Liam Rudden: Dance of the police chief and the 23 stone drag queen
BACK in the day, when you could regularly find me behind the decks until two or three in the morning, nothing pleased me more than watching an empty dance floor fill.
That, after all, was the point. Getting them there was one thing, keeping them there the challenge.
From my earliest days DJing (as a teenager I’d stood in for the late Tom Wilson at one of his residencies where functions were the name of the game), my tastes were for hi-nrg, Eurobeat and later EDM. Anything with a fast beat.
So you can imagine how much I’m looking forward to the arrival of Colours at the Usher Hall. The UK’s longest running independent club promoters are bringing their phenomenally successful Colours Classical to the Lothian Road venue on March 10.
After a sell out show at The SSE Hydro in Glasgow last September, the Capital is to experience the second edition of the hit show, which finds the 60-piece Scottish Festival Orchestra playing some of dance music’s most recognisable hits - all with a classical twist.
Hosted by Judge Jules, and with sets by the likes of Danny Rampling, Jeremy Healy and Jon Pleased Wimmin on the night too, it promises to be electric.
Watching YouTube footage of the SEC event, the atmosphere is certainly something else, although I’m curious to see if, in Edinburgh, those with Grand and Upper Circle tickets will actually join in or just sit and watch the ravers in the stalls below, where it’s standing only, well, dancing only.
That I intend to be there was greeted with incredulity by some - apparently I should have grown out of it. Never. You really are only as old as you feel, which reminded me of another oldie who loved a good dance.
One of the first functions I ever DJ’d was a police ball. Before the evening started I was taken aside by one of the organisers, a Sergeant, I believe.
“Now son,” he said, “quick word to the wise, we’ll have no joining-in-type tunes tonight. No Birdie Song. No YMCA. No Hokey Cokey. Nothing that involves waving your arms about or making a fool of yourself. Understand?”
Later, having stuck religiously to the brief, I asked another of the organisers why the restrictions.
“Well son,” he replied, “the Chief Constable is here and there’s nothing he likes better than a good dance to himself, and we really can’t afford to take the chance of someone taking a photo of him doing the Birdie Dance and it becoming public.
”Can you imagine the field day the press would have?”
The next record? Divine, Walk Like A Man... and there was the old Chief up on the floor, giving it laldy.
I often wonder what the organisers would have thought had they realised their boss was bopping along to the most outrageous 23 stone drag queen the world had ever known.
If only I’d had a video screen on the front of the booth that night.