1996 August 24

Better Days Production - Land of Milk & Honey

DJ & Venue:
Sasha at the Warehouse 3:00 a.m. to 6:00
Laurent Garnier at the Guvernment 4:00 a.m. to 7:00

A bit of chaos at the entrance - bouncers disappeared, people rushed to the door, not enough space to body check. We waited for 20 - 30 mins. to get in. The line up crowd at 3:00 a.m. outside was very discouraging - some kept whining, some kept saying they did not want to go in but still stood there. A guy hit a bouncer at the side of the line but was hit back. Most guys were dressed very casually. Not the club-goers or ravers crowd.

One of the electronic sounds was so electrifying I felt like I had been charged.

The Warehouse did not look as good as when Carl Cox was there. There was much less light and the heat & lack of oxygen was very prominent. We could not see the DJ. Everyone seemed to be dancing facing the stage which was full of half naked men dancing facing back. We suspected the DJ was behind this stage crowd which cut off the communication between the DJ & the majority. Sasha was a real slow builder this time. There was even less build up than last time. A disappointment.

By four, we started to look for the route to the Guvernment & found that we had to go outside the building. It was a ridiculously narrow path full of people going in opposite directions. But once we got in, we were quite happy. Laurent Garnier was already spinning. There was good ventilation/air conditioning, right amount of people , the place was reasonably well-decorated. This is the first time I have ever been to the Guvernment since it first opened not too long ago. It was not as trendy as I expected. The owner must have put away some trendy furniture which we saw in the newspaper.

Laurent Garnier was a true delight though he did not execute as precisely & tightly as Carl Cox, but he had the right mix of different kinds of music - Chicago house base drum, the Buckethead percussion, disco bongos, highheads, the Richie Hawtin minimalism, hip hop, jazz, house, progressive house electronic beats.

Memorable Moments:
Our bodies were in autopilot by 6:00

Looking back at the crowd under the white flashing light, all shapes, forms, postures, guys with their cool shades, I was moved & happy & felt distantly united with humanity, with youth. The ecstasy/ climax sorely missed was back; when he did his crescendos with the flashing light. There were quite a few black guys (big burly ones but very polite & friendly) & girls (which was very rare in raves) who smiled at us. We smiled back. The music had worked its magic. We've broken our records , we left at 7:15. If P. did not have to go to Atlanta in the afternoon, if my feet had not been hurting so much (2 inch heel & no padding) , we would gladly have stayed. I took a glimpse at the entrance at around 7:00, it was bright & sunny outside. Where had the night gone? As we walked closer to the door, sunlight poured in from the outside and splashed over a group of youngsters . It was golden - their faces, sideways, their brown and red hair, their young faces. It was, I frantically searched for words to describe this, to imprint this in my head and the word 'heaven' came to my mind. It was a painting of a pagan paradise on earth.

As we walked outside, we saw those tired partied faces with traces of happiness. The crowd was still going strong at 7:15 in the morning inside and a big chill-out crowd outside. We could hardly walk and limped to our taxi.

I could not sleep a wink. I could only lie down and rest for two hours till my knees were less weak. But I felt better than the mornings after most raves. I put on the St. Germain album, then Massive Attack's Protection. I felt love when I saw the sun reflected from the tree leaves outside. I was so in tuned with my feelings that even hearing a song at Shoppers Drug Mart can fill my eyes with tears.

The Summer of Love had not truly happened to us, (or to Toronto?) till 1996. This feeling of love as I walked on the street (mostly along the philosopher's walk and around Queen's Park) has been experienced by P. as well. The night club experience, the tuning in to the scene & the music has empowered us and also softened us with a warmth. St. George St. is being expanded & revitalized; so is Spadina, so is our new home. I don't know how long this will last. For the first time I have come off-guard; off my usual guard of pessimism at least for a longer period than I have ever let go. This has been quite a strange experience.

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