I like to boogie. Everyone should. Music is food for the soul and whatever you’re into you should get into it. I’m no international jetsetter but I’ve partied in some fantastic clubs and places around the world, and been to some jawdropping venues in places as cool and diverse as Berlin, Barcelona, Marbella, Marrakesh, Rio, Rome, Amsterdam, Stockholm and of course Ibiza. Yet despite being accepted in some of the most impressive venues in the world and partying with some of the coolest people to the best Dj’s alongside some of the most beautiful South American and Eastern European prostitutes that a wealthy man’s money can buy; the only place I have ever had issues getting through the door is in England!
This bizarre irony baffles me. How is it that despite being accepted at great venues with great music and beautiful people, when I’m in my own country and I go to some dive in some shitdog town filled with pissed up knobheads and overweight, trampy, women drinking alcopops, that I have to suffer the indignity of some moronic meathead questioning my attire. I’m stood outside a venue and there is a paramedic who is trying to get some sense out of a drunken inbred looking twat who’s lumpy fat skank of a girlfriend who has just been ejected from the venue, has spewed up and passed out face first onto the pavement into a pool of her own vomit – and the doormonkey is telling me that I can’t get in because I’m wearing a hat!
No trainers, no Prada, no Stone Island, no Armani, no t-shirts, no shirts, no jeans, no sportswear, no stripes (I shit you not) – you really have to hear it to believe it. You could say that this is just what to expect in a provincial small town where to ‘put a donk on it’ is the pinnacle of musical innovation, but “no stripes” came at the door of a Manchester venue that has been rated as one of the top 10 clubs in the world! Either way it’s still no excuse.
I went to a club in a little town about an hour up the coast from Barcelona. The venue was designed like an aeroplane that had crashed into the side of the mountain it was set in. It had a long outdoor balcony that jutted out off the edge of the hillside and was full of beautiful little Spanish people. We strolled into this busy venue, unquestioned, at around 3am, paid €5 entry, sat on the balcony smoking weed and drinking large vodka red bulls, then staggered home in the early hours of the morning without getting attacked or rained on. I’ve been on nights out in England where people have ran screaming for the exits because a gun fight broke out. I’ve been to a venue where a man was sexually assaulted in the toilet. I’ve been to a venue where I watched a gang of ugly skanks beat the living shit out of some other girl with wine bottles. I’ve been to places in England where there have been mass brawls, stabbings, beatings, rapes, deaths, Premier League footballers pulling their cock out and pissing on the floor – the lot. None of these incidents were caused by someone wearing a hat or a stripey top.
I went to a venue that was hosting a Circo Loco night in Manchester. This venue (now closed) had a reputation for not being Black-Guy friendly, but having been to the original Circo Loco at DC10 in Ibiza I was looking forward to it. The excuse for refusal of entry that my Kenyan friend and I were given was that we weren’t dressed right. I suggested that it was impossible to change the colour of your skin for a night out, which didn’t really help. However, if you have been to DC10 in Ibiza, not dressing right – not being right – is par for the course. Muscle bound ravers dressed as women and people in clown masks are just some of the acceptable outfits that are allowed. It is the sheer unbridled hedonism and joy of the music that makes the night world famous – but apparently not at Area 51.
So you think to yourself, I’ll stay away from places like Royston Vasey and avoid the normal city centre clubs and opt for the expense and exclusivity of a Celebrity Slush Pit. But it’s an English disease I’m afraid and these ‘exclusive’ venues are not immune – and it isn’t necessarily the punters you have to be wary of. Panacea is the spot for the rich and famous in Manchester, yet a few years ago the club manager Joe Akka battered an old man outside the venue leaving him with a fist sized dent in his skull. This guy was an ex-stuntman who had survived that perilous industry all his life, but it seems going for a few drinks in England was a stunt too far.
Then there are the ‘celebrity’ punters themselves. Earlier this year The Circle Club was the scene of a brawl involving everyone’s favourite footballer El Hadj Diouf (they even hate him in his home country of Senegal and neighbouring Gambia). The Circle Club is another regular for what we now call celebrities – soap stars, footballers and… erm… reality TV people I guess. It’s actually a cool little venue with very nice doormen. But after an ‘incident’ where a man was left bleeding from the neck in the street, they now have to serve their drinks in plastic cups and stick champagne bottles firmly to tables so that they cannot be used as weapons. Classy!
I don’t know what the fuck is up with us, but it isn’t just binge drinking. Perhaps it’s just the genetic remnants of our raping and pillaging Viking ancestors, I really don’t know. So I asked an English friend of mine who has been living in various places in Europe over the last 10 years. He told me that in places like Holland, Spain and Germany there is a genuine fear of the British. The Spanish think we are “loco”, the Dutch think we are “cool” but “fucking crazy man”, the Germans just think we are shit at football, but our women are an easy lay.
I can’t say for certain that other nations don’t have weekly nightmarish scenarios played out in their bars and clubs, but I can say for certain that I never have a problem with doormen or violent, drunken idiots in those other countries. I can also say that there are some great little spots to go out in England, but you have to know where they are. In my experience, if you follow the crowd that follows the music they love and stick to those intimate little nights that have a following, you’re in relatively safe hands. Avoid anywhere that serves drinks in plastic cups, has a team of doormen at the door or pools of vomit outside. A good venue with a good crowd doesn’t need an army of sted-swallowing, UFC obsessed, pseudo-gay doormen manning the entrance. Look for two, well-built blokes, dressed in black who are smiling and enjoying their work. The other option is to get some tunes playing at one of your mates’ places, invite your friends around, get some drinks and drugs in, and enjoy good company. If you need to get laid then get on the phone to some hookers, give them some sniff and they’ll probably stay the night and do one or two of your mates for free. That’s what they do in Amsterdam anyway, but that’s another country.