Sunday Girl. Clubbing in your 50s

Beautiful woman in sunglasses, graphic image with disco ball on green background

Sam’s Sunday column. This week, how I went clubbing at 54 and had a jolly nice time

Last weekend I was out clubbing, in my 50s, for the first time. I say clubbing, that’s probably pushing it a bit. An old mate was running a night at a club in Brighton and needed someone to work the door with him. I was interested. Could I do that? What would it be like clubbing in your 50s?!

I stepped up, feeling a bit wild about the whole thing. I mean, it’s years since I STARTED my night out at 11pm, look at me! Being all crazy and spontaneous. I had a long nap before I went out, obviously. I might be spontaneous but I’m not completely insane.

Really I pretty much stopped going to clubs in my early- to mid-forties

Largely because I couldn’t deal with the recovery time. When you’re young, you bounce back more easily, but it wasn’t just about that. When you’re older, you’ve got stuff to do. Kids to manage. Important jobs to worry about. I used to love being able to spend entire weekends getting smashed, dancing til dawn and beyond, and then the fun that followed over the course of the next day, or days. Just a wild ride, as a squad, until we stopped, ran out of money, or passed out cold.

I also stopped because I felt like the oldest swinger in town

You don’t do that when you’re older, and I miss that freedom, the camaraderie. The seemingly endless party. But it’s not just about this. I also stopped because I felt like the oldest swinger in town. Clubs are generally filled with people in their twenties and thirties and – despite my very public stance against ageism – I just felt older, and out of place.

Added to that, I’ve got tinnitus and knee problems, I don’t like bright lights, big crowds, queuing, or dirty toilets. Nor do I like having to drink out of a plastic glass. It’s too loud to have a conversation, I’m fussier about my music these days, the drugs these days are shit, and ugh people. I realise I now sound like the youngest boomer in town. But hey.

So colour me properly pleasantly surprised, when I had an absolute ball at the club last week.

Let me set the scene

This was a night organised by friends. So I knew I would see other friends there, and I knew I was going to love the music (Colin Dale, Terry Francis, Simon Atkinson, for those of you interested). I also knew that the club was held in a really cool little Brighton venue, WaterBear, which is a great spot, not a big overwhelming place. And because of who the DJs were, and the promoters, I knew a large proportion of the punters were going to be my age.

It wasn’t like I was running into the night with no clue what madness lay ahead, like I used to. But I also don’t have a lot of mates who want to go out to clubs these days. And as a single person, it’s still weird going to stuff like this on my own. I’m shyer than you’d think. So when I knew they needed someone to do the door, it felt like a perfect opportunity.

Read more: The Summer of Love, how it all began

More newsreader than edgy door bitch, to be fair

I liked having a job to do

I think this might be top of the list for me in terms of Why I Had Fun. There is HUGE joy to be had doing the door. You get to say hello to people as they arrive, and actually hear them, have some really funny banter. Everyone is arriving, excited and ready to have fun, so the atmosphere as they come in is buzzy.

Later when the door was still open, but it had slowed down, mates came up to chew the fat with me, and I actually got to spend a bit of time catching up with them. And hear them! Brilliant! The music off the dancefloor isn’t so loud the bass threatens you with cardiac arrest, but I still got to bust some mum-dancing moves in a 50-something-year-old fashion. And I loved having something to do other than blunder around in the midnight belly of the beast.

Older people club differently

Don’t get me wrong. There’s still plenty of dancing and getting mangled, but the pace is different. The dancing a bit more sedate – gotta be mindful of the old knees. The use of mobile phones on the dancefloor is almost nil, everyone is just enjoying the moment, loving the music, and communicating with each other.

And people really dance with each other, connecting with more than just a sexy grind. Ironically, before there were enough people on the dancefloor to soak up the quite epically loud sound, several people asked me for earplugs, which they had at the bar. I wish I’d had the foresight to do that when I was 25. My hearing is terrible these days.

The security guys treat you differently

The security team at WaterBear are chilled, but there’s a big difference in how they approach an older crowd, I suspect. There were still searches at the door, and pat-downs. It’s still a seafront nightclub, after all. But it was all done with real politeness, and dare I say it, respect.

Hilariously though, it seems like us oldies are still capable of behaving like idiots. One particular chap thought he’d found a quiet corner to have himself a little bump of coke, and was asked to leave. I know him, and couldn’t help laughing. I pointed to the bank of CCTV screens as he made his way out, shaking my head. He knew it was a fair cop. Apparently he looked up to find a huge bouncer looming over him, also shaking his head. The bouncer literally just raised his eyebrows and said, “Really?” They both knew the game was up, and my friend left sheepishly. But there was no kicking and screaming, and no drama.

I still got a chance to ‘have it’

Once the doors were closed and I was released, I had around an hour before the club shut, and that was ace. Buoyed up by some very stiff Jack Daniels’ that the promoters had been feeding me, I hit the dancefloor. And for about 35 minutes, just lost myself in the music. I can’t remember the last time that happened, and it was wonderful.

There were moments when I looked up and around me, and all I could see were smiling faces, and happy dancing. And it felt like being back there again, back in the early, more innocent days of clubbing when it really was all about peace, love, and sweet harmony. I’m aware that a significant number of the people in that room had been doing this for decades, and would also remember those days. I’m aware of sounding mawkishly nostalgic here, but it made this old bird very happy anyway.

After the club was finished, there was the inevitable after-party plans. And in the old days I’d have skipped off to join the merry band of travellers, to see where the dawn took us, for tomorrow we may die.

But instead, I jumped in an Uber, and was home before 6am. I woke up later, pretty much hangover-free but eyeing my knees with some concern. Overall though, I felt through the roof with happiness, a massive boost from socialising and dancing, and feeling kind of free again. It’s clearly not quite time to hang up my dancing shoes. I’ll be going back for more.

If you fancy the next round of this club night, System, the listing isn’t live at time of publication but it’s on 12 July 2024, and you can see the last one HERE. Keep your eyes peeled, the next guest joining Simon and Terry is A Guy Called Gerald.

Read all about it

Silver footer with glowing purple - link to home page


Just so you know – as if you didn’t – sometimes if you click on a link or buy something that you’ve seen on Silver, we may make a little commission. We don’t allow any old links here though. Read why you should trust us

About Sam Harrington-Lowe
Sam is Silver's founder and editor-in-chief. She's largely responsible for organising all the things, but still finds time to do the odd bit of writing. Not enough though. Send help.

1 Comment

  1. I loved Sally’s feature. There is a real movement of day raving and reclaiming the dance floor!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.