A “Proper” Night Out in Barrow-in-Furness

You’re 16 years old. Everyone around you is wearing random fancy dress items with absolutely no meaning and for no apparent reason. You’re feeling boss in a pink fluffy sash and tinted sunglasses. You’re heading to Chambers. When your taxi pulls up and you climb out with your crew, you feel like you’re rocking the place already. You’re not – it’s just the cherry Lambrini darting to your head faster than you necked it in your best mate’s bedroom. Said best mate is unfortunately still at home scrubbing some gatecrasher’s vomit off the living room carpet before their parents get back off holiday in the morning. By the time you leave Chambers, you’ve seen half of your school year, you’ve ‘got with’ three of them and most impressively obtained two cow boy hats and a handful of glow sticks. So have your crew, but none of you can recall how or why. You shed an emotional tear for your best mate who you desperately wish was here to enjoy this beautiful moment. Seeing how many more hats you can seize as you unattractively chomp through your glow sticks just isn’t the same without them. As you stumble up to Cairo, your head feels fuzzy from all the dregs that you have ‘skanked’ from the already worryingly cheap cocktails.

Your best mate turns up just in time to buy a hideously flavoured Bacardi Breezer on a Buy One Get One Free offer. You wonder if life could get any better as your lips lose their natural colour and you begin to feel what can only be described as “soz ‘ard”. You dance with your thumb and fore finger poking the air as you thrust your hips for added effect. You feel awesome. You don’t look it. Next on the agenda is Yates. Time to buy a bottle of wine and shove two straws in for you and the school heart throb to romantically sup between enthusiastic kisses. Unless they’re otherwise engaged, in which case you down the entirety of a cocktail pitcher before spitting hundreds of ice cubes about the place. Before long you’re rounding up your crew and heading to Circus. As you cross the road, you lose a few members but not the old faithfuls that your hands are gripped to. The walk to Circus takes plenty of time as you stop and talk to every single person you pass; regardless of whether or not you know them. The plan when you eventually get there could not be simpler: order a few pints of Pink Pussy and rave to a DJ Sammy mash up. Twenty minutes later, you vomit gallons of pink froth on Cornwally pavement before moving swiftly on to Kav’s. You’ve lost a couple more team members by this point but the night is far from over for you. In Kav’s, you climb onto the stage and fist pump the air for a solid hour before attempting to venture upstairs. You trip and nearly cause a fatality before deciding it’s time to leave. Then you plod on up to O’Sully’s where the superior half of your school year waltz past the bouncers with smug grins. The rest of you get asked for ID on the first and only occasion of your big night out and you stumble shamefully over to the sloppy seconds that is Scorps. OI OI!

You distribute high fives to all the kids that sold weed in your year and the ones that got expelled for worse. You look around to see that you’re in the minority here as your socks are not on show. Nevertheless you jump up and down in time to a banging Wigan Pier remix. You feel thrilled and wasted, but soon enough you accept that you don’t quite fit in. As a result you call an urgent crew meeting in which you propose a swift departure and an early peak by moving on to the big one. The ultimate floating nightclub venue. The boat. Not the Princess Selandia. Not the Blue Lagoon. Hell no, nobody calls it that. This is THE BOAT. You run past the bouncers triumphantly feeling like all of your birthdays have come at once. You watch the ones that didn’t make it slope off to Morrisons to perch on a bollard and cry. You thank God that you were in the lucky few as you would genuinely rather dive off the top deck naked than be shunned so brutally.

Before you know it you’re on the boat, grinding up against a pole until your legs throb with friction burns. You down a Smirnoff Ice before realising you’ve spent the majority of your taxi money. To console yourself, you ride the rodeo bull with someone you’ve never met and fall into positions that are intimate enough to make your future self cringe. When your body is suitably battered, you decide it’s time to head to McDonald’s where you unwisely invest your final scraps of change into an Egg McMuffin that you see again shortly after as you hurl onto the pavement. The sun rises on what you know will be a Hellish Sunday. You drag your aching body home and you crawl to bed. You collapse into a desperate heap and groan before slipping into drunken dreams. When you wake, your head pounds rapidly in time with your heart beat and severe beer fear descends. Trying to piece together fractured memories, you are blissfully unaware that nights out in Barrow town will never be as good. Not for years to come. Not ever.

A photograph of ‘the boat’, taken by Martin Millar in 2007

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