Thursday, 23 October 2008

Oh What A Night...

Last Friday, my old schoolfriend Sarada left her husband and three kids (temporarily) to paint Reading town red with me. I’ve had a few ‘mum’s nights out’ in my time and they are usually sweet but rather insipid affairs involving a meal, the cinema, a few glasses of wine and some pleasantries about our kids, our shoes and our weight.

Photo credit

Nice - but a little restrained for my tastes. Still, it’s hard to find other mums who share my penchant for getting on down to techno, trance, hip hop and drum n bass. Sarada being pretty much the only exception that proves the rule.

At 10.30pm, after Sarada and I had downed quite a few vodka and cokes, my darling fiancé drove us giggling girlies to my favourite local club, Plug n Play

It’s a tiny venue that’s a recording studio by day, and a live music venue and nightclub by night. I love it because I don’t feel sad and old when I’m there – it’s full of people in their thirties and forties who still want to enjoy themselves and are besmirching the ‘pipe and slippers in front of the fire’ scenario our parents subscribed to, in favour of the ‘thirties (and forties?) are the new twenties’ motto some of us prefer to uphold.

We were there for Eat Static, a techno/trance outfit born in 1989 out of the legendary Psychedelic 'Space Rock' band the Ozric Tentacles. Having seen them years ago at the world music festival, Womad, I was expecting great things. What I got was a time trip.

The music was the body-shaking, spirit-soaring dance music I was waving my hands in the air to a decade or so ago. And it took me back. To the feeling of freedom, the love of your fellow man (and woman), the rush and connection of illicit chemicals (well, it was the nineties. Don’t tell me you never did…).

My heart sank at 3am when the lights went up (surely it can’t be over?), and fuelled by the memories of wilder times, and the copious amounts of vodka in our blood, Sarada and I leapt at the chance to go to the unofficial ‘After Party’ in a quiet cul-de-sac in Caversham (the posh part of town).

At first, we felt a little awkward not really knowing anyone. After all, we had danced the night away hardly pausing for breath so hadn’t made much conversation with anyone in the club. We found a space to sit, yawned a lot and talked about getting a taxi home in half an hour or so.

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that all the best people at parties congregate in the kitchen (near the booze) and so we went there to flex our atrophying social muscles. It was a good move.

In the kitchen I met Sarah, the 38 year old ex-scuba instructor and mother of a teenaged daughter. We talked for a long time about life, love, children and split parenting (she also shares the care of her daughter with her ex). Typical Mum’s Night Out topics I suppose, but covered with a depth and an honesty that is rare.

I also met a Pirate. Well, he wasn’t a real pirate but he certainly looked like one with his wild, curly long hair, his mischevious glint and his bona fide admiral’s jacket complete with gold ringed design at the cuffs. We talked for a long time about life, love, children and single parenting. Oh, and his name was Jack. Of course. What else could it be?!

I met many other lovely people, including one of the Plug n Play organisers who was brought up as a Jehovah’s witness and turned his back on all he knew when he fell in love, and slept with, a girl in the community and realised there was more to life than door knocking and Jesus.

Throughout the night I was struck by how many interesting, older (i.e. not in their teens and twenties) Party Goers there are in Reading – and many of them parents too. I didn’t realise there were so many of us out there!

As early morning became early afternoon, having already fallen into several impromptu dozes on the sofa, Sarada and I called a taxi and left our new friends, hoping to enjoy another large night out together soon.

A few days later, I’m already missing the camaraderie, the hedonism and the enlightening conversations. And yes, Sarada and I have already set a date to go to Plug n Play again.

It’s not until mid-December though.

A big night out every three months or so seems about right to me. Come on, we are in our mid-thirties. And we do have responsibilities – to our kids, our jobs, our livers.


Susanna (A Modern Mother) said...

Sounds like quite a night!

I think I will have to live vicariously through your blog.

I'll be back!

Bear said...

OOO - Is the 38 year old ex-scuba diving instructor single?