Clubbing and Parties

(Transcript from the BBC “Listening Project” programme, 2013)

One night when she was fifteen, she didn’t come home when she was expected and her mother, still doesn’t know exactly where she was after all this time.

“The only thing I would like to ask you if you’d like to tell me now after all these years is that, where were you that night when we were out looking for you?”

“We were at a party, I can’t remember … I think I was at a party”

“Why didn’t you say?”

“I don’t know, I was fifteen. I can’t even remember to be honest”

“We even got the police in”

“Of course I was at a party, where else could I’ve been”

“You didn’t say you were going to a party, you were going to a night club. You didn’t come home”

“No. I went to a party afterward … I honestly can’t remember where I was. That’s the truth. “

“It wasn’t anything very bad then…”

“You know the funny thing about that is about the teenage brain. You were really cross with me when I came home so late. I seem to remember I was at the back of a motorbike, wasn’t I? And then there was a police car on the drive because you were so worried about me as I hadn’t come home. But I was more cross than you were, I was so cross that you phoned up police making all this fuss”

“You were cross because I phoned all your friends as well to find out where you were … nobody knew. Who else were in the party then ‘cos none of them …”

“You know, I honestly can’t remember. You should have asked me years ago, I can’t remember now”

“I asked you at the time but you wouldn’t say”

“No. I honestly can’t remember, but no harm came to me so …”

“No, thank goodness, no. And then, that time there was talking about drugs at the nightclub. I asked if there are drugs and you said, ‘you know, I was offered drugs a lot of times’, and I was horrified! “

“I was offered a lot of times but I’ve never …”

“No, I thought, well, I’ve done something right”

“Well, I was frankly terrified of them, and I think that’s partly to do with that when I was a teenager, it was 80’s and there was all the AIDS scare and I think that’s what it was. As that nightclub then was actually the centre for drugs in the midlands. I don’t know about it now but certainly was then but we were all so scared of it by the AIDS scare”

“That’s a blessing then in a way. Oh I really didn’t know about it at all, talk about being naive”

“Well you wouldn’t expect a small nightclub in a market town in Shropshire to be. If we’d been going up to Birmingham you might have thought about it. No, we didn’t know. We just said no. Nobody hustled us.”

“They didn’t try to force it on you?”

“No, I remember people at the university saying that there were drug dealers outside the school gate really pressurising them to take drugs but we didn’t end up taking them.”

Aged 40 something, Female, Shropshire