Stop Clubbing, Baby Seals!

This post isn’t about seals in any way shape or form. It IS about clubbing however, and so I thought it was a good chance to use the slightly misleading title, and also this picture:


Stop clubbing, baby seals! – The party lifestyle is clearly taking its toll on these guys.

Right then, now I’ve got that out of my system, let’s talk about clubbing. I used to LOVE clubbing. Nowadays, most invitations to go out to a club are met with a bit of a ‘meh’ response from me.

Why? I don’t really know. So this post is a chance to ramble a bit and explore the journey of my attitude towards clubbing. Thrilling.

First of all, when I was about 14, I used to go to an ‘underage’ club called Teenculture. It was a ‘baby’ version of one of Birmingham’s most established and long-running rock club nights, Subculture, and ran once a month, from about 7pm until 11, or something along those lines. Everyone used to get all emo’d up, like this:


Me, circa 2006. Alternative caption: “MYSPACE <3”

And we all used to drink vodka from Lucozade bottles in Pigeon Park from midday (sorry, mom) and peak too early before the club had even open. Scenes like this were not uncommon:


2005. About 4pm, probably. I’m the one at the top in the middle. I’m pretty sure if someone had had swiped a make-up wipe across the pile of us, they could have made at least two brand new eyeliner pencils with the remnants.

Then I turned 18, and clubbing was pretty much entirely the same except for I went to the grown up version, Subculture – basically, the only differences were: we were legally allowed to drink in there, it finished later, there queues were shorter, there were less fights, and less pretend lesbians necking. (Booo).

So, you can imagine how much of a culture shock it was when I then swanned off to uni. ‘Uni clubbing’ seemed to be a whole different thing, with demands that I couldn’t get my head around.  For a start, it was generally not acceptable to skulk along to the club looking as if you’d just crawled out of a vat of eyeliner and spiky dog collars (don’t get me wrong, my uni had a very successful and popular Rock Society, however by the time I went along it seemed like everyone already knew everyone else and breaking into firmly stablished friendship groups or cliques is a Very Hard Thing). Instead, in the general realm of ‘Uni Clubbing’ you had to wear short dresses and ‘proper’ make-up and dance properly to music made by computers instead of jumping around and shoving each other to music made by instruments and voices. Somehow, I managed to adapt to this Brave New World of clubbing, and for most of the first two years of uni I was all over that shit, yo. Literally, in first year I went clubbing at least twice a week most weeks, a little less in Year 2 but still a lot.


2009, Gatecrasher. This is what ‘me embracing Proper Clubbing’ looks like. (I am a tit).

And then BAM. I can’t pinpoint exactly when, but at some point I decided I did NOT enjoy clubbing. At all. Instead of being a fun way to dance and piss about with friends, it turned into something that I did not see the point in. For the past…probably about two years, my thoughts on going to nightclubs are this:

– There’s no point in going if you don’t want to pull. Or dance. But if, like me, you dance like a caught fish as it desperately tries to breathe and flops out its last painful moments on the deck of a boat, and are very aware that those around you have spotted this and are somewhat puzzled as to why you would ever move like that in public, then – there is no point going if you don’t want to pull.

Fish dance

Me, performing the dance of my people, whilst simultaneously escaping the unwanted advances of a predatory male.

– There is no point going if you can’t look the part. And, between carrying all the extra weight I piled on whilst at uni and the effects that ageing and my past ‘bad habits’ are already having on my face, there is genuinely no way I can look acceptable in clubs. It’s an annoying no-win situation – if I try to slip by unnoticed by dressing down, people will think ‘why are’t you dressed up?! What’s wrong with you?”. However if I dress up, it will look like I misguidedly think I can pull the whole ‘dressing up nicely’ thing off. I can’t.

Why can’t more things be fancy dress? Pretty much every second night out at uni was fancy dress. This solves the ‘looking the part’ problem quite nicely. Rawr.

– There is no point going if you’d rather have conversations with people than breathe your vodka fumes all over their face as you get uneccessarily close to their ear to shout something at them over the music which they don’t hear anyway but it doesn’t matter because you’re so drunk you instantly forget what you just tried to tell them.

What trying to talk to people in clubs looks like. (If you don’t know what video this is a still from, a) I am disappointed in you, b) click the picture to discover freaky musical wonderfulness).

I don’t know why I suddenly started feeling like this. Maybe it’s because I’m getting older – a few of my friends seem to feel the same way, see below. But then, I know loads of people who are my age or older who love clubbing, so it can’t be that alone. Maybe it’s because I stopped putting stuff that I really shouldn’t have up my nose.

If you’re innocent enough to think that I mean like this exSTRAWdinary scene in The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, then, stay innocent, I guess!

Whatever the reasons for my change of heart, I find it rather annoying. I do miss how much fun I used to have going clubbing. Don’t get me wrong, I still do enjoy it, sometimes…but nowhere near as much as I used to. Out of fear that I was going Quite Mad, I decided to ask a few of my friends for their thoughts and feelings on clubbing. Here is what they had to say: (For confidentially reasons, all quotes are anonymouse. That is not a spelling mistake or a typo).


Source: Blueturlte7645 WordPress

Squeaky*, 22

“When I turned 17, I started to go out to night clubs with my friends. Usually we went to rock clubs or rock gigs that had a club night afterwards. I was single at this point and found the whole experience very exciting and new. There were several aspects of clubbing that I really enjoyed. I liked the music, being with my friends, drinking alcohol, dancing, but the most exciting part of clubbing was the possibility of meeting new people. For a lot of people, clubbing is about meeting someone with whom they can strike up a relationship. This may just be for a brief sexual encounter, maybe even just to feel contact with another. For example dancing together or kissing. It may however be used to facilitate the beginning of a long term relationship. Personally, my favourite part of clubbing was meeting someone new and feeling that excitement you get from flirting with someone you will probably never see again. I could be anyone I wanted to be because I knew it was just for that night, in that club.

I am now in a long term relationship which began before I started Uni meaning I was never single during my 3 years there. When we went out to clubs, I would often feel out of place and wonder why I had bothered going because unless you are there to meet, flirt or “get with” someone, the dancing and drinking part felt somewhat pointless. I was and still am very happy in my relationship therefore I didn’t need or want to engage in any emotional or physical attraction with another individual. Also, occasionally when guys would come on to me, it was awkward telling them that I wasn’t interested as i had a boyfriend. This was often met with the response “well why are you here then”. I started to think, hmm why am I hear? All the fun had drained from the clubbing experience and I felt awkward being around my friends who were clearly trying to find guys they wanted to sleep with. I don’t go clubbing anymore because I simply don’t see the point when you’re in a relationship.”


Source: nuclear mouse

Speedy*, 21

“I dislike clubbing because people can become aggressive when they’ve had too much to drink, clubs can become to crowded and the music can be far to loud. Bar queues can be horrendous. I do like clubbing because it is a fun way to enjoy a drink and a dance with a large group of friends and it is great to meet new people. Usually I’ve always found people to be friendly and everyone just wants to dance with everyone.”



ChiChi*, 23

“Clubbing makes me feel kind of depressed. What is it but fat girls in dresses that are too tight trying to get attention from ugly men in v-necks? Call me cynical, but it’s true. And yet… if I (hopefully not a fat mouse in a dress that is too tight) don’t get any attention on the dance floor… I feel that the night is ruined…even if I’m not on the pull. My problem? Or merely an inevitability caused by the culture of clubbing? On the plus side… when one is in a relationship one can throw shapes that are purely preposterous, do the robot, take the piss – because trying to look attractive is no longer an issue… these are the times when clubbing is fun. That is, if you can cope with all the drunken couples who are necking, when you are not necking. Which I can’t…. cue drunken jealousy. Overall though, if you are not tanned, skinny and wearing a very revealing dress (and pulling it off) … clubbing will make you feel nothing but inadequate. Inadequacy leads to leaving early which leads to eating which leads to guilt in the morning. As if a hangover weren’t enough!”



Pippin*, 23

“The thing that i like about clubbing is the exact same thing that makes me dislike it .
I like that clubbing provides a release for people at the end of their working week . For some people who have boring menial jobs “living for the weekend” is the only thing that keeps them going and i don’t think that anyone has the rite to judge people for this as long as these people are not harming others in the process.
The downside to this is the same as any other addiction , when people come to rely on it too much it can be a drain on their health and can cause other problems in their lives. It is also a distraction from problems in their normal everyday lives that they do not have the ability to face up to.”

*All names and photos have been changed. Obviously.

I was relieved to find out I was not alone in terms of feeling like pulling is one of the main ‘objectives’ of a night out at a club, and also in terms of worrying about what one looks like and what other people are thinking about this.

I hope you enjoyed this post about nothing in particular. I’d be interested in hearing more people’s thoughts on this not-really-important-but-still-kinda-interesting-well-interesting-to-me-at-least-and-apparently-also-to-the-lovely-kind-anonymice-whom-I-thank-very-much-for-providing-their-opinions issue.

Peace and fucking. x


2 thoughts on “Stop Clubbing, Baby Seals!

  1. Gabby, you are truly brilliant.
    And a very good writer, reading this brought back my own memories of teen culture when i was 12/13 and i tagged along with Kelly and you lot (its Marie by the way) which made me smile.
    I have to agree with you on the clubbing thing though, i haven’t really enjoyed it since the novelty of being 18 and not having to be sneaky to get in wore off. Plus, i like to wear loads of outfits when im socializing and not trusting the coat men with my bag full of clothes means carrying a big bag around a hot sweaty club. I much prefer having people around to my house for drinks and music. NO TAXI FARE HOME!

    • Thanks Marie 🙂 Ah the good old days of Teenculture…it feels like so long ago! Well I suppose that’s because it WAS, but yeah. That’s a good point about having people over…certainly through second and third year it was preferable to going out. Also if anyone gets so inebriated that they can’t walk/see/etc, it’s much better to be in someone’s house with beds and shit than a club!

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