A new generation of tea-time clubbers is waiting to storm the nation's dancefloors after midnight. We break the age barrier and gatecrash an under-18s club night.
Words: Deirdre Molloy Photographs: David N. McIntyre
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THE QUEUE STRETCHES down Glasgow’s Queen Street. round the corner and along Argyle Street. tailing-off at Knickerbox. Umbrellas and hoods give intermittent shelter from the downpour. But the hundreds exposed to the elements are just as happy. Entry to the under-18s night at Archaos is worth getting soaked for.
lnside. it's a steep climb to the club’s uppermost floor. Corridors leading off the stairwell echo with voices and the whole structure throbs with repetitive beats. At the
top, Gillian from Archaos management ushers me into the VIP Lounge. aka The Fireplace. a long low-lit room of luxurious sofa-booths. wrought-iron light fittings. mini-bar and a DJ playing relaxed house and chart music. ‘lt’s entry by VIP pass only in here.‘ she explains. ‘We send passes out to schools and bouncers issue some on the door selectively.‘
‘You won‘t like this.‘ she announces as we head through a set of double doors and step onto the overhead balcony of the club’s main dance area. The contrast couldn't be starker: 180 bpm happycore techno blasts out of the sound system. Clubbers aged twelve to sixteen stream up and down the stairs and around the busy dancefloor. The strappy sandals. Nike zip-tops and backless dresses that seemed so ﬂimsy and endearing in the rain now adorn fearless bodies: strutting. clapping. waving. hugging. smooching and doing that peculiar bouncy dance . . .
Ascending the stairs under the flashing lights. I feel a bit dizzy. And I spent all Saturday sofa-bound in readiness for this. Still. inhaling heavily on the clouds pumped from a smoke machine at 6.30pm is hardly
Clubbing: the next generation
normal. l‘m shoved by a girl going past. ‘No sweat.‘ l tell myself. ‘Yeah. I did that for years in overcrowded pubs.‘
The tour ends in the cavernous bar and dance area. Betty‘s Mayonnaise. Mainstream house and garage rules here. Among three guys sipping lemonade at the bar I meet a first-timer — Anthony McCain. fifteen. here with his mates from Blantyre. The entry charge is pricey he reckons. but he‘s chuffed he came. Not as chuffed. though. as his friend Lee. who saunters away from us straight into a heavy clinch with a golden- haired girl. Bullseye.
Despite Gillian’s warnings — ‘you‘ll have a headache in two minutes‘ — l'm drawn back to the central arena where teenage DJ Stewart M is whipping the dancefloor into climax after climax. ably abetted by MC Clarky on the ringside steps. His rliymin‘ patter streams forth, but all I can decipher is ‘Yesiree’. ‘Are you ready Archaos‘." and — everyone joins in for this one — ‘Ee-aye-ee-aye-oh‘.
Wee twelve-year-old guys skip about with wicked grins. big gangly lads weave their hands with great precision and kids of all description bounce in time to the beat. Sure there is snogging. cigarettes. and gallons of lrn
The strappy sandals, Nike zip-tops and backless dresses that seemed so flimsy and endearing in the rain now adorn fearless bodies: strutting, clapping, waving and hugging.
Bru to to be relished. but the glee and good humour all around is a celebration of music. atmosphere and good times. Like the clubs us wrinklies go to. but at a faster pace.
As I leave. the crowd in Betty’s is getting down to E-Motion’s ‘Naughty North. Sexy South’ — a roomful of people who will be clubbing for a good ten years. Do I envy them? in a way. One thing’s for sure: my 14- year-old brother would love this place. .
Archaos‘s under-18s club is on Sats, 5-10pm, £5.