Party Lines

The explosion of acid house in the summer of 1988 was a seismic rupture in the UK’s social order and national identity: tearing up the old hierarchies of a fading industrial past, ushering in an uncertain technological future, and enabling strange new forms of expression and connection to emerge from the dying embers of Thatcherism and the Cold War.

In the decades since, the dizzying rush and saturated colours of dance music have permeated every facet of British life, permanently altering our understanding of ourselves and our connections to each other.

But even as dance music has fundamentally altered vast swathes of our lives, we’ve failed to fully grasp the complexity of its intersections with money and power, the social conditions under which it’s produced and consumed, and the political machinations which surround it. Bewitched by the music and personalities involved, we’ve spent three decades relegating those wider issues to mere background colour.

“Party Lines” will tell the story of dance music’s social and political history, from its earliest roots in the semi-legal world of blues parties and dub soundsystems to its uncertain and tantalising post-Covid futures. It will be published by Picador in August 2023.