Inside Clubbing: Sensual Experiments in the Art of Being Human

Inside Clubbing: Sensual Experiments in the Art of Being Human

Inside Clubbing: Sensual Experiments in the Art of Being Human

Inside Clubbing: Sensual Experiments in the Art of Being Human


Inside Clubbing puts the spotlight on club culture - in all its sweaty, visceral and seductive glory. Moving from hip-hop clubs to fetish events and beyond, the author guides us through the huge spectrum of the contemporary club experience.Drawing on interviews with clubbers from a variety of backgrounds, the author dispels myths and offers new insight into the clubbing scene. Contrary to popular perception, for example, clubbing is not just for youths. The clubbers in Inside Clubbing range from mid-twenties to mid-fifties. Many have been on the scene for years and offer a historical perspective on changes over the last decade. The range of clubs and clubbers discussed also demonstrates the diversity of club culture its more than just an ecstasy-fuelled dance scene. Taking us into queer, trance, Asian, techno, drum n bass, and sex clubs - among others - Inside Clubbing explores the real practice of clubbing. It looks at what people experience and how it affects them, as well as their values and concerns - from friendship and community to drugs, the body, and life outside the clubbing space.This book breaks new ground in offering us the most balanced and sophisticated understanding of the club scene to date.


Whores, freaks, saints and angels, we're all beautiful, we're all dangerous, we're all users, we're all takers. This is how our God made us.

(Dirty Beatniks, Feedback)

This book is about dancing, smiling, drugging, flirting, fucking, friendship and having a ball. There are two reasons why I've written it. The first is that I love to party. The second is that I think clubbing is an important and complex social experience that merits further investigation. More specifically I believe that by examining clubs you are granted access to a particular kind of knowledge that has either been reviled or ignored in the Western world. This knowledge throws new light upon the way in which our lives are constructed, experienced and lived as we head further into the twenty–first century.

The book is split into two sections. The first section, ‘Inside Clubbing’, is an ethnographic account of clubbing based on my informants' party exploits and my own fieldwork in the clubs. I focus on the various elements that go into creating the club experience. I examine dancing, music, sex, dressing–up and drugs and then show how each of these aspects of clubbing feeds into and creates the unique social vibe found in clubs, which makes them radically different from other public spaces. The second section, ‘Sensual Experiments in The Art of Being Human’, explores the social and sensual knowledge that arises out of clubbing and its relationship to the wider social world in which clubbing is immersed. I show how this knowledge is constructed and how it gains autonomy from the club experience itself and the influential role it plays in structuring people's lives even after the party is over.

The knowledge found in clubs is an embodied knowledge that you can feel deep in your guts and it must be lived if it is to be truly comprehended. It is both social and sensual and I will show how these twin realms of experience are more intimately intertwined than is usually credited within our understanding of them. The role of the body in constructing and maintaining our experience of the world, our culture and ourselves provides one of the main lines of inquiry throughout this book. Clubbing is a profoundly visceral and corporeal phenomenon, it is a leisure activity that allows us to shake off the body of the everyday world and subsequently recreate our experience of the world. This sensual shift grants us access to the succulent and carnal modes of social encounter, which arise in the hours of darkness. Here . . .

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