ColumnsPaul Stokes!!!

Guest column - Why everyone needs to start dancing by !!!'s Nic Offer

ColumnsPaul Stokes!!!

With !!! - "chk chk chk" if you want to say it out loud - calling their new album, out Monday (29 April), THR!!!ER, clearly the Warp Records band had high aims. Not only referencing a certain other record with a similar name, the band have decided that Thriller has come to represent a general artistic high-water mark for music generally. So what does it mean for !!!? Well it's not only music you can get lost in, but for frontman Nic Offer it's music that will want to make you move your feet... and your arms... and whatever else you fancy. So in a guest column frontman Nic Offers argues whether you learn ballet or just drunkenly shamble round a dancefloor dancing can only make your life better... In fact he Guarantees if you read this your dancing will become cool...

My first memory of dancing is with my mother at a wedding when I was six. The song was Upside Down by Diana Ross. I took a breakdancing class at the rec center when I was ten, and I can't help but think that was probably a really important thing for me. I would definitely advise all parents to take their kids to a class for whatever dance the kids are currently doing. I don't use any of those moves today, but it taught me to separate my joints, work the left, work the right, all that stuff. My next memory is when I was 11 at a sixth grade dance. Kelly Harradine gave me a pep talk, essentially the same as the one Madonna gives in the intro to Into The Groove. The song was actually Madonna's Lucky Star. I danced all night and I'm sure I probably looked much the same as I do now on the dance floor.

After that night, it was never something I really thought about. I just did it whenever the opportunity was there. In high school, it was all about sneaking out to the new wave clubs and dancing to Depeche Mode, Pet Shop Boys, Siouxsie And The Banshees, Art Of Noise and the like.

I was just so excited to hear the music I loved played on speakers louder than my parents would ever allow, and dancing was the ultimate way to immerse myself in that music. The dance parties we were having when we started !!! were usually just with friends at punk houses. Almost every punk house in America had a $1 copy of Off The Wall, so we'd play all of that, picking up the needle to skip the slow songs, along with whatever danceable songs there were on the random Clash records. Some punks were definitely not down for it, but we were pretty convinced we were punker than them, and the girls were always down for it, so who gave a fuck? When we first started playing shows, our average song length was 12 minutes (honestly when everyone noted that Me and Giuliani was long at nine minutes, we thought it was short), and I certainly didn't sing for 12 minutes straight! So I just did what I did, and I've only recently become used to the idea that I do something that not everyone does.

I'm lucky to have dancing in my life, I truly feel bad for people who don't. But everyone can. I hate when people think they can't dance or make disparaging comments about white people's dance moves. It's not about looking cool, it's about losing yourself in the music. Think about it this way, How often have you noticed that someone else looked stupid on the dance floor? If you answered "yes, many times" to that question, congratulations, you're an asshole. No one's looking at you, everyone's busy trying to lose themselves in the music. If they are looking at you, they're only trying to figure out how to sleep with you.

The thing I like about dancing is that it can be everything or nothing. It can just be drunken jumping up and down and shouting out lyrics to long since forgotten hits, it can like a quick refreshing dip in the pool, or a swim in the ocean amongst crashing waves. It can be many things, but my favourite is when it's a journey inside the music the DJ guides you through. It's obviously easier to reach this point on drugs, but after enough times of doing this, I'm pretty good at finding that spot where my body surrenders to the music and I totally let go. If you don't know what I'm talking about, you may still find it, it's just about forgetting everything else and letting the music take you.

All the clichés you've heard them sing in dance songs are there for a reason. The music's calling you, it's telling you to let go. Let go a little further and a little further and before you know it, the music takes over and it's in control. You'll be doing dance moves you didn't know you could do, you'll be inventing moves you've never seen anyone do, and you won't remember them the next day. Doesn't that seem more important than looking cool? And I promise you, if you follow these instructions, you will look cool. Nic Offer @chkchkchk

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