The World’s Squarest Disco

Scared of Chives sent me a whole load of links to various Pathe features about Greenwich, several of which don’t have any sound at all – just footage they never bothered using. I’ve had it for ages, but I can’t seem able to embed any of them, which is annoying (the whole iframes thing is weird – I keep getting ‘your browser doesn’t support iframes, even though I know it does….grr.)

So I have to send you to this piece of film from the 1970s, a double-whammy of dullness that is at the same time tedious and compelling viewing. I suggest you open it in a different window to this one for now. Another irritating thing is that this way you have to sit through a really bad drinks commercial first, so I suggest you switch it on and come back to this post while the ad’s cooking so I can direct you to something else that will help your viewing enjoyment later.

It’s from when the Old Royal Naval College was just The Royal Naval College and the first part of it consists of a lot of marching practice. I guess what I find most interesting about it is how little anything (save the occupants of the building) has changed, and if you’re a military or naval historian I’m sure it will be fascinating, but I will quite understand if you fast forward to just before half way through where there is a silent disco going on in the Undercroft. Of course it wasn’t a silent disco in the way we know them now, so you’ll need some music to go with it. My suggestion is this (for the full effect hit the ‘play’ button as soon as you see the dancers, no need to sync it with the dancing…):

Were all discos like this in the 1970s? Just British ones? Or just shindigs at British naval academies? Perhaps it was like this at Studio 54 and everyone just has a selective memory. But I love it. I love it for the clothes (the sort that never made it to the Seventies Revival), for the sense of un-abandon and for the complete lack of atmosphere despite the token candles. I think my favourite is the guy in the pork pie hat, but what I wonder at most is that these people actually seem to be having a good time, even though I’m guessing it’s been staged for the cameras. What did they put in those now-empty wine glasses?

The really intriguing question though, of course, is – where are these people now?

6 Comments to “The World’s Squarest Disco”

  1. Robert Number16 says:

    Is it our very own Maureen O`Mara on the right in the disc vid?
    Happy Christmas to you all.

  2. Is it? Is it? I think we should be told. Maureen – what WAS it you were all drinking?

  3. Dazza says:

    so ‘Sailors have more fun’, do they indeed……..I won’t fall into the trap of making jokes about Seamen at this time in the morning.
    Love all the old films of Greenwich. They show all the missing bits of background info. What was that the other side of the river from the Marching band? Didn’t that used to be a scrap yard? And where were the towers of Canary Wharf? Oh, for a simpler time……

  4. IanVisits says:

    Actually, don’t bother with Pathe News iFrame system as it just embeds a static image with a link to the video on their website.

    You can’t embed their videos in the same way you can with YouTube – as in to have them play within your blog.

    Just link to the Pathe News website and send people there to watch the clip.

  5. The whole embedding thing is odd. I once broke the BBC website by trying to embed a bit of its own content into one of its blogs…

  6. Benedict says:

    I thought that was Robert No 16 in the pork pie hat with extra long cravat…..and those gorgeous Laura Ashley dresses…..I cant believe they went out of fashion.