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Protip: Do not do this. It is a Very Bad Idea. I should know; I have done it.

There are several reasons why if you live in London and someone says they're going up the West End to go clubbing, ask them if it's the sort of clubbing that involves seals. If it is not, then scorn them. Because the only things that can possibly come of an evening at Boujis or Pangaea or Whiskey Mist or Mo*Vida are disappointment, derp, rage, and celebrities. On the plus side, if you wanted to build an edifice which attracts the worst humanity has to offer, a sort of cunt accumulator if you will, you could do worse than a West End nightclub. Of course, the only reason why you might want such an accumulator in the first place is so you can car-bomb it and decrease the average objectionable douchebaggery of the world by up to 3%, but that's naughty and gets you nicked under the Prevention of Terrorism Act.

When I was a student I went to such clubs every so often. Now I generally preferred (and still do) places where you can sup ten pints o' Real Ale, swap amusing and filthy stories with fellow brutal, depraved maniacs, thrash about until you have a bangover, and admire fit birds in corsets (assuming they weren't the brutal, depraved maniacs you've been chatting to beforehand.) However, occasionally the various halls of residence I was living in would do these social functions in which we contacted "promoters" and went to clubs of this nature. I used to go along for appearances' sake (often free drinks were promised) and see what would happen.

The first thing I learnt about West End clubs is they are run by disingenuous lying asshats to a man. China White, I think it was. Yeah. You know somewhere's classy when it's named after a variety of heroin. I recall with distaste one such establishment where a bunch of us student bums got all scrubbed up and suchlike. Cleaned us teeth, put on us best kit, and one of our number, Ali, the hall "social secretary," rang ahead to get on the guest list and get a table booked (for which there's a sizeable deposit which was a large chunk of the hall's budget). So we get there, and... nope. Sorry. You'll have to wait until a table becomes free. How long's that? We don't know. But we reserved one. Here's written confirmation of our booking. Ahahahaha, no. Turns out that was confirmation of our booking. We'd booked a spot alright... ON THE WAITING LIST.

So we all bugger off. I ended up in the Intrepid Fox where I got on the outside of ten pints of Boddingtons and had enormous fun.

The week after, unbowed, the hall party at an allegedly upscale club finds itself booked into one called Trap. This is the other sort of West End club. Although we get in and even get some free drinks paid for with stamped playing cards. So we walk in and the first thing that hits me is the smell. Of fake tan and celebrity-branded perfume. Sickly. Bizarre magazine once reviewed celebrity perfumes and described one of them, the Paris Hilton perfume, as "the smell of a spoilt eight-year-old who bullies her nanny." This was the exact smell that hit me. Believe you me, I've been in some offensive smelling places in my time. The mosh pit on Day 4 of Wacken Open Air with its fug of beer, fags, sweat, dirt, weed, and urine. The abodes of some of my clients. The photocopier pit at work after I've just stepped on a duck in it. But all were preferable to the ponk that existed in this place.

The next thing I noticed was that if many of the women therein were over 18, I'm a tractor wheel. In any event they were all dressed in such a way that the last time I'd seen that many breasts and thighs was in the poultry counter at Tesco's. They were chucking themselves at barcode-shirted Essex Boys who reckoned they were King Shit but were actually only King of discount mattress retail in Romford and glowering egotists who were just ten seconds from offering someone outside. The music was that horrible bump-and-grind not-very-rhythmic, not-very-bluesy, variety of R&B that was popular at the time. You know the sort of stuff I mean, surely. The place was also covered in waves of hatred bouncing around. You got the impression that the entire joint was two steps away from exploding into a pitched battle because someone alleged you were looking at his bird. If I were a woman I would probably have been at a not insignificant risk of date rape.

So I buggered off. I ended up in the Intrepid Fox where I got on the outside of ten pints of Boddingtons and had enormous fun.

The problem with West End clubs, therefore, is that they appeal to fundamentally ephemeral and insecure people, and are run by fundamentally ephemeral and insecure people to boot. There is a collective delusion that what happens in these clubs is a Big Deal, but in fact, that's not the case. Nothing that carries on therein is real. If you are there, you will be assessed as a person within seconds based on how "on-trend" you are, and if found lacking, shunned. The people that go there are only there because someone has told them that it is fashionable to be seen there. Those people are only saying that because they are told it is fashionable to be there. It is a self-reinforcing proposition and one which is knowingly fostered by the proprietors when they pay the no-account zelebrity du jour to show their face therein. People with no brain see this, and go there on the off-chance that they'll meet said zelebrity and suchlike. After a while, people cotton on to the fact that it's all a farce and stop going. The club then renovates itself, usually under the same owner, and re-opens under a different name. Lather, rinse, repeat. Yay.

I think the defining moment of this type of place in my limited experience was at one such place where they had this thing that whenever someone who had booked a table bought a bottle of champagne for 30 times its retail price, they'd put sparklers on it, wheel it out to the strains of Also sprach Zarathustra, and everyone would whoop and holler and cheer and applaud these people for no reason other than the fact that they'd spent way over the odds for this. Sorry, but no. I refuse to applaud anyone for being a fuck-stupid poseur. It was at this point I bailed and ended up in the Intrepid Fox where I got on the outside of ten pints of Boddingtons and had enormous fun.

And before someone asks if I could do it better, the answer is yes. At Club Hazelnut, there would be wall to wall heavy metal, and all celebrities would be banned forever. I'd also put a coin-operated lock on the toilet door, because it's way more honest than paying the bog troll not to get punched or verbally abused for having the temerity to take a shite.

(IN1318)

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