We all have fears. Stopped trains, spiders, fire. I fear clubbing, just everything about it. To check I hadn’t metamorphosed overnight, ascended to a parallel universe or lost my mind, I recently revisited a club I occasionally frequented while underage.
The room was sweaty, noisy and crowded – smelly too – with people dancing, apparently uncontrollably, to the sound of screeching beats. This is my personal hell. Hot-footing it out, I sent clubbing to my own Room 101. The horrible word ‘clubbing’, its location and the inevitable queuing fill me with a dread incomparable to anything else I am yet to discover. Halted lifts and broken Hammersmith and City line trains I can handle – a sweaty, claustrophobic dungeon, not so much.
A quick Google of ‘clubbing in 2013’ brings up Thomas Cook trips to Ayia Napa – the very pit of hell – or Ibiza Clubbing 2013, in ‘The World’s Party Capital’. Until Sun, Sex and Suspicious Parents showed its face, naively I had forgotten that people still went out ‘on the town’. I am boring, I admit. I thought it was trendier to be an anti-clubber – not my justification – and enjoy the delights of a pub window seat complete with a litre of beer and a spot of people-watching. But obviously it has something going for it – my Facebook events are spammed with invitations to ‘The Great Club Event of the Year’ where drinks are watery and lethally sickening.
At 20 years old, I shouldn’t be feeling too old for anything much more than kindergarten’s tiny chairs or the small swing at the park. But stepping into a club, I do feel old in a similar way that fresher flat parties now deeply confuse me. It’s like I claimed my pension over the summer. It’s not that I’ve grown out of it; I just never liked clubbing in the first place. Well, maybe for 10 seconds in 2008, when my participation in such activities was illegal, and therefore enriching and fun. And I’m sure I was lusting after a boy that smoked more than he danced, so I probably wasn’t inside much.
The traditional west-end club has the attached dread of a meat market. Being full of girls scantily clad, shod in double-decker platforms, they’re out for a good time. And why not? On the other side of the starting blocks, pretending they have any knowledge of courting, modern boys are ready to pounce in low cut tops and bottoms, their brows better plucked than mine. It’s the same everywhere, London to Liverpool to Sheffield to Slough – yes I’ve been to Slough – and I am none the wiser as to the attraction of these intolerable vaults.
And the photos, all the sodding photos. The nightclub photographer is a special kind of person, a proper satirist or a perilously unfunny comedian because I am yet to discover a photo of anyone ‘out on the town’ looking absolutely fabulous. A tagged photo is only worth something if it’s flattering, your existence in the prison of choice only counts if you looked nice, right? Or at least that’s what all the girls seem to think, snapping away populating Instagram with shots that seem unnervingly identical to last week’s ‘big night out’ evidence.
As clubbing is added to the ever-growing list of life’s oddities, I ought to have learned my lesson. As I walked home contemplating my (short-lived) evening, it struck me that I grow more middle-aged every day. But that’s okay, mine’s a Kronenberg. At the pub.
Eleanor Doughty is a second-year student at Queen Mary, University of London. Follow her on Twitter here. She won't follow you back.Reuse content