strike a pose

strike a pose, vogue
Vogue or voguing is a highly stylized modern dance characterized by photo model-like poses integrated with angular, linear and rigid arm, leg, and body movements. Popularized by Madonna's song and video of the same name, the unique inner-city dance subculture was brought to international mainstream attention.
The year was 1990, the song was Vogue, I was sixteen, in Year 11 at high school and nuts about the song (spot the early ninties closeted gay boy... nuts about a Madonna song, go figure!).

And this morning I happened to catch some random remix/mash-up/alternative version of the song on FreshFM, and it brought the whole experience flooding back and made me smile one of those really big nostalgia smiles.

It makes no difference if you're black or white
If you're a boy or a girl
If the music's pumping it will give you new life
You're a superstar, yes, that's what you are, you know it
Part of the reason it had me wearing my very happy nostalgia pants (extremely comfortable, but not in the least bit flattering) was that Vogue was a massive part of my life during 1990 (and I think possibly 1991 too, it's all a bit hazy now, since it's now over half my life ago) because I used to dance to it... well actually it started that way, but it ended up as "performing"...

Yeah, I know... gay to the power of like a million, right?

I don't really even remember how the hell it started. I was friendly with a number of the ESL (English as a Second Language) girls, and got invited to somebody's birthday party along with a couple of the guys I knew... and before I knew it we were getting invited to ALL of their birthdays, parties, dances, whatever...

Which was very cool actually.

And somewhere along the way I started dancing to Vogue. I'd probably been dancing around in front of the teevee to it, and I know I owned the album (on cassette no less) that it came from, so it was quite possibly on high rotation anyway, so I don't think I'd worked out an actual routine or anything... part of it would have been stuff that I made up, part of it would have been taken from the videoclip, part of it probably made me look like a dork. And while some of the stuff stayed the same I don't think I ever did the same routine twice... I just went with whatever felt right at the time.

But before I knew it, it kind of became a "thing" at the parties... where I ended up doing it with just about everybody watching and standing around me. Whether it was because I was very good and they enjoyed it... or very bad and hence very amusing, I don't know... I did have a thought earlier today though that if the technology that was around today had been around then, I'm sure I would have ended up on YouTube or something.

I do know that I always had a huge mix of terror and adrenaline going both before I went out there, while I was out there, and right after I stopped... although usually once I was done it was more adrenaline and endorphins.

So much of an expected event did it become that I remember walking into one of the parties, and we'd quite literally just walked in the door when the DJ (who also happened to be my best gal-pal's brother) put the song on. And while I was shooting him filthy looks, he just grinned at me... and from memory I kept shaking my head at him to let him know I wasn't going to do it... then thought "fuck it", slide or threw or did something with the jacket or overshirt I was wearing and stalked out onto the "dancefloor" (which I think was actually the living room, since that was one of the parties where we were at somebody's house).

I think that was the time that I actually popped my shoulder partially out of it's socket while I was out there... but luckily that was before my shoulder fell apart completely (and possibly part of the reason that it did) and all I had to do was roll my shoulder 360° to get it to pop back into place...

Actually somewhere I have all this stuff written down, I used to keep a "party journal" of sorts, but I'm not sure if I still have the electronic version, and the paper printout version would either be at Ma's in one of my boxes or else it fell victim to one of my many clear-outs. Which is kinda annoying, because not only would it make it easier to write this, it would also be nice to see what I had to say for myself at the time too.

Then there was the culmination of the whole Vogue experience... the Year 11 Formal/Dance (I think, I don't think it was the Year 12 one because that was all a big to-do)... and for whatever reason, word had gotten out on the grapevine about the whole Voguing thing (as it does in high school), so it was something of a forgone conclusion that it was going to happen, and that people were expecting me to do it. Possibly aided on the night by the fact that the same guy I mention before was going to be DJing for the dance.

Luckily though the story does have a happy ending... I didn't fall down and break a bone or totally humilate myself and have to go running from the school gym in tears or anything... and it was the memory of that "success" that made me smile as much as anything else when I was out this morning.

I do remember that one of my other gal-pals danced a little like one of the guys in the video (the one who's busting a move while Madge stands still), and she came out and joined me for that part of the song, which was cool... and my Gay School Nemesis (the boy I'd formerly been best friends which, but as we both realised that not only were we gay, but the other one was gay as well, we very much distanced ourselves from one another and became pretty much enemies) saying something to me along the lines that he'd thought I was going to make a twat of myself, but it was better than he'd expected... something along those lines anyway.

You just gotta love a song that has significant high school memories attached to it...

Greta Garbo, and Monroe
Deitrich and DiMaggio
Marlon Brando, Jimmy Dean
On the cover of a magazine

Grace Kelly; Harlow, Jean
Picture of a beauty queen
Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire
Ginger Rogers, dance on air

They had style, they had grace
Rita Hayworth gave good face
Lauren, Katherine, Lana too
Bette Davis, we love you

Ladies with an attitude
Fellows that were in the mood
Don't just stand there, let's get to it
Strike a pose, there's nothing to it

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Anonymous said...

LOL OMG i wasnt the only one!!!! :)

i had routine and all that i used to pratice in the living room :)

Tom said...

It would have had to be Kylie's Locomotion to have been much gayer than Vogue!

Was that the album Isla Bonita was on... that was on my walkman for ages (yes, also in cassette form!) :)

Monty said...

Tom Tom Tom...La Isla Bonita was on True Blue! Then she released Like a Prayer (the album)...Vogue was on the Dick Tracy inspired album I'm Breathless in 1990. Duh! ;-)

But you've taken me back to my high school days (I'm a year or two ahead of you)...Bananarama were doing Venus! ahhh, fond memories!

yani said...

I've never overly been a Kylie fan Tom... back in the day I was all about Madge and Janet J...

And actually Monty, Tom was technically correct (my favourite kind of correct), both Vogue and La Isla Bonita were on The Immaculate Collection, so he could very easily have had that.

I was nuts about the Dick Tracy album though, and scarily enough, when I got the DVD this Christmas I realised that although I didn't really remember that much of the movie in general, I remembered almost word for word all of Madonna's dialog... scary!

Tom said...

A year or two ahead of me hey Monty? Try six or seven! :P

Yeah, Yani's right, I caught it the second time around on the Immaculate Collection album! :)


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