It was 1991, I was 17 and in year 12 at high school. I was living in Granville of the western suburbs. My friends and I had recently got our licenses and of our group, someone was usually able to borrow a car. I remember our nights to Kings Cross and the city especially. We would just go on drives. We went to the cliffs above Bondi one night and had a smoke looking at the ocean in Vaucluse. There was one night we went to Kinselas nightclub. It is on Taylor’s Square, up the end of Oxford St. Very different from Granville and you would see all sorts of people. I can’t remember if there was a cover charge, but I remember walking up 3 flights of stairs to reach the club at the top. The middle floor was always reserved for VIPs and people who knew people, which was never me. The doors and walls were glass and you could see through the panels at the cool kids dancing behind. I always wanted to get in that special section.
Up the top we were listening to Utah saints and other new techno/electronic type music. Definitely not a traditional band that we knew. Miles away from Guns n Roses, here it was the Stone Roses and Guru Josh. Our school was in Auburn which had the reputation of the drug capital of Sydney. At the time I believed the stories, but in retrospect, it may have been urban myth. I mean, how are you supposed to measure that.
I had scored and smoked pot a few times in my senior years at school. Before school discos in the underground car park of Coles. Just rolled into joints it was before hydroponics, so the strength was not comparable to today, yet the affects were mind blowing. The body had no resistance to the drug, it hit me full on and my mind was on another planet. Once you build up a tolerance to the drug, it is very manageable, but back then it was close to tripping.
We parked in a back alley off Taylor Square, and we had a few joints in the car before heading up to the top of Kinselas. It would have been a Friday night. Hardly a word was spoken between me and my five or so mates, as the effects of the drug hit and a slight paranoia feeling comes over. As we entered we were whisked away to another world. The light show and music over took our senses. It might have been Pee Wee Ferris that was controlling the music in this dark room.
It was not busy like the second floor and had a dark, almost depressing feel to it, with its dark walls and black curtain near the DJ stage. I can’t tell you if I fell asleep, or if it was that stoned, half awake, half asleep consciousness. I don’t think I fell asleep as I remember exactly what happened whilst in the club. Which was pretty much nothing. Looking down or looking at my friends, we were all in our own little worlds as Usura asked you to Open Your Mind or Cystal Waters sang about the Gypsy Woman.
Once the drugs wore off, a few hours later, we would drive back home. No alcohol (or little) was consumed. Our trip to the city was pretty much that. Went to the city,
smoked, then let the club, lights and music take us away. I cannot remember if we danced. Mostly just sat there as our mind danced. This is where my rave days began. Not in a huge warehouse, dancing to strong speakers blasting away, but in a club listening to the new tunes of the era. It all felt really new. The music, the pot, the atmosphere and a sense we were being a bit naughty, but mostly the feeling that we were on a different plane, wherever the music took us.
“Feel, skill and audacity are fundamental to real artistic achievement, and the greatest of these is feel. Good feel inheres in sensibility, sensuousness and responsibility. Of these elements are built the riches and dignity of mankind” — David Kinsela, after Francis Greenway