Sunday, October 08, 2006

Running Wild In The Streets

Paying to get into a club is a situation that completely bemuses me. A gig, yes, that makes sense. A band or two are putting on a show to entertain. Theatre, yes. Cinema, yes. Although in the case of the latter two we shouldn't be paying anywhere near as much as we are. But a club, no. No one is doing anything more to entertain you than every pub and bar in the country. And we don't pay to get into those. There's music playing and a bar selling drinks. That's everything. In fact, it's less than most pubs and bars. Pubs and bars generally serve food, don't turn the music up so loud you can't converse with anyone and allow you to sit down. All clubs do is take most of the seats out to provide a dance-floor and provide less of a service. So what are we paying for?

And what's triggered this? Spending Friday evening in Covent Garden's Gardening Club, basically. Although it's an attitude I've held for many years. In this instance we seemed to be paying for an utterly pathetic DJ who's mixing ability consisted entirely of pressing 'stop' on one CD and pressing 'play' on another, and who's track selection was erratic at best, veering wildly from James Brown to Lynyrd Skynyrd to Generic Pop Dance Song to Michael Jackson to Reef. This left me reasonably certain that I have grandparents with a comparable level of dance-floor management skill. A thoroughly disjointed and wholly unsatisfying experience. It's now two days later and I've yet to work out why we all paid our £5 each to enter this cellar of tedium, gaining us no more than the right to pay a bare minimum of 25% more than normal for all of our drinks, and losing our right to have a conversation in the process.

Equally bemusing are the people that do this every week and consider the "club scene" a life. How is it that more people don't see that there's something fundamentally wrong with paying to get into somewhere purely so you're allowed to then pay over-the-odds for alcohol? Many go for the dancing. Well, aside from the fact that you can dance in many infinitely more pleasant places for free, I've seen dancing, and flapping about like a rubber band in the wind to a string of songs that have each stolen the bass-line from Another One Bites The Dust ain't it.

It should come as no surprise then that Saturday evening was a thoroughly more entertaining and enjoyable period of time. And I didn't even do anything remarkable. I stayed at home and watched V For Vendetta on DVD, the movie based on the DC Comics story created by writer Alan Moore and illustrator David Lloyd and starring Hugo "Mr Smith" Weaving, Natalie Portman, John Hurt, Stephen Rea and Stephen Frye. Despite the negative press, low viewing figures in England and denouncement by Alan Moore, it's an awesome movie. Aside from a small amount of unconvincing portrayal from Portman in the slightly more demanding scenes, it is flawlessly acted, written and generally executed. The script for main character "V" (Weaving) is mesmerising on its own. Undeniably worth my £6 outlay.

"This city life is one big pain"