faithfanzine.com: Ahead of the Curve
Or: how the acid house forum was the future of the Internet and all its rights and wrongs.
Remember the simpler times of the early 2000s? When the Internet was nice and fluffy and everything in the garden was sweet and rosy? Not so over at faithfanzine.com/forum, where the great, the good and the K’ed up were busy setting the agenda for the next decade of the Internet. They were doing things that are commonplace on the Internetz now, in the social media age, long before the Internet had caught onto it. Bullying poor individuals? Banning people off the platform? The website forum spin-off from the parties and fanzine was doing all these things long before anyone else had thought you could do that on the internet.
As Faith celebrates its 20th birthday with a farewell party at The Cause in north London, the in the know should be aware of its place within house culture, its position in helping put the true spirit of acid house, of a basement, a strobe, a smoke machine, a siren, good pills and good music back at the heart of clubbing, and its achievements from the anti-millennium rip-off party onwards should rightly be celebrated.
So here’s 20 reasons why faithfanzine.com's notorious forum did it first on the Internet.
Saying “H.O.U.S.E.” and “That’s House”
Everywhere you look online these days, there are assorted self-appointed guardians of house music, pronouncing that something is “house”, this is house and that isn’t house and sometimes you put it in capitals because it’s even better and sometimes in capitals with stops in between like it’s an acronym. But Faith’s forum was all over the post-millennium boom in declaring what was and wasn’t house long before Mixmag and Vice. Oh, and it also declared House Ain’t Dead long before you lot got back into it again.
HOUSE, HOUSE AND MORE FUCKING HOUSE
Declared on the website, then a Faith Fanzine cover line, then a t-shirt collaboration with Ame and Innervisions, and then, before you knew it, it was a cheap line used by EDM divs and on snide knock-off t-shirts the world over.
AME and DIXON
Which leads us on to, Ame and Dixon were being lauded around the world on their way to becoming all sorts of superstar DJs, Faith had already started the backlash by deciding the best way to pronounce the former’s name was Amy and mercilessly taking the piss out of the latter’s shirts.
Online bullying and trolling
faithfanzine.com was no place for faint hearts or weaklings. You had to stick it out and take anything thrown at you for a good few weeks until you received anything more than a cursory need. I mean: “Who the fuck asked you what you think?” If you think the Internet has gone into meltdown in recent years what with the Brexit that’s going on and all the politics we’ve been having recently, and everyone’s becoming much more unpleasant and nasty, then you weren’t there for Faith. Remember, this is the site where someone went to the effort of posting their birth certificate to try and silence the endless taunts. Which only made it worse. Ditto trolling and all other forms of internet chicanery and tomfoolery. For example, Soulful House Nazis. Or SHNs for short. The kind of language and slang that Faith developed and used is still in the common vernacular. Or certainly used around certain parts.
Long before Twitter was being urged to ban right wing divs, Faith was handing out its legendary FASBOs to those who crossed the line. And to be fair, that took some doing.
The Best 90s House Track
Still dining out on that poll and the definitive list, this was actually worthwhile and useful. But for fuck’s sake, we’ve moved well beyond your favourite flavour crisps and biscuits. That was done in the first fucking week.
faithfanzine.com was among the first to truly debate the ling-term impact of the tragic death of the Essex girl and how it was affecting acid housers as they approached middle-age a decade after her passing. This was, of course, immortalised in the legendary phrase “I ain’t no Leah Betts cunt.”
Before your Facebook feed was full of people posting youtube vids of obscure 90s dubs and previously undiscovered MAW percussion workouts, before bots pulling out every record ever played at any legendary club ever littered twitter, faithfanzine.com had threads with pages and pages of bongopella madness, endless lists of records you didn’t care about.
“Is it balearic?”
Faith never really embraced Nu Disco in the way the folks at DJhistory.com did. And the casual “I’ve got this Chris Rea b-side, is it balearic?” “Did Alfredo every play this dodgy 80s soft rock record I’ve just picked up for a £1”? questions asked on other sites were met with short shrift on Faith. And, for the record, no, it fucking ain’t balearic and what’s this fucking shit you’re all on about?
While you were still posting cat pictures and cute things, Faith had a gif of that dog pulling itself along on its arse and was talking at length about manatees. Stick that up your grumpy cat.
Sure, it’s easy now, all you have to do is head to Trip Advisor and you can find out details about any destination around the ever-shrinking globe. But what did you have to do before that had turned itself int the veritable mine of information it is today? When there were no online reviews anywhere? You logged on to Faith and asked the legendary question, “anyone know any good places in Barcelona?” The answer, you won’t always find on Trip Advis0r, is there’s some great places just of the Ramblas and try the Irish bar just off the main square.
Honestly, there is an actual story on how to get in to Berghain on the Telegraph’s site. Who commissioned it? Who wrote it? More importantly, who’s going to read it? Now every Tom, Dick and Henry Telegraph reader, your Guardianistas and New York Times reader is familiar with the fella on the door and 20 different ways to get in and tips on how to do it. But once there was only one.
Ticketing advice and club promotion
Endless tweets about nights you’re never going to bother going to, links to early bird tickets on Resident Adviser are the new flyering outside a club. But the path to RA ticketing was led in part by endless Faith threads about forthcoming nights along with the legendary getting it back to the top of the forum refrain (”BUMP!”) and getting your mates to register and post for the one and only time to feign interest. Genuinely, me and a few old Faith mates still email or text each other saying “really looking forward to this one”; “going to be a bit special”. Remember: see you down the front! Or at the bar!
Middle aged football hooligans
You know that clip of Liverpool and Man City fighting on the tube? Fat balding middle-aged men having a punch up while commuters and families on the underground weren’t actually spectacularly bothered about it? Slightly dubious politics? That’s Faith 10 years ago, that is. Until someone tapped their nose and told you to go and post on ITK instead.
“Make me rave”
It wasn’t just the house community that took its cues from Faith. Stories about celebrities and supermodels pleading for chisel or pills saying “make me rave” that ended up as tabloid fodder came from the board. The idea of Sun and Mirror interns sitting in the office and working their way through pages and pages of YouTube videos of 90s house, crappy flyers for crappy nights and picture after picture of dodgy trainers in the hope of finding a gem of a story about Kate Moss or Pete Doherty is still amazing. Remember too, the tabloid intrusion came ahead of the whole Leveson thing too.
Meanwhile, faithfanzine.com had its own issues with sexual harassment even within the confines of its own membership. It approached issues head-on, never afraid to confront those responsible and doing its best to ensure that clubs could become safe spaces. This involved calling out potential pests with such subtle phraseology as: “You’re a well-known tit nonce.” This language has, of course, been taken on by officers, authorities and organisations worldwide.
Storming off in a huff
You know when journalists – it’s usually journalists – go off on a huff on twitter, announcing “right, that’s it, I’ve had enough”? Then they’d sheepishly return a few days later, muttering something about something like Mutley and then pretending nothing happened? First seen on faithfanzine.com.
Getting to the heart of the key debates
Vinyls, aka vyenulls, vianel, etc versus CDs. (“It’s all about the selection.”)
Laptop set versus CDs and vinel. (“They look like they’re answering emails.”)
Cameraphones or not cameraphones? (“As long as it’s not too intrusive”)
The best thing to put your decks on (“some crappy trestle table by the looks of it”)
Minimal versus all other types of house (“the best DJs mix it up a bit”; “who’s laughing at UU’s minimal now?”)
Ketamine versus MDMA? (“After extensive research, we’ve perfected the exact amount of K to do”)
All those boring conversations that end up with asinine conclusions somewhere in the middle? They were being played out on faithfanzine.com long before “thinkpieces” and “hot takes” and whole Joe Muggs features.
Pointless rows about nothing
Think you’re having a pointless row about absolutely nothing on the Internet? “You haven’t fucking lived, you metropolitan media twat. Remember, I only deal in facts.”
Kenny’s Synth School
Yeah, still one of the funniest things that’s ever been on the Internet and Faith was into paying proper tributes through online crowdfunding – it raised funds for the memorial bench for Kenny Hawkes along the south coast. So, you know, it wasn’t all pointless.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: Faith didn’t start the “who was into house first, somewhere in the north or London?” debate. Nor, by the looks of it, did it finish it either. It just shifted the venue for a while.
FURTHER AUTHOR’S NOTE: This feature was brought to you with the help of all these Richards on the firm.