I found myself in an unusual position during my night out last Friday. I’d never been to the venue before, a converted warehouse with a cool, slightly chaotic, urban vibe. I didn’t know what to expect.
I got questioned (bouncer: ‘where’ve you come from love? me: home) and patted down, as swarms of young people jostled around me, eager for entry. There was perfume in the air and naughtiness in the ether. A gang of lads managed to sneak in beside me, dodging the ticket barrier. It felt a little unorganised but I went with it.
Inside, I was presented with a huge, long warehouse hanger, misty and dark except for colourful lights that lit up the scene and seeped into the space. A big crowd of people (kind of dancing) thronged before me as heavy beats drove on. I couldn’t see the DJ, so dense was the misty atmosphere. I was confused by the layout, nothing made sense, eventually I figured it out but I felt my energy was quite drained. I knew the music would get more uplifting as the night went on so I bided my time and decided to sit down for a while.
Here comes my unusual position - there wasn’t a single place to sit down, other than the floor. Not one chair or sofa. Not one little perch. It dawned on me, how reliant I was on being able to sit down whenever I needed to. I’m elated to dance with all my heart and soul, so long as I can rest my feet when they start feeling weird and painful. The idea of standing for 4 hrs started to freak me out.
I kept searching for a while then I asked a steward. He said there was nowhere to sit and he couldn’t help me, even after I said I was a disabled clubber. I felt lost. I go to these events to help my body get stronger, I go for exercise as moving feels easy when the music is pumping out, but I can always choose when to sit down. I used the walls - I’m great at leaning - they helped for a while but it wasn’t enough. I sat on the floor, but drunk people started to congregate and I didn’t want to get trodden on.
I felt overwhelmed. I eventually went to another steward towards the back and asked her if I could just sit down on a tiny ledge I had spotted by the side of her. She said no. So I mustered up my courage again, and pointed out (as hard as it is to face) that I was a disabled clubber and came clubbing anyway but now I needed to sit down. She immediately went out of her way to find a chair for me hooray! All I needed was 20 minutes and my feet were recharged. She told me if I needed it again (I did), just to ask and she’d bring it out. It was a relief.
The last two DJs, Aisha and Trym were reeeaally fab. Ethereal, melodic, unique, banging - they are my two favourite DJs for hard, fast, uplifting techno. I was smiling so brightly as amazing song after amazing song came on. Music from my past, music from my present. I flew up to a superduper happy place and it was brill.
The lady who helped me was my Chair Faerie and I appreciate her so much. She listened to me. She heard me. She made me feel safe. In not being able to find a seat, I (again) had to come to terms with the fact that I’m different and sometimes need more help. I was forced to announce it to someone and that’s hard.
But by asking, I gratefully received and danced sitting down, like a (disabled) demon until my legs were able, once again.