The last days of clubbing
Friday 27th February

I'm driving to the city with Marko, the guy originally from China who is also in the car. He's not been to a nightclub or the city at night before as he's always gone to pubs and bars in the suburbs.

Now it's 7:45. I park the car on a street near the BBC and walk north. We go inside Varsity and Jackson is here running a night for the social circle group that has it's main meeting on Monday nights in Didsbury – the organiser is away so Jackson has been asked to run things.

Varsity is a sports bar near St. Peter's Square. Whenever there's a big football or rugby game on it's very busy and there's a real atmosphere.

Jackson: "Hi."
Me: "Hi, how's it going?"
Jackson: "We've come here to meet up and we're going to a Turkish restaurant for a meal later."
We talk a while then we're leaving to go to another bar.
Jackson: "I'll give you a call during the week and we can meet up."
Me: "Ok, see you later."

Me and Marko go to Hard Rock Café. The music playing in the background is ‘I want it all' by Queen. It's a really good song and setting a good vibe for the evening.

Next we go to TV21 in the Northern Quarter.
Me: "Look there's a model of a space shuttle you can sit inside."
We get drinks and sit and talk then Marko says
Him: "People are shouting in here and it's not nice."
Me: "I thought I was the only one who noticed people shouting. You don't like it here?"
Him: "No. The music isn't even loud yet they're drinking and shouting. It's giving me a headache." he says holding his head in his hand.
Me: "Ok, let's go."
TV21 is a nice venue although it's probably best to visit it in the daytime or weekday evening.

We leave TV21 and walk down the hill to Tiger Tiger. Now we're sat at a table with drinks.
Him: "People aren't shouting in here."
Me: "It's Tiger Tiger so people in here are quite cool. They talk and enjoy the venue rather than shouting to get through to each other."
Him: "It's nice here."

Him: "I'm hungry, do you want to get something to eat?"
We look at the menu and decide on chips, the same ones as I had with Alex K on the Friday 21st November. The service here is very good, the clientele are happy and making an effort, it's a quality venue. We enjoy our food then decide to go upstairs.

The people in Tiger Tiger who were drinking at the same table we were sitting at while enjoying our food, as well as those on other tables, were smiling to each other. It was warm smiles as if to say – I'm happy that others in this venue are having a good time. This kind of thing makes it a nice atmosphere, it's an entertainment venue and it's fun.

We're upstairs in the main dancefloor area and it's empty so we go to the karaoke area where there's a bar and seating area. This is the waiting area for the private karaoke booths. We order drinks and sit and enjoy the venue.

A group of over 10 ladies start asking Marko to go over and give one of them, whose hen night it is, a kiss on the cheek for a photo. He declines as he doesn't want to end up on Facebook.
Marko has been working out and taking lots of protein shakes and other additives. He's gained a lot of muscle fast. Some women are instantly attracted to him. We've been discussing how it's good to be healthy. I say to watch it on the additives.
Now there's 15 women arrived in the bar dressed in Moulin Rouge style costumes. Marko talks to a few, one of them came all the way from Oxford for a night out.

We leave the Karaoke bar area and go into the main dancefloor bar area which now has about 10 people here. We stay here enjoying it.
A lady and a guy come up to me saying
Her: "Hi, how's it going?"
Me: "Hi."
Her: "It's Andrea." she says and I know who she is.
Me: "Yes, we met in Starbucks."
Andrea: "This is my boyfriend."
We shake hands.
Me: "Did you get to university?"
Andrea: "No I was too late with my applications. I'm going next year."
Her boyfriend: "It's her birthday today."
Me: "That's good. Happy Birthday!"
Andrea: "We'll be back later, I'm having my party in there." she says pointing to the cordoned off lounge room.
Me: "Ok, see you later."
Andrea: "We're going somewhere else first, we'll see you back here in a bit."
We say bye and they go. It's nice to see everyone in a good mood.

Marko: "She's pretty, how do you know her?"
Me: "I met her one day in Starbucks, we got on and spent the day together."
Marko: "Did you go out on dates?"
Me: "No. She gave me her number. We spoke a few times but she wasn't my type."
Marko: "It's right, you've got to be choosing the right type." he says smiling and in a way that it's good that I choose not to date some ladies, meaning I can get dates and aren't desperate.

Marko is having a great time, is full of energy and really upbeat. He's going round now chatting to groups of people and dancing. One of the ladies he's talking to says
Her: "Why doesn't your friend join in?" because I'm not in such a talkative mood tonight.
Marko: "Aren't you having a good time?" he says to me.
Me: "Yes I'm having fun, enjoying the club, the music. I'm fine."
He goes back to talking with people.

Seeing Marko all upbeat makes me consider whether I'm not enjoying clubbing. Then I realise I am. Having been clubbing lots over the past 5 months – I've enjoyed the novelty and now it's more about the music, atmosphere, people and so on. Marko is enjoying the novelty which is good. I've seen thousands of women scantily dressed and what I like is good music from the DJ. People who make an effort with style – not just wearing very little – and if it's busy enough I can enjoy a club and dancing as much as anyone. At the moment the club is quiet. I'm enjoying being here with music playing, and being by the bar having a drink with a few people around.

We leave the main room to go to the karaoke bar. We stay here for 30 minutes.

We leave the karaoke bar. We're in the main bar and dancefloor area again. The place is a quarter full so it's getting going. 15 women are dancing on the dancefloor having a great time with Duffy singing. Then the DJ plays some really really obscure sng no-one has heard of so the dancefloor empties. Now the DJ is playing a popular song and people are on the dancefloor again, then he follows it up by some melancholy track with Morrisey singing and the dancefloor empties.
Now the DJ is playing something lively but no-one can be bothered going on the dancefloor only to leave it a song later when the DJ plays something obscure.

Me: "Let's go in there." I say referring to the other room in the venue with sofas.
Marko: "Ok."
We go into the lounge room and they're clearing away posts and ropes which cordoned off an area for Andrea's birthday – Andrea is the woman I spoke to earlier who was meant to be coming back here. The staff are clearing away posters saying ‘This area is reserved for Andrea's Birthday.' Either her friends didn't show or she ended up at another venue. It's a shame either way for her and the staff who put the effort in to prepare for a party.
We sit down on the comfortable seats in this lounge room where there's no DJ playing. There's not many people in here.
Marko says: "We come here for fun, and now we're in here to hide!" he's laughing.
He means how we came to a big nightclub and are now sitting in the quiet part of the venue and not dancing.
I start laughing too.

Me: "It's nearly midnight and the main room is only a quarter full. There's 3 other rooms that used to be busy. It could be the recession, people aren't going out."
Marko: "It could be."
Me: "Shall we go in there?"
Marko: "Let's go home."
Me: "Now?"
Marko: "Yes. It's not that good. The people here are only getting drunk and not dancing."
Me: "Ok, let's go."

We leave the Printworks. It's very quiet tonight except for a guy and 3 ladies getting into a fight. Then it calms down when the ladies, who were initiating the violence, run to get the help of some security officers.

As we're walking across Piccadilly Gardens we by chance come across Jackson and Visana. They're also going home."
Jacksn: "Did you have a good night?"
Jackson: "Yes the restaurant was really good. How about you? Did you go to Tiger Tiger?"
Me: "Yes the whole Printworks was really quiet tonight."
Jackson: "Me and Visana were commenting earlier how busy it was."
Me: "Where?"
Jackson: "Around 5th Avenue."
Me: "5th Avenue is a student venue."
Jackson: "Students will always spend on going out."

Me, Jackson, Visana and Marko talk some more.
Me and Marko say bye to them. We go to the car and drive out of the city.

We had a very good time for the first half of the night in Hard Rock Café and Tiger Tiger. The food was good. Overall it was an ok night out.

Summary and venue reviews: Friday 27th February

Busy. Clientele: sports fans, heavy drinkers. Décor: 6/10.
Notes: Sports bar that promotes binge drinking.
Varsity Oxford Street

Hard Rock Cafe
Busy. Clientele: smart casual, rockers. Music: rock and classic hits. Décor: 10/10.
Notes: A clean pleasant venue with themed decor and quick service.
Hard Rock Cafe

Hard Rock Cafe
Busy. Clientele: smart casual, rockers. Music: rock and classic hits. Décor: 10/10.
Notes: A clean pleasant venue with themed decor and quick service.
Hard Rock Cafe

Very busy. Clientele: smart casual. Music: classic hits. Décor: 10/10.
Notes: A sci-fi themed bar. People shouting to each other. Not a pleasant atmosphere.

Tiger Tiger
Busy. Clientele: smart casual, smart. Music: chart, dance, classic hits. Décor: 10/10.
Notes: A smart venue with trendy clientele and a fun going out atmosphere. The DJ plays a mix which isn't suitable for dancing, keeping the dancefloor empty.
Tiger Tiger

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© Alex Remizo