HOW many hearts have been broken under that disco ball?

And how many hearts mended in the dark, dancing skin to skin with strangers under its mesmerising glitter? After seven weeks of forced separation it's hard to imagine the exchange of air and liquid and droplets we though nothing of while moving together on a dance floor.

It's easy, still, though to remember the experience of the ABC after two years of separation forced by fire.

The connection we have to certain places is so visceral, so important, an anchor, a unifying space.

After the devastating fire of June 2018, all eyes and hearts were on the Glasgow School of Art. That world famous, world renowned building attracted international grief at the news of it being gutted for a second time. Rightly so, the building is of vital importance to the city's character and opinion of itself.

But the art school is only used by a view. In Glasgow, many of us were also distraught at the site of the ABC. Also a listed building but further down the heritage pecking order. As loved but less famous, less showy.

A mere nightclub compared to a factory of thought, the birthplace of umpteen Turner Prize winners.

But listen, the ABC watched the Art School going up. It was already squat and useful on Sauchiehall Street while the art school was still a glint in Rennie Mackintosh's eye.

Now developers suggest it must sacrifice itself to save its grander neighbour. An assessment of the building says the front elevation requires to be removed to secure access to its east elevation to then assess the connection of the building's rear wall to the Glasgow School of Art.

It had been hoped, though, that the building would be saved by councillors when the request for permission to demolish it comes before committee.

Now those hopes are dwindling after Historic Environment Scotland said last week it has removed its objection to demolition. The heritage watchdog has pivoted after new reports suggest the building is far more damaged than previously thought with news stories on the issue giving vivid images of the ABC being flooded with sewage and overrun with rats.

Well, it would be, wouldn't it? It's lain empty and damaged for two years - it's hardly going to have regenerated in that time. Are plans paid for by a developer that has consistently said it is keen to knock down a building going to recommend that the building be saved?

A flaw in the planning process is that there is no space for an independent report to be commissioned.

The ABC has cast an eye along Sauchiehall Street for 144 years. For 144 years it has entertained the people of Glasgow and the city's surrounds in all manner of ways. It has been a cinema, a circus and an ice rink, a music venue, a diorama theatre and the Panorama.

It was, famously, one of the first buildings in Glasgow to have electricity and was the first place in the city to show a public film, in May 1896.

The Art School and the ABC were neighbourly as well as neighbours. In the off season of Hengler's Circus, the circus running from 1904 to 1927, the elephants would be walked round from the Hippodrome, as it was then called, to be the subject of life drawing classes for the students. The poor elephants but what a site for ladies out shopping for hats and sundries in the street's many department stores.

The history of a city is interwoven with individuals' stories. The ABC cinema closed in 1999 but I remember it well as the site of birthday outings. It was such a treat to be allowed to the cinema on our own without adult chaperones and in Glasgow too, the big city.

Even as a young teenager it was clear this place was special. It had a tiled floor, I remember, and archways. It was grand and beautiful and its obvious history made it almost more interesting than the film.

Oh God, but when it became the dancing though, that's when it really floods my brain with dopamine memories. It was just up the hill from my part time job and we would spill out at the end of a shift and take to the floor under that two metre disco ball that dominated the ceiling.

Useful for social distancing now, stay a mirror ball's width from each other, but at the time there was no distancing. Just dancing. With so many different groups of friends at so many different times with so, so many happy, frantic memories.

It was a gig venue too. Of all the bands I saw there, The Eels are still the love of my life. Any venue they performed in has a special place in my heart. In my review of the gig, I'd written: "Eels return for their customary "secret" encore, accompanied by a troupe of dancing girls with 1940s hair and noughties moves."

That's the ABC too, a melding of decades and styles.

It is a building that has survived nearly 150 years by constant reinvention and perhaps it will be reinvented now. Glasgow's councillors should, please, at least insist the facade is protected and incorporated into any future design.

A venue so profoundly important and grand should at least have had one hell of a send off. One of the tragedies of this saga is that we didn't even get the chance to say goodbye.

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