Eleven Sweaty Men in a 4-Seat Hillman Husky

disco lightsCan you remember what you did on Saturday nights in 1970? My friends and I were, like a lot of other testosterone and beer fuelled males, heading for the disco. We had a choice of venues; the Top Rank Suite, with its circular dance floor downstairs and the illuminated, multi-coloured glass one upstairs; and the Mecca, Royal Pier Ballroom, famous for its plastic palm trees. There were other, seedier establishments which decent chaps avoided. One week in May it was our turn at the Pier.

Picture of the sort of Hillman Husky – a 1954-1957 model – unfortunately not a '70s modelThere were four of us in the old Hillman Husky and the plan was to meet in the car park at the end of the evening, for the return journey. Colin, the car’s owner, was not renowned for his powers of logical thought, especially after a couple of beers, and he was so proud of his new wheels that he invited everyone he met, to a lift home.

Later that night a crowd gathered outside the disco to see the famed car. When he was satisfied with the packing of the passengers he started the journey home. He had travelled less than a mile along the High Street, just reaching the Bargate when he was flagged down – by the local constabulary. He had forgotten to turn on the lights. It would have helped had he been able to see the dashboard, but with eleven people occupying the four seats it proved impossible.

The astounded policeman did his duty, seven passengers walked home and Colin pleaded guilty at court. It cost him a £13 fine and he got his ‘fifteen minutes of fame’ in the local paper.

The 70s were under way …

Kim P Moody

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Village Hall Disco

disco lightsIn the village where I grew up there is a hall which can be hired out for events. It was known as the memorial hall, though I don’t remember what it was a memorial to.

When I was a child, I used to spend a fair amount of time at the memorial hall. My mum was very active in the committee and there were always events going on. Discos mainly, any excuse for a disco.

There were hardly any other small children at the discos, only the offspring of the organisers who couldn’t get babysitters. So we were the ones who collected glasses (finishing off the drinks) and had pop and crisps. We got pushed around by older children who were trying to be important and petted by adults who thought it we were funny.

I remember being six years old and crawling behind the speakers to have a rest. I didn’t actually sleep but it was very comfortable. The curtains were a bit dusty and made me sneeze. When we sat on the wooden floor to do the ‘Boots Outside Your Head‘ dance, I would get a dirty bum and dirty hands, but it was fun to do it and be part of the grown up crowd.

We used to go up on stage to make requests and I shocked the DJ once by asking for the Sex Pistols. I didn’t know the name of the song but wanted to prove that I was grown up by saying the band’s name. Some of my favourite disco songs were the ones that spelled things out like YMCA and D-I-S-C-O.

When we were in the hall, dancing to these loud songs and looking at the flashing lights, I would feel like we were somewhere completely different and I could do anything, be anyone. Then the lights would go up and we’d have to wait for mum to help clear up before we could go home. We’d run around the empty hall like children always do. Out in the cold night air, walking through the village to our house, I’d start to feel tired and let down. I wasn’t a disco queen after all but just and ordinary village girl with sore feet.


 

Josie Henley-Einion, author, blogger, Legend in my own Living Room

Tribal Rites of the New Saturday Night

Saturday Night Fever the film based on a journalistic lieThis article appeared in the New York Magazine in 1976 and is the inspiration of the 1977 film Saturday Night Fever.

The article was an exposé of the disco scene. However, according to Wikipedia, it was pure fiction, the author Nik Cohn not having done any research on the disco scene.

This is not just wikipedia being notoriously unreliable. Nik Cohn has admitted himself that the character Vincent, (on whom John Travolta’s Tony is based) “was largely inspired by a Shepherd’s Bush mod whom I’d known in the Sixties.” He got away with it apparently because the mod culture in London was similar to the disco subculture in Brooklyn.

I wonder how much more investigative reporting is fabricated? Perhaps everything on which we base our beliefs and values is a total lie. I’ve always known that you shouldn’t believe everything you read in the newspapers but this one really takes the biscuit!

Tune in next week when I’ll reveal that the Osmonds are my cousins from Darlaston in the West Midlands and Madonna is my gran from Bearwood in Birmingham. Natch.


Josie Henley-Einion, author, blogger, Legend in my own Living Room