This week, Violet’s Joe Pieri dabbles in one of Cambridge’s most infamous LGBT+ club nights, Glitterbomb

Joe Pieri

You don't get drag queens at Friday LifeFacebook: Glitterbomb Cambridge

22.00 Picking an outfit: conservative? Outlandish? It is Glitterbomb, so I guess I should dress to impress; but it is Glitterbomb, so also a bit ratchet, no? It’s a hard dichotomy to straddle, but I think I’ve nailed it.

22.04. I opt for a striking asymmetrical number, whose blue and white blocks of horizontal colour had in the past earned me the description of ‘walking barcode’, whatever that meant exactly. Screw it. I need something eye-catching. Those Queerbridges won’t write themselves and I need unambiguous identifying features, lest some other miscellaneous person try to fraudulently appropriate someone else’s appeals to my affections.

22.30. Pres are raucous, with generations of gays from Cambridge past and present in attendance. It entails some editions of back-to-back which disturb foundations of various friendships. ‘Who depends on the other’s friendship more?’ proves to be a particular flashpoint.

“The bouncer checks my wristband in a very structurally homophobic way”

00.10. We enter the club: scanning my eyes over the space, quelle surprise, the demographic is overwhelmingly male. I become unnerved by the mating rituals: eyes scan the room, fixating on those they wish to pursue, while simultaneously glazing over those they may have ‘encountered’ previously but no longer wish to acknowledge.

As the night progresses, I partake in the courting procedure, strictly for participant observation purposes, of course. It’s similar to foraging for the best Pink Lady apples in a supermarket, or local grocer’s, and occasionally picking one up to test for its firmness. Except, instead of placing it back down, the apple is typically dropped and bruised. Or, on the flipside, you are kind of dependent upon a lot of these apples for self-validation? OR, that you’ve already taken bites out of a couple of the apples and so ought probably to avoid them, but then again, they are still really shiny and nice-looking - STOP, Joseph.

00.50. You know what? Sex is overrated, if we’re honest.

00.51. Sex is UNDERRATED, WHERE IS IT, why is the world so cruel?

00.58. “It’s funny because I’m not even going to get with anyone tonight; I’m just here for the music and the banter,” I lie, as the third rendition of ‘I’m Every Woman’ blares over the sound system.

01.07. I and some friends are just sort of following a little current of people; everyone’s constantly in transit.

Glitterbomb is known as one of Cambridge's biggest LGBT+ eventsFacebook: Glitterbomb Cambridge

01.10. A friend hands me a particularly florescent VK. It’s green and sickly. I take a swig, dribbling some down my barcode top.

Why did I do it? What did it get me? Scrapbooks full of me in the backgroun-

01.15. A drag act is introduced. She’s already six feet tall, wearing six inch heels, her wig grazing the sticky ceiling. Suddenly, the atmosphere changes: it’s like a cult. The queen calls out with ‘eee’ sounds, to which everyone ’eee’s back at her in elation. I stay quiet and smile, pretending I understand drag culture after having watched just shy of two episodes of RuPaul season 6, and then slope away.

01.26. I retire to the smoking area. The bouncer checks my wristband in a very structurally homophobic way: he doesn’t even smile at me, so I shoot him a glare.

01.27. Disaster strikes: a trusty companion relays some news. He’s pursuing the selfsame chirpse as yours truly. ‘Haha, what a coincidence!’ I wince, resolving to get an extra stiff drink from the bar the moment this standoff was over. My laugh loses rhythm and surges in pitch; my eyes become glazed and vacant with pain.

02.01. Back on the dancefloor. The music is largely nondescript R&B. The selection is fine, but nothing to write home about.

02.09. Music I don’t really know of is still playing, but the complete oeuvre of Mika has been whirring around my head for the past half an hour.

02.11. Body roll, after body roll. Do I need new moves? No, I reassure myself, Joe, you are great at them. A body roll is a simultaneously overlooked, often poorly executed component of dance. So essentially, you are doing a service?

02.32. A voice from behind me appears, “Hey”- OH HERE WE GO - I’m not intereste- “Do you know where the toilets are?” With a wry smile, I gesture the gentleman over to the club’s facilities and curse his impertinence and my lonesome condition.

02.37. The VK patch has spread somehow, the result being what I can no better describe as that of a patchy hi-vis vest.

02.45. To what extent does the commercialisation and eroticisation of gay culture in the public sphere make it more difficult for gay men to navigate the private and domestic ones?


Mountain View

My Trip to a Supervision

02.46. *R Kelly’s ‘Ignition’ comes on’* ‘YAS this is my jam; this is why I came tonight!!!!!’

03.00. I know full well no amount of Vanish Oxi-Action will rid me of that stain. Christ knows what dodgy chemicals it contains.

03.11. I witness various unapologetic coupling-ups. Taking that as my cue to depart, I refresh my Tinder and go