18
Jan 01

INDIE DANCE

I Hate MusicPost a comment • 346 views

INDIE DANCE

Indie dance. Now hold on just a minute. We’re in trouble there from the outset, I think. Short of perhaps Laryngectomy Doo-Wop it’s tough to think of a genre which quite so comprehensively shoots itself in the foot. Indeed come to think of it a man with a shot foot would be better able to dance than the average indie kid.- the agony in his bullet-ridden limb might impel him to hop up and down a bit, which would be more than your indie shuffler circa 1988 could muster.

But for whatever sick and wrong reason, indie dance was invented. The idea was that you took an indie band and they would record records which people would, yes, dance to. The idea was hatched at the end of the 80s where a lot of cash-strapped indie acts noticed that some of the Young Folk were going out and moving around rhythmically, and doing so in great numbers. Whereas at indie gigs tiny numbers of lank-haired parasites would turn up, shrug to some vague approximation of the beat, and end up spewing snakebite all over the stinking poky venues. Blatantly attracting thousands of people and getting them to dance would be good business, whereas continuing to pack out the Bull & Gate was obvious pony.

Market research was conducted by the likes of the “Roses” and the “Mondays” and the “Primals” and indie dance was revealed to be a goer: the only problem being that many of the target audience didn’t know what dancing was. To sort this out, several bands decided to hire somebody to dance on stage with them, and introduce indie people to this curious new form of bodily movement. “Can you dance, man?” bristly man-beast Shaun Ryder asked the length and breadth of Manchester, earning himself many a beating for his trouble. He soon tired of the struggle – “I’ll fookin’ show them!” he declared and ironically selected the worst dancer in the universe, writing “He’s gonna step on you again” as a warning to anyone unfortunate enough to share a floor with Bez.

(The Stone Roses meanwhile found Cressa, a man named after a nasty vegetable with an ‘-a’ unconvincingly stuck on the end to make it seem as if it was a proper nickname. Curiously Cressa features little in the many, many, many histories of this wretched band.)

But enough history – what of the music? Well, you take a guess at the strength and depth of a scene which produced the likes of the Mock Turtles and Candy Flip. That said it has always been one of my favourite musical eras – rarely was there so much entertainment to be gained from watching music fans go about their absurd business. The style became known as ‘baggy’ after the voluminous t-shirts the listeners wore – not to show how loose and relaxed they were but in fact to disguise the floods of sweat which would drown their pigeon-chested, terminally unfit bodies should they so much as twitch. They would jerk around like sponge-brained apes, frantically twisting their faces, hoping they would look as if they were on mad space pills rather than painfully negotiating a particularly wide shit. As long as I wore earplugs and faced away from the stage it could be a rather pleasant evening out.

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