Birthday party of the alternative 80s night at a central club in town. A club with signage bathing the entire street in an enticing (or threatening, depending on your state of inebriation) red glow. I was working the door. Which doesn’t mean being a bouncer, as most people hilariously assume. (Hilarious, given my slight 5’ 2” frame).
The actual bouncers ask the DJs if they’re ready for the doors to open. Stilettos, creepers and New Rocks are getting restless. Keen to enter their stomping ground. I can picture it from when I was a punter. Everyone slyly, shyly, checking each other out through the mist of cigarette smoke. In my anticipation of the rush, I’ve cut too many pieces of tape to stick numbers onto hangers later. The skeletal coat rail will soon become jacketed with velvet and leather. Hence my little table is sporting a petticoat of plastic frills. I brush their sticky insistent tendrils off my black and white striped dress.
Welcomes and well-wishes. Banners. Lacy new romantic party frocks. A sprinkling of polka dots. A forest of dark eyes in pale faces. A dash of glitter. A temple of love.
Taking their money, stamping their hands. The door-whore. Keeper of the guest list. Susser-outer of the chancers. Comrade of cloakroom organiser, catcher of any would-be slick and oily fee-dodgers.
Admiring people of all ages, shapes and sizes, celebrating; living in the eighties. I don’t remember the birth of the club, I was a late-comer. “There’s a club if you’d like to go”.
“How much to get in?” they always ask, despite the blutacked signs above my backcombed bouffant shouting the entrance fee.
Then: she’s in parties. Cupcakes washed down with cider and black. The cameras flash. An ocean of black swirling to Siouxsie or skanking to the Clash.
“Where are the toilets?”
“Can I take my drink outside?”
“How much to put my bag in?”
2am and I’m free to rest my weary limbs or make a deal with God and join in, dancing in their footsteps. To say hello, or wave goodbye. The projections blaze off the disco ball, sky all hung with jewels. The red wine slurs through my veins and I’m caught in a whirling hallucinatory throwback, becoming one of the girls on film, lipstick cherry all over the lens as I’m falling.
The lights go up. Ninety-nine red balloons go by.