Getting ready for your first trip to a proper Disco was like going from primary school to College in one step. The preparations were similar but with knobs on, not only did you have to look good, you had to look older. Most discos had an admittance policy of 21 plus and sophistication was the byword. In reality it wasn’t that hard to get in but the first time you went you didn’t know that and running the gauntlet of the DJ clad bouncers was terrifying.
My first trip was to Neros, the local disco in the seaside town where I lived. It was the height of kitsch with walls covered with crimson velvet wallpaper, black and white tiles covering the floors and gilt light fittings. The theme seemed to be Roman brothel crossed with 1950s dancehall with Doric Columns propping up the ceiling (and the people on occasions) and red velvet banquettes placed haphazardly as if they’d been dropped from a great height. Drinks were served by toga clad waitresses who dodged through the crowd precariously balancing trays of drinks. Their makeup looked like it had been applied by plasterers and the only togas I’d seen that short before were in ‘Carry on Cleo’. In the middle of all this splendour was a huge round, glass tiled, raised dance floor.
The dress I wore that night was a metallic gold halter neck; nearly all the women had long dresses on or at the very least cocktail dresses or flared cat suits. The men all wore suits with flared trousers and open neck shirts or with the occasional very wide tie here and there. At Neros the DJ was perched up on a rostrum which looked down onto the dance floor. He looked like a crazed preacher in a white polo neck which looked like a dog collar and a black suit. Flashing lights came from every direction and strobe lights swept over us. The dance floor was like a cattle market with dancing, posing women on the floor with men with their slicked back hair, white suits and loosened ties surrounding them. It made you feel like a jar of bonbons in a sweet shop. Despite throbbing feet that felt like they’d never recover and ears ringing from the music I was hooked and from that night on I would have sold my soul to go every single week.