"We think, therefore we are! All night - no price changes. No silly gimmicks!"
Spiders Nightclub was first opened in 1979, and has resisted much modernisation since. Privately owned by a local Hull couple, the club always has and always will be a haven for all the kids who never quite "fit in" at school. Nestled in amongst the factories and warehouses of Hull, away from the town center, never advertised in the city, Spiders remains largely cocooned in a certain mystique that keeps the usual Saturday night crowd away.
It's saturday night, another busy week over. Shower, shave, preen. You pull on your clothes. Who are you, and what do you wear? Jeans? Skate shorts? Leather, flares, PVC, lace, gothic, punk, indie, hippy, mod... It really doesn't matter who you are or what you stand for. It's a ritual, a mass of Hull's alternative scene making a pilgrimage across the city. Leave the house, catch a bus. A long walk. Queuing up outside the ugly black metal and concrete building. The smell of smoke and marijuana in the air. A car drives past the queue, playing loud dance music. An obscenity is shouted at the crowd. The crowd just laughs. This is our turf, our home, and for once, you are in the majority.
Spiders has never used any flyers, posters or gimicks to attract it's members. It really doesn't need to. Spiders has become a small local legend - either a place to respect and enjoy, or a haven for druggies and weirdoes; depending on which side of the line you fall. It's a nightclub in the real sense of the word: it's a members-only club. The only way in is with a membership card, or to be a valid guest of an existing member. As the only club not playing dance on a Saturday night in the city, it keeps itself to itself, and the members keep the atmosphere close and protected.
You're at the front of the queue now. The bouncer has just turned away two Ben Shermanites. They shuffle off back towards the city center, already wasted. You show your membership card, hand over your entry fee to a smiling goth, and enter the club. The heat surrounds you, smoke is thick in the air, and a thumping metal soundtrack assails your ears. Pushing through the crowd of half-familiar faces, you reach the Black Widows' bar. A group of cute giggling girlie skaters are flirting with a punk with a pink mohican. A bartender with a lip piercing makes your drink. It's green and bubbling ominously in its pint glass. You hand over your money and find some friends in the crowd of outcasts.
Spiders plays a mix of punk, metal, indie and rock. Their musical policy is simple: They take house, garage, hip-hop and trance, then say, if you like this kind of music -- Spiders is not for you. Upstairs they play a mix of funk, soul and classic alternative tracks. The whole club sound system is run from a pair of CD walkmen and a twenty year old set of speakers. It gives the music a distinctive sound. The crowd doesn't mind, though - it's their music, and it's being played by them, for them, very loudly.
More drinks! You're already feeling a bit drunk, and now someone has come up with some drinking game. You check your wallet. Amazingly, you seem to have spent next to nothing. The music crackles and thumps in the background. You start dancing, probably badly, but no-one cares. Everyone is different here, yet you're all the same. A slampit is started; people are bouncing along. You can feel your shirt plastered to your body with sweat. Time for more drinks, and a trip outside.
Spiders has some legendary drinks, and a price list that makes the students heart sing. A night out at Spiders is dirt cheap. You can get there, have enough drink to be suitably merry, a post-clubbing burger and a taxi home, and still have change from a twenty!
Labatts lager, Blackthorn and Boddingtons are all £1.20 a pint, spirits are 45p a shot. Mixers add between 10 and 50 pence. Bottles and cans are £1.20. Unlike many clubs, the prices are the same at every bar, all night.
You're outside in an open courtyard area, sat on a metal beam. It's cold and raining, but it's so hot inside that you're glad. A so-called friend hands you a drink. It's in a half-pint glass, it's green, and smells very sweet indeed. You take a sip. It's strong. Good God, what the hell is in there?! A bouncer walks past. The smell of pot is heavy in the air, a joint is making its way towards you. It's one A.M. Where did the night go? You sip your cocktail, and your brain starts to leak out of your ear.
Spiders also sells a number of shocking cocktails. These range from strong to very strong to painful. As well as being incredibly potent, they are also laughably cheap.
- Pink Pugsley 95p
Malibu, grenadine, strawberry milk, ice.
- Tarantula £1.05
Cider, pernod, blackcurrant, ice.
- Cuban Black Widow £1.30
Double white rum, lime juice, coke, jelly spider, ice.
- Green Gremlin £1.00
Cider, blue bols, ice.
- Red Yeti £2.00
Double vodka and Red Bull.
- Brown Bomber 75p
Brandy, chocolate milk and ice.
- Tyzer £1.15
Vodka, white rum, lemonade, blackcurrent, ice.
- Green Monster £3.65
Too much vodka, white rum, malibu, midori, blue bols, advocaat, lemonade, ice.
- Fluffy Duck £2.45
Vodka, white rum, malibu, advocaat, lemonade, ice.
- Pangalactic Gargle Blaster £2.40
Pernod, galliano, vodka, cider, pure orange, blackcurrant, ice.
If you manage to drink your way through that little lot, you're a braver and stronger man (or woman) than I. In addition, you would only have spent £16.70, and would quite probably be in need of a stomach pump.
It's two A.M. You're drunk and happy, soaking wet and tired. You've danced, skanked and thrashed to indie, ska and metal. You still have a tenner in your wallet, and a huge alcohol-induced grin on your face. You and your friends pile out the rapidly-emptying club, while a little old lady collects glasses. You visit a little burger van for some food you'll regret later, and bundle yourself into a taxi.
It's been another Saturday night at Spiders.
You'll do it all again next week, because that's what you do.
It's like a home from home.