The first song I can remember dancing to

Everett True brought back some memories with his recollection of the first song he can remember dancing to. It’s funny how memory works – just flashes here and there, nothing chronological, and only cryptic clues to give an indication of time. When I was nine, I could very clearly remember being three, but now I can barely remember being nine. I do remember this song, though.I think the album was my sister’s. It was released two years before I was born, but my earliest memory of it was dancing to it on what my mind recollects was a wooden floor. Some of the old Victorian townhouse had those horrible brown carpets popular in the late 1970s, and there was a fair share of linoleum. Outside were rhubarb leaves that were probably taller than I was, but everything was big because I was small. I just remember spinning around on a large wooden floor and taking up as much of it as I could. It might have been 1980, but I’m pretty sure it was 1979. I whirled around and around just revelling in the sheer enjoyment of this music. The funny thing is, I listen to it now, and I have more-or-less the same reaction. Yes, they are f***ing Wombles – I’m aware of that – but you can’t tell me that this song is worse than anything else in the 1974 charts, and it’s a damn sight more enjoyable to listen to than most.

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Though I dimly recall Pink Floyd’s Another Brick In The Wall pt 2, I didn’t appreciate it until I was 10. That was my sister’s influence, again. We were certainly a music-loving house: the place was always filled with Queen and Bowie and the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack from my parents, and then Madonna and the Human League as my sister and I grew up. We broadly liked and respected each other’s tastes right up until dance music emerged and Dad said it just sounded like someone’s car alarm going off. I realised that he was old and past it and just didn’t get it any more. He was barely older than I am now.

I honestly don’t know whose copy of Toyah’s I Want To Be Free was in the living room, in 1981. I claimed it for my own, regardless, as at the grand old age of four the line “I don’t wanna go to school” really spoke to me. When I realised I didn’t have it, years later, I bought the single again.

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Fast forward a year or two, and I recall dancing to Dexys Midnight Runners’ Come On Eileen at a disco my parents went to at one of those overlit community halls in the middle of nowhere. After a time, I ran off with the other kids to play outside and we amused ourselves for the rest of the evening by poking a dead bird with a stick. If you were born before 1982, you probably never, ever need to hear this again.

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