Every good thing has to come to an end. For the ravers of the early nineties there was the Criminal Justice Act (although it was always hard to see how a field full of wide-eyed folk with whistles hugging each other was a crime scene), writes Megan Welford.
But more dangerous to the rave scene was people simply growing up. Getting a job. And the biggest party killer of all: having children. Game over.
Or was it?
Hannah Saunders, 44, of Brixton, stubbornly clung to her love of rave music throughout her career as a senior civil servant, only dropping the Fila trainers and crop top to finish up deputy head of policing at the Home Office. She even held on through her first pregnancy, going to see Phil Hartnoll of Orbital play at Brixton Jamm two days before she gave birth to her daughter, Winter, now 3 ½.
“He played at midnight, and I was only drinking water,” she says. “People were looking at me but I was saying ‘I may never go out again!’”
But when she returned to the home office after having Atticus, now 2, she found it a place of efficiency savings, no longer the positive, if not party, place she had known. So she left.
And Big Fish Little Fish (cardboard box…remember? The visual guide to rave hand movements), for 2- 4 hour party people, was born.
“I love festivals for that sense of adults and children enjoying themselves together,” she explains, “but there was nothing like that outside of summer.”
So she moved a rave/festival into the Effra Social in Brixton. The first Big Fish Little Fish was in July, and two more are planned.
There’s a main room with proper music for grown-ups– Ninja Tunes’ DJ Food is playing in September, and Ian Baker from Jesus Jones (remember them?!) on October 19. Raf Daddy from 2 Bears and Nihal are playing soon – fathers, all. “We didn’t seek out DJs who are parents but almost all of them are, for them it’s good to be able to show their children what they do for a living!” says Hannah.
The music played is eclectic. You’re sure to hear The Beloved’s ‘The Sun Rising’ or A Guy Called Gerald’s ‘Voodoo Ray’. But you might also hear The Bear Necessities from the Jungle Book or the theme from Batman. “The kids tend to start the dancing,” Hannah explains.
There’s a chill out room, more like a soft play area for tiny children and their exhausted parents; bubble machines and glitter guns (for children and parents); a craft room (for children) and a licensed bar (for adults). There are strangers hugging each other (just the children) but the only controlled substances will be the butter and sugar in the cakes from Rosie’s Deli.
Big Fish Little Fish is at the Effra Social 89 Effra Road, SW2 1DF on September 21 and October 19 from 2pm – 4.30pm. £8/adults; £4.50/children. www.bigfishlittlefishevents.co.uk