OK so what the hell did I miss (the good old days)?

Share your views on the policies, philosophies, and spirit of Burning Man.
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cryoguy
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OK so what the hell did I miss (the good old days)?

Post by cryoguy » Wed Jan 17, 2018 2:50 pm

So 2017 was our first year, hardly knew what Burning Man was this time last year. Still trying figure it out BTW.

What I would like to know is this, things that happened say in the 80’s and 90’s at burning man that don’t happen Today, or maybe new stuff that did not exist in the old days that happens now that make BM better.

One example I heard about (is it true?), sometime in the 90’s a guy had a pickup truck with a 50 cal machine gun mounted on the back, he let people take target practice on bail’s of hay thrown out on the playa, moop generator for sure.

I do get that plug and play camps exist today and did not exist yesteryear and that has eroded some or much of the original atmosphere of BM. Too bad , that kinda blows chow.

Snark and sarcastic comments welcomed and encouraged
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CG

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Token
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Re: OK so what the hell did I miss (the good old days)?

Post by Token » Wed Jan 17, 2018 6:04 pm

It was better.

End of line.

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Avacadi
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Re: OK so what the hell did I miss (the good old days)?

Post by Avacadi » Fri Jan 19, 2018 8:09 pm

I was just talking about how I’d of liked to be around during the hay-bale days..
I’d imagine there was more camaraderie and the “family” people often refer to, was more of a family due to the close-knit groups formed over the years with less people and more participation...
With that said I understand why some OG burners are cynical. I would be too, I guess.
It’s all relative... I’d like to form closer bonds with people, and I have, over the years, but it’s nearly impossible to run into anyone you met the year before without having to exchange contact info before you depart from one another which is something I’m not really interested in doing most of the time...
I really think regional burns are where it’s at these days if you want to find those kinds of connections again
Anyway I’m rambling... wait... what was the point of this post?
:P :P
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Token
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Re: OK so what the hell did I miss (the good old days)?

Post by Token » Sat Jan 20, 2018 12:55 pm

Good call on the regionals. Yes, there is more of that old smell at those events, if you find the right ones.

Since you are in 'Gundo, Cryo, there is metric crap-ton of Playa folks in your general area.

But, as cool as LA may seem, seldom have I seen a "community" that is so clique-ish. Its all about the portfolio. Sometimes it feels like high school all over again and you ain't one of the popular crowd.

There are several camping events each year that are not regionals but have that Original Playa culture. Because they are so old school, they tend to be very word-of-mouth, if you are in-the-know, and the tribe likes you.

What you are missing? Here are some shenanigans that were beloved on Playa decades ago.

Drive-by shooting range, truck bed jousting, redneck soccer, "Oh, lets light that 10# block of Mg and see if it turns the Playa to glass", "I just inflated those 20 big-ass beach balls with Oxy-Acetylene. Who has the tracer rounds"? and so on, and so forth.

If I had to give you one word that captures what is gone forever it would be: Darwinism.

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Re: OK so what the hell did I miss (the good old days)?

Post by FlyingMonkey » Sat Jan 20, 2018 8:21 pm

I've only been burning since 2012 but I camp with old timers who tell tales of the Man in his youth. I suspect that sometime in the 90s, perhaps the last person to leave the Playa, forgot to lock gate & gradually the Default world snuck in. The divisive chatter on this site lately is symptomatic of this creeping gradual death of the Man. Yes, we have enabled his decline as we are ALL responsible for his health.

The Man is very sick (in the late stages you could say). I caught a glimmer of his former self before it completely ravaged him. I was enamored by him and his ways. But he doesn't even recognize himself anymore. It's been a sad decline to witness from afar, helpless, unable to render aid.

It's like a spectacular dream that when you wake you want nothing more than to fall back asleep and rejoin the fantasy. But alas, the alarm has gone off, the dog is barking, & the dream has faded. Now only splintered recollections of a better time remain, and they are fleeting.

There are other younger men (and Women) with similar ideals out there. They will probably never be as pure and authentic as the first but I fear they are all we have now.

Long live the Man.

The Man is dead.









-Drink more wine
In your wildest dreams you can not imagine the marvelous SURPRISES that await YOU.

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Re: OK so what the hell did I miss (the good old days)?

Post by gaminwench » Sat Jan 20, 2018 10:52 pm

If one hangs in the back 'hoods, one can capture the 'old school man'.

Gigsville is alive and well. 8)
"the prophecies of doom were better last year" trilo

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Captain Goddammit
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Re: OK so what the hell did I miss (the good old days)?

Post by Captain Goddammit » Sun Jan 21, 2018 9:19 am

I go back to when the man was on the ground with hay bales to get him lit.
There wasn’t really an overwhelming sense of camaraderie everywhere, there was also a good amount of fuck you. But it was good, self reliance was real then. That’s my biggest beef with The New Burners, they think it’s all about joining a camp the same way they book a hotel when they go on a “default” vacation. I finally stopped piping up and bitching when some new burner comes on here asking about what accommodations some camp has.
Fuck you, non-real-burner, being your own shit. Especially disheartening is when groups of five or ten people are looking for a camp to accommodate them. You ARE a camp! Bring your own shit!

Things were suckier back then, the portapottie situation was sometimes well past dreadful (bring your own shitter!) and services of any kind were pretty campy.

An often forgotten and rarely mentioned piece of history is around 1999-2000 Black Rock City was often called “Barter Town”.
The “gift economy” was more of a trade economy. You could sometimes have a hard time getting a drink at a bar if you had nothing to offer.

Oh, and BAR CARS! Many art cars - hell maybe most of ‘em, including mine, were well-stocked with booze and half their function was to drive around serving booze.
The fact that it was a motor vehicle with open containers by the driver wasn’t anything anyone gave a shit about.
Art cars were anything then, an old joke was you spray painted a penis on daddy’s Lexus and now it’s an art car.

There were more wild home built crazy bicycles. Tall-bikes, choppers, and just crazy ones. That all evolved into today’s watered down practice of “decorating” you bike with fur and lights.
It’s ironic to me, the Mutant Vehicles are now required to be pretty heavily modified or total custom rather than just decorated cars, and the bikes used to be more radical and are now mostly just decorated Wal-Mart stuff.

It was easier to plan a trip because obtaining tickets was a sure thing. They were cheaper and available right at the gate. Now if you’re not “on the list” it’s a crap-shoot if you can get them all. It’s hard to start working on expensive and exhausting preparations for a trip you don’t even know you’ll be able to get tickets for.

There was a lot more nudity. A whole lot more. A lot of stuff used to happen.
It was isolated then. There was zero connection to the outside world, and no smartphones taking pictures and video everywhere. People felt like they COULD behave however they wanted, without it being broadcast to the internet.

Cameras had to be tagged and registered!
Does anyone today know or remember that? It was heavily frowned upon to take photos or video without consent.

The Post Office wasn’t such a real post office. It was just a theme camp that had a schtick about red tape. They stood you in line, made you fill out ridiculous forms, ten graded your penmanship and told you you were at the wrong window, shit like that.
Mostly people just wanted post cards and other trinkets, they weren’t there to actually expect to mail something, although some of that did happen.

There was a legend about the Playa Chicken. The great Playa Chicken was responsible for all unexplained incidents.
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Re: OK so what the hell did I miss (the good old days)?

Post by Token » Sun Jan 21, 2018 10:14 am

The Cap’n just brought a fucking tear to my eye.

Spot on my man.

To all you fresh faces, keep going and y’all are gonna end up just as cynical and grumpy as us ol’ guys, just like Cap’n and I are turning into Simon.

Crap, this should have gone to the Fuck thread!

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Re: OK so what the hell did I miss (the good old days)?

Post by DoctorIknow » Mon Jan 22, 2018 1:51 am

Token wrote:The Cap’n just brought a fucking tear to my eye.
Avacadi wrote:I was just talking about how I’d of liked to be around during the hay-bale days..
I'd never heard earlier days called the "hay-bale days", and I don't consider 1998 (my first year) as the old days, but there were indeed hay bales. and I might remember the man being lifted by rope and people,,,,but then again, that might just be a video that became a memory, even though I may not have observed it in real time. (This is why eyewitness testimony in the courtroom isn't very valuable to the judge/jury.)

I was big into photography with a Hasselblad and film I processed myself my first few years, but gave it up. Although the photos would guarantee memories where there was no doubt I was actually there, the act of taking them would take me out of the moment, and I believe I'm better off the closer I get to being in the moment. This exact philosophy gives me a very strong opinion about what non-hay-bale burners might be missing.

It took years of being there to see changes.

It may sound silly to ask a burner in 2017 "How many totally naked people did you see this year? Not adorned or painted naked bodies, only those wearing only their birthday suits?"

But, us old folks totally remember that it seemed so many were naked that one didn't even notice it.

But, it's not about what one sees that makes nakedness important to the hay-bale days. It's the INDIVIDUAL's process involved in doing it.

I would guess 95% of the naked people had never been naked in public before, and I have no doubt that every one of them had to do some MAJOR mental gymnastics to strip down. And then as they walked down the street, and no one even noticed, how can that not have been a good thing for them, one that they may never have experienced the rest of their lives in the default world?

So, nakedness is "out" now, replaced by adornment or practicality. Is that radical?

Is carrying a smart phone and using it as one would in the default world doing anything at all but taking you out of the moment?

Is it radical going to see some superstar DJ in a crowd so thick it's hard to even get ones arms above their heads to do the lemming fist bump?

Is it radical to go to Center Camp, wait in line 30 minutes for coffee, and then put money in the tip jar radical? And, BTW, why does anyone tip those working short shifts in a shaded environment and not tip people such as the DPW who work their asses off in the worst conditions FOR MONTHS and are only known to some newbies as the assholes who drink a lot and played Freebird during the Temple Burn?

Is being a freegan coming to the desert with nothing depending on cleverness to mooch off the rubes who don't know they are being scammed and sadlythink they are being part of a community for gifting to a user?

So, if I'm so bummed, why do I still go?

Well, if one WALKS down a street; the streets have a great potential for "getting" Burning Man than just using them to go from point A to B , , ,so, if one walks, slowly, looks around, , , , one can see people doing things they would never do in defaultia.

That pile of dome parts collecting playa dust on day 4 of the event???....the people gave up as they didn't have their shit together,,,and that in itself is something they learned.

The person using a hammer for the first time in their life?

The people setting up a coffee stand they spent months getting it together and their they are at 7am using an aeropress, manual grinder,,,,using coffee beans gathered from the poop of a civet cat in Indonesia?

The single person you've seen struggling for days in the heat setting up their art in deep playa?

All of them, in my book, are doing it right.

If one observes, one can see the progressive radical thing is still going on. Collectively, no way. "It's a party in the desert", as Capt. Goddammit says..... But individually, there is hope for humanity if one takes time to jump into the crucible of strange and wonderful that STILL is Burning Man.

As for those riding bikes, not seeing anything but their smartphone on a selfie stick so they can instantly upload to their social network, yeah, us old farts feel sorry for you as your doing it soooo wrong.

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Ratty
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Re: OK so what the hell did I miss (the good old days)?

Post by Ratty » Mon Jan 22, 2018 9:02 am

DrIKnow, Thanks. I enjoyed that. I didn't agree with all of it but thanks for taking the time.

BTW..Just try handing money to a DPW and see what happens. Let me know would ya?
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Re: OK so what the hell did I miss (the good old days)?

Post by ACfromSAC » Mon Jan 22, 2018 9:38 am

Captain Goddammit wrote:There was a lot more nudity. A whole lot more.... People felt like they COULD behave however they wanted, without it being broadcast to the internet... Cameras had to be tagged and registered! It was heavily frowned upon to take photos or video without consent.
My girlfriend & I were actually talking about this on our way home from the burn this year. I'm a relative newbie (my first burn was 2011) but even since 2011 there is significantly less nudity and significantly more cameras being waved around. Definitely a tie in between the two! Every random stranger flapping around their squawk box could end up posting your naked body on the internet for all the world to see. It makes you feel so much more vulnerable now compared to even how it was in 2011. Cameras and (particularly) cell phones being out out at all times during the burn is one of my biggest peeves. Your pictures are going to suck, nobody is going to want to see them and they're going to do it no justice. If you want to show off pictures of the burn, track down images done by pros after the burn and show those.

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some seeing eye
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Re: OK so what the hell did I miss (the good old days)?

Post by some seeing eye » Mon Jan 22, 2018 9:53 am

The event is always changing!

Camps come and go, and you will find your own favorite camps in any year.

I started after the shooting gallery era. I think there were more camping clothes and fewer costumes in the late 90s. Costumes and the visual design of camps really picked up in the early 00s as the event was discovered by LA creatives. That era also had a strong raver PLUR culture in a good way and it was pre-bro infestation. Art cars have definitely gotten better and more evolved today, but there have always been epic cars like La Contessa. Before the apps and mobile devices, you would discover events and camps by word of mouth and by accident, there were rarely lines. It would be common to hear "you might enjoy walking over there" or "look around (a BRC coordinate)" or "look for the _ flag." DJ schedules were word of mouth and a hand written sign by the booth. The airport was a homey community. The number of lectures has increased, I only remember the Palenque Norte talks. Originally the only Internet connectivity was through the Eugene Country Fair camp. International burners were much rarer. I remember talking to a participant from Korea who was breaking away from the Confucian culture. There was no checking or carrying ID. I don't remember hearing of bike theft, except by organized thieves burn night. There was the printed WWW, but there was a strong person network between veteran and new burners to find the things.

Some camps/events I miss: The Duck, El Circo, The Tuna Guys, The Petting Zoo by the UV camp, Xara, Hot Wheelz, It's a small world (after all), the remnants of the distant rave camp, and all the camps I was in and our Tsunami art car. Some continue AEZ, Nectar Village. I'm happy Bianca's existed at the time.

To the OP - journal & capture the new things you find and gather the contact information of people with whom you want to stay in contact.
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cryoguy
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Re: OK so what the hell did I miss (the good old days)?

Post by cryoguy » Mon Jan 22, 2018 11:54 am

Thanks to all for the responses.

One of our camping neighbors was living in San Francisco back in the day, associated with the cacophony society, went to a few burns in the early 90’s, 2017 was his first burn since then, he brought his 20 yo son with him. I ask him how it compared to the old days, He more or less said it’s not the same feel but the art is much better now.

No way to capture the old days, that’s for sure.

I think for being virgins in 2017 we did a good job being self-reliant. Here are some “mistakes” we made

We both wipped out our goddam smart phones way too much to take pics

Spent too much time out in the playa watching the ravers (we are old school rock and rollers)

Should have spent more time in the backalley bars and camps, when we did we had some great conversations with some real characters, bar last standing was one.

My first aid kit was not complete, I had some major saddle sores on my butt, one on each cheek, kit not have any first aid cream, went to medical and got polysporin, hated to do that.

We dodged a bullet on this one, our tent stakes were total bullshit, the few brief wind storms we had pulled them clean out. I knew better, it was on my list of things too get right before we left, never got around to working it out.

As far as nakedness, oh boy, if you knew my wife nakedness in public is way out of the box for her, for me not as much but still not totally comfortable with it.

Tuesday afternoon we were passing by the human carcass wash camp, at that point my wife being hot and dusty as she was did not care so much about getting naked, let’s do it she said, and we did! She told me after, that the most difficult part was being naked with for the most part people at least 3 decades younger than us (in other words our kids ages), I said fuck it, your clean who cares?

A funny thing happened later in the week, we were volunteering at the 3:00 Arctica, some young guy in line came up to my wife and said “hey remember me I met you at the carcass wash”, I told she should take that as a compliment, she didn’t remember him BTW.

She twisted my arm to setup the 5 gal shower bag we had. I hung it at the end of the monkey hut using tie wrap’s, it worked out ok, we had to sit on the tarp because the bag was so low to the ground, we managed not to spill any of the water on the playa by pooling that water on the tarp and the water evaporated fairly rapidly since it was so hot and dry. Did that for the rest of the week.

For 2018, we badly have 2nd year fever.
We are hoping to get “hired” to be real estate agents for the Black Rock City Tour of Homes, we also plan on volunteering at Arctica again.

Cheers

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Re: OK so what the hell did I miss (the good old days)?

Post by Dr. Pyro » Mon Jan 22, 2018 12:23 pm

some seeing eye wrote:
Some camps/events I miss: The Duck, El Circo, The Tuna Guys, The Petting Zoo by the UV camp.
I have some news for you: The Tuna Guys are absolutely still around. They just don't want to be found by you necessarily.

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Re: OK so what the hell did I miss (the good old days)?

Post by Lost Coyote » Tue Jan 30, 2018 3:04 pm

Tickets were cheap!...and No Spectators!
It was called drive by shooting range.
The postman were very disgruntled and armed with AK47's!
You had to decide how close to sit when the man burned!... no firemen pushing you back.
I think is was Bianca's smut shack!
Camp Atonement!
Shark and Fish cars chasing each other.
Helco
Park and camp where ever you wanted. No streets or signs you parked your car to help protect your tent from getting run over.
The only time you saw a cop was when somebody was getting helicopter out for medical reason. Cops didn't like the shooting range or the postmen! Burners had more fire power then the police.
The Opera was part performance or orgy not really sure which!
Sex, I mean SEX! It was a lot more sexual.
That is some of what I remember or imagined.
To this day I hate wearing lights at night, I like the good old days when that wasn't necessary!

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Re: OK so what the hell did I miss (the good old days)?

Post by Captain Goddammit » Tue Jan 30, 2018 4:37 pm

Oh yeah! In the old days, there was no fucking “perimeter”.
They actually yelled on bullhorns “Get as close as you like, we don’t care if you die!”

Sure, things are bigger and “better” now, but it’s just not what it was.
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Re: OK so what the hell did I miss (the good old days)?

Post by Token » Tue Jan 30, 2018 5:02 pm

Oh yeah! The Temple of Atonement!

That was a fucking gas!

A bag of oranges would buy you a slave for a day, and was it ever divine!

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Re: OK so what the hell did I miss (the good old days)?

Post by Simon of the Playa » Sun Feb 11, 2018 5:32 am

the playa chicken is alive and well and getting high with jaques brel.
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Re: OK so what the hell did I miss (the good old days)?

Post by Ano » Fri Feb 23, 2018 7:52 pm

I can at least safely say the event has been roughly the same since 2011, almost down to where some camps are placed. Not much shakeup, in a strange way. It's just gotten way, way bigger, which is even strange to say because it was huge when I first went.

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Re: OK so what the hell did I miss (the good old days)?

Post by Perpetual Burn » Thu Mar 15, 2018 9:18 pm

Wow, this thread has given me more insight into why old school Burners are justifiably cynical about how some things have changed...

No streets, no speed limits, no trash fences... drive byes?

But I've heard alot of that is still going down at 4th of JuPlaya... anyone go to that?

I've only been a few years... but the Plug n Play camps seem the lamest... it's a camping trip, not a vacation resort. Bring your own shit... and some extra... if we all bring extra party supplies, then there's no option but epic party... all the sparkle ponies are the lamest.

And all the phones/cameras... when I hit Gate Road my phone goes off all week... people in Defaultia ask me to take pictures and I say No. If you wanna see it, you gotta go.

It's still the greatest party in the Universe... even if it used to be better, it's still the best we got now.

Even if the Man is dead... long live the Man!
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Re: OK so what the hell did I miss (the good old days)?

Post by wraith » Wed Mar 21, 2018 7:04 am

Community is harder to build without continuity, and continuity has come hard since getting tickets yearly stopped being a sure thing unless your pockets are seriously deep.

I think the last few years are feeling a serious drag that our whole society is feeling: the poison that is social media. Random nudity and acts of madness have to be tempered with 'whose phone is filming this' even on the Playa, because while they might get in trouble for violating the media policy, once something's on the Internet it's forever.

Freedom on the Playa has consequences back in defaultia now, and that's a sobering thing.

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Re: OK so what the hell did I miss (the good old days)?

Post by Token » Wed Mar 21, 2018 8:06 am

By far the biggest erosion through the decades has been intimacy. It was inherent back in the day.

Over time it became institutionalized.

And these days it is commoditized.

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Perpetual Burn
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Re: OK so what the hell did I miss (the good old days)?

Post by Perpetual Burn » Wed Mar 21, 2018 10:48 pm

Then should not part of the obligation of The.org to be to keep what happens in our community to stay in our community? "What happens in BRC stays in BRC."

Nevada would love it. ;)
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Re: OK so what the hell did I miss (the good old days)?

Post by gaminwench » Wed Mar 21, 2018 11:21 pm

I stopped going nude in 2001. The 'bros' were obnoxious. :twisted:

I do go topless, but am prepared/called upon to educate on a regular basis (so much emotional work, I'm an 'A cup' 8) ).

If we could just ban the damn cameraphones 'in public' (not gonna happen, I know), it would be a MUCH better playa.

Also, (another ain'tgonnahappen) just have one year with no 'Stadium3 Level SoundArt', so the bloody DJs wouldn't play and the bleedin' 'ravetourists' wouldn't come and Insta their MOOPYbullshit costumery. :shock: :evil: :D

Sorry, y'all, *rant off*.
"the prophecies of doom were better last year" trilo

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Re: OK so what the hell did I miss (the good old days)?

Post by wraith » Thu Mar 22, 2018 3:24 am

gaminwench wrote:I stopped going nude in 2001. The 'bros' were obnoxious. :twisted:

I do go topless, but am prepared/called upon to educate on a regular basis (so much emotional work, I'm an 'A cup' 8) ).

If we could just ban the damn cameraphones 'in public' (not gonna happen, I know), it would be a MUCH better playa.

Also, (another ain'tgonnahappen) just have one year with no 'Stadium3 Level SoundArt', so the bloody DJs wouldn't play and the bleedin' 'ravetourists' wouldn't come and Insta their MOOPYbullshit costumery. :shock: :evil: :D

Sorry, y'all, *rant off*.
I can't argue that it's a bad idea. Everyone having a camera in their pocket with a direct connection to the internet really puts a limit to how comfortable people are with letting loose and having fun.

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Re: OK so what the hell did I miss (the good old days)?

Post by vargaso » Thu Mar 22, 2018 12:28 pm

2007 was my first year, so I missed out on a lot of the early days stuff, but at least for my first 3 years there was no widespread internet access. As with all other aspects of life on Earth, goddamn smartphones drastically changed the event.

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Eladimir
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Re: OK so what the hell did I miss (the good old days)?

Post by Eladimir » Mon Mar 26, 2018 2:51 pm

Thanks for all the old stories was fun to read but doesn't damper my spirit to finally arrive this summer as a 2018 virgin.

I did learn two things though. Turn the phone off for a week. And be naked.
Oh and bring polysporin.

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Eric
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Re: OK so what the hell did I miss (the good old days)?

Post by Eric » Tue Mar 27, 2018 1:24 pm

Eladimir wrote:Thanks for all the old stories was fun to read but doesn't damper my spirit to finally arrive this summer as a 2018 virgin.
Don't let any of us jaded fuckos dampen your spirit - and you'll notice that most of us still go. We may have memories of great things in the past, but, fukkit, last year I made some of my best memories ever at a Burn. Plus, there is an old Burning Man idea: if you're getting jaded, bring a virgin. There is nothing better to remind us of how cool this thing still as then seeing it with someone experiencing it the first time. You only get to do that once.
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Re: OK so what the hell did I miss (the good old days)?

Post by dragonpilot » Mon Jun 25, 2018 3:21 pm

New rule: before a birgin can join a theme camp they must (for their first year) live in a tent, bring and prep their own meals and provide their own beverages (short of what they are gifted).

Great idea? No...I didn't think it would go over, either.
Don't bore your friends with all your troubles. Tell your enemies instead, for they will delight in hearing about them.

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Re: OK so what the hell did I miss (the good old days)?

Post by trilobyte » Mon Jun 25, 2018 6:46 pm

Lots. Like any event that's existed for three decades before you discover it, things change quite a bit over such a long period of time.

Cameras not only had to be tagged and registered, but there weren't any smartphones, and most people were neither brave nor stupid enough to bring digital cameras. At the time, a decent quality digital cam (crap by today's standards) was big money... and very prone to damage from dust. When I was first learning about the event, seeing a person's pics involved going to their house and looking through a physical photo album, since that usually meant looking at the pics they took with an inexpensive disposable camera.

Prior to 2011 the event had not yet sold out, but the price at the gate was significantly higher than advance ticket prices (which were sold in tiers)

Radical self reliance was also a lot more of a thing - instead of posting a thread saying something like "what'd I miss" and people responding kindly with their anecdotes, there would have been more of an expectation for you to have done a bunch of reading and research (web sites, books, documentaries, etc). Actually, aside from all the great responses you get here, I strongly encourage you to look up some of the books and documentaries - some of them are really amazing.

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