Part scare story, part next generation high adventure, Hilary Toffoli's article about her very first rave experience certainly trawled media lows about teenagers taking drugs, fears about "boiling brains" and ecstasy use, before reaching an enlightening high on smart drinks, free sex and virtual reality. However In its rush to appeal to a market, littered perhaps by overconcerned school maam's out to string promoters from the nearest tree, Toffoli's piece caused untold damage to my own crediblity and even though there are glimpses of objectivity her journalistic skills wore thin with quotes about "homo's", until finally the experience seems eventually to have caught up with everybody and washed over us,
If only Toffoli had gotten all her facts right to begin with instead of treating the night out as some kind of shopping expediition? If only she had put the good bits first and the bad bits at the end? Or tackled the main reason why Vortex's "UFOs & Things" rave party had come into being in the first place, we would have all solved the riddle of Melanesian Cargo Cults and Foreign Aliens Landing for at least another generation.
Hosted by Vortex in Cape Town and Megatripolis in San Francisco, the Zippy Cybersafari to AFRICA was meant to herald in a new dawn of intercontinental communication, instead it provided precious little except for yet more "teenage" entertainment and a party that was supposed to be "just an after-party to the real event happening", swamping a video-conference connecting Africa and North America. In the end, Vortex succeeded in drowning out the authentic techno-experience happening simultanously in San Francisco and Woodstock with malcontented DJs andtheirexpensive records taking precedence over what is now a world-first - the First ever public video conference between the continents of Africa and North America; the very first public video conference between North America and Africa, and a world first whichever way one looks at it:
Here is that extract:
"A link-up like this has apparently never been done before. It has to be the most riveting thing happening here tonight. I can't wait. Which is when I discover the first crossover took place at 11pm before I arrived, and the next will be at 5am. Does this mean I have to hang around till dawn?
"Naaa, it wasn't that great," an agreeable fellow in a Dayglo gym outfit tells me. "Okay, we could see them and they could see us. They were all waving on that big screen in the chill-out room. But the sound quality was so bad we couldn't make out what they were saying. All we could hear was them chanting 'world peace now'.
cool," says the girl with him. "We chanted in unison, but" with a disapproving
frown, "they were led by some sort of Indian guru in flowing robes and
they all looked like hippies." Her own tight T-shit has a manic cartoon
face growling from each boob. "That wasn't a guru, that was Yussan Yamamoto,
special emissary to the Dalai Lama," says Freddie Bell. [Style,
This next piece was written by a net-head who prefers to be called Schwann. He kind of materialised around the time of the event and took over the circuitry as it were, just as everything was becoming too neat and well laid out to bother thinking about. The result is reminiscent of early beat writing and could be interpretted as what happens when you take ecstacy, or get alll stoned and poetical and then suddenly find yourself in front of a very large video screen with a bunch of people on the other side, chanting mantras at you. I hope you will all see the great cosmic joke for what it is - a hoot, because technology will never remain on centre stage for very long, at least while we humans are still around...DRL
...and i woke at 2.00 PM Sunday with a raging sound in my ears, was last night real? Hey, you may well ask. The VORTEX RAVE is over, and yeh, it was REAL man, It was like being back at the 'Paradiso Club' in Amsterdam in 1971, cept the atmosphere was one of Global Peace and all the ravers minds were mellow and free of the aggression that flowed in the '70's, no shades of Vietnam n'all THAT...
Highlight of the evening
was the direct connection to San Francisco courtesy of David Dei and the
Frisco CyberSafari, there was a Guru on-line and he helped us chant "Global
Peace Now" at 15 frames a second, hell, ya had ta be there man, we smiled
and waved to each other livetime at each other across the pond that the
great ATLANTIC OCEAN has become man, yeh, from one side of the Earth to
other, man, what a RUSH man, the quality of sound was not as good as the
test run earlier, maybe because our side had serious JUNGLE playing and we were gettin major league background interference and Frisco was bombarded with AFRICAN DRUMMERS and tripping ravers high on everything from RUGBY to mind expanders of dubious content, yeh, but we were all on 'One Mission' man,
...and to those dedicated to delivering the electronic ecstasy to all the rest of us, a 'BIG THANK YOU' to Freddie, Paul, Ron and the Telkom technicians who ensured that the forward headspace was inhabited by positive signs, yeh, sooo much to tell ya, Paul set up Brain machines in a special room where mind altering frequencies were piped into minds already altered by the 'mood occasion', then there were the video walls by Ron, hell, some of those light tunnels went on forever, morphing from one reality into another, blending, mixing, changing, sides all THAT there were TV and video crews roaming in and out of the zoned crowds and thanks to Rees and the boys for THAT one, yeh, we pumped Frisco with Rave al la AFRICA, cutting back to the on-line video conference every now and then for more live time mingling, and yeh, brothers and sisters across THAT ocean, we saw your LOVE man,
There was the added excitement of having David Dei's sister as part of
the video conference. She had not seen her brother for two years and was
now checking him out live over an ISDN line, hey, it was a real BLAST man,
and everyone was really WHIGGED 'n all, and there were jugglers with live
fire that were doin some incredible things and all you could see were lasers
and fireballs of real flame, double hectic man, oh, i nearly forgot the
VR kits that they had set up where you could play HERETIC through a VR
interface and people were goin off in all directions Guess that bout does
it, oh, a big thanks to all those amazing girls in hot pants and long blonde
hair cruisin and struttin, and we even went live on the I-NET for an hour
when yours truly attempted to get on IRC and let em all know bout the fact
that we really THERE, funny thing is though, no one would believe that
i was typing directly from a rave and i s'pose that was the most disappointing
part of the evening, still, i said i was gonna be doin it, and i
...and there's always next time, eh? so i might fold this column for a bit cos no one is PAYING me, and i know how some of those people felt last nite cos it was like WORK for them and no one was scanning the fact that we were busy CREATING out there, and so what we need are some entertainment $'s to start flowing, so c'mon all you suits out there, join us, This is Africa man, Its FUN man.....
Sun, 25 Jun 1995 07:02:57 -0700
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