The double bank holiday allowed time in which to do nothing (as opposed to doing nothing when time does not allow it).
Away from the daily diet of bad news which seems to be considered necessary to be regarded as a serious media outlet, the BBC website has a treasure trove of interesting stories.
One story concerned a woman’s discovery of photographs she had taken in the 1970s, photographs that seemed to come from a world now as different from the present as the 1920s.
The photographer’s collection was evocative of the irrational exuberance of teenage years. One picture, a boy with long hair, flared trousers, big collared shirt, and a striking pullover would have represented an ideal type for me. He is the image of the boy who was the most popular with the girls in my class when I was twelve.
Had I been able to appear in such a way, discos would have been a great success.
Disco days were in another lifetime, not that they were too common even then.
Discos only became common after I had turned sixteen, they marked friends’ birthdays or occasions at Sixth Form College, they were not the stuff of ordinary Saturday nights.
By the autumn of 1979, they were past; no self-respecting undergraduate in London that term was going to admit liking disco music, even if the rhythms still spoke of friends and smiles and the innocent daftness of teenage years.
Discos were occasions to make absurd attempts at looking ‘cool’, or whatever was the 1970s expression.
Big collared shirts, flared trousers, platform shoes, our fashions resembled those in the BBC pictures and probably trailed by years what was being worn in London, but we thought we looked good. (Switching to wearing straight legged black jeans and cowboy boots in 1978, I thought I was cutting edge).
The cost of an evening cannot have been great, for money was hardly plentiful. Drinks were perhaps twenty or thirty pence, the admission cannot have cost more than a pound, and cost nothing if it was someone’s birthday party. (Full price tickets for Glastonbury Festival in 1979 were only £5, and, being locals, we were able to buy them in Glastonbury itself for £3 each).
The music was eclectic, but as ‘eclectic’ was not a word in our vocabulary, we would probably have said the DJ played loads of different stuff. Chart music would have been mixed with soul and rock and sometimes there were requests for records that would prompt a collective groan from those on the floor.
Boys only danced if there was a girl to dance with. The idea of dancing around the handbags, as girls often did, was something to be watched from a safe distance.
A world as long gone as every past world is.