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This Is Not a Rave: In the Shadow of a Subculture

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This Is Not a Rave: In the Shadow of a Subculture [Paperback]

Tara McCall
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

October 10, 2002
From the Lindy Hop to the Lambada, popular dance has worried the protectors of our public morality. New York City's notorious cabaret laws are enforced today – it's common to see "No Dancing Allowed" at your local saloon – and small bars without licenses have been harassed and shuttered for failing to keep their patrons wiggling in their seats. Rave culture is a worldwide phenomenon of unprecedented mass-appeal and, perhaps for that reason, an especial threat to the world's corporatized wallflowers. Whether because of its catalyst drug, MDMA/Ecstasy, its fashion of defiant adolescence, or its unofficial credo of Peace, Love, Unity, and Respect, rave has elicited an especially punitive response. Tara McCall traces rave's underground history in Detroit, Ibiza, and London, to the bacchanals that now attract tens of thousands of revelers. In a highly personal tour supplemented by 50 photographs and the voices of hundreds of young dancers who tell their own stories, McCall illuminates the wild fashion, drugs, hypnotic music, and most importantly, the hedonistic dance of a subculture now being driven back underground. This Is Not A Rave will challenge and entertain. It may get you up out of your seat.

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

McCall's introduction to the rave scene is replete with splashy graphics, pictures that throb with authenticity (i.e., they're blurry), and pithy boxed pull-quotes from stoned teens that just scream out to a similarly youthful audience. McCall doesn't just parse the whys and wherefores of raves. She describes their history and the phenomenon of ennui among veteran ravers, bored and more than a little dismissive of the current state of the, uh, art. Her own devotion to the subject may be inferred from the tenor of the pull-quotes striving to define vibe and rave, explain such phenomena as "the lure of Ecstasy," and describe "why and how dancing is important." One Captain Nutmeg's definition of rave stands out: "It's not what it used to [be] . . . it now just means bad, cheesy parties," which suggests that raves aren't very different from, say, discos and rock festivals. Informative for nascent ravers and their parents; and for armchair dilettantes, a graphic thrill ride into the pulsating light show of rave. Mike Tribby
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved


"A fascinating and balanced tour through the rave world that doesn't shy away from the subculture's more contentious side." -- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, November 11, 2002

Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Running Press (October 10, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1560253959
  • ISBN-13: 978-1560253952
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 8.5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,435,162 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing. June 5, 2005
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
For a book that attempts to depict one of the most colorful subcultures in recent times this is spectacularly drab and unenlightening. I was hoping for a detailed history of the rave movement, with in depth research and interviews with key people. Perhaps because the field is so rich the author could not bring herself to do anything more than a superficial description of a few original clubs, some songs and a handful of DJs.

The worst thing was that much of the book was taken up with inane comments from random punters who for the most part had nothing to say and read like so much "filler". Whole paragraphs were shamelessly lifted from internet newsgroups and towards the end of the book a seemingly irrelevant chapter on folk dance was inserted for extra padding. So lacking was this book in graphic and visual content that certain photographs were repeated over and over again. It's particularly disappointing considering the artistry and creativity of 80s and 90s dance party culture. The author missed her opportunity to document the multitudes of musicians, record producers, party promoters, DJs, drug suppliers, artists, writers, zinemakers and designers who were active at the time. Actually the author almost attempts to reduce the "rave" to a few simple behaviours and then ispo facto chronicles the fact that ravers grew bored and moved on. Not everybody wore "phat" jeans or even called them that. A great deal of attention is given to the Canadian scene and if you aren't Canadian yourself this comes across as a little parochial. I was also disappointed that there was little mention of the advocacy taken on behalf of ravers themselves to promote safer practises. A lot of those safety campaigns were highly imaginative and extremely colorful, but they were entirely glossed over.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sad, but true.... April 8, 2004
By A Customer
I came across this book by chance and couldn't help but pick it up, even though I've long since hung up my glowsticks and retired my party clothes. I was a part of the East Coast scene, attending parties up and down from 1991 to around 1997. From the history to the present, the clothes, the dancing and most importantly, the people that made the scene seem so pure, Tara McCall touches on just about everything in some way shape or form. The book also outlines the unfortunate reasons why the scene has deteriorated to the mass produced, drug focused debacle that it's become. (Yeah, I'm jaded) This book is for anybody that had the time of their lives back in the day, dancing to the loudest beats for twelve hours straight in some obscure location with complete strangers that somehow, felt like good friends. Or something to that effect....
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12 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars She knows... February 7, 2003
Back when I was a little candy kid, I would have bought this book, read the part about jaded ravers and vowed that it would never happen to me. I would have been wrong. One of the best parts of this book is the "Jaded Raver" test. It's amusing and sadly, true. This book takes a look at the rave scene as it becomes more mainstream and commercial, rather than glorifying the "good ol' days" of break-in parties, etc. It's a pretty honest look at the scene from 1999 to the present. Though some of us long for a good warehouse party and running from the cops when they raid us, we recognize that raving has become a drug culture, regardless of whether or not it was at its inception. I think anyone who goes to the parties so as to be in an environment where the use of drugs is condoned should read this book. Maybe you'll see what your fellow ravers really think of you...
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars ok February 12, 2009
book jumps all over the place...kinna hard to read, but overall nice to see someone documented this really cool era that might not ever be seen again...
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not great. It's ok February 23, 2015
By SZmudz
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Not great. It's ok, but definitely not what I expected. Too much about drugs and not enough about, well, anything else!
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