Techno, Techno, Techno

Our arse-end-of-the-mag columnist tackles the deadly serious subject of techno, techno, techno, techno

Picture the scene. I’m at a party, loitering near the buffet table to ensure I’m in easy licking distance of the quiche. I’m dressed in my finest party outfit – cummerbund, lederhosen, green socks, crocs. Withered balloons line the walls and Alfie, whose 70th birthday celebration this is, is playing pass the parcel by himself.

I’ve been cornered by Boring Bertha. Her lips are greasy because she’s been ploughing through the salmon vol-au-vents. She tells me she likes prog rock and trains. She has a blog all about prog rock. And trains. “Well, I bet that’s a riveting read,” I lie to Bertha, wishing the little fairy lights surrounding the buffet table would explode and incinerate me so I can stop talking to her.

And then it happens. Bertha asks me what kind of music I like. I sigh at the inevitability of what’s about to happen. “I like techno,” I mutter. Bertha’s bloodshot eyes widen. She raises a glass of warm Shloer, like Rafiki holding Simba aloft, and declares, “Techno, techno, techno, techno!”. She guffaws at her hilarious dramatics. Submerged in a mountain of torn wrapping paper, Alfie laughs. “Nice one, Bertha,” he says.

Every single time. Every single damn time. Whenever I mention I’m into techno, someone inevitably says, “Techno, techno, techno, techno!”. It’s about as funny as blindfolded root canal surgery. This mantra is, of course, a reference to ‘No Limit’, the 1993 hit single by 2 Unlimited. The Belgian/Dutch outfit had a rapper who, in the UK, had his lines edited out and replaced with the dumb refrain, “Techno, techno, techno, techno”. Ugh. I hated it. From Der Dritte Raum to Charlotte De Witte, techno has been a huge, pulsating totem of my life. Wait, that sounds disgusting. From Orbital to Joy Orbison, techno has aroused me creatively. Hmmm, that’s only slightly better. How dare these europopsters reduce my beloved genre into something… fun?

Dance music should not be fun. Its most successful acts have included singing monks and glam-sampling timelords and breakdancing haddock and Dickensian drug-guzzlers. OK, maybe not the haddock. All this jollity is truly terrible. I want my dance music to be serious. I want to listen to The Black Dog and think, “Interesting time signature, let me read a Wikipedia page on music notation”, not “I’m enjoying this and it makes me feel good”. I demand anonymous bald men staring into panels of glowing LEDs while clubbers scroll TikTok to keep themselves awake. I insist on brow-furrowed women splicing tape in drab studios while not being paid enough by the BBC. Y’know, serious

Boring Bertha has her hand on my lap. “I think trains are sexy,” she says, while tonguing an anchovy around the inside of her mouth. Alfie is now playing musical chairs on a pouffe by himself. None of these people appreciate real techno. A series of images flash across my vision. Vengaboys and their tight lycra spacesuits. Rednex and their posse of yellow-toothed cowboys. Crazy Frog’s micro-penis. “No, not like this,” I bellow, shoving Bertha’s face into the potato salad and, with one sweeping fist, clearing a corner of the buffet table. Sausage rolls and skewered pineapple chunks go flying. I quickly climb up onto the table and, to a bemused crowd of open-mouthed partygoers, I perform my pièce de resistance – a one-man choreographed tribute to the entire history of techno. That’ll show ‘em.

So that’s how I got thrown out of Alfie’s 70th birthday party. Apparently, Tedious Tina had made the sausage rolls specially, and she really didn’t take kindly to me throwing them on the floor. I thought about describing my party-popping dance routine to you, but that would be fun to read. And we don’t want any of that.

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