Monday, 6 May 2013

The Gravers

Jack and Jill were both passionate about music. In fact it was through music that they first met. Both had started to visit The Club, though at the time both of them were seeing different people. Gradually they became part of an extended group of friends who liked to think that The Club was Their Club. This same group would, on occasions, travel to see superstar DJ's or make arrangements to visit festivals. Sharing mix tapes or CD's was common place and there were certain anthemic tracks that used to fill the whole group with a thrill each time the opening bars were heard.

Jack and Jill first got together soon after Jill split up with her two timing boyfriend. She was going to have stayed at home but her friends urged her to come out as usual to The Club. Jack had split with his girlfriend a few weeks before. In his case not through any dramatic encounter but largely because the relationship had run its course and besides she was moving away to do a course at Uni. Jack noticed Jill at one point sitting rather forlorn in the foyer. He dance up in front of her and said something trite like, "Cheer up it might never happen," before realising that she was on the verge of tears. Fortunately a couple of her friends were on hand and one put her arm around Jill and hugged her while the other castigated Jack for being so insensitive, after all, "Didn't he know that her boyfriend had two timed her." Jack retreated hastily as he felt no desire to get involved with such an high emotion. However, Jill noted through her tears that Jack was the only one of the guys in their group who had even noticed her sadness. A few weeks later they began to casually chat and the joy quickly returned to Jills face as the two fell in love with each other.

It's hard to work out now why they stopped going to The Club and how their affiliation with music declined. Maybe it was when they were saving up for a deposit that they started missing weekend nights out in favour of a DVD and a takeaway.

Jack still enthusiastically pursued music and continued adding to his collection any missing anthems from this golden age. Within a couple of years they were married and had their first child which seemed to put paid to all their regular social life. Jack music collection was put into boxes to provide extra space for the child but that was ok as he had a couple of Greatest Anthem CD's in the car, though increasingly he was getting a little bored with these and was more likely to listen to the car radio.

Then one day they received an invitation from a dear friend who was celebrating a significant birthday. They were proposing that the whole gang meet up again for a night at The Club. It would be great. They had hired a VIP room and would be providing free drinks and it was guaranteed to be a wicked night. Sadly things didn't work out quite as planned. The regulars who now inhabited The Club seemed much younger and brasher than they were in their day.

There were a couple of uncomfortable encounters when jealousy seemed to erupt amongst their friends. Girls accused boyfriends of ogling girls in micro dresses or boys faced up against younger boys who they perceived to have been flirting with their partners. The music also seemed to have moved on. Yes some of the anthems were still played but more often as samples which was frustrating to those who knew the originals. After that their association with music virtually fizzled out and they consigned it to their history as something that they used to indulge in.

It was several years after this that they were persuaded by close friends to join them for a  holiday on The Island. They had hired a villa large enough to incorporate both couples and their children and perhaps more importantly, were proposing to arrange a nanny service so they would be free to venture out in the evenings confidant that the kids would be in safe hands.
Dancing one night in a bar Jill looked around and was surprised to see a much wider age range than she had ever experienced at home. No one appeared to feel self conscious and in fact some of the more outrageous and humorous dancers were the older ones who were often the more eccentrically or unselfconsciously dressed. It was at this point that she first hear the term Gravers - Grey Ravers.

When they returned to the UK it was back to normal but now they both longed once more for their newly rediscovered social life. They had no desire to return to The Club where they would have to encounter long queues of over enthusiastic teenagers before running the gauntlet of humourless bouncers. Part way through the evening the toilet were an embarrassment and in most cases the music was played at such high volume ordinary conversation was all but impossible. It seemed that by their mid to late twenties society had deemed them too old to participate in contemporary culture. Frankly they had both reached an age where they wanted to be treated with greater respect. They wanted a social environment that would enable to enjoy contemporary music in a comfortable context. Jack began to do some research. Surely there must be some bars that catered for their age range where they could hear some quality tunes. Well yes there were but in the main the music was played as muffled background drone.

But Jack was not going to be defeated. He believed that there were many people out there or their age an above who longed to feel connected once more to the life blood of music which had once brought them so much joy. It seemed strange to think that at such a young age they were consigned to dull domesticity and while he was loath to admit it the first grey hairs were beginning to appear on his head and so he realised that he had a mission to provide something in his home town for The Gravers. Within a couple of weeks he had dusted off his old music collection, started hunting download sites for interesting remixes of classic tracks and was even discovering some productions from the new generation. A few weeks later he approached his local bar. 
Did they know that he had been an experienced DJ back in the day? (an outrageous exaggeration but what the hell) Would they be interested in doing a once a week chilled set in their upstairs bar - nothing too banging but a place where Greyvers could gather. Within a couple of months word was spreading and more an more people were joining them for their weekly nights with Jill acting as hostess, welcoming new people and introducing them to each other. After a year or so some younger folk were also starting to come along, attracted by the calm fun of the evenings and bringing with them invitation to other events helping to reconnect this broader range of friends and enthusiasts to the vibrant music culture that was the dance scene.

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