I’m a little hazy as to the respective dates, but Gary Numan’s “Cars” is one of three candidates from the charts of September 1979 to qualify as the first record I ever danced to at a disco. (If we discount Cockney Rebel’s “Mr. Soft” in a marquee at a traction engine rally in 1974, and I rather think we should.)
The other candidates? I’m glad you asked.
Candidate #2: “Gangsters” by the Special AKA, after a half-term gig by The Jags at Retford Porterhouse. “Back Of My Hand” was in the charts, and the band were staying a few miles away in our local village pub.
(A popular rock and roll stop off point, as it happened; my step-sister once spent an evening chatting to a pre-fame Billy Idol, and the Psychedelic Furs scandalised all and sundry by smoking weed on the landing.)
The post-gig disco took place in a separate night club area, complete with a totally authentic Saturday Night Fever style dancefloor, laid out with the statutory multi-coloured illuminated cubes. Thrust into the midst of such sophistication, I felt a little out of my depth.
Candidate #3: “Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough” by Michael Jackson – in its first week on the Top 40 – at the Friday night teenage disco at the Cambridge YMCA. We blagged our way in without paying while the trendy vicar’s back was turned, nipped upstairs, and soon found ourselves quite the centres of attention.
“You’re the new John Travolta!”, beamed a starry-eyed fifteen year old (curly perm, horizontally striped sweater dress, thick black belt), as I galumphed around the dancefloor in my ghastly tweed sports jacket.
“You should have been in Saturday Night Fever, or Grease, or something!”
(I am quoting this strictly verbatim. As I suspect was she, perhaps from some “How To Pick Up Boys!” guide in Mirabelle.)
As the strains of “Bitch” by the Olympic Runners started up, another all-to-easily impressed chancer (dark crop, pencil skirt) tried to muscle in.
“Oy! Get off him! He’s MY boyfriend!”
A tussle ensued. Fingernails flew. Five minutes on the dancefloor, and I was quite literally being fought over.
Oh, this was the best night out ever! It was like being in a photo-love story in my sister’s My Guy, or something!
Eager to stay in role, I leant between them and uttered these immortal words:
“Now then, girls. Break it up.”
The effect was instant. Oh, the power! I swear they both simpered.
Nothing like this ever happened to me again.
At least, not where the ladies were concerned.