Skooldaze, Gorleston

The craze for wearing short skirts and old-school ties is taking off at London nightspots where revellers can’t get enough of classroom chic. But would it prove a hit in Norfolk?

By ROWAN ENTWISTLE

Had someone said just three weeks ago that my Saturday night would be spent in a short skirt and tie reliving my high school discos, I would have laughed out loud. It has been more than 10 years since the dusty uniform has seen the light of day and the idea – to put it mildly – seemed disturbing.

And anyway, I had never really enjoyed school discos. They were a weekly event at the Teen and Twenty Club in Sheringham and as I remember most of my time was spent giggling with 14-year-old friends and trying to look cool while feeling awkward and out of place.

But when the opportunity arrived to join the latest club event that has taken London by storm, curiosity was the winner.

With navy-blue a-line skirt and blazer sadly no longer fitting, local charity shops were raided in preparation for the big night and soon after I joined about 200 other overgrown children on the dance floor at the Ocean Room at Gorleston.

Despite not being as packed as clubs in London, it was clear that Saturday's Skooldaze crowd were out for a good time as they danced to 1980s' classics from Madness, Rick Astley and Madonna.

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And it was not just the music they were there for.

Obviously the chance to dig out the flannel trousers and school ties was a big draw and great attention had been paid to detail.

While women wore pig-tails and an abundance of freckles, many a fully- grown man was to be seen dressed in true Just William style with cap and dusted-down satchel to boot.

So what is it that makes so many adults in their 20s and 30s want to regress to their spotty adolescence?

Organiser Tom McLennan said: “I think the uniforms bring people together. It's something different that appeals to people with a sense of humour who are out to have a good night.”

But is the idea of women in school uniforms not slightly, well, perverted?

The male partygoers certainly had no objections to their female counterparts in St Trinian's-style garb, and the women themselves seemed to enjoy the chance to get dressed up.

Alison Dean, 19, a sales rep, said it felt good to be back in uniform and she was clearly having fun.

“We are here to have a laugh. It makes you feel young again and brings back the good times,” she said.

Only Alison's tie harked back to her school days but somehow I doubt it would have been worn in quite the same loose style when she was 12 years old.

Personally I felt slightly more shy about the whole experience.

Whether it was lack of alcohol or that great British reserve coming to the fore I am not sure but the next time I go, (I think there will be a next time), I will be sure to drag along members of the original Sheringham High School posse too.

In addition to the uniforms and the music it was also the opportunity of doing something different that appealed to the revellers.

John Perks, 21, a student from the Royal college of music, said: “So many of the clubs do exactly the same thing where you have to dress a certain way and dance in a certain style but here you can do what you want. It's like going back to being a kid again. People don't seem to have any inhibitions.”

He was right there. Arms flailed, bodies meshed and there was even the classic smooches to Bryan Adams at the end of the night.

All in all it was your classic school disco but with slightly bigger people. And love it or loathe it after the success of the first event more of us will be going to night school.

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