Sunday, 7 June 2015

Addiction XIX: Clubbing

Tim Booth used to go to clubs before they really got started, dance for a couple of hours and then leave relatively early, allegedly after a few disturbing incidents in which he was threatened with knives because people didn't like the way he danced. I danced like a slightly confused version of Tim Booth when I was at university and people stood still to watch me, possibly in admiration.

How times change.

I still dance like that, incidentally, but that isn't really too important. I used to go clubbing a lot... both in the equivalent of a club we had in our union bar every Friday night (which is still the image I have in my head when I think of a club) and out around the city or cities I visited throughout my early twenties. I remember them being hot, dark and full of alcohol, with plenty of people wither too drunk or too aloof to talk - and, besided, they were always too dark to talk anyway, necessitating the use of both Makaton and random gesticulation to get a message across.

And then I graduated, left university, and stopped going.

Yesterday I took part in a hen party (although the badges we wore had cocks on - because, as it turns out, scene girl doesn't know the difference between a male and a female chicken; so: a cock party; no, I am not ashamed of that joke). Though the day lurched through various stages including rowing boats in royal parks, wedding dresses being created from toilet paper, tight hugs from increasingly drunker girls and the young raver's face being entirely covered with talcum powder (don't ask), WBBW's hen cock party ended in Club de Fromage, allegedly London's most popular pop-based club night (although I'd never heard of it).

In between screaming myself hoarse to the likes of One Direction and a multitude of other artists we'd already murdered during the karaoke we'd partaken of nary an hour beforehand (I sang Gangnam Style in Korean - which is never, ever happening again), a few half-buried memories came back to me. On one club night, I kissed 27 girls on the hand merely because I wasn't a threat and I could. On another, I got close to a girl (who eventually became a friend) and would have probably been able to take things further if this guy hadn't cut in, taken her by force and snogged her in the doorway within about three seconds of doing so. (This guy, incidentally, was responsible for a lot of problems from that era - I wasn't so bothered about my disco exploits being disrupted, but I wrote a particularly incendiary blog post about him, calling him a cunt on multiple occasions, after he caused a breakup of a relationship by sleeping with the girl. Yes, I know.) And on another, I stood and watched a guy in a drinking game stand up and shout about what a small penis he had. I wasn't allowed to take part - I don't drink.

For such a dark, messy, confused environment - the sort of thing I'd usually avoid in favour of more pleasant, airy environments involving food, sex, games, words and Super Smash Bros. - clubbing still ignites something in my heart. It's something to do with whatever happens when I close my eyes and dance like nobody's watching (because nobody ever is). It's the fuel of the music, the vibrations that shock through your body, the gradual build-up of energy with every overpriced lemonade you buy at the bar, and the ring in your ears as you exit (in yesterday's case, with scene girl then realising she had to work out a way home for us at 4am).

For a lot of people, including the couple glued to each other's face who walked backwards into me last night, a club is a mating ground, a sort of petting zoo where singles can come together to meet, dance and pull. For me, it's relaxation - throwing my body into unimaginable shapes while not being able to hear is a welcome release from the thoughts that usually distract me from enjoying myself too much. I've never pulled anyone in a nightclub and I probably never will.

But I think it says something that I was the only one left dancing at the end after everyone else had gotten tired and sat down. It certainly does say something, actually, but I'm not exactly sure what that is...

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