Why I won’t be going to the nightclubs when they reopen…
Boris Johnson has said nightclubs can reopen “no earlier than 21st June” when “all legal limits on social contact can be removed”. It’s going to be interesting to see how they open and can survive in the post-Covid age. After all, nightclubs are tight spaces and perhaps the most social environments in modern Britain with everyone crammed against each other on the dancefloor and getting trampled on in the queues. It’s a Covid nightclub nightmare and I read an article in LeftLion about how socially distanced raves are the future. They well could be.
I won’t be joining the crowds heading out to party at the nightclubs. I haven’t been to one since my friend’s birthday in October 2019. It was a nightmarish experience - I was a teetotaller and everyone else was piss drunk. The music was so loud and the crowds so big. I hated it. I hated the noise. I hated the stench of liquor. I hated the arrogance of some of the party-goers and their stupid behaviour.
It’s hard to believe I was once an active clubber - back in 2016 where I would hit Rock City every Thursday with my friend. Those were the days when I was a drinker and enjoyed getting piss drunk on Thursday nights and dancing to Martin Solveig or Oliver Helden. I don’t enjoy it anymore.
I remember when I was drunk, the music somehow seemed so penetrating. It was ear-splitting and painful, but there was an energy about it. A sense that everyone was happy-go-lucky and didn’t give a shit about whether they looked like idiots throwing their hands in the air and bobbing their heads up and down. I had girls grinding on me and boys lifting my arm up in the air!
The crowds were what really bothered me the first time I went clubbing since giving up alcohol. I’m a bit claustrophobic myself so find the idea of being in a queue with hundreds of people a living hell. The alcohol calmed those nerves, but, without it, I was just standing there with my arms crossed like a mug and looking as awkward as Hugh Grant after Andie McDowell said “Is it raining, I hadn’t noticed” in ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’ (1994).
Lots of people take drugs at nightclubs. I can safely say I never took any when I was out clubbing, but I do know someone who passed out and was hospitalized because of MDMA. I think the logical solution to that problem is just DON’T DO DRUGS, kids. It’s bad for you and causes legal problems to boot. Alcohol is bad enough.
I used to have this stupid idea that clubbing was all about pulling. That it was all about having fit girls kissing you on the dancefloor which does happen to lots of people. It happened to me - I had my first kiss on the dancefloor. But it was really overrated. I used to get so depressed because I wasn’t “pulling” anyone when others were. I put that down to a delusional idea in my head that I was “too fat” and “ugly”, but there was a more simple explanation. Nightclubbing isn’t about pulling. Getting a girlfriend takes time and a lot of effort - it’s not the same as simply meeting someone you like in an enclosed room and then immediately hitting off. That’s just a temporary thing.
I will say that I received the loveliest act of random kindness I have experienced in recent years at a nightclub. I used to get depressed and stand on my own because I wasn’t “pulling” - stand on my own in the smoking area. And this really lovely girl offered me a cigarette and asked me if I was okay. She wasn’t interested in hitting on me or pulling and rightfully so. She could just see I was down and in need of some friendship and kindness. It’s little moments like that that leave a big impression on someone. It certainly did on me.
So, no, I won’t be going clubbing in June whether socially distanced or not. Nightclubs are not for me - random acts of kindness disregarded...
Freelance film critic, journalist and writer based in Nottingham, UK. Specialises in cinema.
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