It's taken a while but I've realised dancing is good, actually - Alexander Brown

I hated going out at university, and would do my best to avoid it.

Going to a club was a chore I would get through by drinking, standing still among my gyrating peers until I could sneak home for an Earl Grey.

This was partly because I’m a massive bore, but also due to what I considered male dancing to be.

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It seemed less about the enjoyment of the music and more an effort to rub against enough people until someone agreed.

Just dance. Picture: Deagreez/Getty

Nights out would inevitably mean forming a protective circle around female friends, warding off men in chinos so they could enjoy their evening.

What’s more, it was just accepted, with one lad I knew being called “friendly Tom” by his peers due to his enthusiasm for bothering women.

He was a known problem, but it was priced in as just what boys were like.

So I didn’t get involved with it, instead finding solace in early bedtimes and replays of Resident Evil 4.

The music was not mine, the boys were obnoxious and the women terrified me.

But as I’ve gotten older and removed those monsters who hide bad behaviour behind considering themselves “a lad” from my life, something has changed.

It’s partly being more comfortable in my own skin, but I think also just having immediate access to literally all music ever.

Gone are the days of torrenting tunes for my Zen Micro, now my phone has everything I love and will learn to give me more like it.

Now instead of worrying about what people think, I’m more concerned with what track will come on next.

Because this is not just an embarrassed shuffle or a quiet head nod in my own home.

I want to go out, dance with my friends and shout lyrics until my voice is hoarse.

Instead of becoming more introverted as my hair gets greyer, I find myself saying yes to more, more drinks, more venues, more nights out.

Maybe it’s main character syndrome, but I now see dancing in everything.

Walking to the shops is not just a journey, it’s striding like a cartoon character in the sun listening to Haim.

I find myself dancing between sets at the gym, making kitchen boogie playlists, or looking up where in the city plays the music I like.

Recently I went to see my favourite band, Muna, in a show that saw the tickets sell out within three seconds.

I listen to Muna cycling, reading, walking, eating, while I am writing this column.

Having only discovered them during the pandemic, they were a band I had never seen live, but had given me so much joy through it.

In a smaller venue with a predominantly LGBT+ crowd who had ached to see them for so long, singing every word was beyond a release, it was total euphoria.

I was with one of my best friends dancing to songs we sent each other during Covid, thinking of nothing but the present joy in front of us.

I’ll be at Glastonbury next week, no doubt looking far more ungainly than I feel, but I don’t care.

Dancing is involuntary, joyous, and I’m never going to be self-conscious about it again.

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