Watch Me Now!

Growing up in The ‘70s, the lives of us blokes, to a great extent, were defined by likes of: friends; school; sport; fashion; hair-styles; music, girlfriends and dancing – the latter two often being inter-related.

From the day in First Year of Secondary school when we learned our PE class had been cancelled but we still had to report to the gym for ‘Social Dancing Practice,’ to the day we strutted our Funky Stuff at the city centre disco seven years later, dancing formed an integral part of our lives and impressing the opposite sex.

In our early teens, when it came to ‘popular’ dancing as our teachers called it, it was the girls who undoubtably displayed a more natural sense of rhythm. Most of us lads had only a very conservative and reluctant shuffle in our locker. Fearing ridicule from our pals should we display anything considered even slightly flamboyant, it’s fair to say the handbags of our suitably unimpressed partners probably moved more on the dancefloor than we did .

Help was at hand though.

1974: the year my peers and I turned sixteen. We were still self-conscious and awkward (oh … so just me then?) but the raging hormones that now coursed through our bodies over-rode the fear factor, and, supplemented by two or three cans of Carlsberg Special Brew, we were ready to dazzle!

Thumbs in belt loops ? Ready with those high kicks? All right fellas, let’s go!

Check this out, girls!

Yeah – Glam Rock was our, okay – my dancing saviour. No longer need I worry about creating some spectacular, personalised choreography. The pressure was off – Mud had given me a routine, which would /was / still is adapted for pretty much every chart record played at any future disco. Later, towards the end of that year, Kenny would kindly gave us (me) a second ‘add alcohol and serve’ instant, no-thought-required dance with which to woo my intended.

‘Hashtag fail,’ I believe is the expression used these days! Oh well.

Of course, set dance moves to popular music were nothing new. Throughout the Sixties, there had been a plethora, The Twist; The Madison and The Locomotion amongst them. And then in 1972, just in time for my first family holiday abroad, came the ‘Mums’ Favourite’ that was played to death across the Costa Dorada and latterly the UK.

I’m sure I wasn’t the only fourteen-year-old boy to be dragged up onto the dancefloor at every wedding / party / holiday disco attended with their parents over the next few years.

I realised very quickly though, this was definitely not the route to attracting a girl of my age, and so ‘Tiger Feet,’ (which could easily be adapted for any Status Quo song) became my go-to routine, pretty much until the time I left school in August 1976.

I was by then eighteen years of age– old enough to gain entry to the discotheques of Glasgow. The White Elephant was the preferred choice of my pals and I.

Sadly, the music on offer in the latter half of 1976, was pretty dire. I mean, you go to a disco and are expected to dance to Chicago’s ‘If You Leave Me Now.’ Or ‘Love and Affection,’ by Joan Armatrading?  Even Mud had slowed things down by December, their hit then being a cover of Bill Withers’Lean on Me.

Who has ‘moves’ for those type of songs, I ask you?

Thank goodness for Showaddywaddy and ‘Under The Moon Of Love.’ I could just about get away with an adaptation of the ‘thumb in belt loop’ and circular walk routine. Just about …

In December of that year though, I found my dancing niche. Punk had arrived; pogo dancing was the future! Even I couldn’t go wrong. I may have looked more stupid than awkward now, but I didn’t caaaaaare.

Damn, I was good! But ultimately unimpressive – seems Glasgow girls are less won over by a wee short-arse jumping high in the air than are the Kenyan women from the Maasai tribe.

Buoyed by my new found proficiency,  I would spend many a Sunday afternoon over the next few years at my pal’s house, blasting some old Rockabilly tunes on his huge Pioneer sound system and perfecting my Bopping moves.

Wow! Were the girls gonna love this?!

Errr … no was the answer. Again. I guess there’s a reason why blokes always dance The Bop alone.

Not to worry. As with trends in music, so another dance fad would be along shortly. And just before the turn of the decade, the 2Tone and Stiff Record labels introduced me to the sounds of Madness, The Specials, The Selecter and The Beat. There were new dances to learn; dances that would have the girls falling at my happy feet.

I taught myself to skank; I taught myself The Nutty Boys Dance.

Nope – that didn’t work either. Sheesh! This was hard work.

In 1980 though, on the lekking display ground of a French disco, I met Diane, my wife of now over forty years. I’d definitely had a good few too many bottles of Kronenbourg, my inhibitions still trying unsuccessfully to find their way home.

Diane too had undoubtedly partaken of several Cointreau and lemonades, because she was apparently taken with my dancing to this – a French hit of the time, now used by Apple to help advertise the latest iPhone 14.  

Somewhat ironically, our relationship was further strengthened over the next twelve months by my obvious prowess at ‘sit on yer arse dancing’ to The Gap Band (abs of steel, me) and the inane Birdie Song.

I’d cracked it! – which just proves you don’t have to be cool to be cool!

Sometimes a boy can try too hard, you know.

(Post by Colin ‘Jackie’ Jackson from Glasgow – April 2023)

10 thoughts on “Watch Me Now!”

  1. Looking forward to you showing me all these moves when we go for a pint. Just as well the Horseshoe Bar has the longest bar in the world you can take us through Mud to the Gap Band in 10 magical minutes…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I remember Schroeder from the Peanuts saying “musicians don’t dance” and basically that was me…slow dance..yea I would do that. Cleverly we would play Stand By Me and I would pick someone out and I walk off the stage and ask them during the solo…never got turned down lol.

    Liked by 1 person

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