An ode to Club I, the epitome of regional nightlife
My Nan used to go there
If you study at Exeter University’s Tremough Campus or Falmouth School of Art, you know that there’s only one place to go on a Thursday night. Yes, I’m talking about the jewel in the crown of hometown nightlife glory, Club International (commonly referred to as club ‘i’ – classy, we know).
Despite Falmouth having two universities, Club I is the only place which sells alcohol until 2.30am in the whole of town. It gets pretty hectic at times, with naive and expectant freshers eagerly queueing down the flights of stairs that you’ll probably stumble down in an inebriated state later. There was once a Vanilla, but it got closed down within just a few months due to club’s irresistible £1.40 tequila shots. It pretty much eliminates all competition by making drinks in other bars seem ‘too expensive’ in comparison. There was also Mangos which played some good music at times, but this got shut too. As a result, students were left with one option and began simply referring to it as just ‘club’.
Locals will know it’s decades old and stretches back to the time when sailors used to dock their boats at the harbour and go for a jolly downtown. Even my nan has said “do people still go to club international dear?”, before describing the same kind of bar and the same colour of carpet that we’re all so familiar with.
The bouncers are all well known and often stand by the toilets to give directions when you’re drunkenly stumbling into the wrong door. One of them is even a PE teacher at Falmouth Secondary School, meaning that he can pretty much recognise anyone underage attempting to enter into the hallowed sticky walls.
Most of the workers in the club will become your acquaintances. Either the ticket lady, the cloakroom workers, the bar staff or the bouncers see your face every week. This stage of recognition is sometimes quite depressing as you come to the realisation that you have become a ‘regular’.
The night will usually begin with two pitchers in the notoriously strict Spoons, where you’ll probably be ID’d about three times before successfully gaining an alcoholic beverage. From there most people slowly progress through the different bars and pubs such as Cribbs, Mono, Handbar, Grapes, Watermans (before it closed – sob) and Toast. The brave souls will venture towards the other end of town and experience the rusticity of Chainlocker or listen to some live music in Five Degrees, before making the long and treacherous journey back towards club.
Despite all these diversions and attempts to go somewhere different, everyone knows the night will end with you walking up those familiar steps for about the 100th time whilst queueing to receive your stamp of shame.
Once inside you will without a doubt hear the all too recognisable sounds of ‘Mr Brightside’, ‘Teenage Dirtbag’, Nicki Minaj’s ‘Starships’ and maybe even Bob the builder. To top it off, the night always finishes with ‘Bump n Grind’ and the illumination of your worst nightmares will come in the form of fluorescent lights – a poorly disguised attempt to hurry you back outside into the forgiving darkness.
It’s pretty much guaranteed that you’ll visit the ‘bottom bar’ in an attempt to escape the queues surrounding the dancefloor. If you’d prefer to catch some fresh air away from the smell of sweaty feet then you can always take a trip down to bottom car park, where you’ll either find someone chundering in a corner or crying on one of the benches.
Frequent visits to the girls toilets will also be made to take multiple pictures of your friendship group in a full length mirror.
When the night has come to a close it is almost inevitable that you will buy a foot long from Subway or a chicken donor from Bayside Grill. Alternatively many people just mill around the outside of St George’s Arcade, refusing to believe that club has finished for another week.
The rule where you can only eat inside the kebabby and not take food into your warm, cosy bed is mildly annoying to say the least. Cod on the corner seems more appealing at this point, but its new closing time of 2.30am means you’ll have to leave club early to grab your catch of the day before closing hours, and that’s just not going to happen.
No matter how many times it’s been visited, you will keep returning to club again and again. Whether you’re a local or a student, the fact that there’s only one place to go means you will always know someone, be it you’re seminar friend or classmate from primary school. So go and experience the simple joys of partying in a quaint seaside town while you still can. After all, you can only go there about once a week anyway.