I live on Liverpool’s stunning Dockland. In fact, I have quite an incredible view from my couch…
Very often, on a Saturday night I sit on the couch and instead of listening to Paddy McGuinness say things like “Let the Umpa see the Lumpa” or “Let the hokey see the cokey” like the modern day Bill Shakespeare that he is, I people watch. Trust me, it’s much more interesting than listening to Susan tell Jason she doesn’t think she can go out with him because she hates the colour grey and he’s wearing grey socks, when really it’s because Jason is overweight and spends his spare time painting faces on hard boiled eggs and using them to perform re-enactments of the battle of Hastings.
You see, the bridge outside my apartment block leads to Liverpool’s Echo Arena and most weekend’s people flock to the arena in their thousands. This can be quite problematic when all you want to do is go the shop, last week I only nipped out for a bottle of milk and ended up with two tickets for ‘Wet Wet Wet’. Liverpool hosted Comic Con a few weeks back so you can imagine how entertained I was that day. I turned Football Focus off and watched all sorts of people in costume cross the bridge, Darth Vader, The Joker and so many more incredible characters. I’m telling you now, If I hadn’t had put my Batman costume into the dry cleaners that weekend, I’d have been straight out the door trying to find a tout.
But this week was different, this week I would be joining them. The watcher and the people walking hand in hand, what for? The Rolling Stones? Arctic Monkey? Simply Red? No, none of them, I was attending Peter Kay’s ‘Dance for Life’ Dance-A-Thon party. Three hours of dancing in the Echo Arena, hosted and DJ’d by the man himself Peter Kay. Yes, Peter Kay was the DJ. And you guessed it, it was fancy dress. Now unfortunately my Batman costume had still not been returned from the dry cleaners but the people of Liverpool did not disappoint with some costumes.
The time had come and accompanied by my lovely girlfriend and her family we joined the crowds of glow in the dark Elvis’ and luminous leg warmers and headed to the Echo. There was an incredible lighting show, pyrotechnics that would blow your mind and three hours of songs that everyone of all ages knew. There was a camera crew that searched the dance floor filming people to show on the big screen. I felt like I was on that episode of ‘Friends’ where Monica and Ross do the routine with people all around me trying anything they could to get on the big screen. At first I was tentative and a bit shy but after a few pints and a handful of Dutch courage I began to loosen up and throw some shapes. To be honest I probably had too much and was trying to attempt the famous ‘dirty dancing lift’ with complete strangers. But all jokes aside, what an incredible night spent with great company.
Time for the serious stuff, I am guessing you’ve all heard of ‘Race for Life’, well instead of running and raising money for Cancer Research UK, this event encouraged people to dance for three hours and money was raised in the form of ticket sales. Peter Kay said; “I can’t think of a more enjoyable way to raise money for such an important charity than by people simply dancing to some of the best music of the last four decades and as a result changing lives.”
Statistics show that in 2012, 161,823 people died from cancer in the UK alone. The Cancer Research UK website tells us that 1 in 2 people born after 1960 will be diagnosed with some form of cancer in their lifetime. I have family and friends who have suffered from some form of cancer. I’m very fortunate that some beat it, but like too many others, I am also unfortunate that some didn’t. If I’m honest with you, the reason I decided to write this blog for this blog isn’t because of my personal vendetta for cancer or because of the effect the ‘Dance For Life’ event had on me, but because I heard a young girl in the street say “I am pretty sure that I am going to die of cancer”. She was young and seemed healthy, had the rest of her life ahead of her and has obviously seen so much of this horrible condition that she has taken the time to weigh up the probability of what she will die from. Now, I’ve had the daydream about being dead and who would be at my funeral, everyone has haven’t they? But never have I thought about how I was going to die. There has to be a way we can stop this horrible disease from ruining lives. And even if there isn’t, I for one want to be able to stand together and know we fought cancer head on.
People raise money to fight cancer all year round and what a fantastic job they do, hosting cake sales, sponsored runs and mountain climbs, I’ve got a good friend who raised money by shaving his head. But I can’t think of a more incredible way to help raise money than by doing what it is that anyone should be doing on a Saturday night, by socialising with friends and family and dancing. In fact, a few people said ‘How great would this be on New Year’s Eve?’ And it got me thinking. You see, for me, New Year’s Eve is always a huge let down. Everything is over-priced, over-populated and over-exaggerated. You HAVE to dress up nice, you HAVE to have a nice meal and you HAVE to wait in line for the same bar you go to every Saturday. Sure you can have a party or go to a party, but the majority of the time it’s not with all the people you want to see on New Year’s and you have to call people at midnight or send that text ten minutes before saying; ‘The networks are going to be crazy at midnight, Happy new year for then!’ and click send to all, which is basically just SPAM.
Now, I want to propose something. What if, on New Year’s Eve, all major UK cities, used their arenas to host similar events and in turn raised more money for Cancer Research UK? Imagine if all city councils came together and organised a UK event where people enjoyed themselves, danced and raised money to beat cancer and together made a difference on the last night of the year. I know I’d still stand in a queue, I know it would still be pricey and I know I would still have to send that text at midnight to all the people I wasn’t with, but at the end of it all, I’d know it was all worth it.
Hats off to the organisers of ‘Dance For Life’ and to Peter Kay. We had an amazing time, same again next year?
DANCE FOR LIFE.