One Foot in the Rave
- Gareth K Vile
- 27 August 2018
A history of enthusiasms in poetry
Brought up as a Jehovah's Witness, embracing alcoholism as an escape before finding ecstasy in Ibiza, Alexander Rhodes unfurls a life of debauchery and redemption through a series of poems that culminates in a hymn to the magic of DMT. Although Rhodes sketches out his experience in witty episodes, and exposes his uglier traits, he is not always harsh on himself and buries the consequences of his actions beneath an energetic delivery, a self-deprecating humour and an attention to the detail of the clubbing lifestyle.
Even in the description of darker periods, Rhodes is optimistic and playful: the violence of his years as a heavy drinker is described, but he pushes past the consequences for other people to look at how alcoholism damaged his life. He admits that his behaviour was terrible but does not go into details. His experience of the rave years – he arrives late to the party in the 1990s, when it was becoming a mainstream and controlled movement - is not the generic celebration of the ecstasy generation but a more idiosyncratic struggle with personal demons.
Yet Rhodes' wit and rhyming are competent, avoiding the doggerel meters that dominate much spoken word poetry, and the positivity of the finale, if a little cloying, gives a purpose to this apparently autobiographical story.