I miss dancing.
To be more specific I miss dancing and not giving a flying rat’s arse who is watching.
One of the crosses a fat man has to bear is the ritual humiliation of trying to get into outfits for weddings, parties and other social occasions and then being expected to bust a few moves when you get there.
I know I look ludicrous now on the dance floor, the left shirt flap hanging out, bottom button somehow always undone offering the occasional glimpse of overhanging hairy belly, the kilt belt now attached under the tum – that particular battle long lost.
It’s like being David Brent‘s bigger, even more embarrassing, brother.
The only places I dance freely are the car, the shower and the dark.
But you need to know that me and the other Fat Laddies like me are the same ones that used to be on the nightclub floor not so very long ago.
We were the ones who moved like the cat out of Boney M or, and this is my point, didn’t really give a fig whether we did or we didn’t.
It’s not that we don’t like music any more, or the idea of dancing any less than we used to.
For me, dancing was part of EVERY weekend – first In Stornoway (yes Stornoway), then Glasgow.
Even after I moved down south it was a few years before clubs gave way to pubs, and then pubs gave way to pizzas and bottles of wine.
But my first dancin howff was the Carlton lounge -if truth be told a rather grotty pub in Stornoway with maybe 6ft square of dance floor surrounded by a vaguely-threatening colliseum of sticky carpets, trestle tables and Tartan Special ashtrays.
There was passing nod to a ‘lounge’ element of the pub’s title in the form of horse brasses and carriage lamps.
In the corner of this pub there would be a DJ with a lighting rig that consisted of three bulbs – red, green, blue, and really not a lot else.
If you can imagine then, 200-300 island teenagers all wearing Joe Bloggs jeans, rammed with drink, sitting down to James Sit Down and not able to get back up because they were either incapable or were stuck to the floor by snakebite then you can get a flavour of my teenage years.
It was Munich Beer Hall meets Second Summer of Love (which arrived in Lewis about 1991) ….and I loved every minute of it
If it wasn’t the Carlton it was Twilights – a specially-built club within one of the larger hotels on the island that was, believe it or not, actually f**king amazing in terms of the cash put in to it. It was like something out of the Hit Man and Her and ir was the only nightclub I have ever been in where they regularly gave out soup from a tureen at the end of the night.
Then there was Glasgow.
The Volcano was my own favourite of that time. The Partick Cross club, sadly no longer, was immortalised in Trainspotting (the club where Ewan McGregor cops off with schoolgirl Kelly McDonald) and we used to go every Wednesday night.
Tuesday night was The Sub Club and at the weekend it was the Cotton Club near the Art School , The Garage or Reds on Sauchiehall Street, or Fury Murry’s (behind the St Enoch Centre, always good for nurses I recall).
We had great times, and I would gladly walk home with the dawn beside me, not able to hear, and I’m sure that every calorie I ingested in the form of Red Stripe had already been burned off by the time I was trying to put the key in the door.
The point in all this nostalgia is every Fat Laddie you see has a hinterland.
I am not being ridiculous about what I want to get out of this year.
I am not a Cnut.
That was then and this is now. For me the days of ski masks. Vick’s and Ingliston are long gone (in truth that was never my scene either).
I have creaks, aches and pains now and I give that involuntary Dad grunt whenever I bend down.
If I sat down to James I’d need a hand up for sure.
But when the next family wedding rolls around and Dancing Queen comes on I’d like not to feel rooted to my chair with a rictus grin.
I’d like to be back up with a real grin.