Gone To A Rave #37: From The Back Pages


In the corner of the Ransom Note office is a set of shelves heaving with boxes, each box stuffed to bursting with magazines. Predominantly gaudy, optimistic dance mags released in the 90s, we've got this archive of rave because we share a space with Bill and Frank from the excellent DJHistory.com, and between them they've written for pretty much every UK dance publication under the sun.

I was feeling a bit listless today, so decided to finally have a nose through some of this hefty back catalogue. Apologies to Bill & Frank, but I'm pretty sure they won't mind… I realised that there was a good run of Mixmag's from late 91 and early 92 – a pretty explosive time for UK dance culture, so I thought I'd grab some shots of the adverts that clutter the back pages. Look at a handful and you're through the looking glass, right back into a world where men looking for love could happily claim they 'know the score', and record shops would shamelessly use a few spare inches of ad space to big up their mums. Here you can see outrageously cheesy promotions – Christ knows which mugs bought the book teaching you 'two essential scripts for DJs' – sharing page space with flyers for line-ups that sound amazing to this day. At times in feels like a more honest reflection of the time than the articles in the mags themselves. You get a feeling of a culture in flux, where US house is giving way to UK hardcore, and old skool mobile DJs are being rendered irrelevant to a new breed of tech savvy mixers obsessing over promo 12"s.  Let's get started.


To my sorrow, the classified dating ads only appeared to last a few issues. I truly hope the guy who knows the score got together with the Female Dalek.

DJ Chinny 

I'd love to know if Chinny is still doing the rounds- the 'one of the new messiahs of hardcore claim' is a bit of a stretch, but it's nice to know that crazy management hyperbole isn't a new invention…

shit joke book for DJs

Yep. A book that can make you better than/ similar to Roy Chubby Brown. Sometimes 'back in the day' was just shit.

90s drugs info flyer

 It's hard to describe just how embedded in 90s culture drugs were. This is a hotline looking to make cash off curious/ worried ravers – I'd say the recorded messages were probably sample gold.

1990s drugs info 

More of the same. Look at the cost of that call! And no mobile phones meant that shit was going to show up on your home phone bill. Try and explain that to your mum…

african records promo company 90s

I find this really intriguing. Was there a rave scene in Harare in 1991? What happened with DJ Tierre? Was he making tunes as well? This one definitely poses more questions than answers.

Choci's Chewns advert 1992

An ad for Choci's record shop, later to become one of the meccas of trance and acid techno. How can you not love a guy who uses the spare space on an advert for his shop to give a shout out to his mum, his sister, some raves he's played at, a couple of DJs, and 'those that didn't kiss my arse'. Phonica should take note.

And now some party flyers – 

+8 party

Pretty banging line up for this +8 flyer – the label were firing at the time – it's the only time I've seen Hawtin called 'Richie Rich' though

90s Starlight rave flyer

The name that sticks out here is Keith 'Suck' Suckling. A well respected hardcore DJ back in the day, his mixes are up on Mixcloud and well worth a listen. There are rumours that he fell off after some drug issues, which on reflection, is a sad tale it's amazing you don't hear more often. If you read this Keith, we'd love to talk to you and set the record straight, get in touch. 

International Bug Ball rave flyer

You can see the scene splintering out right there. Bass heavy ragga-rave stuff from the UK, and techno from the States. What a line up though.

Pure Edingburgh techno flyer 

A no frills flyer from an early incarnation of Scottish techno institution Pure 

Party at the Palace flyer, 1991

The pop face of dance – still pretty credible with the Belgian noise of Quadrophonia sitting quite happily next to Technotronic…