A new world awaits us under ground

In the cold, sobering light of day on a Sunday morning our thoughts yet again drift to Blå and its uncertain future. Today Brenneriveien is abustle with wares and folks as the weekly market goes about its business and it’s hard to believe that a mere few hours earlier a violent incident wrestled the fate of the Oslo clubbing institution into uncertain water again. At 2:30AM that very same morning an armed assailant had shot four people; two doormen, a Blå employee and a guest in an incident outside the club that could possibly sever the wispy thread Blå had been hanging from since the authorities had tried to revoke its license last year. First and foremost our thoughts go out to the brave folks on the door and the Blå that literally took a bullet for us, the guest that got caught in the crossfire, and the entire team at Blå that had been working so tirelessly this past year to make Blå incident free and safe for the music enthusiasts that patronise it.

After last year’s turmoil that saw Blå’s license being revoked by the licensing authorities on the request of the Police, but eventually renewed for a probationary period, this incident certainly doesn’t bode well for the fate of the cultural hub of Oslo. But I’d like to suggest this isolated incident is cause for greater alarm as the very sanctity of club culture is under threat from a new kind of patronage. The authorities and moralists will no-doubt be firmly saddled on their high-horses today, eager to point a finger at someone, and it will be Blå and Hip Hop that will almost definitely bare the brunt of their accusations, but for me this incident is just another indicator in a long line of experiences that suggest the very essence of club culture is being infiltrated by people that have no business there and it’s killing the experience for the rest of us, the people that love the music, the artists, the DJs and most importantly the dance floor that has essentially shaped the very thing of what we are today.

Whether it be Hip Hop, House, Techno or even Punk, the very constitution of clubbing, is ingrained in the music, and the people that band together around said music. Everyone is welcome, but this might not be for everyone, and if you’re bringing a gun to a party you’re there for the wrong reasons. Concealing a weapon, the assailant had certainly come there with a premeditated violent encounter in mind and that person should in no way should represent the people that had come out to see Kool G perform on the night. People Like Jan Steigen and Jorgen “Joddski” Nordeng (Raggabalder Riddim Rebels) who I’d bumped into earlier that evening on their way to the concert. They and the extensive crew around them, the tireless supporters and purveyors of Hip Hop music in Oslo are the true faces of this subculture in Oslo, but when an incident like that happens, the narrow and ignorant minds turn to the face value, and people like this young, irrational assailant becomes the common denominator for it all. Immediately associations with violence, gun culture and criminal activity crops up in light of the genre and the sub culture and they forget all about the majority that and focus on a minority at the forefront of an isolated incident.

Many will no doubt turn to Hip Hop’s lyrics and their associations with gang culture, holding it up as validation of this type of behaviour, but to this is like saying all horror films inspire serial killers. For a music born and bred in the impoverished suburbs of America, where gang culture and criminal behaviour was an everyday reality, it’s only natural that the music references it. You are a product of your environment and anybody engaged in a creative pursuit will always be influenced about what’s around you. So to blame Hip Hop for inciting and encouraging the kind of behaviour we witnessed at Blå is incredibly vague, and just plain obtuse.

This incident should be considered for what it was, the irrational behaviour of a very confused young mind. Who brings a gun to a party and shoots four people for not being granted entry into a club? What are your cognitive processes that would lead to you harming another individual with the intent of fatally injuring them, all for the sake of the last 30 minutes of opening time? It’s clear that even if he was some kind of gangster, this was not a gang related incident. He wasn’t shooting at other gangsters but at innocent employees just doing their job and keeping a bunch of music enthusiasts safe from harm. It’s rumoured that he was known by the police as previous offender and possibly even as a right wing sympathiser. If that is the case is this not a terror attack?

Because, today that event and that single individual threatens one of Oslo’s finest cultural institutions;  a livelihood for everybody from the staff to the DJs that work out of the venue; and a way of life for the rest of us that just want to indulge simple pleasures, forget about the mundane and dance the night away listening to our favourite music and socialising with other people in the context of the music. The actions of individuals like the gunmen at Blå threaten to destroy this very existence, and for me it extends from this extreme, to the guy that thinks it’s ok to grope girls on the dance floor; the people that verbally abuse a DJ when they’re not playing their song; and those folks that generally just ooze disrespect the nature of club culture. It’s from them that I urge we take back the night and return clubbing to it’s rightful subterranean hollow as a subculture. To those that are new to this, but respect what it’s all about, you may join us, but for those that believe they can impose their narrow minded, ignorant and obtuse views and actions on us, this is not for you, so we urge you to stay away as we take our counterculture back. A new world awaits us under ground.