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How Mister Saturday Night Taught Me to Embrace Early Nights

Or, why the most fun you can have at a weekend involves ending up in bed with Match of the Day.
September 16, 2016, 11:20am

This Saturday just gone I felt myself in the grips of a revelation of sorts. It wasn't an epiphany per se, and I can't claim that I've since undergone a transformation of any real kind, but it did feel as if I—and the few hundred other smiling souls surrounding me outside a church in the depths of Hackney on a damp and miserable evening—had cracked some kind of code. It was 11PM and I—we—were ready to amble home, to shuffle ourselves into the back seats of Ubers with Mellow Magic for company, or contentedly await the arrival of a heaving double decker bus. What we'd done, so successfully, was go out early.

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Now, I'm not expecting any pat on the back for managing to be in bed by midnight, nor am I going to assume that it's something that you will necessarily want to do for yourself, but hey this is the internet and if you can't tell strangers how smug you feel about doing something relatively inconsequential then where can you?

The point remains: by half past eleven on a Saturday night I'd managed to consume my bodyweight in cheap pints, danced for a few hours, temporarily lost complete control of myself after hearing "We Magnify His Name" by Floorplan, bought and eaten the best lahmacun of my life, and looked—through gigantic pupils—at my phone for a bit, knowing the whole time that I'd probably be able to rise at 7 the next day with just a mildly comforting hangover for company. That happened and I had Mister Saturday Night to thank for an insufferably self-satisfied Sunday.

For their party at St John at Hackney Church, Justin Carter and Eamon Harkin kept things to a tight and early-finishing schedule. Doors opened at 5PM and shut incredibly promptly at 11. The more party-minded of the crowd could happily step into one of the three nightclubs left in post-fabric London or, those like me could go home safe in the knowledge that they'd had an incredibly fun night and could, if they were lucky, catch the last few games on Match of the Day. After years of traipsing home as others get ready to rise, it felt like a complete blessing. I now, selfishly you might argue, want to live in a world where all club nights operate this way. And I think you might too.

Put it this way: as you get ever so slightly older, time starts to drag and when time starts to drag you begin to feel bored and when you begin to feel bored you get restless and when you get restless you become resentful and when you become resentful you soon forget whatever pleasures you've previously been lost in. That moment of joy you felt an hour ago, when you heard that record, dissipates into back ache or money worries. Well, it does if you're a boring bastard like me.

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There are, of course, myriad joys to be found in the illicit cloak of lateness, in being active at a time when most of the world are deep inside their nocturnal neuroses, and we here at THUMP are obviously incredibly concerned about the future of genuine nightlife—in all its forms—here in the UK, but—and here's the but—Mister Saturday Night was proof that the right party, hosted in the right location, with the right music policy, can create a pitch-perfect and pristine replica of the all-nighter. Even if Gilette Soccer Saturday's only just finished out there in the real world when it all kicks off.

We're constantly assailed with the idea that the club is a space in which reality is momentarily suspended and that transcendence—whatever that means in 2016—can be achieved by standing next to massive speakers and talking utter shit to strangers over a ratty and spit-sodden rollie in the smoking area. Even though that idea is patently bollocks, let's try and be positive for a minute and assume that transcendence is possible. That it is something that can happen in nightclubs, that it's a goal we can work toward with a few, err, aids.

In that world, a world of genuine hedonism and actual self-abandonment, time isn't an issue. 10:39 on a Tuesday morning should be no different to 10:39 on the Saturday morning after the Friday night that doesn't look like it's going to end till Monday. In that world, night and day are unknown entities. But here in the real world—the world of roadworks and disappointing salads, Homes Under the Hammer and David Davis MP—people get tired, frustrated, miserable.

In the world of the early evening party, the fun never stops. Well, it does, obviously, but you don't have that dreaded moment at about 7AM when the supplies are running low and another gloomy overcast day slides into view and you're jittery and uncomfortable and besieged by the kind of sadness that only comes from being up that little bit too late. Just think—when your mates are traipsing into their rooms, bodies fizzing, brains melted, you'll be making a smoothie, laughing along to Sunday Brunch.

Doesn't that sound appealing?

Josh is on Twitter.