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‘You Should Be Dancing’ at The Disco Society

The ‘ABC’s of QM’s groovy new party clan

I sit in The Ground, unaware that this interviewee is about to apparate like a mirror ball. Rhys Salt, President of Queen Mary’s Disco Society, whirls into the seat next to me, bouncing and beaming. He proceeds to wax gloriously about the society’s successes and his ideas for the future.

Salt- History student and DJ- aspires to be an event promoter. Judging by the society’s triumphs so far, it seems he is well on his way to promoting events to the best of their potential. He starts by telling me the genesis of the society: disillusioned by the repetitive music at Drapers, Salt and company began to make pilgrimages to a friend’s flat to enjoy the “genuine musical merit” and “happy atmosphere” of Disco.

Why Disco? With cultures from Chicago to Cuba, Japan and Africa, it is a “world-embracing genre”. There are of course the classics, such as Love Train, I Will Survive, Le Freak, Good Times, Boogie Wonderland and those by the Jackson 5, the Bee Gees, Barry White, ABBA- songs you don’t quite know how you know and managed to sing verbatim at those awkward school discos and family gatherings. But the disco train didn’t stop its tracks in the eighties- it has survived and it’s still possible to get your freak on, with more than good times to be had in today’s wonderland of remixes and new mixes. Disco seems to have the extraordinary power to ascend whilst merging with every other genre, from classical to pop. These “heartening” powers make Disco particularly appropriate for charity fundraising.

The charity element of the society is central. Already, events for Red Cross and Age UK have amassed over £2150, £80 of which was collected just from donation buckets. The majority of the funds were gathered through the £4 tickets. The popularity of these events can be detected by the glitter on many students’ faces the night after (applied at the infamous Glitter Stations). Its fame has been fanned by flyers made by third year Dan Snow. All of the money is then transferred to the assigned charity via the SU.

The inception of the society was also initiated by Drapers’ previous policy of demanding societies subsidise any difference in bar funds at the end of an event; Salt took action to rectify and vivify the scene. He set up a working relationship with Drapers- “a student platform”-  after copious attempts at communication to erase the unfair rule, in collaboration with Emma Galt and Jak Curtis-Randall of the SU’s Raise And Give team.

Despite the wonders Queen Mary has achieved for charity this year alone, compared to universities such as Warwick, QM could pull its sparkly socks up. One route to this Salt wants to explore is expansion, transporting events to venues in Dalston and Shoreditch, both but a fifteen-minute bus journey away.

Salt plans to focus the next events on mental health awareness and smaller charities that would benefit from the spotlight. He also sends out an invitation to all First-years and DJs to get in touch and get involved, which I heartily encourage readers to do. Disco has, I’ve learnt from this interview alone, the capacity to “resensitize”, to invigorate and cast a new light on life when you feel down. Plus, limbo could also be on the horizon- who can resist that? All I know is that I’m dizzy and excited.

If you would like to get involved, don’t hesitate to visit the QMUL Disco Society Facebook page!

Image: Rhys Salt

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