Fuck London. It's a dying city run by a braying buffoon intent on tearing down every venue that dares stay open after Newsnight to build more anodyne flats and branches of Primark. I still live here unfortunately, and because I'm not always chained to my laptop overdosing on Don't Tell the Bride, I sometimes go out. Guess what? It's as dismal as you'd think it'd be. Here are the worst things that happen after you skip past the puke on Kingsland Road and step foot in another shitty club on another shitty night out and the ten things I hate about clubbing in London.
10. Everything is Shutting
Aforementioned buffoon, Boris Johnson, has turned London from a genuinely vibrant city of limitless cultural possibility into a Cath Kidston-clad nightmare of relentless property development and cupcake shops. Nightlife is being suffocated to ensure that a few Tobias' can get a good night's sleep, and anyone not entirely motivated by the accumulation of wealth is being pushed further and further out into the mossy suburbs. This is a genuine youth-culture crisis. Clubs teach us the importance of communality, the pleasure of recklessness, and most importantly, they remind us that life is more than spreadsheets and purchase orders. Without clubs, London is nothing more than a series of William Hills and tat shops, a glorified never-ending chain of delayed Tubes and packed busses.
9. Shoreditch Twats
Shoreditch was probably alright once, maybe. There was probably a club somewhere that didn't just play pop-punk and 90s R&B. There were probably crowds who weren't first-year art students thinking they're the first people to ever contrive an identity through getting into things they didn't use to like at school, and sad old cunts from Essex waving wads of twenties around like our bank balances aren't all horrifically overdrawn. It's that mishmash of youthful faux-exuberance and old-time big charlie-ism that makes stepping into Shoreditch on Friday night something that even Dante would have found too terrifying to turn into an epic terza rima. Go choke on your hot dog from The Love Shake.
8. Shit Pub-Clubs
In theory, pubs should be the best places in the world. They sell alcohol, you meet your friends there, and they show the football on tellies bigger than your bedroom. Sadly most of them now have a shitty resident DJ insistent on ruining your night by playing shit disco records at a volume that decimates even the potential for conversation. No one wants to hear you play that Baccara edit, mate, we've got drinking to do. Your decks are taking up valuable seating space and your mates are wearing blazers.
7. West London
Sorry in advance to anyone unlucky enough to reside there but, Christ alive, what's the point of West London? Apart from the fact that even Russian arms-dealing millionaires have to live somewhere too, why does it exist? What purpose does it serve? It sprawls unfathomably from terrible galleries and boutiques in Kensington to thoroughly depressing yellow-curtained suburbia to atmosphere-free roadside pubs. Then there's the matter of Chelsea's countless bougie swank-pits--clubs that prioritise the wine list over the DJ, and red trousered blokes called Jonty try to get their hands in the knickers of vacuous Cressidas while "Timber" plays, and the assembled throng snort their way through a small nation's GDP in awful coke. Raze it to the ground and start again. From now on, London ends just after Westminster Bridge.
6. Trashy Tourists
Why anyone would willingly spend a lot of money to holiday in a city where the biggest attractions are a clock, a house some old woman and her racist husband live in, and the Angus Steakhouse is beyond us. Even more baffling than the hordes of Spaniards taking selfies in front of Van Gogh's sunflowers at the National are the shutter-shaded, vest-wearing Italians ritually fist-pumping to rote tech-house in Fabric every Saturday night and Sunday morning like roided-up jackhammers. These transcontinental weekend warriors seem to stuff every smoking area from Beckton to Balham with the cloying rankness of Vogue fumes. I don't want to sound like an eccied-up Nigel Farage foaming at the mouth at Dance Tunnel, but come on lads, picking up the club etiquette of our city isn't that difficult. Oh, and this also applies to the Essex contingent congregating at the Liverpool St. Wetherspoons. The tube map isn't that hard to work out.
5. The Tubes Open Too Late
If you've ever wanted to know what giving up looks like, just walk past any South London tube station at about 4:45 AM on a Saturday morning. Most people stop clubbing around 4 AM, which is when the headline DJs finish and some resident who has been there for 20 years starts playing a breaks set. But the first tubes don't start running for another half hour at least. So everyone who can't afford a cab because they spent their last £40 on pills and Becks Vier ends up splayed outside the closest station on the grey floor, wearing their coats over their shoulders like they're tin foil blankets at the end of a marathon. The lucky ones have their heads rested on the splodgy BCG of someone they met that night; the less fortunate are stuck making a neck pillow made out of yesterday's Evening Standards. Skid Row has got nothing on Elephant and Castle in those fateful minutes before Phil the station manager unlocks those third-class-on-the-Titanic steel gates.
4. The Tweeters
These days London clubbers seem to more into texting than dancing. Go into any club on a Friday or Saturday night and rather than the dancing hordes of yore, you're going to be confronted by the sight of a few hundred dismal-looking dullards staring at their phones refreshing the feed of someone they hate-follow. All of us want to be at DJ Harvey or DJ Deep or DJ Bone's gig, but when we get there we don't seem to know what to do with ourselves. Heaven forbid we actually dance!
3. The Dancers
If there's anything worse than people glued to their phones, it's those fuckers who make sure everyone knows they're having the best time. From gun-fingering first-years down the Alibi to disco divas at Bussey Building, you're surrounded by a hateful horseshoe of space invading night-ruiners. If you are going to dance, please, please, please, do it properly and don't go down the ironic route. If there's one thing I hate more than people daring to invade my previous space in a club when I'm trying to talk to my mates/nod every three minutes/have a good scratch, it's the people who prance around like it's a hilarious joke.
As a very contemporary kind of twat with a lot of spare time and no hobbies to speak of, I quite like looking at photos of Brutalist car parks. So I've got no truck with the versatile and immeasurably useful building material, but the venue named after it, slammed straight into the beating heart of shit London, is an abomination. It sells stupidly expensive pizza upstairs and hosts fucking abysmal 90s nostalgia nights downstairs. Hell is a room full of PR assistants pissed on half a prosecco dancing round a handbag to "Wannabe."
From jungle nights to garage sets, London is overrun with waving-armed fuckwits pretending to be part of something they never were. As the entire nation turns away from the dispiriting present into the recesses of some faraway, imagined England, clubland does the same. Is everything so boring now that we'll happily queue up outside some old cowshed in Bexley to see a Dreem Teem weed carrier play "Re-Re Wind?" Apparently so.
Josh Baines is a miserable sod on Twitter too.