Faux Pax Friday: Rules of the Rave

Disclaimer: No illicit substances were ingested for the writing of this post. No real pictures were taken, either, as writer was told that cameras were a no-no. (This last piece of information proved spurious, much to the writer’s chagrin).

Anniversary Week. On Sunday Jerome turned 37 (Bonne anniversaire!). Then Wednesday was our four-year anniversary of meeting (Jerome always says I was the best birthday gift ever.)

Perhaps trying to defy his age (he now equates 37 with “basically 40″), Jerome decided he’d like to go to an all-night rave to celebrate. Oh, dear god.

Rave Generation 09

I hope you’ve noticed that I try to be a good sport about things – pretty much open to anything. But I can’t deny that staying put in my pj’s sounded just as appealing as spending twelve hours at PSYCHEdelight (no, really, that was the actual name of it).

But once in the car (and in street clothes), I was ready for adventure. I think my anthropology background (not to mention my love of a good story) often serve me well: used to being an outsider, I’m happy to observe strange new worlds.

And strange it was. Past the peripherique, we were now in St. Denis, just north of Paris. We turned down a darkly-lit road, the surreal scene beginning before we were even inside.

We entered a huge room with high ceilings, all dotted with a thousand tiny lights. This was Eiffel Docks. I could see why this place was used for film shoots; space enough for any manner of enormous sets.

We were in the techno room and it wasn’t long before I felt a headache coming on.

“Are you ok?” Jerome asked. I looked worse for wear already.

The repetitive sound (noise?) reverberated throughout my body; the bass seemed way too loud.

“Fine,” I said. “Just having a heart attack.”

We went outside to find a much smaller stage. The music here was “ambient” – much better for the headache. But, hello? Whose idea was it to set up a tent for this event? As if thin plastic walls provided any shield to the freezing temperatures and whipping wind. We’re outside, people! All this lounging on pillows floor-level is not fooling me.

Next room: Trance.

Two girls sat at a table offering make-up (face-painting?). The next table over was illuminated by strings of Christmas lights and a glowing painting of some Indian god (oh people, please). This table sold candy (for one can only assume, the munchies. Let’s get real).

Which brings me to the number of Red Cross volunteers in bright orange vests. Yes, at least 10 Croix Rouge workers armed with first-aid kits milled around, just waiting for something to happen.

Not that I didn’t know, but this is when it really sunk in: extreme partying was expected. And I am not an extreme partier. I mean, I’m fun and all, but I usually don’t require trained medical professionals at the ready.

Anyway, it’s good they were there, I suppose. Though I didn’t get to see them in action because the fateful hour arrived and it was still way too early (by most people’s standards) for that kind of drama. But 1:30 AM – there would soon be no metro. Decision time. I’m not ready to go yet – I am now actually dancing! (might as well) – but I don’t want to be stranded here later on, either.

Because, honey, what time do you think we’ll be leaving? I could probably make it to about 4.

Oh, your friend is DJ’ing at 8 AM? Like in the morning? Like the time when we should be snuggled under the comforter as first light is breaking? Yeah, that 8 AM.

Um, ok, I really don’t know if I’m going to make it that long. Maybe I should go? You sure, you sure we can’t compromise here? Oh no? Parasense at 4 AM is good, too? And this thing goes until noon? And we paid 30 euros so you’re certainly not leaving before?

Ok, I’ll go.

……..Only to miss the last metro……..And not find a taxi……..And ride the night bus for the first time…….And get completely lost.

Ring, ring: Are you home safe yet, cherie?

No! I’m walking home now. How could you let me leave like that, in the middle of the night?

And what? The party got much better once I left? I’m missing the fire dancers? Ok, now I’m pissed. I’ve just spent over an hour on two different night-buses when I could have been watching fire-dancers?

So this, my friends, is my Faux Pas of the week. If you’re going to a rave (please, never again), there are probably some rules you should set beforehand.

Rule 1: Be prepared to either leave with the last metro, have the number of a taxi who is sure to come pick you up even in this desolate place – or just resolve yourself to staying all night. Sure, you won’t feel too hot tomorrow, but the way you’ve just scrambled home doesn’t make you feel too fresh, either.

Rule 2: If the music (?) makes you feel like you’re experiencing a migraine and/or a heart attack, this might not be the scene for you. But don’t be alarmed; there are several Red Cross volunteers available to assist.

Rule 3: Even if it’s not the scene for you, you’re already here. So maybe you should just roll with it. At least until the fire-dancing begins. I mean, come on.

Rule 4: (which I am now projecting) Even if your wife is not as rave-ready as you would like, call her if you’ve been gone over 24 hours. Because you shouldn’t be away that long. Really.

An interesting side-note: the crowd was quite mixed. There were those who looked like rave regulars (think baggy pants, fluorescent-colored dreads), but there were also more stylish types, too. Me, just jeans and a black top and as “normal” as can be? Not out of place, either.

I don’t think there’s any need to worry just yet about getting too old. I mean, I certainly don’t feel like a grown-up after nights like these. (Could that be the silver lining?)

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19 Responses to “Faux Pax Friday: Rules of the Rave”


  1. 1 Rock The Boat April 9, 2010 at 9:06 am

    Did you mention that you MUST be aligned with the far to near far left? No room for moderates or conservatives at a rave, eh?

  2. 3 Alison April 9, 2010 at 11:27 am

    Oh man, just reading that makes me feel old! We’ve contemplated going to raves here (as a purely social study) but I’m convinced it’s one of those things that is only a good idea in theory. I definitely wouldn’t make it until 4am… let alone 8am. Kudos to you for giving it a go :)

  3. 5 Adam April 9, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    From your description, the best plan in my opinion would have been to get an early night, wake up at dawn then arrive in time for the DJ set of your boyfriend’s mate!

    I remember going to Drum and Bass nights at the Rex in the 90s, then going to work 2 hours after arriving home, with my ears still buzzing and ringing. Strangely enough, not very pleasant memories!

    • 6 parisimperfect April 9, 2010 at 1:23 pm

      That’s a brilliant plan! Why didn’t I think of that?

      Hmm, I *definitely* was never capable of doing the whole all-night straight-to-work thing. I guess if you don’t have the fondest memories of those times, I wasn’t actually missing much then :)

  4. 7 tanyaintransition April 9, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    Too funny. I read it to D and he’s still laughing. Like Alison above I wouldn’t make it to 4am… I’m defnitely too old for that! LOL!

    • 8 parisimperfect April 9, 2010 at 1:25 pm

      Yeah, and I was trying to be helpful and compromise by offering up 4 AM, but apparently even that was not enough. (That is usually *way* past my bedtime, obviously).

      Guess I’ll know better next time – stay in the pj’s! (Or get up at dawn as Adam above suggests) :)

  5. 9 Karin (an alien parisienne) April 9, 2010 at 1:45 pm

    Happy Basically 40th to Jerome!

    “PSYCHEdelight (no, really, that was the actual name of it)” Hahahaha! Wow. *snicker*

    I think you have just described something I once experienced in a really horrible nightmare. Heh!

    Yeah, I am not seeing much of a silver lining on this one! Wellll,I guess it is an experience you won’t forget, though! :D Glad you made it back in one piece.

  6. 11 Marianne Renoir April 9, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    I’d disagree with the comment about ravers being left wing. In Melbourne plenty of professional raves attracted yuppie, very well off folk (who are conservatives). I only went to one or two raves and they were in abandoned buildings in the middle of nowhere. Very boring unless you take drugs. Which I did..but only a little. I think the only reason people can stay all night (and all morning) long is because of the drugs. Blah…I’d prefer to stay at home! Raves are so 90s (teehee).

  7. 13 Geary April 9, 2010 at 7:16 pm

    The silver lining is that you are sensible enough to realize the poor use of thirty euros. Adrenaline freaks burnout at early ages and then wonder why. As a senior citizen, I have seen many. Sorry you had to leave alone in the wee hours and St Denis is not a good place for that. I think some serious discussions with Jerome are in order.

  8. 15 parisimperfect April 9, 2010 at 7:17 pm

    I will leave the ‘rave scene’ discussion to those who know. As I’ve clearly demonstrated, I was definitely out of my element. (But there’s usually humor in that – afterwards). Marianne, I’m staying home next time, too :)

  9. 16 David April 10, 2010 at 10:22 am

    What ? Rave parties still exist ? Really ?

    I think the real faux pas was not made by you, but by your husband.
    Leaving you alone at night in St Denis…
    Not good…

    As the rave scene is concerned, yes it’s mostly left wing, and I’d say that’s one of the only positive aspects of the rave scene.

    • 17 parisimperfect April 10, 2010 at 12:26 pm

      Hi David. I had no idea raves still existed, either! I was a bit surprised to find out that this was an option for a Saturday night. Who knew? (Well, I guess plenty of people now).

      As for who actually made the real faux pas, you definitely have a good point (and believe me, my husband has heard something similar directly from me). But, you know, I try to speak mainly for myself on this here blog. Feel a bit strange blaming someone else – but if others do it for me, great! :) (Haha, just kidding. Sort of).

  10. 18 Lydia April 11, 2010 at 8:05 pm

    Well I think that you were very brave – both with the going in the first place and with the getting back! Sounds like my idea of hell! Still, I guess the silver lining is that it is another one to clock up in your list of life experiences to draw on maybe one day…


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paris (im)perfect?

Sion Dayson is paris (im)perfect. Writer, dreamer, I moved to France on – no exaggerating – a romantic whim. As you can imagine, a lot can go wrong (and very right!) with such a (non)plan. These are the (im)perfect stories that result.

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