Clubbing: brilliant or just plain boring?

Are you a fan of clubbing or is it overrated? New contributor, Sam McCabe, tells us about his experience of going clubbing, and answers the question: is clubbing brilliant or boring?

As this is my first article for Disability Horizons, I thought I would introduce myself. I’m a 19-year-old student aimlessly meandering my way through a history degree.

I was born with Becker Muscular Dystrophy (MD), meaning that my muscles are slacking more than I do when I’m supposed to be studying. Beyond the MD I am pretty normal and do everything a normal student would do. This, unfortunately, includes clubbing.

Going to clubs is an experience that I think most students can identify with. The nightclub industry in the UK has an annual revenue of over £2 billion according to IBISWorld. Every student I know regularly attends nightclubs. It is all part of the student trope.

But is it as good as student attendance suggests? Is it brilliant or just plain boring? I’ll answer this via a short account of an average night out.

I was quite a late starter when it came to clubbing. My first experience of this was attending the student union in my Freshers’ week. This meant that I was thrown head first into the excitement (and awkwardness) that has seemed to permeate every clubbing experience since.

Most nights out inevitably seem to begin with initial tension of walking up to the noisy club and having to face a grumpy bouncer.

The bouncers always seem to be slightly irritated, probably due to the many patrons who seem to think that they are suddenly tough, all due to their vast consumption of alcohol.

This means that I walk up slowly and confidently, with more concentration than the importance of the situation requires, in an attempt to be as unprovoking as possible. Through my slightly drunken tinted spectacles, I believe that this unnatural amble will convince the bouncer that I am completely sober and would never partake in any uncivilised activities.

I reach the bouncer and in my head I say; “good evening sir”. But as my ID is unsheathed from my wallet I just about manage to say; “urgh… A’right? Ta” and stroll into the club with a pathetic sense of achievement.

This air of arrogance is then suddenly rent asunder when I see a dance floor and realise that I may actually have to participate. I shuffle awkwardly onto the dance floor and begin to move.

This is the moment when I usually remember that I am a person that really does not know how to dance. I start to sway like I need the toilet. My hands start to move, with the grace and poise of a politician in a heated debate. The embarrassment gradually fades as I notice everyone else is pretty bad, too.

And then I hear the song Low Low Low by Flo Rida. A sinking feeling slowly creeps over me as I see what everyone around me is doing. They are doing as the song suggests. They are getting low, low, low.

Now this, for the average person, is relatively easy. For me however, it is pretty much impossible. I have very little strength in my thighs, so if I squatted I would end up on my bum. So as the crowd continues to crouch lower and lower, I just stand there; the only person in the room that is doing so. I scratch the back of my head and look down at my toes, trying to be as inconspicuous as a person standing several feet higher than everyone else can be.

To my relief everyone slowly begins to rise and I can carry on pretending to enjoy dancing. This continues until the lights come up and everyone starts to funnel out of the building.

As my friends and I walk out of the door, I begin to hope it is not raining. Rain can put me in one of the most awkward situations possible.

The first thing many people tend to do when it rains is run. I walk out of the building and suddenly the people I am with start to run. They turn back and notice that I am not.

I swagger down the street pretending that I am just toughing the rain out. They stand, slowly getting damper, and wait for me to stroll on over. I slightly hang my head in embarrassment and finish the walk home in silence. I finally get home, muscles aching from a night spent on my feet and I tumble into bed.

I wake up to a strange realisation: despite the problems and awkwardness caused by both me and my disability, I actually enjoyed myself. I have never quite worked out the reason I reluctantly enjoy nights out. It’s hot, sweaty, awkward, uncomfortable and often boring. But those inconveniences don’t compare to the brilliance of spending a night with friends and letting loose.

By Sam McCabe

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One Comment

  1. I think a lot of the fun comes from doing something that’s pretty silly with your friends, why do I flail my arms around like I’m trying to swat a group of bees? Because it looks silly and my friends look silly and we say to each other subliminally in that moment:
    I’m your friend even when you look awful

    Or maybe it’s something completely different, I don’t know!

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