Grimness and Glam
A quick gloss on K-Punk's fine piece on Roisin Murphy as lone standard bearer of glam - well, if he's not going to update then I may as well. One thing not mentioned there is that her last two videos - 'Overpowered' and 'Let me Know', both embedded here for your viewing pleasure - undertake a quite conscious dialogue with the glamour of the look, the lighting, the intoxication of disco and its flipside: going home on the night bus in your costume and having to do the washing up, or fantasising in the greasy spoon about being a disco superstar. This tension between the seamless fantasy and the seamy reality isn't a concession to mundanism, it's something totally key to glam from the start: being thoroughly inappropriate, a working-class pursuit that can become a bit tedious when taken out of it. Think for instance of how thrilling Soft Cell's decadence in Yorkshire was, and how drab Marc Almond's later decadence in Berlin, New York or wherever is in comparison. If there's nobody at the bus stop calling you a poof, then it just becomes meaningless preening.
Both of these videos exemplify this beautifully. Roisin squirming on the nightbus with her Schiaparelli hat dangling, or dancing in the 'Classy Touch' greasecaff (which of course looks far more glam than the caffe nero equivalent anyway) before the fry-up arrives, while the lights dance around her. This is part of disco even in its most seemingly normative incarnations: Saturday Night Fever, usually remembered as a flarefest fit only for the ironic high street theme pub, is actually an incredibly grim depiction of wasted lives that only come alive when they're in the disco: only when I'm dancing can I feel this free, as someone once similarly driven by desire to get out of the mundane as quickly as possible put it.