Sunday, 12 June 2016
Oliver: Kicks Like A Mule - The Bouncer (3 February 1992)
"NachtExpress with John Peel, your gaucho of pop....If you've ever visited London and you haven't just stayed in your hotel room, grazing at the mini-bar, then these words will be agonisingly familiar to you."
"Your name's not down, you're not coming in."
Even in my little corner of Cornwall, where in 1992 (as in 2016), I knew as much about contemporary mores in club culture as I did about particle physics, this track permeated the consciousness. Or maybe it was that eight word phrase which conferred on clubs their mythic "The place to be" status and bouncers as the new gatekeepers to the utopia which its acolytes told us could be found in dance culture.
The Bouncer marks an important milestone in dance culture with its sentiments of exclusivity to the scene running in direct contrast to the all gates open nature of dance music that was promised when the scene first hit in the mid to late 80s. This entrance into public consciousness came the way all of these things did - through good old fashioned scaremongering. Acid house was written about in ways which made punk and psychedelia seem quaint by comparison. This music and its attendant drugs was going to make kids...wait for it...blissed out and peaceful. We couldn't have that in a Thatcherite society. Inevitably, public panic of yesterday becomes the business opportunity of tomorrow and by the early 90s, as dance music began to dominate the charts and airwaves, record labels and entrepreneurs started to open superclubs across the country to "respectably" cater for those who had been going to warehouses and fields. These venues such as The Ministry of Sound, Gatekeeper, Godskitchen and many others became places to see and be seen. Whereas at the start of the scene, it was a case of if you knew where it was, you were in; other places depended more on who you were to get in, which, through its three movements, The Bouncer seems to evoke.
Put together with the precision of a watchmaker, there's the euphoric keyboards, blasts of horn and whistle suggesting the wonderful time that's waiting just the other side of the doorway if we can only get past the implacable figure on the door. This was a world away from John Godber.
Video courtesy of Old Skooler.