Dancing to old memories

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December 8, 2012 by talkaboutyork

One of the perks of being a parent, which you only realise once you become a parent, is that you get to relive your youth. In the dark corners of your brain lie memories and emotions that you have entirely forgotten about, gathering dust. Until your children go through the same thing, and BAM! you remember it all.

I had one of those moments this evening. My son (8) went to his first school disco at his new school. He’d been to discos at his old school, but perhaps because he was younger and the school was smaller, it didn’t have the same feel that tonight’s disco had.

Being a boy, he didn’t do what I used to do before a disco i.e. titivate. There was no teeth gnashing about what to wear or fussing with elaborate make up. In fact, it went more or less like this:

‘What are you going to wear,’ I asked.

‘Uh, this?’ he answered pointing to the clothes he’d worn all day, his face an interesting mix of boredom and confusion as to why this was even a question.

‘Well the theme is Christmas sparkle. Do you want to do anything christmassy?’

‘No,’ staring at the tv.

‘Well what about if we spray paint your hair gold with this paint which your father failed to use last weekend for the James Bond party when he opted to be a Bond girl instead of Goldfinger.’ (That is an entirely different blog post)

Shrug. ‘OK.’

I sprayed the hair. And that was the ablutions complete.

We set off and arrived at the school where hordes of boys were charging around doing mock rugby tackles on the grass outside the hall while the girls wafted inside in groups of fru fru skirts and lip gloss.

Coming through the open windows was the thumping beat of a DJ ready to work the crowd. Maroon 5’s Payphone was the tune greeting us as we approached the doors. A frisson of excitement surged through me.

‘I remember this,’ I thought. This feeling of anticipation. Who would be there? Would a boy ask me to dance? Would the cool guy notice me?

I had to snap myself back to the here and now. I had a small boy who was suddenly too intimidated to go into the senior school hall. Luckily we spotted a friend. Tears that were threatening suddenly disappeared, hidden behind the shades he’d opted to wear in a last nod to coolness, and off he went without a backward glance. I was heartbroken and physically blocked by the PTA official on the door. I wanted to go in.

Instead I was forced to seek solace with a friend and a glass of champagne at her home for the hour and a half, wondering how it was going.

I returned for pick up, with five minutes to spare, and like the throngs of other parents, couldn’t possibly wait in the corridor. I had to see what they were doing.

A heaving mass of small children were rocking out to something cool and trendy, the girls in their groups doing sweet little dance moves, flicking their hair. The boys mainly bouncing off each other or trying to spin each other until they fell over.

But mainly they were having a ball. Then the DJ said that it was time for the last dance, one that he knew they’d all love. And out pumped Gangnam Style. Instantly the dance floor was alive, a seething, bouncing mass of ridiculous dance moves.

This would be their song. Their ludicrous song that will get them on the dance floor for their 21st’s and weddings and any other number of occasions in the future. Because every generation has one of these songs. For me it was Kylie’s Locomotion, later followed by the Macarena.

Seeing them go crazy to the dance music, all inhibitions lost, I remembered my school discos and before that, even younger – sailing discos. I remembered my first slow dance (Forever Young – Alphaville – New Year 1985) and watching the boy of my dreams dance to Live is Life (Opus) in his strange mock running dance moves which I found incredibly cool (less so in hindsight).

Life at that age is so simple and so exciting and so full of possibilities. I know that in just a few years, I won’t be allowed near the school disco and they’ll come home with hickeys on their necks (if they’re lucky) and I’ll have no idea what actually went on in the dark.

But for now, I am so very, very glad that I have the opportunity to be reminded of my own childhood. Not just what I did but more importantly, how I felt. ¬†Because it’s those childhood emotions that are so hard to remember, but so magical when you do.


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