Carl Hill and Mike Toller have been putting on nights in London since 2005. They’ve made us laugh at long-running pop party Club de Fromage and made us cry at Feeling Gloomy. For their next enterprise, however, they’re telling a large chunk of London’s clubbers to sod off.
Anyone under the age of 28 is barred from Coffin Dodgers Disco – their new monthly party which launches this week at The Albany. This isn’t a joke – they will actually be checking ID on the door. More of a joke is their elderly ‘door fascist’ Vera, who’ll be quizzing people on cultural references designed to weed out the whippersnappers (see some of their sample questions below). As an added novelty, genuine OAPs are allowed in for free. ‘We’ve already got one confirmed to come down,’ says Hill. ‘I hope too many don’t come or they’ll bankrupt us.’
Why would two successful promoters want to exclude punters? As a man in his thirties, the desire to grow old gracefully was a spark for Hill: ‘I remember watching an older DJ trying to be down with the kids. It was painful for me, the crowd and probably him. I swore they could take me to the knacker’s yard before I got like that’.
Toller and Hill also noticed that certain adults felt alienated by clubland. ‘People were grumbling to us that clubs weren’t for them anymore. They weren’t ready to go home at 11pm and put their slippers on; they just wanted to party among people their own age.’
Coffin Dodgers Disco won’t be for everyone, even without the age restriction. The name alone suggests having a sense of humour about one’s age is paramount. ‘We want it to be exclusive,’ says Hall, who hopes the night develops a fanbase that’s both glad to be grey and game for a laugh.
In case there’s any doubt that tongues are firmly in cheek, the party will be hosted by the promoter’s ageing aliases – Don and Reg. Don is a retired taxi driver while Reg was a meat porter in Smithfield market. Both are escaping from Sweet Memories retirement home to slap down classic floorfillers until 2.30am – or until their colostomy bags reach critical mass. There may even be a late-night limbo contest – as long as their guest’s hips don’t give out. ‘St John Ambulance will be on standby,’ assures Hill.
Sucking in stomachs, pretending to be hip, staring jealously at wrinkle-less faces and wallets topped up by the bank of mum and dad... these are things anyone past their twenties shouldn’t have to put up with. Salvation has arrived – you just need to admit that you’re old to enjoy it.
Unfortunate enough to look younger than 28? Here's some tongue-in-cheek questions you may get asked on the door at Coffin Dodgers Disco...
1. Name two of the England footballers featured in the 1982 Panini World Cup sticker album.
2. Sing the theme to ‘Mysterious Cities of Gold’ or ‘Dogtanian and the Three Muskehounds’.
3. ‘No-one goes away empty-handed.’ What did contestants get for appearing on ‘Blankety Blank’?
4. Do the ‘Superman’ dance. Bonus marks if you know the whole thing.
5. Who was Pauline married to in ‘EastEnders’ and why did he go to prison? Bonus point if you can name Sanjay's wife.