All the alternatives to clubbing you resort to when you live in the countryside
There are no bouncers, only shepherds
It's safe to say most people at uni either grew up in a city, or at least near a fairly large town, so they are no stranger to city-scale nightlife and all its wonders. However, I grew up in a small, Scottish village outside a small, Scottish town in the middle of small, Scottish nowhere. As you might expect, my experience of clubbing was limited to say the least.
I think I understand the appeal of the countryside. If you're looking to raise a child, it's perfect; away from all the noise of the city, it's an idyllic setting to grow up in. Similarly, if you're older and retired, escaping the hectic nature of society seems ideal. If you're a teenager on the other hand, there's bugger all to do – or so it seems.
While the possibilities of clubbing in the country are slim and none, there are other options you can turn to for a night out.
Here are some of the options:
Going to the only sad, small pub in town
If you've ever been to a small town, you know the sort of place I'm talking about. It's usually filled with regulars and no one else. You and your friends walk in, and it's like a scene from a Western. Everyone stops talking, some quickly take a sip from their pint while others have a good look at whoever has just made the mistake of walking through the door.
The primary reason for this is that the average age of the customers of these sorts of places is around 60 years old, so when a group of teenagers come tumbling in it's pretty much a given that they don't trust a single one of them. You ignore the piercing stares from between the flat caps and bifocals and walk up to the bar, driving license in hand, because of course you're going to get ID'd when you're very clearly the only people in the bar who don't remember the 1900s.
Drinking in the park at 2am
This territory is typically reserved for underage drinkers in the civilised world. However, grabbing a bottle of cheap paint-stripper labelled "vodka" from the local Co-Op and taking it down to the local park with your mates is surprisingly commonplace for over-agers in countryside towns as well.
Being the countryside, it's not just parks that find themselves littered with plastered teenagers. Local fields are also hotspots for getting drunk in the dark, cold and (often) rain. It may not be the most glamorous way to have a piss-up, but desperate times call for desperate measures, and shut pubs mixed with no empty houses brings on some serious desperation.
The House Party
Ah, the gaff. The old faithful. The house party is truly the crème de la crème of small-town nightlife. The best ones are always planned at the last minute. One of your friends has parents who are either absent or particularly forgiving that night, but all that matters is that there's an empty house.
The two of you begin formulating a plan, inviting people individually until it gets to the point where you create a group chat with far too many people in it. If you're feeling particularly ambitious, you create a Facebook event page. This is where the wheat gets separated from the chaff, giving potential gaff-goers three choices: "Going", "Not Going", or "Maybe", which basically means they're not going.
The intrepid few who commit to actually turning up are instructed to bring their poison of choice to the martyr's house at 8pm. Once the night begins the following hours are filled with laughter, tears, booze and atrocious songs because somebody let the one with bad taste get to the stereo first. You wake up at 10am wondering where you are, and then it all comes back – what a night.
Sure, at a surface level the options for countryside teenagers to go out and get wrecked appear limited, but upon closer inspection there's always something you can turn to in times of need. As a final note, while a few of these options seem grim compared to a night out in the big city, they hold a special place in my heart.
Some of the most fun I've had as a teenager has been arguing over pool at a spit-and-sawdust pub, drinking under the stars at stupid o'clock, and laughing with my best mates getting hammered in someone's living room.