How to nail the vibe at an after-party

Don’t go straight for the aux cord babe


An irresistible feeling, an exchanged look with mates, an Uber to a house you’ve never seen before and probably won’t see again. You’ve arrived at the after-party. 

Because you’re not going to waste the next three hours of your high, because every last nasal drop must be wrung from this experience, you’ll say yes to any chance to keep it all going as you leave the club.

This doesn’t exclude the possibility of taking the salad of friends, friends of friends and smoking area randoms back to your place.

Whatever the case, the after-party is happening. Guest or host, this is how to nail the vibe of the usually shite, infrequently magic period between the end of the night and the middle of the next day.

Your shoes

Take them off. No I’m not joking. Seriously, take those things off and leave them by the door. Thankyou. Come in.

Although you should never actually tell anyone to do this. They should just know.

How many?

There’s a necessary middle ground to be claimed and protected here. Too few people (we’re talking under 12) and it’s not just not live enough. This is an after-party remember: not a gathering, not an addendum to the evening for your circle of close mates to reminisce over a couple of glasses of wine and a ciggie before bed.

There should be complete strangers here. Someone who’s name you thought you knew (Carter? Cass? Chaz?) but are too scared to ask ought to be pissing on the neighbours potted hyacinths. The noise from the conversation should be equal to the music without exceeding it.

Speaking of music

Yes, there is music. No, it shouldn’t be you reaching for the aux cord – although that’s better than reaching for an acoustic guitar (acoustic guitars, ukuleles, harmonicas, fucking mandolins , they’re all banned here, mandatory shank for anyone who even glances at them).

possibly too much

possibly too much

If you absolutely must be the one to sort it you need to judge it right. Are people dancing? You sort of want them to dance. Be in touch with the fact that Justin Bieber just released three of the gassiest bangers in 2015.

Two ways of covering your arse if it all goes horribly wrong and you disappoint the entire room. Firstly you were playing Justin Bieber, so you were just being ironic – OK everyone? Secondly go B2B with someone else and just blame them if everyone hates what you play.

Will there be dancing?

Yes.

People to avoid #1

Great, the couple are here. In lieu of having rashy STDs and crippling Fake Taxi addictions like the rest of us, the couple are sitting on the sofa.

They want to tell you about the summer break hitchhiking across North Africa (“You would, like, not believe how blue Chefchaouen is”). Don’t let them.

Let them sit there and do the coupley thing: not talking to each other, looking the other way, slightly less fucked than everyone else, cosseted by the knowledge they’ll be having the exact same shag tonight they have every other night.

Drink

Go round the corner to the newsagent and buy one bottle of wine, four tinnies and a ten pack. No more, no less. And take cash out because you’ll be picking up in a bit.

Drugs

Sort out what you want quickly and early. Do not let it drag on and on and on. Do not end up cancelling on “Captain Jack” when he’s halfway between Clapham and Dalston because you first texted him at 7 am and now that Saturday Kitchen is on, nobody really fancies two grams of coke between the seven of you left on the sofas.

When you get them figure out what the atmosphere is like. Don’t Tony Montana on the John’s Mum’s tasteful glass coffee table if no one else is. Sneak off to the toilet and do it there.

Chat

Get everything that’s happened over the last six hours out of your system. Did Ellie really get off with Dan behind that pillar, even though Dan has a girlfriend? Figure it out, make sure everyone who cares about it knows and be as entertaining with it as you possibly can be.

Nobody wants to hear about your pyramid sized mental health problems or that you’re thinking of coming out or that your Dad has throat cancer. Keep it lighter than a Stacey Dooley shitshow on BBC3.

Find one person you genuinely like to have a cigarette with, then tell them about your pyramid sized mental health problems or that you’re thinking of coming out or that your Dad has throat cancer.

See what I did there eh?

People to avoid #2

Whoever keeps asking about cabs in a tone that wants to be inconspicuous but blatantly means they’re not having a good time and they want to leave before the sun has even come up.

Curtains

Close them. Unlike grabbing the aux cord, shutting them will definitely make you a hero. The outside world with its mortgages, its school shootings, its dog walking, its zebra crossings, its licence fee payments, its cyclists and croissants; fuck the outside world.

Phones

Don’t be in the corner scrolling through Isabel Hardman’s “Tweets & Replies” when you can barely even see the screen anyway. Don’t over do it on snapchat – a black and white selfie of you squinting at the camera with a turquoise caption (“I’m actually quite fit tbh”) is going to cringe you into another dimension when you wake up tomorrow.

Lighting

You want this party to be lit not litI want to see some candles (doubling as lighters ofc), I want to see the eerie blue from whatever device Soundcloud is playing off and yeah we could all handle a few lamps.

But main lights? No. Never. This party is a fortress of grinding teeth and barely hidden under the surface paranoia. The last thing anyone wants or needs is to be confronted with the bleak reality of their (possibly) retreating hairline, their weird teeth, their thin lips, their odd birthmark, the strange little blob of cartilage in the their left ear – don’t let Char or Mark see any of this in the big mirror in Harriet’s living room by turning the main light on.

People to avoid #3

Connie just did a double balloon and she now resembles an immiserated, badly kept animal in a third world zoo. Unlike a zoo animal you should not look at her, take selfies in front of her, or really disturb her in anyway, even briefly. She has The Fear.

Hats

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Make your peace with them. Accept it: not only will other people be wearing them, you will be wearing them also.

Pillow forts

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Vastly underrated imo.

People to avoid #4

Whoever wants a phone charger. Buy a portable one Tony you dick, or put it on airplane until you need to get a cab.

Who should you pull and at what time

Between 6am -7am is your golden window here. Pre 6 am you need to figure out if there’s anyone compelling enough to bother chirpsing, after the hunt you’re going for it.

The after-party is not where you want to shag anyone you actually like. Do it properly, take them for brunch in Borough Market and over smashed avo and poached eggs on rye, tell them about your feelings.

How cosy?

I have seen literal sleeping bags, literal Mum bought them from Blacks in 2007 and you now have them in the flat literal sleeping bags come out at an after-party before. I was not impressed.

When to leave

The sun should be up, businesses should be open, joggers should be going round parks and you should feel utterly hollow inside.