Letter: How dance music became a victim of rock’n’roll
Janan Ganesh theorizes about the disappearance of rock culture in his article “The great rock ‘n’ roll dwindle” (Life & Arts, FT Weekend, December 24). If only, I would suggest.
Rather than shrinking and fading away, rock’n’roll has just migrated, devouring other genres, the most disturbing dance music. Attend any so-called ‘rave’ today, from Manchester’s trendy warehouses to the capital’s industrial spaces and you’ll see rock culture in full swing.
The DJ – the most annoying person in the room, because he’s “at work” – is usually presented on a stage, to be amazed, or worse, filmed by camera fists raised in unison.
People behave as if they are tied to a concert, facing the stage, screaming to get on the stage, seemingly unaware of the name clue of the dance music. Dancing with each other, examining each other’s looks, the bettor in the entertainment is almost lost. Musically, the repetitive use of “blackout” by DJs around the world has replaced the guitar solo as the “naff convention of the day.” It’s horrible there, especially.
The rock festival is largely to blame for this – Glasto circa 1990 – when DJs and their sound systems first arrived in the backs of trucks.
But the rock audience they met was frozen. It was a doomed cultural collision. DJs and promoters also have to share the responsibility, unsure of when to be heard is better than not to be seen. Ego rock is woefully unappealing, especially in people who for the most part just play other people’s music.
The tragedy of dance music has to be those classic, money-making interpretations of clubbing hits of the day. Largely aimed at middle-of-the-road seniors, but attracting an appallingly large population, they are sure to feature in any Spinal Tap-style mockery aimed at the grand aspirations of the culprits involved.
Once upon a time, it seemed like nothing could replace a disco ball, strobe light, and a sweaty basement. It pains me that rock’n’roll has different ideas.
London SE3, United Kingdom