During the last 10 years that I’ve been falling in and out of clubs, I’ve seen some weird and wonderful sights, met all manner of people, worn beer goggles on a number of occasions and danced the night away thinking I’m in a Beyonce video (I actually look like a baby taking its first steps most of the time). I’ve been clubbing in many cities across the UK: Leeds, Manchester, London, Brighton, Liverpool, even my dear old home-town of Grimsby, as well as party capitals outside of the UK. I’ve danced on a friend’s shoulders at the main stage of Manchester Pride, and naked on a podium with strangers in Gran Canaria. I’ve been in some of the liveliest, campest gay bars, and some of the most chav-infested straight chain-pubs. But all these experiences have one thing in common. That song.
It’s the song that has plagued every night out I’ve ever had. There is simply no escape from it. It will be played, there will be a scream of excitement across the room and people will move to the dance floor like a scene from Jumanji. These are the rules of the song. There is no room for negotiation. It holds all the cards. It is the weapon that every DJ has up their sleeve, when things are looking a bit sparse, and I absolutely cannot stand to hear it one more time.
So I am taking a stand. What is this monstrosity of song? … It’s ‘Show Me Love’ by Robin S. I’m not being a party pooper, and there are some dance anthems that for me are timeless classics that I can’t imagine ever getting bored of, but this is not one of them. For the first few years of my club life I didn’t mind hearing it at all. It seemed to always liven up a crowd, creating a lively atmosphere and for a minute everyone in that club had something in common: their love for this song. DJs know this only too well. Fast forward to 2012 and it all seems a bit tired to me now.
The instantly recognisable percussion drops, and hold on to your VK Blue girls, because you’ve got just enough time to charge to the dance floor and get your bingo wings in the air for that first blood-curdling scream of “Wooooooaaaahhhhh”. At this point I’m either at an empty bar lining up the shots for myself or sulking on my own in the smoking area (I don’t even smoke, but it gives me time to have a whinge on Facebook).
‘Show Me Love’ was initially released as a bootleg in the UK in 1990. However, it was when it got a full release in 1993 that it made a real impact thanks to the growing popularity of house music. It reached #6 in the singles chart and festered around for 24 painful weeks. Since its first incarnation nearly 100 different formats have been released in Europe, with further UK re-releases in 1997, 1999, 2002, 2005, 2006 and 2008 (you get the idea). In 2009 the song was successfully remixed by Laidback Luke & Steve Angello (of Swedish House Mafia). It was back in the charts, ensuring its longevity in clubs.
As it comes from a golden and important era in dance music, I only wish that DJs would stop pulling this one out as their trump card and looked at other classics. May I suggest Black Box ‘Ride On Time’, Bizarre Inc. ‘Playing With Knives’, Tony DiBart’s ‘The Real Thing’ or the wonderful ‘Somebody Else’s Guy’ by Jocelyn Brown. Or is it easier to play things safe? My personal wish would be that we put this one to bed now, but as it still seems to be a very firm favourite with just about everyone else, I can at least be grateful for those 5 minutes in which I’m guaranteed to get the bar to myself.