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15/02/2007 - par Mark Tungate

I passed through London last week, and during my visit, I was told of the latest innovation in the world of nightclubbing - an area where the British capital has often been ahead of the curve. It seems that flashing lights, an expensive bar and an overpaid DJ are no longer enough to entertain nocturnal crowds. In the age of the iPod, everybody is a DJ. Now, live entertainment is the ultimate luxury. And this is entertainment of a rather old-fashioned kind. Magicians, belly dancers, puppeteers, fire-eaters and other performers are some of the attractions currently appearing at nightclubs. The events are a mixture of « happenings » - those performance art events that were popular in the 1960s - and satirical one man shows. For instance, at the New Cabaret Supper Club in Shoreditch, you can watch a performer called Herr Pierce play the violin with a saw. Meanwhile, Gawkagogo features a host of comedy characters, including Dali Parton and Nosferatutu (for an insight, see www.gawkagogo.com). There's even a club called Size Zero, designed to mock mainstream nightclubs at which skinny models and heiresses appear. The main drink served is a diet potion called SlimFast. According to listings magazine Time Out, the best thing about these clubs is that you never quite know what you're going to get - just like the iPod shuffle. If I was a French advertiser targeting the youth market, I'd either find a Parisian version to sponsor fast - or set one up myself.

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