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You Should Be Dancing - Living for the Weekend

57 minutes
First broadcast:
Wednesday 23 October 2013

You Should Be Dancing is the simple, self-explanatory call to action that sums up generation after generation of British kids post-World War II. Although the Bee Gees' song is from the soundtrack to Saturday Night Fever, a movie that's set in Brooklyn, the theme is universal; the desire, the need to escape from a demeaning and demoralising job through hedonism and pleasure come the weekend. In fact the film's original title was Tribal Rites On A Saturday Night, which was more unwieldy but nails the essence of the film. Napoleon might have thought we were a nation of shopkeepers, but for many Brits we're a nation of weekend warriors: hearty hedonists who work hard but party harder come five o'clock on a Friday night. Whether it's Bognor or Bradford, Belfast or Brechin, at the weekend there are thousands of venues and millions of people ecstatically enjoying their 48 hours of freedom.
Saturday Night Fever is one of the best-selling albums of all time, an unstoppable juggernaut which has sold something like 25 million copies, and which epitomised the urban nightlife of the late 1970s; all flowing locks and flared suits, medallions and mirror balls. Friday night and the weekend had also been portrayed in other films like Human Traffic, which brilliantly evokes the British rave scene of the late Nineties.

Music Played

13 items
  • Share your comments and stories

    Your contributions will play a key part in this episode, take a look at the questions below and send us your thoughts:

    • Do you remember waiting all week for a big weekend... and what did you do?
    • Have you ever worked at a job you hated just to pay for your fun at the weekend?
    • What was your favourite club to go dancing and why?
    • What was the most important ritual you went through before heading out for a night out?

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