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Evian Christ Thinks Clubbing Is Meaningless, And He's Probably Right

Our most miserable writer ruminates on the pleasurable pointlessness of lives spent in nightclubs.

What do we think about when we think about clubbing? We think about dark rooms and transcendence, Berghain and abandonment, basements and new beginnings. The thing is, the promise of that clubbing experience — the experience that alters us inexorably from then on — is just that: a promise. Promises, in this life, are rarely kept. Promises mean sod all.

In an interview with Dazed and Confused, trance superstar in the making Evian Christ noted that, "When you're dancing with your mates, covered in confetti, I think it's important to acknowledge that these experiences you're indulging in are essentially meaningless – you're not going to find any sustainable answers within in this vague euphoria." And that's exactly the thing: we go to clubs for the wrong reason. We go to every club with the idea that lives are changed by music, by DJs, by nightclubs. They aren't. Not really.


Most of us will never have that night in that club when everything is perfect, when everything works, when everything is exactly how it should be. Most of us never get that Studio 54 moment. The closest we get is Studio 55 — "One better than the original!" — in Bracknell on a Thursday night, drinking 2-4-1 tequilas with Brian from accounts a few weeks after he's finalized the divorce. Clubbing, for most of us, is nothing but a distraction from the humdrum feeling generated by a Saturday night in. We go to clubs because clubs stay open later than pubs and sometimes you might end up having a slightly fluffed sexual experience as a result of being in one.

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With that in mind, the idea of a club as a space that (unintentionally) evokes a sensation of meaninglessness is an interesting proposition. How often do you feel bored in a club? How often do you find yourself sort of wishing you weren't there? How often do you sneak out of the venue and onto the nearest nightbus, surrounded by coughs and cigarettes that are yet to be smoked? For me, it's more often than not. But I'm a miserable cunt.

I long ago learned to accept disappointment in all aspects of life and quickly realized the clubbing wouldn't be any different. Christ nailed it — pardon the pun — this week when he said that, "You get to the end [clubbing] of it and nothing's different. The world is exactly the same, you're 50 quid lesser off and you've killed a couple of hours." This isn't about me, though. This, unbelievably, is bigger than me. This is about all of us and why we bother stepping down the steps of clubland, weekend after weekend.


We know that expectation and reality can, and will, never entwine the way we want them to. We know this but still we cling to expectation, refusing to believe that tonight'll be like every tonight we've ever experienced. The endless tonights of memory fizzle and dissipate every time we think about another upcoming tonight. The tonight we want — that long awaited, oft-promised tonight — isn't ever going to be the tonight we have. So why do we still do it? Why, tonight after tonight, do we think that this tonight is any different to another tonight?

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We do it because to be human is to embrace pointlessness. Reading is pointless. Watching films is pointless. Going to the opera is pointless. Birdwatching is pointless. Juggling is pointless. Pretty much every activity we indulge in is, when thought about objectively, utterly pointless. There's nothing wrong with pointlessness as such. That's one reason why we put ourselves through the wringer of club-based disappointment time after time.

Another reason is that giving up on it, renouncing our affiliation to nightlife, is oddly terrifying. To turn our back on clubs is to admit a kind of defeat. We understand and acknowledge how absurd it is, this ritualistic performance we all take part in on Friday nights, be it in Amnesia in Ibiza or Arlene's in Aberdeen. We know, deep down, that we're dressing ourselves and pre-drinking purely for disappointment. But we can't stop the performance. The show must go on. In 1979, Ron and Russ Mael, aka Sparks, released an album — an incredible album, actually — as Noël, called Is There More to Life Than Dancing? There is and there isn't. There is, obviously, because dancing is a temporary pleasure that serves no real purpose. And there isn't, because dancing and nightlife and everything it offers, however much we build it up to unrealistic mental proportions, however much we instill it with the idea of rescue and self-defeating self-reinvention, is, in a very real way, one of the very few outlets we've created that exists as a pure expulsion of pleasure. The nightclub is like nowhere on earth. That's why we go. That's why we put up with our lofty expectations never being reached.

A further reason, perhaps the ultimate reason, is that, at the root of it all, giving up on the hope that the moment I've mentioned above — the moment the heavens open, and we're bathed in the celestial glow of transcendence, and we rise from our earthly bodies in unison and everything is perfect and beautiful and nothing hurts and 6 cans of Kronenbourg are always are a fiver in the offie at the end of the road — will transmogrify itself into reality is to give up on reality itself. We need crutches, bosoms for pillows, whatever you want to call them. The club — more as an abstract notion than anything, admittedly — is a perfect place on which to hang insecurities and anxieties. Like children too young to understand physical or emotional permanence, time after time we tell ourselves that the club'll save us from the crushing weight of the quotidian. And like children we never remember that things don't work how we want them to. But to give up on that, to accept that the one place that potentially offers us salvation probably never will, is harrowing. Giving up on the thought that things can somehow be better than we've ever known them to be is giving up on life itself.

Christ is right. Clubbing is essentially meaningless. Everything is, really. That's the perverse joy of it.

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