Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Paris: The Night-life Glimpse

I spy with my little eye: green and red flashing lights. I hear with my little ear: abrasive techno music. I smell with my little nostrelle: lots of sweaty people dancing. I taste with my little organ that I use to taste: a vodka sprite. I feel with my little skin peel (i.e. the palms of my hands): a black marble counter top. (Pause now if you plan on guessing the subject of this latest Paris Arts Review post) At Showcase nightclub, I experienced those five sensations in order of the strength of the effect they had on my impression of the club, yet none of them were very striking.

As I’m sure you might have been able to guess (if you tried), these sensations all point to my being in a nightclub. However, if you were asked to determine the exact nightclub, the description might not have been detailed enough, but I think the lack of unique detail is Showcase’s fault, not mine. At Showcase, I felt as if I was in just any other nightclub that one can find in any considerably large city. The music was mediocre, the space was average, and the drink I ordered was pretty uninspiring. Feeling rather unimpressed, I turned toward analyzing why it was that I didn’t like the place, was I just holding it to an unreasonably higher standard because it is in Paris, and I therefore felt it should be the best nightclub I had even been to? Is it unfair to think that a nightclub, just because it is in Paris, should be one of the best in the world? Should we expect everything in Paris to be the best in the world? How unfair is it to harbor such an attitude?

In my last couple of reviews on Lido and a jazz club I found myself under whelmed for, I think, similar reasons. My expectations might have been just too high because I expect more of places in Paris. So, in an effort to remove the “Paris Bias” from my analysis I decided to focus on what a nightclub is trading on.

I think nightclubs trade on three main elements: entertainment appeal, reputation, and any special theme, for instance is it a salsa club etc. Showcase did fine, but not spectacularly on the first element; the space and the music were adequate for a nightclub. Its reputation I really can’t attest to other than I imagine it is decent because of the number or young-ish, seemingly stylish people in attendance. The reputation is I am sure very important for getting people in the door, it allows for one to know what they are getting into; are the drinks expensive, is the music good, is it crowded, are the people attractive, etc. By establishing a reputation it makes people more likely to pay a cover charge, because they know more about what they are paying for before entering. As for a special theme, Showcase fell short. I think a special theme is an important element to trade on as a nightclub because you need to distinguish yourself from other clubs, however the former two elements are more important, so you I don’t fault showcase for lacking a special theme.

After thinking about how I would value a nightclub I began to rethink my original criticism of Showcase. Maybe nightclubs don’t need to be particularly amazing, distinctive, or unique to be successful in Paris. Everyone might want to dance at sometime or another, and it doesn’t matter if it is in Paris, Detroit, or Rio. The uniform, commoditized nature of nightclubs across the world might even add to the exchange value of a nightclub so the customers have the right expectations, unlike myself, when going to the club.

Perhaps Showcase does just what it needs to make enough money to pay its Parisian rent, but I still have one complaint about going to a nightclub in Paris. The metro closes way to early!!!

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