Yesterday, while endlessly scrolling through a barrage of misery on Twitter, a video popped up that left me grinning from ear to ear: Michael Gove raving at a club in Aberdeen. I never imagined needing to see Gove dancing carefree and untethered, but I did – and I will defend his right to do so to the hilt.
I love to dance. Much to my embarrassment, the majority of my dancing takes place at home. Sometimes it can be to Judy Garland’s “The Trolley Song” when I’m feeling particularly dramatic, and at other times only “Hallelujah (Club Mix)”by the Happy Mondays will do. When my mother takes the kids out for the day, I say my goodbyes, close the door and the party starts. “Alexa, play…”
I’m at an age now where the majority of my friends are in long-term relationships or have young children. When we do see each other, it’s for a meal and a catch-up. After a few glasses of wine, I’m always that person who says: “Shall we go to a nightclub?” but that’s usually greeted with an unenthusiastic “maybe next time”.
When I was younger, I was the first to enter the club, and the last to leave – I never wanted the party to end. Believe me, I’m no stranger to the 3am club lights switch on.
But the producer of this viral Gove video had to go and ruin it. I remember a time when you could dance, sweat and be merry without some killjoy deciding to whip out their phone and film it. Of course, I’ve enjoyed watching this video like everyone else but it’s incredibly dispiriting that people feel the need to document every aspect of life.
Presumably, before camera phones existed, this would have been a moment belonging only to the people there that night. The following Monday at work, some guy would have said: “You’ll never believe me, but I was raving with Michael Gove at the weekend.” And when he hadn’t convinced anybody, he’d have gone, “No, seriously, my mate Mike can vouch for it!” It would have been his story to savour.
If there’s one thing I loathe, it’s judgmental people – and this video has brought them all out of the woodwork. Some Twitter users have deemed it “cringe”, and there are even some discussing how this may affect his children. Well, it may come as a surprise to you, but people can enjoy themselves at any age – even if that means losing themselves under the strobe lights.
It’s refreshing seeing people in positions of high office being human, which is why I’m sad Gove is being mocked for having the confidence to enjoy himself. Here is a 54-year-old man going through a divorce and all he wants to do is let his hair down. Is that such a crime?
Plus, he even had the gumption to go alone! He was visiting family when he turned up to O’Neill’s bar at 1:15am before going upstairs to Pipe nightclub. I like to imagine him pondering whether or not to shake off his societal shackles before thinking to himself in the style of Bilbo Baggins, “After all…why not?”
I admire his bravery and his commitment to fun. I certainly wouldn’t have the guts to enter a club on my own. Why is it socially unacceptable for people of a certain age to go clubbing?
When I was 18, you’d always spot “that” person, habitually called “the oldest swinger in town”. I often wondered why they were there and not at home making a hot chocolate before bed. But now, I understand perfectly and I have a deep respect for their dedication.
The body may grow older, but the mind never does. I’m 32 now but I still feel like I’m 21 – I doubt that will ever change.
So Gove, if you are reading this, I am available most weekends (but please do give a little notice for childcare reasons). I, like you, am not ready to retire into a life of Radio 4 and Newsnight. Let’s dance like no one is watching. Party on. The man, the myth, the legend: Michael Gove.