Issue 22

Clubbing Is Culture

Warning: This edition contains vivid passion for flashing lights, repetitive beats, sweaty-bodied throngs, pulsating dancefloors, busy bars, dark corners and smiling faces... and a gorgeous mini-documentary summing up why the above must be protected.

The title to this special edition of YOUTH speaks for itself. It’s an homage to club culture, and an ode to its vibrant, energetic, electric churches at which we worship.

At Thinkhouse, partying is a part of our company culture and we believe passionately in the power of clubbing to create genuine connections and fuel transformative creativity, and club spaces as being a legitimate and necessary part of our cultural infrastructure.

As part of Culture Night last year, Thinkhouse, alongside No More Hotels and Algorithm created a mini-documentary Clubbing is Culture that sought to “highlight the value of clubbing for connection; what’s lost when we dismiss its value and to reinforce the fact that clubbing is indeed, culture”. We projected words and images across the carcasses of our favourite nightclubs (which had fallen victim to hotelification) and interviewed people who beautifully articulated the importance of clubbing to a city's cultural landscape, including Lord Mayor of Dublin, Hazel Chu, – ThisIsPopBaby's Philly McMahon, Mona Lxsa – founder of Gxrl Code, Una Mullally – Writer & co-presenter of United Ireland and John Mangru – Designer & Clubber.

The documentary was phenomenally well-received and resonated like a gong with people across multiple age demographics; this isn’t young people clamouring for their space back, the cry for clubs is being roared from all ages. It was also picked up by online and print media outlets in Ireland, the UK (Lad Bible, Irish Times, Four Four Magazine), Spain and most recently Scotland, with a very nice invitation...

Last week, it was announced that a Director’s Cut of the documentary is being screened in Dundee’s international design museum, the V&A as part of ‘Night Fever: Designing Club Culture’, their festival celebrating the resilience and cultural value of clubs.

This is a massive and heartening endorsement of our message and a reassuring reminder that we’re on the same page as innumerable clubbers around the world for whom club culture is as valid as any other.

We’re freewheeling through the part of the year that’s littered with Bank Holidays, so the absence of the nights that would have been propping up our weekends (and for the second year in a row!) has us lamenting them even harder. But there’s disco light at the end of the tunnel, as the powers that be this week have eased restrictions in Ireland for the first time in what has seemed like a nuclear winter, in what was the longest sustained lockdown period of any country in the globe.

The UK is also coming back to society and is roadtesting possible ways to reopen clubs safely, there's are even unconfirmed whispers of Irish clubs reopening...

We won’t hold our breath on that, but to celebrate our screening in the V&A and just to remind ourselves what we’re dying to get back to, we thought we’d post our full documentary on YOUTH to get us all misty-eyed about the clubs and restoke the fires of our desire to get back on the dancefloor.

We enlisted the talents of one of our designers Stephen Kenny, an avid clubber, to make artwork to accompany this and we think you'll agree he nailed it.

Clubbing is so many things to so many people. Clubbing IS CULTURE!

We hope you enjoy our love letter!