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Inside Clubbing Reviews

A must read for the clubbing cognoscenti, February 20, 2004 Amazon Reviewer: Eylan from U K

A must read for the clubbing cognoscenti Anyone who has lost themselves in music, dance and joy in a club - and tried (more often than not ending up sounding like a loved up hippy!) to explain why life will never be the same because they have indulged in one of the defining experiences of our generation - MUST READ THIS BOOK. Dr Phil Jackson manages to put into words what we all know - that the body and brain merge to form a unique social space. One that allows us to share with complete strangers a sense of fun and escape that millions us carry with us into daily life. The examples and interviews bring to this book to life - you just can't help yourself saying out loud..."I've been there - felt like that!". This an enjoyable trip into the pulsing, sweaty and visceral world of clubbing! Tell your friends - spread the word. If God is a DJ - then Phil Jackson is surely his prophet.

Stunning, February 21, 2004 Amazon Reviewer: jodiwoodward from United Kingdom

Stunning I've read a few books about clubbing and they have mostly been shallow or too narrow in focus. This book manages to cover a wide variety of different clubbing experiences in a really indepth way - the author obviously loves his subject. The only book about clubbing that I've actually enjoyed reading all the way through.

This guy know his stuff!!, July 7, 2004 Amazon Reviewer: Lauz from Leeds, Yorkshire United Kingdom

Arguably one of the best books ever written on clubbing and dance/drug culture. Written by someone who has obviously been involved in the scene and feels pasionate about it the book goes into great detail about the whole clubbing experience and the issues surrounding it. Whilst a bit complex in places the message never gets lost. Highly reccommended!!!

I love clubbing and I loved this book, October 7, 2005 Amazon Reviewer: K from London

I love clubbing and I loved this book. I didn't think it was possible to write a book about clubbing, but this did it and made me want to go straight out again and have even more fun. So get reading now.

David Howes, Director, Concordia Sensoria Resaerch Team
Concordia University, Montrea

Based on many years of participant sensation in the London club scene, Inside Clubbing throbs with the sensuous sociality of the dance floor, and its language is equally kinetic. Like Farquhar, Jackson is concerned with tracing the contours of "embodied knowledge," but whereas Farquhar remains fixated on the mundane (due to her thereoetical allegiance to Bourdieu's notion of habitus), Jackson is interested in exploring the "sensual shifts," or potential for "stepping beyond the mundane," which the sensuous landscape of the club affords. The object of the search for extramundanity (which is part and parcel of the quest for sex, companionship and intimacy in clubland) is not to transcend the senses, but rather to revel in the extremes to which they can be subjected through the combination of music, drugs and dancing. (To update Descartes: "I dance, therefore I am.") Jackson's study of "the clubbing body" and how it distances itself from "the body of capital" (or everyday habitus) departs from the now standard "readings" of subcultural styles. The latter remain too preoccupied with "the symbolic" and "resistance," in Jackson's estimation, and amount to little more than "trainspotting". Jackson relates of his own cross-dressing foray into punk fashion: When I went through my punky stage around twenty years ago my mohawk, fishnets, doctor martens and leather mini-skirts changed my body at a visceral level and gave me the body of a punk ... It was a total and profoundly sensual aesthetic, rather than a cluster of symbols to be read (p. 52). Dressing-up had to do with feeling "expansive" or "standing out" (not the acquisition of "subcultural capital" or "resistance" in any meaningful sense), and while his adolescent need to be noticed has diminished, Jackson continues to enjoy dressing-up "for myself, not to make an impact on others, but rather to make an impact on me by shifting the way I experienced my own body via the clothes I wore". Margaret Cavendish, who also practiced cross-dressing, and who knew about "knowledge in the flesh," would approve. Jackson records many engaging anecdotes about the transformation in gender relations in 1990s London clubland. He notes how the substitution of Ecstasy for alcohol as the intoxicant of choice changed male punters from "drunken wallflowers" (or macho slam-dancers at best) into active participants in the club environment, as they discovered dancing for themselves, and along with each other as well as female punters, in "the general air of delirium [which] granted both genders an increased sense of freedom [and safety] on the dance floor as the sheer sexual and sensual aspects of dance ... [came to the fore in an] on-going liberation of the body from the judgmental gaze of the gendered other". Jackson's ethnography is subtitled "sensual experiments in the art of being human," and it is an "experimental ethnography" (Clifford 1986), but with the difference that instead of experimenting with his writing style Jackson breaks out of the "empire of signs" to delve into how his informants experiment with their sensations. The club is an experimental laboratory in which punters "experience new socio-sensual models," and the more knowledgeable among them succeed in "transferring the embodied states" they enjoy in clubland into the world beyond. Of course, many if not most do not succeed, but Jackson has little to say about their condition, which is a major lacuna in an otherwise sensational ethnography.