building has limits, a club has an end
This past year the relationship between the nightclub and the queer body has been a troubling thought. It’s one that is built upon problems: the problems of capital, the problems of race, the problems of territoriality, the problems of gender, and the problems of love. It is a relationship that is haunted by specters of hegemony but it is potentially the only relationship I can think of... at least within the frameworks of building.
Natalie Oswin says that “for as long as non-heterosexuals are discriminated against, queer spaces will remain something that... queers cannot not want.”
The relationship between queer people and the nightclub is a sort of reluctant love. A love that hurts either way.
Maybe it is not about being with the nightclub at all, but about it being near you -- like a piece of fabric sitting millimetres away from your skin, always ready to be taken off. Perhaps this fabric is part of a windbreaker rather than a raincoat, a layer draped over your shoulders: something to break the gale but not enough to stop the rain.
For queer people the nightclub can only do so much to make us feel safe and even then it doesn’t take a lot to disturb that precarious feeling. By moving closer to building we move nearer still to it failing queer bodies. So when we go to the club, when we enter the building and move across a dancefloor with lethargic limbs, we do so with the knowledge that these walls can be burnt down, that these doors can be kicked in, and that this safety is only temporary.
When a finger presses down on the edge of the light switch and the fluorescents are turned on, we know that that uneasiness that lies outside was already lingering here, too.
So for a moment, under the effects of light and haze and sound, there is a complicated strength when we queers are present within these spaces where we might still appreciate this feeling of safety, this bumping of spines, these gestures of sorry.
Photo Credit: Joe Dowling