Over the past few months, much of the world has taken a major turn on Covid as clubs reopened – the final leg of a return to pre-pandemic normalcy, or something like that. While the legitimate party may be back in full swing, legal and illegal DIY raves aren’t going anywhere — and neither is Telegram as a way to organize them.
We’ve all heard the stories of the end ‘Back in the 80s, when half the fun of going to illegal acid house raves was looking up addresses via amazingly designed flyers and stickers – albeit randomly handed out – in phone booths. “The flyer not only gave you a vision of the party to come, but it was also the first step to get to a rave, sometimes only the first step of many to get to the destination of the party,” explains the anonymous founder of Phatmedia, the Internet’s largest database for old-school flyers.
“A map of the meeting point was often printed on the back, [and they] were bought in record stores in Soho, Brixton or Camden. In many ways, using Telegram to communicate holiday information recreates the sense of thrill and adventure previously unique to those old-school raves, with captured maps and hastily drawn instructions drawing revelers until the end of their journey – or rather, the beginning.
But crucially, Telegram also offers much-needed anonymity to party planners, namely GutterRing, a collective that regularly organizes one of London’s most debauched gatherings. Hanna*, also from London, uses the app to organize her own intimate and secret raves on the canal.
“Telegram takes us back to our party roots,” she says. “The police sometimes get up, so it takes away the practical impossibilities [and means] I can send the location to a secure server, to make sure the bettors are safe, the boat owner is safe, and to protect myself, because it’s all illegal!