So all the Christmas adverts have been out for a couple of weeks now but for me my favourite has to be the one featuring Elton John, the one from John Lewis purely because I can relate to every era that they showed his look alikes in. Not sure it embodies the Christmas spirit as it seems to be more of an advert for Elton’s film coming out next year but I love it because it’s all about the music. It also brings back memories of living in Gibraltar in 1982 when the Falklands war was on and at the time Gib seemed to be a stop off point for some of our lads on their way to war. One 19 yr old guy in particular took a shine to me and was forever buying me things (even though he knew I was seeing someone) and one of the things he bought me was the Elton John single “Blue Eyes.” I’m absolutely ashamed to say I can’t remember his name but I hope he got back home ok.
Getting older means you’ve learned many lessons some good, some bad, not many people get through this life unscathed so I now try to focus on the things that make me happy although obviously working full time restricts some of the time I can spend on these things but I’m trying my best. The one thing I can make more of an effort with is going out dancing, especially when I go to northern soul nights and I see some of the same faces that were there at Wigan Casino with me nearly 45 years ago, a lifetime ago but on these nights it feels like yesterday.
Wigan Casino. A place that attracted coach loads of people from all over the country every Saturday night, it opened at midnight and closed at 8am and didn’t sell alcohol, it had a fabulous sprung dance floor which made it so much easier to dance to all the songs played by your favourite DJ and as much as I loved to dance I also loved watching all the other dancers, especially the guys. A place I never told my mother I was going to when I was 16 years old she always got told I was staying at a friend’s on the other side of town (no mobile phones in those days) and she never questioned it. A place I couldn’t wait to get to when I got on the coach at 10pm and got there an hour later and waited in the horrendously long queue for the doors to open and then hope to god I wouldn’t get crushed in the stampede to get inside. A place that had more male dancers than female and there was a pecking order on the dance floor, unfortunately I wasn’t that good to get to the front. A place that was so hot with all the body heat that everyone took at least one change of clothes and wore wrist sweatbands. A place that at the time was just somewhere to go to that played the best music, but it was in fact a movement that’s gone down in history. I loved Wigan Casino.
A couple of years later I stopped going and one of the reasons was I had a new older boyfriend and we used to go to all the “in” places in Manchester, he wasn’t a northern soul fan and so I just stopped going. I became a bit of a poseur being seen in the right places and as much as I always liked to have a dance wherever we went I never lost my love for northern soul. The scene has never gone away and I’ve made the effort a couple of times this year to go to a northern soul night (bit of a trek on public transport but hey ho) and it’s been great but a bit surreal to see people I knew nearly 45 years ago. But the weird thing is for those few hours we’re all in our teens again, back at the youth club which is probably where most of us were introduced to northern soul, back at Wigan having the time of our lives, sprinkling the talc on the dance floor and loving every minute. But it’s not just all old people on the dance floor, there are soul clubs with young people and it’s always nice to see the younger dancers there although some of the older guys might forget that they can’t do the splits anymore (I have heard of torn ligaments) trying to show off. Music makes me happy and next year I intend to go to more northern soul nights no matter what.
Now somebody pass me that talcum powder.