1 June 2014

At last, a bit of sunshine sufficiently attractive to dance on the beach. My first time dancing at Branksome Chine since returning to England a few days ago.

Adjusting to English sand after months of dancing on the tiled promenade of Arenal Beach Javea in Spain was difficult. I stumbled a few times as my feet caught in the sand when they would have slid over the flat tiled surface.

A girl in neoprene splashing in the surf gave me a thumbs up and then shouted, “Good dancing.” I awkwardly bowed to her – I am having trouble with my balance in the sand.

When I came back to the Chine I danced for a while on the sand covered concrete, before being approached by one of the lifeguards who has recently returned from Australia. “We were talking about not seeing you around, but now that you are here we know that summer has started,” he told me.

I told him about dancing in Spain for charity and that we should do a beach dance here on behalf of RNLI (the lifeguard and lifeboat service).

We talked a while, he told me that seeing me makes them happy, and I mentioned my two favourite insults. In his reaction about how some people are never happy, he explained that one holiday maker came over to the lifeguards, and pointing to the beach, complained about the poor quality of the sand.

 

2 June 2014
Poor weather, poor me.

Trying to use a Blackberry (phone) using wi-fi. Sometimes it works and sometimes it says that there is no SIMM (which is irrelevant, but apparently the Blackberry disagrees)

 

3 June 2014
A sunny spell let me dance on beach, but I felt weak and clumsy in the sand. After dancing on the concrete which ripped off the sole of one shoe I was approached by another lifeguard. “I heard that the dancing man was back,” he said. He told me how he had seen children over the years who started by making fun of me and then had copied me and finally had danced in one of my impromptu dance classes. I told him about doing a fund raiser for RNLI.

After talking with him a car door opened and a woman said something to me that I couldn’t hear. On repeating I recognised what she was asking. “Are you a dancer?”
“I dance,” I replied, “if that qualifies.”
“Did you study ballet?”
“No.”
“Ah, so just modern dance,” she deduced. We chatted for sometime about dancing and her passion for it although her health prevents her partaking.
4 June 2014
Overcast with showers and a bit cooler.

5 June2014
Nicer day. Shopped and used the supermarket wifi to check my google+ page where there is a new dance video which I watched three times. Went to beach mid afternoon. Strapped my left knee and danced along the beach. Turned to find some 6 or so youngsters who had run down to dance with me just as the music stopped. One of the boys said, “He just wiggles his arse,” which, although partly true, I like to think that it somewhat underestimates my choreography. The two girls were more complimentary.

This weekend there are all-day dance events down at the pier at Bournemouth, outside my favourite dance studio. I hope that my knees survive.

 

6 June 2014

Day started with the end of overnight storms. Went down to pier and was surprised to be invited to join a dance class. I had believed that today was all exhibitions by dancers.

There were two instructors and they almost outnumbered the participants. I was, the first to line up and for most of the time the only male and perhaps the only adult. The steps had my knees begging to stop within a short time, but what usually makes me walk away is being asked to do one step that I have not yet mastered and then another which I can barely understand leading to a third that I keep getting wrong. What I enjoy is mastering one bit so that it enters my subconscious and I no longer have to think about it, and only after that going on to another step. My way would be extremely boring, but I would remember what I learnt. The pretty young dance instructor kept begging me to come back, which I did, and at the end she came over to me to dance with me ‘freestyle’. I would have liked to have done what I supposedly just learnt, but however much I would have liked to have learnt the steps, of course I had not learnt anything.

We chatted briefly about dancing, she invited me to her class in London at http://www.uchennadance.com and gave me her email ino@uchannadance.com and I gave her my blog and twitter address.

I bumped into ‘Frenchie’ who danced with me at the beach last year and who had his class of children on display doing a street dance routine.

I spoke with the manager at Pavilion Dance about my charity dance events in Spain and the desire to do something here. He said that Bournemouth Council are not keen on allowing events on the beach and that Pavilion have already booked their next summer events.

I watched the youngsters (from 5 to maybe 35) spinning on their heads and windmilling like mad. I noticed that when they do their piece that the others show no support, give no praise, and don’t even move to the beat of the music. (In fact much of the acrobatics is out of time with the music.) There is camaraderie when they meet, but nothing during the ‘dancing’. It is more like a competition where good performance by the other is saddening rather than something to celebrate. What they do is impressive, but although I would like to be able to do it, I don’t want to do it.

Small boys want to do it because it is big, jumpy, exciting and show-offy, but little girls and their grandmothers prefer what I do – They’ve told me so.

One woman asked me how many years I have been dancing (perhaps a polite way to ask how old I am – By the way the dance instructor did ask me, after spending the whole session calling me ‘sir’) I replied to the first by telling her my age and to the second saying that the years must add up to a lot. She said something nice about my dancing and I countered that by pointing-out that I can’t do what these youngsters do.

Her reply was, “I prefer what you do…. it’s the classical training.”

I love that.

A young woman who was walking past me as I stopped dancing, said, “You should never stop.”
I looked at her and explained, “If I don’t I will simply collapse.”
She smiled as she added, “You’re making a lot of people happy.”

Isn’t that nice?

Meanwhile, when I dance next to so many teenagers and persons in their twenties who are doing things I could never do, I always feel that they are on the edge of bursting out in laughter at the old old man doing such odd things that only have the slimmest connection with their style.

Although, Frenchie had said something to me like, “I saw you earlier really grooving.” (Do people say ‘grooving’ or have I dragged that out of the past?) Not only that, but the dance instructor, when we were chatting about dance asked me if I gave lessons. (or did I imagine that she asked that?)

My brother arrived in the afternoon when I was fading after dancing for a few hours. Oh, that reminds me, these youngsters don’t dance anywhere near as much as I do. They tend to do a short sprint of moves and acrobatics and then they sit still, looking bored, while the others take their turns. By contrast I just keep going on and on and on and on……..   and on.

Walking the 2 miles or so home along the beach I was feeling worn down and at home I sat catatonic for some time before writing this diary and making dinner.

Tomorrow lots of open air classes down at Pavilion Dance. I hope I will be mobile.

Oh, my aching feet, my poor battered knees, and for some reason my arms ache too.

 

8 June Sunday

Very unenergetic this morning. No physical desire to go to the dance classes. After lunch and a lot of lying about doing nothing I woke up and walked down to the beach to dance. Glorious day with a lot of holiday makers on the beach. Some kids ran behind me and then ran away each time I span around.

Had enough energy to dance reasonably energetically, but I noticed that some moves, that I used to do, were not forthcoming.

A guy came over to tell me that he admired what I am doing, but what is it?, what is it called? and where do you learn it?. I explained that it is just what I do, I don’t copy anyone or anything, it is just what I do. He was very interested and asked a lot of cerebral questions to which I had no answer. We parted and then not a lot later he returned to clarify some points. (Perhaps he is planning a thesis ‘On avant-garde dance and the pursuit of happiness on the beaches of modern Europe’.)

He was puzzled by my comment that my mind is blank when I dance, because he felt this conflicts with having an emotional response to the music. Having clarified this point he left and then returned again with some more questions while apologising for his lack of questions. “Normally I would have more questions,” he assured me.

He also told me that I look a lot younger when dancing and seen from a distance.
Ah, so very true: I am best seen from a distance.
9 June Monday

Mixed day, lots of sky changes, some sunshine. Watched Sonya Neks in her studio in Moscow and out in a park dancing with some 10 or so girl dancers. I do like her work. Made me want to dance. Went to beach and danced. Greeted by the DJ who interviewed me on HotRadio last year. The beach was otherwise almost deserted. Watched Sonya again, trying to see what she is doing. How does my dancing compare? (I have no idea, but I like watching her.) I left a comment about her work for her. Also received a video link from a Japanese dancer to whom I gave a comment a few days ago. The previous video caught my attention because he used his hands to tell the story of the song, but the latest video is just body popping-street-slowmo. It doesn’t do anything for me although he is good at it. I danced back along the street as I came home.

Oh, chores to do, need to go to the bank, do shopping, do a tax return and lots of other stuff that I can’t be bothered with when I want to get dancers together and jump around to music.
10 June Tuesday, 11th Wednesday 12 Thursday

I didn’t know it was Thursday today. The days have been a blur. I danced today and I am wrecked. I danced yesterday and I suppose I danced Tuesday, but have no recollection of that day. Who stole my week?

Today was glorious weather with a clear blue sky so unusual here in England and so remembered as normal back in Spain. Have been watching Sonya Neks (Moscow dance teacher) with her ‘High Heels’ corps of young woman dancing AGAIN.

13 Friday – no recollection. Saturday – a blank. Sunday Danced, waves from group sitting at a beach hut. Later dined with a friend, tried to understand the mystery of an ipad that wouldn’t use wifi and used a laptop to watch dance videos on-line until the battery died, which ran out of energy far sooner than I do when dancing. Google have sent me an email telling me that I can have a personalised web address for my google+ page. That would be good, but every time I click on their ‘Get address’ button I see ‘Ooops, something went wrong’.

16 June Monday
Beautiful clear sky, quick shop and then to beach. Dance passed Canford Cliffs, big wave from group far away on beach. Videod as usual and then in the middle of dancing and floating, a familiar face asking me what my favourite type of music is to dance to. “I don’t know.”
“What music do you usually listen to?”
“If you look on the blog there is a list,” I snap back as my delightfully empty mind is being pulled back into conversation over my trivial pursuits; it doesn’t matter what I prefer to dance to, I am of no importance in the great universe.

What I like shouldn’t be what you want to find out; decide what you like instead.

If you see someone happily dancing on the beach, if you like watching, even if you admire the skill or the bravery don’t imagine that the person you see is worthy of deep study. He is just a person who likes to dance.

When I returned to Branksome Chine, my interlocutor had followed me back and he was now sitting watching as I did my ‘encore’. A mother with a small child began dancing nearby and so when I had finished I went over to them and gave her one of my small ‘I danced with the Beachdancer’ wrist bands. I chatted with her for a short while and then left, giving a wave to the seated, but now silent inquisitor.
19 June Thursday

Woke up frightened of things; damn it! sleeping should be banned. Sure that the computer had told me late last night that it was Saturday. Damn computers, they should be banned. Decided to change the extractor fan in the bathroom because it has been noisy and continually going on strike. Measured the old one in metric and found that the hardware store sells them in imperial; but guys Britain went metric more than 30 years ago, didn’t you notice? The old one had screw holes 14 cms apart and the new one is only 14 cms wide so it isn’t going to be that easy.

There are only two wires to connect in the extractor, but the cable in the wall has 4 wires. Do I try randomly? Not a good idea. I tested the brown wire to see if it is live (using a test screwdriver that I have just bought) and it was live so I connected that and the blue wire: nothing. I changed the blue wire for the black one and miracles it worked and worked and worked – even when switched off. Does it have a delay timer keeping it on? No it does not. So I retested the wires and found another live wire. I also looked at the old extractor which had three connections L,SL, N . I guessed that SL stands for ‘switched live’ and so I swapped the brown live wire for the other live and now it worked, didn’t work, worked, didn’t – just like it should when the light is on, off, on, off. (I feel so proud.)

Worn out from the stress of that I had lunch and then headed to the beach where I wore out my body to the same extent. Returning home I barely had the energy to cook dinner.

Was videoed a few times at beach including by two teenage girls who followed me along the beach. A wave here and there, one woman applauded slowly (probably because her arm was bandaged. I can only guess that she may have been a victim of peer pressure, tortured for applauding madmen on the beach.)

I waved back at a lifeguard, but then looked behind me in case he was actually waving at someone else. As I turned back he pointed to me and laughed. Did that mean, “Yes, I was waving at you,” or, “No, not you, fool!”

Lifeguards should be banned.

A warm sunny cloudy day reminiscent of May in Spain.

Watching an advert for guide dogs for the blind, I imagine the same video, but with a voice over by a dog saying, “I became a guide dog for the blind, it’s my way of giving-back for crapping on a beach and blinding a child.”

Would that work?
20 June Friday, Saturday and 22 Sunday

On Friday I woke up at 4am; not the bleary-eyed, go back to sleep kind, but the bright awake, jump out of bed kind. So I did just that, then did housework, then some accountancy and then went to the supermarket at a time when there are boxes of goods everywhere being put on shelves. Back and it was till fairly early so went to Canford Cliffs library to return a book and use the internet. The system there wouldn’t let me view the ONS statistics for rpi so I downloaded them to look at later. Did a tiny bit of dance walking back along the beach and came home for lunch. My belly started hurting and distending. I think I may have eaten a small amount of rotten chicken. Went to bed because I felt uncomfortable and woke up again at 10pm. Finally went back to bed at nearly 2am which would have been a 22 hour day if I had not fallen asleep during the day.

21 June Saturday
Feel okay again. Danced without much passion or sense of fulfilment.

22 June Sunday

Received tweet from a dance school troupe saying that they would be interested in dancing at a beach dance charity event if it is a good cause.

Danced on beach, was applauded and videoed as usual. Back at Chine doing my encore, a young man with lager can in hand danced at my side for a while.  I continued to dance after he had gone back to sit with his friends and then, a little later, I went over to give him an ‘I danced with the beachdancer’ award. He invited me to sit with them for a while. We chatted about various trivia.
One of the attractive young women said, “I didn’t think you would be able to put two words together.”
I didn’t respond.
“The way you move, you know? You’re surprisingly, er well spoken.”
Her friend added, “Posh.”
“Yeah, posh.”
The friend who is a pretty 24 year old with a text about love and being broken hearted tattooed between her bikini asked me, “Do you know that you are on facebook?”
“How do you know he’s on facebook?” the other girl asked.
“I looked,” she explained and then to me she said, “You’re an item.”

I explained that I have been banned from facebook for not being a real person and one of the younger members of the group said that her surname which is also a normal English word caused her to be banned too.

I explained about charity dance events and he said he would come. They offered to share their barbeque with me and also offered me a spliff. I thanked them but declined both.

I felt strangely comfortable with these young adults who while offering me illegal drugs were concerned about lighting their barbeque because it isn’t permitted on the beach.

Having well out-stayed my welcome I returned to my stage and danced a couple of songs more before returning home for dinner.
23 June Monday

Always a surprise to see the beach almost empty again after being crowded the day before. I didn’t have much passion in my dance when I reached Canford Cliffs, but got some extra ‘oomph’ back at the Chine.

As I danced a shaven headed young man with his ears full of music came running over to me with his fist extended. We touched fists and he shouted, “Respect!”, did a couple of big dance movements and ran off.

In a break while I was trying to watch a video explaining the choreography to Jason Durulo’s ‘wiggle’ a mature lady came over.
“Can I just tell you that your dance is very good?”
To which my thought was, “I don’t know; Can you?” but to which I replied, “Oh, thank you very much.”
She asked if I am a dance teacher and then told me a little (actually a lot) about herself and then about her delightful, happy, adult son of whom she demonstrated considerable pride. As she explained his occupation, his sunny disposition, the fact that at 35 he lives with his mother I started to think, “Oh, my god, is she trying to set me up with her son?”

 

30 June Monday
Oooh, a week gone and no entry in my diary. Tried to update my blog, but the library where I use the computer wouldn’t allow me to. (Their computer said that the website ‘certificate’ wasn’t correct and that for security I wasn’t allowed to sign-in to that website.)

I received marketing leaflet from a bank saying that they would pay me interest and switch over all payments from existing bank. So I went on-line and was told to read three files of terms, then instead of letting me do it on line the website told me to phone, so when I phoned I was put through two annoying and seemingly endless processes, the first was security and the second was various government warnings and repetitions of all the terms that I had already read and noted. Then when that 20 mins was completed they asked me for my debit card number for my existing bank account. “I don’t have a debit card,” I replied.

So that was the end of that.

Twenty minutes of my life sucked down the phone utterly pointlessly because of all the crap the bank has to check and warn me about before finding out if the action is possible.

With so much security and consumer protection will anyone be bothered to ever DO anything?

I danced maybe four days out of the last seven, which isn’t very many. Maybe I am loosing interest, getting old, getting bored? Perhaps I have been spoiled with all the charity dance events in Spain and the radio interview (and police raids?) so that just dancing on the beach is a touch dull?

Today some young woman walked down about 150 metres to video me, laugh and then burst into dance, but without responding directly to me.

Oh, I remember we had some rain which is one day when I had that reason for not dancing.

In Spain my new windows were not delivered when due and are now some 3 or 4 weeks late, but that gave time for much of the woodwork to have poison slopped all over it to try to kill the beetles inside, or at least give them a bad headache.

I watched a music video (hip-hop/rap) and figured out one of the steps which I have been throwing into my improv on the beach.

Today danced from about 4pm to about 5pm and I felt wrecked at the end.

So, June is over. I have been in UK 1 month and feel like I have never been anywhere else. Spain and all those activities could just have been a dream.

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