Friday, 12 January 2007

Dress for success - or failure

This blog writing thingy starts to get a bit addictive, doesn't it? You remember something that you were complaining to friends about recently, and suddenly, BANG!, you're putting it on the interwebnet for all and everyone to ignore.
So what's with bloody night clubs and so-called 'dress codes'? And no, it's nothing to do with 'hanky codes' (go Google it if you don't know what I'm talking about). Recently, I've been clubbing in all sorts of clubs I'd never have set foot in before August, and despite being a card-carrying woofter, I've found that straight clubs (or, at the very least, mixed clubs) have the best music (a bit of a switch from 'the Devil has all the best tunes', really): back in the 70s and 80s, it was accepted wisdom that us benders were at the cutting edge of music and fashion etc etc. Maybe it's still true in big cities, but up here in Leeds - and Manchester - it doesn't feel the case at all. In Leeds, where the gay scene is pitifully small for the city's status as the fifth largest, by population, in 2001, the only full-time gay club is the upstairs bit - The Loft - of Queens Court (yes, no apostrophe! Tsk!) - which, if I recall, is only open Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The other late-night venues are 'gay-friendly' - places like Mission and SpeedQueen.
Which explains why, if I want a full-on queer night, I'll go across the Pennines to Manchester, where there's at least Legends, Cruz 101 and Essential. But it's a trek, and - at least with Legends - the music and atmosphere can be very variable.
So (to get back to the point), I've been doing more clubbing in Leeds at mixed venues, where the music is usually guaranteed to be pretty good, and the crowd, despite being overwhelmingly straight, are very, very rarely homophobic, and usually very, very gay-friendly. But for some reason, it's these clubs that seem to go for weird dress codes for the punters.
Glasshouse, an 11pm-9am Saturday nighter, at Mission has turned me away on two occasions for not wearing 'expensive enough' trainers. (Their words). Despite there being loads of much more skanky-looking people inside, wearing much skankier-looking trainers (and other gear) than me. Boots are fine though, it seems.
GladRags, an 11pm-5am Friday nighter, at The Space nearly turned me away for wearing black boots (and jeans and T-shirt, which were fine). Trainers are OK there. But not sportswear (clothes with sports logos - Umbro etc - two mates were turned away for that particular sin).

SpeedQueen (pictured), 10.30pm-4.30am Saturday nighter, at Rehab - which has the best atmosphere and music of the lot - has no apparent dresscode, which is great.
Historically, gay clubs have never had dress codes (unless they've been fetish nights with particular themes); straight clubs have, historically, been of the 'no jeans, no trainers' mentality, so maybe this is all just a blurring of the boundaries. It's a shame they can't all be a bit more consistent or a bit more flexible: you don't want to take a change of shoes, trousers and tops out with you on the offchance that you'll end up somewhere you weren't expecting.


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