This is going to be a very strange evening. Memories of drinking 14 cans of fizzy pop in two and a half hours; Rod Stewart’s ‘Sailing’ and a stolen moment with Emily Tangent behind a Nissen Hut in a Borders backwater fill my head.
I have just dropped off the eldest child (12) at his first disco which doesn’t involve jelly and ice cream. I am filled with all sorts of dark thoughts. What if he’s offered crack cocaine? Or even worse, the buffet only has turkey twizzlers? Can he beat 14 cans? How much Um Bongo can a child take before being rushed to A&E? Will the youthful hormones turn the screaming little oiks into a giddy mix of lord knows what and we’ll be choosing pink or blue and a nice hat in nine months time?
It’s OK though, It’s an official school event. So that’s all right then. Panic over. The teachers will be armed with cattleprods patrolling dark corners and the loos clipping adolescents round the ear if there’s any nonsense. Hang on though. I’ve just seen the two teachers go in. They are young and tanned. I think they may be an item. I fear the worst. Will their minds be on the job?
And what about the vexed question of where to park. Not for the first time I wonder how I can fill two and a half hours on a wet evening in Teesdale. Should I stay in the car park and wait? I’d have hated that. And these days what with stalking cases involving middle-aged men on the increase I may be arrested in a well planned Police raid after an anonymous call from inside the Hall. As I drive away in the squad car I see my eldest smiling and waving. Charming.
But by the time I drive home it’ll be time to come back again. Maybe I’ll hover in a lay-by along the road and watch something on my laptop. That is also a terrible idea. I fear magistrates would want to make an example.
The children eventually emerge and are high on….well…nothing but natural excitement. It’s a rare opportunity to be free of parents; school routines; homework and brothers and sisters. Dress code would appear from where I am sitting to be a tantalising mix of branded leisure chic meets Hannah Montana. A heady combination of teenage static; aftershave and exotic perfumes fill the air. I should be appalled. I am of course fantastically jealous.
In August 1976 I made my public debut on a dancefloor. Not wanting to become a grandmother too early in life mum had fitted the standard anti- female deterrents: tanktop, elastic tie and bell bottoms which were hanging at what fashionistas would describe as “half-mast”. I was an irresistible hunk of lovin’. But of course the disco fell along the usual lines- boys at one end throwing soggy Wotsits at each other, the girls at the other pointing at my trousers and giggling. And so the night passed.
Must go….. I can see movement in the bushes. My God it’s the teachers. Where’s my cattleprod?