Saturday Night Coming Up

I’m too old to go clubbing now.

I realised this later than perhaps I should have done, but given that I didn’t start going “proper” clubbing until I hit 30, that’s no real surprise. (By “proper” clubbing, I mean the type of club where you are just there for the music and atmosphere, not one of the meat markets where pissed up lads would try and cop off after the pubs were shut.)

There’s no doubt about it, it was a mid-life crisis, but one that I embraced whole-heartedly, and not one that I reflect on with any regret or shame. In fact, it was regret which finally led me to go: I’d been a DJ at the college at the end of the 1980s/start of the 1990s, when the whole rave culture was properly kicking off, but did I engage? No. I turned my nose up at it, denounced it as “not real” music because it didn’t have guitars on it. Idiot.

One of the things I loved about clubbing – apart from the music – was how easy it was to chat to random strangers. If a tune came on that I wasn’t keen on, or didn’t know, or if I just needed a cigarette – smoking on the dancefloor was a definite no-no – I’d make my way over to the seats and spark up. Almost inevitably, someone sitting nearby would come over to bum either a cigarette or a light, and I was always prepared for such an eventuality, taking two packets of cigarettes out with me, several lighters, even a couple of packs of chewing gum, just in case. I probably could have set up a tobacconist kiosk. In any other setting once that transaction was completed, that would be it. But not here: in this world, this would usually just be an ice-breaker, followed up with either: “You ‘avin a good night mate?” or “Where you from mate?”

Nobody seemed to care that I was a good ten years older than everyone else in the club that night. Many of them just assumed that I’d been going since circa 1990, and I was happy to let our conversation continue with them under that misapprehension. It imbued me with some undeserved elder statesman kudos.

I made so many friends during the few years I regularly went clubbing, it’s incredible, many of whom I’m still in touch with, despite barely having seen them in the last fifteen years or so. Some I recognised from work but didn’t really know, some I’d never met before but would regularly hook up with or bump into the next time I was out in clubland, thereby sealing a new friendship. The occasional person I had no recollection of whatsoever. Maybe I’ll write about some of them, sometime. Names will have to be changed to protect the not so innocent.

I look back on those nights with a huge amount of affection, and wish I could go back there. But I remember the night I realised it was time for me to quit all too vividly.

Some mates and I had gone to a club which wasn’t really to my taste, but I’d been outvoted. It was all bright and shiny and polished and had mirrors on every wall, the very opposite to the dark and dirty surroundings of Cardiff’s now-closed Emporium which I simply adored.

I fancied a cigarette, left the dancefloor before remembering that the smoking ban had just come in. I couldn’t be bothered with the hassle of going outside, so I thought I’d just sit down for a bit, see who was around to chat to. Only to find there was nowhere to sit, so I ended up just standing, on my own, sort of near the dancefloor, looking around me at all the beautiful people.

And I suddenly felt very old and very out of place. When I was young and we went to a club, we used to point and laugh at an old bloke who was there on his own, probably just wanting an after hours drink, but looking like the archetypal dirty old man. Is that how I look to these people?

So I hung up my dancing shoes, and never went back.

So, for as many weeks as I remember to do it, a tune which reminds me of those days will appear here, sometimes with an anecdote, sometimes not.

Starting with this, which would often get aired in the final hour or so of the club night at the Emporium me and my mates went to the most:

More soon.

Friday Night Music Club

Hello, hello, hello, hello!

It’s Friday night here in the UK, and that can mean only one thing: more tunes to add to the Friday Night Music Club playlist.

Tonight’s 5 sees us remaining firmly in 80s territory, and with me providing a lesson in DJing: it’s not always about playing the records you like. Sometimes, you have to play the ones that your crowd will like.

Such is the case with the first two songs in tonight’s list. These are definitely not my favourite songs by these artistes:

LetsDance David Bowie – “Let’s Dance”

(For the record, my favourite Bowie song is…fuck, I don’t know…where do you start?? Right now, it’s probably “Life on Mars”….later tonight it’ll probably be “Absolute Beginners”…tomorrow, or maybe even later tonight, it will be…oh this is too hard. It’s not possible to have just the one favourite Bowie song, in the same way as it’s not possible to have just the one favourite toe)

220px-Reflex7 Duran Duran – “The Reflex”

(For the record, this is much easier: my favourite Duran song is “Hungry Like The Wolf”)

348103 The Human League – “Don’t You Want Me”

Sometimes I like to slot songs together which kinda sound a little similar, or which remind me of each other, and such is the case with the next one:

dittoep Beth Ditto – “Open Heart Surgery”

I dunno what it is about that, but when I hear either of those two, I immediately want to hear the other straight afterwards. You’re welcome.

Finally this week, we start to move into slightly dancier waters, with a song that always takes me back to my clubbing days:

$_35 Goldtrix presents Andrea Brown – “It’s Love [Trippin]”

More soon. (Next Friday, to be precise).