Is This The End Of Clubbing? A new BBC Three documentary tries to find answers

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Is This The End Of Clubbing? is a new BBC documentary that explores the full effects lockdown has had on night life communities. Unfortunately, anyone who misses the Big Night Out isn’t going to like what they see.

The closest I’ve got to having a big night out in the last six months was a very loud karaoke session with my houseplants in April. Since then, as lockdown has eased, I’ve hung out with friends in beer gardens, glugged sangria in the park with pals and tapped my feet to the beat in a few bars – but the thought of going ‘out out’ feels very… nostalgic.

That’s why I wrote an ode to the Big Night Out a couple of months back, fondly remembering the overpriced drinks, the sticky dancefloors, the bustling smoking area and the obligatory takeaway stop on the way home. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not exactly the poster girl for Berlin’s Berghain (although I 100% wish I was cool enough to assume that role). But I did love that feeling of getting excited about dressing up and not knowing where the night would take me.

A new BBC Three documentary, however, has shown me that for so many people, the loss of night clubs has a much deeper impact. 

In Is This The End Of Night Clubbing?, DJ and broadcaster Jamz Supernova speaks to club goers, owners, promoters and DJs to find out how the Covid-19 pandemic has affected the industry that they both love and rely on – particularly minority communities who rely on clubs for unity. 

Supernova speaks to Harry Gay, who started his own virtual LGBTQ+ party from his house in the hope of creating a safe space online. She also learns how some people living with a disability actually find the virtual clubs to be more accessible than physical club spaces.

Ultimately, though, people want to get back in the clubs, and this could be the time to strip things back to grass roots and rethink how we can make them completely accessible.

Because maybe clubs can never really go back to how there were anyway? There was never any loo roll in most of the club toilet cubicles I found myself in, so the idea that people would keep their hands sanitised at all times doesn’t seem totally realistic. And the thought of keeping two metres away from each other on a dance floor is just very sad.

However, with people desperate to get out and have fun again, could the increasing demand and need to rebuild our economy be a positive sign?.

Supernova visits clubs like Tola in London, which have been making use of their spaces throughout lockdown to try to survive in creative and charitable ways. But what becomes clear is that clubs were struggling to survive in pre-coronavirus anyway, with many of Dalston’s top spots now shuttered.

There are obviously a lot more questions to be asked, and we’ll have to see what happens with the government’s future changes to guidelines, but with an impending recession to take into account too, things don’t look good.

Supernova gets to go on her first night out at the end of the documentary, but we sadly don’t really get to see much of what happens on it – probably because there just isn’t much to see.

“Is this gonna be the wildest night of my life or am I just going to be in bed by 11?” one night time reveller recalls asking each time they went out pre-lockdown. It’s the perennial question we’d love to find ourselves asking again, but it’s clearly going to be a while until we do. 

And although the documentary prompts a lot of questions, the sad truth is there just aren’t any proper answers yet. 

Is This The End Of Clubbing? is available on BBC Three from Wednesday 26 August

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Image: BBC Three

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Hollie Richardson

Hollie is a digital writer at Stylist.co.uk, mainly covering the daily news on women’s issues, politics, celebrities and entertainment. She also keeps an ear out for the best podcast episodes to share with readers. Oh, and don’t even get her started on Outlander…