Monday, April 9, 2012

Glow Light Disco

The last time I went to a Blue Light Disco, I was in Year 4 and it was the mid 1980s. 

My date (who apparently ended up becoming a male model, but that’s probably another story) showed up looking like Corey Haim, with spikey hair, oversized black cargo pants with enormous pockets on the knees and a flowing white pirate shirt with massive red splotches.  He was so beautiful.
I, on the other hand, wore a pair of neatly pressed pale blue cotton knickerbockers, and a pale blue button down shirt, with tiny white flowers and a scalloped collar.  Thanks Mum.

I was in love with him and apparently he liked me, so we did what all young teenagers did: as soon as we arrived, he went one way, I went the other and we only met up again at the end of the night.  Ah, young love.
The Blue Light Disco was held in the local community centre.  It was a typical disco, with strobe lights, disco ball, kids dancing, volunteers selling soft drink and lollies, girls in one corner, boys in the other, and the occasional policeman standing at the exits, trying to ignore the occasional bit of harmless nooky. 

At the glow light disco, 2012-style
At the end of the night, they gave out prizes.  I remember John Farnham’s “You’re The Voice” cassette being the ultimate prize. Lesser prizes like the Mental As Anything single I won, were on vinyl. Awesome. Records and cassettes.  To anyone born after 1985, look it up in your mum’s encyclopedia of ancient history.
Turns out that Blue Light Disco’s haven’t really changed that much in almost three decades, except the prizes are now portable DVD players. No really.

A friend suggested we take our (almost) five years olds to the local junior disco, and even though I had attended them in the past, for some reason I thought it would be a small group of kids, dancing harmlessly to the Wiggles in the middle of a fully lit room. I wonder if that’s what my mum thought back in 1986 when she dropped me off with my Brat Packing date.
When we pulled up, the small carpark was still half empty, and I incorrectly assumed this meant that only a few kids would be at the dance. How wrong I was.  Around the other side of the building was a much larger, absolutely full-to-bursting carpark, with hordes of young children and their mums streaming towards the hall.

They say the more things change, the more they stay the same. 
This Blue Light Disco was also held in the local community centre.  It was still a typical disco, with strobe lights, disco ball, kids dancing, and volunteers selling soft drink and lollies.  But they were also selling glow sticks and glow wands and bizarre little glow rings which some of the older kids (ie the 8 year olds) put in their mouths making them look like glow-in-the-dark skeletons. 

In one corner of the pulsing room, an enormous inflatable slide had been set up.  A face painter held court in another room.  Small children painted to look like Tigers with flashing mouths ran idiotically from room to room hyped up on sour ropes.
In an outer room, large tables had been set up for the dutiful mums to sit and wait it out. The police and volunteers walked merrily around, stopping to take photos (digital, not film).  It was extraordinarily well organised considering there seemed to be a thousand small children. There was some dancing, but it seemed to be an afterthought for most of the kids who were treating the event more like the Royal Show.  I looked around, and all I could see were mums opening their wallets.

At the end of the night, when I took my rainbow-painted, slide-fatigued, glow-wand waving, sugared up offspring home she excitedly talked about everything she had done and seen.
Nothing about the dancing mind you - as I’m not even sure it registered with her that a disco is in fact a dance. 

1 comment:

  1. Oh how I loved the '80s... my inner child covets your Mental as Anything single. :-)


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