Long, long ago, before the disco ball roamed the earth, ours was a vastly different world. As difficult as it is to fathom now, there existed a dark time when The Groove – the benevolent spirit of easygoing excellence and carefree dancing which guides the lives of all us movers and shakers – didn’t even exist. Or at least, that unique collection of positive vibes and rhythmic energy was still a nameless possibility, not yet made manifest by the magic of human language. Happily, it wouldn’t stay that way forever. After many long millennia, The Groove would emerge, and I now can sit here on my beanbag next to my collection of vinyl and pass on to you that luckiest of legends – the tale of how The Groove got groovin’.
Our story begins in the year 1400, in a mining shaft of all places. Back then, folks were speaking and writing a language known as Middle English (an ancestor of the language of today) and began using the word ‘grofe’ to refer to a mine, a pit, or really any kind of cave. Now, this might not seem like the type of word that would attract any sort of light-minded spirit, but there was a touch of destiny on those syllables – the first time they were uttered at the mouth of a particularly deep and dusty mine, they whipped up a whirlpool in the cosmic flow and at the bottom of the mine there appeared a spirit being – it was dim, dirty, and covered in coal and soot; rocks encased its legs and feet and it seemed to be cloaked in the kind of heavy darkness which only occurs underground. But it had one shiny gold tooth, and a nametag, practically invisible through the layers of dirt and dark, with the simple message: “Hi. My name is Grofe”.
For a couple hundred years, Grofe would show up whenever there was talk of underground places. He’d mostly just hang and listen in, but people began to get the sense that there was something more to this strange grubby fellow. By 1659, Middle English was out and Grofe became Groove – having begun to suspect that this spirit of the mine shaft was not destined to lurk in the darkness, people started using his name to refer to any kind of channel or hollow; no longer in the ground exclusively, but cut through any substance – wood, metal, or anything else. This gave The Groove the freedom he needed to search for his niche. And this is just what he did, for the next three centuries. He spent time in gardens, and gave his name to a transplanting tool, but it didn’t stick. He tried his hand as a theater director, but didn’t make the cut. In 1842, The Groove realized he might be more of an abstract kind of cat, and spread the word – but his rough exterior gave him a negative connotation, and people spoke of a groove as a monotonous daily routine, or a rut. That was a long, lonely time for The Groove.
But in 1902, he discovered music and the world was changed. As soon as The Groove touched his hand to a gramophone record, the rocks fell from his feet and long years of dirt and darkness instantly disappeared. The Groove became light, flowing freely through the air. He would dwell within the sonic spirals of records forevermore, and it wasn’t long before his name was given to swingin’ Jazz music, or any favorite tunes. By 1932, The Groove had spent so much time dancin’ and swingin’ with people everywhere and revolving through the pleasant vibrations that anything satisfying and generally excellent became known as (you guessed it) ‘Groovy’.
Now, they say if you close your eyes and dance along with your favorite tune, you can see The Groove groovin’ right along with you, looking slick in his bell-bottoms and movin’ like a maniac. Thanks to that smooth spirit, we can groove through our lives with the knowledge that The Groove himself is always out there, dancing through the channels of the cosmic record.