A work mate joked to me the other day “Aren’t you a bit too old to be gallivanting around night clubs?” It was one of those comments that was said in jest, but had an undertone that was deadly serious. You’ve probably guessed that I’m a bit of a thinker by now (well, when it suits me) and that comment bounced round my head for the rest of the day. It disappeared for a few days and then I ended up playing at Warehouse for Kinky Malinki and one particular clubber brought that comment flooding back, so I thought I’d write about it.
Let’s go back to that raver at the Warehouse then. I was doing the warm up set. Most of you will know, that doing a warm up set pretty much means, that for a period of time, you have no one on the dancefloor. Generally clubbers don’t get through the door of a club and hit the floor straight away. Well this lady tore up the rule book. There she was, first one on the floor and seriously cutting some shapes. In the darkness of the club I couldn’t make much out, apart from the fact she sure had some energy. It was only towards the end of my set when she came up to me and asked for some “old Skool” that I saw that she may have had a very tough paper round, or she was a ‘more mature raver’. Rightly or wrongly, I did think to myself ‘Maybe you need to hang up the white gloves love’, but who am I to judge?
So, this is the whole point of this blog, when do you hang up your dancing shoes? There simply isn’t a set age. If you love the music enough and you can handle hanging in a club of 20 somethings, then why not keep going?? Once again, I bring up my Mum in a blog, but my old dear still loves good music (and some crap music…..like Mother like Son, yeah?). She used to do my guestlist when I used to do parties, as it was an excuse for her to be in a club and to listen to house music. She’d probably still go out now, but she’s a tad too conscious of her age (she is a young Mum I may add). I’m sure if she had gone to the Shoom reunion event recently, she would’ve been among a more similar age bracket? Talking of reunions, I went to a Cream Birthday event in Liverpool last year, as I was up there on a stag do. It’s one of only two times, in recent years, when I haven’t felt like the oldest bloke in a club. All of the revelers may have been parents, with respectable(ish) jobs but for that night, they were letting go and having the time of their lives* (*translation – they were all off their nut!!)
Is it so wrong to do that? Are there any youngsters reading this that feel uncomfortable around older clubbers? I recall going to SW4 a few years ago with the Nightowl brothers and hatching a plan to teach their, then 16 year old brother, Dom, how to DJ. Barring Dom, I was with a group of early 20 somethings and I had a niggling thought in the back of my mind that kept going ‘Am I too old to be hanging round with these guys?’. I actually brought this up at a later date and Dean Nightowl actually turned around and put things in to perspective “We don’t think it’s strange hanging around with you, so get over it”. Fair point!!
How many people do you know that go clubbing in their late 30s or 40s? I DJ so it gives me a bit of an excuse to venture out. But to be honest, if I see a line-up that interests me and I’m free, then I’ll go, and I’ll dance and I’ll feel like death the next day(s). I can’t see myself knocking it on the head any time soon either. I have DJ pals that I talk to reasonably regularly, like Jeremy B who was a Ministry of Sound resident for many years and Andy Ward, one half of Soul Central and the boss of the Vocal Booth Weekender. Both are a little older than me and still involved in the scene. Yes, it’s a little less than before, but they are also ensconced in different ways too. For instance, Jeremy drives Joey Negro all around the country, to gigs, not just down to Tesco! Then Andy has taken up designing websites for his DJ/Music pals (yep, he designed mine, it’s nice isn’t it?). I think it’s safe to say that their partying days are mostly over BUT on that rare occasion they are out, they could go toe to toe with most current clubbers!?
Is it a case of, ‘It’s acceptable for DJs’ then? Do you have any idea how old legendary DJs like David Morales and Frankie Knuckles are? Or even good ol’ Pete Tong? Well they are 51, 58 and 52 respectively. If you are successful enough, then perhaps you can just crack on indefinitely, health willing of course? Many moons ago, in my early 20s, I sat down with my future wife to discuss serious matters, like our wedding, buying a house, all that grown up stuff and then she asked me about my DJing “How many years do you see yourself DJing for?” Now that was a loaded question if ever I’d heard one. It was basically ‘How long are you gonna keep messing about with this daft hobby of yours?’ and like the huge pussyhole I was, I replied with “If I’ve not got to a decent level by the age of 30 I’ll give up”. Well my DJing outlasted the marriage. So figure that one out? Just throwing it out there, but I think a lot of relationships can create friction in that area. Imagine getting ‘When are you gonna grow up?’ as a constant nag from your other half all the time? That would be enough to make anyone stop. Or go the polar opposite. I actually have a mate who I go out with regularly. His wife used to rave with him. She can’t stand it now and isn’t best pleased that he still keeps on cracking on. Is that fair? Maybe that’s why men go hell for leather on Stag Dos? Because they have ‘Sign Off’ and it’s an opportunity for a total blow out. And before any women get excited and accuse me of being sexist, I’d love to know of any of your girly mates whose partners have asked them to stop going out? Nah seriously, are there any??
I don’t think there is any real definitive answer to my underlying point of ‘When are you too old to stop clubbing?’ The main factors will come down to 1) how much you love the music? 2) whether your grey matter can handle clubbing with much younger people? 3) whether your body can hold up to excess? And 4) whether you’re allowed to? A small bit on the last point. If you fall in to this category, maybe have a long hard look in the mirror at yourself, and grow a pair!!
Anyway, this weekend you will mainly catch me getting my stomp on, in a field (OK, Haggerston Park) whilst listening to some of the finest DJ talent on the planet. I may be one of the more mature ravers at Found Festival this weekend, but like wine and cheese, some things get better with age.