All division eventually breeds conflict, all of which stems from a difference in idea and opinion. This has resulted in the mental conflict that has encapsulated the world over, which translates into the everyday lives of innocent people. So what does this have to do with clubs, and club culture?
Well, we as people of reasonable existence, live a life of work and play and each of these activities must be met with a careful division of the time we have during the day in order to achieve a balanced life. The pressures of everyday existence mean that at the end of the week, after five days of enduring the 8 hour days spent with rude bosses, uncooperative colleagues and the odd office asshole, one needs to unwind and depressurize at the night club; where all people that face similar challenges of being part of the ever more neurotic working class population can meet to share common interests such as dancing, expressing their beauty, or just to enjoy some good music and food for the mind. This was the place of night clubs, where dj’s and producers that make most of the music enjoyed today were born.
The night club was the place were the normal man, can go and escape the pressures of everyday living, where he can be free from the hierarchical structure of the office, of the family of society, and where he can just be a free spirit, simply because the environment provided.This was the place where the unknown artist would get a chance to have their creative works reviewed by an unbiased, unauthoritative and free mind, the the goal was to simply provide and share good feeling; that is what made the music of the ages great.
Over the past decade however, this has changed considerably, the night club, a place which served as a sanctuary for the battered spirit has been under attack by the same hierarchical structures most are seeking to avoid. Once a place of connection by similarly like minded people has been brought to its knees by a cultural rhetoric of man as machine, but man is not merely a machine. Man is a being of experience, joy and connection, and within that, there is no higher man or lower man, there is simply the joy of sharing the experience. How has this come about, and what exactly has died in the part of the club culture?
The first point of destruction came at a point when people were divided into who deserves to go into the club and who does not. This is counter-intuitive to the role of the establishment as already the divisions are set right before entering the door. Even though every club has the right to reserve admission (that is why it is a club) some of these rights may have been taken too far. What used to determine the crowd that graces a club was primarily the music, because people that share a common connection in music would share a connection in experience, not only for the night but for the days that followed after. When pricing was divided between those who could pay a premium and those who could pay a standard rate at the door would mean that eventually the one who pays a higher premium would demand a higher premium experience, but how can this be achieved when everyone is there to enjoy the music and to dance? well, this was through the introduction of the VIP lounge, where the drinks were slightly pricier and the chairs resembled the living room of a rich billionnaire magnate. This gave birth to VIP entry at the club, and lo and behold the VIPs will always want to feel higher than the rest of the club goers who are there to primarily enjoy the experience, simply to feel like they enjoyed their moneys worth. One may wonder how this is a bad thing because those that work a little harder would like to enjoy their money. The VIP lounge in my experience, anywhere in the world is always a cozy little corner inaccessible to the general public where the money spinner has control of most of the services offered by the establishment, and being in that lounge takes the attention away from the music and the different people one is likely to meet; it is sort of like a luxurious prison, and in prison no one is ever really happy, so to feel the happiness that everyone out there is enjoying in sharing a dance to a cool new song by a relatively unknown producer, the VIP man seeks to spend more to attract this happy feeling, by purchasing expensive alcohol, filling the room with smoke from expensive cigarettes, and filling up the room with expensive women.
This has a profound effect on the regular Joes who are unaware of the mental operations that are taking place whilst they are on their night out. Desire starts to kick in, and the desire of going out to possibly meeting up with a girl/guy with a new stylish persona and possibly outtake on life slowly diminishes, because the mind now seeks to be like the money man in that cozy little corner of the club, who might not be enjoying the same feeling and the same experience as the rest of the people; and there the connection is lost between you, your buddies, the music and the environment of the place you are in. The club now turns into a battle ground of thoughts of what is enjoyment and what is not, the patron is lost to what they look for in the experience.
Fashion and character were once the cool things to look forward to in going to meet new people and people that have not been seen in a while, that couple with a good flow of music made the experience that much more enjoyable, as people got to explore and showcase their creativity outside of the expectations of the mundane world of work and progress. Now one that seeks to enjoy the same luxuries as the VIP man loses the energy of creativity and the focus becomes on becoming like the money spinner, and one thing about those types is that the money has conditioned their mind into thinking all new experiences can be bought something that is highly mythical. The club wants to make money, therefore when the focus of people becomes on purchasing drinks and smokes, the drinks and smokes become more expensive to purchase, and the chase for money becomes introduced to the night club.
Women, who were once the leaders in style and fashion lose focus on to what they were there for, and also start to chase the money, but who has the money in that establishment? thats right, the VIP man, and the man can buy the women. The focus becomes on catching the attention of the money man, and ever so slightly the creativity in dress and character starts to dwindle as now lust becomes the new currency for women, and fashion is lost. The dressing becomes less elegant and more revealing, less inspiring to the mind, except the inspiration of the possibility of getting some towards the end of the night, and the regular joe loses out once again. So on the next visit the regular joe has to play the game that the woman and the VIP man is playing.
Where is the DJ and where is the music when all of this is happening? Well the club owner starts to change the focus of the DJ, and now the DJ start to play to please the VIP man and his army of women who are there to pretend to have a good time. The music starts to become monotonous and repetitive, because if the money man has not heard it before he will not like to purchase the all the in-house and out-house services of the club. The new producer, with a cool new sound becomes irrelevant as there is no time for trying out what is unknown and rather what goes through the speakers weekend after weekend is what is known. That song that is always repeated on mainstream television music shows and radio stations, which by the way are also looking to make money on popular music, for and from the television. The DJ loses their need to be creative and exploratory as now their work is determined for them; so as to please those bringing in the hard cash. So at this point the focus of the club owner is not to please the regular people, its to please the VIP culture that has encapsulated almost all events.
At this point all events now become about vanity and looking as if one is having a good time, when in reality none of this is happening, all of it becomes a show, not a genuine human interaction, not a genuine display of creativity and character, and most of all an impediment to the creativity of artists both on stage and off the stage. Now the artist has to find a new space to enjoy company of like minded people and to ensure that the same thinking structures that they are trying to avoid do not creep up on them just as the ones that have destroyed the club.