I joined Hospital Radio Lennox when I was 16, primarily to complete the community service section of my Boys Brigade Queens badge, but I’ll admit the idea of being a ‘DJ’ tapped into my love of music. That plus the fact that a friend was already doing the same thing which brought a level of comfort knowing that there would be a familiar face there.
A few years later, long after I left the Boys Brigade behind me, I was still going along to do the request show on a Thursday, occasionally covering other timeslots and, even better I was starting to help out on Friday and Saturday nights doing discos! As Hospital Radio was a charity we were a reasonably cheap alternative to the usual local DJs (the ones who yak over every damn record at the party!) and I have to admit, I loved doing them.
We were mostly hired to do birthday or engagement parties – with the notable exception being the local school Christmas disco where we got to play chart music! – and after a few of these you start to get a sense of which records to play and when to play them, and more importantly what tracks to chain together to keep people on the dance floor.
For example, what you play BEFORE the buffet doesn’t really matter all that much but AFTER the buffet is when you break out the disco tracks, the Abbas, the soul classics, and 70s rock standards; I’m still amazed how many people will dance to the Stones (Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.
My post-buffet track of choice was always Disco Inferno by the Trammps, from which you could head to ABC by the Jacksons, or maybe crank it up for some RESPECT (Aretha or Erasure depending on audience age) and so on until it was THAT TIME OF THE EVENING.
THAT TIME OF THE EVENING was the point towards the latter end of the night, when you’ve got a constant stream of people bopping away and you’ve spotted that the Aunties (it was always the Aunties!) had already had a few dances and had sat back down for a few songs to get a wee rest, THAT was the moment you reached for the dog-eared copy of a Daniel Boone album, and cued up Beautiful Sunday…
Memories of those nights came flooding back to me last weekend at a wedding reception I was attending, as the opening bars of that song belted out I was hauled up to dance along, and within a few seconds I was lock step with everyone else on the dancefloor, doing the Slosh.
After the song ended I returned to my chair to the utterly bemused looks from a friend and her partner. I can’t recall exactly how she phrased it but I’m pretty sure it was something along the lines of “What was THAT?”… it was about then I realised that the Slosh is not a UK wide phenomenon (at least not any more).
Now, if you are from the West of Scotland (or perhaps Central Belt?) then even if you don’t recall it, you’ll no doubt have seen this odd little line-dance style performance to the aforementioned track. If not, you are going to the wrong parties…
After a bit of googling it turns out that the dance originated back in the 70s (which matches the timeline for the Daniel Boone track it’s associated with), and apparently there is a Belfast version as well, called The Slush (I kid you not).
Quite why it has persisted for so long in certain parts of Scotland – but not others as a highlander friend of mine confirmed – is beyond me. It’s not that great a song, nor that interesting a dance, and if I had to hazard a guess I’d suggest there is something to do with social class involved as well – dance as an outlet of joy amidst poverty, the weekly outing to the Barrowlands when it was still used as a Ballroom etc etc – but regardless it remains a staple of wedding receptions and parties across the land.
Still confused? Here it is being performed in its traditional setting.