My Mum, The Silent Disco Show, and willing sobriety

This week’s blog is guest-written by Lauren Mullings.


A week ago I invited my Mum to The Silent Disco Show at Underbelly Festival, which is exactly as it sounds – a rave that involves three channels of music, silent headphones and a stage show full of colourful cabaret. Instead of declining (or moaning) she was totally cool with the idea. This shocked me and got me thinking about whether, as a trendy, older, single woman who doesn’t really care about drinking, she struggled to find suitable activities in London. So I asked her:

“If you live in London there is a constant flow of information about entertaining things to do. I’ve read Club Soda’s blog about Sober Dance Parties and can see how they are vital for people who are genuinely trying to avoid drinking. I empathise with that, as I have never really had that problem. But what if you are an older woman, like me, who has just never been that interested in drinking?

 I love dancing, soul music, reggae and dub. I was probably in my element during the disco era, when everyone went out to get their groove on. But at 64 I’m not sure I need to be greeted by a man in a disco ball helmet holding glowsticks.

It’s not that I’m prudish, or self-conscious or even judgemental. And it’s certainly not that I haven’t lived my life. I’ve been to wild parties where the champagne was flowing and torn up gritty dance floors with the sun blazing in the windows at 6am. It’s just that Morning Gloryville, no matter how wonderful a concept it is, is not my kind of thing. Nor are “impromptu” style dance classes, Saga holidays, lunches in Sloane Square or knitting circles. I’m not dead, I’m not rich and I’ve never aspired to be Kate Bush.

Want to know the best thing about being 64? I have almost 0 insecurities. Count them. I look great and I don’t need a drink because I don’t need to loosen up when I’m going out.

 I grew up in Australia surrounded by a culture that pretty much revolves around boozing. In a country that almost markets itself on new world wine, being social generally involved, and still involves, a few glasses –  or a bottle. Or two. Or three.

 But I just never got it into it. It’s not that I wasn’t sociable or that I couldn’t see how alcohol seemed to equate to fun. If I’m honest, it’s just the logical part of my brain always felt I’d be better off with all that money right there in my pocket, rather than gone in a fleeting bit of drunken enjoyment. Having self-funded a law degree and bought property, I’m willing to bet this way of thinking can pay off. Some people might have thought I was boring. They can fuck off.

 I am still working out what I like, but as a person who has lived, I know exactly what I don’t like.

 Among those things:

  1. Watching people getting hammered so they can attain my level of confidence.
  2. Being patronised with products that take the life out of living. Included in this category; all magazines and advertisements that involve grey-haired people in pastels walking dogs on the beaches.
  3. Pastels and walks on the beaches.
  4. Mature-aged events. Much like a school reunion, these are often awkward or desperate. I do not have time to deal with aging predators.
  5. Excessive noise.
  6. Speakers without bass.

 I’m looking for things that are social, active, and create an intelligent connection with others. But I don’t want to be stereotyped and I don’t want to be bored.

 So throughout my time in London I have hit the Saatchi gallery, checked out pie and mash shops,  shopped my ass off (All Saints, where have you been all my life) and taken fabulous photos.

I have not, admittedly, been out dancing, but I like the idea of going somewhere where people fill the dance floor right away, without all that standing around, waiting for these poor, insecure bastards to get warmed up. I could use a couple of solid hours of dancing and although I’m not sure what the point of the silence is, I’ll give it whirl. It certainly couldn’t hurt. At least I have the option take my damn headphones off.”

As told to Lauren Mullings, by her mother.

The next Silent Disco Show is at Underbelly Festival, Southbank on Saturday 31 August.

A full range of soft drinks are served from the bar, and it is attended by many non-drinking dance enthusiasts – group discounts can be arranged.

Tickets from £15.50 + booking fee here: All ages (16+) welcome.

 

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