This morning I got up at 5am to go raving at the Ministry of Sound.
My friend Angela had invited me to what is fast becoming a major movement in cities around the world – the pre-office morning rave.
Instead of alcohol and class A’s, we were on a strict diet of fresh smoothies and free hugs. The idea is to start the day with three hours of dancing before heading to your nine-to-five high on natural endorphins.
Last time I was at Ministry was over ten years ago when you had to be careful which angle you wore your bandana for fear of being knifed in the head (But the bass lines tho).
This morning the vibe was different. The adrenaline came less from a genuine fear for your life, mixed with the bass rearranging your molecules on its way through you, and more from the Glitter Fairies who wantonly smeared their wares on your face and the barefoot hipster with a guitar who encouraged us all to join the singalong to his Bob Marley mash-up.
And this was all before I’d made it to the cloakroom.
There were a lot of very happy, awake, positive people and I felt like I was in a strange dream.
I had also been told that this month’s theme was Halloween, so I’d dutifully donned my darkest, most gothic-looking outfit and smeared my face in zombie make-up, only to find that everyone else had completely ignored the dress-code and come in bright, neon clubbing gear and gold face paint.
I tried to rock my inner Morticia for a bit before going to the loos to wipe off the black eye shadow and mugging a glitter fairy.
A disconcerting amount of people were offering free hugs, one man had made a sign that said “Smile! It’s Free!” and at least three times that morning the whole room erupted into a spontaneous chant of “Love! Love! Love!”
And all before I’d had my morning poo.
There were random yoga mats scattered around the joint in case anyone fancied bursting into a spontaneous Baddha-konasana. And they did. A lot of people did.
I spent the first hour questioning a lot of my life-choices, and wishing that there was some section of the club allocated as the Cynics Corner where I could go and rave in peace, silently judging these weird Morning People.
And it dawned on me that none of these people had grown up in Elephant and Castle. In fact, none of them had so much as set foot within Zone 6 until they were well past their formative years. Because no one looks this fresh faced and downright jovial if you’ve been raised on the streets like me and my homies have.
But eventually the tunes got too good not to throw some shapes to, and I even got myself a mango and coconut smoothie and sipped it appreciatively as I bounced to what is now retro 90s dance music. And yes, I hugged a few strangers too.
But I kept my shoes and my moody South London Screw-Face on just to redress the balance a bit.
As I left the club, a happy looking Mediterranean woman, clearly raised on olive oil and granny love, handed me a flyer for their next event.
And on the way back (at 9:30am) I called my sister, who had also been up since 5am with her newborn baby and was happy to engage in some cynical bitching about just how ridiculous the whole affair was.
But we somehow ended up laughing. And then reminiscing. And then talking about another event in Brixton next month where you can bring your kids and the music’s not too loud. And then we booked it in.
I got to work feeling confused. The only reason I’ve ever got up at 5am is to go on holiday. And yet, despite the jet-lag, I was definitely still in London. Worse, I was at work, with remnants of glitter in my hair feeling a bit smelly and slightly ashamed.
…It was about 3pm when the endorphins kicked in. I caught myself smiling at unsuspecting tube passengers and fighting the urge to engage in actual conversation.
I skipped home, taking unusually deep breaths and texting loving messages to my bemused friends. I smiled at my neighbours and bought a homeless guy a sandwich.
When I got home I reached into my pocket and found the flyer the woman had given me. I put the date in my diary.
Damn you Morning Gloryville. Damn you.