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London's Hippodrome Proves An Education For The New Clubbing Breed
Member Name: Sugar Matty O
Date: 14/09/01, updated on 14/09/01 (270 review reads)
Advantages: Just try and ignore that glow of the sign!, Slap bang in the middle of the Leicester Sq hustle and bustle , Pretty accessible - actually you can't really miss it
Disadvantages: How much for 2 beers?, Unspectacular interior, Disappointing amount of 'plushness' if u know what I mean
Back in the day when clubbing was seen as a step up from trying to sneak in back entrances to pubs when hitting 18, the bright lights/garish neon of The Hippodrome lured myself (at the time, a wizened 18 year old of four months) and my mate Walloss who had just turned the same age to a place that encapsulates everything thats right and wrong about our capital city. There we were, having struggled for hours to find our intended destination of The Gardening Club in Covent Garden - which by our hazy eyesight had turned into a greasy cafe for the evening - drawn in like moths around a 40 watt bulb having come to the adult conclusion of 'this is London, there must be some clubs round here somewhere'. I'd heard of The Hippodrome as home to the premier drum&bass event Orange and was under the premise that the venue can't be that bad if it had housed jungle's A-list DJ's regularly reeled off during the ad breaks on Kiss FM when the event usually got showcased.
In we went then, trying to look like seasoned clubbers aged 18 and firstly being pleasantly surprised at a £10 entrance fee. Having heard the usual horror stories of clubs 'up town' charging ransoms upon entry, a tenner seemed like a real saving. Layout-wise though The Hippodrome initially appeared to be an up-sized replica of our home town club ToTs2000 (right down to the lairy pink neon signs in fact), seeing as it was a fairly symmetrical squareish dancefloor lined by bars with the addition of a second floor of more bars and seating areas. Although the DJ booth, manned by some dinosaur in a knee-length zebra-print coat bouncing all over the place like Zebedee on a space hopper, and sound system were eye-catching and particuarly impressive through the sheer weight of technology used, the area it was plonked in front of was a little under-thought. Still enough to inspire awe into the minds of the wide-eyed mind you.
Looking to mingle and see just how London's beau
tiful people do it, I ordered the first round of drinks, naively taking a fiver from my wallet and then doing a double-take when told that two bottles of lager would actually be costing me £7.60. For A-Level students with an income bordering on less than zilch, the best part of eight squid for a couple of beers was almost too much to swallow, although not quite enough to stop us from having a few more and a series of vodka and oranges afterwards. This is London after all - thats probably cheap compared to some places.
The real reason for our London jaunt was the music. Having no idea what its policy was for a Friday, hearts soon sank as the obligatory club music opening soon descended into farcical cheesey nonsense made all the more teeth-gnashing by city execs and high-flyers finishing a week counting how many islands they own getting on down like the 70's hadn't previously existed. When the cheese was replaced by a concluding club set until kicking out time at 3.30am, we felt we had been slightly shortchanged seeing as that was the sort of drivel we usually endured back home at a fraction of the price. But on our way back to Liverpool Street to catch the 6.30am home we both really knew that we'd been there to test the waters none of our peers were yet old enough to tread and that The Hippodrome was actually a better experience than whilst in the midst of hen-night hedonism and lonely hearts clubbers dancing in singledom. Not recommended for the hardcore crowd but an alternative for those who don't want to take their evenings out too seriously and enjoy the strong odour of over-illuminated Stilton being roasted by hundreds of lost-youth yuppies...