Tracy K recalls nights out dancing from Tamworth to Tokyo, via London and Aberystwyth. The tale of dancing in Tokyo with Belle and Sebastian made me very jealous
1. Can you remember your first experience of dancing?
I can remember my mum, who had me at 19, dancing me round the room as a baby to Aretha Franklin and Sam and Dave. I know I've inherited my dancing gene from her!
2. What's the most interesting/significant thing that has happened to you while out dancing?
Too many to mention, but I've met a lot (a LOT) of my significant others in clubs, so I would say the dance as mating ritual. I would also have to mention the kind of shamanic ritual of mass dancing to Jah Wobble at Glastonbury in the 1990s and dancing onstage with Belle and Sebastian in Tokyo to Dirty Dream #2 on my 33rd birthday.
3. You. Dancing. The best of times…
Being at a generic indie club in 1995 at the Marquee with my very best friend in the world and realising we were the only two women in a sea of cute indie boys. Being young, single, moderately attractive and a feeling that the music was everything and the possibilities were endless.
4. You. Dancing. The worst of times…
Again, London in 1995, having been dumped by charming bastard, I went to see Gene at the Forum and cried my eyes out in the moshpit to Olympian. Alone at the aftershow club, I danced broken hearted to The Smiths, pursued hopelessly across the floor by a lad in a Morrissey shirt too shy to make eye-contact. Pathetic...in both senses!
5.Can you give a quick tour of the different dancing scenes/times/places you've frequented?
Aged 11, I frequented the local youth club, which had an excellent nightclub room: I tended towards the Mod, with my southern soul mum and ska loving dad, so it was The Jam, Madness etc all the way back then.
Aged 16-18, my male friends and I went into Tamworth's premier (ie only) club, fondly called the Imbecile (Embassy). We would storm the floor for the token indie half hour (The Cure/Smiths/Pixies/Wonder Stuff etc) and then sup our cider and black morosely for the rest of the night. this was enlivened by regular trips to Rock city in my mates' clapped out mini. Very heady days!
Aged 18-21, university days. My friends and I went to the local footy Club on a Friday night every Friday night for 3 years. A mixture of poppy chart stuff, cheesy old music and the occasional cool track. We all loved dancing and had little routines to Loveshack etc. We could never work out why we almost never got asked for the end-of-the-night slowie, when we were a group of 13 girls who were inseparable...hmmm...
Aged 21-25 and then again from 28-30. A downstairs club in a seafronty hotel in Aber, painted black, which attracted the local Goths, indie, metal and mistfit kids [The Bay Hotel, Aberystwyth]. I was DEVOTED to this place, I went 3 times a week and danced my arse off every week, always one of the first on the dancefloor, always one of the last to leave. The happiest and most carefree times of my life. I met the best people, heard the best music and felt at home there. Actually, I felt like the queen of the scene there. Everyone knew each other, there were never any major stresses or fights (there was a cheesy nightclub upstairs, a similar atmosphere but more fights) and it had a devoted crowd of habituees. Wonderful place, I miss it still.
Aged 29-32. Moved to London, went to lots of okay clubs but discovered the After Skool Klub (not a horrible school disco type place, despite the name), the right mixture of indie, retro and classic music with kids who just didn't care. I took lots of people there, used to love staggering out in the early hours of a summer morning and watching the sun rise sitting by Embankment. Around this time I also used to go to the Metro midweek: there's always something special about clubbing midweek, when everyone else is going to work in an hour or two and you have just staggered out of a dingy basement, mascara in rivulets down your face and your clothes soaked with sweat. Around this time I met a girl who was a great dancer, we danced for the love of dancing. People thought we were lesbians, because we were so in synch with each other. People are generally idiots though.
Now. I go out dancing less frequently, though the will is still there and I get itchy feet about 11:30 on Saturday nights. Our local club is a bit too student disco for me these days and I can't take anywhere seriously that actually plays Razorlight. I look back fondly at my dancing days and think they were some of the happiest of my life: the freedom, the music so loud it's in your blood, the hypnotic state you get into when the dj keeps them coming, the sense of communion with people you love, the ritual of getting ready. I love all of it. I miss all of it.
6. When and where did you last dance?
I had a little dance at the ASK with my friend a couple of Saturdays ago, but she was working, so it wasn't for long. Before that, it was my hen night in Manchester the weekend before and we danced in a mental little basement club which played Fun Boy Three and Sinatra. A couple of my best mates who had stamina and cocktails running through our veins. Magic!
7. You're on your death bed. What piece of music would make your leap up for one final dance?
Probably Pixies Debaser or The Breeders Cannonball. The Cure's Boys Don't Cry would do it too, or Stevie Wonder's Superstition. I love a good bassline...
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