I'm going back a few weeks now, but I want to tell you The Story of How I Lost My Phone, and what almost became The Story of How I Was Tragically Crushed to Death. I promised if I ever made it out alive I would spread the word about Showcase and stop people going there, because it's the WORST CLUB IN THE LAND and I HATE IT.
The first time I went to Showcase was a few months ago, when I went with my 'stripper friend'. We went with her boss and a few of the other girls from her work, who had a table in the VIP section. If we hadn't have been with my friend's boss, we never would have got in. The queue to get in was massive and they were turning most people away. The really annoying thing was that, after finally mastering (or convincing myself that I had, anyway) the Parisien art of dressing up but not looking dressed up, everyone in the queue for Showcase seemed to be dressed for a night out in Leeds. There were girls in backless catsuits, towering platforms and, gasp, bare legs.
So, I don't know if it was because I felt under-dressed, or because I was sat at a table surrounded by girls who made their living as 'exotic dancer's, but I felt fat and unattractive and generally shit all night. Also, the supposed VIP section was ridiculously crowded and nobody was dancing. I got too drunk on free alcohol and spent most of the night on my own, either wandering around looking for the toilets so I could plaster more make-up on, or allowing strangers in the smoking area to talk broken English at me. At the end of the night, I realised somebody had stolen my black Zara jacket, which was the only going-out jacket I had.
So, my first impressions of Showcase were not great.
Then a couple of weeks ago, Laura said she really wanted to come to Paris for the weekend to see Fake Blood and Brodinski, and they were playing at Showcase. I wasn't sure that I really liked Fake Blood, but I was excited at the prospect of a Proper Night Out, plus Olivia and her friend Katie wanted to come, so we all bought tickets. And that was that.
We decided to walk from my place because it's only round the corner (yes, stalkers, I'm sure I've given you enough clues by now to work out where I live. Come and get me, I'll be waiting for you with a heavy-based frying pan) but we had forgotten how Fucking Freezing it was outside. By the time we got to Showcase, none of us could feel our fingers and we were all desperate to get inside.
But, oh no. You don't go inside Showcase.
First, you have to queue up on the bridge Alexandre III, just for the privilege of walking down some stone steps to the river. Except it wasn't a queue- it was a terrifying scrum of unruly nobheads, all trying to push and shove their way to their front. At one point it got quite scary, we were so squished that it was difficult to breathe and the people at the back kept pushing and pushing. The bouncers were completely useless, until we got to the front and they used all their manpower to stop us from advancing. Yep, forget about the huge men trying to trample everyone to death, just concentrate on the four scared girls at the front of the queue who can't breathe, they need restraining more than anyone...
When we finally got past the bouncers and out of the scrum, we realised Katie had been left behind in the heaving crush of bodies. We waited for her, obviously, but the bouncer yelled at us to move down the stairs. His eyes actually widened with shocked anger. Now, I know I have a tendency to hate bouncers, but I have one question: Why was he so bothered with three girls waiting for their friend, who could have passed out for all anyone knew, yet seemingly unconcerned about the hundred or so people jostling each other into a dangerous funnel formation, with rows and rows of people trying to pour themselves onto a staircase barely wide enough for five people?
Once Katie had squeezed through, we clip-clopped down the stairs to see...
More 'queuing', only this time there were cattle grids to at least keep up the illusion of a queue. It didn't matter if you had a ticket or not, everyone was siphoned off by the aggressive bouncers into four separate lanes, only the lanes soon became over-crowded and we once again found ourselves in the middle of a heavy, pressing throng of bodies. And once again, as soon as got near the front, the bouncer decided that it was ME who was doing all the pushing and shoving. I was waiting at the front of the 'line' when there was a particularly strong surge from the back of the throng, thrusting me against the wall of bouncers.
"N'avancez pas!" he screamed in my face.
By the time we got let through into the club, my patience with the bouncers was wearing thin. WHY were they picking on people like me, instead of trying to control the dangerously chaotic crowds? Once we got through the doors, we looked left and right, trying to see which way the cloakroom was. A bouncer watching us yelled at us to keep moving.
"FUCK OFF!" I screamed, releasing all the anger and panic of the last half an hour.
Luckily, Laura pulled me away, or he probably could have thrown me out. I hate places like that, where you're treated like shit, when all you want to do is spend your money and have a nice time.
The cloakroom was full, obviously, so we went straight to the dance floor which was miraculously empty. We had a good dance to Brodinski and I felt like it was going to be a good night after all. But then we got thirsty. We went to buy drinks (eight euros for a bottle of beer) and by the time we'd walked back on to the dance floor, it was heaving. You couldn't dance for more than a second without someone elbowing you in the side or pushing you out of the way. Olivia kept breathing and saying 'Zen, zen...' and for a while we all managed to stay calm, but it got RIDICULOUS.
I know I'm sounding like one of those dickheads who shouldn't really go to clubs because they hate other people and they especially hate other people dancing within a five mile radius of them, but it was like nothing I've ever experience before. Every time I tired to look at the DJ, someone facing the other way thought I was trying to dance with them. Every time we all faced inwards and tried to dance a little circle, we found ourselves either surrounded by a slightly larger circle of Weird Men, or the people around us pressed closer and closer until we were just four girls stood still, faces and chests squished together.
Oh God I'm getting angry just thinking about it. We eventually gave up and went to the bar, which was slightly quieter. We decided to just get really drunk. But even that was a Saga at Showcase- the club that doesn't like clubbers. There were three bars and each bar told us to go to the other bar to get served for the drink we wanted...
I nearly forgot to tell you the worse bit!!! At one point, we were looking for the toilets, but there seemed to be a queue of people in the tunnel that lead to the entrance of the club. We asked everyone and they said that the tunnel led to the toilets, as well as being the first thing you walk in to when you enter the club. So we got in the queue, but more and more people were coming in from outside. I got a bit panicky, but by then more people had joined the queue for the toilets behind us.
In seconds, the tunnel had become completely rammed with people, pushing in both directions, so nobody could move in either direction. The Love Parade came into my mind like a sudden taste of vomit. Do you remember what happened at the Love Parade in Germany, last year? It was awful- people were crushed to death in a tunnel, because crowds went streaming in from both ends and it all went tragically wrong. The tunnel at Showcase wasn't exactly the same thing, but it reminded me of it all the same.
Then, some people coming into the tunnel started yelling and laughing and they gave an almighty PUSH. I was against the wall and there were so many people loaded against me that for a moment I couldn't breathe, my chest was too constricted. Behind me, Olivia was battling with a man who was trying to use her head as a way of leveling himself, kind of like a panicky, drowning person trying to hold on to you and in the process, dragging you under the water.
That was enough for me, I burst out crying. It was horrible, horrible and I thought I was going to die. In a weird way, I thought that if I started crying it would stop everything, I thought somehow by acknowledging how scared I was someone nearby would stop pushing and everything would calm down a little bit. But, of course, nobody gave a shit and the pushing continued to get worse and worse.
Somehow, our side of the tunnel moved slowly, slowly towards the light. Laura dragged me with her and we stumbled into the toilets, which were uncrowded in comparison. Thank God I was with Laura and Olivia. If I was with three other people exactly like myself, we all would have crawled on the floor and waited to die, but Laura and Olivia are quite good at yelling and pushing people and er, not crying in public.
Fucking hell. I've just made myself feel panicky all over again about that stupid tunnel thing. A jihad on Showcase!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
After the Toilet Fiasco, we stayed around the bar because it was the least crowded section of the whole club. We actually had a good time, in the end. In fact, when I looked at my phone and it was 5am, we were really surprised how late it was. We decided to have a little sit. We walked from the bar to a sofa and sat down. I put my hand in my bag... and my phone was gone.
We looked on the floor, we asked at the bar, we checked in the toilets, we looked all over the seating area... But it was no use. We rang it once and it rang out, but then the second time we rang it, it was switched off. Someone had swiped it on my way from the bar to the seating area.
The annoying thing is I'm always so, so careful. I know I loose things a lot, but I've never had my bag pickpocketed before.
I was inconsolable. I couldn't stop crying. Everything I own of any value had now officially been lost or broken: My pandora bracelet, my camera, my laptop, my GHD's... "AND N-N-NOOOOOW M-M-MY PHONE!!!"
It was time to call it a night. Me and Laura walked home because... well I can't remember why, but when we got back to mine Laura called up Orange and tried to block my SIM for me.
"BLOCQUEZ! BLOCQUEZ" she was yelling at the operator.
We had no idea if she'd managed to block my SIM or not, but it was 6.30am and it was time to go to bed. In the morning I woke up and felt happy for a moment, until I realised I'd had my phone stolen. It wasn't just the phone, it was the convenience, the contacts, the ability to Whats App people in England for free...
I'm going to sleep now, but I'm glad I finally wrote a post about Showcase. NOBODY GO THERE. EVER.