Very occasionally, someone asks me about things which I used to do which I no longer do and which I don’t miss at all. There are a few of those, of course, but the one that always comes top of the list is ‘going to clubs’.
Once upon a time, of course, I was a big fan of nightclubs. In fact, having a part-time job which meant working until 11pm or midnight at times meant that the only way to have a social life was to go to the local nightclub, Options, after work. I even had one of my eighteenth birthday parties there, I liked it so much.
This did present me with one problem, though. To get into Options, you had to be wearing a shirt and tie (or at least you did if you were male. If you were female you could pretty well show up naked except for a strategically placed pizza box and still get in).
Being a somewhat sartorially challenged youth my collection of non-school shirts amounted to two black ones, and my collection of ties to one light grey one and (later) one black leather one. This created something of a problem, and fortunately Dad was on hand to help.
He lent me a shirt which I recall as being light grey and white stripes but which, frankly, could have been any colour due to my colour-blindness and general clothing-related ineptitude*. More importantly, he didn’t just lend it to me the one time, but just about every time that I went to Options. The phrase “Can I borrow your shirt of mine?” became as regular a refrain in our house as “Can I borrow your razor” was to become in later years, because the significant thing was that the shirt was definitely Dad’s and it still went back into his wardrobe. It was just that, for a couple of years at least, I was the only one who wore it.
The observant among you will have noticed that I had my eighteenth birthday party at Options. I had actually been going there since I was sixteen, and I stopped going there pretty soon afterwards. I’ve hardly set foot in a club since – once on a cricket tour in about 1998 and a couple of times when I first met Caro. Horrible, noisy, crowded, over-priced places.
*Note for Americans: These are the correct spellings of ‘colour’ and ‘grey’