Every generation has its own language and slang and the UK rave scene was no different. In the late 1980s and early 90s, being a part of the scene meant being a part of a, if not secret society, then certainly a private one. The unique nature of the hardcore rave scene – brand new music, substances and ways of doing things – meant that for a while, it seemed that you had more in common with a few thousand strangers in a warehouse or a field than you did with non-rave people you’d known for years. And one of things that bound us together was the things we said: 

“I  love this tune”

Everyone had their favourite tunes, and as it was a new scene that wasn’t saturated with releases, there was a good chance you’d hear your jam on a night out. 

“Hardcore, you know the score.” 

It was a code and a mantra, a secret chant, our thing. MC’s used to say it, people used to shout it on the dance floor. 

“Where you from, what have you had?”

The classic rave opening conversational gambit, also known as ‘what you on, where you from’. People were both genuinely friendly, and also genuinely interested in what drugs you had taken. 

“Cheeky half?” 

From here on in, anything can happen.

“Have you got any Rizla?” 

Probably still heard all over the world, but the reason it was such a pressing issue for ravers was that everyone danced so hard that the humidity levels would be off the scale. You’d try and get a Rizla out and they’d all be stuck together so you’d just pull out a long useless paper scarf. Hence, the extremely common have you got any Rizla mantra. 

Sometime in 1989, a geezer comes up to us at the rave and asks for some Rizla. The conversation goes as follows: 

Him: Hey mate, have you got any Rizla please? 

My mate: Yeah no worries. 

Him: Wicked. ah hey, you haven’t got a cigarette as well have you?! 

My mate: Ha ha, yeah ok, here you are mate. 

Him: Nice one! Umm, sorry, you got any roach? 

Me mate: OK. 

Him: Sorted. You got any gear to go in it?

“Can I have some of your / Do you want some of my water?”

We bonded over bottles of water. We knew you were supposed to keep some kind of fluid intake up when dancing energetically on drugs for endless weekends, so in our one concession to health and safety we’d occasionally sip at water bottles filled up from the taps in the loos.

“Why are they called Dennis the Menaces? Wait… ohhh, right”

“The 1s and 2s.”

People used to call the decks the ‘1s and 2s’. You don’t hear that much anymore do you. 

“One more”

People used to refuse to leave once the lights came on, and shouted “One more” at the DJ till they dropped another tune. When the music finally finished, you slowly make you way out through the debris and there would always be a few people who were still dancing hard to the rhythm of the generator and the hum of the amp. 

Other things we said included:

Battered, nutted, off your nut, off her head, off their tits, pills, pillage, Steve Hillage, whizz, sniff, chop-chop, bumbles, eccies, puff, herb, spangled, on the ming, spannered, mashed.

I never, ever, heard anyone ever say ‘Get right on one matey’.
 Want to read more about your lost youth and the days of acid house? Course you do, who wouldn’t, check these out too:
Under 21s Guide to 90s Rave     Better Days, Even Better Nights     Come On Down