Cape Town is the drug portal of Africa. Drugs are inseparable from Cape Towns’ music, fashion, art and pop culture – just like every other country. Drugs have played just as much of a role in shaping our society as the government and the media.
This is not about how bad drugs are, or even how drugs have benefitted society. I’m not even going to attempt to take some sort of middle road, because when it comes to drugs – that middle road does not exist.
I’m a generation Xer. An 80’s child. When I was 16 I used to dance in my room to Derrick the Bandit on 5fm. I lived two minutes from the Three Arts Theatre in Plumstead. I used to check ous kapping fat jols. I checked them smoking cigarettes outside; jamming to the beats banging in their boots. They smiled like cartoon characters in their neon outfits. I decided then and there that this was for me. I wanted to feel like that.
I felt that love. That 90’s plastic love.
I grew up on raves and ecstasy. Glow sticks and tiger balm. Bouncy, sweaty bodies. PLUR. Grinning. Rubbing skin. Free massages. Casual sex. Rubbing our sweat against each other and dropping the bass. Cities of Angels. Underground basements. Tidy Trax. Rothmans Special Mild. Cosmic Gate. Skydiving synapses. White gloves. White doves. Exploration of Space. Seratonin surges. NASA neurology. Dopamine diaries. Juked up joyrides. Speeding tickets. Candy floss gums. Bikinis in winter. Dialated disco dreams. Paranoid Sunrises.
Yellow Tweeties, Red Smileys, Yellow Smileys, Mitsubishis, Supersports, 007’s, Rolexes, VW’s, Green Pumas, Armani’s, Mercedes Benz, Blue Nikes, Pokemons, Blue Diamonds, T-Rexes, White Diamonds, Pink Angels. They were experimental tickets each offering their own brand of ride.
Neon has made its conspicuous comeback last season; it was short lived but there is evidence of the euphoric recall of a period in space and time where we temporarily found what we were looking for. We dealt with the comedowns and the inevitable sunrises and the looming Monday mornings. Some of us moved onto harder drugs. Some of us were even lucky enough to find a seat in mainstream society.
I did my research (while under the influence of lemonade) and what follows is my dissertation of the progression of Cape Towns’ drug “culture”.
Happy hardcore has made way for psy trance. Hard house has glitched into tech. Uplifting trance has spiraled into the darker realms of the psychedelic with labels like MMD (Mind Manipulation Device) taking the reins. The atmosphere at trance parties is dictated by the music and by the brand of drugs.
Todays’ audience craves harder-edged vibrations and parties have evolved into an express train of beats bordering on 165b/pm. The speed of the music is mirroring the speed of the world and the drugs are fueling the space ship into overdrive.
LSD and Mushrooms have always been the driving force behind the psychedelic beats and they are dropped like candy at trance parties all summer long. Ecstasy has been replaced by MDMA which is the drug of choice among 70% of todays “recreational” drug users. Cocaine is still socially acceptable. Tik and heroin fall into an entirely different category, despite the blurred boundaries people would never admit to using them, unless you’re a full blown junkie of course in which case you just don’t give a fuck.
Drugs are sold by the clubs themselves – they always have been and they always will be. However, there has been a shift in the past few years: Gangs like the Americans and Hard Livings have loosened their grip on controlling all of Cape Towns’ clubs in order to focus on other things.
Drugs are sold by kids trying to put themselves through college. Drugs are sold by mothers on their way back from the school run. You can bank over 5 grand in 3 hours without even trying by pushing MDMA in Cape Town clubs. Nothing’s changed. The drug scene is the same as it always has been. The only difference is that you don’t need to meet manky Nigerians down dingy streets anymore.
When the sun rises at a trance party the ground is littered with little plastic bags. College kids still end up in prison being fucked up the arse by 28’s. We all know that drugs are only a symptom of an unbalanced society and that the eternal search for bliss always leads to sleep deprivation and all the other shite that goes along with jamming yourself full of chemicals.
There is very little else to say about drug culture. It hasn’t changed since the 60’s. I’m done. Over and out. Fuck drug culture. There is no culture in drugs.