Raving is back! Am I mad for it? In a word: No. In the dim and distant past, I could often be found during the witching hour, against my better judgement, frequenting fields in the sticks and warehouses near to railway arches. Moody atmospheres and crap repetitive music played by braided trustafarian types were the order of the day, as were conversations with random strangers who attempted to panhandle drugs openly and freely.

I would go as my friends at the time were ‘bang up for it’ ‘back in the day’. They knew the score: hardcore, whereas I always preferred chilling out on a sofa listening to a bit of Led Zep as I watched Match of the Day on a TV that weighed 2.5 tonnes, belying its 14 inch screen size.

There was always a chill out area at the main events, which generally consisted of bean bags and cushions on concrete and were always slightly damp with urine and sick, or, at premium events, a bouncy castle. The toilet seemed to be on a flood plain and, as a lunatic magnet, the guy with the white snooker referee gloves on who was sweating so much he was at immediate risk on a serious coronary would invade my personal space. Talking absolute bullocks relentlessly for hours, he would stop intermittently to wipe the blood away from his right nostril before professing undying love and giving me a huge sweaty, BOey bear hug. This interaction would usually end with him telling me he thought I ‘looked like a copper’ at first, but I am actually ‘sound’ before I would give him someone else’s phone number and promise to catch up with him later. Bruv.

Driving home sober with mates who had suddenly morphed into Zammo’s long lost brother was always a joy, interspersed with a one-hour stop off at the nearest Esso en route for munchies. Getting back to the chill out zone, ie Terry’s bedsit, the room would soon descend into a cloud of smoke and sweat steam as random individuals would attempt to stop their eyes popping out of their heads as they listened to more of the same. It was akin to having the council drilling outside your single pane windowed front room for hours on end in monotonous fashion.

Jarvis Cocker pretty much nailed that time lyrically in Pulp's Sorted for E’s and Wizz when he wrote: ‘this hollow feeling grows and grows and grows and grows and you want to call your mother and say "mother, I can never come home again 'cause I seem to have left an important part of my brain somewhere in a field in Hampshire, all right".

As with all underground cultures, increasing popularity brings them quickspeed to the mainstream and makes superstars of DJs who, in effect, are playing their own records for people as they are gilded handsomely. Brands spawn from the melee, such as Ministry of Sound, and the Johnny come latelys appear into view, desperate for a piece of underground action, despite the genre having become as mainstream as One Direction or Holly Willoughby.

Other culture shifts take their place when such tour de forces are on the wane, such as ‘grime’ (which sounds to me like an effective kitchen anti-bacterial) or ‘drill’ music that glamorises gang violence and assault. With no saving graces, drill numbers stars who attempt to get into hot water, thus lubricating the publicity machine.

Out of fashion in recent times, the underground rave scene is back with bells and whistles, well, whistles. Police chiefs reported 680 unlicensed events taking place last year, an increase of 9 per cent on the previous annum. Which brings us back to the root problem as to why youngsters choose to attend underground events. Could it be a lack of belonging? Of nightclubs and youth clubs shutting? Of social breakdown? Or just the need to feel accepted into a tribe, of being loved with a sense of belonging that is not to be found elsewhere? Maybe if local councils issued licences for raves on fields far away from Mike and Marjorie’s cottage in Wheathampstead, there would not be the need to go off grid and set up in random green spaces while keeping a close eye for when plod arrives.

As for me, thankfully, I’m hanging up my white gloves. At 45, I have attended my last rave. These days I much prefer the serenity of a bike ride as I attempt to become reacquainted with my missing water bottle, which I left somewhere in a field in Hampshire, alright.

  • Brett Ellis is a teacher