27 September 2010

A “lad’s night out”


Louis wasn’t particularly receptive when I went to pick him before the Margate gig. Strangely subdued in the car on the way down he wasn’t his usual joking, laughing self. Si, in the back seat, was rambling through his usual justifications for having one of his irregularly unjustifiable male only ‘bonding sessions’ or as he calls it a “lad’s night out”. “I have the boy’s”, his sons, “once a fortnight,” he says, “so L can go out on her own then if she wants; I don’t have an opportunity to do that; she always wants to go out with me on my nights off from the boys; she lives opposite me as well so we see each other all the time.” I can understand that a man needs time away from the love of his life, his partner. Or as L puts it; “it’s absolutely reasonable for Si to want to have a night without a girlfriend hanging about”; and later a mysterious warning, after she tired of me texting, asking her to come, “try not to work out the workings of a complicated system”.

“Because you said it was a lads’ night out, Clare, who was coming said she’s not coming now because L’s not coming. Rosie is going to BJ’s ZedHeads gig up at the University now. Louis missus is staying in. She has a wedding tomorrow and is doing food for it”, I said. Always wanting to have everyone of the group together, always wanting us to have fun en masse, I always get disappointed when it doesn’t happen. Perhaps Si should rename it a "Si With No Lin Night" to avoid confusion?

We fall madly in love with someone, we revolve our lives around that person, but somehow it never works out the way we envisage. Men (and some women) often break up with loved ones, while they are still in love because they think there is someone else out there who is perfect for them. They choose whatever excuse feels right to not commit to not love to not show passion, to feel restricted, to feel things are just not right. Women know that Mr. Right doesn't exist and that no man is perfect, yet they can't help but always wonder whether their boyfriends are ‘the one’. The same applies to men, though men tend to be more blasé about it. Does 'divisive' boy’s or girl’s nights out add to this question?

So, I’m sitting there, driving, all quiet because there are no women with us, Louis quiet because he’s feeling ill and Si, unable to justify, to me anyway, imposing the 'lad’s only' night aesthetics on two men who actually like hanging out with our women on a Saturday night. The genuine love of your life is the one that makes your heart beat a little faster, the person you are constantly trying to impress, the person whose voice you need to hear and the person you do the little things for. Or do we just end up with people that meet enough of our criteria, whatever that might be.

Warming to Si’s persistent encouragement we begin to embrace slightly the fact that, hey, maybe we can have fun without the girls. That it is ok to feel bad about it but then good about it after a short time has passed. That feeling or notion that “if your current girlfriend is the love of your life (and a person can tell if they are or not), then never let them go” remains strong in me so the thought of the lads night should have no impact upon the big picture going on there. It takes a while for that to sink in though as I find it really hard to buy into L & Si’s “complicated system” and perhaps view it as threat to my own simple system, serial monogamy, which of course it is not. Besides a lad’s night out does not have to involve predatorily pursuing other women for sex. It can just mean the men enjoy each other’s company and have a laugh, a play and a few beers?


At the club when we arrive DJ Ferdinand is warming up on the CD’s playing some unabashed electro housers, a few oldies and a few favourites. The space is quite full and there a few very drunk but friendly people dancing. One woman looks like she is going to topple over and smash her head on the table any second. She always just recovers at the last moment. One guy stands in front of us doing silly rave dances and catching our eye then raising his eyebrows at us. “I like your jumper”, I say.

There are 'technical problems' throughout most of Ferdinand’s set due to the fact there are no decks set up (so passé darling don’t you know?) so Si and Derrick Patterson fuck about for a bit getting a table, then an extension lead, then the 1210’s from the car, then plug them in, set them up then move the table because the leads are too short. During this Si is followed downstairs, confronted and searched by the club’s owner who asks him to empty all his pockets out and his ‘drugs’ are taken off him. “It’s a Guaraná based energy powder” Si proffers, weakly, which it was. The Big D though, luckily, gets it back for him later.

Ferdinand is off at 10.30 or 11 and we get on and turn the volume down. It may be my age, here we go again, but I like a bar where you can hear the music and talk a bit as well. The music immediately calms down, the club calms down, I calm down and people begin to relax a bit as the soothing balm of deep house fills the air. The amiable drunks leave and new people arrive. Derrick, Si and I play half an hour or so each till chucking out time at 3am. Time passes quick, rapidly slipping ‘into the zone’ and as music, beer and conversation take over the space and we all live in the moment, connect and enjoy.

One of the great reasons Si said the lads night out is so super is that it gives us men a chance to sit down and talk to each other properly without the women there. To be honest by the time Louis went round to see Margate Jon, “I’m gagging for a smoke” he says slipping out the door; I didn’t get a chance to talk to him much. He never came back anyway and I got a text off him the next day just as he was boarding the train back to Whitstable saying he wasn't well and crashed at Jon’s place. As for Si, by the time he’d fucked about with decks, hung out with the promoter and played his tunes the night was over and I never got a chance to exchange any words let alone ideas with him. Thank God I did have some people to talk to and have fun with; the delightful Mick and Emma, Subsdance Stoney, DJ Gary, Nick Beats from Unite, Geoff, Kirsty and her daughter, Tort the ever charming ex, Brian, one of Derek’s mates and the lovely Debs. Got a DJ slot off Martin Bird for the Brewery Bar on the 6th November; he was one of the DJ’s in the downstairs room where “How Clean is Your House” were hosting. Nice.


Conversation and laughter continued at the after party round Mick and Emma’s spacious art gallery as we lounged around on sofas smoking, indoors, how strange. Si was off getting a mixer for ages, in my car, which is an automatic, and he’d never driven an automatic before. Gary said he was jerking the car kangaroo style all the way down the road. Mick suggested we just put a CD on and Debs suggested we plug in her iPod but Si was “on one” and wanted to play records. Who were we to argue?

When he did get back he spent time setting the decks up in the main gallery where there was no one as we all were in the front gallery sitting around on the sofas. Mick and Emma ransacked the place and produced from nowhere bottles of vodka, Malibu, mixers (peach and cranberry) and also white and red wine. Si was next door playing to himself and by this time was non compos mentis having partaken of all the wonders and joys he could befall. He was like a bladder on a stick in the car on the way home but delivered safe and sound, even helped to cross the road from the car to his house. I think he had a good night because he didn’t have to look after anyone; neither his girlfriend nor himself. Maybe that’s what he meant by “lads night out”?

I got a text from L later on Sunday afternoon thanking me for getting him home safely.

I don’t do it for praise or approval I do it out of friendship and because I love the big lunk and want him to be himself and if that’s what he wants that’s what I do.

Just try not to work out the workings of our complicated lad’s night out system will you?

tVC next appear on:

Thursday 30th September 2010Emily’s Leaving Do @ The Neptune, Whitstable. 10pm till finish. Oz and Si say goodbye to our favourite bar alcohol delivery person as she heads back off to University.

Saturday 2nd October 2010
Some big thingy or other going on in a field with multiple sound systems including tVC. Bring a brolly?

Saturday 9th October 2010
TV Cabbaged at the Smack, Whitstable. Oz, Si and Mike SU lay down the grooves for the regular sploshers.

Saturday 6th November 2010Blindin’ @ The Brewery Bar. Martin Bird returns with his long established Blindin’ night as it moves from Canterbury to Whitstable. Oz and Si take their warm up duties well serious from 10pm till midnight. Other DJ’s play the other slots as it builds to a frenzy.