I was allowed to go to dances at the YMCA in Victoria Road. Perhaps because it was the YMCA and because my mum knew there was a church nearby. In fact, it was more like a church Social than anything else, although we heard stories about fights and even a stabbing on nights when we weren’t there. You climbed up the stairs to the first floor and people bunched round the walls, smoking, drinking orange squash. Some boys wore suits, there were a few bad jumpers, and girls in dresses with gathered skirts. At this point I only had a suedette jacket, so it didn’t really count as part of any mod heritage. I wore my stone coloured ski pants and my bottle green Fred Perry, and red socks with my moccasins.
The format was simple, records and local groups – Mark Shelley and the Deans mainly. This was where I first saw someone actually do the Turkey Trot, giving it all he’d got.
Sandra and I jived. We had been practising our jive for months. It was a very intricate, almost courtly dance, with precise movements. I couldn’t do it with anyone else, because they wouldn’t know the moves. Although I think that’s true of all good jiving. But there was none of the flinging of limbs that you see in old movies, no-one showed their petticoats, no-one got thrown across their partner’s back.
And we had to catch the half past ten bus home.