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Friday, August 01, 2003
In Da Club
It was a coming of age.

I was 20 when I first started going to Club Park Avenue. It was the best club in Tallahassee at the time. And, like any good club, it started as a predominately gay bar.

CPA had a “goth” night on Monday nights. On Wednesdays, there was a ridiculous college night where drinks were 50 cents and the place would get packed and they’d open the upstairs dance floor at midnight for new wave / olde wave / darkwave / industrial hits. (Downstairs was booty music where, on more than one occasion, frisky college students engaged in intercourse on the dance floor; two students were caught once and it was big news in the local paper.)

Having spent years in high school and early in college not fitting in, it was nice to go somewhere and be accepted. I’d get dressed in all black, tease my hair into a suitable mess, and meet up with my friend, Aaron. One of us would have the underage-contraband bottle of Captain Morgan, which we’d pass back and forth in the car outside the club until it opened. One time, Aaron (who was 18) literally drank until he had to open the door and throw up. And then he closed the door and drank some more. I passed on drinking any more after him that night.

Of course, we knew the DJs. We’d even hang out in the DJ booths, picking out records, even bringing some of our own stuff for them to spin. The night after my 21st birthday (a Monday), I took a list of five requests to Mike to play. One of them was “Trophy” by Siouxsie and the Banshees. I remember when he played “Don’t Fall” by the Chamleons I leapt in the air like a ballet dancer on PCP and started thrashing and stomping around on the dance floor by myself.

And thinking back, I spent a lot of time on the dance floor by myself.

Monday nights were sparsely populated. In addition to the dedicated homosexuals that would represent at the club, there were a couple dozen black-clad denizens lurking about. The dance floor itself would be empty for large chunks of time, especially early in the night. But when Mike would throw on a popular goth/dance song, the kids would descend on the floor like vampires encircling a defenseless virgin in your favorite Anne Rice novel.

Life at the club was mostly fun, but there were hard truths to be learned. For instance, never bank on a relationship that begins at the club lasting very long or going beyond the bedroom (or the club). I met lots of girls (and women) at the club, and dated a few (or many) of them. And none of them lasted. Not the girl I met on my 21st birthday and whose car I chased down the street to get her number. Not the older one who was separated from her husband. Not the one who ran off with my Bauhaus CD when she started fucking her ex-boyfriend. Not even the one who just wanted to be friends because, to date me, she’d have to be physically attracted to me . . . even though she didn’t necessarily want to sleep with every guy she dated.

I didn’t meet Michelle at a club, so I guess we’re meant to last. But that’s another story.

Drinking was a popular side-story. I’ve passed out (more than once) at the club. One time, I just fell asleep across a row of chairs. Another night, I blacked out while dancing (after way too many 50-cent kamikazes) and came back to reality throwing up out the door of Michelle’s car driving down Monroe Street. Many of my most fascinating drinking adventures took place in or around a club.

The club nights later switched to other nights and other clubs. Tallahassee couldn’t really sustain more than one “goth” night. For a brief time, it migrated from CPA to The Louvre. Other clubs had cool nights that came and went: The Late Night Library, Waterworks (original), Club 506 / Nightline, and Clyde’s & Costello’s (very briefly . . . that’s where the sorority girl requested “Tainted Love” and our DJ friend played the very un-danceable Coil version). I kept going to the clubs off and on until we left Tallahassee in 1996.

We moved back to town in 1999. I know the DJs who do the most popular “goth” and retro nights in town . . . both of which are held at predominately gay clubs.

And I don’t dance much any more. But when I do . . . watch out!


The CD is done. The quiz is coming Monday (I hope). I don’t know how many CDs will be available to give away, because I’ve promised out a goodly bunch.