In December 1995, we were in the middle of the fourth year of highschool, and Skopje was filled with alternative youth, god almighty – it really seemed to be part of a parallel universe, because an incredible event from the other dimension – T-Festival happened!
Even before they were globally known, however, in the midst of popularity, The Prodigy came to our little forgotten city in the Balkans, which even the war avoided! But, of course, its shadow lurched over us, as we trembled daily under political insecurity, or under the pressure of an economic embargo from Greece, unemployment and technological surpluses were accumulating, we were shut down from all sides, a real powder keg in which one word, wrong gaze or act could have been a real “Firestarter”.
But then Firestarter did not exist yet, and “our” albums were for me “too much rave” album “Experience” and the favorite breakbeat “Music for the Jilted Generation”. I was headbanging my head on the song “Poison” because, as a metalhead, it was the only way I knew how to dance. Prodigy was somehow perfect for me, and “Voodoo People” was magical music for our “thrown-away” generation.
The Prodigy’s performance began and before I realized I found myself in the mosh-pit that turned me around and took me as a breathtaking river towards the whirlpool in which I sank. I got kicked in the mouth by Dr. Martens in all colors, and someone played a harmonica with his fist across my ribs, and finally someone threw me with a karate kick out of the whirlwind like a rag. As I regained consciousness, I realized that this was something different, I wasn’t at an ordinary mosh pit in Music Garden, this was a beast no one could control – and it was ready to swallow us!
We graduated from high school and the world was in front of us. We were young and filled with hope for a better future. I was getting ready to go to Italy for studies. Damn Informatics for the next millennium in la bella Italia. “You will find a job for sure, optics is the future,” my mother’s friend convinced me. What could go wrong? Well that’s another story.
We agreed with a friend of mine, Sandra, to celebrate our birthdays together and at the same time to say farewell to our friends. Everyone had to go their own way. She was born one day before me, on the 12th, me on August the 13th. Two years ago she appeared in our school as a powerhouse, she has lived in Africa, was educated who knows where in the world, she spoke better French than our professor, the methusaller Boshko who instead of teaching us “J’e sui” through tears in his eyes told us about the adventures of “pour Cosette” by Victor Hugo’s “Les Miserables”. Every class, from beginning to an end, to his end, God rest his soul.
We did the party at my home. The wall in the living room was a masterpiece made of my sister, with uneven gypsum and light from underneath which gave the look of a cave, and in the kitchen, crates of beer were emptied faster than I could refill them.
“It looks like in a caffe,” said Bojana, the indescribable love of my best friend from the highschool, and a friend from the bench, Vla. But the living room was empty at the expense of my room, where I had put all the unnecessary things from other premises, and right there against my will, my friends got together away from the music and the party. Boyana told Vla about her boyfriend, a dangerous biker and faculty student with whom an insecure high school student could not compete. Both of us were disappointed, I from the party, and he from the girl he was longing for. In fact, I had a similar diagnosis. Only my was in the Music Garden with her boyfriend and I had to see her right away!
We flew out in the warm August night and before we knew we passed in front of the youngsters piled on the benches in the city park where Skopsko, Kavadarka and Smederevka were drunk in plastic cups. We greeted with metalheads, punk and alternative kids and we were ridiculing the snobs who were directed to the discos in the park and found ourselves in front of the Music Garden.
“ID card,” pronounced the mouth under the doorman’s bald head, and I, with my on that day full, nineteen years, was insulted and publicly protested how he could not believe me about my age. “You may be forty years old, but the law is a law,” he said with a mockery, and I pulled my ID card in my back pocket and stepped into the garden of music.
From the speakers roared Ratamahata from Sepultura, popular at the time and a furious mosh pit took place before us. Several nights earlier I performed my trans-dance, I headbangered as if I wanted to get my head off my shoulders, and I jumped everywhere, while others looked at me with astonishment, and some of them with rage. Then I went out and headed for the quay and vomited into the river Vardar. But tonight in me there was no alcohol or joy, she wasn’t there, nor did I have a desire for a mosh pit.
We went back to the party, Bojana was gone, and we both were depressed. Ariton, a friend from school was putting on the records, now a famous DJ, the sound was familiar, but an unknown version of the song. The refrain went: “I’m going to send him to the outside space, find another race”. Music completely overwhelmed me; sadness was no longer there, only the present and the rhythm, like the pulsing of the heart that requires knocking, the breath that breathes, now and right away!
“What is this,” I asked Ariton as he searched through the vinyls to play next.
“Prodigy,” he answered me, “singles.”
Soon I went to Italy, the tape with the singles that I downloaded from Toni’s vinyl became my favorite music along with other pleading bands from those 1996-97, and later through the years and decades, Prodigy made the undisputed blend of electronic and punk- rock music, with a garage sound that merges my greatest musical love into an unrivaled whole, like no one until then … and forever!
Like any musical orthophone, after the era of mobile phones began, to date, I only had two ringtones, “Out of space” and “Voodoo people”. Therefore, today I am not writing with sorrow, but with gratitude for the sounds that from our little blue dot in space travel with the speed of light to the famous galaxies and unknown civilizations and carry the sound of our youth, our history, love, fears, falls and victories . Perhaps Liam is the brain, but Flint is the heart! It remains to be seen whether the brain can survive without the body?
“I’ll take your brain to another dimension …”