Playgrounds: Portrait of a Rave Culture (Book review)
Wed 28th Jun, 2006 Lifestylein
Authour: Tom Griffin
Following a hugely successful launch at the Advent*jah dance music festival in December last year & having just made it onto the Angus & Robertson’s bestseller list, Playgrounds: Portrait of a Rave Culture has struck a resounding chord with the raving masses.
Playgrounds begins on New Years Eve 1998, at a time when Melbourne’s rave scene was at its peak, pulling the reader down the heinous rabbit hole, & through the abandoned warehouses, that partygoers inhabit.
From main character Luke’s perspective we chart his three day journey, & that of his equally devote raving crew – Mike, Steph, Sean & Liz – as they celebrate in excessive fashion the welcome to ’99. Along the way we also meet a motley crew of extras, all in similar states of ‘inebriety’.
With so many references to Melbourne’s rave venues – the beloved Docks, Every Picture parties at the famed Altona Sports & Leisure centre, & Filter nights at the Lounge, this book is an ode to Melbourne & its nightlife.
Superstar djs John Digweed & Sasha’s landmark album Northern Exposures is lovingly referenced, providing readers, & lovers of this album, a fitting aural backdrop to the events unfolding.
While clearly trying to avoid preaching to the drug taking masses, Griffin’s exploration of both the dizzying highs & inevitable lows triggered by drug use paints a realistic & relatable view for the reader. Punctuated with comedic moments Griffin draws on his own experiences, enabling an accurate portrayal of what rave culture is like.
While Playgrounds will most obviously appeal foremost to lovers of dance music & its accompanying scene, readers less enamoured, will gain an insight into the heady world of rave culture, what its like to dance eight hours straight & the stomach-churning euphoria the beat of the ‘doof’ can create.