I’m not trying to claim nightclubs as a place of worship, but I can think of few better places to see God. There’s ritual to be found in the student club scene, especially since it resembles the bacchanalian traditions of ancient times in its transcendental excess which takes us beyond the material day-to-day. Like churchgoers, we students usually attend our place of worship on a weekly basis—but the more orthodox among us may take to the dance floor up to five times a week. Like all religious ceremonies, the clubbing experience is governed by a given recipe of events which we repeat as needed. I’m here to protect and resurrect the sanctity of clubbing in these dark, dismal times. Consider me the preacher and these your Ten Commandments on how to make clubbing the spiritual experience you deserve.
- Thou shalt adorn thyself with glitter and listen to the famous hymn “Toxic” by Britney Spears in preparation for your night of (un)holiness.
Before any of the central action is allowed to take place, there’s usually a preen-up. For me, this involves blasting Britney Spears from my bluetooth speaker whilst I sit in front of my mirror applying copious amounts of glitter to my face. Then, I’m sure to pick out an exceptionally unholy fit, spritz myself with holy water (i.e. one of the Lush body sprays), and slide on my crusty Reebok trainers—which have seen me through years of clubbing—before stumbling out of my room to meet up with the rest of the congregation for a couple of drinks.
2. Thou shalt get wasted before getting wasted.
Some call this “pres,” some call this “prinks”—whatever you call it, it’s often the best part of the evening as it involves actual quality time with friends, guaranteed good music, and drinking games. It’s a fast track to getting drunk without spending all of your money on overpriced Jägerbombs and VKs. If you’re not struggling to stand upright in the queue then you may as well have stayed home.
Without these two first steps, the clubbing experience is less sparkly, more sober, and thus rendered ineffective as a spiritual cleanse.
3. Thou shalt attempt to befriend those who have the (dis)pleasure of your company in the queue.
The queue doesn’t have to be the most tedious part of the night. Sometimes it can feel like it spans for miles. We all know time flies when you’re having fun, so make it fun by sneaking some alcohol into your bag, taking swigs from it, and asking strangers stupid questions—the more ridiculous the better.
4. Thou shalt dance like nobody’s watching (until somebody is watching—at which point you make some moves, I guess).
Also, sing like nobody’s listening. There are very few things more liberating than jumping around in a crowd, bouncing your body off of other bodies, and knocking limbs with other limbs, screaming the lyrics to one of your favorite songs. When the club’s a little quieter, it can also be helpful to gather with the rest of your congregation—forming a circle—and practicing some synchronized slut-dropping to make you all feel unified.
It’s at this point in the night when you should expect to feel your spirit leave your body via a bass-drop. Coincidentally, consumption of spirits will aid any transcendence on the dance floor. But avoid sambuca at all costs.
5. Thou shalt not break the seal until it becomes a choice between that and pissing yourself.
You’re many drinks in, your bladder is screaming above the noise; it’s become too painful to dance properly. I suppose everyone has to break the seal sometime or another.
6. Thou shalt venture to the toilets with one or more members of your congregation.
Thou shalt never pee alone. A girls’ trip to the bathroom somehow always becomes a memorable part of any night out. It’s an opportunity to spill some feelings whilst the two of you are crammed into a tiny cubicle. It’s a lot like confession. Often it’s when you ‘fess up to fancying another member of the congregation, or it’s when you vent about something (like an annoying boy).
You might also take this time as an opportunity to befriend some strangers in the bathroom via complimenting literally anything about them. If you see a girl crying, be sure to remind her that he’s not worth it and that she’s too good for him.
7. Thou shalt pop out for a quick cig at some point in the night, losing all of your congregation in the process, and thus beginning your own personal pilgrimage toward chaos.
Ah, yes, disappearing on a night out—my favorite sin. Go forth, ask sexy people if they’ve got a light, unnecessarily ruin your lungs, and regret it the following morning when you sound like someone drove a lawnmower over your tonsils. You’ll know it was worth it if you (somehow) managed to pick up a cutie amidst the throng of people shivering outside with Sterling Duals pressed to their lips. It’s a great way to network with like-minded people who share a passion for bass, cigs, and G*d.
8. Thou shalt not forget to collect your stuff from the coatroom on your way out.
Because you’ll really regret it the following day when you have to revisit the club in daylight hours. Humiliating.
9. Thou shalt stop by your local kebab van/shop to purchase and consume essential carbs.
You will need something to snack on during the journey home. What else is going to absorb all of the stuff you just flooded your system with? Cheese, chips, and gravy is my post-club food of choice, but anything carb-heavy will do the job. Support your local kebab purveyors.
This can also be a useful checkpoint for other members of the congregation to congregate. You can shiver together as you shovel forkfuls of piping hot potato-matter into that gob of yours. This can be a useful moment of quiet reflection following what can only be described as carnage.
10. Thou shalt get brunch with friends to debrief on whatever the fuck happened last night.
Surely the Sabbath was invented as a means for people to get over Friday and Saturday night benders. The day after the night before is just as important as any other part of this dumb series of events. Reconvene over a plate of more carbs—and a bucket of coffee—to confess some more: who did what last night, what happened with that sexy fiend your friends saw you leave the club with, did anyone have an epiphany in the smoking area?
Obviously, we can’t all have a spiritual awakening every night we go out, but that doesn’t detract from my faith in the sanctity of clubbing. With the right people, the right substances, and the right steps, the club can be transformed from somewhere sweaty and sticky into somewhere sacred. Good luck. God bless.
By Alice Garnett
Visual by Kaylina Kodlick