Stefan is a Danish art student studying in Beirut this year. He’s also a writer and contacted 2Famous to contribute to our site. We liked his work and sent him on his first 2famous mission. If YOU want to contribute to 2famous, shoot us an email about yourself and a sample of your work and we’ll get back to you. email@example.com
I went on this undercover mission for 2famous.tv, going to this rave, the ten year anniversary of Kaotik System, in the Country club/resort of Baissour. School got postponed, school was out. I have been here in Lebanon for nearly two months, and this is my beginning. I wanted to get away from Denmark. I wanted to be a better writer. I wanted to get more comfortable with Lebanese culture. Well, this seemed like a good place to start. Or no? I’d have to find out:
Friday. We were going slowly out of Baissour. I was picked up in Beirut by this Swedish-Lebanese couple with their dog. Okay, they were Swedish, some kind of comfort I guess. I was waiting for a lot of hours. Was I going there? I was in doubt. It was a typical example of Lebanese time. You keep waiting, and suddenly your phone is ringing. I stormed out with my backpack. Standing at the sidewalk, suddenly I heard shouting from a car. He was a DJ. She was a bartender in Beirut. An example that it can be done, living abroad. I thought that I could never do such a thing, and here I am, sitting in the car with these people, them being the hope of my struggle in this country.
We have been driving for a while, mostly up, through the mountains. We had to go down into a valley. A field of lights. Way down. The roads got smaller, uneven, big holes everywhere. The roads look alike, seems easy to get lost.
Like in a roller coaster, we turned corners and the road fell far down. You could see the lights from the bottom of the valley. Little houses. The car was old and made all kinds of noises. You knew you had to go to the bottom. Falling. They were wondering if they would be able to get the car back up on Sunday. We saw a sign saying “Baissour Resort.”
We turned a corner and heard the music. Being welcomed by a mutated kind of techno/technoid, going to the gates of the rave. Lebanese psychedelic resort. 6:10 pm was the time.
“Booum, booum, booum” “boom boom boom boom”
The doors of perception. The horror. The thunder.
A sizzling me, boiling over with excitement. The entrance. I’m on the list. 2Famous, thank yoouuuuuu!!!!!
Parking the car. Getting my stuff. Bracelet on. Getting a tent. I got ripped off financially. Dirty, wet tent, spiders inside, well, better get used to it. Some hours are going to pass before I crash here. Now I am going to dance the fuck out of myself, like I’m used to in Denmark. But how is this going to be different? I was soon to find out.
Efes beer, going with the Swedish couple and the dog. We are not nearly deep enough. We have to go further down, spiraling deep down into the music. Down some uneven stone stairs, slightly lit by candles. A beer in one hand, a cigarette in the other, trying to hold onto something. Better not trip on these wet stairs. A good spot for an accident, being too wasted.
Getting all the way down, you walk along a tiny small lake, almost not moving, with a light as an end of a tunnel, showing the main stage, now covered in blue. The small lake continues alongside, passing by the main stage furnished with toys. Stuffed toys. Toys on the surface of the water, and hanging from trees. Gifts to Syrian refugee kids.
Reaching the stage, it hits my spine, I feel the urge of dancing, moving my legs, no question.
[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/13523232″ width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]I withhold myself out of my humble attitude, only going back and forth, slowly, not entirely standing still. I had to let that go, just like all the others there. You watch the sudden change of everybody. Like a wave coming in, a puff of air, people start loosening up, dancing the way they always do, being themselves. Country clubbing.
But suddenly I feel like a stranger. It’s understandable. Lebanese people going crazy, vibrations in the trees, this forest valley mania, some kind of painting you will see. I have to grow some balls to be at this rave. And its hard to ask for a cigarette. In Denmark you can’t, people get pissed, because they are too expensive. Bottles of whisky, Jameson, wine, an orgy of liquor. And I am just an art student from Denmark, what can I do here? “They must think you’re crazy, a Dane coming here” It’s too much, this little closed environment, where the sky claustrophobically turns the world into only existing here. A green bubble. The black sky, the heavy iron roof upon us. Dark.
People standing with their dogs, nodding ahead. The dog barking at a toy. Later I see a dog tied to a tree next to the stage. Its looking for people to talk to, trying to communicate. Im just like that dog, trying to get into this social situation, what is the tool to achieve that?
Im not that good with social situations. Then why did I come here in the first place? I guess I have this fear of social spheres, but I need to get rid of it. I have this mission, demanding that I cross some personal boundaries. My father should see me here, the courage I brought with me.
A girl sees the dog tied to a tree, and starts grinding the dog from aside with her butt. I look away. Costumes. Neptune. King Neptune, greek god, something, I don’t know if it was him.
The visuals are saying let go. Oh my god! Mickey mouse dancing and mesmerizing a broom to deep, thick hard 120-150 bpm. A baby pegasus is learning to fly.
“Where can I get the stuff?”
“What do you want?”
“Are you out of your mind?”
“Are you lost?”
Yeah, I am, everybody here is lost. I arrived at night, and my orientation will come in the morning, when I open my tent to the sun, seeing the landscape unravel.
The main stage was closing. I have been smoking too much. Too many cigarettes. Not drunk by alcohol, or fucked on something else. Drunk by the music and the surroundings. Feeling the tension going up and down in my legs. They hurt.
“You don’t fuck with a ukrainian guy” I heard someone say.
Phew, I don´t know any Ukrainians. Good to go.
You follow the path behind the main stage, guided by candles, all the way until you reach the pink light of an old building. The “chill out” stage. It used to be an old bakery I have heard, like a long time ago. The DJ standing where the oven once was. These walls, old brick walls, curved roof, this old ruin, it ricochets the sound, almost religious. Gregorian singing from a vinyl record. The alter, the kitchen of music nourishing our souls. The last supper. We only need a bit of water once in a while. Then the water turns to wine and Jesus appears.
I see my pattern of footprint in the sand. Richard Long couldn’t have done that. The oriental pattern in my dancing, laying down on a mattress in the ruin, smoking. They know how to party. People died of dancing, eternal sleep from the sedation of the day. Victims of the battle. Never mind, we are resurrected tomorrow, Like in Valhalla, ready to party more.
Saturday morning. The lake beside my tent kept going. An endless humming.
Most peculiar right now, when you’ve overcome the normality of partying, is when you watch the landscape, the nature, the lake, and it transforms narratively by the soundscape of the Dj’s. The music transforms the landscape into a story about its freedom, its sacredness, its virginity here. The heritage of Lebanon and its origins underlying. Everybody seems to be alright here, away from war. I even feel bad mentioning it right now. Cinematic pleasure, a sound essay. You become one with nature. Turning water into wine, suddenly Jesus appears again, bringing like Dionysos, the true ecstasy. The holy water as an accessory to the immense hours of dancing, sitting in the sun and walking around the site.
The psychedelic landscape of Lebanon. Going back into time. Get to the other side of the mountains, beyond expectations and abuse. Beyond war. Going back to nature, living as a gypsy. I have heard this music in Denmark. I have been to these forest raves, but none like this. It really hits you, the drama, the spectacular theatricality of nature, in which this rave is situated. Like the monk in a Casper David Friedrich painting, looking out to the devastating sublime nature of the sea. I am witnessing the same revelation in myself here. And Kaotik System has been doing this for ten years. It freaks me out thinking about all these parties in the past, all that nature being explored. Boheme du Liban. Breakcore and the sound of water falling. The hollow bridge. Nature provides no retreat. An anti-retreat retreat.
This dream of Batman/Badman/Bakmand city. The village of getaway.
“Calm down, you’ve climbed on, and Bakmand will go on far now”
I have to keep going, Im not at all there yet.
This guy Mark, starts to ramble eagerly about the festival to me;
“……and then my sensibility towards the being of nature and its necessity of dreaming was increased, thanks to Kaotik System”
“Cheers mate, thanks for the talk, see you later”
That sounded so funny, but nevertheless true. I felt like an agent, just like Borroughs, a reporter like Hunter s. Thompson, scouting around, looking for details, weird moments, something unique. Could I use this? Is this relevant enough? To get deep into social situations. Uncovering the tragedy of being. A wet spot on the page.
Drops of water was falling from the seemingly pure sky. The weather was either consistent or inconsistent, I couldn’t decide. Suddenly from a drop of water, an angel came down from heaven, and she said;
Family grows from the thick root
of the tree that feeds the bass
branches extending to circular corners
to make a home for those beneath it
and the space in between is never empty
I talked about the weather as seemingly consistent, the sun was shining the whole day, without loosing power. This was like a desert.
“But remember, Lebanon is very inconsistent, and you will learn that the weather is also so, and that these things are related”
The angel followed me down to the main stage. I took a sip of my beer, and suddenly she was gone. I got my stamp. Three dogs were playing with each other in the grass. The playground. I went dancing instead. The Breakcore was surrounding me, encapsulating me. I thought;
“Are you doing this out of incapability”
“No, Im not, Im doing it because I CAN”
I couldn’t stop smiling. I had this smile on I never felt on my face before. I felt a little embarrassed, but knew that I shouldn’t or couldn’t fight it.
“Who is this guy?”
…German-Dutch-british looking guy. Found out he was belgian. [soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/53194599″ width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]
He was like taken out of a video game. A character from Streetfighter. Southpark-speedcore-90s-popsong-breakcore.
Two humans dressed as bunnies. Is this something I can use? Can I write this down? Is this what its supposed to feel like?
The toys stashed on the DJs table. They’re probably having their one and only rave experience. These toys are going to get traumatized by raving, then given to Syrian kids. Kaotik System guys growing up, not needing their toys anymore, entering into adulthood. They have something in common. I thought that there was a beautiful connection there, but why?
Breakcore gives me wood. Melocore. Hardcore. Brain damage. Short-circuit your brain.
And then it started to rain. And when the spotlight hit the rain, I could see them all, all the drops, the individual beings. I feel the ones that hit me, and they release me. I stretch out my arms to the sides, and Jesus appears again, but in me. We fight the rain with raincore. Let it rain towards me and the music. Towards us, everybody. I feel connected to the vision of the 70s hippies in San Francisco, love, peace and harmony.I practice a kind of self-therapy at that moment. I suddenly got this thought into my head. A memory of my childhood back in Denmark. Something I thought I had closed a long time ago. It would show up here for a last time, giving me the opportunity of saying goodbye. I didn’t decide to think about it, it just appeared, released by some force of a kind. It seemed like the perfect moment to deal with it. Even though it came quite sudden I didn’t feel scared. I felt ready to meet this trauma of mine. Trying to let go of all the problems that lie before me. All the troubles with my mother, Being hospitalized, trying to commit suicide. And she went back and forth to the psychiatric ward for some years.
But she has been feeling better for a long time. But there was something in me that still felt the pain from back then. It shouldn’t be bothering me anymore. I leave it all behind
”I deserve this” I scream, trying to leave the past.
Just like all the people beside me, dealing with their shitty problems too. Going through a fucked up childhood, with a depressed mother. I let it go. Be free.” Don’t worry, be happy” I Just dance, feel the rain, the lights and the music. Watching the day turn night, and I feel safe at last. I am one with nature.
Your flashlight is your best friend when you’re wasted. The darkness of the stairs close in on me. When I got up the stairs, I saw Droon at the parking lot, standing besides a black car with a girl. I went to my tent and got my notebook. Waited a bit. And after a while I finally had the courage to walk over there, and ask if he would write in my book.
“You can write anything”
“Anything, even Fuck You if you want” I said with a slight grin.
“Oh okay, then ill write that”
So he did, I thanked him for the show and went back to my tent, and here it comes;
I was wet, dirty. Came up to my tent. Water inside. I couldn’t care less. Its just fucking water. We are even made of it. Whats the big deal about some rain? We are human for gods sake. What makes you think that I cant deal with a little water in my being? I just sat there writing, all wet, my pants all muddy, but I was cleansed of worries. Kaotik System taught me nature. Nothing else happens. Only the brain spasms. And the weird social feeling. Let it stay. I walked around, a bit confused by the rain, mumbling something, people looking at me.
Oh fuck it, Im too fucked to care”
“Can I have a cigarette?”
“Its just fucking water, like, our bodies are made of 80 or 90 percent of it, right?”
…Fuck crazy. Just sitting here in my filth. not caring. I don’t know whats going on. I see this fucking pattern all the time. Metallic. Rhizome. Orientals. Old signs, hidden messages? Its the culture of the middle east, injected in me. Metallic, like razorblades, it circles around on its own axis, not retaining the same shape again. The light centers in the middle. I couldn’t find my phone, looking in my tent with my flashlight, Where the fuck is it? Did I drop it on the dance floor? Or on the way back? NOO! Just as I was close to go looking for it I found it under a shirt, Thank god!
This is fucking nature, believe it, Im tripping balls man; talked as a “British”-Whatever
You don’t know what I have been through. I have watched myself been humiliated. My head was strangely aware of all, but my physical state was fucked, out, I was out there, into space. I got a free pass to space from the open sky here. Some other-side stuff I tasted. Vicks. Like ether. I couldn’t do anything to my humiliation. I was turned into a boy again, to become the man I want to be. Getting the recognition from my father. My mind keeps producing these pictures, images. Nothing is aware. The text only is.
“Have I reached my existential limit of protection?”(a monologue fragment from Droons show)
Its a battle. Nobody gives it to you, you have to take it. I’m starting from scratch here, when it comes to social interaction. Im coming back to what this journey to Lebanon is about. I’m building up from scratch, transcending from one identity to another, just like the city of Beirut.
“Can I sit here? I want to say.
Starting from the bottom of the act of getting to know other people. The transition of me. I haven’t found who I am. Who would have thought that It would be here I would do that. Of all places in the world, it was supposed to start at a rave in Lebanon, in a valley under the village of Baissour. It was almost unbelievable that I was here. I fell into sleep, overwhelmed by one hell of a rave.
I woke up, opened the zipper of the tent. Watched the steam rise from the other tents. Went back into rest, half awake. I remember the word “Cripplefight”, Droon last night,
I haven’t eaten anything for a day or more. Im empty, flushed. The light is so strong. Im getting the vitamins there that I need. But this is over. At some point I have to go home. I got this guy to drive me back to Beirut, away from the sun. I was sorry to say goodbye to the people, so I didn’t. Then a guy I have been talking to, came by the car;
“Yeah, I am”
“Have a nice life Stefan”
These words broke my heart, and I hardly said anything in return. I just left it there. It was a once in a lifetime thing. Nothing lasts forever, not even Kaotik System. And I only wanted to say;
“See you again Bassouir, the big psychedelic retreat”
I found out that going deeper into this valley of eagerly Baissour, was also the journey of me going deeper into myself. The bottom of myself. In this garden of Eden I took a bite of the apple. I got more comfortable with Lebanon after going to this fucking rave. And this was the final frontier in the jungle, next generation will surely appear, but they have a huge act to follow.
I was there, it was me who was this weird Dane you saw. My name is Stefan.
What did I find going down this valley? I really don’t know yet, do you?
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