Boingboing’s posting of how to skank reminds me of the very first dance club I ever went to.
I was 14 and was a total and utter dork at Wilmington Junior High. Seriously. I’m not kidding.
A girlfriend of mine just introduced me to ska music and it was everything that Carson, CA was not. You gotta remember at this time gangsta rap was king especially in my town. You lowered your car, you had a black jacket with old english letterhead on the back and you had black vans. That was what you did. I, however, wore polos under lumpy sweaters and loved any and everything that was gay: Echo and the Bunnymen, The Smiths, Depeche Mode, Erasure, OMD. Do you see the pattern here? So hearing ska was a revelation because like its British cohorts it had style but it was far more danceable, less moody and more important fun. And damn the style. I mean anyone who was into ska had a specific look. Vintage. Mod. British. Again, everything that Carson, CA was not.
I remember telling mom that I was at my girlfriend’s house where we going to watch the entire Anne of Green Gables series but instead my girlfriend took me to a club in Long Beach. She had a boyfriend who was 18, had a car, and a goatee. To call him “cool” at that time was absolutely an understatement in my eyes. He was the epitome of cool and I was shocked and grateful that this amazing couple decided to drag the biggest dork to a ska club. I mean come on, 4 months before I had just lost in the city spelling bee. I was not cool at all.
The club was like a rec center with the lights turned low. It was really dark, smoky and kind of like this (but packed with tons of people)
I remember my girlfriend and her boyfriend dragged me out on the dance floor, Selecter came on the speakers and we danced till we were exhausted. My girlfriend and her boyfriend were getting high in between dances while I was going bonkers off this music, contact high because the air was thick and lots and lots of cans of root beer (again I was only 14).
The beautiful thing about ska is the dorkier you dance, the better it is. Ska just seems to make all motions look and feel right.
I got in trouble that night because I came home way too late but mom never found out I was at a dance club (the smoky fun kind too 🙂 I eventually lost ties with my girlfriend because she got really deep into ska, then shaved her head, got really deep into the whole ska scene, got a vespa and for all I know tried to recreate Quadrophenia in San Pedro. So our friendship eventually died…but to this day I hold ska very close to my heart.