PARTY TIME Join the Early Night Club Alex Ruczaj, co-founder of Cambridge’s ‘sensible clubbing night’, explains why her cult party is still thriving after nearly 15 years – and what makes it so special
People say thank you all the time. Thank you for creating a place for us to go. It’s a safe space for people of all ages to let their hair down – that is the best thing to hear, and the reason why I keep doing it. I really didn’t think I would still be running a club night at 51, and now my toddlers are all grown up – in fact, my 18-year-old daughter sometimes comes for a dance, too! We had someone turn up eight months pregnant, and once, someone on crutches, dancing all night. At the last event, a woman managed to do a headstand in the middle of the dance floor to cheers from all her friends. I love it – just the crazy stuff of a great night out, of everyone feeling that excitement and freedom to let go. It seems like there’s a wider movement of club nights for ‘older people’ right now. Annie Mac’s Before Midnight has attracted a lot of attention recently, and you have Jo Whiley’s Nineties Anthems raves for the older crowd – Sara Cox, too. The DJs have grown up and so have we. In Cambridge, we also have the brilliant Karma Klub run by Amy Holly. It’s a dance class in a nightclub that leaves you on the most amazing high. Then, of course, we’ve been going for almost 15 years. It’s about our generation growing up and not wanting to let go of the things that we love, the things that help us to feel young or more like ourselves. This year, we’re going to be doing more events than ever before, working with a variety of different venues. We’re hosting a neon edition at Mash on 4 May, as well as returning to Provenance for our kitchen disco. I have friends all over the place that want to create satellite events – from LA to South Africa. I just love the idea of a global movement of sparkly, older nightclubbers. I am also writing a novel loosely based on the club, so watch this space!
It all started in 2009. I had young kids and was desperate to get out of the house and let loose! I tried a couple of times, but was yawning in an empty club by 10pm – or the DJs would be getting into their groove just as I was heading home for the babysitter. I felt there must be other people like me that wanted to go out dancing too, and the idea for Early Night Club started bubbling away. Some friends and I did our first event in February 2009 at Novi – there was a snowstorm and only a handful of people made it! We then moved to La Raza and have been there ever since, running a regular night from 7pm to 11.30pm. Our philosophy is not just to have a club that happens earlier, but to create a space that everyone feels welcome. Clubs can be intimidating places. We have always made a point of making people feel at ease. Nobody is too cool for school or on the pull, everyone is there to have a good time. You can party hard, but still be home in bed by midnight! The club attracts mostly women. We didn’t design it that way – it just seems women like to dance the most, although there is always a handful of brave men. It was also mostly parents to begin with, but nowadays it’s a real mix. We get lots of
groups on girls’ nights out and we even had a whole family out on the town together! It really is a lovely mix of friendly people who just want to have a good night of cocktails and dancing. What makes it so special is everyone giving each other compliments. Lots of people dress up and there are always many sparkly outfits – equally, you can come as you are. There’s loads of laughter, chatting and dancing; it’s the best hands-in-the-air, joyful atmosphere every single time. GET INVOLVED ENC founder Alex (above) enjoying a dance. Book your ticket for the neon edition on 4 May at city centre nightclub Mash
It’s the best hands-in-the-air, joyful atmosphere every single time
CAMBSEDITION.CO.UK MAY 2023 23
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