When I was a teenager back in Dublin, most “nights out” consisted of somebody’s parents being away for the weekend and the rest of us pooling whatever loose change we had to buy some truly horrific store brand vodka, which we would then share amongst ten of us, everyone taking measly sips and wincing immediately afterwards.
Invariably, these nights ended up with people getting sick, passing out, and the host having trouble trying to get rid of everyone the next day.
Then, suddenly, we turned 18, and a whole new world of nightlife was opened to us… well, partially. We were still poor, that part didn’t change.
We still managed to have fun though – be it from pre-drinking (still a primary feature in my nights out today) or be it through someone knowing someone who knew someone who was a club promoter, and therefore could get us into somewhere for free.
At the time, my best friend and I were joined at the hip. Where one went, the other wasn’t far behind. Neither of us being the shy, retiring type, we went out an awful lot and amassed a lot of acquaintances, or Club Friends, as I called them. The type of people you wouldn’t speak to all week, until it was time to send a customary “R U out 2night?” message.
Usually these nights would turn into mornings, sometimes because we’d found an after party, but usually because we were too cheap to pay a cab fare home.
One of the nicest nights that I can remember was spent sitting on the steps of an office building, long after the clubs had closed. Myself, my friend and two guys we’d recently met. She was talking to one, and I was engrossed in conversation about how truly awful/brilliant 90s children’s cartoons were (Earthworm Jim, anyone?).
We sat on that step, barely noticing night turning into that murky, purplish pre-dawn colour and then finally the sun rising. It was only when we noticed people in suits setting out and beginning our day that we decided it was time to end our night.
The conversation wasn’t important, what we were talking about was trivial. But I still remember how nice it felt. The city was completely silent, save for our quiet chatter and the odd city council rubbish van passing by. What was nice was the companionship, entirely platonic, and the comfort we felt just sitting with one another, talking. We’d long sobered up at that point, but didn’t feel in any rush to make it home.
I don’t know is it London, is it times changing or is it me aging, but nobody stays up all night anymore. I’m not talking about crazy warehouse raves that go on til 6am, or parties you were too drunk to drag your sorry ass home from.
I mean finding someone else and enjoying the quiet of a busy city together.