, the towering speaker stacks, the DJ - the God, and we danced and danced with the sweat pouring down. Losing your friends, finding a new friend, never seeing that friend again, and bird song would start, the fear would creep up and the sun start to rise. Dead began walking to dangerous rides home, so high, in barely legal cars and all that would happen in a blink of a red stained eye, and then..... finally, as flashes of memories like a flick book twitched in our eyes the inevitable would be begin, the soul would concertina and an emotional folding of the walls would arrive bang on time every Tuesday 11.34am, at work or during a lecture, and it would all come crashing down into a rich tea dipped in cold tea existence.
In the 1990’s DJ’s were our tribe leaders and our therapists, our friends were our chosen family and drugs, sexual encounters and dramas were the stories we told every Monday. It was all a drug, to escape something, whatever it was, be it monotony, unknown futures, boredom or just home and also to put us right in the bosom of our friends for those precious hours. We came back for more, every weekend and like most addictions, we can be taken straight back there, so smoothly, so silky and in this instance for many 1990’s raver’s within the first few bars of a floor filling classic dance track. It was the time of our lives. These incredible, emotive memories have been a catalyst of today’s 90’s renaissance, a following, a real love of that time, it was special, it is special.
All of this, all of it, is why we wanted to create Human Traffic Live. It was all so ingeniously written into the film of Human Traffic and now morphs into a live four tiered experience utilising new media, something memory holders and new memory makers can experience together.
This has never done before and we are privileged to do this with some of the world’s best names in live experience and music. These now legends who lived and loved that time first hand, pour their all into this entertainment encounter. Justin, the producers, Pete Tong the Musical Director and the rest of the team, were a group of inspired mirrors, held up to a raw life and the beginning of a sub-culture.
Now we get a chance to bring it to life.