Gas Mask – Scotland
Back in the late 80’s it was unclear whether gas masks appeared at Scottish raves merely to accessorise or as genuine protection from a chemical attack. Were they an emblem of fashion ingenuity or simply the drug addled paranoia of a pill popping generation?
The look fizzed out after a few years, but recently relit in a similar spirit. The UK club licensing laws have squeezed nightlife into submission, with clubs, pubs and raves falling foul of new policy. Communal recreational gatherings are now deemed surplus to requirements, dangerous even. And we’re shepherded back to our computers to languish in front of social media like obedient little citizens.
Of course, this doesn’t work, it only creates a bubbling discontent. Guerrilla rave mobs are cropping up all over the land, setting up their own entertainment. DIY parties abetted by the social media, ironically the very same instrument that’s supposed to dumb-us-down.
These parties are reminiscent of the late 80’s, and just as illegal. The Police are rampant, belligerently closing them with their anti rave response units. Party goers risk prosecution for merely attending, so identities are hidden. In Scotland, the ubiquitous hoodie and scarf have been abandoned for something more decorative: the gas mask. Tongue-in-cheek combative wear that tips its hat to yesteryear.
The gas mask continues to prove inextricably linked to these cultural coups, but not with the compromise of style. The rave gas mask demonstrates how function meets fashion.