I Lost Dancing

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Fourth Time’s A Charm

My Favourite Clubbing Night By A Mile

There is a dancing club in Manchester that may be the best-kept secret in the country. A club that, every couple of months, pulses and throbs once every three months with every flavour of House music. They are being served in phat, luuuvely vibes, from mixes by the outrageously talented fanatics Faye and her fellah Mike. From its basement home, in Sub 101, under its big gay uncle Cruz 101. A fixture on the gay scene more yours than most, the GenZs have been drawing breath. Swirling up to the streets of the Gay Village as fervent, great fans of Faye’s and Mike’s fantastic fierce collection throw fancy shapes at faces furiously grinning from the faultless mixes. Their feet fixed to the dancefloor. They were filling the fashionably compact and bijou space. Flirting. Flouncing. Flamboyant and FAB. Forging new friendships. Fellowshipping with others. Friends from far and wide. Feeling the music in every fibre of their being. Fearless, saying,  FUCK, I’M FLYING! Their frenzy is fanning a wave of energy, lifting it onto the filthy backstreets of the Gay Village and floating into the freezing faces of those who queue to frolic upstairs. Feeling for a fleeting moment the frivolity we’ve known for what seems forever. Would it be too much to say, Faye and Mike? Do you have a faithful family looking forward to their Fridays of Freedom? 

I Lost Dancing

Last year a track was written by Fred Again and the black Madonna, aka Marea Stamper. American DJ, Producer and musician, better known by her stage name, The Blessed Madonna, nee Black. A tune was sampled heavily from the excellent “Immortal” by Ellay Duhé, Sang, a song whose lyrics described the loss of dancing and clubbing during the COVID-19 Pandemic but also looked forward to its return. “We’ve Lost Dancin’” reached position 15 in the UK Official Dance Charts. 33 on Billboards US’s Hot Dance/ Electronic Songs chart. With other chart success in The Netherlands, Lithuania, Hungary, Ireland and Belgium.

I played that track a lot through some life-saving wireless headphones. So much that sometimes it is presented as a lament. Other times it was an anthem. I think it was connecting with my brain-damaged mind. My synesthesia is feeling sights and smelling sounds and hearing touches from shadows and sunbeams.  Tasting colours in the winds and hearing the trees sing mourning, twisted and creaked outside in the invisible waves of thick blackness heavy with a load of turmoil and death. Aural and visual hallucinations showed me palaces and dungeons like relics of mental anguish from childhood and adolescence. 

To distract it, I played that track a lot in solitude. Through life-saving wireless earphones, I was hoping for the sound to drown, the whispers and low rumbling like the gigantic gears wheels of some ancient machinery. Through life-saving wireless earphones, a sound barely able to hear but felt in every sinew and nerve. 

Years before this night, there had been many like it. Nights where I saw, heard, felt, smelt and tasted, albeit hearing through my skin, “seeing” with my heart and nervous system—experiencing magnificent aural and visual hallucinations. Where my intellectual, physical, spiritual, sexual and mental selves feel more whole, connected, loved and filled with a healing force. It uplifts me, and it inspires me; it helps me to connect with my inner self, 

Music has been like my version of Ariane’s Thread throughout my life. I cannot take credit for the intricacy of the weaving of one strand of what I say is a thread. It is a fact nothing like a thread. But when speaking of things abstract. The only hope is for me to communicate and even scratch the surface of my experience. And when I came out and started going clubbing, I found I could see things regularly. Deep house,  progressive house or trance music, especially Trance, when served by enormous talents like Armin Von Buren, I recognise the structures and motifs that the old masters used. However, whilst they took months and sometimes years to compose their masterpieces, Armin Von Buren does it on the fly. That blows me away. I particularly enjoy how each track would alter a musical motif or phrase slightly. Slowed down, sped up,  turned upside down or given through the voices of different instruments. 

It Is All About The Music

This club’s family is just like any other. A ‘logical’ family as opposed to a biological one. We are a mix of young, old, men, women, black, white, yellow, pink, able-bodied and less so, gay, straight, all creeds, and ideologies, crossing socio-economic norms and educations. Some are a handful, others are a delightful company, and some look like they lost a pound and found a penny. Some need the safety of the crowd others are free spirits learning about themselves. However, this logical family has a uniting force; you’ve guessed it already. It is the music. This club is unique, and Faye and Mike are a fantastic couple. The club attracts world-class talent. Tonight was no exception. Tonight we were blessed with the exceptional guest DJ, the world-famous Andy Carroll, who did something I have never had the pleasure of witnessing anywhere else in the world.

In his set of deep house vibes, he mixed in influences of maybe twenty musical genres or influences throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. How many do you feel you could count in the next two mins?  Would it come close to twenty? If so, you must message me because we will have a riot together.

  • Motown
  • Disco
  • 90s smooth
  • Soul
  • Techno
  • Synth-pop
  • Jazz-funk
  • The 80s slapped bass
  • Tribalism
  • Black Divas
  • Electro-pop The Human League
  • Americana with lush strings with Vaughan More and his orchestra
  • German synth-pop with some charming Hammond organ samples as well 
  • As classic Korg sounds. 
  • A touch of Gospel
  • Deep house vibes that used real acoustic instruments like trumpet and saxophone. 
  • Then there was some fresh-sounding stuff that may just have been his own 
  • Stuff. It didn’t sound like anyone else at all. 
  • I loved that I heard the same musical motifs over and over again. 
  • It reminded me of Armin Van Buren and had a trance overtone.

I was in awe. That doesn’t happen to me that often. 

I am not what you could describe as a good dancer, but that isn’t the point. The point is that I frigging love dancing. I have no problem walking into a club I’ve never been to in my life and getting on the dancefloor, and introducing myself to those who question my fitness and my age. I say go away and leave me alone, and nobody gets hurt and only come back when you’ve learned some manners. Thankfully that happens so rarely in this club because they go to great pains to ensure that everyone has a brilliant time. 

Andy Carroll is a bloody colossal talent, IMHO; other opinions are available. The music was off the charts. Andy, if you are reading this or someone has mentioned it to you. This clubber sends my deepest thanks for an evening of SS magic I have rarely experienced. You have knocked the amazing and adorable William Sizen Bell off the “My Favourite DJ High Stool” Faye doesn’t realise how good she is; she did a great warm-up. Then, when the other guest DJ was a no-show. She stepped up and did another set. The one where I fanned her with love and thanks for the unique soul she is. 

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tomgalewriter

An LGBTQ+ writer living and working in Birmingham UK. A published writer whose new book (due Summer 2022) a memoir tells of how he as a young man in an Edinburgh slum from 1970 - 1990s fought through poverty, violent abuse, the Mormon Church, the British Army, marriage and fatherhood. Whilst all the while struggling to understand his sexuality and inner spirituality leading him to make a decision that could shatter his life and the lives of those he loves most. Will the weight of the past drag him back down? Or will he rise and triumph against all the odds? He has written short stories on of which titled 'Oh Mum' a fiction based on actual events published in an online magazine at http://shortsmagazine.com in the Summer 2021 edition. He has written a clutch of Flash Fiction, poems, a radio comedy, and has a weekly blog on his website http://www.tomgalewriter.com He lives with his partner and are engaged to be married.

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