Susan Morrison: Down with Proms, bring back school discos!

When did the good old Scottish school disco turn into a High School Prom?
When did the good old Scottish school disco turn into a High School Prom?
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The Sixth Year Leavers Disco. Ah, the tales we heard as we rose through the years at secondary. Everyone knew that the final bash for the leaving year was epic in its debauchery and rivalled the last days of Rome for licentious behaviour.

Of course, it didn’t, unless the late emperors of Rome had developed a taste for Slade, crisps and Kia-Ora. It was a disco, in the school hall.

We didn’t even have a disco glitter ball, although Tommy Muir, Mobile Music Man, had flashing lights. They didn’t work very well, so they only flashed blue, which gave the impression that the police were about to descend on us at any moment. I suppose that added a certain air of danger.

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I don’t remember what I wore, and no-one took photos, which is just as well, but I do have flashbacks about the hair. I had gone to Maison Gordon’s salon to have my hair ‘bubble cut’. This meant a perm.

My hair that looked like a Brillo pad. It was a tough look to pull off, and believe me, I was one of the many who couldn’t.

We had jeans from What Every Woman Wants and tops from Chelsea Girl. The lads sported flares, tank tops and Blue Denim aftershave.

We all clunked into the school hall, danced a bit, snogged a bit and bought chips on the way home with our bus fare.

We didn’t badger our folks to hire a limo to drive us there. We didn’t expect our mums to cough up an extraordinary amount of money on a floor-length frock.

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People didn’t come to the house to do our hair and make-up.

My pal Anne slathered on Miners blue eyeshadow and frosted pink lipstick. All the girls did.

We were going to a very Scottish school disco, not the High School Prom.

We went looking like teenagers, not strangely aged adults at some weird awards ceremony, complete with faces plastered with panstick and gussied up like a D-list wannabe celebrities in dresses that leave little to the imagination and no change from a three-figure sum.

The prom used to be a uniquely American thing. It was in all the movies. The film Carrie had one, which, as I recall, a Roman emperor might have felt quite at home in, given what happened at the end.

It’s a very peculiar phenomenon. According to those films, the prom defined your life. No date for the prom? Your life is ruined. Wrong date to the prom? Your life is ruined.

Compromised in the car park at the prom? Your life is so ruined you’ll have to wait until your son gets pally with a mad inventor who creates a time-travelling car to come back and sort things out.

There’s a lot riding on this prom nonsense. What also seems to be riding on this is a lot of money. Some young parents of my acquaintance are fretting about the cost of limos and frocks, because proms have become a feature of Scottish school life, too.

Like just about everything parental, it’s become a game of one-upmanship with mums competing to make sure that wee Senga has the most expensive frock. One mum boasted on social media that her lassie’s outfit cost nearly £400, and she hired a Rolls to take her to the school gates.

Back in 2010, one council had to put a ban on a proposed helicopter landing in the playground.

Mark goodbye to being schoolchildren, by all means, but don’t it by pressuring kids to look like adults.

Let’s bring back the old school disco. I’ll see if Tommy Muir still runs his mobile business.

Wait a minute, cosmetics for miners?

Can you still buy Miners cosmetics? Beginners make-up from Woolies. I can still taste the lipstick. Not good. Why Miners? Odd name for a make-up outfit, I always thought. Throughout the entire miners’ strike I never saw so much as a hint of Sunrise Pink frosted on a single striker’s lips.