Tom Davenport’s Strictly Speaking

Mindless and Massive Gyration


Last week, I received an anonymous note from The TAB HQ. It instructed me to conduct a clandestine reconnaissance operation at an underground music facility. The TAB management wrote of ‘suspicious and unusual goings-on under the cover of darkness in the vicinity of Ryman’s Stationers.’ The place to be investigated was what they called a ‘dance chamber,’ known by others as a ‘disco venue.’ It was referred to simply as ‘Fez.’

 For safety reasons, I disguised myself as an edgy undergraduate, hiring clothes from the TAB’s undercover operations disguise wardrobe. The location and nature of the UODW, I am obviously not at liberty to disclose. I can say however that it is probably in Germany.

I arrived at the Disk Jockey House shortly before 19:00. I was early. And in danger. Gaining entry would be by far the most risky part. My disguise could have failed me at any moment. I perspired.

Eventually, I slipped past an enormous man in a black coat, note book under one arm and mobile phone in the other hand, poised with the TAB operations emergency rescue number under speed dial. I paid an entry fee. They accepted cash (pounds sterling). I kept the receipt.

I ascended a short and slippery flight of stairs, aware that at any moment I could have been set upon by one of the vast men with walkie talkies. My disguise remained undiscovered. Thank you, the UODW. I entered the jive joint.

Once inside, I was met with the most extraordinary scene. Literally hundreds of heavily perspiring young men and gentlewomen were gyrating in a mindless and massive throng. Flashing lights sporadically illuminated the pulsating hoard while darkness and a vast noise ensured that communication was impossible. I relaxed. ‘I can relate to this,’ I thought.

 Some of the revellers looked so wild that it was as though they were on drugs or something. Others were drinking alcohol, and I think, though I can’t be sure, that they were doing so, with the intention of becoming drunk.

The seething masses were punctuated with remarkable characters, some of whom were known to me. The famous DJ ‘Rude Dog’ (known to most as ‘Regular’) who plays his discs every other Thursday at ‘Concealed Chambers’ was spotted near the bar as was The TAB’s glamorous society correspondent, Arianna Fens. As is the norm, due to the immense popularity of her column, she could scarcely move for the adoring fans which surrounded her.

Continuing well past 8.30pm this Bacchian orgy was accompanied by the noise of a music making troop who call themselves ‘Slight Difference,’ or something to that effect. It sounded as though an army of cavemen had got hold of a missile silo.

One young reveller commented ‘Whooooo yaaa ooooohhhh’ and then promptly threw up, apparently a manoeuvre designed to impress a potential mate with her astonishing fluid ejection velocity. Another said ‘Hi Tom.’ He clearly saw through my disguise. Bugger.

I left in the early hours of the morning with a disappointing number of notes to show for the hours put in. Somehow I had become preoccupied by other considerations. TAB HQ would not be pleased.