Free cookie consent management tool by TermsFeed Jump directly to main content

The Crack Magazine


Party Lines (Dance Music and the Making of Modern Britain) by Ed Gillett

The Man in all ‘his’ various incarnations: government, council, police force, et al, doesn’t like freedom. Particularly the freedom to dance, have fun and cross pollinate with other groups of people who like doing the same. Freedom can lead to all kinds of questions about the status quo, about who gets to decide how life should be led, and, fundamentally, whether government is for the people or for the shadowy world elites who need your cash while they keep you under their well-appointed heels. From blues parties in Notting Hill, through outdoor raves, grime and everything in between Party Lines is a compelling guide to how dance music and culture were forced to realign, “towards commercial and social acceptability, and away from anything which might threaten more profound unrest or upheaval”. If UK dance music is now a, “highly regulated and lucrative cultural product” and “comfortably nestled in the bosom of global capital”, how did it get there, and why? Luckily for the reader Ed Gillett is well placed to tell this story and does so with a judicious use of primary sources and a host of great interviews with the people who were there. I should add that Party Lines also imagines dance culture divorced from The Man and what that can look and feel like, because as the final party line reads, “I stand at the back of the dance floor, watching the past, present and future dance with each other…I experience precisely the same glimpse of some alternative social structure that so many before me have seen and, with luck, many more are still to discover. It feels tantalisingly, euphorically real.”

Party Lines (Dance Music and the Making of Modern Britain) – Ed Gillett - publ. by Picador - £12.99