Too Old To Rave??

A work mate joked to me the other day “Aren’t you a bit too old to be gallivanting around night clubs?” It was one of those comments that was said in jest, but had an undertone that was deadly serious. You’ve probably guessed that I’m a bit of a thinker by now (well, when it suits me) and that comment bounced round my head for the rest of the day. It disappeared for a few days and then I ended up playing at Warehouse for Kinky Malinki and one particular clubber brought that comment flooding back, so I thought I’d write about it.

Let’s go back to that raver at the Warehouse then. I was doing the warm up set. Most of you will know, that doing a warm up set pretty much means, that for a period of time, you have no one on the dancefloor. Generally clubbers don’t get through the door of a club and hit the floor straight away. Well this lady tore up the rule book. There she was, first one on the floor and seriously cutting some shapes. In the darkness of the club I couldn’t make much out, apart from the fact she sure had some energy. It was only towards the end of my set when she came up to me and asked for some “old Skool” that I saw that she may have had a very tough paper round, or she was a ‘more mature raver’. Rightly or wrongly, I did think to myself ‘Maybe you need to hang up the white gloves love’, but who am I to judge?

So, this is the whole point of this blog, when do you hang up your dancing shoes? There simply isn’t a set age. If you love the music enough and you can handle hanging in a club of 20 somethings, then why not keep going?? Once again, I bring up my Mum in a blog, but my old dear still loves good music (and some crap music… Mother like Son, yeah?). She used to do my guestlist when I used to do parties, as it was an excuse for her to be in a club and to listen to house music. She’d probably still go out now, but she’s a tad too conscious of her age (she is a young Mum I may add). I’m sure if she had gone to the Shoom reunion event recently, she would’ve been among a more similar age bracket? Talking of reunions, I went to a Cream Birthday event in Liverpool last year, as I was up there on a stag do. It’s one of only two times, in recent years, when I haven’t felt like the oldest bloke in a club. All of the revelers may have been parents, with respectable(ish) jobs but for that night, they were letting go and having the time of their lives* (*translation – they were all off their nut!!)

Is it so wrong to do that? Are there any youngsters reading this that feel uncomfortable around older clubbers? I recall going to SW4 a few years ago with the Nightowl brothers and hatching a plan to teach their, then 16 year old brother, Dom, how to DJ. Barring Dom, I was with a group of early 20 somethings and I had a niggling thought in the back of my mind that kept going ‘Am I too old to be hanging round with these guys?’. I actually brought this up at a later date and Dean Nightowl actually turned around and put things in to perspective “We don’t think it’s strange hanging around with you, so get over it”. Fair point!!

How many people do you know that go clubbing in their late 30s or 40s? I DJ so it gives me a bit of an excuse to venture out. But to be honest, if I see a line-up that interests me and I’m free, then I’ll go, and I’ll dance and I’ll feel like death the next day(s). I can’t see myself knocking it on the head any time soon either. I have DJ pals that I talk to reasonably regularly, like Jeremy B who was a Ministry of Sound resident for many years and Andy Ward, one half of Soul Central and the boss of the Vocal Booth Weekender. Both are a little older than me and still involved in the scene. Yes, it’s a little less than before, but they are also ensconced in different ways too. For instance, Jeremy drives Joey Negro all around the country, to gigs, not just down to Tesco! Then Andy has taken up designing websites for his DJ/Music pals (yep, he designed mine, it’s nice isn’t it?). I think it’s safe to say that their partying days are mostly over BUT on that rare occasion they are out, they could go toe to toe with most current clubbers!?

Is it a case of, ‘It’s acceptable for DJs’ then? Do you have any idea how old legendary DJs like David Morales and Frankie Knuckles are? Or even good ol’ Pete Tong? Well they are 51, 58 and 52 respectively. If you are successful enough, then perhaps you can just crack on indefinitely, health willing of course? Many moons ago, in my early 20s, I sat down with my future wife to discuss serious matters, like our wedding, buying a house, all that grown up stuff and then she asked me about my DJing “How many years do you see yourself DJing for?” Now that was a loaded question if ever I’d heard one. It was basically ‘How long are you gonna keep messing about with this daft hobby of yours?’ and like the huge pussyhole I was, I replied with “If I’ve not got to a decent level by the age of 30 I’ll give up”. Well my DJing outlasted the marriage. So figure that one out? Just throwing it out there, but I think a lot of relationships can create friction in that area. Imagine getting ‘When are you gonna grow up?’ as a constant nag from your other half all the time? That would be enough to make anyone stop. Or go the polar opposite. I actually have a mate who I go out with regularly. His wife used to rave with him. She can’t stand it now and isn’t best pleased that he still keeps on cracking on. Is that fair? Maybe that’s why men go hell for leather on Stag Dos? Because they have ‘Sign Off’ and it’s an opportunity for a total blow out. And before any women get excited and accuse me of being sexist, I’d love to know of any of your girly mates whose partners have asked them to stop going out? Nah seriously, are there any??

I don’t think there is any real definitive answer to my underlying point of ‘When are you too old to stop clubbing?’ The main factors will come down to 1) how much you love the music? 2) whether your grey matter can handle clubbing with much younger people? 3) whether your body can hold up to excess? And 4) whether you’re allowed to? A small bit on the last point. If you fall in to this category, maybe have a long hard look in the mirror at yourself, and grow a pair!!

Anyway, this weekend you will mainly catch me getting my stomp on, in a field (OK, Haggerston Park) whilst listening to some of the finest DJ talent on the planet. I may be one of the more mature ravers at Found Festival this weekend, but like wine and cheese, some things get better with age.

17 thoughts on “Too Old To Rave??”

  1. A well thought out piece that provoked many a memory of doing guest lists and listening to AR**holes trying to spin “its my dad’s club,let me in”
    It also reminded me of the very last time I went clubbing which was Kinky Malinki’s 10th Birthday Bash at Ministry .There I was still going at 4pm when a certain DJ son said that’s it mother your done and ever the compliant mother I hung up my dancing shoes. According to this piece I should have just grown a pair and carried on regardless !!! 🙂

  2. Great post, never too old!

    My parents (both 65) made it to our Hed Kandi NYE 2009/2010 in Hong Kong (to be with the sons) and it was as though they had saved up 20 years of energy, not leaving the dancefloor until the lights came on at 4am! Not quite Pacha but I was still impressed, and so was everybody else.

  3. There are many of the punters at the VBW between 30 – 55. It isn’t like when we were growing up and you saw the sad old bloke on the dance floor in his chinos trying to pull all the young girls… many people of this generation helped create the scene and so why shouldn’t they enjoy it as much as the younger guys.

    It does make me chuckle/scratch my head at how the new DJs are getting all the accolades by being the next big thing when they are only playing the music we have made/been playing for the last 20 years that wasn’t good enough for them 3 years ago.

    Personally, I’m much happier at home now than travelling on ridiculous flight schedules, it is definitely the beginning of the end for me. I don’t think all the money in the world could tempt me back to a weekly touring lifestyle.

  4. The older I get, the less age is an issue mate. When I was young, raving it up back “in the day” I used to see 30 somethings in clubs and think “what are they doing here?”. Now I am one of those 30 somethings!! I can honestly say I enjoy clubbing far more now, in every way (bar maybe the novelty factor) it is a more refined and enjoyable experience. When I feel too old, I won’t go anymore – simple as that. But no one or nothing will ever make that decision for me. If people think I am too old, or look to old well……………Never mind!!

  5. enjoyed that read,and he should come to the old school reunions its full of 40 to 50 year old ravers and lots of younger 1s aswell and its me and a few of the older ones that are the last to leave the dancefloor and we will all be there in our zimmer frames one day,andy i first went clubbing in 1979 and i stopping anytime soon,keep smiling and keep partying

  6. Luckily I have the youthful good looks of a 20 something even though I am about to become a 40 something 🙂 I’ll only stop when I can’t physically get out, although I have scaled back to only venturing out doors on the few occassions the family life permits – but then I love the family so what ya gonna do!? x

  7. I’m in my early thirties and am starting to wonder if I should stop going out so much. I don’t want to, in fact I wish I could go out clubbing more. But I find it increasingly hard to persuade my mated to come out these days. And my partner isn’t so bothered, rarely comes out with me these days and would probably quite like it if I cut down or stopped. Oh, and I’m a girl!

  8. I still love raving at 48, I felt like one of the oldest ravers at Boardmasters this weekend. I took my teenage daughter and her friends and needless to say spent the weekend on my own, which was fine as I danced to the early hours and would have liked to see the sun rise as i did back in the 80’s. I was at times conscious of people looking and wondered if it was because I was older, but then thought d f…. it, I was raving before you were in nappies and when you get dancing you can loose yourself anyway. I would to go to some raves with older people so thanks for the few you suggested, let me know if there are more revival weekends, there must be tonnes of ravers out there around my age. I met an older women age 51 giving it some, she is gay and told me older gay women have raves all the time and they are banging, whats out there for the rest I wonder. Any suggestions welcome.

  9. And another thing as well as Boardmasters I went to Ibiza with me older husband in July music was great, but a lot of the DJ build up the music and just keep it going, without dropping the base, I wonder if they have any idea of frustrating and boring this is, or whether its a power kick having all these people just willing them to “DROP THE BASE’.
    I don’t remember this happening in my days of raving…..

  10. Off to Boardmasters again this year 49 but will wear a hat and glasses as young people just don’t get that dancing is a must for new. The music is exhilarating and I can’t wait unfortunately I only have one speed so have to go running as part of my training. That’s how you notice, in the good old days (free of drugs) my sis and I would leave rave at the cave elephant and castle on to the Sunday roast in clerkenwell till 2 Sunday afternoon . It was my era and if I knew if more old skool raves I would be there for sure. I went to camber sands soul weekend for a friends 50th , why can’t there be an equivalent dance bash, or is there?

  11. I really enjoyed reading this, the comments as well!! . As a 44 yr old ex raver, It struck a chord. Personally, I decided to get out and get my groove on again about 8 months ago, since then, I’ve been to a few old skool reunion nights and had a real blast. Those 4 factors you speak about need a couple more to make them relevant. 1) how much do you love the music….answer…a lot!, 2)can your grey matter handle it…..deffo! 3)is your body capable still…… You betcha! 4)are you allowed by other half……. Luckily for me yes!…….. 5) when you finally get out, is everybody else on the same “wavelength” .hmmmm from what I’ve experienced, probably not. Going to keep doing it tho as I f#####g love the music. Roll on reminisce festival st Helens 5th Sept 2015. Fpi project doing a live pa..zipping up my boots, Going back to my roots

  12. I’m over 50 and I’m going to my first EDC in Vegas for their 20th yr anniversary (2016). If I let my age stop me from going, I’ll never experience life!

  13. I’m 42 and still go to clubs here and there, mostly to see old school DJ’s but the electronic music scene changed huge here (Vancouver) since the mid to early 2000’s with tons of clubs closing and being replaced with posh super clubs or being told to GTFO as people moved into the condos build in the area and complained about late night noise. At last Jungle/DNB survived but non Deep House/Trance/Breakbeats are all but gone.

    I’d love to go to a rave but there are none worth going to here, they’re either day time massives or shit bass music where people wave their arms while standing in a spot instead of dancing.

    About a year ago I went to a club for a Techno night, not my fav sounds but the second room was also Jungle. Although I Iove Jungle and dancing to it I got my grove on in the Techno room as it reminded me more of raves and what was funny once I started and go my flow going on the dance floor people were watching me dance, pretty sure because 95% never seen old skool rave dancing.

    One style that seems to have survived here is Psy Trance and there are a few club night here and there. One coming up on March 23 and gonna go a bust my ass off.

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