from lost loves to lost evenings: readers share their memories of one club towns

As we release the video for Real Lies' new single One Club Town, we asked our followers to share personal tales of small town nightlife and high street clubs. If you grew up beyond the city lights and missed our social call out, it's not too late to...

by i-D Staff
06 February 2016, 1:26am

"The Matrix in Ripon (recently closed) had a revolving dance floor with a podium in the middle and a takeaway INSIDE the club. Also a shots bar where they served squashed frogs which are surprisingly great. So grotty, so many funny stories." @alicehudson9

"Paradise in Pontardawe, South Wales, which was anything but paradise! It seemed that most people's highlight was watching the fights in the underpass when the club closed. It's still open doing its thing." @gemmartina

"Welcome to Jagos in Dorchester, Dorset - the only place open past 2am! Filled with some unlikely small-town trannies and every song you could possibly want to be played when you're 4 jäger bombs in. You hide your coat and bag behind an ice-cream freezer, and sneak into the kitchen to swipe a litre bottle of Kick! Everyone loves to hate it and the real cherry-on-top comes the next day when you walk past during the day and it is back to its Café status filled with a few naïve OAPs..." @_williamcharles

"Ohhhh boy. Every single weekend: the same people, the same music, the same club.... If paragon was a "club" and spending 1/3 of the night at the same bus stop (for illegal activities, sobering up)." @hazalerylmss

"Plymouth, now home to strict bouncers and restricted venues, but when I was 16 they'd let you in with ID that Stevie Wonder helped you forge. My two best friends and I managed to get into several clubs and get banned from several more. I don't know whether it was because you're not suppose to take 5 Ibuprofen during the day for a migraine and then appropriately mix it with half a bottle of Tesco's own vodka during the night. Or whether it was because you're not supposed to violently dance on stage to techno rave whilst looking like a child who'd lost their mum during a food shop: learning curves." @mollytriscott

"Batchwood in St Albans, Hertfordshire is best described as the place everyone goes when they're 18 and no-one goes when they're 19. They claim to be 'The UK's most decadent nightclub'. The dictionary definition of 'decadent' is something which is "luxuriously self-indulgent". The other definition is "characterized by or reflecting a state of moral or cultural decline" and I'm honestly not sure which one they were going for. It's at the end of a long and winding road and in a large converted manor house, meaning it is almost impossible to trek to without paying for a ridiculously expensive taxi. You could probably walk there within a week if you brought your hiking boots and Ordnance Survey with you. Once you make it through the horde of those who've had too many and been turfed out, you are greeted by a harsh-sounding and seemingly endless flurry of Top 40 recycled house tracks. To escape the din you can retreat to the 'Attic', a small room which will play the classic 'Dancing in the Moonlight' or 'Mr Brightside', where everyone sings along but actually deep down we all hate it. If you make it out of there (without being vomited on or witnessing seedy 30-something men with bottles of Grey Goose - which they've obviously split with roughly eleven other people - surrounding girls half their age in a large pack) you can make it into the 'garden' - a smoking area with Orwellian style Eastern-bloc walls - where there will either be a fight or someone asleep on the floor. Drinks are about £6 a go and there is no draught lager. This is literally the only place to go on weekends, and you'd have to be a sandwich short of a full picnic to go there during the week. If you're ever in St Albans, stick to the pub.." @charleshutton_

"Norwich - far from one club if you like the niche "c'mon guys, come down tonight, free table" shit, 2011 age 17 when I could first go raving at some dingy underage club which shortly got shut down (RIP Mustard) totally shit but great at 17, filled with a mixture of underage kids in the only club we could get in / people slumping it on ket to some jungle and hard trance. Then this leaves only 2 clubs (Kartel and Knowhere) for which Knowhere shutdown then turned to Carnival for it to shutdown again then turn in to Hideout ... Which has now shut (RIP Knowhere, Carnival & Hideout) .. before Hideout closed, Kartel also closed (RIP Kartel ... See the trend) to turn in to a equally as great coffee shop, which is great when you first walk in when it opens realising you are having a gourmet coffee the same place you were putting back tequilas a few months back at 5am because nowhere else was open ... From a 2 or so club town to 0. Even living in London now, it feels like all the great venues are constantly under attack." @milanxpalmer

"Yates, Wetherspoons, and an independent bar called Twisters is all Colchester had to offer. A small town centre where you'll bump into everyone from college on a Friday night. There are teens in Wetherspoons drinking their 2 for £12 pitchers at 8pm and the alcoholics have been in there since 3pm. When you move onto Yates, you can stand in the corner guarding your bag on the adjacent sofa and then watch a man in his 40s twirl and twerk. Colchester is good for people watching." @halaxothman

"Seaford on the south coast. Our one club was called The Trek, it's still there. It relaunched as Trek II at one point with cages for dancing in; starship enterprise model hanging from the ceiling and a bit out the back called "Zones" for "chilling out" in. The foyer was gold and had a life-size Egyptian sarcophagus. All these things, all at once. Free before 11, £2 afterwards. A cloakroom that may or may not have your coat at the end. Everyone was there, your mates, your teachers, sometimes even (for the unlucky ones) your parents. Interesting crowd." @hannah_davey

"Plymouth, now home to strict bouncers and restricted venues, but when I was 16 they'd let you in with an ID that Stevie Wonder helped you forge. My two best friends and I managed to get into a club called VooDoo, where we'd take a shot for every boy or girl with dreadlocks; we were off our rocker before the first dj had even finished their set. It has a diverse reputation of all ages grooving together, but you'd typically end up confessing all your secrets to a hippie at 3pm over a menthol cigarette." @mollytriscott

"Malmesbury, Wiltshire, which is the oldest town in the UK and probably for that reason had no club but 4 pubs so had to make do with them instead...and parties in fields and houses." @eloiseponte

"The Warehouse in Preston was simply the best club. If you stood still for too long you wouldn't be able to get your feet off the floor. There was a permanent smell of Sweat. The smoking shelter was bigger than the club and the music was perfection!" @jamesmackk

"In the Scottish Borders there are around 3 clubs in a 40 mile radius, two of which are not only in the same town but also on the same street. Growing up, you'd get into 'Vertigo' get bored, walk two buildings down and get to 'Indigo Rooms' and alternate between the two all night until you / your mates got kicked out of one and weren't allowed back in." @kimbo_btn

"Growing up we only had one option and one option only; Cazara. As funny as it sounds, it was a small cozy place where we as teenagers went and hungout. It was very simple yet a big thing for us back then because you knew it was cool to get in and by chance, anyone out there is somehow related to you or your friends. It was a really small town; to get there and listen the same songs but giving them a different meaning every time was like a ritual and I'm sorry that my sister couldn't get that feeling because the town started to grow and there are lots of places now like in every corner so she can't have the excitement of going to a place full of people you know and having fun with the whole club or dressing up for your crush because you know he'll be there or when you raise a glass anyone will join to toss another to say cheers or the feeling you get when someone gets drunk and wants to reveal every little secret they have about anyone or the absurd dramas they create to be silly or the death stares of mean girls and how funny it felt when you were that drunk and to learn how to drink and to know your real friends; who is your partner in crime who is the 'bail you out guy' who holds your hair when you're too close to toilet I think everyone needs something like that in their childhood lessons learned stories earned! ✌" @basakakbulak

"Club-Fever. Mishawakas' hottest nightclub is the epitome of high hopes bad decisions and disappointing outcomes." @seb700

"I lived in a town which wasn't far from a city in the Midlands. I would finish work early, meet my friend over on the other side of the shopping centre, go home to hers, shower and get changed into the tightest black dresses with killer heels. We'd then queue to get into a nightclub called Millennium. We would get our drinks and circle round the club dancing in every room (there were three), take some flaming sambucas, dance some more and leave laughing our heads off. We were that wasted we would walk barefoot up to 'pars' over a bridge and then we would chat away to complete strangers waiting for our kebabs. Such memories. Funtimes." @amy261213

"York had a club called The Willow which used to be a chinese restaurant and a disco from midnight. Free prawn crackers, apple sours shots and the guarantee you'd bump into every previous love interest or casual snog that haunted your existence in the small sweaty room. I used to keep my stuff in the random cupboard and sneak in through the fire escape in the boys toilets. Many, many, many mistakes and wonderful memories in there." @daisyd8

"Somehow, the Batley Frontier, which seems to be in a never-ending last days of Rome, is still holding court on the golden mile of WF17. Formerly the Batley Variety Club, it hosted the likes of Tom Jones and Elton John in its salad days. Now, you're lucky if you get a plumber-by-day DJ providing a decent soundtrack to a GSCE students nightlife awakening. But there's still something to it, despite it's naff interior, wasted space, ageing clientele and overpriced beer, that attracts the lamb to the slaughter. No-one likes the Frontier, but people end up there every weekend. Some who are just starting out but also some that can't seem to escape it. I only go on Christmas Eve, when everyone else seems to go. It's a reunion for most, catching up with people you haven't seen since school, for better or for worse. And insofar as that, these one club towns deserve credit. Two years ago, I remember standing in the smoking area surrounded entirely by familiar faces, and laughing my head off at things I'd completely forgot about. And it was great, until someone a few feet from me got glassed by a bottle of beer, maybe ten minutes into Christmas day. Nothing lasts forever." @tealioni

Real Lies
one club town