This is the full 25th chapter of my book Paper Squares and Purple Stars: My Life as a Rave Outlaw. I have decided to share the whole book here for free. The book is already available for purchase at www.raveoutlaw.com, and the mobile game is coming soon, www.immortalgames.co.uk.
Chapter 25 - Time to Take a Chill Pill (Winter 2010)
As bad as things were going behind the scenes, both financially and emotionally, no one on the outside really seemed to notice. So even though I was barely holding it together, my events were still home to a vibrant community. We had such a diverse cast of characters from so many different walks of life. One of my favorite ravers was this guy named Gary. He was always the first person in line and the last person to leave at the end of nearly every single party. The dude was in love with the music, especially the hardcore and hardstyle stuff that I liked to book. I was totally shocked to learn that he was a 7th-grade science teacher. I was always surprised to learn that people with institution jobs like that were ravers, but I guess I shouldn't have been, this culture is all about embracing everyone.
One time, Gary offered to take me to see Showtek play in New York. He said it was his way of repaying me for all the good times he had at my parties. Showtek was one of the biggest hardstyle acts in the world, and this was their first time appearing on the east coast. I took him up on the offer because I appreciated that someone with such a different background was so supportive of what I was doing. Me, Caylee and Treachery ended up going with him that night, and in true Gary form, we were the first in line. The show was at my favorite venue in the city, Club Exit, where they had all the Candyball parties. This was really my first time coming back here since things had taken off for me. Even though it was only a year, so much had changed. The crowd was less daunting than before, and I no longer felt like an outsider. I was also no longer one of the youngest people in the room, which was the first time that I began to really reflect on how quickly time was passing by, and how I was becoming one of the old heads. We had a blast that night, and I was on another planet from very early on. Aside from dancing, socializing and having a good time, I don't remember much about what went on inside the building that night, because all the drama was happening outside. When smoking was outlawed in public places, bars and clubs were forced to allow re-entry so their patrons could smoke. At most clubs, this created a dangerous situation where intoxicated ravers who wanted to smoke a cigarette had no choice but to leave the safety of the club for the sidewalk where they would undoubtedly draw attention to the party. I quit smoking cigarettes some time ago, but I always liked to walk out there every now and then to see what was happening and catch some fresh air. It was like a whole other room to the party out there sometimes, with a whole new set of adventures. At one of the first shows I went to in New York, I was standing outside, and a homeless guy was walking through the crowd asking for drugs and smokes, so some kid offered him a hit of DMT. The raver tried to explain what DMT was all about, but I think the guy was just so happy to get some free drugs that he grabbed the pipe and took a huge hit without question. A few seconds later his eyes got really wide, then he stood up and just took off running down the street. I am sure he ended up just fine, but it would have been interesting to speak with him afterwards to get his perspective on what he experienced. That was in the good old days when it was chill to party on the side of the road like that, but sadly those days were gone. This time, when I went out there to check up on things, there was a cop parked right in front of the building staring everyone down, just waiting for something to happen. I got sketched out and went back inside even though I didn’t have much on me. Later in the night, I heard about several arrests happening outside, with cops lining ravers up against the wall and shaking them down for looking like they were high.
It was a good thing that I stayed inside for the most part too because I'm sure I looked like I was on drugs that night. I even ran into that problem Duke had that one night where he couldn't piss, I stood in front of the strange marble urinal for I don't know how long, which was a bit awkward because some 80-year-old bathroom attendant in a tuxedo was staring at me the entire time. Not soon after, I was glued to a long sofa in the back corner of the club, with rows of ten or so ravers on each side of me, it wasn't quite a cuddle puddle, but it was pretty damn close. Then it hit me, I had to puke, but I was trapped.
There was a massive table in front of me, with lines of people sitting next to me on each side. Imagine being stuck in the center of a booth at a restaurant, only the table is 20 feet long. I would have had to trample people to get out, and there was no way I was making it to the bathroom on time. In that moment of panic, I noticed an empty beer bottle on the table in front of me, and without even thinking twice I scooped the empty bottle off the table and puked directly into it. Since this was just some stranger's discarded bottle, I was careful to make a funnel with my hands, so my lips didn't have to touch the glass. Somehow, I managed to fill the bottle without making a mess. I held the bottle down hoping that no one would notice, but when I looked up, I saw that the people around me were all staring in bewilderment.
“I am so sorry, I didn’t know what else to do, I am OK! I just have a bad stomach!” I pleaded.
There was a moment of silence before the girl sitting next to me shouted, “that was fucking AWESOME!”
Then everyone started laughing and cheering, but I guess things would have gone differently if I would have made a mess. We partied through the night and were literally the last people to walk out the door because Gary was going hard, pumping his fist in front of the speakers until the music stopped playing.
It was great to get away for a night and go someplace where I didn't have any responsibility since things at Galaxy were becoming more stressful by the day. Not only was our attendance dropping again, but things were starting to get very sketchy. It seemed like the cops, and the city government were both out to get us. The club was constantly getting hit with random fees, fines and threats against our liquor license. On one occasion, a few dozen ravers and employees showed up in court to support Charles when he was fighting against a potential suspension of his liquor license. They were coming at him with trumped-up charges for having a stripper in the VIP room during a hip-hop artist's private party. We sat on the cold hard marble floor of the courthouse all day for 3 days straight as he pleaded his case and eventually won. He was able to prove in court that there were multiple lies in the report filed by police that night, thanks to video evidence taken from the club's security system. His lawsuits against the city were still pending, and the courts were delaying them and stalling every step of the way.
Meanwhile, we were trying to do everything we could to get people back in the door. Some nights our tricks worked, and some nights they didn't, but one thing was for sure, we lost the influence and dominance that we had over the scene the year before. I tried making sequels for my most popular parties, Jungle Juice 2, Hardcore Holidaze 2, Rollin on Dubs 2, you get the point.
Sadly, even the good memories from those first shows weren't enough to bring people back. I did have one more trick up my sleeve though, for our New Year’s Eve party, I convinced Charles to open the upstairs. We spread the word under the radar that we would be opening the upstairs for one night only, illegally, and the reaction was overwhelming. For one more night, we were able to pack out the building just like the old days. We figured that we were safe since it was the busiest holiday of the year for the cops, but a fire truck showed up with its sirens on in the parking lot just before midnight. Me and Charles led a literal fire drill, rushing hundreds of people down the stairs as security stalled the fire marshal outside. By the time they got into the building, everyone was downstairs, and there was nothing for them to see. As soon as they left, we opened the rest of the building right back up. It was weird that they knew to come on that night though, someone must have tipped them off.
We may have hit a home run that night, but the constant threat of a raid was starting to scare off our few remaining supporters. Charles wasn't helping matters either, he was scaring people away too. At one time we were very close, but he was spiraling out of control. He started smoking crack and letting some reckless and unconscious people very close to the operation. The worst part about it though, is that he became so desperate for money that he started shaking down ravers for drugs and then selling their own shit back to them.
In the early days, we allowed everything to flow free as long as it was safe and wasn't fake, it was a free market. Back then, Charles never really bothered any of the dealers unless they were selling dirty shit that made people sick, which did happen once or twice. One time he tracked a bad batch back to a shady dealer and roughed him up pretty good. Aside from quality control though, hosting an entirely free market was one of the things that made Galaxy so special, but now Charles had it tightly controlled and only wanted his product to be sold in the building. To make matters even worse, he had security acting as his goons to steal from our most loyal customers. That was where I drew the line, and Enzo was fed up too, Charles was stealing from our friends and putting everyone at risk with the people that he was bringing around.
Galaxy was becoming one of the most unpopular clubs in the area, and it was starting to reflect poorly on us too. It was a mess, Charles brought some really young and sloppy dealers onto the team, who would basically advertise what they were doing and what was going on in the club. It got to a point where the place became so gross and dangerous that I no longer wanted any parts of it. I was sure that it was only a matter of time before the place got raided anyway. Charles was pissing off a bunch of the people who were working for him, and it's a terrible idea to start making enemies when you are selling lots of drugs. Many of these disgruntled employees began running to the cops with stories about what was going on in the club and how Charles was involved. I swore that the place was crawling with undercovers. One night, some guy saw me making a deal while he was sitting at the bar and he chased me around the club until I was able to find cover in the crowd. I had to get out of there, but I had a few more shows lined up that I couldn't cancel, so I was counting the days until I could leave there and find a new home.