What did you do in the Acid Wars,Daddy?

Rose tinted specs and ‘best new mates’ – Clash gets objective on some of the legends. Watch out older brothers!


You young ’uns don’t know yer born, it used to be all fields round here. Fields and acid house clubs, that’s all we had to entertain ourselves back in the ’80s and ’90s. Acid house was a great party while it lasted, but realistically it was all over within a year. Once it went mainstream, it was over and became sentimentalized and mythologized, mostly by people who weren’t even there. So, before you read yet another revisionist ‘Good Old Days’ slice of rose-tinted nostalgia, let’s explode a few myths.

Acid House Changed Music Forever!

No it didn’t. The Music Industry is as ‘rockist’, conservative and narrowminded today as it ever was. Acid house may have paved the way for the likes of Underground Resistance and The Aphex Twin, but in truth it changed very little either in the US or Europe. Even within the ‘dance’ scene, house music, like hip-hop and go-go before it, was treated as an abomination. Acid house and its mutant musical spawn from bleep to jungle, minimal to dubstep has been sidelined and ghettoized even more now than twenty years ago. Karaoke rock and conveyor belt house still rule the airwaves.

Acid House Brought Everyone Together

Maybe it did…for as long as the Es lasted. The story goes that E made white boys dance and this resulted in black and white, gay and straight, male and female, rich and poor people uniting under the common banner of acid to dance away all the artificial barriers of race, religion, sexuality and class. As ‘football types’, me and my mates certainly weren’t welcome at most ‘cutting edge’ clubs until 1988 and after a brief flirtation with ‘scally’ fashions most clubs soon reverted to old sartorial codes of exclusion and snobbery. The ‘Come Together’ ethos lasted for as long as the Es went shite and coke replaced cheap whiz.

Acid House Killed Football Hooliganism

Acid house didn’t really impact on football hooliganism at all. A few top faces from various clubs - mainly London, Manchester and Liverpool - got into ‘the scene’ started club nights and record labels and maybe shifted ‘parcels’ to pay for it. One or two of them may well have been at Amnesia in an altered state but three ICF heads hugging Danny Rampling does not a LuvThug generation make

Acid House Was A Spiritual Awakening

As with the first summer of love, there was a lot of spiritual bullshit spouted about the second one but essentially all it boiled down to was an excuse to take lots of drugs, hopefully have lots of sex and escape from the mundane grind of everyday life for a few hours, a few weeks, a few years. Turn on, tune in, slop out! Once in a lifetime? Back to work or the job centre Monday morning. Yet for all that acid house was essentially CREATIVE. So never mind the bollocks and don‘t believe the hype, that’s what’s really important.

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You can visit JUNOdownload.com to listen to and purchase a selection of the Acid House classics discussed in our retrospective.

Click here to visit JUNO.

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