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Memory sticks: Club keepsakes have a very particular power

DC10 fans, Pacha whistles and Space lighters can pack a great punch of emotion

  • Words: Melissa Harrison | Illustration: James Clapham
  • 21 July 2017

It’s the height of summer, and it’s hot in here – really hot. The press of bodies around me moves in time to the rhythmic chug, and here and there an arm’s raised high above my head. Everyone’s skin shines with sweat; a guy in shorts and flip-flops shares a bottle of lukewarm water with a friend, and when I get out my battered DC10-branded fan and begin to waft some air around, I draw several grateful smiles. We’ve all paid through the nose to be here, and while the heat is oppressive there’s a real sense of common purpose, as though we’re all on some kind of journey together. Which we are: this is central London on a weekday rush-hour, and I’m on the Victoria Line on my way to work.

How is it that club memorabilia can trigger such powerful emotions, transforming a dull Tube journey into a trip down memory lane? After all, if truth be told I have no recollection of actually buying the fan (did I buy it? Perhaps it just… arrived). That haziness is hardly surprising, though, given that my memories of a decade’s-worth of Ibizan adventures are patchy, to say the least. Yet even without a firm origin story my DC10 fan feels disproportionately precious; and it’s only one of several dancefloor mementoes I have.

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