This one’s for my mum

Hi Mum!

Surprise!! I know you loyally read my blog even though sometimes you don’t understand it, and quite definitely ‘don’t like poetry’.  So when I came across this video this morning and knew that you’d love it, I thought I’d post it here just for you (and anyone else who might like it too of course).  The music might not be entirely to your taste, but it’s worth watching for the dancing and the incredible way all the clips are put together in perfect timing.

When I watched it, it took me back to Sunday afternoons watching Fred and Ginger, Gene Kelly, or Busby Berkeley movies on the sofa with you and nan. You always did love dancing.  I can remember, when I was very small, being told off for running about between peoples legs when you and dad took me along to one of your ballroom dancing classes, and as I got older, watching you being swept around the floor in a dazzling waltz on our annual visits to the holiday camp.

For a short while you sent me to dance classes.  I don’t remember why I couldn’t do ballet, I think I wasn’t the right shape or something, but I did a bit of tap and modern, well, until my sister refused to take me anymore because she was embarrased by my (alleged) naughtiness.

So, I’ve never been up to scratch with the dancy dancy. That’s not to say I don’t do it, blimey, I even admit to dancing about on my own on my ‘about’ page here!  But it’s probably just as well that no one is watching.

You and I both enjoy watching Strictly Come Dancing at this time of year, and I’d love to be on it. I bet in your day you could’ve beaten the pants off of any of them! Wouldn’t it be great to be all dressed up in those glittery frocks and being swished around the floor by a proper professional? Of course, this programme is the new and improved incarnation of ‘Come Dancing’ that we used to watch together years ago too.

Anyhoo, enough of the reminiscing, have a look at the video and enjoy. I hope it cheers you up as much as it did me this morning – but don’t try any of the moves, well, not unless you’re hanging on to your ‘trolley’ 😉

lots of love

k xx

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Vivid dancing

Posted in response to the Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge – This weeks theme ‘Vivid’

Took these in the wonderful madness and chaos of the Tobago Carnival a few years back. We were lucky enough to spend a whole day watching the spectacle of thousands of people in amazing costumes gyrating by – though sadly, it was a bit like watching a party with your nose pressed up against the window…!

Tobago Feb 06 142Tobago Feb 06 150Tobago Feb 06 161

Wake up, it’s Wednesday!

Here’s a bit of Soca to get you going with a smile this morning.

I first heard this in Tobago a few years ago.  We were at a beach party drinking copious amounts of rum punch and dancing in the sand on the most beautiful secluded beach you’ve ever seen. I was particularly happy as, somewhat amazingly, I’d won the limbo competition (prize….more rum…) It was a perfect day and hearing this reminds me of how much we danced and laughed and generally had an amazingly good time.  It’s been making me dance and laugh and sing along ever since, I defy you not to do the same!  Enjoy…

The truth about Balls – for Cinderellas everywhere

Every now and then we get invited to a dinner and dance or a ball.

‘ooh, how lovely’ I hear you say. Yes, the chance to get myself dolled up in a posh frock used to get me excited. Now, as a cynical, grumpy old woman, you’ll just hear me sigh and moan at the thought.

For a start, these ‘do’s’ are usually work related. The ‘Celebration Dinner’ or the ‘Awards ceremony’ during a conference. You’ve already had a day of smiling nicely, and all you really want to do is go and sit in a bar with your chums and a bottle of wine. The reality however, is that you get less than an hour to get yourself sorted and ready for an evening of torture.

You have a quick shower, then attempt to do your hair with one of those stupid hairdryers you get in hotel rooms. You know, the one’s where you have to hold the button down to keep the air flow going. What air flow there is – they invariably have the power of a fly flapping it’s wings past your ear. Consequently, hair isn’t that of a tennis girl-friend (how do they get hair like that?), more of the not-so-fashionably tousled variety. You put ‘
product’ on to try and tame it. It looks like its been dipped in grease and sticks out at right angles. Hair should not have corners, should it? Ho hum… on with the dress…

You will have chosen a suitable posh frock to wear. A nice posh frock, I have found, invariably needs some pretty mega underwear to make it look half decent on me. Strapless bra that digs in, and has potential to slip either up or down, and make you look squashed in funny places. Big keks. Big, big, keks. Big keks that hold you in so much you go cross eyed, and feel sick if you eat so much as a stick of celery at the dinner – neither can you go to the loo quickly, so can’t drink too much either (I have discovered though, that a certain brand of big keks has a special gusset that kind of opens so you can do what you need to without taking them off – who knew??? It’s made me look at red carpet celebs in a whole new different way). The dress is long…bit too long, need high heels. You’ve bought a beautiful new pair, that make you feel a million dollars. You’re tall, you’re elegant, you are a Cinderella look-alikey, you’re held in, and your feet bl***y hurt.

After tidying up the make-up you’ve smudged inadvertantly at some point of the getting ready-ness, you totter off, clutching your clutch bag, which you will have mislaid by the end of the evening. Arriving at the reception you grab a glass of free champagne and swill it down. Then you grab a second. You immediately regret that second one. It’s ok now, but the first glass of wine with dinner is going to mix with those darn bubbles and send you giddy fairly swiftly. Never mind, you are charming, though wish you could remember the names of the people you don’t recognise at all who seem to know you quite well.

Then there is the dinner.

You are sat at a round table with some eight other people, none of whom you have anything in common with, except perhaps the woman opposite, who you think you might get on really well with, but you can’t actually hear anything she’s saying, because the enormous table decoration separates you. Instead, you’re stuck with the slimey Mr I Am sitting next to you for the evening. Have another drink.

There’s the food to negotiate. Soup for starters. Eating soup daintly is a knack I’ve yet to learn. Then there’s the chunk of meat for main, and who thought strips of pasta was a good idea – are they having a laugh? Slippery and sloshy with sauce, guaranteed to slither down your chin. Pudding is so often that little row of three teeny tiny same but different things. One is so so, one is revolting, and the third is the smallest one, that is delicious and you wish you could have just had a big portion of that. Then there’s the coffee…..don’t get me started…see previous post…!!

Speeches. Oh hoo bloomin’ ray! Does anyone, ever like the speeches. Sure, everyone laughs politely, claps a bit, but really we are all wishing we could get to the bar (the wine on the table went very early on). Awards to be given out. Endless awards, with endless photos to be taken. By this time, I am nodding off, possibly with a bit of dribble coming out of the side of my mouth. Then the ENTERTAINMENT. A misnomer. Need I say more.

Of course, there is always the disco at the end. Dad dancing at it’s finest! It does liven everyone up a bit though, and I actually start enjoying myself. Of course, it’s enjoying myself with the abandonment of more than enough glasses of wine enjoying myself. Heaven knows what I look like. My shoes, taken off discreetly during dinner, lie abandoned under the table, I’m tripping over my frock and trying to shimmy despite my big keks, and slippy bra. Doubt anyone else remembers anyway, and it’s giving me the chance to bitch about everyone else’s odd choice of clothing for the evening. I wonder why that woman’s boobs are such a funny shape – could it be her bra?
Oh god, it’s a mirror…

Musical me?

I like music.  I listen to some sort of music – ipod/radio – every day.  I sing to it and dance around the kitchen, and I have been known to cry to it.  I can still remember as a dumped teenager how every single word of a love song, any love song, cut right through to my soul in that dramatic way that only teenagers feel. Knowing ‘Everybody Hurts‘ doesn’t necessarily make you feel better when no-one hurts as much as you.

My taste is eclectic. I put this down to being exposed to pretty much all types of music as a child.  My father loved to stand in front of the fire, mock conducting choral and classical.  I particularly remember the stereogram belting out the cacophany of the 1812 overture making the floor shake, and we always listened to the dire ‘Sing Something Simple‘ at teatimes on Sunday (did it really run ’til 2001???). I watched countless musicals with my mum and nan, and can also thank my sister for introducing me to the Rolling Stones, The Beatles, and Elvis.

So now I have everything from the soft and beautiful ‘In Paradisium’, through every genre (except Jazz which fails to stir me) to the loud and brash ‘Start Wearing Purple‘, a track that always makes me happy from one of the many Gogol Bordello albums, on my ipod. Some days I’ll listen to endless Green Day and others a bit of Anthony and the Johnsons, The Civil Wars or The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain.  For some reason, though they are all different sides of a spectrum, they are all capable of soothing me and cheering me up.  Without a doubt, music has strange and mystic mood enhancing qualities.

Now, there is one problem with all this.  Despite immersing myself in music, despite learning to play the violin and the cello at school, despite singing and dancing nearly every day of my life….. I am not musical in anyway whatsoever.   Anyone who has heard me will confirm that singing is a very loose term for what I do, and frankly, as ‘wii dance’ will testify, my movement is hardly ‘seemly’. Leans more towards dad dancing than graceful swan to be honest.

Despite my shortcomings, I recently joined a choir.  Choirs are big news in this country at the moment, and thanks to the fabulous Gareth Malone, they are springing up everywhere.  Retford is no exception, and when I saw the advert for the newly formed ‘Retford Community Singers – You don’t need to be able to sing to join us’ I jumped at the chance. Well, it’s their own fault, they shouldn’t have said it.

So I’ve been trotting off on a Tuesday evening to join around 65 others all belting out weird and wonderful verses in the round, and traditional folk songs in strange languages.  I’ve found I am an Alto rather than the Soprano I imagined, and hence can reach the notes (well nearly reach the notes) a darn sight easier.  Some people can sing better than me, and some (not many) worse, but the overall noise we make is amazingly good, rounded and uplifting.  I come away smiling and humming to myself.  So thanks Gareth!

All I need now is to find a dance troupe for which you don’t need to be able to dance.

Talking of music though, I just found out about the completely wonderful and amazing ‘Landfillharmonic‘ take a look, have a listen, and be prepared to be astounded by the ingenuity and skill of the adults and the talents of the children.

By the way, I have Christmas music on right now.  Don’t you just love ‘The little boy that Santa Claus forgot’?  What was his mum up to then? You’d have thought she’d have got something sorted…!