Culture, Society & Creative Media – Post 4 (Reflection on The Birth of Acid House Music)

This week in the lecture we discussed the birth of Acid house music. The first major thing that I learnt from today was where Acid House Music got it’s name. Originally I thought it was due to drug use but in actual fact it is named after Phuture’s “Acid Trax”. This craze started off in small clubs from January 1988 such as Shroom, The Trip and Hacienda. Drugs became strongly associated with the music. Soon the new drug, ecstasy from Amsterdam was being imported and a new subculture that involved wearing loose clothes, baggy jeans, tie dye  T-shits, runners and accessories was born. The summer of 1988 even became known as the ‘Second Summer of Love’.

With the establishment of a new subculture also came the up raw of a new moral panic. The BBC banned all songs with the word ‘acid’ from being played on Top of the Pops. Sprawled across newspaper was headlines such as ‘Spaced Out’. Soon it was no longer a menace but a threat to civil society as Claire Leighton died from a pill in Manchester aged 16. As a result this moved Acid House Music from clubs to illegal parties. From this media became vital to keep the subculture a float; flyers, pirate radio stations to inform the public where and when the party would be. The information had to be kept on the down low to avoid police finding out and shutting it down. In 1990 the police where given increased power; Entertainment Bill increases fine from £200 to £20,000. Soon Acid House Music becomes rave and continues to grow. With this in 1994 the Criminal Justice Act allows for arrest if suspect of 2 or more preparing a rave , 10 or more waiting to attend a rave, 100 or more attending a rave and where allowed to stop and redirect those who they believed where going to a rave.

After 1995 rave moved to legal venues and super clubs like the Ministry of Sound, Cream and Heaven where created. Since then the likes of Ministry of Sound has become a multimedia entertainment business with it’s own record label.

Learning about Acid House Music has really explained how rave music that is still a popular subculture today originated. It is also an extremely good example of how stigma can be created around subcultures. The face that Acid House Music was not named in relation to drugs but then became associated so strongly with drugs is really interesting. It is a prime example of how media causes moral panic.

And also, because it made me laugh so hard.



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