Like anyone born between July and August, the year I turned 17 was one of the longest years of my life.
It got to the point where I couldn’t scroll through my Snapchat feed without seeing photos of them necking snakebites, chatting up girls and partying the night away.
I had a dilemma: I desperately wanted join in the fun but there was no way I was getting through the door with my provisional driver’s licence showing my date of birth as 2004.
I looked into getting a fake ID but quickly thought better of it; not only are they ridiculously expensive (one person quoted me £120), I didn’t really fancy getting a criminal record before I’d even got through my A-levels.
Determined to join in the fun, I came up with a quirky solution.
It was actually my business teacher who inspired the idea; he told me how, as a young man, he’d walk around London’s Canary Wharf with a copy of the prestigious Financial Times tucked under his arm. Whenever he went to a shop or a restaurant, he’d be treated like a CEO. No one dared to question or belittle him, he said, as long as he was carrying the FT.
It got me thinking: instead of outright lying to the bouncers by adding a few years on top of my age, could I quietly pose as a middle-aged man-about-town? It had to be worth a try.
So, one evening in March, my friends and I agreed to go for pre-drinks at our local before trying to sneak into a club.
On the way I picked up a copy of the Daily Mail from my local newsagent, and when we got there I confidently strolled through the entrance with the paper tucked under my arm.
For the first time, not one single bouncer asked my age, or even looked at me suspiciously. I couldn’t believe my luck.
After the bar, we headed to the local student nightclub. I thought this might be trickier, but it was just as easy. While I might have walked into the club looking like an utter bell end, while all my friends had to patiently wait in line I went straight through – no questions asked.
So what were my first impressions of a British nightclub? Despite the dimmed lights, I could see some terrible shapes being pulled and everyone seemed to be necking each other.
As the night wore on, people were getting into fights and guys were crying. It was pure chaos and I loved it.
Not all my experiences have been rosy. One clubber spotted holding a copy of a certain red-top and gave me a piece of her mind. But after I told her the real reason I was carrying it, she couldn’t stop laughing.
As time passed, I started getting more and more brazen, using my middle-aged persona in order to skip the queue and even avoid paying entry fees. And you know what? It worked!
Carrying a newspaper under my arm didn’t just get me into places; it gave me an unprecedented amount attention from girls. Who would have thought the Mail would be such a great icebreaker?
Getting into a club with a newspaper is the ultimate hustle; it’s a heady a mixture of power and jeopardy. The best part is seeing all the inquisitive looks on people's faces, wondering, Who is he? Why has he got a newspaper? What is his job?
A few months later, I finally turned 18 which meant I could get into clubs with just a flash of my ID. But clubbing will never be as fun and exciting as those early days when I’d breezily skip the queue with a paper folded neatly under my arm.
What is the age limit for entering night clubs in England?
Technically anyone aged 16 or over may enter a nightclub, but most venues operate a discretionary 18+ policy. It is against the law for under-18s to purchase or consume alcohol in a public setting.Featured Image Credit: Qais Hussain