I’m just going to come right out and say it. I’m not cut out for the club scene. I can understand the appeal, but it’s not for me, I just value my personal space too much. Let’s start from the beginning shall we. So a few weeks ago some of my friends and I made the voyage to the far off land of London. As it was July 4th weekend, my friend Jimmy insisted that we go to a Fourth of July Pub Crawl. Feeling adventurous as I was (and frankly not looking to sit alone in the hostel for 6 hours) I agreed. What I was expecting was a relaxing evening hanging out in a few bars, what I got was 300 frat bros continuously chanting “USA!USA!” for about five hours.
Stop 1: Registration and Beer Pong (and no I’m not going to call it Beirut shut the fuck up)
When we got to the first pub it looked like things would be pretty chill, the place had a nice bar, some comfy looking chairs, and a soccer game was on. I was admittedly a tad nervous going in to this particular adventure, but for a few sweet minutes I was actually excited. That is of course until I saw the area they had cordoned off for the Americans.
It was like every social phobia wrapped into one big sweaty pile. So I did what I usually do and put on my ironic enjoyment and found a wall to lean against. It’s like I always say, “when in doubt
penis out pretend you’re too cool for it.” After a balmy 30 minutes watching the world’s saddest games of beer pong, some guy rattled some incoherent nonsense (btw shouting doesn’t help when you’re already blowing out the speakers) and we headed off to the next venue.
I will say, it was quite funny to watch the faces on the passersby when the Americans rolled through.
Stop 2: Trapped in the basement, also personal space issues.
After arriving at the next pub everyone was immediately ferried into the building’s basement. I’m not sure why, but for some reason the place reminded me of the Saw movies, like I was going to get to the bottom and find myself in some sort of murder dungeon. But upon reaching the end of the stairs I was relieved to find it was just another generic night club, which is good, I never liked the Saw movies.
Anyways I regrouped with my friends and walked towards the bar to redeem our free drinks (because if I’m going to be miserable, I may as well be miserable and drunk). Funny thing about small spaces and large crowds…
I’m saying it was really uncomfortable. I’m still not sure which was worse, the surprisingly intoxicated couple making out directly in front of me, or the two chicks behind me pushing me into the couple making out. Anyways, Jimmy retrieved our drinks and we made our way to a quiet corner of the dance floor. It was there that an idea dawned on me, “this would make a great subject to talk about!” And I began writing. Here’s what I wrote, verbatim:
There comes a time in every mans life when he must consider what precarious circumstances placed him in the situation which he currently resides. And with that profound interlude I ask myself how I ended up in the basement of some Central London night club in an extraordinarily uncomfortable fish out of water story. The best term to surmise my drinking habits is filthy casual. Actually hold on, that line is super corny, whatever I’ll cut it out t in post.
Here’s a platypus to make you forget what you just read.
It turns out that dance clubs aren’t particularly conducive writing environments. After that I spent some time dancing awkwardly and then some girl came and drew on my shirt (trust me it was way less cute than you’re imagining) until it came time to move on to the next establishment.
Stop 3: Beers and Taylor Swift
Needless to say up to this point I was not having fun. I had been stuck in cramped places surrounded by dozens of people I neither knew nor liked, and forced to relive my most hated memories of middle school socials past. And now I was forced to stand in line for what felt like a very long time. Upon making it inside our next stop however, I started to feel a little better. This stop felt more like a proper bar, granted it was still crammed with 100+ drunk Americans, but it felt like a place where I could actually relax.
It helped that the bar was less crowded, although it still took us a long as time to get served. Plus this time instead of getting shots we got a pint of beer each, good beer too. Then we popped a squat in some nearby chairs, for the first time in the night I was genuinely happy. And then Taylor Swift came on.
For a moment everything was awesome, and then we realized that we had lost Katherine. In a hurry we set off in search of our lost comrade, by which I mean we casually finished our drinks and sat around until we got bored. The place had a downstairs so we went in search for her there. I immediately spotted her because I have eagle vision, and our little group was united once again, which was good because now it was time to leave.
I will say it was entertaining watching the organizers try to rally all the obnoxious Americans to get them to the next stop. I’m starting to see why people hate us.
Stop 4: The Techie and the Canadian
By this point I was feeling much more upbeat and not just because of all the drinks (although it was a factor). After a pat down second only to the TSA we were inside. The place looked like the kind of club that would get heisted in some b-list action flick.
Unfortunately this stop was especially crowded, but nonetheless we ventured to the bar and sent Jimmy to get our drinks. While waiting for Jimmy to return some asshole wearing an American flag as a cape started making small talk. He asked where I was from, I said Georgia (I find its easier than explaining to people where Vermont is, although I do feel a bit ashamed). Yadda yadda yadda, he asked what I did, I said I was in school, he asked where I said Tech, and then his face lit up. This random ass guy went to Georgia Tech, oh, and he was also and Aerospace Major.
So that was chill. Soon all three of us are talking with this former Techie, oh and this Canadian guy who showed up, and having a blast. I recognize that this part of the story is the least interesting to hear about, but it was probably the highlight of the night, especially after he bought us drinks. Anyways apparently the guy worked for, I’m gonna say Boeing, doing flight testing or something in France. Oh and the Canadian was in basic training for the Canadian Air Force and really wanted to become an aerospace major apparently.
We talked for a while, I was periodically blinded by a strobe light that only seemed to go off whenever I looked up and at some point someone lit some sparklers, which aside from being a fire hazard, felt kind of unnecessary. Eventually however it was time to move on to the next location, and that’s when Katherine disappeared into the night.
Stop 5: Bad Friends and Oh God, Oh God, Why is it so Hot, Oh God I’m Going to Die
As we were leaving the previous club Katherine said something about wanting Ice Cream. I didn’t really hear what she said, it was loud and I was distracted watching a some drunk girl fight with a security guard over a half empty bottle of beer (let’s just say it was a fascinating exchange). We continued outside, and met up with the rest of the Americans where a few of the organizers were trying to organize a group photo. As the crowd erupted into yet another chant of “USA!USA!” (this time with renewed zeal!) we realized that we may have lost Katherine for real this time. Unsure what to do we just kept going.
Once again we stood in line in front of another generic night club, except this time the people around me were 100% drunker. It was at the point where they had run out of things to say so they were literally just shouting gibberish. After watching two grown men grunt angrily at each other, we went inside, and descended into yet another cramped basement. But this one was better because it was about 800 degrees.
It’s easy to forget just how much heat the human body produces. Like it was genuinely painful. It didn’t help getting covered in a think layer of other peoples’ sweat. By then the night was pretty much dying, then Katherine showed up. Turns out most people don’t appreciate when you leave them behind in large cities. Understandably upset she left, followed by me and Jimmy about 20 minutes later. We then spent the next 45 minutes trying to find a cab, because the tube was closed.
Overall the whole thing was mildly enjoyable. In part because I really like complaining about other people. But it’s like I said, the club scene, it’s not for me. I’m much more at home sitting around and relaxing than gyrating with anonymous strangers. While I certainly don’t regret the experience, I doubt I would go again.