“What to do?” wailed Indie Kid, “ What to do, every other Wednesday when there is no Narcissists?” And the God of the Night (for that was a far more impressive title than ‘God of Oxford Nightlife’) said, “Here, try this. Now, it’s a little different, so be careful.” Indie Kid blinked through his/her/its fringe a little, for the God of Oxford Nightlife was not a benevolent deity, and had inflicted such plagues as Filthy Friday and the Hellmouth itself, the Bridge, on the city. Nevertheless a vigorous marketing campaign and enough hype to sell out a Spice Girls reunion tour had piqued Indie Kid’s interest, and he/she/androgynous smelled smoothing afoot. A charming magical-realist take on a real life dilemma? Oh, but life is so much more exciting than fiction. Last Wednesday did indeed see the unveiling of Actions Stations at Baby Love. In a line-up already bristling with some of the best nights to be had in Oxford, c.f. Poptarts, the aforementioned Narc, Eclectric, Actions Stations had talked the talk to get its foot in the door with the big boys. But did it have the guts to walk into the party like it was walking onto a yacht?  Oh yeah. The ‘media frenzy’ that had seen people getting turned away (the Kings Arms and the Far from the Madding crowd were awash with instant updates and the disappointed. Apparently) couldn’t disguise the fact that this was a lot of fun. The same Narc crowd had decided to put away their pouts and quirks, and had opted to let down their hair a little, and go hardcore retrocore. Was that an eyeliner beauty spot over there? A quiff so gelled that the Fonz would’ve been jealous? Fifties house wife, anyone? So, the crowd had pulled out the big guns on the aesthetic, only to be matched by the décor. Projecting black and white vintage music footage was a stroke of genius and a delightful improvement on the usual Love Bar sweat’n’grime.
The make or break of any clubnight is, of course, the music. Whilst I had reservations, Mr Anton melted my cynical heart with “I get around” by the Beach boys. No, not a cryptic statement about my lovelife, just the first DJ set (or is it…). Setting up the night for the main event of the action stations was no mean feat- but handmaidens Ska and Rockabilly greased the wheels. Not that momentum looked like it was ever going to slow down. Jamie and Rachel got the kids to suspend their disbelief and rolled out tune after tune- some gloriously familiar, others just so infectiously danceable to that you wished they were. Pop served straight up, produced back in the day when it wasn’t a dirty word: no frills, no spills, certainly no injunctions to ‘put anything in/on/next to me’- this stuff was as addictive as shiny sweet things to the kids back then, and hey, maybe we’re not too different from them.
So, after such a dazzling profound thought, what’s left to say? Just go on Feb 6 and see for yourself. I certainly hope that Action Stations can ride the novelty wave and become a permanent fixture- it certainly has the potential to become much more than ‘the-one-that-isn’t-Narc’. These kids have little to worry about- uncomplicated feel-good pop plus gap in the market equals hello, successful clubnight. Now hand me a hairgrip so I can fix my beehive, would you?By Mathura Umachandran
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