Friday, 13 December 2013

What happened to all the great parties?

I think one of the biggest expectations of University life is the infinite number of memorable house parties and clubbing experiences that as a young and naive highschooler are told will be the highlight of your fulfilling years at University. However, I have to honestly say, not one club or house party I have been to this year has been any better or the slightest bit more memorable than any party I attended growing up. What's more, the irony in this, lies in the fact that I grew up in a country where drinking alcohol is illegal until the age of 21. Maybe that's why it was so much better? My teenage years could be seen like a modern day Arab Gatsby event during the 1920s when Alcohol was prohibited and had to be bootlegged into parties, much similar to my 'Sweet-Sixteen' party living in Dubai where an Indian man commonly known as our 'booze guy' turned up in his toyota corolla with bin bags full of alco-pops to supply my party, without knowing that my parents were sitting in their car at the end of the drive-way watching the night roll-out and eating KFC.
I'm not sure if this feeling is mutual amongst young people here in the U.K and they simply choose to wash over their dissatisfaction with the nightlife here because they want to look like they're having more fun than other people on facebook, but sad as it is to say, I have pretty much regretted almost every time I've gone clubbing in the U.K.
If you're a fresher at a University in London, by now you're going to be pretty familiar with all the regular clubs in London such as Pacha (Victoria), Ministry of Sound (Elephant and Castle), Aquila (Camden), Zoo Bar, Hashtag Thursdays at Picadilly Institude, perhaps the Coronet also in Picadilly and your local Uni bars. This is thanks to the overload of daily notifications you will receive on Facebook as well as the texts and phonecalls from club promoters claiming that you've booked a table for that night and if you don't turn up with 10 other friends, they will lose their job.
Clubbing in London is not cheap either - an entry ticket is usually around £8-10  and depending on how much you like to drink you could end up paying about 20 pounds for drinks. If you think that's normal try clubbing in Newcastle where I pay about half the price for a better night out. Here's a shocker for you. I went to a club in Picadilly with a friend of mine, at DSTRKT which was advertised on the event as a student club for a James Bond night. I asked for a double vodka and Red-Bull to find that it was £16.50! I almost had a heart attack. Luckily my friend at I pretended that we were part of the Entrepreneurial Society with King's and Imperial University (we are King's Students studying French..) and joined their booked table and free drinks.
Each time I plan to go clubbing, I get really excited at the thought of going out, getting drunk and dancing just like I'm in a Britney Video. In all honesty though, I think it's more the ritualistic element of prepping and pampering beforehand which I get excited about. Sadly, this feeling is shot down faster than a rabbit on a highway when you head off to the clubs in your 'hot of the shelves' 'new-look' high heels that were reduced on 'Student Discount Wednesdays', a banging LBD which is incomplete without that rushed hour of straightening your bleach blonde birds-nest only to get drenched in rain from your walk from the bus to the club. Depending on whether you've previously decided to blow your cash on skipping the queue or not, you'll end up standing about longer than what would be called a 'fast pass' so that by the time you get ushered to the entrance or just the coat and bag drop, your feet will hurt too much in your 'amazing' new shoes and you'll want to get back home to the double-bill of Downtown Abbey, Call the Midwife or Game of Thrones.
However, if you've been a a keen raver and simply cannot bear the thought of not being able to dance in front of people like I do and put up with the long queues then you'll be rewarded with what's inside..
Have you ever noticed the overriding male to female ratio at clubs? There definitely seems to be a lot more guys than girls these days. If this is really is the case then I'm not sure where all the girls are hiding or what they're doing. Maybe they're at home saving money with their partners having a better time watching late night re-runs of The Notebook and eating Chinese takeout. I wouldn't be surprised as any girl who looks drunk or pretends that they are for reasons why I can't imagine, will have the privilege of  being leeched on by a guy who definitely did not appear to be standing there a few seconds before...
I've been to clubs, bars, house parties and concerts in places such as Dubai, Bahrain, Cyprus, U.K, Malta, Glasgow, Spain, Australia, Paris, Abu Dhabi and Mauritius and I've never experienced an atmosphere quite like down South. It's the lads in particular who should really take most of the blame here - they behave as if it's their first time on a night out and sometimes as if they've just discovered what their penis means to them.
This makes dancing near them extremely awkward as they constantly bash into you and end up spilling your drink on someone or just dropping their bottle of WKD on those fresh and hot 'new-look' shoes of yours. Extra fresh but now also extra sticky.
I'm not sure if it's my poor choice of clubs that is the reason behind my dissatisfaction, but the music in clubs nowadays seems to be going from slightly bearable to dismal. It's either lifeless house tracks of single beats that you can only really bob your head to like one of those bobbing head dogs that people stick in the back of their cars or cheesy 90's hits that should only be whipped out at the end of the night when everyone is absolutely beavered and will therefore go home singing along to one hit wonders by Steps and remember what a smashing night they had.
Back in the day, (when I say back in the day I mean back in the 90's when I was 4 years old and had birthday parties with the spice girls on loop) having a night out was about actually enjoying yourself with your mates. Nowadays, I get the feeling that people go out just to prove something to other people. Girls in particular are the culprits here.
My evidence to this statement is the fact that girls seem to spend almost the entire night taking 'selfies' on instagram. This happens before they get ready, as they are getting ready, in the bathroom before they leave the house, before they leave the house, on transport to a night out, at the club, in a gathering in the bathroom, but not after that as their makeup doesn't look as great. Ultimately, they end up wasting most of the night getting the right hair parting or lip-pout for each photo and thinking of hashtags to go with them:
#YOLO #nightoutwithmagirlz #partyinghard #nightsillneverforget #singlelaydies #wedontneedboyz #lovethem #nofilter #drunk
And so, after my few hours of trying to dance but ending up bobbing on the spot a bit like a broken pogo stick, trying to wade under some warm beer whilst a fifty-something tries to grope the poor underage girl next to me, I think it's time to head home after a long and eventful night, only to find out that it's 11.53pm. I've just about managed an hour.
Growing up in a country where alcohol is strictly illegal to under 21s, you'd expect that teens in the UAE have the most boring weekends probably getting lost in the depths of the ever-expanding Shopping Malls and riding camels everywhere (as we do). As the Daily Mail loves to identify, youngsters over there have no problem drinking enough to 'forget their own name'. But you know, despite almost getting taken to the police station on several occasions due to my #yolo lifestyle, I loved absolutely every drunken minute of arriving home to my parents' disgrace or having someone call my mum to come and pick me up from random locations because the taxi driver threatened to take me (unconscious me this is) to the police station. Because youngsters in Dubai aren't able to purchase alcohol, we just paid people to deliver it for us, seems a legitimate solution, until you find the drinks are spiked. Luckily that never happened to me. This was just the norm for us, it was either drinking from people's parents drink cabinets or ordering in from the numerous booze guys on someone's contact list.
Being bored in a place like Dubai with nothing more to do that hang out at huge houses (predominantly because of the heat outside and not being allowed to hang about on the streets at night) with lots of alcohol always lead to promiscuous behaviour. I can't remember a gathering or house party where people didn't go into a bathroom or have sex somewhere in the house and this started from when I was about 14. Of course you had the more 'rebellious' crowd who started these escapades earlier on but when all the other pretty young things caught on during year 11, every single gathering turned into some form of orgy and it basically got worse as we progressed into my Sixth-Form. Anybody's bathroom was like an invite to fuck or more politely 'to do the dirty' as my hero Miranda Hart would say, so you'd constantly have queues for the bathroom and people banging on the door complaining and if you lived on a compound with a pool house which most people did, then the changing rooms, showers or bathrooms in there were always full too.
For example, our 'Freshers' was an event that happened at the start of year 12 and 13 to introduce the newbies into the sixth form. To me, this was pretty much my 'freshers' as these parties were dirty and I mean fucking filthy. The 'FreshMeat' (the name is vulgar enough) which brought my year into our Sixth-form was fairly mild, but the 'FM' for the year below us when we started year 13 was something else... First it was the long-waited anticipation and build-up of finding a house for someone to host FM (and usually the person who did host had a fucking mansion) had to be stripped down and covered with plastic sheets taped to the walls to make sure nothing got stained or broken. When I was in my last year of high-school, this event was an absolute disgrace - people were smashed before they'd even arrived and after an hour into the party everyone was accumulating in the garage of the house to puke their insides up and the rest smoke like chimneys. So if you had an ounce of sobriety left in you, the sheer smell of this toxic mess was gonna hit you so bad you'd never want to smell puke or cigarette smoke ever again.
People were passed out in their own puke next to one another whilst the rest either attempted to help, take photos, or have a chat and share a fag with someone. And keep in mind this is in a country where its illegal to drink and smoke under 21, and yet these people expected to take taxis home without chundering their guts up  and getting taken to the police station, because I'm sure their parents would be just as proud. The shame or shall I say honour of these events were always recorded amongst my peers on a 'spider diagram' and a 'Hall of Fame' which always comprised achievements by people who were the first to chunder,  the girl who got with the most guys - it was calculated that she must have got with 3 guys every 2 minutes at this event (and it lasted at least 3 hours). These events created celebrities in our Sixth-form, and lucky for these Celebs the teachers always got updated with the 'FM' gossip during the first lesson back on a Sunday Morning (our weekends were Friday and Saturday). I am yet to find any events as shameful as these in London. Perhaps, I am not looking hard enough or perhaps those days will only and ever be a by-product of our high-school years.