My life as a northern soul boy: rebellion on the dancefloor in the 1970s

The scene is a packed school gym full of shy, ungainly people shuffling around to Gary Glitter. It is 1974. At the front are a group of perennial delinquents – the only black kid in our town, his tough Italian mate, others we’ve lost sight of since the 11-plus. They don’t dance; they mock the other dancers.

And then the DJ plays Get Out by Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes. The dancefloor clears and the self-selected underworld of adolescent Lancashire jumps on to it to strut their jerky stuff.




They do not make eye contact with girls. In fact they do not make eye contact with anything nearer than the horizon. They do the splits. They spin around, knocking bottles of Tizer out of the hands of anyone who gets too close. They are dancing to northern soul. By the next week so was I.



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