Do you remember what it’s like to be 19 - your whole life literally in front of you with all that never-ending youth and a seemingly endless source of energy? No. Me neither.
Daughter #1 celebrated her 19th birthday last Saturday the way all 19th birthdays should be celebrated. In a sweaty techno club in Leeds with her friends until 6am. To be honest, if she wasn’t burning the candle at both ends at that age then we’d have to have a serious talk. It turns out when you’re 19 there are two types of night out. Firstly, there’s “out”, which roughly translated means back home between midnight and 1am.
This isn’t really going out, apparently. “Out” is the middle-aged equivalent of dinner on your lap while watching Strictly, with lights out at 10pm.
Then there’s “out out”. This equates to rolling in at dawn after a night of doing God knows what, God knows where with God knows who until it’s time to go home at an hour when those of us who live in the real world are getting up to go to work.
To put this in context, by the time daughter #1 has had her fill of whatever it is that teenagers do on nights “out out” these days, me and the boss have had a thoroughly enchanting evening, a bellyful of lovely Rioja and been asleep for six hours.
I blame the rave culture of the late 80s-early 90s for this slap-dash attitude to timekeeping. Sure, it was all giggles in 1991, jumping around a field in the middle of nowhere to hardcore techno with thousands of other drug-addled lunatics.
A couple of years before that, lads went out at 7pm on the dot (when the pubs opened) dressed like their dads in slacks, shirts with button-down collars and Paisley patterned ties and came home at 2am because that’s when the clubs shut. If you hadn’t had your fill of fizzy, tasteless lager pumped full of testosterone, fighting and dancing to Rick Astley and Alexander O’Neal records by then it was tough luck, buddy. The fun police arrived at 1.50am to switch on the lights and it was time to go home and sleep it off. Back then we may have been a bunch of lager louts with sensible haircuts and no dress sense, but at least we knew when to call it a night.