Wristbanders

by Martin James Hunter

Vice Magazine’s ‘You Need to Hear This’ Freshers Tour, Nice n Sleazy, 4/10/13

 

There is always a certain satisfaction involved in queue skipping on account of a wristband. On this occasion as we descend the stairwell before the plebs it is no exception. Yet the moment we push open the doors towards the music our royal treatment abruptly ends.

Not long after arriving my associate and I commence stealing alcohol. Not something to be proud of but under austerity such measures must be taken. Later upon discovering there are free drink tokens in circulation the guilt eases. Not that I seen any of them however.

Numerous cans of energy drink populate most tables. Their tall design seeming like that of beer in the darkness of the basement, inciting several disappointments after indiscriminate thievery. Glowing adverts for an electronics corporation evoke suspicions that the night has been influenced by men in suits, immediately explaining the lack of atmosphere.

The crowd seem to be protesting against the musicians. Most of them sitting around tables, some with arms folded. When the band exit through the dancefloor upon finishing it is to no celebrity treatment. As the guitarist quietly goes by I pat his back in the manner of a sympathetic teacher after a particularly bad show and tell.

The band’s equipment is disassembled and preparations are made for the next act, leaving an awkward silence where most of the crowd choose to dissipate. My associate and I decide to use this intermission to visit the bar upstairs. Our plan, to draw patrons back with us in the hope that a bigger crowd will give us something to write about.

No one seems interested at first. Blank looks and false promises. As normal people do when slurring figures claiming to be professionals try lure them from their tables. Things are looking grim until by the bar I managed to form a rapport with a man wearing a Boards of Canada shirt. Eventually he agrees to come down with his friend.

At first as we inhale helium from a Vice balloon my new friends seem alright. Mediocre banter significantly improving under the influence of a noble gas. Upon returning from the toilet I see one has wrapped himself around my associate like a spider, and suddenly the real reason these men followed us becomes clear. Before they realise what is happening, I grab her and tango to safety through the crowd.

Later we befriend the photographer covering the event, spending considerable time discussing how wrecked I plan to get in the name of journalism. Unfortunately the man cannot join us on account of the expensive camera around his neck. Then without warning it is clicking and flashing and twisting and leaving us little choice in becoming subject to an intense drunken photoshoot. Limbs splayed, heads tilted in arrogance, shoes for some reason hoisted into the air. Upon finishing, the photographer wanders off and I am left feeling used.

The stage at this point has drawn a mob from their seats and things are a little more lively. Silhouettes bending and flexing as the house music takes control. My associate sends a double vodka my way which seems to abolish the last of my inhibitions. Then she begins pelting clubgoers with slices of lime, remaining anonymous within the darkness of the basement. For a while after this all we do is dance.

It is well into the night and we have attracted a significant amount of attention. Leaving the establishment while it is still our choice to, we head south until we reach a familiar club. Upon arrival the bouncers waste no time in refusing us entry. With our friends within its walls until closing, we spend the next hour turning the smoking area into our own little party.

 

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