On the way back home from Oakland, we went over the Bay Bridge & Moomin was fascinated by a bus, or a bus-sized limo, where people were dancing & cameras flashed. “I want to do that. That’s the coolest thing ever.” Then he had a Grand Unified Theory of Cities and Traffic, to the soundtrack of the “NRG” radio station which to me is just gay club music though I’m sure it has some official name, some geneological descendancy from House Music, or whatever.
“Mom, I just realized something. You know how all those people are dancing in that bus having a party? And how we’re in all this traffic? Maybe they’re also dancing to this song. [That “SOS, Rescue Me, Miss You” song which has the backbeat to “Tainted Love”.] Maybe all the people in the traffic are here because they’re going to the City to go to a really fun place where there’s a party and they’re playing this same music. And they’re going to go there and everyone will be dancing to this song that’s on the radio. And that would be incredibly cool.”
Yes, my child. Someday you too can go dancing in San Francisco… or wherever you please…
I thought about a moment in college when I realized my older friends could all go to the gay clubs and I couldn’t and I was insanely frustrated. At some point I managed to start sneaking into Chances, the vaguely folk-musick-y country-and-westerny lesbian bar, and the Chain Drive, a men’s leather bar. But somehow I missed most of the fun dancing club thing. Anyway, the song as we drove over the bridge made me remember a time when me (all of 18 years old), and Sabina, and someone I can’t remember, and Barb, and maybe Amy or someone else, and Paul, were all dancing in her room to the extended mix of Tainted Love after drinking rather a lot of White Russians. There was a heavy atmosphere of despair and exhilaration that I don’t know how to convey. We were all kind of queerish, and knew it, and were struggling to be able to articulate it, except for Paul, who was in love with pretty much every woman in the room, in a shy way. And I felt it was basically as much gay club culture as I was going to get at that moment as the weird undercurrents crackled between us all, mostly unspoken for years. Despite our affairs and relationships. Pretty much you cut your hair funny, and listened to the Smiths a lot in an anguished way until you could get into lesbian bars. Oh, kids these days have it easy! With their GLBTQ clubs in 7th grade! Lucky! Of course I had it mega easy that no one was beating me up or arresting me or throwing me in a mental hospital as could have happened so easily (and did) not so many years before. (And of course that did happen to many people I knew.)
Then (in the car, still on the bridge) I stuck in the CD of Queen that I’d been listening to the last couple of days and sang along to “Don’t Stop Me Now” with wild happiness… Feeling very unstoppable.