A monolog on commercialism and the goldfish syndrome.
6 Jun 2002
Loyalty. An emotive word at the best of times, it seems all the more topical right now. Should loyalty be expected within dance culture? Or alternatively, should it be given and if so, at what price?
The recent news that the Gathering is in serious financial trouble, whilst Alpine Unity was hailed a complete success by all accounts, is the kind of contrast that should cause most punters to stop and think. How many people that chose the new adventure over the old can honestly avoid feeling just a tad hypocritical as they profess their concern over the end of an era and what it may mean. The scenario, however unlikely, that AU fails to reappear this new years and the G doesn't make it past the credit check doesn't bear thinking about, but who could honestly complain? OK, so there'd be about 4 ,5 thousand people with the right to behave with a modicum of superiority, but for the rest of you , you chose your riverbed, you dance in it.
The situation doesn't seem all that different here in the CBD either. Badly organised nights designed to maximise profit, club nights in blatant and aggressive competition, door staff with the charm and appeal of a Jerry Springer show, - why would any punter feel obliged to frequent one particular venue. I mean granted maybe you know the owner, or snogged the cute bar-tender last weekend, or maybe you really like the tunes one particular dj plays, be they guest or resident. The reasons are all good enough in their own right, but they're hardly the result of smart business sense, or failing that, goodwill.
Recent gigs in town that I guess should remain nameless, (but you know who you are...), had very few good reviews from a punter-comfort point of view. Door staff with no communication skills or elementary maths either apparently, (I was always under the impression that pre-sales were designed to be mutually beneficial through moving tickets early on in the piece and guaranteeing your entry...?!), bar staff with no appreciation of what it's like when you don't have easy access to cold water, fresh air or enough space to tack a jacket off without creating 7 new and intimate friends, and owners/promoters who seem certain that there's a built in redline to capacity and safety figures that may be explored if the queue outside is deemed large enough.
Is Christchurch dance culture so small and starved for choice that people looking to enjoy their choice of evening are forced to spend it with Hobson? Or are we simply just too relaxed? Perhaps the big nights out just don't leave much left over for unity of opinion in the harsh light of the mid-afternoon sun.
Whether the Gathering just lost touch with its target demographic, or whether everyone just wanted something new, loyalty and dance culture appear to be continuing to travel upon divergent paths. As the spiral tightens, all one can do is hope to ride it out. Swimming against the current, ( however redundant the observation may be ), - does not seem to be the popular choice.