“Any spare tickets,” the touts outside shout, trying to exploit a few bob from the already drunk, vulnerable revellers heading towards the venue. They don’t have much luck with many ignoring them as they focus on uncovering the finish line of the snaking queue to soon get out of the cold. “The tinnies will warm us up,” a girl ahead whispers mid shiver, with her Dark Fruits ready in hand. Seconds later her luck runs out, with security scouting out any fun they can ruin, and her slim chance of warmth is soon in the bin.
Even inside, there’s no relaxed approach. “Arms up, bags open,” everyone is commanded as they enter. No smiles are shown from security as they eye up all the youthfulness passing them by. “Oi mate, make sure it’s just one drink per ID,” they run around the bars shouting. There’s little chance of sneakily sharing a bev here. Where’s the fun in that?
Seconds after leaving their parents by the bar, the race to line the barrier is complete, and the losers are left to grab the best spot they can. “I think I’ll get a good Insta shot here,” a boy approves to his friend as he peers above the crowd on his tip-toes before a man behind in his mid-40s scoffs, “you wouldn’t get this in my day” before sneakily reaching up to get a few snaps for himself.
As the lights dim, phones rise and the flashes of pictures ready to be posted on every social media go off so brightly they could almost blind those on stage. “I’m Jake Bugg,” the singer announces before heading into his first song, resulting in girls being hauled onto the shoulders of their partner to get a better glimpse and sway along to the croons of their indie dreamboat.
The divide between the young and old gradually widens as the crowd become more comfortable with ramming anyone out of its way. It mirrors a scene from the Spanish Running of the Bulls as people dodge the intoxicated, topless lads from thrusting into them. But as everything does, it soon comes to an end. With the announcement of the final song, everyone melts into one. Arms are strung around the shoulders of strangers, and no one is afraid to offer a leg up for any willing crowd surfer.
“Everyone out!”, they hear even before the uninvited return of light. Instantly, front cameras are out to reveal how much damage was done. It’s hardly surprising to witness faces drop when they see hours’ worth of makeup application now smothered across their face, and their designer Fred Perry and Stone Island gear soaking wet in a mix of beer and piss.
Everyone’s motive quickly turns to getting outside into the darkness where no one can see or judge the damage. “You know it’s a good night when you’re soaked in beer within five minutes,” a group reflect as a passer-by tries to hunt down whoever made the ridiculous statement whilst feeling the unknown liquid seeping into their hair.
As they all escape into the cold, October evening outside, and make their way back home, all hope turns to how many likes they’ll get on that well-filtered pic of the night. Well, if it does, at least the £25 was worth it.