who can forget school discos…now, I’m not talking high school prom style antics with spiked punch and big meringue dresses battling for supremacy on the dancefloor. quite frankly, in the uk, school discos are best left alone past the age of 12. although I do remember a gcse leaving party that saw our entire year get lashed with the enthusiastic support of the teachers, who looked fairly trolleyed themselves.
at this particular event I drank almost an entire bottle of malibu and you can imagine the rest. however, this example is out of context. in fact, real school discos, the ones people remember fondly, took place much earlier, at junior school in the mid-late 80s (for us anyway). and i did get my coconut fix then too but it was a long lost fizzy pop called coco pina.
authentic junior school discos had several essential elements – boys, girls, the assembly hall, the tuck shop. it would be decided days, possibly weeks in advance, who you would dance with. you would be jealous of the people who lived near school, as they would be allowed to walk home without their parents arriving to embarrass them.
one of the most authentic things about 13 going on 30 was the fashion. the six chicks looked exactly how me and my friends did. of course, in the US there’s no school uniform so they probably dressed like that every day.
for for uk kids, seeing people out of their school uniform was hilarious.
the boys adopted a miami vice look complete with hawaiian shirts for the brave, or rolled up sleeves on pastel coloured suits with contrasting t-shirt. mullets of course, were present, as were spiky hairdos and wham style big hair. i always remember a ginger classmate who had no luck with girls, turning up in a leather jacket, clearly in a bid to impress. ‘oh yeah i always dress like this out of school…’
the girls, well, anyone who thinks fashion obsessed 10 year olds are a new phenomenon clearly didnt attend school in the 80s. witness a spectacular array of outfits we screamed and nagged our way to. i think for my first junior school disco we all dressed as madonna – lace, fingerless gloves, leggings, backcombed hair. basically as close to the above picture as possible. then came the chino invasion and we posed in our little pastel coloured chino skirts and logo tops.
download your step by step guide to the 80s junior school disco
a-ha – take on me
hmm, not quite sure how to dance to this one. probably why the dj played it as everyone was arriving…and wishing they’d worn something else. i didn’t see any peach chino skirts in tammy, where did she get that from?
rick astley – never gonna give you up
things are warming up a bit now but you’d have to really want to dance to this song whilst everyone else is in their collective gangs, checking that everyone they fancy has turned up and eating refreshers in case someone kisses them later.
madonna – la isla bonita
the £40-a-night dj, obviously used to better audience participation in the social clubs he usually plays in, banks on anything madonna to get the girls onto the dancefloor. it works.
billy joel – uptown girl
the song that used to require everyone standing in a line with their arms linked, walking from side to side kicking their legs out like drunk uncles at a wedding. don’t be fooled by the proximity, this was as friendly as it would get.
mel and kim – respectable
stragglers – this dance is easy, you’ve no excuse. just strut up and down like a supermodel and leave the fancy bit to the pros. the first couple of the night get together (and do nothing) in the curtains, and another girl starts crying.
nu shooz – i can’t wait
now the dj targets the boys, most of whom have been lingering waiting ‘for something good to come on’. 80s discos rarely played proper breakdance music so this would suffice. a couple of hawaiian shirts would start walking towards each other and a circle would form. he’s going to ruin those white trousers….
bros – i owe you nothing
before someone injures themselves, the dj puts on some girl friendly boy pop and the dancefloor fills up again. the shadow of someone throwing up outside after too many cola cubes can be clearly seen through the assembly hall curtains.
pepsi and shirlie – heartache
you were likely to have a dance made up already for this. you are outraged to find that groups of girls across the entire school have copied your moves. you have spent the last eight lunchtimes practising for nothing.
wham – i’m your man
several of the boys, high on too much cherryade, will do a bizarre chest-pounding, lionistic tour of the dancefloor and the decent looking ones will get groups of adoring girls dancing along with them, whilst the others will just get booted off the dancefloor.
tiffany – i think we’re alone now
ok girls, this is your last chance to look cool. if you fail, you will end up crying into the curtains whilst someone else dances with your man.
whitney houston – saving all my love for you
this is it, the erection section. except, you don’t quite know what that means yet. if you’re dancing with someone, try not to look too smug. if you’re not, grab a friend and waltz ironically, pretending not to care that someone else got your man. there’s always next term…