What clubbing was like before Smartphones & Facebook

You know, it’s easy to forget we once lived a life without our smartphone friends and we don’t often reflect on a world that once very well happened.

It’s funny to think about some of the quirks and dilemmas that used to exist in the night-time and how they have changed. To shed light on the memory bank, we’re highlighting some of the most common scenarios of a night out that once existed.

You were strangely loyal to your weekly club night 

If you were lucky enough to find a weekly club night where you felt you belonged, it became a part of who you were.

The clothing, the familiar faces, the attitude and the music meshed to form an identity that you would evolve with. It became a place where, if you made yourself a weekly feature, you would find yourself a group of nocturnal friends. That TAFE student, the girl you always saw at Video EZY, the rich kid, that guy who was 2 years below you in school, all merged to form your own weird church of dancing misfits.

Phone numbers weren’t necessarily exchanged but an unsaid lasting bond was.

It was handy to be friends with the club photographer

The currency of club photography had a different kind of value because the proof a night happened was a very limited resource.

The club photographer in a way was the second doorman. Once you’d convinced the first doorman to let you in, you then had to convince the photographer that you were worth taking a photo of.

It was that balance of not appearing to eager (even though you were). It would be about delicately positioning yourself (and your friends) so you were in the photographers’ line of direction.

The next step would be to try to catch the photographers attention as they just so happened to “coincidentally” brush past you. If that balance wasn’t smacked bang on that equilibrium, NO PHOTO FOR YOU!

Did your photo make the local youth rag?

It was a strange kind of 15 minutes of fame. Anticipation each week to see if your mug had made the local youth papers, 3D World or Brag magazine was palpable.

Even if you didn’t make it, it would always be exciting to see a friend in there. It acted in a way as the exclusive pre-social media Facebook check-in.

If you were one of the lucky few to get your photo in a mag, that served as the first gentle ribbing/topic of conversation. A cheeky, ‘Well, well, well! I saw you were at Candys on Saturday night!’

The phone coverage was simply terrible

Want to send a friend a text? Yeah, forget about that. No telecommunication company predicted the popularity of text messaging which meant network gridlock. No bloody network big or small could handle 25-word text beyond a handful of people in the same area doing it at once. If a friend was in the club, you would just pray you’d get entry. Otherwise, in a lot of cases, the night was over with the friend that got in would declare the next day that you dogged them. If only they knew!

No Insta Stories, just stories (and regrets)

It would be at 9 am of the morning after. You wake up in a pile of dribble to the sound of 10 delayed text messages from friends the night before all coming in at once. *beep beep. beep beep. beep beep. beep beep* ‘shut up!’ *beep beep. beep beep*

Debriefs weren’t optional. They were essential. The one keyword being, regret. Every friend’s sore head would wake up with the same unified sense of urgency. The kind where you need as much information as possible to ensure you behaved yourself adequately the night before.

Did I say something stupid? Did I really consider jumping into the water fountain? Why does my mouth taste like garlic? 

A lunch with a few friends would then confirm you had nothing to worry about. You’d all done something stupid.

What happened in the club, stayed in the club.

We’re not talking in a hedonistic way like in the Berghain. We’re talking about confidently being an unashamedly terrible dancer. A finger and a whisper might have been pointed your way, but you didn’t care!

The FOMO was nevvvvver-ennnnnding

You wake up in the morning and the 10 Snapchat or Insta stories from your friends give you a decent idea of what went down.

Pre this, stories to a friend who wasn’t out that night were always exaggerated to be amazing… even if the night was terrible. This was done with a purpose.

‘You missed a crazy night last night!’

It was disguised as friendly banter but was, in fact, calculated psychological warfare to ensure that, that friend would never miss a party ever again. Oh god, the stories really did make you feel loads of regret that you’d just missed the best night of your life!

Getting home from the club was a pain in the ass!

You want to go home between the times of 11 pm and 2 am? M8! Good bloody luck. Go line up in that cue over there. Yeah, the one which is about 100 metres long and 1 taxi turns up every 10 minutes to pick 2 people. If you were lucky enough to score a cab, you HAD to tip them, even though the interior stank of hot sweat! It really was a war of attrition to obtain that forever reliable second wind and stay out.

This story is one of many features, stories, competitions, podcasts and parties in partnership with spiced rum devotees Baron Samedi! Like us they share a desire for a vibrant and thriving Sydney nightlife and celebrate the creativity that only comes to life after dark. Follow them on Facebook for exclusive parties, comps and news.

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