Raving

With TV ads for Tango, the Guardian and the Royal Mail stealing their underground ideas, the flyers originally designed to advertise rave events have now winged their way from one-room studios in Soho to Barbican retrospectives. John Windsor celebrates a pounds 2billion business

1. Nick Gundill - ar:5e Design; Back to Basics - Keeping up the Habit @ [The Pleasure Rooms], Leeds; June 1995. 2. Chris Ashworth - Orange Typography; Pacha @ [Club Pacha], Rotherham; May 1995. 3. Leo Elstob - Bushfire Design; Shake Your Booty @ [The Broadway], Chesham; May 1994. 4. Ric and Deborah Ramswell. Illustration Jason Brooks; Pushca presents: @ [The Atrium], London; Saturdays 1994. 5. Tom McCallion; Rulin @ the [Ministry of Sound], London; Nov 1994. 6. Philip Sallon; Mud Club [Bagley's], London; Oct 1994. 7. Philip Sallon; Bagladies Queerhouse, London Jul 1995. 8. Craig Richards; Georgie @ a secret location, London April 1996. 9. Philip Sallon; Ms Mud May Queen @ the Mud Club, [Bagley's], London; April 1995. 10. Georgie @, London May 1996. 11. ME Company; [Riki-Tiks], London; April 1994. 12. Philip Sallon, the Mud Club, [Bagley's], Dec 1994.

1. HubTV - Paddy Malone; Hub TV @ the [Hub], Bath; Feb 1996. 2. P Hyper go go - Wink Associates; [Angels], Burnley; April 1994. 3. Vague - Paul Fryer @ Mongrel Graphics; Supermixed Bague @ [The Warehouse], Leeds; 1994. 4. The Street - Philip Sallon; Coronation Street @ Mud Club [Bagley's Film Studios], London; Oct 1994. 5. Cream - Rob Petrie @ Dolphin, Liverpool, summer 1994. 6. Rava - a reinvention of the Rizla logo. 7. Fruitopia - the Coca-Cola corporation uses rave buzzwords, colours and graphics

Rave culture began with House music in 1986 before expanding to warehouses, muddy fields and back to clubs. According to the Henley Centre for Forecasting, it now generates a total of pounds 2 billion a year in gate money and merchandising. Promoters of soft drinks, alcopops, snack-foods, beer, cigarettes and trainers have got street-wise. They are intensively farming youth culture by adopting the punchy, irreverent graphics of rave.

The evidence of rave's immersion in mainstream culture is there in today's fast-cutting television commercials, which bombard with computer-generated images - those for Tango, or the Royal Mail, Scottish Radio and the Guardian, for example. Meanwhile, the glossy club flyers that started it all have become collectable style icons, a part of history. The V&A first exhibited them two years ago, and has a growing collection. An anthology of flyers has just been published - its contents are to tour the country - and an exhibition of rave art, called JAM, opened at the Barbican Art Gallery in September.

The commercial instincts of the big corporations were aroused when club fliers, having milked hippie and punk imagery and the iconography of film, television and comics, began to parody corporate logos such as those for Crunchie, Rizla and Smarties. Before long, bleary-eyed ravers began to find flyers advertising Camel cigarettes, Stella Artois lager, films and records stuffed in their Get Smart packs, all with company logo and simulated rave graphics.

At their height of inventiveness, rave club flyers came in the form of sticks of rock (Icon club, Liverpool), scratch cards offering a prize trip to Amsterdam (Velvet Underground, London), and voodoo jelly babies stuck through pins (Pollen, London). Now some clubs have reverted to crudely photocopied, punkish flyers as a badge of integrity.

But the music goes on, and not only because the organisers of the Barbican exhibition happen to be intent on reclaiming music as the source of urban style, but because music blends readily with real-time graphic sequences generated by Apple Mac - the great engine of rave art. Hence the "process" art of Tomato, the high-earning but resolutely amateur group of audio- visual wizards which evolved from the chart-topping Underworld. They now have the Royal Mail and other corporations knocking at the door of their one-room studio in Soho. Even hard-edged, static typography is made fluid in their characteristically experimental mixes of music, voice-over and moving image.

Half of Tomato's video and CD-Rom takes are done just for fun. But this is the stuff that advertising agents, with not a word to their art departments, slope off to Soho to see. Fun and money. Both are to be found in the gap between music and graphics and typography. The hippies never got a sniff of this, nor did punks. And nor, come to think of it, have the ravers. At least, not the punters. They will carry on being Tango'd by post-rave creatives for some time to come.

JAM, Barbican Art Gallery, 12 Sep-15 Dec (0171-638 4141). `Highflyers: Clubravepartyart', Booth-Clibborn pounds 24.95 paperback due 31 October, pounds 16.95. Highflyers touring exhibition, first venue Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool, 9 Nov-7 Dec. `The Art of the Club Flyer', by Blink, Thames and Hudson, due out 21 October, pounds 12.95. `Process: A Tomato Project', Thames and Hudson, due out 18 November, pounds 19.95.

Arts and Entertainment
Blackman: Landscape of children’s literature does not reflect the cultural diversity of young people
booksMalorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Arts and Entertainment
'Eminem's recovery from substance abuse has made him a more potent performer, with physical charisma and energy he never had before'
musicReview: Wembley Stadium ***
Arts and Entertainment
‘Dawn of Planet of the Apes’ also looks set for success in the Chinese market

film
News
Arts and Entertainment
The successful ITV drama Broadchurch starring David Tenant and Olivia Coleman came to an end tonight

tv
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Chocolat author Joanne Harris has spoken about the financial struggles most authors face

books
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from How To Train Your Dragon 2

Review: Imaginative storytelling returns with vigour

film
Arts and Entertainment
Josh Hutcherson, Donald Sutherland and Jena Malone in Mockinjay: Part 1

film
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Characters in the new series are based on real people, say its creators, unlike Arya and Clegane the Dog in ‘Game of Thrones’
tv
Arts and Entertainment
A waxwork of Jane Austen has been unveiled at The Jane Austen Centre in Bath

books
Arts and Entertainment
Britney Spears has been caught singing without Auto-Tune

music
Arts and Entertainment
Unless films such as Guardians of the Galaxy, pictured, can buck the trend, this summer could be the first in 13 years that not a single Hollywood blockbuster takes $300m

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Miley Cyrus has her magic LSD brain stolen in this crazy video produced with The Flaming Lips

music
Arts and Entertainment
Gay icons: Sesame Street's Bert (right) and Ernie

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Singer Robin Thicke and actress Paula Patton

music
Arts and Entertainment
The new film will be shot in the same studios as the Harry Potter films

books
Arts and Entertainment
Duncan Bannatyne left school at 15 and was still penniless at 29

Bannatyne leaves Dragon's Den

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The French economist Thomas Piketty wrote that global inequality has worsened

books
Arts and Entertainment
David Tennant and Benedict Cumberbatch

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck plays a despondent Nick Dunne in David Fincher's 'Gone Girl'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Pete Doherty (L) and Carl Barât look at the scene as people begin to be crushed

music
Arts and Entertainment

tv
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Super Mario crushes the Messi dream as Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil

    Super Mario crushes the Messi dream

    Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil
    Saharan remains may be evidence of the first race war, 13,000 years ago

    The first race war, 13,000 years ago?

    Saharan remains may be evidence of oldest large-scale armed conflict
    Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

    Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

    Researchers hope eye tests can spot ‘biomarkers’ of the disease
    Sex, controversy and schoolgirl schtick

    Meet Japan's AKB48

    Pop, sex and schoolgirl schtick make for controversial success
    Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

    How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

    A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
    The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

    The evolution of Andy Serkis

    First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
    You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

    You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

    Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
    Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

    Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

    Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
    Children's books are too white, says Laureate

    Children's books are too white, says Laureate

    Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
    Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

    Blackest is the new black

    Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
    Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

    Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

    The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
    Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

    Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

    From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
    Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

    Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

    Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
    Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

    Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

    When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor