By Stuart Barrie

MAKING sure you're in your best outfit is an important part of going out, but for Club Noir it is essential.

Over the last few months the club has gained notoriety for the lack of clothes at its monthly sojourns to Carling Academy in Glasgow, but it's the effort people make in dressing up that's one of the most charming features of this wonderfully unique night.

Each month a theme is decreed from the organisers, Tina and Ian, whose previous topics have ranged from Adventures in Narnia, Saucy Seaside Postcards and Hell's Belle's.

Valentine's Day was just days away when I paid the club a visit, so Charm School was the theme.

February's need for long coats means all looked normal for those entering the cavernous Academy, but inside it's like the casts of Grease and The Rocky Horror Picture show having a night out.

Everyone, and I mean everyone, is marvellously dressed up in zoot suits and Fifties-style dresses. A few flaunted the theme and stuck to what tickles their fancy, which can be anything from rubber dresses to sexy French maid outfits - and that's just the guys.

It all adds to the kaleidoscope of fashion and fetish. As well as the dressing up and the dancing, what sets Club Noir apart from anything else in the country is their cabaret. The huge Academy stage plays host to two acts that provide the backbone of the club.

The acts on offer this night ranged from a female comedian to a sketch on bathing in blood, with a bit of ballet thrown in. All done in best burlesque fashion, with the accent on scintillation rather than anything seedy, it's like a not so innocent Carry On film with more nudge than wink.

There's dancing in between the acts and the music is as diverse as the clientele. From lounge versions of Beatles songs to industrial grinding metal of Marilyn Manson anything goes.

Later it goes in to more traditional party tunes with current rock and dance favourites being sprinkled with some classics.

A packed dance floor in full flight is a marvellous sight and when it's dressed as adventurously as this, it adds to the carefree atmosphere.

You do get the sense that you're part of something which is against the grain and among like-minded hedonists you feel it really is a club in the true sense of the word.

Although at the end of the night you can't help thinking you're missing incredible after-parties.

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