Disco Lingo
material from Bruce Pollack's The Disco Handbook
originally published by Scholastic Book Services, New York, 1979

[Note: the typist of the following information is not claiming responsibility for its contents in any way, shape, or form.]

SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER: This movie has become the phenomenon of the seventies. The film is a celebration of the acting of John Travolta, the music of the Bee Gees, and the ambiance of the 2001 Odyssey disco in Brooklyn where it was filmed. The story of the hardware clerk by day, dance-king by night, so inflamed the imagination of the country, that what was previously a low-grade "bug" almost overnight turned into a raging fever.

JOHN TRAVOLTA: Once merely the cutest Sweathog on TV's Welcome Back, Kotter, this young actor has gone on to become a star of the highest order. His reputation was further helped by his success in the movie Grease. Moment by Moment, his next picture, didn't help him any, but nevertheless, his career is still solid and his future bright.

DISCO FEVER: That particular disease which attacks a person, group, culture, or generation, regardless of age, creed, color, religion, or place of birth, within minutes after visiting a disco for the first time. It is characterized by hot flushes, random flashes, flailing limbs, and a parched throat. It is followed soon thereafter by aching muscles, a loss of hearing, and an intense desire to return to the scene of the disease for another dose.

ROLLER DISCO: Disco on roller skates.

MOBILE DISCO: A commercial enterprise which comes to your house, school, or neighborhood arena equipped with records, lights, speakers, turntables, mixers, deejay, and good vibes, to set up a one-night disco extraveganza.

CELEBRITY DISCO: An ulra-fashionable haunt where the stars of radio, TV, film, sports, politics, and music come to unwind.

STUDIO 54: The ultimate chic hangout, where the sheer beauty of the beautiful people assembled therein is enough to blind you.

DEEJAY: That otherwise silent general at the hub of every disco, who creates the mood by the smooth manipulation of the disco discs.

BEAT: 1) The constant, throbbing engine which keeps the disco in perpetual motion.
2) How you will begin to feel after about forty-five minutes of continuous disco dancing.

AMBIANCE: The sum total of the music, mood, mist, and people at a particular disco.

HEAVY: 1) A person who tries to start a serious conversation at a disco.
2) The subject of the conversation (in descending order of heaviness: parents, inflation, the Middle East, rock & roll, and yesterday's homework).

FUNKY: 1) The kind of rhythm and blues designed to cause one to break out in cold sweats.
2) The collected aroma of the disco-- with sweat, tears, makeup, hairspray, and perfume mingling with the moisture of bodies all gasping for breath in the darkness.

INTENSE: 1) The feel of the room in the grip of the beat.
2) The look in your eyes as you gaze into the glazed eyes of your partner after three hours of continuous dancing.

HUSTLE: 1) The original disco dance, now slightly out of date.
2) What some people think of the disco scene.

FREAK: 1) Also known as free-style. The latest and possibly the greatest form of disco dancing.
2) Anyone arriving at the disco wearing something like this: a fireman's hat, gas station attendant's uniform, waist-length hair, and a blazer with the inscription "Kiss Me, I'm Contagious" on the back.

BOOGIE: Dancing in its loosest form, most usually at a rock concert, to the music of the Grateful Dead.

THE BOX STEP: 1) An old-fashioned notion of dancing which will only get you into trouble at the disco.
2) That four-cornered signal you make over your shoulder to friends, to warn them that you're with the kind of square who is still hopelessly in the dark ages, at least as far as dancing is concerned.

CONVERSATION: An outmoded preoccupation at the disco, which may lead to things like exchanging phone numbers or agreeing to meet outside for a breath of fresh air.

NON-VERBAL COMMUNICATION: The body language spoken at most discos, mostly with your face. This includes: talking with your eyes, flirting with the tip of your nose, singing with your ears, laughing with your eyebrows, gesturing significantly with your shoulders, kidding around with your knees.

JOGGING: A form of disco without all the accessories. But you still get to show off your style, fashion sense, social awareness, and general hipness.

FOG: 1) That mystifying mist produced by machines at some discos, which do so much to murk up the face of your partner.
2) What you will be in after seven hours of continuous dancing.

KINETIC ENERGY: A substance produced by the nervous system when it interacts with the myriad effects of the disco.

ANDY WARHOL: 1) The chicest of the chic, the grandfather of pop-art, pop-culture, and pop-corn.
2) Several incarnations ago, a pop-art painter who became famous for his rendition of a Campbell's soup can, and later remained famous for being famous.
3) Coiner of the concept that everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes. At the disco this concept reaches its realization.

CAMP: An ever-changing measure of hipness. Something so bad it's funny is camp, but something that tries too hard to be funny and fails, is not. Going to camp is not camp, but reliving your camp experiences definitely can be. Camping, as an activity, isn't camp at all. Show up at a disco in striped pajamas and you're treading a fine line between camp and the city jail.

JOCK: A person of the athletic persuasion, prone to be more comfortable in cleats than platform shoes.

NERD: 1) Anyone who wears socks with cowboys and indians on them.
2) Someone whose mother takes them to the disco and then waits outside in the car with the motor running.

GOOD SAMARITAN: The original Mr. Niceguy (or gal) who is destined always to finish last. Inevitably they're thought of "like a brother" or "sister" by those they had been hoping would someday give them a ring (on the phone, on a finger, or around the neck). Rather than sit home pitying themselves and watching soap operas, the GS instead visits the disco and becomes fast friends with the deejay, squandering many weeks in the sad attempt to learn that cool fellow's secrets.

BROTHER: 1) A kindred spirit in the night.
2) Anyone who can demonstrate a handshake of more than four separate movements.

BEAUTIFUL PERSON: Those persons who don't have to work for a living, yet have the time and money, looks, prestige, wardrobe, and inclination to spend most of their lives getting their names mentioned in bold type in gossip columns.

CHIC: 1) Any place, such as a discothèque, which caters to and attracts a clientele made up predominately of beautiful people.
2) Something once worn, eaten, seen, said, done, enjoyed, or approved of by a certified beautiful person.

FASHION CONCEPT: Another part of non-verbal communication: making a statement with your clothes. What you wear to the disco can showcase your personality, the inner as well as the outer you, or at least the image of yourself you've chosen that time to portray.

THE RETRO LOOK: A currently very fashionable fashion concept. It involves rummaging through trunks in the basements or attics of your parents or grandparents or anybody else who's old enough to have old campy clothes.

HIPPIE: An outmoded type of individual, but still around to a limited degree, who periodically checks out the disco in buckskin moccasins, shoulder-length hair, and knee-length serape.

MACHO: The super pride of the super masculine male-- the caveman type.

FOX: This year's version of Old Lady, who was last year's edition of Chick, who replaced Bird, which is a Chick or an Old Lady in England.

TURKEY: Anyone who refers to women as Foxes, Chicks, Old Ladies, Birds, or Broads.

DIP: 1) One of those backbreaking disco bends now gradually fading from fashion, designed to show off your disco prowess as well as your fabulous figure.
2) A nerd's obnoxious cousin.

EMANATE: The act of moving toward a designated spot or person without really seeming to move. An effortless glide, emanating is best accomplished by beaming your energy in a non-verbal, non-violent, non-threatening way, and going with the flow of that energy, helped along by the disco beat. (Isn't that helpful?)

VIBES: 1) Those little particles of kinetic energy that bounce from person to person at the disco.
2) Intangible, often subconscious (or even unconscious) signals given off by a subject you've just emanated toward, which tell you whether your emanation has been successful or not. Learning to read vibes is an essential part of non-verbal communication.

AURA: The parts of a person's composure, style, and image, reflected in their face, body language, vibes, kinetic energy, fashion concept, and general well-being. Their whole image, so to speak.

MIX: 1) The effective change from one disco record or mood to another without anyone noticing.
2) The magic particulars of an evening's disco experience, including the tone of the ambiance and the intensity of the beat. What the disco is all about, a new night, a new mix.

HOT: Cool


BAD: Good

DISCOFIED: That thoroughly exhausted yet unsatisfied state of being, known only to the disco addict, where normal living has taken second place to the disco lifestyle. A state that is expanding in population every day.

SOCK IT TO ME, OUTASITE, OH WOW, GROOVY, MINDBLOWING, BUMMER, BAD TRIP, RIGHT-ON, NEAT, CRAZY, FAR-OUT: Some words to be avoided at the disco, no matter how much the mood to say them may grab you.