Britain is not a nation of dancers, a statement borne out by forty odd years of watching young people mill about and bump into each other to music every week on pervert’s playground ‘Top Of The Pops’. Even the dancers on the programme couldn’t dance or, at least, despite having some individual skills, found themselves trotting around and doing half-hearted high kicks in whatever piss poor routine Pan’s People, Ruby Flipper or Legs & Co were scheduled to do that week.
In 1978, however, for a few minutes at least, everything changed. The catalyst was Donna Summer, and the soundtrack was her phenomenal hit record ‘I Feel Love’. Faced with the relentless propulsive energy (literally, the sequencer sounds like an outboard motor) of this superlative track, even the British could dance. Ignore Legs & Co, by the way, they’re just getting in the way (if you’re wondering, they are sat in a plywood car because they have just ‘interpreted’ Jonathan Richman’s ‘Roadrunner’).
Look at the audience, though, the poor, lumpy proletariat who have been pushed around and out of the way all day and ran the risk of being groped by The Hairy Fuckflake or worse: they are energised, invigorated, alive. This isn’t just disco, this is a primal force and, somewhere deep in the collective consciousness, there is a memory of how to rhythmically and vigorously move to music. How much more fun is that than shifting your weight from foot to foot and hoping for the best?