Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Tarzan Boy: Memories of the Quad High dance

It was a great idea that just didn't work out as well as it could have: four high schools holding a dance in a central spot. Every time I hear "Tarzan Boy" by Baltimora, my mind takes me back to that night we piled in a van to Picture Butte and I danced for the first time with a girl I really liked.

The ultimate dance
My good friend Dave was our Student Union president. One day he came back from a meeting with this great idea: a quad high dance. It would be at Picture Butte High School, which was kind of in the middle. Coalhurst High School and Noble Central High School from Nobleford would be the others, along with us, Kate Andrews High School of Coaldale.

Dave and a couple of his friends, and me, piled into our friend Mike’s dad’s van in Coaldale and drove out to Picture Butte. It was kind of odd for me because I actually lived part way between Coaldale and Picture Butte. Mike was the same friend who a few months earlier had that birthday party featuring “Wildcats” and Chris DeBurgh.

I was excited about the dance because this girl I liked told me she was going to be there. She was in Grade 11 and sat in front of me in biology. Her cousin was in my grade and she, her cousin, and her cousin’s best friend were all going to be there. Plus, I figured we might meet some people from other towns.

When we arrived it was the opposite, and I could have guessed. You had the Coaldale kids in one corner, the Picture Butte kids in another corner, Coalhurst in another, and Nobleford in another. Never the four shall meet.

We ended up sitting with the girls, and to my surprise she asked me to dance. I’m pretty sure "Sounds Unlimited" was doing the music and they had a big video monitor – our first video dance. The song was “Tarzan Boy” by Baltimora, and it was one of about half a dozen songs we danced to.

But that would be it. I tried to kind of make conversation, but she was preoccupied at first. Some drama with a boy she actually liked. Later, she was just plain bored. She smoked, much to my chagrin, and had made the empty cigarette package into a piece of rudimentary origami. She just played with it, putting it to her face and looking at me through it, like some sort of telescope.

She would ultimately be the girl I asked out, who said no. You remember, the sounds of Bruce Hornsby provided the soundtrack.

Parting thoughts
Whether anything came of that thing with that girl or not, that quad high, video dance remains etched in my memory. It was the first time I ever danced live to music videos, and it was a great time.

Baltimora and “Tarzan Boy” may be a one-hit wonder, relegated to a shampoo commercial these days, but every time I hear it, I think of Picture Butte High School in 1987.

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