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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Ever put the wrong record on at the wedding disco?

The wedding we went to this weekend was one of those rare occasions where the dance floor was crowded from the moment the confetti bomb went off over the head of the happy couple, who inaugurated proceedings to the sound of Andy Williams. Young and old, sophisticats and rubes subsequently lapped up a programme of tunes that largely pre-dated 1990 and thankfully inclined towards the bleeding obvious: "Superstition", "Blame It On The Boogie", "I'm A Believer", "Staying Alive", "Livin' La Vida Loca" and "Uptown Girl" were just a few of the tunes I remember. None of the DJ's selections seemed to be trying to appeal to the usual snobs sneering on the sidelines because there weren't any. Everyone was on the dance floor.

The only time our man dropped the ball was when he played "Sweet Child O' Mine" by Guns N' Roses. This can only have been in response to a request from somebody in the wedding party. The DJ must have suspected that you couldn't follow tunes like those above with a piece of near-rock as sludgy, generic and ploddingly macho as this one. It went down well with a handful of young males but the rest of the dancers began to slip away, to re-charge their glasses and wait for the restoration of good sense. The DJ's heart must have sunk and the song's 5.56 running time must have stretched before him like a Russian winter. He must have been kicking himself inside.

It's a funny thing. When dancers are in the zone they want one particular set of chords and beats to go on forever while wishing that some other set of chords and beats would immediately cease. Time either gallops by or drags unbearably according to what the tune is. Our DJ got it back with Beyonce - the universal panacea for party longueurs - and then never wavered again. Maybe that's the mark of a great wedding set. It's only by making one wrong move that we see the true path more clearly. It's only by recognising what is not party music that we appreciate how rare real party music is.