I look around the dance floor, everyone is performing their enjoyment, but I cant, I’m not having fun. My jacket is still on, the one free drink I got is empty and I’ve eaten all the ice that was left in the glass. Someone I know walks up to be and they say ‘What’s up? Are you ok’? but they don’t really want to know, they just want me to say something pithy, but I cant right be arsed. I tell them I'm miserable, they laugh thinking it was a joke and walk off. It's not the answer they want so they go looking for someone else to satisfy their conversational needs.
I used to think dance floors were the most real thing. Pure moments of shared hedonism, animalistic joy. But now I'm not so sure. Have clubs changed, or do I see it differently now? I feel kind of numb.
I've never believed DJ’s are gods, but now Im starting to think that nightclub dance floors may actually be purgatory. Ever-twirling - nothing - changing – insipidly joyful monotony full of gay fools and femme clowns.
I feel like I'm searching for some other kind of realness now, still looking for some kind of truth. Its not that I want love, but I cant listen to any more ecstasy laced conversations sat on leatherette banquettes near a cloak room any more. I'm bored of my own chat let alone anyone else’s.
I go to the toilets, I knock on all the cubicle doors until a voice I recognise answers. I shout:
‘Hey it's Max , you got a bump for me?’
No one has any good drugs any more, or perhaps more likely no one has any drugs for me.
Another person I know suggests I call a dealer and they will go in with me. But I don’t have a dealer’s number, let alone money for drugs, I don’t even have any credit on my phone. Where was I the day they taught everyone to capitalise on their queerness? Did I miss that lesson?
Everyone seems to be able to make money off the dance floor but I cant, people are making films, making art, even lecturing at universities, stood in front of students in polo neck jumps, defining contemporary queerness into 10 sharp power point slides. How did they get there and I’m still shagging people for free drugs? I feel jealous but I don’t know what for.
The boys gather on the dance floor to be seen to enjoy what’s cool, to make them selves seem cool, or at least cooler than people thought they were. They want to gain enough cultural capital so their next boyfriend is slightly hotter. And when they get that new boyfriend they disappear from the dance floors again, back to dating.
Weekday dinners at Jidori, Sunday instagram posts from conservatory archives, watching an illegally downloaded version of ‘120 bmp’, feigning empathy for the queer cause through the safety of hazy 90’s nostalgia wrapped in a liberty cashmere blanket bought by their mother at Christmas.
I’m now stood in the smoking area, the boys surround me in their clean clothes, in uniform like black tee shirts, all ironed, their hair gel or the curve peak caps give a whiff of scally to their aesthetics but their reeboks are too clean. Middle class gay boys, into chav porn, wearing perfume from Le Labo and teeshirts from House of Voltair. They talk about their work on the peripheries of art and design. They talk about the up coming trip to the Greek islands with the boys. They talk about that one time they went to Snax for easter.
Someone says something about Miss Vanjie, I roll my eyes, wretch the last bit of cigarette smoke from my lungs and leave.
But I'm sure I'll be back next week.
Written by: Max Allen
Photos by: Max Allen
This April we are celebrating four years of ecstatic dancing and countless joyous moments in and out of the club. In this journey the artwork has been as important as our musical guests, therefore we are honouring this moment in time with a retrospective exhibition, showcasing some of our most seminal poster designs.
Graphic designer and illustrator John Philip Sage, in collaboration with our creative director Stathis, has created a series of posters that tie together elements and notions of heritage, otherness and the occult while being inspired by the artistic identities of our guests behind the decks.
The exhibition will run from 12 April until 5 May at Dalston Superstore Gallery.