Somewhere in the fug of the night amid the din of the music and swaying bodies and narrow shafts of jagged white light that criss-cross and flash in fit inducing intermittence above the heads and across the sweaty walls, you walk with a stagger then a helpless dance, the beer in the bottle bouncing and splashing over the rim and onto the wrist, drum, thump, the masses in front and among blur in and out of four a.m. focus through eyes that fail to cope with a scene and a brain that’s lost and slow and too tired to admit defeat. The man-boy in front of you, wet and wild, shirt open, arms flail and jerk at his side, mouth in an ‘O’ leans his crazed head forward and stares and turns his ‘O’ into a shark toothed smile before descending into the depths, lost in the swell of vibrating life; drum, thump, pulse, shifting from side to side, a vague move to the bar or beyond and a thought, somewhere inside that you might leave, extract yourself from the matrix but the pull is too great and there’s movement all around that holds you firm.

Stop. Take a drink.

Let the beat pulse through the ears, the skull, into the back of the throat, jabbing at you, throbbing into the chest that twitches unconsciously while your eyes dart through the crowds at the raised arms, swaying hips, nodding heads; at the man’s fingers running along the sides of the girl in front, pressed in behind her as she writhes and reaches for the sky, eyes closed and maybe she’s somewhere else, away from this, alone or maybe not; maybe she knows exactly where she is, where you are and why you’re all here, again, as you were before and now your drink has gone and you don’t want another but you’ll move through the tide to get one and the music continues to make the air around you convulse with every changing note, slowing, slowing as the white lights freeze and time and motion change gears and someone you know is by the bar grinning, face suddenly alive and full of joy and terror as the music explodes like a bomb blast that jolts the room and the lives and sends the white lights into air raid frenzy before a searing, momentary and hellish red.

You drink whiskey when you want water.

He says something to you and laughs but you only hear him partially but laugh along and for a moment the night is new again as the heat of the drink burns in the throat and into the gullet and triggers the fading, tiring drunkenness into a new, temporary zest which makes itself known through a lone dance slalom away from the crowded bar and sticky floor and along a corridor past the recently impassioned who’ve found a quiet corner for tongue tied fornication and towards a different sort of light and sound ahead. There are people you know in here, lost to you since the night moved into the clubs, the people you shared a table with, swapped stories of your week with, who shared their joints and made you laugh and feel part of a crowd now dispersed as it always does by four in the morning, fragmenting into smaller factions or lone walkers among the burgeoning revellers. The ones who found sexual salvation, making hasty excited exits already working on their tales of glory to come and the ones who’ve moved towards the Indie inflected melancholy, swigging slowly with faux reflection over despairing problems that only exist at night when the beer continues after the companions have gone.

You are not this person.

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