Sunday, October 26, 2003

I went to an Italian discoteca for the first time yesterday. I know the term discoteca conjures up ideas of retro Europop but the words club and clubbing are indelibly associated with strip joints here, so discoteca it is.

It’s a different experience to the post-pub, lager-fulled experience it is in England. Let me cut to the chase: the girls look great. And that’s simply because they all dress fantastically well (as, I was told, do the guys, but I didn’t notice that. I was however, disappointed by the lack of attention my red shirt got) as they always do. (I continually find myself double-taking around town, in class or wherever, looking at girls and thinking “you can’t afford that”: they must spend a fortune on clothes. Then again, what else is there to spend it on if you live at home until you’re 29 and married?). I, for one, appreciate the care taken in one's appearance muchly. Viva Marc Jacobs.

(I’d love to give you some examples of great Italian style here but I didn’t take my camera with me; next time I will. Instead, here’s a nice picture of a Vespa.)

And they don’t spoil it by getting shitfaced. Admittedly this may be because of the extortionate amount charged for drinks in these places but frankly I don’t care why; it’s just a pleasure to see so many pretty faces enjoying themselves and not descending into wild-eyed alcohol-induced gormlessness. The only downside to both these points is that you can’t tell who the trashy sluts are (anybody who inserts their own joke here about how that must be hard for me – After all, how am I meant to know which girls to chase? – can leave now).

I think I’m at the right age to be here. Much earlier and I’d have just wandered around the club (see: I can’t quite get used to using discoteca unironically) wide-eyed and with my mouth somewhere near the remarkably clean floor. That’s right: there are no sticky beer stains. This means one can dance without worrying about getting their hand stuck to their shoes when they remove them later. Which is the other reason I’m at the right age: I don’t need or want to drink large amounts of alcohol in these places. As a 22 year old Brit I would have taken recourse in alcohol as soon as I arrived and ended up making a fool of myself and reaffirming the Italian stereotype of the British male. But these days, no need.

Inevitably there were aspects of the evening that I remain decidedly unsure about (those of you that have scrolled down looking for the bit where I take the piss of some aspect of Italian pop culture should look here). We were amongst the first to arrive (I’m trying to get used to these Mediterrainian nightlife hours but reeeally: it was gone midnight when we arrived). There were two floors, the upper of which was more lively. There we proceeded to watch an Italian band cover various ‘party’ tunes. Or rather: we proceeded to watch an Italian band massacre various ‘party’ tunes. To be fair, I was impressed that they kept a straight face when playing “Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay” early in the set (why?!) and then going immediately into “We Are Family”. I think I’ve said enough; you can picture the rest.

To be fair, the Italians didn’t seem too enamoured by the band and soon the R&B being played downstairs (Why is R&B everywhere these days?) was more popular. I later returned upstairs to discover that the DJ, like the band before him, had a liberal attitude to mixing: some Italian pop (you know the stuff, it all sounds the same; the sort of thing that gets all the girls doing the set dance) followed by Aretha and then the Grease Megamix. If I didn't have an allergy to them I'd put lots of exclamations marks just here.

Some of gang got tired shortly after and so we headed home. Guiseppe gave us a potted history of Italian dialects whilst driving us home (I like Guiseppe even if he did learn his English in North Dakota and speaks with that awful lazy-Midwest accent). San Zeno was sleeping and it was time to get some much needed sleep (my Saturday morning 8am English lesson is going to have to get moved) and enjoy that extra hour in bed.

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