Homer Sykes: Britain in the 1980s. Text by Various. (3/5)

‘Oops!’ (Rowing Boat Song), Hen Night, South London pub, circa 1980. © Homer Sykes/Photoshelter.

From Do You Remember? Forums

What was that dance called?

Posted by Bruce, 05/04/2005:

I remember a dance where you all sat in a line on the floor with your legs astride the person in front and then swayed from side to side and stuff. What was that dance called and what song was it meant to go with?

Posted by Precious Jewels, 08/04/2005:

It was for ‘Oops Upside Your Head’ by the Gap Band…Sweet reminiscing of discos growing up! Did it have a name for the actual dance?!

Posted by lionlevy, 19/04/2005:

Assorted aunties used to refer to it as “that boat song…” Very popular with aged relatives for some reason, despite their assorted dodgy arthritis & rheumatism doing its best to hinder them.

Posted by scallycapsforever, 09/08/2005:

Yeah the row boat song. A classic at family dos the length and breadth of the country it was also hilariously lampooned on ‘Men Behaving Badly’ to ‘Sailing’ by Rod Stewart.

Posted by Zen Master, 30/04/2005:

Not sure of the name of the dance but the song was a group called Forest, I will find the title later, was played at a birthday evening or event. Great fun all innocent……fun.

Posted by Clive Henry Jones, 27/06/2005:

Yeah, Forrest did “Rock the Boat” but it was a cover of The Hues Corporation’s original. This track was not a dedicated dance track, though, as “Oops upside your head” was (Rowing boat dance). As a DJ, I stll play “Oops” at mixed aged parties because:
a. It’s a good track which fills the dancefloor.
b. You get to look up women’s skirts as they get down (and up) – all innocent, though and I dare you to try to not look and see who’s wearing suspenders & who’s not.
c. You usually gety some saddo walking up and down the line of “rowers” whipping them with his tie.

Posted by SG1973, 26/05/2007:

Saw an interview on tv with the Gap Band and they said when they first came to England to do TOTP they couldn’t understand why everyone sat on the floor swaying from side to side. They’d never seen it done before. Must be an English eccentricity thing.

Homer Sykes: Britain in the 1980s. Text by Charles Jennings. (2/5)

Sloane Rangers, Kensington, 1983. © Homer Sykes/Photoshelter.

Society Wedding by Charles Jennings: 

‘The Boltons, yes. And I mean, the Queen Mother’s actually been there, to dinner, apparently.’


‘But apparently she didn’t sign the visitors’ book.’

‘Well, she wouldn’t would she?’

‘So of course, James’ – the boyfriend – ‘had to volunteer first, so they gave him a box of watercolours and a brush. And he spent ages trying to get the watercolours to go on the brush, but he’d forgotten that he needed some water first.’

‘He’s so sweet, James, so funny.’

‘Thing is, Emma had James’ Jack Russell as a bridesmaid –‘

‘As in a dog?’

‘So sweet!’

‘Emma phoned, the honeymoon was fab, wants to meet up –‘

‘Istanbul? I know that city, actually. Went with Simon and Gemma and Charlie last summer. Charlie’s so funny, he stood outside that big mosque and – ’

‘Why couldn’t she make it tonight?’

‘Dinner with James’ grandmother. She’s ninety and lives in a tiny flat on Trafalgar Square.’

‘I didn’t know anyone lived there!’

So sweet!’

… for The London Column. © Charles Jennings 2011.

Homer Sykes: Britain in the 1980s. Text by Charles Jennings (1/5)

Charity Ball, Hilton Hotel, circa 1980. Photo © Homer Sykes/Photoshelter.

Club Night by Charles Jennings:

Thank you very much, ladies and gentleman. We’d like to do a Commodores number now –

Oh God. Three Times –

A beautiful number.

It’s once –


Twice –

I’m dancing to this. This is my FAVOURITE –Three Times A Lady –I don’t CARE about Roger. He never dances. I don’t care. I’m fucking DANCING this one ANYWAY –

Thank you very much.

… for The London Column. © Charles Jennings 2011.