Monday, March 09, 2009

Theology & Clubbing Culture 2

Taking cue from the previous post that looks at the clubbing scene as a re-creational cultural artifact established within the wider secular culture, we are here exploring further the social aspect of this phenomenon.

It was about 12am and there was a long queue at the sidewalk leading to the entrance of a well-known club at Clarke Quay. And to save the trouble of queuing, I phoned AW to inform her that I was already at the entrance and that the queue was long. In a couple of minutes AW together with her client came out to escort my girlfriend and I in. Apparently AW's client is a banker and a patron of the club. So we were saved from queuing and paying the cover charges.

When we were in there, AW introduced us to the rest of the bankers and her boss. We gladly exchanged our name, handshake, and smile. I have met some of them previously. Each of us was given a glass of vodka cola before toasting a communal sip. Accompanying our toast was some of the latest R&B songs blasting off from the speaker hang over the ceiling. After the toast, each of us made polite small talk to each other; as if to ensure each other that everyone is accepted around the table since some of us met for the first time.

If we replace the vodka cola with red wine (or red-syrup if you are a Methodist), add some pieces of bread along the toast, and switch the R&B music to some 19th century hymns, you’ll think that we were celebrating the Eucharist.

As you can see, the fabric of clubbing is social connectedness. It’s a space for more than ‘to see and be seen’. It’s a space for interactions. A friend invited me to club during the recent Chinese New Year. I asked her whether will it be all right if I bring two other people along. She replied, “Sure, the more the merrier.” I think she is right. Interaction is part of the gist of clubbing.

It's the sense of touch. In a real city… you walk. You brush past people. People bump into you… nobody touches you. We’re always behind this metal and glass. I think we miss that touch so much. That we crash into each other just to feel something.” (said Graham in Crash)

Clubs provide that sacred space for interactions and hence reduce the need to “crash into each other just to feel something”. And such interaction gives a sense of aliveness to those who are “in a real city”. If the real city is filled with alienation, restrictions, mundaness, and boredom, then this surreal space affords us the sense that our lives are nonetheless still interesting. Making us aware that we are still alive.

For those who met for the first time, our circle of friends is enlarged. If we are with known friends, our friendship refreshed. If we are with clients, the rapport is built up. Even those who patronize clubs as a way to escape from their problems feel liberated, at least for that moment, in that space. Overall the individuals’ social connectedness is being activated and expanded. The environment, the breeze, the music, and the vision available in the club uncover the perichoresis (social connectedness) of the divine Trinity in a surreal way.

Perhaps the second person of the Trinity has figured this out 2000 years ago. And that might explains why he attended and organized parties with people from different layer of the society. It might also shed further light on the use of wine in the first Eucharist! Could that person attempted to provide a similar surreal space to establish social connectedness with his friends through parties, wine and food? Was he trying to activate and expand the perichoresis among themselves, so that in a way to share the social realism of the Trinity?

It is not too extreme to say ‘Yes’.


Kevin Sam said...

It's an interesting comparison between clubbing and the eucharist. First time I've heard of it.

Sze Zeng said...

Hi Kevin,

Thank you for the comment.