Thursday, 31 January 2013

Dark Techno Oblivion: Part 2

I'm going to finish blogging about Die Höhle , because it's my blog and I can do what I like.

Also, I have so much stuff to do this afternoon that I've decided to just lie on my bed and sulk, thinking about all the things I won't get done. Somehow writing a blog feels really productive, yet is actually just an excuse to drink tea and let my mind drift back to a time when I wasn't lying on my bed, worrying and stroking my eyebrows.

So, I got up to the point where the bouncer opened the doors at the end of the candle-lit tunnel... Then he mystically disappeared into the gloom, never to be seen again, as we finally stepped inside the rave.

It looked like we were underground, in a maze of caves and tunnels. There was lighting rigged up down the middle of the ceiling, but it was so dark around the edges of the space that it looked as if there were no walls, as if there was only dark oblivion beyond where people were dancing. There were arches along the wall that led into blackness; people stepped through the arches and completely disappeared.

While us girls queued up for the loos, the boys went to find drinks. They came back with a manic look in their eyes

"There's this room..." they said, "With a strobe, but it's like... you have to see it."

I'm really trying to cut down on my swearing, but fucking hell, you should have seen this strobe. I don't even know whether to call it a strobe room really, it was more of a walk-through, in between two large spaces. I reckon the organisers had noticed that the regular lighting didn't quite reach into this walk-through, so they whacked a strobe light in there. Only, it wasn't a normal strobe light...

The room was so dark and the strobe was so bright, but that can't be the only reason it was so weird. I can't describe it. Like all strobe lights, it made anyone moving look like a series of snapshots, flashing in and out of reality, but also, when you were stood in the 'strobe room', the venue beyond looked like it was swaying to and fro. I've never seen a strobe that does that before.

It was amazing, but it was so bright that it hurt our eyes and gave me and TC a headache, so we moved through the strobe room to find where the DJ was.

There were two rooms with two DJs, but when I say 'rooms' I mean they were areas partitioned off with arches. The first 'room' was narrow and the floor sloped down to the DJ, who we couldn't see because it was so dark. The second room was larger and a bit brighter, but still the walls were invisible, making it look as though the dance floor led onto a great, dark nothing. For all I could see, we could have been dancing on the edge of the universe.

The music was great, but not the sort of great that you remember the next day and rush to find on the internet; it was the sort of great music that feels perfect for the time and place. It was the sort of techno you want to dance all night to, in the dark, with your head down, caught up in the music, forgetting that you're not alone- the venue was perfect for that.

But if it sounds like we had a slightly sinister night of shadows and techno, we didn't. We moved around a lot, chatting and having a look at everything. At one point we found a ledge in the wall that OJ and Matt rested their drinks on. They started calling it the Alpha Ledge and from there we all got heavily involved in a serious conversation about Alpha Ledge's relationship his mother, TC, and his little brother, Beta Ledge, who was sticking his little face out a few inches down the wall. Nothing like a bit of anthropomorphism to jazz up a night of raving.

When I write this stuff up, it sounds crap, but there is literally NOTHING better than meeting four strangers for the first (or second in TC and OJ's case) time and being able to participate in a surreal, group improvisation about a ledge in the wall. It's like last Saturday at Point Ephemere, when we were discussing Tony and Janice's wedding at length- at one point I went off to get food for everyone from the imaginary buffet, laden with four imaginary plates. I'm worried that when I move back to England I will assume all English people love surreal group improvisations and nobody will know what I'm on about. Except... all my friends love it too- this is why we are friends. Yey, I can live in a surreal world of cocky wall ledges and imaginary weddings forever and ever and EVER.

Towards the end of the night, we wandered back into the strobe room, but this time we embraced the bright, white light of the strobe completely. It didn't hurt our eyes or give us a headache, we just danced and watched other people dance in amazement, as they moved around in jerky flashes,disappearing every other second, then jumping back into reality.

We embraced the strobe room so much in fact, that we couldn't leave. We kept saying we would leave but somehow, the strobe light held us there, lighting us up with a blinding whiteness one second and plunging us into dark, techno oblivion the next. Maybe the strobe room wasn't a physical place, but a consciousness that we had all wandered into, nothing but techno beats and black edges, thoughts flashing into existence every second or so, like a white strobe light...

We joked that we would be stuck in there for hours. Then a guy came up to OJ and yelled over the music:
"I've been here for two hours! I can't leave!"

Perhaps the strobe did have some kind of hypnotic power... It took us about fifteen minutes to leave the strobe room after we decided to move on.

I wonder if that guy is still there?

We decided to call it a night at about 8.30am, but it felt more like 4am. Somehow, we stayed up all day drinking red wine, right until Matt and Nat had to leave for their Eurostar. I got home about midnight. I was so tired, it looked like my face had been taken off and put back on at a slightly different angle.


  1. You described the scene so well that it felt as if I were there! But I'm glad I wasn't because crowded clubs with strobe lights make my agoraphobia flare up like nobody's business.

    Glad you had fun :)

    1. Thanks for commenting! Ach, it wouldn't have been very enjoyable for somebody with agoraphobia!