90s christmas

AN OPEN PEN CHRISTMAS: The Christmas Disco

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Mum is helping me get ready for the Christmas disco. I’m wearing a black velvet skirt with an orange velvet crop top and Mum has crimped my hair and sprayed it with glitter.

I’ve borrowed some of Mum’s perfume called Sunflowers. I’m not sure if I smell nice or not, because Jenny says that I smell like Toilet Duck. I think Jenny’s just jealous though. She has to stay in and look at the new Next catalogue with Mum and Nanny Pam all night, because she’s too old to come to the disco.


I have to get a lift with Grandad, Dad’s car broke down outside Londis last week.

Grandad is late! His car is full of all his usual junk from carboot sales, but this time there’s a load of Christmas stuff too. I have to sit with a Father Christmas doll on my lap that dances and plays “Another Rock N’ Roll Christmas” when you press his belly.

Grandad makes me hold the seatbelt in the socket the whole way, because he says it’s buggered, and he keeps singing the same line from a really annoying song about driving home for Christmas.

‘Driving home for Christmas… in me car… driving home for Christmas.’

When we pull up to the school, I can see Tom from my class standing outside the gate. I hide behind the Father Christmas doll, which starts singing and dancing again. Tom looks really good. He’s had his haircut; it’s all shaved apart from a fringe, which he’s gelled into points.

Grandad asks me what I’m hiding for, then looks at Tom and say’s, ‘There’s something you should know about boys, sweetheart, we’re only after one thing. You don’t want to end up getting knocked up like your mother did. Now, we like you love, but you and your sister were massive, massive mistakes. OK, have fun. I might be able to pick you up later.’


I walk into school. It feels funny seeing it in the dark. In the corridor outside the school hall some of the teachers are selling orange juice and sweets. The teachers are dressed in their normal teacher clothes except they have jeans on. The only grown up who’s made an effort is Mr. Haywood, the caretaker. He’s wearing a sequin waistcoat, a piano tie and a light up Father Christmas hat.

While I wait for my cousin, Amy, to come and meet me, I have an orange juice to calm my nerves. Amy hates school as much as I do and I had to beg her to come to the disco. I told her how much I wanted Tom to see me in my velvet outfit and that we could practice our dancing.

When Amy gets here I have another orange juice with her and we go into the hall together. The DJ is rubbish. He keeps saying stupid things on his microphone, like: ‘I can’t hear you guys having F-F-F-Fun’. I’m not even sure he’s a real DJ, I think he’s Natalie’s dad. The lights look really cool though, and me and Amy try and stamp on the same light as it moves around the room.

The DJ says, ‘Here’s your first slowy of the night L-L-L-Lovebirds’ and starts playing the song from Robin Hood. Me and Amy start singing along really loudly in a cheesy way, but everyone else starts to walk around slowly and boys and girls start dancing with each other. I look around for Tom and he’s dancing with Lisa from our class. My eyes start to sting a bit, so I ask Amy if she wants another drink.

The song lasts ages. I manage to have three orange juices before it’s even finished. When I get home I’m going to write “Robin Hood Song” on the list of things I hate in the back of my diary, it can go under “Cheese Strings” and “Liars”.


We drink one more orange juice before we go back into the hall to dance.

After “Y.M.C.A.” and “Wig Wam Bam” the DJ plays “Saturday Night” by Whigfield. Everyone gets into lines and starts doing the dance. I start to feel a bit weird but I keep dancing. Halfway through my tummy feels horrible, I do the bit where you jump and clap, then I start being sick all over the place. A lot of people don’t see and carry on dancing. They start slipping in the orange juice sick until it gets everywhere. Someone tells a teacher who evacuates the hall.


I’m sat on a bench in the hall with Amy, my teacher, Mrs Woods, and a bucket. Everyone else is in the corridor apart from Mr. Haywood, who is cleaning up the sick with a mop. He’s taken his sequin waistcoat off and is whistling along to Last Christmas.  I feel really sad watching Mr. Haywood and start to cry a bit.


Most people have gone home, but I’m still stood outside the school gate waiting for Grandad to pick me up. Tom is waiting by the gate for his mum. I’m not in the mood to try and show off to him, so I just concentrate on smoothing out the velvet on my skirt where the sick was.

Tom asks me why I was sick. I tell him I had too much to drink, which makes it sound like I was drunk, which I think sounds better.

Tom says that it looked really funny when everyone was skidding in the sick. I tell him I saw Mrs. Woods fall over in it (even though I didn’t). Tom laughs and says it was the best bit of the disco.


Grandad pulls up and shouts out of his car window, ‘She’s not interested in lads who can only afford half a haircut and can’t even give her a lift home.’ I get in the car. Tom waves at me and I wave back. I think that Tom can’t fancy Lisa that much if he likes me being sick more than dancing with her.

Grandad starts singing again, but I don’t even care. I think that this might be the best night of my life.

o          o          o


Originally from Coventry but now living in sunny Southend-on-Sea. Holly’s gonzo memoir blog “Coventry

Conch” follows a childhood growing up on the outskirts of the Coventry in the 1990s.

The Coventry Conch (blog)

Twitter: @CoventryConch

Holly’s Christmas song for Open Pen: