Monday, January 24, 2022

the blow out

 With the rave as working class blowout idea, I always come back to this 1966 song by The Easybeats, "Friday On My Mind" 

It's written from a Sixties mod perspective, but it foreshadows the mechanisms at work in Northern Soul, disco, rave  - every kind of dance culture in which pills are used to intensify leisure time to the utmost, but then it's back to the 9 to 5.  This is the key verse --

Do the five day grind once more

I know of nothin' else that bugs me

More than workin' for the rich man

Hey! I'll change that scene one day

Today I might be mad, tomorrow I'll be glad

'Cause I'll have Friday on my mind

And then there's the chorus 

Tonight I'll spend my bread, tonight

I'll lose my head, tonight

I've got to get to night

Monday I'll have Friday on my mind

Musically the verses have this sort of tick-tocking tension, like the treadmill of workaday time, as he waits for the big blowout of the weekend (the euphoric chorus). It's two different kinds of time:  chronos versus kairos

Lyrically the key line is "hey! I'll change that scene one day"  - I find it incredibly poignant - it could just mean "one day I'll get started on my career / start a business and I'll be the rich man / boss" or it could mean "one day me and the rest of the proletariat will organise at the site of the means of production and there'll be a revolutionary transformation in political economy, no more rich men, no more bosses"

but it's clear that he's so caught up in this nightlifestyle that he'll never get around to either the individual or collective escape route

I tend to see the essence of rave (and its precursors) as dissipatory 

but (like a lot of music in different ways) it points towards an unalienated life - one that it can't actually make real  in the outside world, but can only institute in the small areas of space and time it can command

of course, the troubling thought is that the momentary release of the ecstatic all night dance is actively working against the total and permanent change he and everyone else should be working for (and which would necessarily involve more drudgery and deferment of gratification in favor of the long term goal - duty for the future being the essence of political involvement) 

there here-and-now utopia / TAZ is taking away the possibility of a soon-to-come PAZ (permanent autonomous zone)

Flowered Up's "Weekender" film is an update of this notion of the  blow out cycle as counter-revolutionary. It's totally mod - indeed directly influenced by Quadrophenia, the mod revival movie of 1979 - indeed there's a sample of the Phil Daniels character's rant about how they can take his office drone job and stick it up their arseholes

in Quadrophrenia, the key scene of disillusionment for the mod protagonist as played by Phil Daniels,  is when he comes across the scene's leading Face - the coolest of the cool  - in his civilian life, where he is a porter in a posh hotel, being ordered around by rich men... 

Another song about the blow out - there's a verse about "going to the disco" in this otherwise gritty funk-blues song about how tough life is economically by the great Johnny 'Guitar' Watson, the king of "proletarian funk"

Got to go to a disco

Throw your troubles away

Dance to the music

That the DJ's play

And then the lights come on

Like you knew they would

Go home and face the music

That don't sound to good

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