“What’s your name, darlin’?” The bouncer examines his clipboard.
“Erm, Amanda Collins.” My voice has gone a bit squeaky. I am lying to the bouncer in order to get guest list tickets to a house rave. No, that is not a typo. I, thirty-something-suburban-mother-of-two, am attending a rave in Kentish Town. I have a very tight dress on. I feel like I should also be sporting a badge reading: “DON’T LOOK AT ME. I AM NOT SUPPOSED TO BE HERE.”
The only reason I am here is that DJ Slippa, the headliner, is a childhood friend of mine. One of my new resolutions is to get out of the house more. So when his sister offered me her spare ticket I thought, why not?
In more innocent days, Slippa (aka Dan) and I used to play ‘Daddies’ together in the sandpit at Highbury Fields playground. Since then our paths have diverged radically. I am living in a slightly-too-small flat, bringing up two children and spending weekends grappling with IKEA self-assembly furniture. He is earning megabucks, jetting around the world first class, buying flats across Europe with nary a mortgage, playing to crowds of adoring fans, batting off the groupies…
The bouncer waves me on. Inside, the club is dark and thunderous. Young people are milling about clutching bottles of water. I can’t help but notice many of the girls are wearing very impractical shoes. I make my way rapidly to the bar and spot my friend Lizzie, who is just about to be served.
“Thank goodness you’re here!” I pant. “I feel like a prehistoric fossil!”
“I don’t think fossils wore lycra. What is that dress?” Lizzie, who is more rock’n’roll than me, has bought a double vodka and red bull. I ask for a bottled lager (£4!!!) and we retreat to a dark corner.
Slippa’s set is about to begin. Hundreds of mobile phones wave in the air, and green lasers dart up and down. In a puff of smoke, Dan emerges from the wings and ascends a great altar-like construction in the middle of the stage. He raises his hand to the audience, presses a button, and a bassline shudders up through my feet. The place goes crazy.
After watching for a few minutes I turn to Lizzie. “What do those buttons he is pressing actually do?”
“Oh, nothing. The music is pre-recorded. He’s just pretending.”
Truly, the world is a strange place. Dan gets paid thousands of pounds an hour for pratting around on stage, not even pressing buttons, but pretending to press them. Meanwhile I slave away from dawn until dusk raising the next generation and I get paid... nothing.
Never mind all that, it feels amazing to have a dance. My body has spent so long in the service of small humans that I had almost forgotten it could move just for fun. As I head off into the far-too-late night I conclude that in return for their huge salaries DJs should have to give free tickets to all mums. Come on, fair’s fair.