Mr S has been in his fair share of dodgy disco hot-spots but few captured his heart like Klute, the much-loved, much-hated Durham nightclub for generations of local students. With its sticky floors, cheesy tunes and lashings of cheap liquor, it’s no surprise FHM christened the Marmite establishment ‘the second worst nightclub in Europe.’ Klute subsequently inherited that dubious honour after the winner burnt down. But what makes this seedy citadel of student solace of such interest is that the club is owned by Dominic Cummings’s family. The Vote Leave architect even worked, according to various reports, as either a doorman or helping to take in the club’s earnings, during his summers on holiday from Oxford University. Klute still exercises something of a hold on his heart, with Cummings being quick to take back control of the club when he re-registered his directorship of the company shortly after leaving No. 10.
— Dominic Cummings (@Dominic2306) June 11, 2021
The greatest nightclub in western Europe - fact! You gotta go to Moscow or Samara to get better...
And now, for the first time, Cummings has revealed Klute’s role in the formulation of his philosophical beliefs and anti-establishment approach to politics. In a podcast with one of Steerpike’s favourite writers, Andrew Sullivan, the wayward wizard of Westminster explained how he spent three years alternating his studies in the dreaming spires on Thucydides and Alexander the Great with Robin Lane Fox with manning counters and taking tickets in the sticky confines of the family club. Cummings said:
“My first job after leaving school was actually working in a nightclub that was owned by my dad and my uncles and I think that actually was probably quite influential in terms of politics because I spent a lot of time talking to the people who came in and also to the staff. And I would work on that while I was at Oxford during the holidays so I had a very, very kind of mixed experience… I would spend eight weeks doing that and then go back and spend four weeks in this quite rough nightclub dealing with a very different kind of environment. I think that was probably quite good for me and in trying to figure out politics as well… You watch the news, you watch politics going on, you listen to very intelligent, educated people talking about it and then realise that actually millions of people in the country are actually not hearing politics in anything like the same way. I think it was probably very useful to me to have that experience very early and I think it definitely helped me when I got involved in the Euro campaign.
The rest, as they say, is history.