“Yeah, me neither.”
“No. I mean literally AGES.”
This is becoming a familiar conversation in certain circles. Saturday night comes around and you’ll find yourself at a pub, a friend’s house, at the cinema… but not at a club. Are we just getting older and more boring, or is everyone just a bit fed up with clubbing?
This year the government has stopped including nightclub entry when working out the official inflation figures. Now before we lose our readers completely by mentioning inflation, it’s actually not that complicated. Every year the government makes a “What’s Hot” list (officially known as the Consumer Price Inflation Basket of Goods) and checks if the prices are going up or down. It’s a good way to see what people are spending money on, so you can also figure out what’s popular. The list for this year added items that we’re now spending more money on, like nail varnish, coffee pods and microwavable rice. It also removed things from the list that people aren’t spending as much money on anymore: CDs, rewritable DVDs and nightclub entry.
Take a moment to think about how miserable that is – nightclubs are being replaced by microwavable rice.
Of course, nightclubs have been a hot topic in the news recently after the closure of London superclub Fabric. Officials are arguing that Fabric was creating a dangerous environment after two drug-related deaths occurred in the club over the summer. There’s been uproar in the clubbing community and a lot of people believe that the tragic deaths are being used as an excuse to get rid of the club so that the site can be turned into a high-profit property development. Less dancing and music for us, more money for the big corporations. DJs, fans, the major of London and numerous drug charities have spoken out against the closure. Drug awareness groups are worried that closing big clubs will just drive people to poorly regulated clubs or house parties where drugs will be a far bigger problem.
Whatever the real reason for closing Fabric, it’s true that there are almost 1,500 fewer nightclubs in the UK now compared to ten years ago, and a global research firm recently found out that only 25% of millennials go to a club more than once a month. So it’s pretty obvious that we are all staying in more, or going for a few quiet drinks at the pub instead of going out dancing. But why?
Possibly a bigger threat to clubs is technology. Whereas our parents had to rely on nothing but their local radio station or venues like clubs to discover new music, we have the whole world of music at our fingertips. Youtube, Spotify, podcasts, online radio and hundreds of other avenues are open to us to listen to music. We don’t need to go and buy stacks of CDs or go to clubs anymore to listen to our favourite songs, we’ve got them all stored on our laptops.
Dating apps like Tinder have also had a massive impact on people’s interest in going out. Even just ten years ago, clubs were the best place to go and meet someone. Now we can walk into any room and our phones can tell us who’s single, who’s looking for a relationship and who just wants to hook up. Why would we pay to get into a sweaty, loud club when we can talk to people from all over our city – all over the world – without leaving our bedrooms?
It seems that there are a ton of reasons not to go clubbing anymore. We can stay in and save money – listening to our downloaded music and meeting people online – or we can go out to new and exciting venues. The latter certainly seems like the option most would opt for if you asked them to their face, but it’s not the one they’re choosing in reality.
Fresher’s week has just finished across the UK, and we think that maybe there’s still something to be said for heading out to a club with friends and dancing until your feet hurt. After all, no matter how state-of-the-art your laptop is, your mixing skills probably don’t compare to a club DJ. And yeah, you can send some messages back and forth on Tinder, but is that really the same as catching someone’s eye across the dancefloor and laughing together over Sambuca shots?
What we’re saying is: you could stay at home alone in your room and eat microwavable rice, but there’s no harm in getting dressed up, trying that new bar that’s just opened down the road and staying out until 3am once in a while.
The closure of Fabric has brought the downturn of nightlife culture into the spotlight, but it’s also shown how many people are prepared to shout about it. So, do your bit for the economy and the scene, grab your handbag or wallet and get out dancing!