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DiscoTexts: Dancefloor-Driven Literature and the Rave Scene in Fiction

Sunday 8th November, 6.15pm

Almost as soon as the rave scene really took hold – during the Second Summer of Love in 1988 – it quickly appeared on the radar of journalists, filmmakers and authors, all keen to use this beat as source material for their output.

This panel focuses on the genre of Dancefloor-Driven Literature – stories born of the dancefloor – exp[loring how authors draw on the pulse of electronic music in their fiction. How do you write about something so subterranean as the nightclub scene? Write lucidly and fluidly about the rigid, metronomic beat of electronic music? What literary techniques can be deployed to accurately recount in fixed symbols the drifting, hallucinatory effects of a drug experience?

To explore these ideas, this panel has been convened to explore these ideas. Chaired by the current editor of DJmagazine, the panel features key club culture writers, as well as the author of this new Bloomsbury book that, for the first time brings these works together, arguing it is within these texts that stories of that scene are locked, told to a silent beat.

Panel Chair: Dr Simon A. Morrison is a writer and academic, currently working as Programme Leader for the Music Journalism degree at the University of Chester. Author of the book Discombobulated – a collection of Gonzo ‘Dispatches From The Wrong Side’ columns penned for DJmagazine and published in the UK and US by Headpress – Simon has reported on the music scene everywhere from Beijing to Brazil; Moscow to Marrakech. He edited Ministry of Sound’s Ibiza magazine for two years and has also produced and presented TV and radio. A screenplay Simon penned, based on a story he wrote for The Guardian, is currently with a TV production company. Dancefloor-Driven Literature: The Rave Scene in Fiction by Bloomsbury New York in May 2020. Simon has presented his research at conferences across the world, including Portugal, Holland and Australia.

Carl Loben has been a music journalist since the early ‘90s. He wrote for the weekly music paper Melody Maker for most of the 1990s, and has been on the staff at DJ Magazine for most of the past two decades. He’s currently the Editor-in-Chief at DJ Mag, the biggest electronic music title in the world.

As well as his regular titles, Carl has also written for MOJO magazine, The Guardian, Huffington Post, The Quietus, Generator and FACT, amongst others, and wrote the electronic music section of the Billboard Music Encyclopaedia in the early noughties, as well as lots of artist biogs and sleeve notes. He’s currently co-authoring a book on drum & bass music — Renegade Snares.

Carl has interviewed many significant figures in music over the years, and has also given numerous media interviews himself — from Newsround to Newsnight, and lots of points in between.

In parallel with music journalism, Carl has had a varied DJ career that has taken him to many far-flung places. He also ran a record label for ten years — Westway — and has had a bash at producing music, promoting events, managing acts, and lecturing too, plus appearing on a multitude of panels at music conferences.

Nicholas Blincoe is the author of three novels set around the Manchester club scene of the 1980s and 1990s. In recent years, he has turned to history, producing two acclaimed histories of the Middle East. He remains a committed fan of the culture and music of the UK club scene, the great incubator of new ideas, and a barometer of our national life.

Trevor Miller is a British born writer/director, author and playwright whose writing the Sunday Times called “…sharp and lacerating like a broken bottle.” His first novel, Trip City, was published by science fiction legend Brian Aldiss’ Avernus Press. More recently, Miller has lived in Los Angeles working on screenplays with a diverse roster of actors including Sylvester Stallone, Ryan O’Neal and Laurence Fishburne. December 2020 he will receive his MFA in screenwriting from the prestigious David Lynch Graduate School of Cinematic Arts. He is currently represented by the Lynn Pleshette Agency alongside Pulitzer Prize Winners Annie Proulx (Brokeback Mountain, The Shipping News) and Jane Smiley (A Thousand Acres).

Sarah Champion is an English music journalist and author. She has documented the 24 Hour Party People era and edited several collections of chemical fiction, including Disco Biscuits in 1997.

She has written about the Manchester music scene for New Musical Express, and formerly contributed a weekly column in the Manchester Evening News. At the same time, she ran her own indie record label and public relations company, and wrote And God Created Manchester, a book about Manchester’s music scene. Champion then became involved in London’s electronic music world and travelled to Berlin, Chicago, and Tokyo writing about club culture for music publications including Trance Europe ExpressMixMag and Melody Maker.

In the 1990s, Champion edited four anthologies of fiction for Sceptre and Penguin which were accompanied by CD releases and club nights. This was followed by Disco 2000 — a book about pre-millennial paranoia, Shenanigans — about Ireland after dark, and Fortune Hotel — a collection of twisted travel stories.

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