Staying Alive – By Lorraine Weightman – Consett History





Although disco music had been around for a while it was only when the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack was released, that everyone jumped on the Bee Gee bandwagon and imagined themselves to be budding John Travolta’s; embracing disco fever to the full. Soon every dance floor was filled, as the loud pulsating beat enticed even those with two left feet with the words, ‘You Should Be Dancing’ – yeah!

The blockbuster film’s soundtrack after smashing the American charts, hit the UK and then the dance floors of Consett.
And by far the best dance floor around was The Freemasons Arms in Front Street. It had seen it’s day as a popular ballroom and banqueting suite so the floor was spacious and ideal for all the tricky twists and turns.

The disc jockey was on the stage and as the lights flashed so did everyone else in their fluorescent tops, jumpsuits and lurex ensembles.
As usual most of the girls were straight up carefully placing their hand bags safely in the middle of the floor while they attempted to strut their stuff.

Tables and red padded chairs with curved edges were positioned neatly around the dance floor and the room – which was always packed – had its own bar, separate from the main one, where the shyest of dancers hung out, having a few drinks to give them Dutch courage before sliding their way back sporting their ‘Boogie Shoes’

Even the male stalwarts of denim were persuaded to splash out on a pair of high waisted beige or white flares to hover grandly close to their platforms. In fact, some guys opted for the whole regalia, velvet jackets over shirts opened to the navel, to reveal finely combed chest hair and a swinging medallion! To complete the look, long flowing locks and a droopy moustache like Jason King’s were preferable!

Everyone who was anyone wanted to be seen and seventies fashion did the trick.
However Consett’s November weather played havoc with pale flapping flares as they made their way from pub to pub. So by the time they reached the Freemason’s most people’s pants weren’t as pristine as John Travolta’s. The clinging red dust and tiny specks of steel flecked dirt adhered to hems and seams, so a trip up the wide stairs to the toilets to sponge them down was usually in order before they got back to ‘Jive Talkin’.

I had a royal blue pair of satin trousers, which I teamed with a sparkling matching top that I’d asked my Mam to run up on her sewing machine. Looking back I must have looked like the peanut cracknell in a box of Quality Street but at the time I thought I was the bee’s knees.

As the night wore on we hardly had time to breathe or take a sip of our lagers and lime as the hits rolled out, ‘If I Can’t Have You’,’ More Than A Woman and ‘How Deep Is Your Love’.

The electric and noisy atmosphere prompted some over enthusiastic gyrators doing ‘The Bump’ to cause a domino effect which produced just a few minor injuries, easily treated with Elastoplast!

Looking at the time and knowing the experience was nearing a close I was determined to dance till the end but unfortunately trying to perfect my version of ‘The Hustle’ while dancing to ‘Disco Inferno’ my ever so tight shiny disco pants refused to take the strain and split at the seams!

So I ended off the night dancing to ‘Staying Alive’ wearing a camel duffle coat I’d found hanging in the cloakroom!




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