After a small hiatus we are back with another episode of the People and Dancefloors podcast!
Delighted to be joined by Harold Heath, a DJ with a career spanning the full history of electronic dance music, whose book I devoured over a staycation. The book is called ‘Long Relationships: my incredible journey from unknown DJ to small time DJ’, a collection of heart-warming anecdotes full of discreet wisdom – highly recommended!
On the podcast, we chat about the title of the book, long relationships, as the perfect framing to encapsulate many relationships: to DJing, to music itself, to friends and connections made along the way, to drugs both internally produced and externally consumed, and to the electronic dance music industry.
We discuss what pulls people in and keeps people coming back to the dance floor. We agree that it is about community and belonging, but Harold adds another layer when discussing how the silly, hedonistic music and clubbing pursuits in his youth brought him an education in hindsight, in black and gay histories, in group struggles and cohesion reshaping British culture.
We touch upon the lack of cultural recognition awarded to clubs compared to the operas and ballets, discussing whether this is impacted upon by the expectation that clubs must belong to youth culture alone, and not be part of “grown up culture”.
Finally, we talk about drugs (of course), and how it is such a difficult terrain to navigate at the level of both individual experience and policy – though Harold agrees that harm reduction is the way forward 😊
Follow Harold on social media at @HaroldHeathDJ
Get a copy of his book here https://velocitypress.uk/product/long-relationships-book/ Visit his website https://haroldheath.contently.com/
In Episode 14, Giulia is in conversation with Michael Kill, CEO of the Night Time Industries Association. The NTIA is a Trade Association and Membership Organisation that promotes the contribution of the Night Time Industry in the UK and internationally, highlighting the cultural, economic, and community contribution of night time businesses.
We talk about how the love of music and community drives people’s involvement in the night time economy as a career, which too often is not recognised as legitimate. We note the political unwillingness of accepting electronic dance music’s rich cultural contribution to the UK as a bottom-up growth that gives space to marginalised voices and communities, and the disconnect that exists with older generations of political stakeholders who have the most decision-making power.
We also discuss the role of drugs in the night time economy and the difficult situation that clubs and other venues are placed in when enforcing drug laws. The night time economy is a risk environment that presents significant challenges, including managing consumption of alcohol and other drugs. Michael’s remark here is poignant: there are unreasonable expectations placed on night time venues to keep drugs out when we cannot even keep drugs out of secure environments like prisons. We both see harm reduction as a key principle that should inform strategies to manage the night time economy.
We conclude by talking about visions for the future, agreeing that despite its tragic nature, the pandemic has presented us with an unprecedented opportunity to take stock and think about the changes we can make going forward.
Watch/listen to our chat here:
Follow the NTIA on Twitter @wearethentia and Michael on Linkedin
In Episode 13, Giulia is in conversation with someone close to her heart – Manchester producer and DJ Earl Grey
Giulia and Jim bonded over a shared love of music at Boomtown festival in 2016. When I first met him, I was expecting for him to bring up jungle and amen breaks, but he went on and on about Matthew Herbert
In episode 12, Giulia is in conversation with Dr Melissa Bone and Dr Rebecca Askew, who make up the dream research team behind the Drug Policy Voices project.
Melissa is Associate Professor in the University of Leicester Law School. She is interested in the intersection between drug policy, law and human rights and wrote an excellent book on the subject, titled Human Rights and Drug Control: A New Perspective.
Rebecca is a Senior Lecturer in Criminology at Manchester Metropolitan University. She is interested in drug policy, the perspectives of people who use drugs, and has written extensively about the many different functions of drug use.
In the podcast, we talk about the intersections between the personal and the political in research journeys into drug policy. We tackle utopian visions of the drug policy process, and the aims and ethos of the Drug Policy Voices project.
We all agreed that drug policy debates should make room for value-based positions and questions (Preach!!!) Participation, education, integration (2 better than Tony Blair :p)
The Drug Policy Voices project is already outlining the diversity and complexity of people’s experiences, views, and positions around drug policy. The project’s approach and methods are innovative and inclusive. To find out more about the project, including how to get involved, visit the website at: https://www.drugpolicyvoices.co.uk/.
Follow Melissa, Rebecca and Drug Policy Voices on Twitter for updates:
@melissa_bone @drskew @DrugPolicyVoic1
Or Instagram: @drugpolicyvoices
Stuart Taylor is a senior lecturer in Criminal Justice at Liverpool John Moores University. He has written extensively on the representation of drugs and drug users within the media. In this podcast Anthony Killick talks to Stuart about the relationship between media representation and the formation of drugs policy in the UK. They discuss the ways in which drug use and intoxication are framed by class, neoliberal ideologies, and particular consumption practices.
In episode 10 of the podcast, you get to hear from the People and Dancefloors team! Giulia, Eve, Anthony and Lee talk about the impetus beyond the project: to provide a platform for people’s subjective experiences in relation to drugs and dancefloors and the drug policy debate more broadly.
We also discuss the importance of turning the lens upon ourselves as researchers, activists, and drug users, which we address in our most recent article. Hear our musings about identity, class, privilege, and how these plays out in relation to drugs and status.
In this episode, we invited Verity Smith, a PhD researcher at Durham University, to share insights from her ethnographic study of drug policing at music festivals. In the podcast, she reflects on the challenges of multiagency work in festival environments, focusing particularly on some of the tensions between enforcement policing and harm reduction and risk minimisation objectives. Verity takes us on a journey from policing, private security, and sniffer dogs at the festival gate, all the way to festival utopias.
Can we change the culture of festivals towards harm reduction embedded in festival environment design? Total ear candy!
Follow Verity on Twitter at @veritymasmith
In our latest episode, we invited Alex Aldridge to talk about the relationship between sex and drugs. Alex is a researcher currently doing a PhD on the relationship between sex and drugs, particularly focusing on the issue of consent. She uses ethnographic methods to tease out the complexities of people’s sex on drugs experiences. In the podcast, we talk about some of the problems with the chemsex label, binary understandings of consent, the intersection of sex, drugs and dancefloors as encompassing events, embodiment and sex on drugs experiences, and more!
Check out her work and follow her on Twitter at @AlexAldridge_
In episode 7, Giulia is in conversation with someone close to her heart. Marta Santuccio is an embodied practitioner focusing on breathwork while studying for a PhD in philosophy. Giulia and Marta first experienced raving together many years ago. Here, they talk about how drug experiences have informed Marta’s personal and professional journey. To find out more about Marta’s work, visit her Instagram (fleshandskin) or her website.
In the sixth episode of our podcast series, Anthony and Giulia speak to Mat Southwell, a global advocate on drugs and HIV, technical support consultant and drug user activist.
Mat was one of the co-founders of the the European Network of People who use Drugs. Mat was also one of the first people to introduce party harm reduction education through his work with MixMag in the 1990s.
Here we discuss this early work, as well as media representations of drug use, the Dance-Drugs Alliance, and the importance of harm reduction as a strategy for drugs policy in the UK.
In this latest podcast, we invited Sorcha Ryan, club and festival harm reduction lead at the Bristol Drugs Project, to talk about what inspired her pioneering harm reduction work, the wicked problems in drug policy practices and debates, and the opportunity for reflection and taking stock offered by this pandemic. We both agreed that more honest and open conversations among stakeholders that include drug users’ voices are one way forward…
In this episode, Giulia is in conversation with Hannah Head (@_HannaHead_), a PhD student, an activist, and a member of Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) UK (@ssdpuk).
We talk about the values of harm reduction, the role of drugs in young people’s lives, her work with SSDP and the need for universities to drop the ‘just say no’ rhetoric and develop more realistic, responsible and active harm reduction approaches to drug use by students to prevent drug related deaths.
In this episode Anthony Killick and Becky Brookfield review a new BBC podcast series, Ecstasy: The battle of rave. While the series does well to interview people who were actually involved in ecstasy and rave culture throughout the ‘birth’ of acid house, it’s overarching ‘rise and fall’ narrative is typical of media that discusses drug use, and occludes a more interesting and urgent conversation about the relationship between subcultures and criminality. In particular, the series fails to make any new contribution on issues around class, drugs policy, and the closing down of raving spaces – questions which are just as relevant today as they were in the early 90s.
In episode two we focus on music festivals, the space they create for recreational drug use and the potential blueprint they offer for harm reduction.
This time Eve is in the hot seat explaining why festivals are the focus of her research and tells us more about her newest project: Festivals in Lockdown.
To participate in Eve's research on festivals in lockdown, you can answer a few questions here!
In this podcast, we discuss a first experience of a rave during the pandemic. Albeit subjective and partial, a first-person account is a good launchpad for a broader discussion where we address media portrayals and associated stereotypes about raves, along with the tendency to blame young people’s recklessness and lack of responsibility for social, and in this case public health, ills.
Finally, we question the categorisation of raves as “criminal” and as a “vector of disease”.