Friday, December 15, 2006

Freaky Dancin'

2 Bad Mice - 2 Bad Mice (Original)
Happy Mondays - Hallelujah (Club Mix)

I went to my first Christmas party of the silly season last week, and as well as getting suitably sideways on free sambuca, I also took to the dance floor for an extended period of embarrassing shape making. I don’t get out much these days, and like the majority of the male species, I am a somewhat reluctant dancer. It’s always been this way. Even during my halcyon days of raving in the early 1990s I often found it hard to get started, spending a lot of time sat on the sidelines willing everything to click into place. Once you develop a dancing ‘style’, it’s hard to change it; you just tend to utilise the same moves for every situation. Me and my wife were in Morocco having a meal at a rather cheesy restaurant a few years ago, and we were accosted by belly dancers during the after meal entertainment, beckoning us to join them for a dance. Without even thinking, both of us quickly slipped into the trusty ole ‘big fish, little fish, cardboard box’ dance that had served us so well in the past. The locals were probably wondering what was going on. My brother has some fresh moves, one of which involves alternately polishing either knee with his hands in an up and down motion, while pretending to dodge bullets. Try it some time, especially with a running commentary of what you're actually doing, spoken in time to the music - "Polish the knees, dodge the bullets...".

Despite being a reluctant dancer, once I get going I’m hard to stop. Certain records are always guaranteed to get me up - ‘Jump Around’ by House of Pain being one rather obvious selection. I defy anybody to not want to get up, get up and get down when this one drops. I can remember when my mate Damon was asked to DJ at the Sigur Rós after show party in Belgium a couple of years back. Being a hip hop party DJ, he seemed like a rather bizarre choice, but I can vouch that at least three members of the emotional Icelandic ambient rockers went absolutely mental when ‘Jump Around’ came on, despite resembling earnest Boy Scouts who wouldn’t say boo to a baby goose holding a kitten. The MD of their record label even started up a chant for a ‘Reeeeeeeeewind’, so Damon whacked it on again and the roof came off the bar.

Which brings me to my chosen tracks for this week; a couple that are guaranteed to drag me from whatever stupor I am in and get me cutting some rug in any available floor space. First up, rave classic ‘2 Bad Mice’ by 2 Bad Mice. All this trio of studio boffins needed was a couple of pilled-up dancers and they could have smashed up the charts along with the Prodigy. The lead track from their debut 12”, released as the rave scene exploded in 1991, is a corker. That opening statement – ‘IF ROCKIN’ THE HOUSE WELL IS A CRIME, THEN LET ME BE GUILTY!” is a call to arms for me and mine to hit the floor. With its skippy, shuffly breakbeats, ginormous pulsating bassline, the female vocal and repetitive “2 Bad Mice” chant (and mini siren), plus that weird, undulating noise that spangles the mind box throughout, this is one helluva TUUUUNNNNNNNEEEEEE, though sadly one that won’t be playing at many office parties this Christmas - unless anyone wants to book me to DJ at theirs?

I’ll pretty much forgive Oakenfold for all his crimes against dance music, silly ‘Top Gun’ aviator shades and Gary Rhodes hair, for the fact that he produced ‘Pills N Thrills and Bellyaches’, plus turned in unbelievable remixes of ‘Hallelujah’ and ‘Wrote For Luck’ for the Happy Mondays. In the same way that Weatherall changed the career trajectory of Primal Scream, Oakenfold had a similar effect on Ryder and co. This ‘Club Mix’ of ‘Hallelujah’ (in collaboration with Weatherall) is another surefire drag me arse onto the dancefloor tune. It may be a bit slower, but those liturgical chants have a bizarre effect on my limbs, and before you can say ‘Bob’s Yer Uncle’, I’m doing the Bez to that bass line and disappearing down a tunnel of tranced-out pianos and funky guitars. It brings back memories of a party round my friend G's house where we partied so hard to this tune our mate Boothy (sadly no longer with us) had to stick his head in the fridge to cool off. Every memory I have of this track is a happy one, which is another reason why it never fails to get me up and dancing.

If writing about music is like dancing about architecture, what is writing about music that makes you wanna dance all about? Answers on a postcard please…

Search ebay for 2 Bad Mice
Buy Happy Mondays 'Hallelujah Remixes' CD on US Import from Amazon
2 Bad Mice discography
Happy Mondays at Wikipedia