Jayne Dawson: Somewhere, we have taken a turn for the wholesome

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When, exactly, did it happen? Truthfully, we’ll never know, it’s pointless to try to pin it down to any one time.

But sometime, somewhere, between punk’s bad attitude and Bake Off’s cosiness we all became a lot more... wholesome.

We started to give up beer for boot camps, gin for juicing and late night clubs for late night runs.

The statistics give us the bare bones. First, pubs began to close, at the rate of 50 a week at the height of the cull.

Truth to tell, a lot of them deserved to go. They served unpleasant drinks in depressing surroundings. Others were just in the wrong place at the wrong time because their drinkers had all moved away. The Great Pub Closure was a bit like the Beeching trainline massacre - nasty, but necessary.

And recently has come a more dramatic sign of our increased wholesomeness: late night clubs are being removed from our city streets faster than six inch heels on a slippy dance floor. Their number has halved from a high of more than 3,000 in the mad, bad days before the recession of 2007. A stalwart few are limping on.

I feel a nostalgic wistfulness about that, as much as a person can who last went clubbing in the days when a pernod with orange and lemonade was a sophisticated drink. They are good days to look back on: me and my friend Helen sitting primly in an empty club at 9pm, having arrived early to avoid the entrance fee; sipping the one overpriced drink we could afford, waiting for the boozed-up boys to arrive and notice us when we danced - yeah you’re right, clubbing changed a lot after that.

But it didn’t change enough to keep people queuing at their doors and stumping up for the expensive taxi home, the expensive entrance fee, the expensive drinks. The youngsters rebelled.

Probably the death blow for clubs came when those young people took wholesomeness to new levels and stopped drinking. The look to aim for now is rosy cheeks, not hungover pallor.

A frankly surprising number of 16-24 year olds are now teetotal – and if you take the artificial stimulants out of a clubbing scenario there isn’t a lot left: just nasty toilets, sticky floors and people you don’t know or want to know.

So what’s happening instead? Well, we’ve all gone a bit, you know, Swallows and Amazons. There is a reason that children’s classic book has just been turned into a blockbuster.

The way forward now is not necessarily about messing about with boats but increasingly it’s all about good clean fun. It’s about fresh air, exercise, getting fit, being healthy, stepping outside. It’s about loving the summer, appreciating the winter, and all points inbetween.

At night, there are things happening that would have been considered really quite eccentric when carousing was the only after-dark option.

Take, for instance, adult sleepovers - and please take your mind out of the gutter, that sort of thinking is so old-fashioned. Adult sleepovers are happening in museums and theatres, where proper grown-ups spend the dead of night hours wearing nice pyjamas and tucked into sleeping bags all the better to listen to talks and concerts, watch films and generally enjoy cultured stuff.

For those who want more night-time action, it’s out there, by way of night swimming, night walking and night running. Sometimes ending with a bit of night dancing

Naturally, these activities need the proper wholesome preparation. So your night time fitness regime really does need to be fuelled by five a day, but it is no longer okay to drink five gins with slices of lemon and claim that as your fruit and veg intake.

If you feel you are not up to the new way of living, if a midnight run is not for you and an educational sleepover with strangers fills you with dread, you can still join in. Bake Off starts later this month. Watch it. You will be filled with effortless wholesomeness.

Have you downloaded the free YEP app available on Android and iphone?



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