Dickinson College Humanities Program in Norwich

Prince, Christina Aguilera, and the London Nightlife

August 22, 2009 · 2 Comments

The Tube ride to Lester Square

The Tube ride to Lester Square

Click to play Prince’s Kiss while reading for full effect

Full of excitement with the legal drinking age, and finally getting over our jet lag, a few of us decided that we would venture into the London nightlife on our first Friday Night on the continent. It was 11pm when Anthony, Patsy, Jeyla and I headed to the tube. Although all the pubs seem to close at 12am, we knew that the tube runs till 1 or 2am, and the clubs close at 2am. With this in mind, we hopped on the Northern Black line and headed for Lester Square.

Tube Ride

Tube Ride

When we got off the train we were hit with lights and bars and people ALL OVER the streets.  This is when I began to feel the culture shock. Not only were the streets busy, which I am used to from living in New York City, but the people walking were falling over. They were what the Brits would call “smashed.” And it wasn’t just a select few, it was EVERYONE. They were stumbling and falling all over the sidewalks and streets. Some were even carrying open bottles of beer! To me this was the most shocking since in the USA we have open container laws.

We found what seemed like our best option for a dance club, showed our ID, and paid 5 pounds to get in. But if I thought that the intoxicated people on the streets gave me culture shock, the club sent me into cardiac arrest! Comfortably busy and filled, the club had even more intoxicated adults. There were no young people our age. And most of the adults were couples or single men.

Patsy and Jeyla dancing

Patsy and Jeyla dancing

But by far,  the most shocking differences between our American ways and the English ways were not even our drinking habits or behavior, but our tastes in music and dancing styles. As the four of us entered the dance floor, music we did not recognize blasted from the DJ table while English people sang the words and swayed against the beat on the dance floor. And when songs we recognized came on, the English cleared the floor and waited till a song they liked came on. And when I say songs we know came on, I’m not talking about Beyonce’s new album or the Black Eyed Peas. The “good songs” we heard consisted of a techno remix of Usher’s Yeah, Christina Aguilera’s Dirty, Britney Spears’ Gimme More, and we can’t forget the best one, Prince’s Kiss. Rocking out to Prince in a club at 1:30 am, my friends, is culture shock.

Until next time,


Categories: Megan
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2 responses so far ↓

  •   fitzgerald // Aug 22nd 2009 at 19:10

    It is interesting to read about the cultural differences between England and America regarding the consumption of alcohol. Open bottles of beer would definitely not bode well with local police in the States. Also, being carded in England is a bit strange. Sure, the legal drinking age is 18, but most pubs will not card you (at least in my short experience so far) but clubs will. I’m surprised that more younger people were not at the club. Do you think there is any particular reason behind this?

  •   roseam // Aug 23rd 2009 at 19:29

    Actually, I was carded in a pub. But I’m foreign and look like a twelve year old, so it wasn’t all that surprising.

    It seems that since Brits have been drinking since eighteen years of age, they can be afforded more responsibility and trusted to take care of themselves (i.e. continue to drink in the streets). Once the novelty has worn off their less likely to make a scene or harm themselves from drinking (maybe).

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