Clubbing: Dancing, Ecstasy and Vitality

By Ben Malbon | Go to book overview

RESEARCHING CLUBBING

Clubbing is usually subdivided by clubbers and the clubbing media according to sexuality, age and location into types or strands, such as mainstream, gay, student, S&M, indie, ‘local’, as well as being differentiated into musical genres, such as house, techno, drum’n’bass and big beat to name only a handful of genres that might themselves be further sub-classified. Although each of these genres will be constituted through differing timings, spacings, musics, styles and technical demands, in attempting to present a new understanding of the practical and emotional constitution of clubbing there is clearly no way to cover all these genres and sub-genres within a project of this size. Thus, in selecting a form or genre of clubbing, and the associated clubbers and clubber stories upon which to base the understanding of clubbing that follows, I restricted my research to a relatively narrow genre of clubbing 28 .

First, I chose to access what I perceived as the largest general group of clubbers; that is, I did not explicitly set out to include indie music clubs, S&M clubs or suburban Ritzy-type clubs, to give just three examples of sub-genres. I also selected clubbing experiences that I believed I would have the least problems in accessing and in gaining real understandings relatively quickly. I wanted and needed to be able to empathise with the clubbers who had agreed to help me, and I wanted to ‘be in touch’ with them as far as I could be. Primarily, I was keen to attain, as near as possible, an ‘equal relationship’ between myself as interviewer and the clubbers as interviewees. I did not want to be seen by the clubbers as more of an ‘outsider’ than was partly inevitable. My own background as a clubber was, I believe, crucial in establishing my credentials as someone who was both genuinely interested in and could readily empathise with their experiences rather than merely someone who just happened to be ‘doing a project’ on nightclubs as his ‘job’. Second, I specifically selected clubbers who lived in or very near London and who went clubbing regularly in central London. This was for reasons of ease of access, both for the clubbers and for me.

I wrote letters requesting clubber volunteers to all the major clubbing, ‘style’

-32-

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Clubbing: Dancing, Ecstasy and Vitality
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Part One - The Beginnings 1
  • The Night Ahead 3
  • Clubbing Contexts 6
  • Three Starting Points 11
  • Researching Clubbing 32
  • Part Two - The Night Out 35
  • Getting into It, Feeling Part of It 37
  • The Dancer from the Dance 70
  • Moments of Ecstasy 105
  • Clubbing and Playful Vitality 134
  • Part Three - Reflections 167
  • Introduction 169
  • Three Stories of Afterglow 170
  • Playing—consuming—fluxing 180
  • Nights Out 188
  • Appendix 191
  • Notes 199
  • References 210
  • Index 228
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