First time kissing a man shorter than me. First time a few things, actually. I was out with James after dinner, we’d been talking about the death of our personal industries, and we were hunting for a nightclub. Somewhere with people, somewhere with dancing, somewhere with music going on. Stairs and stairs and stairs. Different designs, different prizes. It was like a treasure hunt or playing french doors with real ones. At the top of one set of crude roughly painted steps, ones surrounded by lemurs and monkeys in some kind of imaginary tropical tree, was a bar filled only by intensely drunk under-age girls dancing saucily to Duran Duran. Another set of stairs, these ones low and mirrored, opened up into the inside of a fake airplane with red kanji characters splashed above the bar and filled with atrocious hip-hop. Another place, we didn’t even make it up all the way. A song came on, something immediately recognizable from the late seventies, and it kicked us into immediate retreat. We barreled down those stairs as if the eighties hair gods were chasing us with hairspray and lighters.
Somewhere along the way, at the television music place I think, James his his head so hard that I heard it in my teeth. We poked our heads into a few places after that, a two level place playing house on top and 80’s music on the floor filled with exact replica’s of the strung out lead singer of The Wolf Parade, a sour booze place with choppy wooden floors and too much cigarette smoke to see through, but he’d lost momentum and it was time to head back. One more place though, one last chance to see. Red rope out front, a wicker ball threaded through with christmas lights, the foyer a strangely residential hallway with a make-shift table as the mandatory coat-check at the foot of the metal and tile stairs. This is it, I thought, but first, to walk James home.
Upstairs was a long low room cut into different areas through clever use of stairs and stripper poles. I liked how well crafted the space was. The walls were lined with dark velvet and the mood was Upscale Having Dirty Fun. It’s been noted that I appreciate style. The clientele were a different matter. The VIA rail staff party collected some of the IBM staff party, migrated in earlier and now were dominant. Drunk engineers in black suit and tie who called me rude because I wouldn’t drink with them. “If you were a francophone girl, you wouldn’t be so uppity. I’d be kissing you right now.” They kept surrounding me and trying to push shots into my hands. “Where are you from? You’re here alone, aren’t you?” They were entirely sleazy, but easy enough to shake off and occasionally better entertainment than the music. The music was unbelievably bad. At one point there was an audacious and painful mash-up playing made of Pump Up The Volume and the Miami Vice Themesong. It was a toss-up if the DJ was brilliant or simply brain damaged.
At the point where I’d decided that I either had to leave or burn the place down and salt the earth, things changed.