Remember Yazz? Back in the eighties? Tall, peroxide cropped hair? She sang the fabulous dance song, ‘The Only Way Is Up’? I had a kitchen disco for one yesterday when it came on the radio. I couldn’t stop myself, it’s just one of those songs. First I was chair-dancing, then I was up and wiggling my bum. Lovely. (That’s an ironic ‘lovely’). I’ve got a huge kitchen window – no blind – it looks out onto a block of tenements on the other side of the backgreen. I can see all sorts going on over there – especially at night when it’s dark and the lights are on. I come over all Grace Kelly in ‘Rear Window’, but I’ve got no Jimmy Stewart filling my head with theories of what the man on the third floor, looking diagonally left, is up to. The thing is, I can see life played out across on the other side, but when I hit my kitchen dance floor to strut my stuff to Yazz, I am quite certain that nobody can see me. Oh, the magic of imaginary one-way glass. “Hold on, hold on, hold on / The only way is up, baby / For you and me now”, and I’m off….
‘Walking on Sunshine’ by Katrina and the Waves has the same effect on me. It takes me back to dancing at the Fleets Inn in Downings, Donegal in about 1992. Even then it was a classic, as it had already been around for a few years. Flailing about the dance-floor like the Hogmanay fireworks in Waverley Gardens we would rush onto the dance floor, all Catherine wheel arms – and didn’t it feel good?
I remember going to see the Red Hot Chilli Peppers in Slane, Co Meath. When would it have been…? Around about 2001? They were supporting U2, who are – I always think – more of a ‘sway-to’ band. The Chilli Peppers are undoubtedly a ‘dance-to’ band. I remember the men in the crowd, in particular, loving them as it gave them an excuse to go ‘taps aff’, as they say in Scotland. (For those of you not familiar, this is new-ish vernacular, simply meaning ‘tops off’. The removal of one’s shirt in the event of warm weather being such a phenomenon in Scotland that this has now become an expression applied to many a celebratory occasion.) Back in Slane in 2001 – or thereabouts – it was off with the tee-shirts for the men as they swung them around their heads to the strains of ‘The Zephyr Song’: “Fly away on my zephyr / I feel it more than ever / And in this perfect weather / We’ll find a place together.” I’m quite sure the weather was far from the California climate that the Chillis were singing about, but that night the standard Irish warm, damp summer was perfect for us.
D. wrote to me this week, unaware of my kitchen disco. “I know I am not my age. I am around 23, with hints of 19. I think you are the same and I bet you can still go rulya* round a Friday night “disco”. Be 23, be 19, be happy.” Good advice, chronological age is so passé. Am I going to dance somewhere other than my kitchen this Christmas? And will I go rulya? Too right I will, especially if Yazz is on the playlist.
*(Armagh slang for mad/crazy/insane/not the full shilling)