What's The Key To Boiler Room's Lasting Success?

Now past the stage of a mere novelty, Boiler Room has silenced its critics and become a staple of contemporary club culture.
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Now past the stage of a mere novelty, Boiler Room has silenced its critics and become a staple of contemporary club culture.

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Many find the attraction of DJing unfathomable - a lonesome figure gleaning so much glory from playing other peoples records is seemingly unjust. Indeed the graduation from the anonymous pub disk jockey to demigod status has been widely debated, but over the past few years with the arrival of the YouTube DJ set, and notable monopolisers The Boiler Room, opinions are polarised like never before.

For all the denouncements of DJ culture as fraudulent stars operating in a world of drugged up frivolity, the detractors must be scratching their heads at the staying power of the Boiler Room. This internet sensation has none of the immersive attractions of an actual party: the sensory barrage of lights, sound, drugs and socialising, which formed the holistic experience of the club can only be translated in the most distilled format on YouTube - none of the pizazz of the real party, just pixels and poor sound quality.

But it seems participation is no longer necessary - much like watching internet porn, we are allured as armchair spectators. Here's 5 reasons why.

1 Voyeurism

The insatiable appetite for voyeurism has permeated our lives in every conceivable way. The lured fascination of watching reality television has run rife from the bedroom (Big Brother) to the courtroom (Judge Judy). Dance culture was slow to enter the conversation, but hail the genius that conjured the concept of filming a DJ set and uploading it. Most media moguls would have hurled the suggestion out - how could it possibly translate? And from a purely hypothetical stand point, DJing is a fairly static performance - the potential for entertainment, beyond the music, is pretty limited. Yet we should never underestimate our intrigue in the mundane - the hours of watching a man cue up a record with a pill head peering over his shoulder has proved mesmerising.

2. Budget

Be it the GFC or exorbitant student fees, there is no doubting that our recreational spending prowess has been curtailed over the past few years. The excessive jaunts to super clubs are now increasingly the preserve of the oligarchs and royalty. Once the stomping ground of the commoner, with a melting pot as weird and wonderful as a Heston Blumenthal quiche, the velvet rope has hanged the austerity raver and rolled out the red carpet for the super rich. Spunking 500 notes on a round is fine if you are P-Diddy, but if your living in the realms of reality, then you will have to make do with the virtual online clubbing experience. Or move to Berlin.

3. Ageing Raver

Whilst America is now experiencing its ‘summer of love’, basking in the warm ecstasy glow of their new dance culture movement, the UK's first generation raver is balding and approaching retirement age. This boiled sweet brigade set things off in the mid 1980’s with illegal raves in warehouses and forests, which later morphed into a burgeoning club scene and exported across the world like imperial tea. Now these forefathers of the scene are riddled with families and careers, penned into the commitments of middle age. But the fires of nostalgia burn bright and the internet DJ transmission enables a vicarious fix without the comedown and wife bollocking. It’s an ageing world and the community of armchair ravers is steadily growing - you can guarantee the soundtrack for care homes and bingo halls is gradually changing frequency from Song of Praise to Voodoo Ray.

4. Rave on demand 

As our attention spans dwindle, this ADD infected hipster generation flicks between applications at lighting speed. Everything must be easily digestible, accessible and above all convenient. The internet set caters perfectly for the on-demand mind set, no need to wait 2hrs in an expensive sweat sodden club until Richie Hawtin comes on, just log on and consume via the iPhone. Never before has the locality of the live DJ set been so diverse; the bus, the shopping queue, the classroom, the shitter - no where is out of bounds.

5. DJ School

Forbes recently released their rich list of dance music’s glitterati. If anything, it gives us an insight into the commercial punch of dance music. Once a sub-culture of carefree party goers (in it only for the escapism and hedonism), it now resembles the gluttonous administration and pay cheques of Premiership football stars, complete with tiered management and back room staff.  The diamond glided life of a top DJ has spawned a tidal wave of wannabe DJ/producers and the internet set provides the consummate online course - an Open University for aspiring Avici’s.