Meet the HSDY partygoers: Conrad Parke & Andrene Miller
Co-ordinator of the Birmingham Anchor Institution Network (yes really!) & ESOL Teacher
Love on the Dance floor
Usually in our Meet the Partygoer blog post we feature just one partygoer but this time we had to have two, as this is a bit of a Haven’t Stopped Dancing Yet love story.
Conrad and Andrene met at HSDY at The Trafalgar Tavern in Greenwich back in the summer of 2010 and danced together all night long, but then left without exchanging phone numbers.
Luckily their respective friends came to the rescue and put them in touch, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Andrene moved from south London (Walworth) to Birmingham to live with Conrad in 2011 but they still come back and party whenever they can.
What's your HSDY story?
Conrad: I was invited to my first HSDY by my longtime friend, Paul aka Fergie. He’s one of the HSDY organisers, the good looking guy who makes all the announcements. He told me how well the nights were going but mentioned that there weren’t that many men. He knew I like to dance and that I was single so suggested I should come along. I turned up, from Birmingham, simply to make up the numbers - telling myself I was there to just help out Paul.
Andrene: My friend Judith, who knows HSDY founder, Nikki, invited me to HSDY on the basis that we needed to DANCE. I was actually due to come to their launch night, but I couldn’t make it at the last moment so came to their summer party instead, which turned out to be a very good move!
It was a beautiful warm evening and I spotted this guy dancing who looked cute, so I thought I’d introduce myself.
"No risk it, no biscuit!"
Conrad: There was a good reason why I was single - I’m absolutely clueless when it comes to realising that an attractive woman is trying to get my attention. Paul used to make fun of me for this all the time.
Andrene: EVENTUALLY I got his attention and we danced together.
Conrad: Then we danced some more.
Andrene: Then we kept dancing.
Conrad: The next day it dawned on me that I needed this lovely lady’s phone number and thankfully when my friends asked her if she was happy for me to have it, she said YES.
Andrene: He called and asked me out, but there was the small issue that I lived in London and he lived in Birmingham. Two weeks later he came to London. We had our first proper date at the Design Museum of the South Bank and I rode and electric bicycle for the first time!
Conrad: For a year we saw each other at weekends and then one day Andrene mentioned she had been offered voluntary redundancy from her job in London. There was never going to be a better time so I suggested she come and live with me in Birmingham - which was not going to be easy as I lived in a bachelor pad.
As fate would have it, Paul was moving to London to be closer to Nikki and so we ended up renting his house in Moseley. A few years later, when he decided to buy a place in London we then bought his house, so it all worked out pretty perfectly for everyone.
Andrene: Even though we live in Birmingham we have kept coming back to HSDY, because we love the opportunity to dust off our dancing shoes and remind ourselves we’ve still got the funk!
What you do when you are not partying at HSDY?
Andrene & Conrad: We love going to the theatre, cinema and gigs together. Prior to lockdown we’d try and go and see something at least once a week. One advantage is of living in Birmingham is that it means we are close to the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford upon Avon. We’re members and try and go about four times a year. We also have the amazing Moseley Soul, Funk & Jazz
festival every July and we can’t wait until it’s back again. We’ve been every year for 10 years and we’ve seen Chic, Sister Sledge, Sly & the Family Stone, Jackson Five and last year it was Burt Bacharach. All in our back yard!
During lockdown, like most people it has box sets and binge watching. We both loved “The Last Dance” even though neither of us have any interest in basketball – yes, it is that good. One of us is also enjoying the “Watchmen” series while the other is putting on a brave face. You can try and guess which of us is which.
The other thing that has got us through lockdown is that we both love gardening and have a heritage listed allotment at the Edgbaston Guinea Gardens. Our plot was devastated by a flood two years ago so we are in the process of trying to rebuild it. It’s hard work but it gets us outdoors.
Favourite HSDY venue?
Conrad: It has to be the time HSDY played the Moseley Dance Centre in Birmingham because it meant I could walk home.
Andrene: Got to be Islington Assembly Hall but we’ll always have a soft spot for The Trafalgar of course.
Favourite HSDY track
Conrad: My preference is at the funk end of the 70s disco spectrum so Stevie Wonder’s Superstition for me. But I have to say I love that moment at HSDY, at peak crowd euphoria, when the DJ plays Salt-N-Pepa’s Push It. You look around and absolutely everybody is going for it like they are 18 again!
Andrene: Cameo’s Candy - I’ve learned to dance The Electric Slide in middle age so I’m never going to miss the opportunity to join in when that track is played.
Well that's it from this partygoer blog, if you'd like to be featured, then do get in touch, we love to share your stories. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
See you on the dance floor as soon as we can!