God Bless the Paradise Garage Bot
We pile praise on the Twitter bot that pumps out Larry Levan's favourite records all day every day.
Living in the present means constantly negotiating with the past while constantly worrying about the future. Which makes it really fun, right? Well, no. The present is an utterly terrifying place to exist within which is why most of us subsume ourselves in the shallow waters of memory, splashing about in the rock pools of that which has already happened, or tip-toeing through the ephemeral foam of daydreams of the near future.
Which is one of the many reasons why dance music and club culture, for all their talk of the pleasure and possibility of what's to come, are fixated on the glories of the past. It's why 20 year olds talk about Thunderdome and have immaculate digital collections of Daniele Baldelli mixes from the mid-80s, it's why we're all au fait with DJs who hung up their headphones when we were still swimming around in the still waters of our fathers, and it's why even those of us who've never been to the original York let alone the New one worship at the feet of St Larry Levan. Worshiping dear old departed Larry means, of course, also worshiping his place of worship: the Paradise Garage.
So much has been written over the years about the Manhattan nightspot that, hopefully, you don't need me to explain just why the club's held in such high esteem. To us outsiders, the 21st century boys armed with free time, YouTube access, and a burning desire to force themselves into cultural conversations that they've got no real need to be in, the Garage is the club to namedrop at any opportunity possible just so everyone in the room knows you're a dude who knows his DJ history. Thanks to video snippets and compilations like this absolutely seminal blast of Levan live in the mix at the club, even those of who weren't born us have a pretty solid idea of what went down at 84 King Street. Musically, at least. The Garage was the place to hear high-camp disco and low-slung boogie, with Levan using every trick in the book to whip up audiences into states of total frenzy. So, to summarize: the Paradise Garage was a good nightclub and every good nightclub deserves a Twitter bot that collates all the good music played in said good nightclub and lets those of us who never went to the nightclub get a really solid idea of the music played there.
Beloved of DJs and clubbers alike, @garageclassics fires another screamer into the ether every half an hour. Created by the team behind Japanese music site Drumatrixx Mag, the bot does a simple job and does it very, very well. That job is to tweet the name of a song played by Levan at the Paradise Garage and link to its page on Discogs. Which means, essentially, you can, if your pockets are deep enough, compile a list of must-have Garage classics and put on a club night where you just play all the records Larry Levan did, and because Larry Levan is always talked about as being the best DJ in the history of nightclubbing, you'll probably end up putting on a half decent party.
Even if you're not planning on taking up party planning as a hobby—and let's be honest, it's a bit more of a hassle than getting really into jigsaws or crosswords or judo—the bot's a genuine must-follow for anyone with even the slightest interest in music, giving you as it does an insight into the creative mind of a master practitioner. Think of it like being able to dip into da Vinci's sketchbook once every half hour. You grow to understand the man through these intentionally affectless submissions. Just an artist name. Just a title. Just that Discogs link.
But what artists! What songs! What Discog's pages! What you have here is an immaculate history of every amazing boogie and disco record ever pressed to wax. You get the heavy hitters (Grace Jones, Gwen Guthrie, Instant Funk) mingling with lesser known acts (Pennye Ford, Key of Dreams, Anthony & The Camp), the obvious anthems next to one-night-wonders. There are no duds here. Ever.
To be given a chance to explore the sonic legacy of such a pivotal part of nightlife's narrative—imagine the idea of club culture without the Garage and it's legacy burbling in the mix somewhere—nearly thirty years after the doors shut for the last time is the kind of thing we should all be very thankful for. And not just because it means we've a perfect soundtrack for our next house party.