Douglas Bastard's Rants of Rage

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This article was written on 30 May 2016, and is filled under Uncategorised.

Why nightclubs are the death of the soul

I’ve just read one of the most witless pieces of rose-tinted, backward facing idiocy that I think I’ve ever suffered to read. It was written by Lauren Laverne and laments the demise of the ‘club scene’ where, I’m told, people wore the most fabulous outfits, danced to the latest tunes and where working class people could experience life that was edgy in its dangerousness, dangerous in its edginess and, above all, dedgy in its angerousness. And, of course, it was edgy and dangerous.

Well. Was it? I last went to ‘a club’ twenty years ago, at the height of what Laverne seems to think was some kind of golden age and here’s the news. It was bloody awful. I went on a weekly basis for no better reason than that was what you were supposed to do and nothing about the experience commended itself to me, now or at the time.

You paid too much for booze in the city centre to get you half pissed and thinking that going to a club might be different from the hundred other times that you’d done it and then queued up after the pubs had shut. If you were unlucky, you got in, where you paid even more for drink, shouted in people’s ears and danced in a sort of vague way until it was time to leave. Whereupon you’d need to queue for your coat and blunder out into the night air suddenly freezing and needing to get an overpriced cab home where the priapic taxi driver would be wanting you to be a girl in a short skirt that he could stare up.

I thought, for years, that this was ‘having a good time’ until I was honest with myself about it being awful and stopped doing it. Now that I volunteer as a Street Pastor, it’s not got any better and the only difference is that the hours have got longer. Women who bought their outfits in Primark and who look like Larkin’s memorable line, ‘fat girls in parodies of fashion’ stand outside, shivering, while Shane, who is so skinny that he seems to consist of a chinless head on a broom handle, is beaten up by Mark, who works out in the gym for 24 hours at a time and is in the grip of some kind of steroid related rage.

If the girls are in parodies of fashion, the boys are worse. Coloured shirts seem to be popular, as do the kind of shoes that you wear if it’s your first office job. Some of the shirts will be done up to the neck, as though you’re a halfwit who forgot his tie, and the steroid people will be wearing something that shows off their muscles because they’re so bizarrely in love with themselves that if they could go home and stuff their own dicks up their bums, they would. But this is, essentially, the same crowd that there has always been since people started doing this.

Which is why it’s the same now as it was then. It has always happened. The only reason why Laverne thinks it hasn’t happened is that she has, horrors, got older. My granddad thought the Second World War was What His Generation Needed, but that was because it was fifty years ago by the time he died, and he’d forgotten the death, confusion, maiming and general mayhem that follow when older men can’t sort out their differences by talking. So it is with Laverne’s generation. My granddad had D-Day. She has dancing in an overpriced nightclub. Well done, everybody.

Fashions change. Pubs are closing because people want to do something else other than get mindlessly wandered to disguise the fact that life is quite rubbish and coffee shops are in. Young people are coming to the inexplicable conclusion that maybe dancing to music and shouting in a stranger’s ear, for which the nice lady takes a lot of money off you, isn’t the way forward. Maybe being able to actually hear yourself and go to the toilet when you want is. Or maybe it’s just listening to music by yourself, which is my greatest pleasure.

A nightclub closing its doors and becoming flats doesn’t sadden me. It means that people have a place to live which isn’t empty for most of its life and people do rather need that. If they can’t pay for overpriced drinks and wear sparkly eyeshadow, I think I’ll live. Local residents are also getting bored with people staggering past and peeing on their clematis at five in the morning. That’s fine. So would I. In fact, I’d want the clematis-widdlers either fired into space on some kind of rocket or relegated to some dead-eyed trading estate place where they could do what they do to some pounding, dead-eyed music and then pay through the nose to get a cab home. It’s nothing less than they deserve.

And if you doubt that any of this is true, read the lyrics of The Smiths’ ‘How Soon Is Now.’ It’s all there and it’s all true, whether Laverne wants to acknowledge it or not. Getting older is about admitting that what you thought was good is actually utter cock. Come on. Be honest with yourself.

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