“Arrive before 9.30pm to avoid queueing” read the invite. How many clubs in London have a queue before 9.30pm? In fact, I don’t remember ever really queueing for a club in London, let alone before 9.30pm. Surely this is just a ploy to get me in early to spend money on overpriced, watered-down drinks. In any case, the invite has worked and created a sense of urgency I wouldn’t normally have this early on a Friday night.
I step out of the tube at 9.29pm with the club literally across the road.
I nearly died. It was as if I was going to the Apple store the day a new ipad gets released. I suck it up and drag myself to the back of the queue passed all those people waiting in hope that they’ll be out of the cold soon enough.
I don’t find myself as the last person in the queue for very long as lots of others clearly had the same idea as me.
“There is absolutely no chance of me lining up passed 10:00pm” I say to myself. “10 o’clock is my cut off”. The queue isn’t really moving and the harsh reality of not getting in before 10pm starts to kick in. I turn around and see the queue has grown significantly and I need to make a decision. “I’ll give it 30 more minutes, but that’s it” I decide in my head. Although the queue hasn’t really moved, the fact that so many other people are now behind me makes my position a lot better. I don’t want to lose my place now.
I start to listen in on others’ conversations. The 2 girls in front are talking about being on “the pull” for the evening, whilst the people behind me are trying to give a Cantonese lesson. They then realise that they’ve been waiting for a good 40 minutes and start to talk about pushing in or the old favourite of calling a friend who is already inside to try and get them in. After another luckless 20 minutes one of them coughs out “Has it been an hour already?”. To which the girl replies “Well, the Cantonese lesson took at least 20 minutes”. They couldn’t stand it anymore. It was time to leave.
“Enjoy our places in the queue” they reluctantly say to those that were waiting directly behind them. That made me laugh, as I would have done exactly the same thing. After a while you start to take ownership of your place in the queue. Your place becomes your territory, something you fight for if someone tries to invade what’s rightfully yours.
I decide to fight for my territory. I know it’s been an hour, but I’ve come too far to just hand over my place. The new people behind me have already been blessed with their new place, they don’t deserve mine as well. Not in the slightest.
I can see the light, it’s only a matter of metres. I’m so close, yet so far. “All this for a club in London” I think to myself.
As I get closer I see all of the clichès that come with the entrance of a busy club in London. The huge bouncer with an expressionless face. The club owner coming out from the inside holding a cocktail and letting friends in that certainly hadn’t been waiting as long as I had. The groups of girls trying to sweet talk the bouncer into letting them in. And finally the people that walk up to the bouncer saying they “know such and such” before being turned away. To the bouncer’s credit he always seemed to respectfully stand firm.
I finally make it to the front. The “hostess” recognizes me from previous events (something I would have loved to have known earlier), smiles whilst kissing both cheeks (now I’m single my life’s been like a “Lynx” advert) accepts my invite and I finally get in. The place is full of people who all look the same, dancing to cheesy top 40 music whilst sweating all over the dance floor. It’s not normally my scene, but I figure after freezing outside for 90 minutes that I might as well give it a chance. I leave my coat in the free cloak room and head to the bar. The bar is ridiculously packed and I hear someone say it’s £15 a cocktail as I slide to the front. It’s at that point I realise that I’m really not going to enjoy myself and shove my way back through the crowd. I collect my jacket from the free cloak room (the highlight of my night) and leave after a total of 15 minutes inside the actual club.
I head home and decide to put this night down to experience. I decide to check my emails and see that there’s another invitation to a party next Friday telling me not to be later than 10pm to avoid the queue. Something tells me I think I’ll pass.