TV review: Up All Night: The Nightclub Toilet, Channel 4


Click to follow
The Independent Culture

Channel 4 has recently had great success with its fly-on-the-wall documentary The Fried Chicken Shop. That series overflowed with local characters, each worthy of their own spin-off, but the pickings were a lot slimmer at JJ Whispers in Crawley. It's not that people in Crawley are less interesting than people in Clapham. It's just that almost everyone is a bore when they're drunk. Especially if you happen to be sober.

Just ask the toilet attendants. These self-employed men and women, who set up stall in loos selling lollipops for tips, have earned a place in clubbing culture (replete with theme tunes, as we learned last night), and it was interesting to see the night from their perspective.

Dami in the Ladies and Desmond in the Gents were both unfailingly polite, even when confronted with unwanted overtures, revolting requests and, in one particularly shameful case, a drunken customer trying to cheat Desmond out of £20 of his already meagre earnings.

If you have any imagination, however, you would already have guessed that working that close to a urinal can't be particularly pleasant. In Up All Night, the footage of men urinating was accompanied by orchestral music and a nature documentary-style voiceover, but don't let that fool you. There were no insights into the human condition to be had here, only depressing confirmations of known truths, the kind we drink to forget.