A night at Kuda


Dominic Bradshaw narrates his experience of a night out in York nightclub Kuda

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Image by Nadia Sayed

By Dominic Bradshaw

So, my first time clubbing in York, what an experience it could be – Las Vegas meets New York meets Shanghai, the real jewel of British nightlife. Having previously been at Spoons, drinking warm and upsettingly thick pints of ruddles (their cheapest beer), I was filled with a pleasant mix of anticipation and energy. However, the first clues of the night to come were starting to reveal themselves. It was bitterly cold, and the wind seemed to be chucking pellets of rain at us; poor first years huddling up like penguins against an Antarctic storm. As my flatmates and I shuffled along the line, a chant started behind us.

“Who’s got the bag, who’s got the bag” and so on.

My dread was beginning to rise.

Just as I was contemplating that this might not have been the best idea, a suspiciously friendly man wearing glasses came up to me.

“Do you want a free drink?” he shouted against the rain and wind.

“Yeah, okay sure!” I shouted back, still brimming with optimism. He stated that all I needed to do was download the ‘Kuda app’ and I would be entitled to a free drink. This raised my dwindling confidence levels, and I continued to shuffle down the line.

After an agonising 15 minutes of wondering if frostbite was possible at this latitude, I was confronted with the stone-faced Kuda bouncer. He regarded me with a mixture of seething animosity and disgust like I was a potentially dangerous stray dog.

“Empty your pockets, mate.”

I had my phone, not one but two portable chargers (you can never be too careful), an almost empty pouch of tobacco, and multiple used tissues.

He grimaced and began to pat me down. As this man’s rough tattooed hands grabbed my waist and inner thigh, I came to the sickening realisation that this may be the closest I would come to pulling tonight.

While this was happening, the rest of my flat sailed past me. “We’re meeting Darcy and Ellie; we’ll see you inside.”

“Ah, okay” I said in a voice that didn’t carry, but they were long gone.

The inside of Kuda is a very strange place. It looks almost like a sleazy cheap hotel or some a kind of old-fashioned brothel, with two large twin staircases and a balcony overlooking the main dance floor, everything lit with an eerie purple glow. Beginning to sober up and not wanting to wade through the dance floor to find my flatmates, I went to the toilet to gather my thoughts.

I was greeted with a less than relaxing scene: two men who seemed to have come to some kind of disagreement, maybe about maths or philosophy, were hurling insults at each other.
“You cheeky prick” said one, lobbing a plastic cup full of a suspiciously yellow liquid at another, soaking him and half soaking me.

An on-looker took me aside – “I can’t believe he did that bro; I think you should hit him.”

His eyes gleamed with mischief, as if there was nothing more he’d like to see than my teeth and blood splattered all over the unwashed sinks and grimy mirrors of the Kuda bathroom.

“No, it’s all right,” I replied uncertainly. “I think it was an accident.”

“Bender” he retorted, but I was already leaving the bathroom still covered in what was hopefully beer but probably piss. However, it was time to get my free drink, the one saving grace of the night. Surely nothing could go wrong.

“Absolutely no idea what you’re on about mate.”

“But, the app, the app someone outside told me….”

“Didn’t know there was an app.”

“I gave him my email. Please, I’ve had a rough night.”

“You can either pay or GET OUT.”

I chose to pay.

I sipped my vodka Red Bull, and began to enjoy myself. I had found my flatmates. Thrift Shop by Macklemore was blaring; this really wasn’t too bad. Then, a familiarly calloused tattooed hand grabbed my shoulder.

“We heard you were part of an incident in the toilets. Come with us.”

My heart sank as I realised that there was nothing this man would like me to do more than disagree with him, as this would give him a chance to earn his nightly wage.

As I sat on the curb outside Kuda I contemplated life sombrely. Why does anyone do this? Is this what life is truly about? Is there any point to going out at all?

Next week, I think I’ll try Salvos.

Nouse reached out to Kuda night club for comment, but are still awaiting a response.