Skip to content

A Burner Lexicon: The Old Days

Posted in A Burner Lexicon, and Burning Man

The Burning Man Effigy. Black Rock City, 1990. Photo by Danger Ranger.

Old Days, The –noun, Back in the good old days of Burning Man, you could drive mutant vehicles as fast as you wanted while shooting guns out the window. There were absolutely no tourists or ravers, and passing chemistry nerds showered all in attendance with handfuls of barter-free LSD and Ecstasy at least twice a day. It was the greatest place ever, before you showed up.

See also: Burnier-than-thou.

Guess what folks — time passes and things change. For me, celebrating the impermanence of all things is one of the lessons I learn from the central ritual of burning a beautiful effigy at our events.

Yesterday, I discovered that one of my housemates in Patton House, the sprawling hippie flophouse where I reside, actually attended one of the earliest Burning Man events back when it was held on Baker Beach outside of San Francisco. He went on to attend one of the first burns in the Black Rock Desert, but the extreme disorganization kept him from ever going back. His tales of the bad kind of chaos, including a largely underprepared populace quite literally begging for water, made me happy to have joined the community after it got its shit together.

For a good look at the early days of the event and its origins, check out This is Burning Man by Brian Doherty.

Other entries in A Burner Lexicon can be found at

If you enjoyed this post, please support Kit on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!