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Saturday, 5 November 2011

Hallowe'en fun and games

I've been meaning to write this for the last week, but I've been waiting for some photos that haven't appeared yet.
Last Saturday I went out to a Hallowe'en party at the O2 Academy in Glasgow. This is the former New Bedford cinema, now used as a concert venue and night club. It had been mentioned to me by my friend David who has been to a number of events held there by the organisers, Club Noir. Club Noir is the biggest burlesque club in the world, and holds a few events a year in Glasgow and Dundee.
David had thought it would be good for me to go out for an evening after all I've been through this year, and it would be the first time that I would be in what could be termed a 'night club'. (Last time I was out at an event like this was about 25 years ago, back when there were 'discothèques'!)
As it was Hallowe'en, I would have to go in fancy dress, but what to wear? This was quickly answered when I was dropping off some stuff at a charity shop and spotted a suitably baggy suit. Fitted me perfectly, so £6 later I had the start of my 'gangster' costume. I got a black shirt, white tie, spats, and went to a hat shop and bought a proper hat.  Ebay supplied an fake cigar, stick on moustache, and an inflatable Tommy gun. (I had bought a plastic toy Tommy gun, but that had fallen foul of Club Noir's 'no real or replica weapons' rule).
OK, you want to see a picture - here's me in David's house just as we were leaving:

Impressive, eh? As I don't drink we went in my car, unlike many of the other people there who travelled by public transport in their costumes. Talking of costumes, there were lots of really good and imaginative ones, with most of the women dressing in a 'burlesque' costume (more about that later).
The evening consisted of a number of stage acts punctuated by a DJ playing dance music. Can I get one thing clear - despite what people have said, there were NO STRIPPERS! There was a band, a fire eating singer (really impressive!), a singing pole dancer (gymnastic rather than erotic), and Club Noir's troupe of exotic dancers. They perform dance sequences that involved removing some of their clothes, but as nobody ends up naked they're not strippers. Also, looking at the other people there in their costumes is a major part of the evening.
Club Noir has a strict rule that you're not allowed to take photos in the main part of the club, only in the foyer and one of the bars. They have an official photographer who photos people with their permission for their website, but pictures from the Hallowe'en event haven't been posted yet.
This is understandable as a number of famous people attend, but may not want it to be publicised (there was a feature on an early evening Scottish news programme, where one of the presenters performed on stage. Here)
Also, a lot of women wear a lot fewer clothes than they might feel comfortable being photographed in. The usual 'burlesque costume' is a corset, fishnet stockings, suspenders, and very high heels. Yes, I remember the days when women wore clothes over their underwear! Needless to say, the more scantily clad women avoid the areas where photography is allowed. I took a couple of pictures there showing some of the wonderful costumes.

Yes, that woman in the centre of the picture is only wearing pants, pasties, and a tight lace garment! Woman at the right is wearing the more popular corset (hers has a small 'skirt', most didn't have this)

David had gone dressed as a vampire, with fangs and custom made (and somewhat uncomfortable) contact lenses. We had our picture taken together, and I'm trying not to laugh, hence the facial expression!

I also sneaked a picture on the main dancefloor. Unfortunately it was dark and I was using a compact camera with a flash the size of a peanut.

I had a great night and really enjoyed myself. Everyone seemed happy and it felt really 'safe'. When I used to go to discothèques, there was always a hint of violence in the air and you had to be careful how you looked at people. Here, there were no problems. Also, for a man of my age it was 'safe' as the vast majority of women were far too young for me, so I could talk or dance with women half my age and wearing only their underwear without them thinking I'm trying to pick them up!
Keep your eye on the gallery on Club Noir's website for pictures of the Hallowe'en event.


  1. Sounds like fun times. Probably about 15 years ago, round here when "Country Western" stuff was all the rage...used to go out dancing . There was always a hint of potential trouble. Got tired of bouncers not taking care of business.In fact a little after I quit going, a young man was beaten very badly and the club ended up closing down. Good to hear you have places that are safe, and people are just out to have fun. Besides, who is gonna mess with "Vinnie" and his Tommy gun.

  2. You'd have thought that at Club Noir the heady mixture of young men, scantily clad women, and alcohol might have led to some problems, but it was all very well behaved and the bouncers kept an eye on things but really didn't have anything to do.
    Talking of Country and Western, sometime I ought to write about my visits to Glasgow's Grand Ole Opry (yes, Glasgow has one: )I went there a few times about 25 years ago when a friend played in one of the bands.
    The wacky world of Scottish C&W is so surreal that most of you would think I was making it up! Another story for another day.

  3. Photos now posted on Club Noir's website: