Leicester Poly Blues

‘Grace from Space’; that’s how my room-mate at Leicester Poly used to refer to Grace Jones, who he believed to be an alien. I don’t think any of us could have imagined the Amazon Chanteuse, thirty years later, twirling a hula-hoop and belting out ‘Slave to the Rhythm’ as part of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

This arresting vision reminded me of a music festival three years ago, when I saw a DJ called ‘4-Tet’ who delivered a trance-tastic set, accompanied by three pouting lovelies who spent the entire evening hula-ing with glow-stick hoops.

It seemed like a minor miracle as Jones proceeded to hula steadily throughout her note-perfect rendition of ‘S-to-the-R’. The TV camera, roaming the crowd, spotted ex-Prime Minister John Major watching her with disbelief; perhaps he was wondering, like many others, why the concert organisers had decided to include her. After all, she had no connection with Great Britain or the Royal Family.

One person who is connected with the British establishment is George Gideon Osborne, fabulously wealthy scion of the wallpaper empire and currently Chancellor of the Exchequer. He would never be seen onstage in a PVC leotard, gyrating a hula-hoop at the age of sixty-four; but today he did something equally outrageous, by announcing that the government was planning to inject one-hundred-and-forty-thousand million pounds into the banking sector to ‘kick-start the economy’. Rumour has it that the current recession was caused by high street banks lending money to people who couldn’t afford to repay it, in order to encourage them to buy houses and cars that they didn’t really need. And of course, the only way to solve this problem is to give the banks more money which they can lend to people to etc, etc, etc….

Of course, whenever I hear the song Slave to the Rhythm it takes me back to 1985, when I was a young undergraduate chemist in Leicester. On Friday and Saturday nights I would disappear off to a small atmospheric basement nightclub called ‘Spots’. The place would gradually fill up until about eleven o’clock, when the dancefloor would be plunged into darkness; and, as a single green laser began to carve up the smoke-filled club, the DJ would play ‘S-t-t-R’. Oh happy days!


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