Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Hell of Nightclubs

Back in the ancient days of my twenties, I would often be a trooper and join some horde headed to a nightclub. It would not take long after being rubber-stamped or enduring other various entry rituals that I would begin mentally writing a story about how god-awful the place and the people were.

I do (did) enjoy dancing or drinking with friends, but these days if I dance, it's mostly a scene of comedic horror, though there is some joy to be taken in watching others audition for their own starring roles in similar movies. I have seen and taken part in karaoke clubbing too ... clubbing is indeed the active word for such things. The last time I was in such a gathering, I had been hoodwinked into "judging" a karaoke contest and for the most part, I imagine the event would be comparable to going to a dangerous intersection late at night and waiting for a brutal car crash.

Over the years, I have tried numerous times to actually finish a fictional take on the Hell that is a nightclub, with no success. However, I did happen to read a short and visceral take on clubbing from British pop culture critic Charlie Brooker which is a bona fide beauty of language and writing.

Some samples:

Clubs are despicable. Cramped, overpriced furnaces with sticky walls and the latest idiot theme tunes thumping through the humid air so loud you can't hold a conversation, just bellow inanities at megaphone-level. And since the smoking ban, the masking aroma of cigarette smoke has been replaced by the overbearing stench of crotch sweat and hair wax.

Clubs are such insufferable dungeons of misery, the inmates have to take mood-altering substances to make their ordeal seem halfway tolerable. This leads them to believe they "enjoy" clubbing. They don't. No one does. They just enjoy drugs."


"The second thing that struck me was frightening. They were all photographing themselves. In fact, that's all they seemed to be doing. Standing around in expensive clothes, snapping away with phones and cameras. One pose after another, as though they needed to prove their own existence, right there, in the moment. Crucially, this seemed to be the reason they were there in the first place. There was very little dancing. Just pouting and flashbulbs.

Surely this is a new development. Clubs have always been vapid and awful and boring and blah - but I can't remember clubbers documenting their every moment before. Not to this demented extent. It's not enough to pretend you're having fun in the club any more - you've got to pretend you're having fun in your Flickr gallery, and your friends' Flickr galleries. An unending exhibition in which a million terrified, try-too-hard imbeciles attempt to out-cool each other.

Read the whole thing here. (Also check out Brooker's properly disdainful sneering headshot image.)

1 comment:

  1. In full effin' agreement with you there, clubs are NOT WORTH THE HASSLE.

    I'd take a house party with some cool friends and cheap beer over a club any day--unless a really cool band is playing.

    And the cameras are out of control.