Are teenagers missing out on underage clubbing? Clubbing in the 1990’s was just the BEST THING. I was a pretty hardcore clubber and would be out dancing four nights a week. This was happening alongside ALevels and whilst I didn’t manage the best balance I do wonder if our older teenagers now don’t have the same pressure release I did. The pendulum has swung too far.
I played pretty hard and loved it. Those who knew me then, knew I had some mental health issues, depression that was related to illness. But clubbing was my release. With my girlfriends (you know who you are ladies) we would head to our favourite bars and then go on to the clubs. If you were in Cheltenham during the 1990’s Gas, Time and Engima would have been your haunts I am sure. We would drink a little, dance a lot and laugh even more. We would leave at 2pm as the bar closed up and the slow songs played. It would then be time for some dirty burger before walking home. We were not in the minority, most of my peers were living the same life. Living the same life.
It was on one of these legendary nights that I had my first ever KFC. As I bit into my chicken burger I remember being surprised it was made of chicken! I honestly had no idea. My friends laughed at me as we made our way home.
Another night saw my Russian exchange student not being allowed in, he was clearly about 15! Instead of calling it a night, we found a friend that drove and we dropped him home, watched him walk upstairs and we headed back out, with him watching from the bedroom window!
Those nights are what I remember fondly. When we reminisce I have a grin as we recall those nights. We were not stressed out with A Levels and academic pressures. Don’t get me wrong, we also did our work, this was back before A Levels became modular. We needed good results and we pretty much got them, I headed off to my uni choice as did my group of friends. Clubbing is what kept us sane, it gave us space to relax with friends and I think today’s teenagers are missing out on that.
As my best friends turned 18, they hired out Gas Nightclub and we asked the staff if we could come and put some banners and balloons up. As we arrived to carry out this transformation they looked at us and pulled a face. How are you just turning 18 they questioned after recognising us as regulars. Most nights as we had headed into town we had the thrill of wondering if we would get in with no ID. We did, it wasn’t a big thing. Those night are my memories.
This is not the case for today’s teens. You literally cannot get in underage anymore, and whilst this is right and legal I do feel that teens are missing out on what I experienced. There was the belief that by clubbing underage we would somehow end up looking for bigger thrills as we got older. Rubbish, I scoff at that assumption. I enjoyed clubbing for many years and starting a little earlier did not ‘ruin’ it for me.
Many teens today feel under enormous pressure. They live in a pressurised society where they feel they have little opportunity to let off steam. One way of dealing with pressure is exercise and dancing can be a way to let off steam. Teens are taking part in less sport and this is having an impact on their emotional and mental health.
Today’s millennials don’t club either and would rather stay in and chill according to a Guardian report. Yet they feel the pressure more from social media, and having careers and worrying about money, about job prospects. Many I think will head to burn out. Again maybe the fun has gone out of life. Letting your hair down and dancing to 2am is a great stress buster and I think more people should try it.
So many large clubs have disappeared, pubs and bars are open later which means you don’t have to move on to a club.
Clubbing has changed and I am so glad that I was a teen in the 1990’s and had the chance to experience the great clubbing era. I can’t think of my teen years without those clubs, the 50p drinks and I am sorry that my own teen doesn’t have that same thrill of getting passed a bouncer underage as we headed into the dark club.