Monday 23 October 2017

The myth of teens' drunken mayhem in D4

Contrived hysteria over 'The Wezz' is entirely misplaced, writes Julia Molony, who was once a teenager herself.

Organiser Donie Bilger with a anti drink reminder attached to ever ticket on Junior cert night at the Old Wesley Disco in 2010. Photo Garrett White.
Organiser Donie Bilger with a anti drink reminder attached to ever ticket on Junior cert night at the Old Wesley Disco in 2010. Photo Garrett White.

Julia Molony

The Wezz is in the news again. The teenage disco has long been a crucible of contemporary moral panic. According to the worst nightmares of middle-class Ireland, it's where their underage sons and daughters go after they neck booze and then neck each other. It's where, dubious urban legend has it, the girls take off their underwear to wear as jewellery and the boys, well they do what pubescent boys do when faced with a room of girls wearing their underwear as jewellery.

The Wezz has been the focus of many parental anxieties and countless scare stories over the years. It's most wildly overblown. For starters, the consumption of alcohol inside the disco is strictly prohibited and proceedings are carefully monitored.

There are lots of teenage discos, but few draw as much attention as this one, located at the centre of affluent Dublin 4. There's nothing to capture the public's imagination like the notion, true or otherwise, of private school kids filling up on drink before convening in Donnybrook.

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