We're sure there are nightclubs where the patrons are audiophiles, the bouncers are calm and courteous and the atmosphere is cool and edgy. But we're not here to talk about those.
No, we're talking about the neon-lit Hades of your hometown; the club you're drawn to with a magnetic self-loathing. A cathedral of bad taste, cheap vodka and metropolitan outskirts misery... you know the one. We ALL know a one.
This is a paean to the 8 different types of idiot you'll always meet on your regrettable night life travels. Ring any bells?
1 | The Hacienda Hangover
It's only 11pm, but already there's a bloke in the corner - inevitably in a bucket hat or Hawaiian shirt - gurning, thrusting, arms liquid and eyes wide. It's Knebworth, it's Spike Island, it's Hacienda '96 and the pills are pure and the music is electric... except you're in Clapham, pal and the carpet is sticky. Now the 19-year-olds are looking at him with a potent mixture of awe and disgust. But what do they know - they won't be there to see the sun rise on a grey south London Sunday.
It's all about the music anyway, man.
2 | The Old Boy
What is he doing here? The lone old boy, hovering with pint of bitter in hand and beatific smile stretched across a face that knew what it was like to work and work hard for a living. He represents both a reassurance that age is but a number, and the creeping notion that maybe one day that will be you. A relic in the corner trying to absorb lost energy through the primal idiocy of drunken youths and their hopeless flailing.
Not to be trusted.
3 | The DJ
"Just got this sick mix of ABC by the Jackson 5 and Juicy by Biggie Smalls, you guys are going to love it!
"Wait, how about we let it play for 11 minutes? Then I'm going to segue into some Grime. Everyone loves a bit of grime."
4 | The Jaeger Meister
"Lads! Lads!? 'Nother round of Jaegers? Boys? Jonesy? Marco? Just like uni again, right?"
Everyone knows one of these, the guy who hasn't accepted that ordering 10 Jaegerbombs no longer represents the apex of nocturnal male camaraderie.
There he goes, back to the bar, contactless held aloft for all to see. Another round of £38.85 shots that no one really wants to drink on their way. The bartender's pitiful gaze burning a whole in his back as he returns triumphant with his German herbal liqueur kill.
5 | The Warrior
The quality of this man's night is defined entirely by the binary discussion of pulling or fighting. If he doesn't pull, he fights and he fights to win: arms swinging, eyes bulging, 'going-out shirt' drenched in furious sweat and triple vodkas. No man nor takeaway queue is safe from this 4am Jean Claude Van Damn tribute act.
6 | The Lurkers
Skittish, fidgety, confident in groups but meek when isolated, these are the men who hunt in packs like chino-clad hyenas. Their mission is simple: to find a group of girls, preferably two or three, before lurking in the shadows, confused and frustrated by the heady mix of bravado and the primal fear of rejection that keeps them pinned to the sidelines. Best hide in the shadows guys, it's safer there.
7 | The Girls Who Become Best Friends In The Toilet (not idiots, but still...)
They enter with the aim of performing a basic bodily function, they exit with a new soulmate who understands their life's ills, shortcoming, small triumphs and daily struggles. What goes on in between is - and will forever remain - a mystery to us.
8 | You
You, us, we, I, them, everyone. What are you doing there? You know there's no luck, no joy, no solace to be found in the dry-ice purgatory of another Saturday night. Another indecipherable sum of money poured down your neck, another Sunday ruined, another haze, another mini existential crisis heaped on top of the thousands that have preceded it.
But it can be quite fun, so you'll probably do it again, won't you?