Club culture in SL seems to me to be very different to the real world. At least, it’s very different to what I experienced during my clubbing days of, what I regret to record, was a not particularly misspent youth! I wasn’t very good at it, if I’m honest, and on the few occasions I did head off to town for a night out, you’d be more likely to find me sat in a dark corner, wishing I could go home, than strutting my stuff on the dance floor.
Even with that in mind, club culture in the real world has, apparently, charged a great deal since I was a youngster: Back then, the toilets were a place to throw up and talk, not to shoot up and snort, as seems to be the case today. Maybe things have always been like that, and I was fortunate enough to remain oblivious to it all?
I’d like to think that I’ve opened up a bit since discovering SL and that the inworld music and dance scene is something that I’ve been able to truly embrace. It certainly seems to be the case from a cursory inspection – you’ll usually find me out virtual clubbing at least twice a week and in between I seem to spend a great deal of time dancing with friends socially, one way or another. I even run my own club – The Wigan Casino – dedicated to a monthly night of Northern Soul; which itself has led to a further two spinoff clubs… It would be hard to say that the SL club scene isn’t a major part of my SLife, really!
So you would think… But deep down inside, I haven’t really changed all that much since those days of my youth, and SL has a way of reminding me that when it comes to the clubbing lifestyle, I really don’t have much of a clue and it still really isn’t my natural environment. I recently popped along to a new club to support a friend who was DJing there for the first time, and I found it to be a trying and far from enjoyable experience. It brought back many memories of past insecurities: Arriving in an unfamiliar place, surrounded by a crowd of people, many of whom were complete strangers; not particularly enjoying the ambience or the music and feeling like a spare part, unable to join in the – admittedly infrequent – conversations, and feeling isolated and very much alone.
I could have coped with that, but in its own peculiar way, SL just compounded the matter through the weird way in which nightclubs tend to operate inworld. I’d barely rezzed before getting an over-enthusiastic and gushing welcome from the club’s ‘host’, followed by a tacky and rather nasty hat being delivered to my inventory, (because more crappy clutter is exactly what I need in my SLife!) – before I’d even had time to assimilate what was going on, the same host was urging me to show my appreciation for the venue, DJ, and pretty much everyone in the sim by donating my hard-earned lindens. Seriously? In fact, I felt pretty intimidated by the sheer number of tip jars prominently on display, all of them proudly displaying in multi-hued hovertext the previous tippers’ generosity, presumably in the hope of shaming me into matching their contribution? It’s like those notices in hotels that shame you into saving the environment because ‘most people choose to re-use their towels’!
If a real life club operated in the same way as an inworld version, you’d pay for a ticket, then tip the bouncer for letting you pass, tip the person behind the bar for affording you the privilege of buying a drink from them, then hand over the rest of the contents of your wallet/purse to the DJ. Don’t misunderstand me – I’m more than happy to pay for good service and an enjoyable experience, I even help out with tier if you’re using your land for the benefit of others… But I have to draw the line at throwing my lindens away, simply because someone has made a big show of saying hello to me!
And that’s one of the reasons I tend not to stray from my regular clubs – none of which have greeters, hosts or any other sort of intrusive, in-your-face hassle, plus of course being around people you know and feel comfortable with makes a huge difference – I can relax, be myself and feel part of what is going on, rather than just watching from the sidelines and feeling somewhat lost and forlorn. I was probably never meant to be part of the clubbing scene, but SL gives me the opportunity – like with so many other things – to act out of character and do something that I probably wouldn’t attempt in the real world… So when I do find somewhere that I fit in, then that’s where I’m going to stay, and I’m afraid that if a venue doesn’t fit the bill, well that’s just too bad, because I won’t be hanging around.
Whoa, everything in the room is spinning, I think I’m going to fall down
My heart’s beating to quick, I’m fucking tripping out
I wonder whether they got in, turned away no doubt
Who cares, there is a tune coming in, that one noise is like
The Streets – Blinded By The Lights