I have been feeling old recently when it comes to going out in Manchester. The problem is that I still have a strong desire to attend the exact same clubs that I have been going to my whole clubbing life. I have found no new exciting clubs to go to that play the music that consumed my clubbing life way back when. When I first started on the clubbing scene, my club of choice on a Thursday night was at the club 5th Avenue (aka 5th Ave to the true Mancunians) and the night was called ‘Back by Demand’. It felt like the ultimate student night experience filled with cheap booze, amazing music and fun-loving people who were brought together for the same purpose; our love of music. The music consisted of the Manchester Madchester classics; my ears and body consumed the music of The Stones Roses, New Order and Happy Mondays. Clubbers dressed in their comfy, everyday clothes. We didn’t feel the need to get dressed up for these nights and that was part of the experience. Comfy clothes and comfy shoes meant that the focus was on having a good time that could be truly impromptu and impulsive, rather than worrying about an image we wanted to portray to one another. And this was the charm of the indie scene ten years ago. It held no pretension. The ideology was the music.
Upon recently visiting 5th Ave, it became apparent that these ‘old’ values have been lost. Maybe I am old in the sense that the indie clubbing scene has progressed and moved forward towards something new that I do not understand. Maybe I haven’t progressed. Or maybe I need to move aside and allow the next generation of fresh clubbers, who dress in their highest of heels and tiny skin-tight dresses and listen to techno music rather than The Stones Roses, to enjoy this ‘new’ indie scene that I don’t get. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not bad-mouthing 5th Ave in any way (I have spent some of my happiest nights here), I’ve just come to the conclusion that maybe I don’t belong there anymore and that makes me sad.
With this in mind, I was invited by my very dear friend, and one of my favourite people to go out dancing with, to return back to one of our hold haunts last night. Having both concluded that our usual go-to club 5th Ave might not be for us anymore, we decided to go to 42nd Street. Neither of us had visited 42nd Street (or 42’s as true Mancunians know it as) for what we worked out to be 5 years. Upon arrival, there was no queue out front. This was really strange. one thing that I remembered about 42’s was the massive queues outside that we would have to join, usually in the rain. However, we viewed this as a bonus and ran in, paid the man and ran up the 2 flights of stairs (they always seem much longer on the way down!).
The club was very quiet, but again this was a bonus as we went straight to the bar and got served immediately. I was pleasantly surprised when the bar staff only charged me £2 for a can of Strongbow! I forgot how wonderfully cheap the student nights are (as a working woman now, I very rarely get the chance to go out on a school night). Enough about the queues and the booze now; this is meant to be about the music. As soon as we sat down (yes, there were free seats. Yet another anomaly), Ian Brown, F.E.A.R. filled the club and I knew that 42’s was the club night that I was yearning for. The music continued to be amazing and it had a good mix of the oldie classics and the newbies that take over XFM radio station. The Stone Roses: Resurrection, Friendly Fires: Hawaiian Air and Space: Female of the Species were just a few of the songs played. The Courteeners made an appearance (twice!) much to my delight, which I danced to in an euphoric state, feeling the base of the music deep in my chest and singing so loud that the DJ could hear me. I was happy. Overall, a much needed enjoyable night in a place where I felt I belonged where the music is at the heart of the club experience.