Don’t expect

Scottish nightlife to be what you read about in The Face or i-D: it‘s a separate entity from its Southern counterpart, as Peter Whyte discovered when

he went looking for a rave.


8 The List 9 22 March 1990


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The headline in the Evening Times of 28 February seemed as unfounded as it did alarmist: ‘AClD HOUSE CRAZE IS l-lEADlNG NORTl-l‘. Really? After the mobilisation of police and ravers in a cat and mouse game around the south-east of England last year. was a copycat wave about to break out here?

The paper reported that the Scottish Office had passed a .‘top-Ievel report‘ to council chiefs on acid house parties. and had written to COSLA and the Association of Chief Police Officers, asking them to back plans to change the law in Scotland so the police could clamp down on acid house parties in the manner of their English colleagues. Despite an initial denial from the Scottish Office that they knew anything about the story. it turned out to be close to the truth. The Civil Government (Scotland) Act 1982 would not allow for the penalties that have been doled out to acid house promoters south of the border, and enquiries were being made about bringing Scottish law into line with England and Wales despite there being little sign ofany interest in M25-style raves.

Leaving aside political chicanery. and the justice ofthe penalties. if raves were going to take off in Scotland. why didn‘t it happen last year. in the ‘Seeond Summer of

Love‘. when the glossies and the

music papers celebrated the upsurge and the tabloids devoted an equal amount ofspace to its vilification'.’

Superintendents from two Central Edinburgh divisions thought it unlikely that the pattern outlined in the Evening Times would be repeated in Scotland. seeing it as a very localised trend. ‘You will hear talk locally about them perhaps occurring or having occurred.‘ said Supt. Brown. ofSt Leonard‘s Division. ‘but they haven‘t. But there is a group of youngsters who think it’s nice to be saying that they’re going to such a party. and they call them that. and the fad takes

off for a while.‘

A worker in Castlemilk Drug Project told how kids on Glasgow estates organised their own home-made acid parties. during which flats were jam-packed with people. They can probably get as many people into one of those as made it to Dronley Wood near Dundee. where a small rave was thrown. The organisers ofthat bash were charged with broadcasting ‘sounds known as acid house music and speech in the open air at excessive volume‘. It attracted between 60 and 150 people. depending on whether you believe organisers or police. and stands as the only real attempt at throwing an illegal rave in Scotland.

Fred Deakin. a London-bred DJ.

who moved to Edinburgh about five years ago and started running clubs. culminating in the highly popular Thunderball and now Devil Mountain (currently taking a break). offers a plausible explanation for the regional disinterest. ‘There‘s the potential for it. certainly. but there‘s absolutely no reason for it because the licensing laws are so much more lax. In Glasgow you've got clubs going till 5.30am anyway. The main justification for the acid house parties down south is that you can‘t get anything past two in the morning in London. And that is the reason everyone‘s so pissed off. and everyone‘s organising these monster raves. Up here. there‘s no need.‘

His other point is that there have to be people who are mobile and have the money to pay the ticket price for a rave. Fifteen pounds is cheap for a ticket. and for the mooted rave which was to have featured Public Enemy and NWA. tickets were pitched around the £40 mark. Add to that a couple of tabs of Ecstasy and your petrol and we're talking expensive recreation. and there‘s not so many as can afford that here as in London. As Fred. whose Thunderball at Murrayfield was. in his opinion. the closest thing Scotland's had to a rave yet. but suffered from dire attendance. points out: ‘The whole rave scene is based around the fact that you‘ve got