words and image by Sophia Moseley
I went to a Shakatak concert sometime in the late 1980s in a Bedfordshire village hall; I know, right, the cutting edge of pop music. So when I saw the tribute band Atomic Blondie were performing at the Marine Theatre, I dug out my American punk gear (jeans & T-shirt) to relive those heady disco days.
With an average age of 55 (with a few much younger exceptions) and everyone seated bar one couple and three men who stood in the dance area at the back, I knew I was in for a wild night!
The band kicked off with Losing my Mind, the wife of the standing couple immediately gets into the spirit of things and launches into an energetic dance whilst her husband stands by. The rest of the audience sits obediently.
With Sunday Girl the three men at the back start a few knee bends and gentle bouncing,
“Who remembers the 1980s?” shouts A B. I’m pretty sure she doesn’t.
But with Call Me the husband’s head starts nodding and his right knee bending.
The Tide is High saw a surge of girls and grannies getting up to dance but where were the handbags in the middle of the dance circle (remember that?) and just what is it about men dancing or should that be knee bending and arm swinging?
“If you’re not dancing then how about some clapping?” shouts A B. Some of those seated manage it for a few seconds but then it all gets too much and they stop.
Meanwhile the husband has progressed to some toe tapping.
There are a few dance moves I recognise and some lyrics to ‘Hanging on the Telephone’ come back to me so I do that thing of mouthing the ones I know.
My memory of Blondie aka Debbie Harry is of a thin almost gaunt woman with straw like dyed blond hair who hardly moved and that included her mouth; and her eyes had that slightly spaced-out look. So when the voluptuous and vivacious tributee came on stage, who I suspect was at best a baby in the 80s, it somehow didn’t quite gel for me.
I wonder if there’s a Shakatak tribute band, at least I know the words to their songs.