Glistening bodies surge back and forth, back and forth. Flailing arms reach into the air and sway back and forth overhead in imperfect unison, only to dissappear again one by one, leaving only a sea of bobbing heads.
The noise is animal, defening. The smell, to the uninitiated, is worse. Sweat and cigarette smoke, spirits and the hint of sex, the acrid-sweet smell of weed smoke and the inimitable stench of spilt beer over it all. There are people everywhere, at the long bar packed three or four deep and shouting over the noise; girls with hard and unfriendly eyes slouch on sofas in the half-light, choosing which boys they will tease and abandon at the touch of a hand. Skinny boys in tight trousers with artfully ruffled hair wear thier fathers' braces over too-expensive "vintage" shirts, and try not to stare at the girls.
There is a girl in a patterned 1940s tea dress, standing in matching teal green court shoes. Her face, her hair, are both perfectly made up so that her features have become beautifully, fantastically, doll-like. She holds a plastic pint glass in a hand which sports bitten, unlovely nails.
The doll in the tea dress is being eyed by a man - a tall boy - wearing out-of-place baggy denim jeans and a skinny-fitting band t-sjirt. He has enough weed in his pocket to get him stoned and more than stoned, and in the other pocket, a wallet that contains twenty pounds, a bank card, his fake i.d., stating his age as nineteen, and two condoms given to him by a mate on his sixteenth birthday last year. A flash of the lights illuminates the acne hiding under his thin stubble, stubble he hasn't shaved for three weeks to achieve. His friend - the same giver of prophylactics - weaves through the crowds bearing bottles of the cheapest beer available. They drink, and watch the girls, trying to look older, less innocent and more experienced. The girls ignore them.
On the dancefloor, girls dance in groups, flinging thier arms around, stamping, on the edge of the greater mass, watching the boys they like through thier lashes, studiously not looking at them with more than a glance. Towards the center, towards the stage, the girls become tougher, less distinguishable from the boys as the gender line is blurred by sweat, smoke and seething bodies.