Thursday, 26 December 2013

What if Christmas newsletters kept it real?

I’m sure we’re all familiar with them: those Christmas newsletters that people send out to update you on what their family has been up to over the past year. They usually arrive in the Christmas card, or nowadays, are the card themselves. I understand the premise behind these, and get that, especially for people with small children, their families and friends want to see an up-to-date picture of their kids, and hear all about how the kids have changed over the past year.

I don’t know about you, but some of my cousins and aunts have taken to writing these in a rhyming, poem form. This is where things start to unravel.  Things also start to get a bit obnoxious if, say, you have a really rich cousin and her “yearly update” reads more like a brag fest than an update. In fairness, if your life does consist of private schools, several beach vacations, and trips on your private jet, it’s probably hard not to invoke envy in your family and friends. This is the case with my cousin, whose yearly Christmas card/newsletter, is always one for the books. Take this one from a few years ago for example: 

Their only regret is not buying gold? (Remember, gold was doing very well that year!) I think everyone could agree that this is not too bad of a problem to have.

However, I wonder how things would look from the other perspective. You know, if these Christmas cards kept it real, to the point of keeping it real going wrong. 

For example, I have another cousin who is on the other end of the spectrum. Instead of going on beach vacations, using a private jet, and lamenting not purchasing precious metals, her year ranges from a messy divorce, losing a house, kids getting kicked out of school, and threats of getting arrested because of her jerky ex-husband. Sometimes I like to imagine how a rhyming Christmas letter might sound coming from her…
                What a year, where to begin, what can I say

                The first thing I guess, was the bank took my house away

                After letters, and phone calls I tried to ignore

                The came and they knocked on my very own front door.

                Dave and I are separated and will soon be divorced

                He’s got a new girlfriend, who is rich of course

                He refuses to pay for stuff for his children

                And calls me rude names, I wonder how I ever picked him!

                The kids are okay, we struggle along

                Took Jean to Children’s Hospital, something was wrong

                Tom is growing up, getting kicked out of school,

                Beth has some attitude, thinks she’s so very cool.

                Well wishes to everyone, we hope you are well,

                Just off to the food bank, it sure will be swell!

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Electro Dash: Inappropriate Raving

When I first starting hearing about the Electro Dash, I tried to ignore it. It surreptitiously appeared in my facebook newsfeed, some of my friends “liked it”, and without even knowing much about it, besides seeing the words “Electro Dash” and “5K”, with a picture of some girls suited out in L-wire and glowsticks, I didn’t stop to investigate any further. I knew this wasn’t something for me, and something about it rubbed me the wrong way from the get go.

As it turns out, it wasn’t in the cards for me to simply ignore this Electro Dash event, as eventually one of my friends sent me a facebook message inviting me out to it. Wincing, I clicked on the link that she had sent to the Groupon to purchase tickets for the run. I had no desire inside of me whatsoever to go to this event, and I was having a very strong aversion to it. 

Having been a bit of a raver back in the early 2000s when the scene was quite “alternative”, and as someone who still loves and frequents a good techno dance party, I can understand why my friend would have seen this and thought that I would be interested, nay, even excited to partake. And at first, even I couldn’t really understand why it wasn’t something that intrigued me in the slightest. 

“Why does this seem like the lamest thing ever?” I asked my boyfriend. “What is it that makes it so lame?” He responded with “What about it isn't lame”? Yes, it seems that the better question was to ask: what about this seems fun or good?

I had to break it down.  Let’s start with the description on the Groupon shall we. Let’s see: 

“Glow-in-the-dark 5k infuses electro music with a series of lasers and fog tunnels in a non-competitive race ending in a dance party.”

Glow in the dark stuff- love it.

Electro music- love it.

Lasers- love em.

Fog tunnels- love em.

Dancy party- LOVE THEM!

A non-competitive race?  Uh, I think we’ve found the problem.

The thing is, is this: The Electro Dash is inappropriate raving at its finest. With the EDM phenomenon sweeping through North America, my boyfriend and I have been stunned by the amount of "inappropriate raving" that we see taking place. It seems the kids today just don't know when they're supposed to be raving and when they're not. They've gotten so swept up in this new fad that their "rave" switch appears to be constantly "on".

Allow me to explain. The line didn't used to be so blurry. And truthfully, while old school raving definitely connoted its own specific fashion style (think  vizors, phat pants, and wife beaters), its nothing like the costume fad that has swept the current EDM craze. Now it seems that crazy costumes and outfits are as much a part of the party as the music itself. A visit to Shambhala Music Festival will confirm this, where you will see every costume under the sun being rocked. Add to this the furry fuzzy, leg things and furry hoods (ElectroFur anyone? or as my friend Tom calls it "caveman outfits") that everyone's been sporting, and it's a real jumanji out there. 

Don't get my wrong, I LOVE the costumes, and the freedom and desire to wear whatever the hell you want. I mean, isn't that part of the whole groovy, PLUR'ed out vibe that the rave scene is known for? Be and do and feel and express yourself in whatever way you want. Acceptance has always been key. The problem is when kids don't realize that they aren't actually raving at that particular moment, and as such shouldn't be dressed like they are. 

Consider if you will: 

If you're at a 4 day music festival with music constantly going: you're raving!

If you're out at a bar in the city seeing a DJ one night: you're not raving. 

If you're at an all night warehouse party in the city, that ends at 8am: you're raving!

If you're at EDC: you're raving!

If you're at Burning Man: you're raving!

If you're at a friend's house party: you're not raving.

If you're running a 5km non-competitive race: you're not raving.

You get the idea.
Give me a dance party with lazers, smoke tunnels and techno, but hold the non-competitive 5k run please. If it's a rave you're after, then let's just have a rave. If you want to run, sign up for a run. I feel like this combination is just a classic trying-to-cash-in-on-what's-trendy situation. And apparently, it's working out very well, because I just checked the Groupon for the Electo Dash in Vancouver, and it's sold out. 

Even the Electro Dash organizers admit in the FAQ section of their website that "Everyone knows the best part of running is when it stops... We pump up the Electronic Dance Music and fill the air with neon lights, lasers, and free SWAG for the catching. So get ready to dance, because the finish line is the moment your running shoes become your party shoes."

I won't be attending the Electro Dash, but I might go to a dance party that night. I like to take my raving the straight up, unadulterated, old-fashioned way.

To quote Tiga "Let's go dancing. I want to go dancing with you, all night dancing."