Around the World in 80 Raves is a Travel programme.


Around the World in 80 Raves

Last summer six young men and women from Leicester managed to blag the holiday of a lifetime. Travelling round America for six weeks on an all expenses paid trip, they had the foresight to contact Channel 4 beforehand and suggest their trip as an idea for a series. The plan was for them to attend some of the wildest festivals, clubs, raves and events over the course of the summer. Three blokes: Joel, Glenn and Boppa and three girls: Bex, Chantal and Sheryl are determined to have the times of their lives. For musician, Boppa this is the first time he's ever been abroad. The aim is to cover over 20,000 miles on the trip, coast-to-coast taking in Miami, Atlanta, Detroit, New York, Indianapolis, Nevada, Las Vegas, San Francisco.

The gang's ringleader is 22-year-old Joel who, before the journey, was working in a call centre in Leicester, and also performing in a local pop band. His girlfriend is 18- year-old Bex, who as well as being an art student, also sings in Joel's band. 22-year-old unemployed musician Boppa is nervous about the trip, yet really looking forward to it too: "I'll probably come back a totally different person" he says smiling. 24-year-old fashion designer Chantal is the oldest and (according to Joel) the craziest in the group: "my mum says I'm a bit of an exhibitionist and I do like getting bits out" she says with a wicked laugh. Glenn is a 20-year old water sports instructor, who is the self-confessed ladies man of the group, even though he admits he's "quite picky". The last member of the group is full-time lap dancer, 18-year-old Sheryl.

In Miami they meet up with Bill who will drive them around in a state-of-the-art bus, normally hired for rock groups on tour. After a day on the beach and a night in the bar, they move on to South Carolina and the party town of Myrtle Beach. When they get into town they discover that the police are seriously cracking down on drugs in the city. Hooking up with Pete, a guy they've met from a record shop, they let him be their guide to the town's many clubs. Sheryl eventually ends up spending the night with Pete and the others take bets on how late she'll return the next day. Boppa wins the ten dollar bet by opting for the 5-6pm slot.

Next stop after a long, long bus ride is Detroit, Michigan. Some of the six are apprehensive after being told of the city's terrible reputation for violent crime. Contrary to their expectations they find many of the people they meet to be friendly and open. The reality of what makes Detroit one of the world's murder capitals hits home though when one of the people they're with, a rapper called Friday, receives some terrible news - a friend of his has been shot. Murder is not the only thing the city is famous for, however, as they find out that evening. They head for a wild club where the sexually explicit dancing freaks out some of the group and makes them self-conscious, although Sheryl uses the opportunity to show off some of her top moves.

Moving on again they head for Atlanta, Georgia and the legendary Miss Hotlanta - a kind of gay mardi gras and one of the largest events of its type in the U.S.A.. The boys are up for a bit of dressing up as they go shopping for a new outfit in readiness for the beauty contest - an event which attracts every drag queen in town. The girls discuss the merits of Glenn's alter ego, "Glenda": "Glenda looks fantastic" says Chantal. "That's because Glenda is loving it" says Bex. Glenn doesn't win the beauty contest, but he does manage to get a nice consolation prize when he cops off with a girl he meets at the after-show party.

Next week the group gets a guest spot on Jerry Springer and join the festival circuit...

In the penultimate part of 80 Raves the six intrepid travellers from Leicester are still in San Diego partying with the USA most infamous frat boys, the Sigma Pi's. After a mad night out in Tijuana the college boys are up and planning the next party that day - a drinking session called a tail gate party in a car park beside the sports stadium before a big college football game. Most of the frat boys admit that although they really enjoy this regular party opportunity they've never actually seen the football game, and they head back to the frat house for yet another party. No strangers to a few drinks themselves, the Leicester posse are beginning to flag. To chill out, next day they head to Pacific Beach. Before they head off to their next destination the Sigma Pi's offer the lads honorary membership to the fraternity - a high honour indeed.

Next up on the journey is long drive to North California. After the partying rigours of San Diego, the spa town of Calistoga is just what the group need. With its famous hot springs it is a chill out mecca. First the group try a mud bath. "It feels like I sitting in my own poo," says Chantal. Glenn using the relaxing moment to reflect on the trip says: "I am tired, but I'd happily do another two months travelling". Boppa disagrees, "I'm really tired and I want to go home for a bit," he says.

After the brief sojourn it's on to the hedonist heaven of San Francisco. The girls and Glenn head straight for Haight Ashbury, the home of hippy culture in the late sixties. Sheryl and Chantal love the opportunity to shop, Glenn is less impressed. After the shops Chantal, Sheryl and Glenn meet one of San Francisco's most famous drag queens. Today, however Stephan is in his civves and showing the group around the Castro, San Francisco's famous gay village. "If you live in the Castro you can go to a gay bookstore, you can go to the gay hardware store, you can go to a gay gym, gay restaurants, a gay movie theatre - you never have to do anything that's not gay".

That night they head off with Stephan to a friend's house party where the theme is the Sound of Music. Once again Glenn is decidedly ill at ease. Meanwhile Joel, Boppa and Bex are in Oakland checking out some of the famous skater punk landmarks. With a compete lack of success so far they arrive at The Gilman Street club. Unfortunately they are eight hours too early and the club is shut.

On the final night in San Fran, the gang decide to go to the Power Exchange, America's biggest sex club, but in the bar they go to before the club, Boppa finds the girl of his dreams - Mistress Betty. From the outset Mistress Betty doesn't like his attitude: You need some restraints and you need a muzzle, because you talk too fucking much," she says. "I'm up for some fun, whatever it may be," says a mesmerised Boppa.

The final instalment of their trip of a lifetime finds the Leicester lads and lasses in Power Exchange, a sex club in 'poly-sexual' San Francisco. Set up by MARIE POWERS and her husband to cater for both straight and gay customers, this place - the largest live sex club in America - is enough to shock even this outrageous gang.

In the on-site clothes shop, Marie and her colleague Mistress Betty help the guys select their outfits for the evening. The girls go for typically sexy costumes, but next to Glenn in his zebra print thong and Boppa with his matching collar and lead ensemble, they look relatively tame.

Inside the club itself, Sheryl gives everyone a taste of her pole dancing talents. Not to be outdone, Mistress Betty gets Boppa up on stage and shows him a few of her favourite tricks - Boppa shows remarkable restraint to the disbelief of Chantal and Bex who can't believe he's not showing more obvious signs of enjoying himself.

After a tour of the themed rooms, including the jail cell area and the Egyptian room, the gang end up in the dungeon section where most of the action takes place. Watching Chantal and Sheryl get a light whipping, Glenn and Boppa are curious to try it out for themselves and mount the horse for "a little paddling".

Next morning the bus heads down the Pacific Coast Highway to the final destination of the trip - LA. After over 8,000 miles of travelling in just six weeks there's just one weekend left and it starts off with a not altogether successful surfing lesson at Venice Beach. Later on they gather at the Oracle, a rave held in an airfield just outside LA where over 40,000 people congregate to boogie the night away to over 70 dance acts.

The following day they get wind that the legendary Inkslingers Ball is being held close by and can't resist a peek around this world famous tattoo convention. Joel gets to meet one of his heroes, Paul Booth - a tattoo artist with a two-year waiting list who is famed for his "disturbing imagery". And Bex ends up getting a few butterflies done on her foot.

The evening is spent at Club Cherry, a favoured celebrity nightspot. Past guests include Marilyn Manson, George Michael and the Beastie Boys. Brian, the promoter, explains that part of the celebrity attraction of Club Cherry is that it's "mixed sexually ... you can have fun and kind of be anonymous". Sheryl and Chantal hook up with some guys who take them back to a house party and end up skinny dipping at the beach.

Next day, at LAX airport, the mob bid a fond farewell to Bill the bus driver and hop on the plane home. At Heathrow, Chantal's boyfriend Johnny is there to greet her and they make a sneaky getaway whilst the others head off to Leicester after dropping Sheryl off in London, her new home, on the way. Two months on, the film catches up with the friends who are back in the real world. They reflect on their best and worst memories and how the trip has changed their lives forever

Genre: Travel

Running Time: 60 minutes (approx)