This time in isolation has given me an unexpected gift. That very first twinge of anxiety in the early days of uncertainty I stepped out onto the grass outside with headphones on to dance the fear away. And as soon as I did I was like... why the hell have I not done this before! It's like the best kind of silent disco with the sky and the birds and the trees. Sure I dance in my house, on my mat, at weddings, at ecstatic dance but I had never thought of taking my bare feet out onto the grass and dancing under the trees. Today I took it one step further. I felt restless, cooped up, ready to burst. So I took myself and my playlist to the small woods behind the caravan for a dance.
Maybe it's because I'm ovulating and the sun is shining but this was something else... I felt so euphoric I laughed out loud, swore and cried. And then I realised... I've been waiting for this feeling, waiting for a time when I can go to a rave again, recreate those memories and lose myself in the music. Turns out I don't need to wait or go anywhere to lose myself. I just needed to be willing.
I've always enjoyed the feeling of getting completely lost in the music and the motion. My first taste was at 14 whilst living in Spain, Friday nights after school spent losing myself in clubs until 7am (very lax rules all round over there), at 16 I left home but was back in the UK where the rules where a bit tighter (depending on where you went of course) and so a lot of my dancing was done at home. A highlight memory from this time was drinking beer mixed with orange juice with my friend Danielle (we hated beer but loved getting wasted and we'd drunk all the Smirnoff Ice), folding my bed into the wall of my one and only room and dancing to 'Smack My Bitch Up'. That euphoric moment in the middle still makes me lose myself now (and of course featured on my playlist for dancing in the forest today!).
In my 20s I accidentally ended up working in the dance music industry even though I was playing in underground punk bands at the time. I turned up to my interview at Incentive Music with the charts memorised and somehow, despite having no current music knowledge whatsoever (other than the memorised charts) got the job. I then ended up working in the music industry for the rest of my time in London, mostly in dance music (but for a stint working for the babe that is Anoushka Shankar) and had access to some of the best shows and music going but my standout moments are always the underground raves.
That moment: driving, window open, listening... getting closer and closer until you hear the bass. Those of you who did this too (perhaps still do!) know there is little more exciting than that sound. Some of my best life memories happened in these places. The absolute euphoria of the sunrise from above the motorway bridge, the huge sound systems, the buzz of 1,000s of people losing their minds together, dancing away their stresses and their worries.
Little did I know that I could recreate that feeling in a little patch of woods behind my house. But I did. And that is one of the most beautiful gifts right now in these times of uncertainty, isolation and discomfort. So I present my latest playlist and invite you to join me:
'Basic Bitch Bangers for Raving in the Forest'
Photo: age 21ish, Dalston, dancing with Hari (we've known each other since we were 10 and have somehow managed to continue taking similar evolutions ever since).