GREAT URBAN MYTHS OF THE ACID HOUSE
1988. Acid house at its height. A new, relatively untested, drug that can cause you to talk absolute cobblers at great length. People sat around, getting stoned, spouting nonsense.
It’s a perfect recipe for some daft stories to emerge, which are posited as serious facts. And these lies travelled halfway round the nascent acid house movement, before truth had had a chance to put its dungarees on…
“LSD stays in the base of your spine for 76 years.”
“And then, one day, it’ll be released into your bloodstream when you least expect it and you’ll get flashbacks and everything. I can’t wait!”
Nope, nothing yet.
Still nothing yet.
And if Albert Hoffman first synthesised it in 1938, and we were talking about it in 1988, how come people knew it was 76 years?
This one, incidentally, is still doing the rounds. And it’s still complete cobblers.
“If only all the politicians had a pill each. All our problems would be solved.”
Remember sitting around, generally back at someone’s after a big one, and musing on the fact that if the Tories did this, then they’d just be nicer people. Governments would be kinder. Politicians more honest. All wars and poverty would end. Give MDMA to everyone, it’ll make the country a nicer place. It’s magical.
So how did that work out again? Given that the generation now in power, are, effectively, children of the acid house era, what happened?
And if David Cameron and George Osborne were the first senior politicians to have been on the garys – and even if there’s no proof whatsoever, they definitely have – then this was the biggest lie of all time.
“Those calis buried in Ibiza…”
“A huge stash, buried under a big W somewhere on the island? It’s an MDMA, MDMA, MDMA, MDMA World. It’s also bollocks.”
“This is well balearic!”
Remember going through your record collection, listening to everything again with ecstasy ears? Pulling out Fleetwood Mac records? Scouring secondhand shops? Playing your mates records and saying “This is well balearic!” They’re not. And neither are Fleetwood Mac.
Acid House’s ‘Mr Big’
One propagated by the tabloids. They loved talking about ‘Acid House’s Mr Big’. Or Mr Acid. There were at least half a dozen of them. And they were always the wrong ones. As if throwing one party that time was not a qualification, though.
“I just get high on the music. It’s not about the drugs.”
“No, my pupils are always this big. It was dark inside anyway. And I just like the flavour of chewing gum. I just love the music, that’s a drug for me.” Yes, but the drugs did help, you stupid hippy.
“It’s better without alcohol.”
That lasted a long time then. Even in 1988 everyone knew this wouldn’t last.
“It’s an Italian import.”
“Yeah, if definitely came from Italy. Nothing to do with us. We thought it was kosher, didn’t even know it was a bootleg. Isn’t bootlegging what they do at Camden Market? Why don’t you catch some real criminals?”
‘This event is being filmed for future release’
So how come then, if everything was being filmed for future release, as it stated clearly on every single flyer in Black Market, nothing was ever released? And how come, every single film and documentary programme about The Acid House (expect another slew of the things this summer and beyond, you second summer of love divs) always features the same minute or two of the same gurning fools dancing in a field in broad daylight with a funfair behind them?
20K of Turbo Sound
As if anyone knew what 20k of turbo sound was meant to look or sound like. And as if ‘turbo sound’ is measured in units of 1,000.
“This was the first (acid) house record.”
A feat bestowed on at least 100 different records over the years. If you have to say it was the first house record, odds on it probably wasn’t.
“(X) invented acid house in the UK.”
Success has many fathers, while failure is an orphan. And thus many, many people, sometimes even in the most unlikely places, have claimed to have invented the acid house or brought it to London, or been the first DJ to play house in the UK. And still they come. Indeed, as 1988 becomes an even hazier memory, they proliferate. You know who these people are. You know who’s really responsible. And yet despite all this, still no one claims to have brought New Beat over.
“Genesis P Orridge invented acid house.”
Yeah, course you did mate.
“Manchester was into it before London.”
This one is still rumbling on, and it’ll be like the old bloke who used to stand at the football in the 1980s saying it was definitely offside, referring to a long-forgotten goal 50 years before.
“DJs in northern towns on student Mondays were actually Balearic before Alfredo.”
No, this wasn’t what happened. You were just playing shitty Phil Collins records.
“People are being jailed for supplying drugs when they only had two pills on them.”
Everyone knew someone, who knew someone, who was banged up for possession with intent to supply after being stopped on their way to somewhere with a couple of Garys in their pockets. If this was the case – and no-one ever seemed to directly know someone – then 1988 would have seen a massive surge in the prison population and new jails being built to accommodate the thousands of relatively innocent ravers turned drug dealers. Which didn't happen.
“The Old Bill had no idea what was going on/The Old Bill knew exactly what was going on.”
The old story that plod had no idea has now become written in stone. And, at the same time, every time there’s an acid house doc on the telly, out comes Gravesend copper Ken Tappenden, acting as if they stamped out raves and drugs. (Gravesend, of course, being the centre of the country’s Old Bill Acid House Intelligence Unit. As if the Kent town was ever a centre of any intelligence.) The truth is probably somewhere in the middle – and far duller.
“The Acid House stamped out football hooliganism.”
So how did that one work out for you?
“People got out and danced on the hard shoulders”
Did anyone ever see this actually happen? Because they deserved to get hit by a lorry if they did. Jack-knife the groove indeed.
“I went to Shoom.”
No, you didn’t. You definitely fucking didn’t.