Clubbing. Verb. Remember That?
So Paul McCartney just discovered his cut-off date, 73 apparently, after being turned away from a club during the after-party celebrations for the Grammies. First of all, he should have been at home in bed instead of wanting to stand in a roped-off VIP corner of a basement bellowing ‘What?’ while someone shouts in his ear over Zayn or oh, who’s worse than him, Jason Derulo. Second, they don’t look at him and see the bestselling popular musician of all time, they see an old bloke with a bad haircut, so why risk humiliation? There are many things you can still do as you age, but clubbing isn’t one of them.
And why would you want to now? Clubs are dead. They’ve gone the way of the tea strainer and having a splendid navy. Their heyday was in 1978 and they’ve been in decline ever since. I know clubs. I was at Studio 54 in New York and Probe in Los Angeles and they were clubs. Heaven and Blitz and Bang in London during their peak were surreal, but hey, we didn’t have walkie-phones and silent discos then. The death of the London club was brought about by two things, soaring property prices and a crackdown on drugs. But you went for the music, nothing else. Hell, Probe didn’t even sell alcohol. And knife arches didn’t exist.
The legendary Bagleys in King’s Cross annually hosted a four-day Bank Holiday event which was so loud that I had to actually go on holiday until it was over. The bass made my tea mug shake like the glass of water in Jurassic Park. Even now I can tell who went there regularly because they’re all a bit deaf and SHOUT AT YOU ALL THE TIME. And the Westler’s hot dog stand that stood permanently outside the club wasn’t selling hot dogs, if you know what I mean.
Clubs were once so cool that their stories were made into books and films (’54’, ‘Disco Madness’, ‘Roller Boogie’, ‘Thank God It’s Friday’, ‘Taboo’). Dad had adventures during the war. We survived the clubs. And roller skate injuries. Oh God, this clip looks like some kind of Care in the Community fundraiser.
London and New York had the best clubs, but I say that because I never got into the Berlin scene. Now in London there are places like Egg, barely hanging onto its licence after a series of violent attacks (including a fatal shooting) in the club. And there’s Fabric for the bridge & tunnel crowd. So Mr McCartney, be glad – you did your clubbing when it was genuinely innovative and exciting. Getting turned away is your way of knowing it’s time to read the paper over a cup of coffee instead.