Kitchen Season is upon us
It’s the only way to have a good night in winter
To understand Kitchen Season – what it is, how to do it properly, why it’s the only good thing about this time of year – I want to take you back to summer.
It’s hard to remember it now but in June and July and August the world seemed to be saying “take me”. You were organised, booked up for months in advance, ready for Secret Garden Party, with tickets for several Brixton terrace parties, sorted for two weeks driving across Morocco because fuck it.
People were better: safer, funnier, lighter because they loved life, loved being outside for these moments, the uproar and the tumult. Everyone trapped in a vast conspiracy to make each other happy.
Now the world says “survive me”, a landscape of heavy rain and Scandinavian darkness. The night bus is a mobile prison powered entirely by ill-will and dread. Nobody wants to come out and it’s impossible to organise anything which involves being outside for more than two minutes. It’s like being trapped inside a never ending Arvo Pärt composition.
But you still go out, obviously. Because it’s Kitchen Season. Between the end of October and just before Christmas it’s Kitchen Season. You are living it right now and you don’t even realise it.
It’s the time of year when people do drugs and get drunk in their mates’ kitchens. It’s casual nights like this:
Going round to a mates house with about 10 other people there, drinking red wine in the kitchen, lining up your drugs on the counter – Kitchen Season.
A rogue Friday, totally unplanned, which doesn’t involve pubs or pres or clubs but ends, once you’ve all picked up, in a small room that was probably some sort of pantry 100 years ago – Kitchen Season.
The dinner party around eight people turn up to (in couples), where smoking indoors isn’t just allowed but encouraged, which ends in an 8am gak off – Kitchen Season.
Is there still dancing? Yes, you’re smashed and someone played loads of ironic disco. Will there be shagging? Yeah, almost certainly. There’s none of the haggling and ritual stress of club pulling here. And there’s almost always impromptu fancy dress with whatever you’ve got under the bed.
Jane Austen once said that “one can never have too large a party”. Jane, I love you, but you clearly never enjoyed a good Kitchen Season.
These are small, intimate gatherings, not house parties. Everyone knows everyone else, no one checks Twitter, or gets gassed when someone takes the aux cord: no one wonders when to book an Uber, there are no weird stoners in the room upstairs talking about the TED talks they watched instead of having a job.
One of the hallmarks of contemporary nightlife is all the reaching and straining involved, first to make it happen with the people you want there, then to make sure it’s not totally shit.
Embracing Kitchen Season, (which takes place in your own kitchen half the time) is more than necessary – it’s the only way you’ll have a good night this winter.