I CAN still smell disco. Say the word ‘disco’ to me and I immediately get a hit of my mum’s Silvikrin hairspray and my dad’s Blue Stratos aftershave on a Friday night before they go out. I’m four years old again, and I can hear the rustle of her cool satin dress, and the clump of his humungous platforms. In my mind’s eye, it’s all glitter and flares – and the soundtrack is perfect: Chic on the radio in the kitchen, Diana Ross on the transistor in the bathroom.

To folk of my generation – late 40s, early 50s, children of the 1970s – it’s disco which keeps colour blazing away in childhoods which are now so distant they risk becoming sepia. I’m starting to forget the black-outs – remember those? – and the strikes, and Harold Wilson and Ted Heath, but some things will always remain: John Travolta giving it full swag to Saturday Night Fever; Gloria Gaynor breaking everyone’s heart with I Will Survive.

Disco is about us – ordinary people, and the authenticity of our lives; how each of us finds a seam of transcendent joy in a melancholy world.

Sometimes I wake up and there’s a disco tune in my head, that’s come from nowhere. The other day it was Sylvester singing You Make Me Feel. You know it’s a good day when it starts with disco.

Disco is making a comeback, though – not that it’s ever gone away, of course, it’s always floating on the edge of pop culture somewhere, wanting to dance its little socks off and make us happy. However, here at the tail end of this rotten old year, we’re seeing a full on disco revival. Thank the glitter-ball gods. We need it.

The return of disco has even married up with the Tartan Army, courtesy of Baccara’s Yes Sir I Can Boogie. The 1977 hit is back in the charts now. It’s become the unofficial anthem of the Scotland team following the win against Serbia. I’m not big on football, but I know my disco, and the marriage made me happy. It shows just how deeply we’ve fallen back in love with disco, when its resurgence is so strong it’s even found a home in football.

Football aside though, this year has been steadily building to quite the disco inferno, starting out with Doja Cat’s Say So in January – a song which has the 70s embedded at a mitochondrial level. Don’t worry, I’m not going to bore on about a whole load of tunes you haven’t heard of (though do give Doja a listen if you haven’t yet). However, even a quick glance at what the big household name stars have been doing gives a good idea of disco’s triumphant return. Justin Timberlake, Lady Gaga, Dua Lipa – they’ve all been getting their disco on in 2020.

What better proof – if needed – that this is the year of a disco renaissance than the return of the Queen herself. Kylie is back with a disco-soaked album. Just check the title: Disco.

Now I know disco isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. For years, it wasn’t mine – or at least I pretended it wasn’t mine. Disco was the music of my parents, and what kid in the 1980s and 90s listened to their parents’ music? I got into ska and punk, shoe-gazing indie, grunge and hip-hop, but I always had a secret love affair with disco for the very simple reason that it made me extraordinarily happy. It didn’t make me angry or sad, or want to tear down society – which all that other music did, and rightly so. Disco – and its cousins Soul and Motown – just made me want to dance, fall in love, and have fun. And what’s wrong with that?

That’s why disco keeps returning. It began as music for people society shunned – black people, gay people – and it was a way of giving the finger to sneers and hate in the most joyous way possible. Over the years, disco is continually reinvented when times are bad – so little wonder it’s enjoying such a resurgence right now in an era of death, division and misery.

I first felt the pull of disco in the mid-80s. Bands like The Communards, fronted by one of Scotland’s most talented but least celebrated artists Jimmy Somerville, were reprising soul and disco classics like Don’t Leave Me This Way and Never Can Say Goodbye. Amid the puff ball skirts, eyeliner and shoulder pads, Thatcher’s 80s were bloody grim at times – and they must have been especially grim if you were gay like Somerville, in a Britain which seemed to relish casual homophobia. And so, trusty old disco made a comeback to cheer us all up. The way disco takes pain and turns it into something beautiful, the way it uses the kind of sadness, which should knock you down, to make you get up and dance, that’s the secret of its magic.

Not long after the financial crash, as austerity kicked in across the UK, there was another brief disco revival with the likes of Daft Punk’s Get Lucky – featuring the man who made disco, Nile Rodgers, giving us his signature guitar licks – and Pharrell Williams’ Happy. Disco became a little respite from the face of George Osborne.

I’ll always love those sparkly, jangling tunes of my indie youth in the early 90s, the rage and satire of punk, hip-hop and grunge, but that wasn’t music you could dance to with other people – disco is about a couple on a dance floor, thinking about nothing except each other and the music that’s playing. You can lose yourself in disco in a way you can’t with other music. It’s bare emotion, hedonistic – it doesn’t need reason. Disco, to be honest, is about sex – and we live in a world where sex is becoming a dirty word again, where folk are too prim and proper, too uptight and restricted. Disco is the antidote to all the repression of this stupid 21st century.

You know what else is great about this disco revival? It’s just really kicking in, in terms of mass culture, right in time for Christmas. What better way to end this god-awful year than with ABBA’s greatest hits on the old turntable, er, streaming service.

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