A Drunken Rite of Passage

I am currently experiencing the day after a night at Liquid, Windsor and despite my head not being in perfect working order I feel that this is the perfect state of mind to be in in order to write about it. For those of you who don’t yet know of this place, it is a nightclub, and if you hear that word and think of huge glamorous places full of good-looking people all sharing drinks, conversation and civilised dances, then you are in for as much as a surprise as I was. I have been at this university for nearly two and a half years now and I like to think I’ve established my character as not the clubbing type (and I’d like to stress, ‘clubbing type’ isn’t a bad thing, it’s just a thing), yet I have lost count of the number of nights I have been to Liquid, and still find myself going again and again.

Before university I had only visited a club once. This was due to a mixture of living quite far from a city and being amongst the social sphere that isn’t uncool, but sure doesn’t get invited out clubbing with the rugby guys. The night I did go was an A-level results celebration night and I remember agreeing with my then-girlfriend about how half past ten was a crazy time to go out, because once we got there the night would practically be over. I mean, half ten? I have normally already brushed my teeth by then. But bullied and pressured we agreed, and having spent my pocket money on two WKDs, proceeded to awkwardly dance for about 20 minutes before having to run to get the last train home. Last night I found myself running to a friend’s house in order to make the taxi at half eleven, so we could start our night clubbing at midnight. After three hours of dancing, three shots of rum, a rum and coke, a beer and someone else’s drink down my shirt, I was happy to call it a night. Nights out used to be few and far between and mark a special occasion in my life, and midnight used to be this magical time of secret feasts and adulthood, but now a night in is a sign of weakness and the middle of the night is anytime between three and six.

Now it’s not because I don’t like Liquid that I resent going back, it’s the fact that I don’t like that I like Liquid – and I’m trying my hardest not to sound pretentious or boring here, believe me. The reason I begrudge going is because I don’t like being proven wrong every time I go. Each time someone invites me, my reply is always the same: ‘no thanks, it’s not really my scene’, and yet I always end up going. This is because it is a place where you can essentially just enjoy yourself, which can be easy to forget when we are constantly confronted with stories about our anti-social, alcoholic youth culture, which do give clubs a certain negative connotation. Even dancing, which in theory I hate – because dancing in a room full of people is nothing if it isn’t embarrassing – is enjoyable when you’re with friends and just want to rid yourself of the stresses of student life. Basically, it’s fun because more than anything, it’s a place to be with your friends in a place that isn’t the Student’s Union.

Basically, it’s not the club, or the drinks, or the social stereotypes that makes me deny liking Liquid, it’s the fact that liking Liquid means that I accept that my life is changing. Gone is the child who couldn’t stay awake for New Year celebrations and gone is the teenager who thought clubs were top of the list of elitist privileges, and I have to accept that here is the inevitable drunken student who parties more than he reads and, even if he doesn’t like it, enjoys going out to clubs. I like to think of it as a life investment: when I get older and I start telling students to ‘make the most of university, it’s the best time of your life,’ I want to be able to mean it.

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