'I've had a couple of cheeky lines'

Click to follow
The Independent Online

It's midnight, and a small club in south London is beginning to fill up as the surrounding pubs start to close. Inside, the bar is busier than the dancefloor as friends meet up and those without drugs search for those who have plenty.

It's midnight, and a small club in south London is beginning to fill up as the surrounding pubs start to close. Inside, the bar is busier than the dancefloor as friends meet up and those without drugs search for those who have plenty.

"None of us have got any pills on us," says Claire, "but we'll be able to get them." Ten minutes later the 24-year-old secondary school teacher returns and waltzes around her group of friends as she surreptitiously drops a pill into their hands. "They were a fiver each," she says.

An hour later the dancefloor is packed. Whereas earlier most people were drinking beer or vodka, now more are clutching bottles of water. Jugs of cold water are lined up at the side of the bar alongside a stack of plastic cups. The cups are steadily filled by those taking ecstasy.

A man in a short-sleeved shirt dances on a table with his eyes closed and arms up in the air. Not everyone is taking ecstasy. "I've had a couple of cheeky lines," says Tom, 29, referring to cocaine. "It's a bit dangerous doing it in the toilets - they've got a guy in there who helps you wash your hands. I might take a pill later, otherwise it's beer all night."

Sitting on a step by the stage, Rob, a 24-year-old fine art graduate, takes a breather. "I'm not a big fan of ecstasy," he says, "but it's a mate's birthday so I'm taking them. I did most drugs apart from heroin by the age of 16. Now I smoke weed and take pills." His tablets cost him £2.50 each, while the cannabis (an eighth of an ounce) cost £20.

It's 3am and bodies lounge on the sofas in the bar. Heads nod in time to the music, mouths chew gum furiously. A girl with dreadlocks dances on her own, oblivious to those around her. A group of friends huddle around a short-haired girl who is trying not to throw up. Someone gives her a back massage while another dashes her face with water.

Outside, offers of minicabs are accepted as new friends swap numbers and invite each other round to smoke a joint and watch DVDs. Claire and Kate hear there is a club open until six down the road. "No work tomorrow," they yell as they disappear into the night.