In 1984, when I was 15, I sat on a clapped out Bakers' coach with a couple of dozen other excited teenagers and some local football team or other to embark on the Weston-super-Mare/Hildesheim student exchange for a fortnight away from home. In the main, I journeyed into the unknown with people I didn't know: most of the Priory School bunch I chose to hang around with could barely cope with remedial French, so were never going to learn German aswell.
Petra, the German girl, stayed at our house during Easter and I stayed at hers in the summer. We had nothing in common - she was sporty and probably quite lovely, while I was bookish yet Trouble. After a week in Weston's 'Twin Town' near Hanover, we, the English contingent, waved goodbye to our hosts and jumped back in the clackety vehicle for our three day visit to West Berlin.
At the Hostel, I had no worries about ignoring the 10:30pm curfew and persuading 2 other girls to head into the heart of the city to go clubbing for the night, whilst getting another to cover for us should it all come on top. Looking back, it must have been my first night-club experience, one where we got completely wasted on local beer and watched transgendered dancers giving it large in a city we couldn't navigate (West Berlin in 1984: before U2 had even considered making it 'cool' ) and surrounded by a language we hardly knew. We sat mesmerised, three English schoolgirls in Dorothy Perkins dresses, while men in skirts and leather groped each other. It was great!
So, it's hardly surprising that, although I went out dancing about three times a week from then until the age of 18, when I left Weston-super-Mare, I never really rated the club scene here. It was the same thing, night after night; cheap alcohol, boys on tap and lots of puking (not a noughties pheomenon, this, it's been going on forever!) I moved to Torremolinos.
Weston just didn't do Disco! And, 22 years on, nothing has changed ....
A couple of days ago, I got word of a Facebook Group promoting a Silent Disco, booked for the dilapidated Dophin Square area of the town, which would last the duration of one song of choice only. "Brilliant!" I thought, "It's in the afternoon! 12:30 on a Saturday! I can take My Girl," and I confirmed our attendance, whilst alerting other Facebookers/twits/WsMums to this rare-for-Weston event. I thought about the tune only I would dance to and that no-one else would be able to hear, flitting from Odyssey's "Shake your Body" (pure disco) to Hot Chip's "Over and Over" (which I dance to as though I'm holding a skipping rope and, therefore, it was ruled out) to Arctic Monkey's "I Bet you Look Good on the Dancefloor" (energy, pure energy). However, for me, nothing quite comes close to those Essex boys, who were so ahead of their 80s time, Depeche Mode, and my favourtie of theirs and very probably a Desert Island Disc of mine "Enjoy the Silence." Love that beat! I booted up my MP3 player for me, charged up the ipod shuffle that my brother had gifted me (jam-packed with my favourite songs, bless him) for her and grabbed two pairs of headphones.
Incidently, I had a Scooby Doo moment as we were leaving the house, when I checked to see whether the headphones worked on the ipod shuffle that My Girl would be using. I hadn't chosen a song for her; I thought any number would do as long as she could hear some music to dance to and not feel left out. They worked and which song was playing on a shuffle selects tunes totally randomly? Go on, guess? That's right .... I actually looked at the machine and vocally shivered (a sort of "Urghhgh" sound).
We went down The Hill.
I had it all planned so well: get there at least half and hour early so that she can play on the slides in the middle of Dolphin Square, get it out of her system ready for the Disco, and we would even have time to grab a Cornish Pasty from Hills in the precinct. We ate the peppered potato and meat in pastry and My Girl went off to slide, while I untangled the headphones again. At 12:20, we went to chat to some friends with their boy and girl and chosen bakery delights. They were also there for the Disco ("But we're just going to watch.") Another super-Mum turned up with her baby and fella and 2 ipods or suchlike.
We noted that there weren't many people milling about - 12:28 - although there were a damned site more than there had been 20 minutes previously. I spotted a woman standing on her own, hands in pockets, swaying a little. At about 12:30, we thought we heard a whistle but we weren't sure and no-one was dancing. At 12:34, we were sure we heard another but still no-one dancing. Maybe we should have just got on with it and danced but, well, you don't, do you?
Where were the organisers? Where was the placard to mark the spot? Where was the fun?
Like, I said, Weston never did do Disco. Torremolinos on the other hand ....