Have we seen the demise of the after party?

A debate on the end of the end of the night

JEREMY OGUNLEYE & PETE MUSSON debate whether the after party is dead.


Once upon a time, I would nonchalantly glance at my phone, content the club night was about to end, safe in the knowledge that there was still more fun to be had.

Now when I’m outside the club at 5AM amongst the hoards of people clamouring together to maintain their energy levels I often ask myself, “Is this 20 minute walk back to this guy’s house actually worth it?”

On arrival, I regret that the cynic in me didn’t just call it a night in time to grab a chicken wrap and annoy someone in the kebab van queue. But FOMO and other such abandonment issues seem to get the better of me.

once down, there’s no coming back up

Now don’t get me wrong, this is not me saying after parties are shit and this isn’t a thinly veiled attack on my friends either. No, no, no, not by any stretch of my limited imagination.

I used to love continuing into the early hours and adding to the party atmosphere up until the break of dawn. The after party, to me, used to be a microcosm of a relaxed but buzzing social club.

You could look around the room and you’d have the hardcore ravers still “cutting them badboy shapes” to an abundance of saucy house music and funky beats. Followed by the group of people having the most hilarious conversation about the inflation of Freddo’s over the last five years and how’s it symptomatic of Western capitalism, or a rather thought-provoking debate about who would be more fucked if North Korea started a nuclear war; Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland.

Those days are now behind us. Perhaps this is a reflection on me getting older or the company I keep, but the after parties I find myself in nowadays are with people prolonging the inevitable; the grinding comedown/hangover that awaits them in a couple of hours or simply just avoiding the reality that the party can’t go on forever.

take me home

To add to that, the conversations in these after-parties are seemingly no longer interesting and thus lack the spark I felt they once had.

Instead, probably because I’m sporting my large Kano-esque parka jacket, the questions directed my way are “Do you have a number?”, which then leads to the drudgingly tedious conversation about the Ketamine drought in the UK that has also affected other parts of Europe due to the lack of it at a festival someone was at in Croatia.

Then there’s the hanger-on with the laptop eager to show us a new Soundcloud mix that he heard at another after-party to demonstrate his eclectic underground taste in music.

Perhaps I have a post-adolescent romanticism attached to the idea of after-parties, and perhaps they’re still fun, and perhaps I’m just the party pooper prick quietly judging everyone who should stay at home, but at the next after-party you find yourself at simply ask yourself “Am I having a good time?”

P.S. No need to thank me.

‘Have you heard the new Aphex Twin?’


I think that this imagined distinction we all subscribe to when we talk of “pre’s” and “afters” is half the problem; it inadvertently monumentalises the idea of “The Party” into something that sounds clumsily Orwellian.

Sometimes parties are good, and sometimes they are not so good, and an afterparty should really be no exception. No doubt, a key problem can always be that, with the cosy buffer of humans and music and dancing and beers now removed, the residual partygoers are often forced to interact  – ‘badvibescrew’ meets ‘goodvibescrew’, but who is which?

Looking further, the cause of loss in energy in an after-party is probably not just social awkwardness, but social embarrassment too. I get the sense that many people want to see (and be seen to see) the story of the night through, a kind of ‘FOMO’ as Jeremy put it; but herein lies a lesson for us all: if people are leaving, don’t panic (you number-conscious bore) as they’ll only come back to haunt you.

You’ll be awake as well, and chances are you’ll have to talk to them, but this is easily solved. So, might I ask people to scrap their ‘FOFO’ (Fear Of Fucking Off) and occasionally just fuck off? But thanks for coming and do help yourself to a mint on the way out.

No sleep for 30 hours

Shindig aficionado and all-round goodvibes ambassador Byron Goodman (St. Catz) made the perceptive remark that “you rarely get smashed at an afterparty”. This is true, but I’m surprised, Jeremy, at your disappointment. Are you expecting an ecstasy and cocaine-fuelled orgy? Perhaps you could outline what you’re expecting and then we can go from there.

Plus, don’t forget that while you’re sat ruminating over whether or not you’re having a sick time, the genuine badvibes crew are making their way to the boathouses, easily forgotten though they are.

Though I sympathise with ma’colleague’s view, I think it’s too defeatist to make such a claim before the year is up – an after-party can sometimes be what you make it, and if you can’t make it then there’s no harm in getting to bed in time for rowing.

The after-party, it’s true, has become a shadow of its former self, but maybe becoming more and more misanthropic is part of growing up.

I’ll drink to that.

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