Behavioural psychologists reckon that as a result of the Covid restrictions, the rest of this decade is going to be like the roaring 20s all over again. People are going to go out more, piling into restaurants, venues or nightclubs.
I have to say, I find myself wanting to contribute to the phenomenon. Having not walked into a nightclub for years – so long ago that I don’t know whether “nightclub” is considered the correct term any more – I have been looking at the Instagram posts of various DJs playing to packed-out clubs and I’m thinking I might want to get on it.
My clubbing career is pretty unspectacular. I spent years going to hip-hop nights where, instead of dancing, I would just shout the lyrics into the faces of my friends who were also shouting them back at me. Then there were the R&B nights where I would try to dress a little bit slicker, thinking I looked cool, but actually looking like a recently divorced man who had just had an epiphany. I also spent a fair bit of time in drum’n’bass clubs, which is a phrase you can’t say without feeling like a grandpa trying to sound hip.
There is something amazing about going to a nightclub – you feel as if you’re part of an alternative society. Just before the first lockdown, we organised a live club night for the hip-hop podcast I host, and I asked my DJ friend what time it should start. He said he would open it up at midnight and I could get down there for half past to start hosting. I found the timings so alien that, I’m ashamed to say, I went to bed for a bit and then went and started the night as if I was doing a really, really early shift.
The night itself was great. Clubbing is not like going to a pub. Everyone seemed to be in a great mood, which I assume is because we all got three hours’ sleep before we turned up. Everyone is into the same music, and so the crowd has a real community feel, and yes, I am aware that sounds like I’m pitching a youth club.
Being 43 and wanting to go clubbing has its own set of challenges, however. If you go to a regular club, you must accept the fact that you are going to be at least 10 years older than anyone else. Then you can spend the night wandering around like a horrible vision of the future. On the one hand, the last thing I want to do is to bump into some poor Asian lad who’s “club medicated”, sees me and thinks I’m a middle-aged him, come back from the future to warn him about something. On the other hand, that sounds like quite a fun way to spend an evening.
The other option is to go to a club that specialises in the older crowd. This has the advantage of making you feel less out of place, but the disadvantage of making you feel as if you’re part of some sort of outreach programme to socially rehabilitate parents who are trying to figure out how to do things that aren’t child-related. But I am determined – I am going to hit the clubs. I’m going to try a few and then, hopefully, get to the point where I can go out without having a nap first.