Sunday, October 26, 2008

Saturday Night Fever

The BBC Electric Proms are not something I have ever thought of listening to, because I imagined them to be all electric guitars, and probably too loud for me. But something made me stop and look at the programme for last Wednesday's prom being broadcast from the Roundhouse in Camden, London. It was going to be a programme of Burt Bacharach's music, and more, he would be there playing the piano himself, accompanied by the BBC Concert Orchestra, while various artists covered his songs. I decided to record the programme - (11.20 pm is way past my bedtime these days) - and yesterday, as I tried to recover my cool after the excitement of the Awards, I listened, relaxed and enchanted to 45 minutes of Bacharach.

So, it seemed worth looking to see what else was coming up. Oh my! another nostalgic winner for me. This year is the 30th anniversary of the time when Saturday Night Fever was heading the charts in the UK, and last night's programme included much of the film music, with a personal visit from Robin Gibb of The Bee Gees to sing one of the numbers. I searched through my stash of old vinyls and came up with my treasured double album, which I have just been able to fit onto my scanner.

Now Saturday Night Fever is intimately bound up with a time in my life when I took on a new challenge - namely to learn to dance properly. I have always loved social dancing, but the opportunity did not come up very often, and anyway, my husband didn't do more than kind of hop round the floor in a rather jerky way. So I signed up at a local dance school for lessons in Ballroom and Latin American, and began to work my way through the medals: Bronze, Silver and Gold. Since my husband was not interested in learning, I always had to dance with an instructor, and never got any practice between lessons, but I enjoyed myself and did make progress.

Then John Travolta burst upon the dance scene, and the man who ran the dance school took himself off to London to learn the dances from the film, so that he could teach them in his classes. Now disco dancing was something else again for me. I loved the freedom of moving entirely by myself, and putting all the energy and feeling into it that I wanted to. It was liberation to music, and to achieve that at 50 was quite something! Remember this is 30 years ago, and solo dancing was not universal as it is today. (An added bonus was that the disco dancing strengthened my rather weak knee joints amazingly, an effect which didn't last unfortunately after I stopped dancing.)

I kept it up for about three years, achieving Bronze, Silver and Gold in Ballroom, Latin and Disco, but then my aunt became seriously ill and I no longer had time for it. After she died I had a hysterectomy, and by the time I got over that, which was not soon, I wasn't thinking of dancing any more. But that's the way it goes, isn't it? However, I had developed a love of all kinds of dancing as an art form to watch, and have derived a great deal of pleasure from it over the years. And the music of Saturday Night Fever continues to stir me whenever I hear it.

Oh yes! and my husband was very good at Scottish Country Dancing, and together we worked our way up to Gold Medals for that too.


Pam said...

Hope to see a demonstration somehow, somewhere............

or maybe you could give a lesson or two?

Sheila Joynes' Musical Diary said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sheila Joynes' Musical Diary said...

You never cease to amaze me, Judith! How come we haven't heard about all this before now? ;-)