Life ripped out of our town’s nightlife

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Staying in is the new going out, my friends and I remarked as we sat drinking wine and filling in order forms for cookware we didn’t even know we wanted or needed until the sales person demonstrated it.

Mid-way through filling in my bank details I was shocked to realise that I’d just spent more on a night in than any night I’d ever had on the town.

When I reflected on my last disastrous night out in Chesterfield, I felt the money I’d just parted with for a potato masher and baking dish was actually money well spent.

At least I wasn’t going home with a) hypothermia b) mangled feet and better still I had something to show for my money – oh, and my ear drums weren’t bleeding. I’d also had a good night and some lovely food catching up with friends.

Only six months earlier I had hit the town with a newly single friend. She’d come to Chesterfield for the weekend, and I’d promised her a fun evening.

It was Saturday night, how could we go wrong? I agonised for weeks over what to wear. As out of touch with what’s in and what’s not, even I realised that my usual uniform of skinny jeans and patterned tops (which are worn more to hide the child snot and sticky finger prints than out of choice), wouldn’t do.

Hundreds of potential outfits were discarded as my husband, a secondary school teacher, gave me the ‘mutton dressed as lamb’ look, followed by ‘that’s what the girls at school are all wearing’. Arghhhh!!!

My friend and I were dropped off in a deserted Chesterfield at 7.45pm. My memories of packed bars had evaporated along with the clientele, it seemed. A kind barman explained that bars don’t really get packed anymore because they’re open all hours, now. And if people are going out, they don’t venture out until much later.

When we eventually saw some other people we realised that what we’d worn immediately marked us out as old enough to be everyone’s grandma - we’d worn coats.

By midnight we were tired, broke, and our ears were ringing, so decided to call it a night.

Getting home we immediately put the kettle on and extolled the virtues of deserted bars. No longer are your clothes soaked in drink from having to elbow your way back from the bar, there aren’t any queues for the ladies’ and you don’t have to wait for a taxi home. Better still, you can get away with wearing your highest, most uncomfortable shoes because there are plenty of free seats in bars to take the weight off your feet.

Maybe I remember my regular Friday and Saturday nights out in Chesterfield with rose-tinted glasses – it was 10 years ago, nearly! For all the benefits of extended licensing though, I can’t help feeling that it has ripped the life out of Chesterfield’s nightlife.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering what to wear for a night out in Chesterfield these days, the answer, it would appear, is not much!

by Anna Melton