Up All Night: The power of funk compels me

Mystery man abandons line-dancing and locker heist nostalgia in the name of fun

I escaped from the Kingdom of Coupledom.

I didn’t break up with anyone, no hearts were broken, nothing like that. I’m at a wedding populated by pairs.

There are three single people here: A guy whose girlfriend canceled out last minute due to a medical problem with their dog/baby, me and a six-year-old kid, dressed almost just like me, except he wears it better. If there were other single people here, they would undoubtedly flock to him because he’s so cool.

There are friends and fun, too much food and those awkward wedding speeches. The conversation around my table turns to the topic of old school days.

“Remember that time so-and-so got busted for drugs in their locker? That was a shocker, wow! Anything like that ever happen at your school?,” one tablemate begins.

“No, we didn’t have anything crazy like that happen. We just had lots of people with pets in their lockers. That’s about it. Nothing weird,” another responds.

“WHAT!? Like Tamagotchi virtual pets? Or like real REAL pets!?” the first exclaims, and out comes the full story.

“They were real, mostly hamsters, gerbils. Kids would keep them in their lockers. Lots of the time they would get out and they’d have babies all over the school. The school eventually had to raid people’s lockers.”

I picture SWAT teams ripping off locker doors and slamming gerbil kingpins on the floor.

“That is crazy. Illegal pet trading & breeding is way crazier than drugs in a locker…more drinks?”

Don’t get me wrong, couples are fun. I know lots of coupled people, but put too many of them in a room and inevitably the conversations drift over to home renovations, babies, dogs shopping at Linens & Things. Or the fun begins, but both have to leave because one is tired or wants to leave, the other dragged down by their significant life partner, their boring bae. Boo, I say. I want energy, fun, new exciting excitement & adventures!

The wedding band starts up. They’re wearing off-brand fashions from the decades that spawned their cover songs. It’s serious business, dressed in a teased & fluffed hairdo with a baggy pantsuit.

They play well, but are missing that kick as they roll through “Dancing Queen”, “Brown Eyed Girl”, “Play that Funky Music White Boy” - all the wedding social classics you hear as you circle ‘round the purses piled on the dance floor.

They’re doing a schtick about how they won’t play any country music, but they lied and tricked us. “Boot Scoot & Boogie” fires up and the dance floor gets into line dancing mode.

It’s 2015, didn’t we wipe out line dancing along with the measles? Shania Twain starts, and that’s it. I gotta go! I’m tired of dancing with everyone else’s hot wives & gorgeous girlfriends. I’m scared to speak to some of them because I’m nowhere near as cool as that damn six-year-old kid.

If I drink any more, I’m gonna end up doing or saying something stupider than usual. I grab a quick drink, slam it back, grab my coat and fly through the door before anyone notices. I’m on the lam!

I hustle over to The Pyramid Cabaret to the Five Alarm Funk show. They are truly Canada’s undisputed princes of party funk. This is their last night of three, and they’re giving 150 per cent to the fans before embarking back to Vancouver. There’s that kick I was seeking, that real live energy. 

I see strangers - a few friendly faces, but mostly strangers - all sneaking off from other places too. Some jumped ship from Festival Du Voyageur, parties, concerts, other weddings with line dancing, all abandoned for this hot funky frenzy. You can tell who came from Festival because of the B.O, bonfire smell and hints of maple syrup. 

There’s even a webslinging, crowdsurfing Spiderman & Spidergirl. Everyone is here for the same reason, and the crowd is a huge positive force. The energy of band and crowd together is electric, building a hot sweaty, constantly jumping sea of funky people. 

Awesome band and audience, couples and singles, mingling and dancing like crazy. We were a mass of camaraderie formed for the betterment of mankind, or at least for keeping the party fun. 

My Escape to the Land of Funk was a success. I’ll admit it: I ran, I cut out, I bailed. I’ll hear about it from several people later on, but it was worth it.

Lights on, night over, time to go home. I jump in a cab and realize that I’m kinda hungry now. 

I probably shoulda pulled a buffet heist at that wedding before I made a break for it.

Published in Volume 69, Number 21 of The Uniter (February 18, 2015)

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