Some songs live forever. Others are played for a few years but eventually die out. The rest never have any sort of existence once they drop out of the charts.
Then there are the songs that refuse to go away. Remember Relax? A huge number one at the start of the year then back in the top three later that summer. Something similar that refused to die in 1981 was Tainted Love.
Those around at the time will remember just how huge this was. The soundtrack of the summer, it was still very much in evidence at the start of sixth form. I remember girls getting up and dancing to it in the common room. I was quite taken aback. I thought it was amazing that people should do such a thing. How freeing. But oh, the common room. Now there was a place.
Initially, I was far too initmidated to go in. Just inside the door was where the cool set sat. It was their long-standing section of this vast cavernous room. Each bank of seats had its own clique. How one got to join it was anyone's guess, but in the end you just had to be bold.
For weeks a friend and I hovered just outside the door. Occassionally we would walk through. Then we got brave and sat in the coffee bar bit before eventually joining the jet set. It's not that we didn't know (some of) them, but there was a barrier to break through. Luckily a childhood friend who I had been at school with and who laughed at all my jokes affected my introducton. But it was gradual and painful and terrifying, but I it was something I had to do.
Life in the common room was hugely competitive clothes and music wise, but to be there meant you'd arrived. Though it seems utterly ludicrous that it should matter so much now, it was a huge big deal at the time. You want to be a part of things, and life could be miserable if it wasn't happening.
As a child I was bright and confident, but once I hit my teens I got awfully shy. It was at this point at college that it was time for a reinvention. I felt I was slightly behind the curve in fashion, and suddenly this mattered to me. I joined the Oxfam trawlers and patronised Top Man. Out with the blue Harrington and the Pod shoes that mum had bought in a sale, and in with pixie boots and soul slippers and the Phil Oakey hairdo. Oh dear God the pictures. But you know, I was 16. Everything was changing.
Whenever I hear Tainted Love I always think of those girls dancing to it in the common room and it means something. Not sure what. But it does.