JD (jdbracknell) wrote,

how archie drelled into me that it's ok to dance even if you can't dance

100 Songs That Taught Me Everything I Know, #2

So this whole 100 Things thing has taken off in ways I wasn't expecting. I owe comments everywhere and I haven't even started on the index I was planning to make (I might actually need volunteers to help with that unless I take a week off work), but I wanted to post this anyway.

Song: Here I Go Again, by Archie Bell and the Drells

Lesson Learnt: How not to dance, with élan.

[but every time I see ya, I keep running back for more]

I can’t dance, but unlike many people who can’t dance, I do dance. All the time. At my desk, in the kitchen, in record shops, in the street waiting for the lights to change, if the mood takes and there’s a record playing, I will have a quiet little boogie. What can we blame for this? Northern Soul.

When I was at university, I met a guy in a pub called Pete. He always dressed like it was 1940 – he had bowties way before Matt Smith made them cool – and one night, we had a lot of vanilla gin and we went on to a club, a tiny dive of a place with a beer-slicked floor and speakers that gave you tinnitus after thirty seconds. This song came on, and Pete said, “This song’s mint, would you care to accompany me for a brief shuffle across the parquet?” (because he always spoke like it was 1940, too. Although some weird parallel universe 1940 where everyone just spoke a bit more formally with crap slang)

The music was so fast and upbeat that normally I would have cried off, but I looked at the dance floor. It was full of awkward-looking people grinning their faces off and yes, a lot of those smiles were chemical in origin, but unlike the house clubs where you needed gymnastic ability to make the right shapes with your hands and the indie clubs where you needed Olympic endurance to pogo without succumbing to the stampede and the rock clubs where you needed to be, frankly, crazy as well as have abs of steel to enter the mosh pit, the way they were moving looked attainable, even for someone who occasionally has difficulty staying upright on a sofa.

This, I thought, this I can do. Because all you need to dance to Northern Soul is shoes with a lethal lack of grip that’ll see you on your arse if you encounter a kebab on the way home, and to move from side to side and kick as if you’re knocking a plastic pint glass out of the way with your foot. When you get confident, lean back a bit, and if you really want to give it some, spin, then slide across the floor in vague time with the music. Like this:

So to dance to this fantastic Archie Bell and the Drells record, all we’re looking for is: kick, kick, kick, sliiiiiiiiiide, kick, kick, kick, kick, kick, kick, sliiiiiiide, kick, kick, kick, spin, land, kick, kick, kick. If you lose your place, it’s perfectly acceptable to bob up and down on the spot and make a loose windmill with your arms for a bit. So that’s what I did, and I’ve been doing it ever since.

It’s not really dancing in the strictest sense, and maybe it’s just because I’m one of those awkward shuffling folk for whom Zumba is a living hell, but when I’m breaking up the washing up with a quick spin to Donna Summer, in my head, I look effortlessly cool.

Anyone get up and try it? How’d it go? It's fun, right?

100 Things rules // join the 100 Things challenge
Tags: 100 things, video: killed the radio star, warning: obscure music ahead
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