Alternative Clubbing: Narcissists

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Have you had your fill of Filth? Is the ‘VIP’ area at the Bridge starting to lose its appeal? Are you feeling unable to face another bop standing in the corner sucking face with your college dad to the sound of ‘hilarious’ 90’s pop ‘classics’? Then Cherwell24 is here to save you. Every week this term, we’ll be reporting on a regular Oxford club night that offers something different from the run of the mill, something beyond the dreaded ‘cheese’, something that, just maybe, you might even consider dancing to sober… Not that sobriety has much to do with Wednesdays at Baby Love bar, situated on King Edward Street, just off the High. Every other week, this cocktail-bar-and-club plays host to Narcissists, which is pretty much the daddy of the indie/alternative clubbing scene around these parts. If you’re the kind of indie kid who likes your guitars squashed up against your electro beats in the company of girls with unfeasibly cool hair and emotionally scarred, heavily mascara-ed boys, chances are you’ll fit in here. So, exactly what kinds of sounds keep the regulars coming back? The emphasis is firmly on the danceable. A typical night sees the likes of LCD Soundsystem and Le Tigre merge naturally into harder, scuzzier electro sounds as the night wears on, and singalong Strokes songs followed by a remix of 1-2-3-4 (that song off the iPod ads) where Leslie Feist’s vocals float over a sea of brooding techno. A girl stands outside the bar with the smokers. Why does she come to Narcissists? “It makes me feel wholesome.” Wholesome? “Yeah – there are a lot of pretentious indie people here, and I feel wholesome compared to them.” She pauses. “Like – like wholemeal bread, you see.” She staggers back into the club. Some would argue that, as it enters its fourth year, being a self-confessed Narcissist has become passé. True, the cloakroom isn’t free anymore, and the drinks were never cheap, and chances are you’ll hear roughly the same tunes and see roughly the same faces every time you go. But they’re not bad tunes, really, are they? They’re not bad faces. Not compared with the Baywatch theme song at Filth.

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