Rant Of The Day THIS RANT 08/12/98

Rant Of The Day is where I get to mouth off about whatever I feel like for however long I like. Theoretically, I'll update my whinge/opinion piece every weekday; in practice, maybe not so often.

The John Denver effect

As a rule, I don't hang out in nightclubs very much. This is not because I have any great objection to dancing or loud music; indeed, as several of my colleagues could attest in this festive season, get the right beat going and I'll fling myself around like a demented camel on mescalin. It probably has more to do with the fact that there are no nightclubs within walking distance of my house, and I don't make much of a habit of picking up total strangers and then shagging them senseless because their hips have good rhythm.

Nonetheless, on a recent weekend visit to Armidale (the freezing town in northern NSW where I spent my first couple of decades) I ended up 'upstairs at the Newie', which in Armidale is near-synonymous with the nightclub experience. And it was here that I was reminded of one of the more remarkable aspects of that experience.

The DJ had been playing the standard mix of techno, pop and Cold Chisel which is de rigeur in rural Australia, to a good if not great response. Then, for no obvious reason, he put on John Denver's 'Thank God I'm A Country Boy'. The place quite literally went bananas. People raced from the bar to join the throng, whoop and holler, and generally get down on it.

Now, the obvious snobbish response would be to say, "Well, it's a hick rural town, of course they like a song about being a country boy." This is not, however, an isolated phenomenon. I have seen remarkably similar responses in nightclubs in Singapore, Atlanta and (gasp!) New York City.

So I think we're forced to draw this conclusion: 'Thank God I'm A Country Boy' belongs in that category of songs that any given club can play whenever it wants to excite the masses. Other predictable examples include: 'Old Time Rock And Roll', 'YMCA' and 'Time Warp'. If someone did a compilation with all these tracks, they could make a killing.

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