Snobs: a Paean to a Departing Friend
First published, August 2014
At 3am, give or take, on Monday September 22nd, 2014, bouncers at Snobs will usher out the last patron, before closing and clicking the doors on the nightclub's 40 year, Paradise Circus residency.
Paradise. A strong word when associated with Snobs - the unapologetically imperfect jewel of Birmingham's nightlife crown. I haven't been for over a decade and yet I'll miss the place terribly.
Pockmarked, dated, humid, pungent, on paper it has no business having a sizeable home in my heart. But Snobs made its weaknesses its strengths. With decades of revelry danced deep into the sticky floors and threadbare carpets comes charm, character, palpability, honesty. There's no standing on ceremony at Snobs, no pretension, just wall-to-wall, warts-and-all enjoyment. Take it or leave it.
Last week, photographer Jack Spicer Adams was given rare daytime access to take these glorious goodbye snaps of the gnarled nightspot. Tills from yesteryear that still work, the names of the Snobs faithful scribbled and scratched into the surface of the tables that supported countless Carlsberg. Call me a sentimental old twerp (please don't), but they tell a delightful tale.
And everyone has their own Snobs story. Everyone. One of my favourites is that of writer Johnny Cullen who, during a night of the usual jamboree, dutifully handed in a set of keys he'd found to the nightclub's lost property. It was only once he'd returned home, in the early hours of the morning, that he realised he'd handed in his own keys.
There are thousands of tales like it: Booze-powered, Stone Roses-stoked, calamity and comedy. It wasn't about the music. It was about the fun the music fuelled.
For me, it's goodbye. I toyed with attending the final weekend, but I wouldn't be walking down those steps, past that eerie wall of faces and into that hot fog with the friends that I used to. We're scattered across the country now and, on balance, our Snobs was 15 years ago. Many people's Snobs is much older.
But it's not over, and neither should it be. Snobs moves to Smallbrook Queensway and a new era. A flash new look with the same old music. And it's up to the current Snobs regulars and the next wave and the wave after that to chip and scar and scuff their own 40 years of frivolity. I'll raise a sticky glass of frighteningly cheap vodka and Red Bull to that. And regret it in the morning.
Ta-ra old friend.
(See all of Jack's photos here)
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