Hell is a silent disco at the Natural History Museum

60,000 of you want to go though

Something I noticed this week – in the way you hear individual drops of rain making individual noise before the fall becomes relentless – on the Facebook ticker where you can really easily stalk people, something strange and troubling kept happening. People kept saying they were interested in going to a silent disco at the Natural History Museum. By this morning every person I’ve ever met said they were going. 60,000 of them. 60,000 people leaving comments on the event’s wall like:

Zoe it’s ur birthday on this day!!! Can u imagine if we got a minibus to this <3


Georgina, Sharon, this is the weekend were in London lets go to this xxx


Tom, Harry, Matt this is what we could have been doing if we weren’t at the cider festival aha

A silent disco? The awkward limbs and lonely gurns, the headphones, the despair, the boredom, the atomisation, the people in the corner having a good time who were really into getting their scouting badges  when they were well into their teens: welcome to the silent disco. Welcome to a place where all the girls look like Dobby from Peep Show, welcome to a place where all the boys cut out bits from Time Out so they can “do them on the weekend.” Sartre said hell is other people, but Sartre had never been to a silent disco. Hell is silent discos.


Hell is a silent disco here

Now, before you sit down and pull the rest of this article over your head like a blanket made of words, I’d like you to keep the next sentence in your head, because it informs everything I’m about to say: I haven’t been to a silent disco before, mainly because I’m not massively fucking wet. OK, we’ve got that out of the way, good.

They're getting the maddest rage on in here

They’re getting the maddest rage on in here

On the other hand, I have been to the Natural History Museum. I remember that place. There’s that big cathedraly hallway with the bronchitus (probably not the right name there) bones on display, all the boxes full of old leaves – are they leaves? – the T-Rex robot which makes you wish they’d hurry up and build Jurassic Park but for real, there’s a statue of Charles Dickens, no, Richard Dawkins, or maybe it’s just a live feed of Richard Dawkins Twitter account, with all his fun tweets about date rape and how the Prophet Mohammed never actually rode a flying horse or something.

What I’ve demonstrated there is that I’ve not been to the Natural History Museum in a while. No problem though, the event organisers have got this:

Join us in the beautiful Hintze Hall where we’ll be partying until the wee hours under Dippy the dinosaur! And so we don’t wake the sleeping fossils and in true silent disco fashion, you’ll be listening to your chosen channel through wireless headphones. 

If I transport myself to a very twee and irritating place I can imagine why this might appeal to twee and irritating people. But it’s difficult. Like Secret Cinema, or buying your mates Christmas presents from Firebox, and whatever the fuck Back to The Future Day was supposed to be, the silent disco in the Natural History Museum is one of those nostalgia cringe fests that pollute this city.