The Third “Summer of Love”

Current Affairs

Written by Isabelle Gray

Illustration by Ellen Stanton

I’m on the way to the club, feathers of my cheap Amazon wings trailing off behind me one by one. My friend walks a little behind the pack, and I anticipate her sudden panic about, something, anything. Minutes later, just as I suspected.

“I can’t find my phone! Hold on guys let me ring my phone!”, and so she begins to try and locate her phone, whilst using her phone to call it. It’s going to be a long night.

We’re in outfits that qualify as Halloweeny, that still extenuate our bodies in all the right places. We look really good, and the men stomping into town actually look noticeable, having finally shown some dedication to creating a somewhat interesting outfit. Everyone is sure to be out on Halloween, and there is an unwritten testimony that Halloween is the night to get really really pissed.

This year however, it is due to be a lowkey affair. The streets won’t be rumbling with drunk, slutty students, and I won’t be pissed tonight. At best I will have a sugar high and some adrenaline from a thriller Netflix has blessed me with. I haven’t been on a night out since the 13th of February, and I am positively gagging for its return – Halloween, a bitter reminder of this desperation. I’ve never been the going out person, and often opted for a cosy night in then to face those freezing queues. But now with the option taken away from me, I’d happily queue for hours to get even just a taster of the excitement, ridiculousness, and freedom that a night out can bring.

With clubs being closed since March, it is hard not to wonder if we will ever get that sensation again.

Club culture is a vital part of our history, and as we long for its return, remembering its history only emphasises the need for its return. It begun in the ballrooms and dancehalls of the late 19th and early 20th century, which later became the jazz clubs and discos of the 1940s. Modern club culture as we know it began in the 80s and 90s, with clubbing experiencing the second “Summer of Love” of 1988-89, and clubbing won its place in the forefront of mainstream consciousness.

The 00’s and 10’s of the 2000’s saw a change in clubbing culture, with rising prices in admission and drinks, hostile legislation and social media, the urgency for that sweaty feeling has been replaced with frustration and complacency.

Let’s be real, a key element of clubbing culture, the unspoken desire to go out, is to get with people, flirt, gaze, scout. Social media and dating apps have helped heal this desire.  But yet again, coronavirus has stripped away that choice for us. Do we message them on Tinder or wait to ‘accidentally’ bump into them in the smoking area that they sit in every Friday night? The thrill is gone, and people are reaching new levels of horniness.

Not only are night-out lovers suffering, but the industry itself. The hospitality and nightlife industry are worth an estimated £100bn to the UK economy and employs around 9 per cent of the British workforce (2.9 million people). It is a enormous industry to be closed for so long.

Despite this, this time apart is sure to encourage people to support the industry again, wholeheartedly. The thriving 90s could be our future. That can’t happen until its safe of course, until we can get sweaty and not worry about our sweat droplets infecting the person next to us. Campaign #LetPeopleDance is begging the government for extra support for this industry, as with no end to this shutdown of the industry in sight, its future looks bleak. I think the industry will survive due to the classic case of ‘you don’t know what you’ve got till its gone’. I can see its resurgence play out.

 We all long for the feeling of knocking your drink over yourself and being too drunk to care. Or for the moment you hear that song, and your friends break out into sheer euphoria, like you’ve never heard it before. You don’t care how many people are around you or knocking into you because you’re together. All of you together at last in one room to enjoy the night and bask in its glory. We want to go to the bathroom and laugh at ourselves in the mirror because the wine really did hit you fast. We want to kiss that guy and never chat to him again. We want to help our friends through their drunk tears and get them back dancing. We wanna dance till our feet ache and the sun is on its way back up to greet us for the walk home. To wake up in the morning and talk it all out like you’re living through that amazing night together all again. And be ready to do it all again next weekend.

The second “Summer of Love” encompassed the end of the 80’s, and there is no doubt that the moment the clubs unlock their doors and welcome us in, will begin the third Summer of Love, no matter what time of year.

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