My mum's absolutely raving mad

Don't leave your old dear at home next time you go clubbing, take her along: she looks more hip than you do, says Katie Sampson

When Techno DJ Mrs Wood decided to adopt the persona of a cosy Barnsley mum spinning tunes at clubs and raves dressed in a housecoat and a pair of slippers, her records packed into a shopping trolley, she was taken aback by the effect she had on her audience. "Kids as young as 15 greet me with the words, "Oh, I wish my Mum could be like you," she laughs. What had started as a joke has become a symbol of something seriously cool, as kids rush out to buy her debut CD, Mrs Wood Teaches Techno.

The fact that kids embraced the notion of a DJ-ing mum demonstrates that clubbing mums need not necessarily be of the Ab Fab type. Going clubbing with your old dear can now earn you major Brownie points among your peers, not the chorus of derisory laughter you might once have expected. Nineties clubland, as clubbers bible Mixmag has discovered, holds its older members in high esteem. "When we ran a feature on over-forties clubbers, we threw in a couple of quotes from clubbers slagging them off. In response, we received a deluge of complaint letters from young clubbers defending the over-forties and furious at anyone who criticised them," explains editor Dom Phillips, who, in his early thirties, is old enough to be a parent of a teen himself.

Like Phillips, many clubbing veterans have no intention of hanging up their dancing shoes. Why should they, when remaining on the scene can mean attaining local and even national celebrity status? Lynne West is a celebrated clubbing mum who grew to love clubbing so much that she began promoting her own club night. She got interested while helping her son Richard - aka Mr C of the Shamen, now owner of London Club the End - sell tickets to his raves back in the late Eighties."All the youngsters came to my flat to buy tickets from me and one day I just got sick of staying home and missing out on the fun." She took her sister Ivy with her and the two of them have never looked back.

Anti-drug campaigners might be shocked to learn that Lynne's son, the man who sang the infamous number-one hit "Ebeneezer Goode", gave his mum a stern lecture when he caught her trying an E. "He told me I was not to take any more because they were not going to do me any good," says Lynne. But 19-year-old Polly - a keen clubber since her mother Denise first took her to a club at the age of 13, encouraged her mum to share a pill with her. "When I told my friends that Mum and I both took E and went clubbing together they could hardly believe it. They thought she must be a complete nutter."

But after years of seeing her mum as a frustrated housewife, Polly recognised that clubbing and a drug which was originally used in psychotherapy might have a therapeutic effect. "Rather than getting out of it together, taking an E together brought us really close - everyone presumed we were sisters. I definitely want to go out with her again." But both mother and daughter draw the line at anything stronger - the idea of a mother losing control within a club environment is beyond the pale. "I would never ever do LSD in front of my daughter. God no, that would be dreadful!" Denise exclaims.

Despite the narrowing of the generation gap, few mothers in a club environment lose their maternal instinct altogether. Claire, who with her husband and two kids became well known in clubbing circles as one of "the family", describes her desire to include her children almost in terms of responsible parenting. "I don't want my children to take a route that I can't follow, only to see them get tangled up in something I can't understand," she explains. "But that doesn't mean I now need to compete with my children. I've been open with them because I want them to be able to talk to me." But she still laughs at the double life she leads. "During the week, I'm a mum. No one knows I'm a raver unless I tell them, and they're usually gobsmacked."

Freely admitting that she missed out on her own youth by having children at an early age, she now finds her 27-year-old son Kevin's friends more interesting than her own. Kevin often invites his Mum to his parties, in fact he swells with pride at the very mention of her name. "I'd never be embarrassed of her, she's my mum, big sister and best friend rolled into one and that's the way it should be," he says. "After all, no one knows more about you than your mum." His friends, he says, are envious of their relationship. Many of them left home at an early age because their parents refused to understand or accept any aspect of their world. Its a common reaction from many parents, but the good news is that they can, and occasionally do, change their minds.

When Sophie first took her mum clubbing, the initial prospects didn't look promising. "At the beginning she was a bit wary of the whole experience, trying to behave like a mum and asking me to get the DJ to turn down the music, while complaining about the banging sound." But once Sophie had explained the concept of a club and pointed out how everyone else was enjoying themselves, her mother began to relax and soon caught the clubbing bug, holding her fiftieth birthday party in a club to introduce her friends to the experience.

Bessie Clark had to wait until her seventies to get into clubbing. She was on tour dancing topless with her choreographer son Michael Clark and the legendary party person Leigh Bowery when she was taken to a club. "People are so chatty when I go out clubbing that I forget my age and feel like one of them. I've enjoyed every minute of it and now I bring a friend of mine along and she loves it, too." Having been brought up on waltzes, quicksteps and foxtrots, Bessie admits that club culture and dance styles have changed since her youth. "In today's clubs, people don't dance, they just hobble around, but I still love to join in, just as I love listening to music, whatever the style."

Since her first outing, she has been to clubs all over the world, including one in Rio de Janeiro where her son was asked to judge an erection competition. Instead of feeling shocked, Bessie was amused. She has only one self-conscious thought. "My goodness, if my husband was to look down on me from above, what would he think?" she giggles.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

    £28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

    Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

    £16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

    Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

    £16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

    Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

    £17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

    Day In a Page

    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

    Everyone is talking about The Trews

    Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
    'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

    'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

    British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
    Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

    Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

    Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
    14 best kids' hoodies

    14 best kids' hoodies

    Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

    The acceptable face of the Emirates

    Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk