Thursday, January 29, 2009
Glam, Glitter and Disco Foot
By the 70s dancing took place within the confines of high tech disco's with light shows and glamorous settings. Statuesque dancers needed to stand out and the fashion for elevated or platform shoes came to pass. Rod Stewart, the Cockney Scottish football fan extraordinaire, was a humble boot boy at Brentford Soccer Club long before he became gravel voiced lead singer of the post Mod band, Faces. Rod, unlike his musical chum (Sir) Elton John, wore platform shoes on stage to look sexy. Tiny Elton on the other hand needed the extra leverage his boots gave him to reach the piano keys on his Steinway during live performances. Later Elton appeared in the film Tommy sporting the largest pair of DM boots ever seen. The Faces first album was called 'First Step' (1970). Greek actors wore raised shoes to tower over their audience and the resulting swaggering gait was understood to send females into sexual ecstasy. Platform shoes were first introduced in the Middle Ages and were worn by court ladies but the fashion was short lived and fell to the prerogative of the height challenged. Paul Gadd (aka Gary Glitter) was certainly the latter and used his glitter platforms to achieve the former. He was, in his heyday, an act to catch. His platforms were specially made for his feet and allowed him to achieve quite spectacular choreography during his live shows. Young people expressing their sexuality began to dress in ambiguous ways, the style was called unisex. The Thin White Duke aka David Bowie was certainly not stuck in the cupboard when it came to express his female side on stage. Ziggy (Stardust) definately wore the boots and shoes to be seen in tights. For the first time in hundreds of years men appeared in clothing modern society had designated as female attire. Whilst this was a zenith for excellent dance music, ironically the dance styles were remarkably bland. There is a certain irony here in that whilst the styles were unremarkable, people did dance a lot and a common injury associated with "all nighters" was a flat foot caused by ligamentous collapse. The condition was called "disco foot."