Fuelled by coffee, Londoners hit morning disco before work
At dawn before commuting to his job in London's business district Canary Wharf, 26-year-old Nathaniel Hone joins hundreds of revellers at a dance party fuelled only by coffee and smoothies.
At 6:15 am in trendy Bethnal Green, where art galleries prevail over the franchises common elsewhere in the capital, the dark streets are almost deserted under the drizzle on a recent visit.
At the end of an alleyway lined with graffiti of wide-eyed owls runs the Regent's Canal, overlooked by the metal skeleton of an old gasworks, shaped like an amphitheatre.
A line of morning revellers is waiting patiently at the entrance of the Oval Space, a 560 square metre (6,000 square foot) venue with the feel of an old warehouse.
Welcome to "Morning Gloryville": an alcohol-free disco held before party-goers head to work.
"Morning Gloryville started a year and a half ago. We only had about twenty-six people at the first event," said co-founder Samantha Moyo, 26.
"Now we're attracting a thousand people per event, and we're in 16 cities all over the world," including Bangalore, New York, Paris and Tokyo.
Babies and children can "rave" for free - provided the infants wear earmuffs against the pulsing club music.
Moyo describes it as "basically partying without drink and drugs."
Instead of beer or cocktails, those who attend can avail of a bar offering smoothies such as the "Incredible Hulk", a green concoction made of apple, banana, lemon, spinach and spirulina -- an algae touted as a nutritious dietary supplement.
- Fancy dress -
DJ Miles Metric, wearing a skin tight hot pink outfit, is behind his turntables as the dancers begin to arrive.
Some are dressed in pyjamas, while others are in colourful outfits, carnival fashion or in fancy dress as tigers, bears and horses.
One group of young people, probably more attracted to the health and fitness aspect of the event, wear sneakers, shorts and tank tops.
"Good morning! Are you ready?" one of the organisers shouts into the microphone. "Yes!" reply a hundred enthusiastic voices, quickly drowned out by the blaring music.
Kaye, 35, wearing gold sequinned pants, neon pink shoes and rainbow butterfly wings on her back, admitted it was hard to get up at 6:00am.
"Everybody's wearing fancy dress, it's colourful, we're having coffee, smoothies, we're having a good time," Kaye said. "It made my day better already."
As the city shivers in the cold, inside the party is heating up with the bass making the walls shake, as DJ Miles Metric gives up the decks to electronic dance music world stars Basement Jaxx.
"I have never had to wake up at like 5 o'clock in the morning to go to DJ," Metric told AFP.
"I hope it's a start of something a lot bigger. It's way more fun than going to the gym. It's a rave for four hours and then to go to work it's brilliant," he said.
The sun is rising over London and for many it's time to dive into another kind of frenzy: the world of work.
A French couple, Cedric Thomas, 37, and Marie-Caroline Petit, 28, leave the Oval Space with coats over their outfits.
"Now we are going to work," Petit said.
"It was unusual, but that was why we came. It has a special morning atmosphere, more vibrant, healthy and without alcohol."
As to whether the hours spent dancing will make her crash later on, she replied "We'll see at 4:00 pm!"
© 2014 AFP