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Goodbye OAD - The end of an era

I have just heard that my favourite club in the whole world is closing down. I totally understand that David and Sara, who have run the club for 14 years, now want to do other things and that nothing lasts forever, but I am so very sad about this.

OAD or Only After Dark was a club in Birmingham that I discovered by chance. Martyn Ware (Heaven 17) mentioned he was doing a gig there and that there would be a special ‘artifact’ (his words) so he kindly offered to put me and my husband on the guest list. It was a fantastic night. I loved Après, the venue it was held in, which I also used for my significant birthday party. Après is no more and OAD has had to find a new home on two occasions since.

Of course, I never dreamed that OAD would change my life. There are many mentions and blogs about OAD on my website, and that is because it had such an impact on me. I had forgotten who I was and OAD reminded me. For those who don’t know, OAD was a club based on The Blitz and Rum Runner clubs of the early 1980’s. It played fantastic music, mainly from the 1970’s but went right up to 1983 and covered genres including goth, punk, new romantic, new wave, glam and BOWIE! (yes, he deserves his own genre). It was full of fabulous Darklings and hubby did the occasional DJ set there too. We became members and met some wonderful people who became friends. For eight years up until the pandemic I got on a train each month and headed for Brum. I was even there in March 2020 just before lockdown. I never knew that would be my last ever OAD.

It has been up and running again this side of the lockdown, but because of my ‘pandemic anxiety’ about crowds and my meltdown on a train, I had not yet got back up to Brum. I had intended to get there again in the summer. I desperately wanted to get back to OAD. The announcement came quick and suddenly yesterday evening. I think we all knew that it would happen one day and we kept hoping ‘just another year’ but now we know that next weekend will be the last ever OAD. Sadly, that means I won’t be there. It means I won’t be able to see all my friends, sing and dance to the music and wear my favourite outfits. I have an OAD wardrobe. Hubby said I should get rid of them. I said ‘don’t you know who I am?’ I dress for the mood I am in and if I want to be a punk/goth/new romantic I will. I have never quite fitted into just one box. Back in the early 80’s I called myself alternative and I still think that fits me well.

As those of you who regularly read my blog, you know that 2023 has been a difficult year. This is just another knock; another brick in the wall. David has announced there will be something similar taking its place although not run by David and Sara, I suppose we will all try it to see what it might look like.

I do wish there was something like this in Milton Keynes (where I live). There used to be The Starting Gate (our Blitz club) and The Joint (our Batcave) but there is nothing catering for people my age to listen to our type of music now. We are not too old to dance and sing. We are the post punk generation and we want our music and lifestyle to be recognised and celebrated. I am actually being interviewed next week by Living Archive about my memories of The Starting Gate, The Joint and The Point. My memories will be captured forever. I hope something like that can happen for OAD.

It just leaves me to say a huge thank you to David and Sara. Those eight years of my life were some of the best years of my life. And a final thank you to all my fellow Darklings who befriended me and made me feel so welcome. You made an impact and I will not forget you.


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