Lager, Lager, Lager, Shouting – Midlife Raving

I might have turned 39 last week. It’s OK, I’m fine about it…I handled it in the most mature way possible, by dancing till 1am to songs from my teens. Sorted.

I know I ought to feel a  bit shamed by this kind of thing, loading up on glitter and sweeties in order to pogo like a mad thing to Supergrass. I know I’m probably too old to be doing any kind of pogoing but I look around at these 90s nights and everyone else is old too. There are bald patches and grey hairs everywhere. And while that sounds like the saddest thing ever, it’s exactly the opposite. The rare occasions that I’ve been out in young people’s places is when I’ve felt like a sad old thing. It’s only ever the odd work do, a karaoke night out or one extremely epic trip from Winchester to Camden and back in the middle of the night… but if I’m in a young people’s venue I feel older than ever. I imagine everyone can hear my joints creaking.

Nathan and I had a very rare night out together last week with no kids or work the next day and it took me ages to find something that wouldn’t make us feel like we’re 100 years old. In the end, we went to a Quentin Tarantino night at the Blues Kitchen in Shoreditch. Because it was Shoreditch, there were hipsters everywhere but because it was 90s themed it felt like we were OK to be relics from that era. It helped that Nathan made a very convincing Vince Vega:

But the best nights are the ones like Disco 2000 – surrounded by our own people, celebrating the music we love. Last Friday’s rave was at Winchester Guildhall, scene of both our wedding reception and our college balls, and the headline DJ was Jo Whiley. Everything about it was on theme. People flung their hands in the air to Ocean Colour Scene. When the lights came up, there were Hooch bottles everywhere. Not that we were drinking when there was serious dancing to be done. Who has time to queue up at the bar when every tune is a banger?

And there’s nothing to be ashamed of. We’re following in the footsteps of generations before us, who went to tea dances because it’s what they did as teens. We went to raves and indie discos as teens so why shouldn’t we do that now when we want to let our thinning hair down? Amusingly, you can still pick out the various tribes at 90s nights – the danceheads, the britpoppers, the pop pickers – although trying to put blur fans versus oasis fans is a bit clichéd. We all liked both bands to some extent. Who would not dance to “Girls and Boys” or sing along to “Don’t Look Back in Anger” given the chance?

Of course, we’re not actual teenagers. I ached for days after that night. As 30- and 40-somethings with kids and mortgages, the raving is naturally on a smaller and sparser scale than it used to be. But that’s what makes it more special….when we went clubbing three times a week, we got blasé and a bit jaded. Now, we’ve paid for babysitters and bothered to paint our nails and we’re gosh darn gonna have a good time. What’s sad about that?

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