DJmag have just released an article asking 'How much of UK dance music history is real?' - a thought provoking idea, given so much of what we think of as key, defining events were selected moments, plucked from a wealth of other happenings. Matt Anniss explores the topic, with a detailed look at many facets of dance music history in the UK:
Every era of British dance music has its myths and over-simplified narratives -- hell, even little known local scenes have urban legends. Below, Matt Anniss explores how a tendency towards selective documentation of dance music culture in the UK has led to a widespread acceptance of reductive narratives, which only tell a fraction of British dance music's complex story
We need to think about how we document dance music culture. It may seem odd saying this when there are so many magazines, podcasts, and websites dedicated to it, but this is only a recent phenomenon. For much of the 50 or so years dance music has existed, there was little or no accurate documentation of DJs, clubs, dancers, or the music that made them all move.
"One of the reasons Frank [Broughton] and myself wrote Last Night A DJ Saved My Life was because we felt the culture had been so badly documented," Bill Brewster says, of their definitive 1999 book. "I read so many times that the Paradise Garage was based in New Jersey rather than New York City. In the British press, it moved around more than a mobile disco."
Brewster was one of the UK's first dance music journalists, building on the work of youth culture writers Sheryl Garratt, Editor of The Face from 1989-95, and i-D's Matthew Collin and John Godfrey. Aside from those running black music magazines like Blues & Soul, and acid house era fanzines like Boy's Own, Boomtown, and Freaky Dancing, they were lone operatives working with publications that gave limited space for club reporting.
"Our aim was that if you were coming from Mars and wanted to know what young people were interested, then we'd give you a snapshot of it in The Face," Garratt says. "There was never any sense of, 'This month we must find a club to cover'. If we didn't have a club story, we did fashion. If we didn't do fashion, then we did something else."
Read the full article here: https://djmag.com/longreads/how-much-uk-dance-music-history-real
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