Friday, September 19, 2008

What's the Matter with Fabric?

Oh, I should be a headline writer... Or not. But last night I did get to taste a little of someone else's job: that of a music journalist. Now, you might have heard of a night club called Fabric. And you've no doubt heard of the 02 centre (otherwise known as the Dome). Well, Fabric has opened a sister super club at the 02 centre called Matter. Is the headline thing making sense now? Anyway, BestFriend's boyfriend got us 2 press passes to the press launch. So BestFriend and I dressed up and went out. On a school night.

Matter is like a cathedral for dance music lovers to worship their DJs. If God is a DJ he is surely to be found at Matter. That is, if he can find it. It is a long walk from the tube station along a bumpy track which did not have high-heels in mind. Inside however the sound pumps out of enormous speakers and soars to the very rafters of the club (well, VIP and VVIP area anyway). Lasers cut their way through the smoke machined air which hovers low over a sprung dance floor which makes the crowd lift as one as the beats lift you higher and higher. It also makes you, ahem, vibrate. Yes, all parts of you. The lights cast shadows over the lower areas illuminating auditorium style concrete benches, last night prettily occupied with posers, soon to be occupied with those dance music lovers which could be mistaken for refugees by the time the night is out. Look to the left and there is a bar which runs the whole length of the wall, grey, concrete, metal, the whole place is grey and clinical, and staffed by hundreds of Matter worker bees who fill drinks, collect glasses, keep control, signal to the smoking area. Look up, which you will, as you will wonder why it is so light for a night club and you will see higher seating areas and a strange walkway, which looks rather like the guitar track in Guitar hero, only upside down, and then right right at the top, a red tinged area, the VIP section. Find the stairs, if you can, being careful not to scratch your jewellery or silk dress against the rough metal railings or concrete edges, or to trip your satin shoe against a rough step (trainers are better footwear here by far) and enter the VIP area and you will find cosy seating instead of concrete benches and a birds eye view of the whole club, reinforcing your impression that once you are a VIP you are on top of the world and have the world's permission to look down on everyone else. Once you have grown bored of the unusual view of the sound booth and countless posing people - have you ever seen primping like that of a male band about to have their photo taken - you wind your way back down the steps (or take the lift if you are so inclined) and return to ground level and to cold clinical concrete. The bar area is full now, so you have to push past people gathering around strange alien tables, the noise so loud that it almost feels silent - you can see people's mouths moving but you cannot work out what they say - the blue UV lights casting a hospital like glow over everyone. Once past the crowds round the bar you head back up to the middle floor, in search of loos. Unisex ones or up the metal staircase to the girls only? It matters not, they are roughly the same. Cubicles round the edges, big metal rectangular troughs in the middle. Not as cool as the huge round metal ones at Fabric with their complicated foot pedal system which immediately singles out the newbies, but still trough like enough that the animal illusion is complete once pilled up people start washing in them, or more pleasantly, vomiting in them. The doors are kinder on the ear than the prison style clanking ones at Fabric; the loo paper however is of substandard quality. Thankfully the Dyson hand-dryers make up for it. Wander around, for that is what people seem to spend most of their time doing, a pointless continuous movement of people, until you have seen your fill, listened to your body weight in sound, carried yourself into oblivion on a tidal wave of intensifying beats which lift you up and up and up... Fabric is not a venue, it's a scene, someone once told me. Matter is more of a venue, I think, but time will tell.

Matter, The O2, Peninsula Square, London, SE10 ODY


redframe said...

Wow, I'm suddenly fine with the idea that I'll never go to another dance club if I can help it! So well written, I felt like I was there. And wanted to leave. Ugh, I'm old.

Rachel said...

Thanks Redframe. Sorry to make you feel old!