top night of dancetloor action means a safe. comfortable night of dance- floor action, whatever substances you might or might not have been taking. This means not being hassled on your way into the club by a gorilla in a penguin suit who wouldn’t recognise a fainting or an epileptic fit, let alone know how to react to them. It means having somewhere to cool down, relax and meet up with your pals. If it’s snowing outside, it means having somewhere to put your coat so you don’t have to dance around in it.
However, while many people regularly go clubbing without taking any of the ‘dance drugs’ ecstasy and speed, it would be stupid to ignore the many who do take these drugs. The venue owners make their living from providing a space to listen to loud. hypnotic music. It is both disingenuous for them to deny that this is conducive to ecstasy use and immoral for them to refuse to make any concessions to the welfare of their patrons who have taken the drug.
The Scottish Drugs Forum is producing a document, Guidelines 0n Good Practice At Dance Events, to be used by the Scottish Office for their propOsed ‘Rave Bill’. This recognises that the main dangers of ecstasy use are dehydration and heatstroke, not overdoses or tablets cut with rat poison.
The document includes the following among its recommendations:
' There must be free and unrestricted access to cold drinking water at all times. ' Plastic bottles of mineral water should be on
Thom Dibdin discovers the secret of a good, safe night out.
sale at the bar.
° The venue should have adequate air conditioning and ventilation.
' Space should be set aside for dancers to rest and cool down.
° There. should be a suitably large cloakroom.
' Staff must have training in first aid and drugs awareness.
These are hardly radical proposals and actually provide the minimum comfort levels you would expect in any venue. Although many venue owners actively support them. the provision of free drinking water at the bar is the most controversial. After all, dancing and excessive drinking do not go well together and venue owners see their profits disappearing in the sweat off dancers‘ backs.
However, another set of guidelines, this time from the City of Glasgow Licensing Board and aimed at all licensed premises providing entertainment, states that ‘supplies of drinking water and paper cups should be provided free of charge for the comfort of patrons.’
The provision of free water at the bar is something which the City of Edinburgh Licensing Board is also interested in. Drinking water should be freely available — and this does not mean just being able to fill up your water bottle in the toilets. Health and Safety guidelines say drinking water should come from taps not used for washing hands.
The much publicised death of Essex teenager’
Leah Betts after taking an ecstasy tablet at her eighteenth birthday has caused concern about the safety of the drug. What has been less well publicised is that she actually died from drinking too much water in an attempt to counteract the effects of the drug.
While every Clubber has a responsibility to look after him or herself, it is essential for club venues to be switched on to safety for good nights out to stay that way.
If you are concerned about the safety of a club venue your ﬁrst call should be to the local Licensing Authority. Glasgow: 0141 227 5165; Edinburgh: 0131 529 4208.
Independent drugs advice and leaﬂets can be obtained from Crew 2000, 32 Cockburn Street, Edinburgh, EH1 lPB, 0131 220 3404. Enhance in Glasgow can also give advice: 0141 420 6777. The Government's National Drugs Helpline is 0800 77 66 00.
A hard day’s night
The next time you shimmy onto a dance floor, spare a thought for the club promoters who made it all possible, writes Jim Byers.
aturday night: you’ve bought some new clothes, got glammed up, had a few drinks, and the butterflies in your stomach are going mental. The minute you walk into a club, the evening kicks off properly.
Rarely do you think about what goes on behind the scenes, about the peOple who make your night special, the people for whom clubbing is much more than a night out — it’s a job. Meet the promoters.
‘Running a club is a full-time occupation.’ explains Maggie, one half of the promotion and DJing team behind Scotland’s biggest and busiest weekly gay night. .loy. ‘We start organising the club first thing on a Monday morning. We’ve got to do everything from buying new records and getting new flyers designed and printed, to organising the next guest DJs and meeting with the club owners. Then. we’ve got to check that the door staff are doing their job properly, as well as sorting out
the lights and the sound system.’
Maggie and Alan. the other half of the Edinburgh team. also. stand on the door alongside security. making sure the right people get in and the wrong ones don’t. All this before they’ve even thought about DJing. Who said it was easy?
Adam Foster promotes Yip Yap, one of Edinburgh’s most successful and longest- running garage nights, at La Belle Angele. ‘One of the biggest difficulties we've faced is preconceived ideas about what promoters do,’ he says. ‘People think we’re drug dealers or totally disorganised. either that, or they expect us to be totally loaded. It’s very difficult to establish a good working relationship and run a club like a proper business when club owners don’t take you seriously.’
Getting the picture? Bob Orr, whose Edinburgh Sunday night sensation Taste has been in three venues since it was launched sixteen months ago, reckons running a club is
like renting a flat. ‘Co-operation is the key,’ he says. ‘There’s got to be a good relationship between the promoter and the venue owner. like you’d get between a tenant and a landlord. You’ve got to be able to work hand-in-hand to make sure that the public get what they pay for.’
So if you’re thinking of running a club and making a fast buck, think carefully. It’s a serious business.
See The List '3 guide to club venues, page I 9.
The List 15 Dec 1995-” Jan 199617