Dance like no-one’s watching? I have better adviceNovember 15, 2021
This weekend, I did something I hadn’t done in five long months, something I used to do four times a week in my 20s, weekly in my 30s and about twice a month as I approach 40. I went to an actual nightclub and ripped up an actual dance floor.
During COVID, dancing together was imbued with new danger.Credit:AP
I’m probably too old now to rip up anything (other than my ARQ nightclub membership card) but the rigid expectations of conventional behaviour befitting my age didn’t bow me into conformity.
Pubs are all well and good. But carpets, muted live sport, uncomfortable metal chairs and chicken schnitties offer a passive, sedate entertainment. It’s mildly diverting for an hour, two tops. Even gorgeous smaller cocktail bars are just the warm-up act.
Nightclubs are the real frisson, my real “why” when it comes to enduring the rough and tumble of urban living.
As the city whirs back into life, its unique sounds aren’t just wheels on asphalt, pneumatic drills or the beep beep beep of reversing vehicles and accidentally set-off fire alarms. It’s also the bass thud on the Bimbo Jones remix of Soul Survivor. It’s Beverley Knight’s mellifluous ear-nectar booming from DJ Dan Murphy’s booth, enlivening every sinew with a tingle which discharges dopamine.
Dancing has always felt both risque and innocent; in its purest, freestyle sense, it’s a form of expression – one of the manifold nonverbal communications which make us human. Not something you can do in a pub packed with tables and chairs that encourage order, etiquette and conversation. When words dry up, sometimes the only communication available is shapes. It’s more than hedonism; it’s primal.
During COVID, dancing together was imbued with new danger, one that our gloriously vaccinated city can finally face down.
On Saturday night, I felt the sodden spilt drinks on my jeans, visualised my declining bank balance, tasted the gin and smelt the outdoor smoke: every sense was tinged with mischief. It unseated my lingering lockdown torpor.
From the ashes of this pandemic, only embers of nightclubs remain: first lockout laws, then lockdown orders, decimated a once thriving night-time economy. Some, like ARQ – Australia’s biggest remaining gay nightclub, look likely to be casualties. It’s up for sale for the first time in its 22-year history. Looks like I’ll have to rip up that membership card after all, watching yet another LGBTQI icon transform, probably into luxury flats.
Developers swoop into embattled nightclub graves, post pandemic vultures threatening the city’s personality and verve. For the queer community, nightclubs are often refuges – places we can be ourselves without fear or sneers.
That’s why Poof Doof at The Ivy was so special on the weekend. I’ll cherish that moment, this safe space, this historic reopening.
On my next nightclub visit – my second this month – I won’t dance like no-one’s watching, as the memes instruct. I’ll dance like everyone’s watching.
Gary Nunn is a freelance journalist. Twitter: @garynunn1
Most Viewed in National
From our partners
Source: Read Full Article