Not cool enough to dance

The rugby match kicks off at five o’clock on Saturday afternoon and will be over by seven o’clock, which means there is plenty of time to get to the gig – if I have the courage to go.

It is a band from the 1970s where the fans will dress in a particular way, and that inspires fear.

In the 1970s, there weren’t many things that inspired fear.

Going to football matches, where full scale fights between rival groups of fans might involve dozens or hundreds of young men,  was never a worry. All you had to do was to stand to one side, watch the game and no-one took any notice of you: it was easy to be invisible.

Attending rock concerts never prompted a moment’s hesitation, people went for music, not hassle. The only hostility would be towards police officers charged with the thankless task of searching likely suspects for cannabis.

People dressed to dance for particular music was a prospect far more threatening than a fight between rival groups of football fans, or a gang of bikers gathered for a heavy metal gig.

I’m never quite sure, but the dance goers always seemed much more cosmopolitan, much more sophisticated. I always avoided such company and I would never have had the confidence to set foot in the clubs. I always had the wrong clothes, anyway.

Far better to encounter a greaser looking like an extra from the cast of Easy Rider, with big boots and studded leathers, than to encounter one of the in-crowd.

There are still radio programme presenters who have the capcity to reawake that sense of being intimidated.  They are the ones who speak with their own patter, their own language, their own vocabulary.  It was a language which would have excluded people like me in those far off years, they are those who play music that would have filled 1970s dance floors lit by glittering lights.

Such fear is entirely illogical.

The people who went to the sort of places that scared me weren’t particularly cosmopolitan or sophisticated; they were just people who would have spent their money on clothes and looked forward to the weekends, dressing up and enjoying nights out.  They were not aggressive, they were not violent, they were hardly dressed for a fight, anyway.  The venues they attended were often policed by bouncers at the door.

So why should the prospect of going to listen to dance music cause discomfort? Perhaps it is that most primeval of all fears, the fear of the unknown.


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