It’s a sunny afternoon in Cleveleys and Dokter Hotfingers, or Fingaz – I didn’t really stick around to find out – is holding forth on the organ.
His keyboard playing goes down well with the locals. But nobody’s dancing.
Not even with all the paving done up and extended to create a more continental ambience.
To be honest, working hips are in shorter supply here than in most neighbouring localities. They only let me over the border from Anchorsholme because I’ve got gammy knees and a dodgy ankle, and wear Hotter shoes of many colours. My dance days are over too.
But three teenage lads, in Beats headphones, decide to lighten the mood. They huddle round their iPhones and suddenly strike up Happy – by R&B singer Pharrell Williams. One of those defy-you-not-to-dance songs.
And, in one of those lovely life-enhancing impromptu moments, three elderly ladies emerge from Bon Marche, catch the beat, feel the heat and start strutting their stuff.
All three are short, and two are dressed in yellow, so look uncannily like Minions from Despicable Me, the film which inspired the Happy song. It’s a gloriously surreal moment.
They also look rather like the three old ladies, each in a different coloured jacket, who rescued me and my cash the day my heart paused, almost on this very spot in Cleveleys, at sight of my bank balance. I dropped to the ground. When I came round I thought I’d died and gone to Disney heaven – with Sleeping Beauty’s fairy godmothers Flora, Fauna and Merryweather in attendance. Princess Aurora, I’m not. More Maleficent crossed with Witchy Poo.
But back to those Happy feet. Earlier this week, the same song got hundreds of local school kids on their feet and dancing to Layton Primary School, to launch National Walk to School week.
Music really has the power to move in every sense. And it can unify generations, cultures, faiths, nations. Certainly more so than sport which, by its very nature, is competitive, even divisive.
We all live under the one sky. Yet right now that sky is falling on a group of joyfully exuberant young men and women who danced along to Pharrell’s song – and filmed themselves doing so.
“Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof. Because I’m happy. Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth...”
And they did. Right on the roof of a building in Tehran. And at other locations in a city which is continuing to redefine repressive, for all liberal president Hassan Rouhani’s protestations to the contrary.
The joyful little video, which featured unveiled women, went viral, and has now been seen by tens of thousands of people across the globe – including, alas, their own state police, who claim the “vulgar clip” “hurt public chastity.”
Imprisoned for being Happy? It’s clap trap. No wonder the world’s weeping. But the good news is five of the six were released – and the president himself retweeted an extract from his post-election address of last June: “Happiness is our people’s right. We shouldn’t be too hard on behaviours caused by joy.”
Clap along if you agree.
Why I’m tormented by A Place in the Sun
If there’s one thing destined to keep me working until I drop, it’s the fact that daytime telly is the pits.
If Dante had watched A Place in the Sun, he’d have added an extra ring to Purgatorial suffering known as A Place in the Inferno.
It would have been for the chronically undecided, the sort of couples who set out in the company of house-hunting experts to Spain, France, Greece, Italy or the Algarve saying we want four bedrooms, a swimming pool, acres of land, a modern fitted kitchen, a vineyard and neighbours who all speak English for £100k ... and then settle for a two up, two down at Todmorden or Torrisholme for much the same price.
Having invested my redundancy cash in Premium Bonds, on the off chance of a big win, rather than the occasional £25, I’ve got to say I’d be off like a flash to the south of France, where my brother lives, if I had the cash.
Well, unless a nice terraced house at Little Thornton-le-Fylde comes on the market.
* Follow me on Twitter – @jacquimorley