1 July 2014 Tuesday
I have a problem with two TV ads that are running currently. The first is for
Kinder chocolate which says that it has been designed for children with more
milk and less cocao. So how do I know if my children are the kind who have less
cocoa and more milk?
The other ad tells me that what my toddler learns after the first year will
affect THEIR future: how is my toddler going to affect THEM and who are THEY?
After breakfast, went shopping and then down to the beach. I did my exercises at
the end of the small pier using the stainless steel ‘ballet barre’ that the
council built for me and then: ‘Pum’, the batteries went dead and I realised
that I had not brought replacements. Well, I would feel silly dancing without
music so I just walked the beach and came home for lunch.
After lunch I was jumpy at not having had my dance fix for the day, so I headed
back down to the beach at around 4 and danced through to 6 or maybe later. The
sunbathers had all gone, but were later replaced by paddle boarders who stand on
rafts and move about with long paddles which seems to me to be about as painful
and pointless an activity as can be imagined (so says the crazy beachdancer) and
there was a highly organised game of throw ball football like game with goals
that they brought with them and assembled on site. I suspect that they were
trying to hit me with their ball, but they weren’t very good shots and I was a
I was being videoed by multiple persons and then when I turned around I saw what
must have been a school outing or some 50 or so youngsters of maybe 14 year olds
who all stopped to watch me. One boy ran over to dance at my side, but
chickened-out and ran back to the group. I signalled for them all to join me,
but they preferred to watch and video. When I stopped I bowed low to them and
they applauded and cheered. When they left it was a bit less interesting and I
was fading fast.
I had danced long-time and returned home relaxed and ready to rest, but it was
time to cook dinner.
2 July Wednesday
No idea what happened Wednesday. I think I went into Bournemouth town, but that
could have just been a dream.
3 July Thursday
Woke up at 5 am damn it stop doing this! Got up and did chores, felt too tired,
but not tired enough to go back to bed, played a game for a while then went back
to bed and slept until 12 noon. Got up feeling wrecked and more or less did
nothing all day because I didn’t have the energy to go out or tackle anything
4 July Friday
Tried to pick-up email on wifi, but so slow that it only gave me the subject
lines so I went to the library to read them. More nonsense on a long running
dispute, more vagueness about something legally important, and a thank you note
from my best friend for my help in sorting out something that shouldn’t have
happened to her.
Then when I was back home and thinking about whether I would dance today I
received a phone call telling me that my best friend is in intensive care
unconscious with failed kidneys and probably about to die.
I dined with her last Sunday. I could see that she was stressed partly because
her dog has been moribund for a very long time and she thought it was now time
to end his life. Not just that, but in her confusion and stress she had been
persuaded to sign a finance agreement for a loan she didn’t ask for and didn’t
want. I think she believed she was signing a mere bank regular payment order. I
had assurred her that we would sort it all out and not to worry. She told me
that I am a very good friend and that the time she has known me has been the
happiest time of her life (I claim no responsibility for her happiness, just
that the two happened at the same time.)
Her unconscious body was found next to her dead dog. It would appear that she
had a visit by the vet to end the dog’s life and then… I don’t know what
happened, but she is probably dying as I write this.
She used to be the person to whom I sent these diary entries by email before
editing them and putting them on my blog.
5 July Saturday and 6th Sunday
Just getting through the day, choking up every so often with tear in my eyes.
7 July Monday
Went to library and was amused that the man sitting at the next computer, who
clearly understood very little of internet access, was asking a member of staff
how to find out how to dance. I could not keep from chatting with him. He
explained that in an hour or two he was off to a local hotel for lessons in
waltz and that he had been told that on the internet you could watch lessons.
“Look, I have my shoes,” he told me while taking a dance pump from his bag. I
suggested that he googled ‘dance tutorials’ and he asked me how to spell
Later, I went to the beach where I felt a great sense of release and calm
dancing. I think the worst of the grief has passed, but I am still a bit teary
There was a mass of young families in what was almost an encampment on the
beach. I was dancing down near the restaurant and I noticed small children in
the distance imitating me, making fun of me or throwing themselves around or
trying to spin around and falling over. Later some of them came over and one
said, “You are a very good dancer. You should be on Britain’s got talent.” I
said “Thank you very much.”
“What are you practicing for?” another asked.
“For fun, just for fun.”
“What music are you listening to?” They formed a mass on the other side of the
stainless steel barrier just like at a concert and they listened one at a time
to the music on my headphones, some of them raising their hands to indicate that
they were next. When their curiousity was quenched they left.
I walked over to a bench to sit and I asked a woman who was sitting on the bench
if she would like to listen.
“Oh, yes!” she exclaimed.
After listening she began talking. “I have seen you dance on the beach before.
We call you ‘the dancing man’. What is your name?
She told me that she finds it very relaxing to watch me dance. “I wish I was as
agile and had that much energy. I couldn’t last 10 minutes.”
We chatted about a wide range of the kinds of things you chat about, how
beautiful this bay is, the proper weight for a house cat, how most people seem
to spend all their time being annoyed about something like windfarms, how being
out and talking face to face is better than the internet and facebook (that
shows our age doesn’t it?) and how, as a nurse, she spends all day using a
keyboard. (How nursing has changed, I though it was all about hospital corners
A friend of hers arrived. “This is the man who dances on the beach,” a comment
that meant nothing to her friend who obviously lives a sheltered life. My new
friend the nurse then explained, “I’ve watched the beachdancer many times, and
now I have talked with him.”
8 July Tuesday
Dull rainy day. Went shopping, updated diary and read newspaper. What an
exciting life I lead. Oooh, some excitement- a heavy hailstorm and then alarms
going off around the building, probably from the impact of the hail.
9 July Wednesday
Last night watched another of those photocopied movies about the dancer who
forms a dance crew and competes in the big competition. As always one of the
characters has an exam or interview on the same day as the dance – oh, dilemma
what will they do? And guess how it ends, go on guess… well it will spoil
your enjoyment to know that they all end exactly the same way: 1) Love triumphs
2) The dancer triumphs 3) The one who has the conflict resolves it by running
from one appointment to the other. Sorry, ruined it for you.
The lead in this one was very pretty and wore lots of low cut tight tops, so who
needs a story? But, I am going to moan anyway. With all that talent and obvious
dance ability, what they actually did disapointed me.
Today it was cloudy with sunny intervals and I went down to the beach instead of
going shopping which meant I really needed to go shopping afterwards to buy
lunch, but I was so very relaxed after dancing myself to a wreck that I had to
search through cupboards and fridge for bits to eat. Bad boy!
While I was resting after dancing, one of the lifeguards asked me what today’s
music was. I said hip-hop and let him listen. I was amazed that he correctly
identified the artist (whose name is a mystery to me right now even though I
just a an hour ago checked the album cover to check if the lifeguard was right.
He was. Spot-on. He even gave me some history of when that artist was at his
peak and his collaboration with the artist whose name I do remember ‘Ashanti’.
He told me that on Wednesdays (today) they have a generator and music down at
Canford Cliffs while they play football. He invited me to join them. I would
love to, but first I am done for today and second that’s when I normally cook.
Maybe next week.
The coming weekend we have polo on the beach (the real thing with horsies). The
enclosure was being built today at Sandbanks. Must try to get there this year –
I always forget.
10 July Thursday
Nice day, shopped and then went to beach and danced. I looked towards the beach
huts that are along the promenade at the land side (obviously) of the beach and
there was a young woman possibly about 20 years old imitating me. I turned
towards her and did a few steps which she repeated. This was fun until the music
stopped. I waved, she waved back. I blew her a kiss.
When I worked my way back to that position she was no longer there. Oh, I missed
I wasn’t feeling very energetic or well co-ordinated, but I did my best.
Back at the Chine I was exhausted and only did a little bit of an en-core before
heading back home to eat and do some paperwork.
Late in the evening the phone rang and this time it wasn’t a pre-recorded sales
call. It was a relative of my best friend (you, remember the one who is in
intensive care.) To tell me that now she is dead. The relative and I chatted for
an hour or more about a wide range of things. It helped him. We both choked-up
now and then. He has a lot to arrange and things to worry about. I offered to
help and told him that he can call anytime if he needs someone to chat to. Other
than the news, and some grief, it was a very pleasant chat.
11 July 2014 Friday
Woke up early. Shopped, had lunch and went to beach. When I walked back from
getting some water an old guy, seated on the sand under a big umbrella made some
wiggly dance moves and called out, “You’re the dancing man,” in a half
questioning tone. “I am indeed,” I replied.
“You were here yesterday and last week and a year ago,” he continued.
“And two years ago,” I replied.
He told me that he liked the fact that there are people like me doing
interesting things. “You dance all along here to Sandbanks, you move forward
then back a bit and forward again, you bring a smile to people’s faces.”
We chatted for some time about a range of silly things from back pain to tattoos.
When I returned to Branksome Chine I did a brief en-core whilst being filmed by
a guy who was trying to look like he wasn’t filming me and I was reduced to near
exhaustion such that when I returned home I felt very sleepy at about 4pm and
lay down and then woke up at 8pm. I was too hungry and tired to cook.
I am an old wreck.
12 July Saturday
Was there a Saturday this week?
13 July Sunday
Beautiful day, small clouds and lots of sun. Danced along beach heading for the
polo enclosure, which it will turn out is being dismantled because the event is
over. So missed it again.
On my way a young man of about 20 years walked down to me. I took off my
headphones and said hello. He told me I danced well. I asked if he had been here
before, he said that ‘they’ had just come down. “So, you haven’t seen me before.
I am well known here. So where are your friends?” He pointed to a large group
lying on the sand. “Do you want to come over and meet them?”
They started to listen one by one to the music on the headphones until one of
them produced a plug-in battery powered speaker of a type that I recognised.
(The english photographer who did my beach photos had told me about them, even
giving me a link to where they were for sale.) I plugged it in and said that I
should buy one. One of the guys and one of the girls danced a little bit with me
and I gave them one of the ‘I danced with the beachdancer’ wrist tags. “That’s
so cool,” one of the girls said.
Farther along the beach a younger blonde girl (maybe about 15) came towards me.
“Excuse me..” she said with the sun glinting on her teeth braces, “What music
are you listening to?”
“Hello, I replied, “that’s the question everyone asks. Do
you want to listen?” I proffered the phones which she took. Her friends were
watching and so I held up the phones and asked if they wanted to listen. They
listened and they chattered a while. I told them about beach events in Spain and
how I wanted to do something similar here. They said they would come and then
they went before I could offer them a wrist band.
When I reached the large circus-like tent enclosures for the polo I was looking
for someone to ask whether it was still being prepared or whether it was now
long gone. I saw a young woman who carried a walkie talkie and a Poole Borough
insignia. She confirmed that I had missed it and said, “You need to dance along
the beach earlier.”
My response was, “I forget that everyone knows me.” Then I explained about
wanting to do a charity beach dance event and she said. “I know about your
events in Spain, the beach guards told me. You need to speak to that woman,” she
explained pointing to someone who looked very busy.
I briefly explained the events to the manager inbetween her running back and
forth directing drivers to not go or to go and speaking on her radio. I told her
that I would give her a web address where she could see more details. “Oh, can
you go into the office and leave it there for me?”
I went to the office and greeted the man behind the desk with the name I had
just been given. I explained what I wanted to do and he said, “Are you the
“Yes, that seems to be what everyone wants to call me.”
“Well, its what you do. I have seen you and I am pleased to meet you.” He
extended his hand to shake mine.
When I danced my way back along the beach, the group of girls waved and I
went over to give them a wrist band. On coming closer I noticed two or three
adults nearby watching. “Are you the parents?” I asked.
“Of some of them,” the man replied.
“Well then I will talk to you.”
I explained about beach events, that the girls said they would come and that I
had just spoken to the beach managers who seemed interested. I gave him the web
details. He said that his daughter was the one who fisrt spoke to me and that
she was a good organiser. I went over and spoke to the girls and they confirmed
that they would come to a beach dance event. I told them to connect to the blog
and use twitter.
Lots of people say they will, but few do.
14 July Monday
Another sunny warm day, but so far all I have done is shop eat and update this
15 July Tuesday
Went on line for chores, shopped, ate lunch and then headed to beach instead of
doing more of the chores. Bad boy!
Very few people at beach, but I danced until tired. A small scottish accented
boy asked me what I was doing and then told me that a girl had danced behind me
and her mother had taken a photo and that it was funny.
“Which girl?” I asked. He pointed her out. She was maybe 7 yrs old and began
dancing like me and then in a street style. Damn the little show-off, she dances
better than I do. Seven years old, my arse, she has at least 15 years training.
Later during my ‘en-core’ a guy with phones glued in his ears started dancing
by my side. I had the impression that he didn’t speak English. When he finished
I went over with one of the beachdance wrist tags. “Do you speak English?” I
asked and was surprised when he and the woman both said yes.
I gave him the wrist tag which seemed to amuse him and we chatted a while. He
is, or was, a DJ. He got out his iphone and wanted me to listen to a mix that he
had done. I started to listen, begged him to turn the volume down, and continued
to listen until he told me it runs for 45 minutes. He gave me a questioning
thumbs-up and I confirmed it, but just between you an me, although I could dance
to it, it isn’t really my kind of music.
She was and is a dance teacher at
Pineapple Studio in Covent Garden which is the place I wanted to go to some 30
years ago, but never did. She and I chatted about styles and West Side Story and
the joy of dancing. I think I out-stayed my welcome as usual. She described my
dance as ‘Freestyle with technique’ which sounds amusing although I don’t know
what it means. She listened to the music I had which is by (oh, god what is his
name? Last name Webb, I think. Just checked- Simon Webbe’s album ‘Sanctuary’) and
she suggested Robert Thicke. “Do you know him?” she asked. Yes, I did, but not
the piece of music she played for me on her iphone. I liked it very much.
They left and I continued dancing until hunger and the nearly setting sun drew
16 July Wednesday
Went on-line at the lovely little Canford Cliffs library where I updated my blog
for the month of May – I am just 6 weeks behind schedule, I overheard the
librarians talking to a reader. When my time on-line had expired I went over to
the desk. “Were you talking about old people being taken advantage of?”
“Yes, we were.”
“Then I have a story for you.”
“Oh, dear will it make me cry?”
“I think it may because it made me cry.”
I then told them the story of how my best friend fell into signing a loan
agreement when she had no need of a loan and had not asked for one, but merely
thought she was agreeing to pay her car insurance by monthly bank payments.
We moved on to talk about saving horses and then adopting or being adopted by
cats. I mentioned that my best friend’s cat needs a home. The librarian gave me
her phone number because she has a friend who wants a cat and was thinking of
taking a rescued cat.
I walked home through the beautiful neighbourhood with its mature trees and
shrubs, had lunch, read some of a book about the history of television in
Britain, shopped and then walked down to Canford Cliffs beach because I had been
invited to go by a lifeguard who had told me that they had music there while
they play football.
I was tired and it was time for me to eat, but they did have music. Almost the
only time that I am uncomfortable about dancing in public is when the audience
is active fit young men. Football players running about aren’t the ideal I have
in mind when I dance in public. I can’t help but feel inhibited because I
associate sport with fear and humiliation; and young men with danger.
The lifeguard who invited me waved. He and the rest of those not playing were
sitting in the shade of the cliff, but I was standing nearer the sea in the last
of the evening sunshine. A little later he walked around the pitch to chat with
me. He’s studying to become a paramedic. Another of the lifeguards came over
then two young women arrived and said hello to me. They are also lifeguards. I
told them about some of the things that have happened while dancing and also
about the beach events in Spain. They told me that I should have a facebook page
and that they would all ‘like’ it. (When I did have a facebook page no one
‘liked’ it.) Three of them drifted away and I was left chatting with the very
pretty, very young woman who aked me if I had children, a wife or anyone at all.
“So, you are all on your own?”
Does this mean that she is planning to rob my flat? (After the chat with the
librarians on taking advantage of the elderly what else could motivate someone
to ask me that?) On the other hand perhaps she plans to fix me up with her
“When you dance along the beach people come up behind you and imitate you, but
they have no sense of rhythm. I particularly like it when you dance around our
She told me that in future when I dance on the beach I should call in at the
guard’s hut to say hello. The sun had gone behind the cliff and I was starting
to shiver so I had to leave what had turned into a surprisingly nice interlude.
A few minutes later I was dancing like a beachdancer possessed on the flat
recently uncovered by the falling tide piece of the beach. I was inspired by the
fact that a beautiful young woman had been interested to chat with me and
complement me on my dancing. Oh, the power of a kind word from a beautiful
Back at the Chine I did my exercises and then kicked sand over the concrete ramp
so that I could dance on it, but I was hungry and felt weak. Nevertheless I
danced a while. A woman who has spoken to me before, one of the team of throw
ball players came over saying, “I have to know what you are listening to today,”
and on that her other team members (all male) came over saying the same thing.
She listened for a while and I asked them to identify who it is. “Oh,” she
squirmed, “that’s, oh who is it?” One of the others listened and his friend said
with a touch of disdain, “You’re not going to know.” They all listened and then
handed the phones back to her. “Is it that bloke from blue?” she suggested
“No,” they responded, but I exclaimed “Yes!” amazed that anyone knows this type
“The black guy,” she added.
“Yes, his name is Simon Webbe. I am so impressed that you can identify him.”
One of the guys complimented me for my dancing and I told him that I want to do
a dance event on the beach. He suggested that I come to their competition on the
beach in August (8th & 9th ?). I asked if he wants me to be their team mascot.
They told me that I should wear one of their T-shirts when I dance.
What a social whirl today has been.
17 July Thursday
Danced along beach until a girl of maybe 17 years came over to me from a group
standing in the shallow water. She started dancing next to me for a while. I
stopped and asked her if she goes to dance classes. She told me that she used to
practice the routines by some group whose name I have forgotten. She listened to
the headphones for a while and started dancing again a few inches away from me.
I told her and her friends about dance events and they said, “we’ll come,” but I
have heard this before.
Near Shore Road I stopped to drink some water. A woman said something to me. I
removed the headphones. “What?” I asked.
“Don’t stop,” she replied.
“I have to drink…”
“I was just saying that I wanted to dance and then you stopped.”
“Oh, well sometimes I have to stop.”
She told me that I make her happy. (Isn’t that nice?)
She is a physio and we chatted a while about lots of things until I had
out-stayed my welcome.
Back at the chine a woman asked, “What’s the music today?”
I replied, “Simon Webb”
“Never heard of him,” she barked then sat down and ignored me.
18 July Friday
Woke-up at noon. Oh, dear, that’s not a good sign. The exhaustion builds up
until I sleep through most of the day. Went on-line to do some chores, someone
whose face I recognise is now following me on twitter, but I couldn’t remember
who she is. On the way back home I walked past a middle aged couple who were
half smiling at me. I said hello and the woman asked me, “Are you the man who
dances?” We then chatted a while. They told me that a friend of theirs had shown
them a video of me on his phone and that I am intriguing. She told me that I am
incredibly fit and energetic. (She didn’t see me this evening utterly destroyed
by exhaustion) They told me that they will be sending texts telling people that
they have met me.
Went home, had lunch at about 5pm and then headed for the beach where I was so
tired that I went nowhere and could barely jump about. I took lots of breaks
when I just wanted to snuggle up and snooze and then tried to dance some more.
Kept shaking my head at how I felt totally lacking in energy.
A small girl was staring at me when her mother was trying to get her to come
home. I gave a little wave. She jumped about in a dancey sort of way. I did what
she was doing. Her mother smiled. The little girl reached into her beach bucket,
took out a shell and held it out towards me. I nodded. She stood rock solidly
still. I asked if the shell was for me. I walked over and took it. She then
turned and walked away with her mother.
19 July Saturday
My legs ache. Best not to do any more today. Went to library where I contacted
the British Heart Fund about doing a beachdance event on their behalf. They said
‘sounds like fun’ and then suggested that I do it and get the people of
Bournemouth involved. Well ‘duh’, as they used to say. You can get a few people
to throw themselves out of an aeroplane or a few hundred to throw themselves
into a cold sea, but no one is brave enough to dance on the beach.
Had lunch sat down in front of computer to waste a few hours on this stormy dark
day, but the sun came out and I went to the beach.
As I danced along two young teenage girls came down to speak to me. First they
wanted to hear the music, then they asked me if I was a professional dancer and
if I am paid to dance on the beach and then they asked me if I can make them
famous. “Could you give us a shout-out on Twitter?”
A what? Apparently a ‘shout-out’ is to announce and attract attention to
someone or something of interest. They go to classes of ballet, jazz and
Lyrical. Those happen to be the subjects that the teacher from Pineapple studios
The batteries ran out and I could only find one replacement. I think the other
probably fell out when I gave the girls a wrist tag. Frustrating when I have no
music. (A few days later found the other battery on a chair at home.)
I walked back to the Chine and saw the beach warden who I had met at the Polo
event. (She of the ‘everyone knows you’ reaction when I spoke with her.)
In our long and enjoyable conversation I discovered that the lifeguards and
beach wardens relay by radio the fact that I have returned. “We all know you,
but we don’t see you for months so its news when we spot you again.”
“Ah, that’s because I am dancing in Spain.”
We talked about the Tango, testosterone & tourists, rugby, regulations & then
the little girl from yesterday appeared wearing fairy wings.
Her mother said, “She’s you biggest fan,” which is ironic for such a little
“Did she give me the shell?” I asked to clarify who she was.
Having that confirmed I went over, asked if she would give me her hand and I
twirled her around. She smiled and I waved goodbye to her and returned to the
attractive beach warden who said, “You’ve made her day.”
She told me that all the wardens and lifeguards agreed that they would not be
brave enough to do what I do. (She actually said, ‘didn’t have the balls’, but I
don’t want to offend my readers with such vulgarity.)
“There’s something about expressing the emotions that you display when you dance
that society doesn’t let us do,” she told me, much to my surprise.
She also told me that they had watched me for ages and that one of her
colleagues had decided that he was going to speak to me, but then when I started
dancing again he decided it was best not to intrude. Eventually he had caught me
in a resting moment and had chatted with me. She went on to explain, “He said
that he didn’t know if you would bite his head off, but afterwards he told us
that you were a very nice bloke.”
20 July Sunday
Fairly busy on the beach. Bumped into the radio presenter who interviewed me
last year. He seemed stressed when I began talking to him. I asked if his day
job has been busy since the law relating to it changed and he explained in some
detail that the answer was yes. I told him about being approached by local radio
in Spain and the charity dance events. It happened that I had photos with me,
but he explained that he had to go because his wife was ill.
Back at the Chine I saw a pair of sunglasses that someone had left so I took
them over to the beach office where I spoke with the woman from yesterday, but
she was busy or otherwise not interested in talking so I went back to dancing.
I felt rebuffed, but worse than that my knee started to hurt that evening and
continued into Monday.
21 July Monday
Right leg strapped-up no dancing today. Went on line, replied to two tweets from
girls who had probably seen me in the last few days on the beach. One turns out
to be of the two who asked me, “Can you make us famous?” a day or two ago. It is
hard to know for sure, because neither of the new followers bothered to tweet
anything. I recommend you send something like, “Hey beachdancer we met on the
I sat reading a book lounging in the overcast semi sunshine in the garden until
about 4 o’clock when I decided that I could just walk down to the beach but
definitely NO DANCING.
Did stretches down on the concrete groyne and then walked along the sea shore
definitely NOT dancing, until I started to do just a little bit of semi-dancing.
As I passed Canford Cliff a familiar couple appeared, it was the FANTASTIC,
SMART, BEAUTIFUL Can you make us famous? girls. They told me to describe them as
FANTASTIC, SMART, BEAUTIFUL, so I have done my assigned task for those
FANTASTIC, SMART, BEAUTIFUL girls.
Then turning back somewhere past Canford Cliffs I stopped to do more stretches
and noticed two teenagers nearby saying something like, “Excuse me..” I took off
my headphones and the boy asked “Can we join you doing your yoga?” to which,
naturally I responded, “I don’t know, can you?” (Its that grammer thing, you
I showed them my ballet style leg extension and knee bend exercise whish is one
of the things I find tough to do and they fell over. We chatted. He used to do
ballet (and football and lots of other things), but has given them up for GCSE
reasons. She doesn’t dance, no not at all, but says she bounces her head from
side to side. She called her friends and I was suddenly surrounded by 15 year
olds. One of whom does ballet and then later admitted to also do tap. She
happens to be a potentially stunning looking platinum blonde who, if she goes
into any form of entertainment could be a star. I gave the boy the web address.
When they finally got bored with me they left and the boy said, “You have
inspired me to take-up dance again.”
Back at the Chine I was wondering if I had done too much and then went ahead to
make sure of it. While dancing three youths came over to dance or perhaps to
make fun of me. After a few moments I stopped and told one of them that what he
was doing was interesting and would he show me how to do it. It was a very fast
footwork action with little else, but hard to understand because of the speed.
Standing with feet apart one leg moves behind the other in the air and then some
kind of jump and then the other leg moves behind. Very repetitive, but I wanted
to know how. He showed me slowly. “That would take a lot of practice,” I said.
“It took me ages to get it,” he said.
His friend said something like, “That’s fucking ace.”
I couldn’t do it.
“We’ll come back for a dance sometime.”
The couple who are promoting handball (a football like game, but without the
kicking) were packing away their goals and other kit. I went over to talk to
them. She said, “Those lads had come over to make fun of you, but you handled it
very well. Do you get a lot of that?”
I suppose that I do. Boys often start out by making fun, but because I am
seriously interested in dance and in encouraging others to dance, they usually
change their attitude when I speak to them. It isn’t me ‘handling them’; it
isn’t a trick; it is that I want them to enjoy dancing.
As I chatted to the handball couple, three male youngsters on bikes stopped and
greeted the guy very loudly. Clearly they knew him. This distracted him from
answering or even noticing that I had asked him about his team. Then suddenly
something that I said caused one of the youngsters to shout out, “You dance!”
“Yes, I dance.”
“He dances, he’s SWEET.”
To an old man like me it is very odd having a young fellow call me ‘sweet’. I am
guessing this is youth-speak.
The other two then started imploring me, “Show us some dance steps, go on show
I made excuses about having finished which was true, but I also don’t much like
performing to these requests. The first lad then blurted out, “He stands on a
man and dances…” which was a slip of the tongue which caused even greater
interest. “What? You stand on a man?”
I gave them the web address so that they could see for themselves that I don’t
actually stand on a man and dance.
I was just saying that it is odd being famous because strangers…
“Do what I am going to do,” a man’s voice said to my side. “I have seen you
dance here in that fantastic, impressive, stylish way and I just had to say
hello. I am born and bread local and….. I speak non stop like a storm gate
opened with the sea surging in… “(He didn’t actually say that last bit, but it
would have been true if he had.) Over the next 10 mins or so he told me his life
story, admitedly in abreviated form. He then apologised for speaking too much
and headed for his daily swim. Oh, and during his monologue he hugged me.
At which point a beautiful and elegant blonde woman accompanied by two exquisite
small girls approached to ask me the very familiar question, “What music do you
listen to and is it Michael Jackson?” I let them listen and we chatted for a
very very long time until they were probably desperate to leave. One of the
girls does ballet and jazz and tap the other does modern street which seems to
imply that there must be a classical street. Turns out that mom knows Javea in
Spain and has been going there about as long as I have and knows the name of the
beach where I dance. The girls aren’t just pretty and well spoken, they are
obviously smart. I say this not simply because one of them told me that I am a
Today was a very nice day, especially taking into account that I was definitely
not going to dance.
22 July Tuesday
No, seriously, NO DANCING today. My knee still hurts and I should rest it. In
addition the day was killer humid and I didn’t much like even sitting outside in
the shade. Much more comfortable indoors. I read a while then went to the
library where I discovered that Bournemouth Libraries have banned my blog.
(So I was banned twice from Twitter, still banned from Facebook and now
I asked their technical department why and was told that most blogs are banned
because they ‘could’ contain pornography or racism. This seems excessive banning
several million websites on the possibility of being offensive. They looked at
mine and un-banned it.
After about 6pm the air seemed cool enough to go to the beach BUT NOT to dance.
I only did two songs worth of dancing because I really do want to rest my knee,
but also because the talkative chappy from yesterday came over, greeted me by
name, shook my hand and filled in some of the detail about his life that he had
not had time to tell me yesterday. It was getting dark by the time he decided to
stop talking and start swimming. (My knees thank him for preventing excessive
A fire engine with lights flashing came down to the beach and drove along the
promenade. My guess is that a beach hut was on fire.
Leg strapped-up no dancing.
24 July Thursday
On-line saw someone’s video of me with a comment by some passerby; “Prize twat
of the first magnitude.” I was so touched, because I had only hoped to be a twat
of the third magnitude.
Went to beach late due to steamy hot weather. Walked along the beach. A woman
did a few dance moves and asked, “Where have you been?” I explained that my knee
hurts and its hot. I then told her about the above Prize.
Later, practiced a few moves and started to walk back. Had to go pee and when I
came out a guy said, “We have enjoyed watching you dance over the years…” We
chatted for a while.
Back at the sea front two mature women started talking to me. We chatted a long
while. One did classical ballet and the other reminisced about discoing in the
70s and 80s. She said that she did a sketch of me. They said we should have a
dance club and that what I do is a social service. I was too cautious to enquire
what kind of service I provide. She also advised me to build up the muscles in
my arms. (In a fair fight I think she would win.)
Back at the chine I was now feeling less heat stressed and more energetic so I
put some effort. Videoed as usual and watched by persons whose thoughts were
kept to themselves. One small group of children spent a lot of time giggling and
waiting to video me while hiding that they were waiting to video me.
A little later while I was dancing one of their number came over and danced
nearby. Some of the others also tried but ran away when I noticed them. The girl
moved well and did a good pirouette. I took off the headphones and congratulated
her. She got spooked. I handed her a wrist band which she took back at speed to
her friends. My thought was that they were laughing at me and my silly wrist
They returned en-mass and when I spoke to them one of them said, “You dance
great.” On asking me something I explained how everyone knows me, that I have
been interviewed on radio etc. They seemed unimpressed by that but, commented
that I was very brave. Then when I had sat down they came running back to ask
for an autograph.
25 July Friday
Overcast and in the early evening heavy rain so no dance on the beach, but after
dinner I went to the terraces outside Pavilion Dance studio because there was a
Bollywood open air dance class. I had missed more than half of it by the time I
arrived. I looked inside reception at the various advertising and I picked up a
leaflet entitled ‘Dancing terraces’ which had a picture of a class doing
bollywood. I thought that the man in the centre of the picture looked very
familiar. It was me.
Bumped into the talkative man from Branksome Chine. His grandson who is 5 years
old was performing in a street dance event.
For some reason that I can barely figure out I didn’t join-in the class. I just
watched and tried to understand the moves. It wasn’t very inspiring, but a few
bits I would like to know how to do.
There is something about dance classes, especially these open entry classes,
that doesn’t appeal to me. There is the feeling awkward because I don’t think I am doing the steps very well and then there is the forgetting of everything because you do something new that displaces what you have just done. I want to do it well, but a lesson probably needs to be 15 to 30 minutes of monotonous repetition followed by a long break in wich you don’t dance.
At the peak there were 40 persons dancing including maybe 8 males, but only about 80 watching. I assume the reason why they have 40 whereas my events in Spain only had 25 is that Bournemouth is a bigger town and there were thousands of people out and around.
It over-ran and finished at 9.30 which gave just 30 minutes before the
fireworks. I walked down to the seashore next to the pier and did some stretching exercises. A young woman joined me, asked what these exercises are called and then attempted to do them with me. She could do a sideways splits which impressed me. She left and I began dancing in the dark, illuminated by the
street lamps and glow from the buildings. Two teenage boys joined me doing some
very modern disco stuff. Then a few children danced. A young woman ran down to
dance with me while her friend videoed. She went away and then some minutes
later when I changed dance style she returned for more video. When I stopped two
groups of young men were shouting for me to continue, but it was nearly time for
the fireworks so I had finished.
“Oh, go on, we want to see you dance some more.”
A girl of about 17 said to me, “You’re a great dancer.”
“Oh, thank you,” I replied emotionally.
“You have inspired me,” she added.
“Do you dance?” I asked.
“Only in my bedroom.”
“I dance there too, but also in public.” I motioned with my hand as I looked
along the pier, over the crowd on the beach and across the promenade where there
were probably 2,000 people in total, maybe more.
After the fireworks I was called over to a small group of two young men and a
woman. (Probably in their twenties.) One of the guys offered me some alcoholic
drink mixed in a Fanta bottle and the other offered me what I think was a
spliff. “No, thank you.” They were Italian and complimentary. They asked me to
dance more, but I told them it was time for me to go home. They told me that I
was a ‘big man’, but they realised that this probably wasn’t the right English
word and I don’t know what they meant.
26 July Saturday
Steamy. Reading a book about the Arab Spring written by a BBC journalist. Then at 4.30pm went to beach. Oh, my legs ache. Stretched for longer than normal and danced less than normal. Waves from one or two people on the beach. Then two adolescents came running over and started dancing with me. After a short while I took off the headphones and congratulated them. “For dancing with me you both get a prize.”
The girl’s eyes widened, “A prize? I like prizes.”
I struggled with my shoulder bag because I have recently repaired it by taping a new lining inside and this has not been a complete success. Eventually I retrieved the box that had the wrist bands. They seemed pleased. He said something complimentary about my dancing, but I can’t remember his words. At which time a man approached from another direction to speak to me.
“I teach media studies and you have inspired one of my students to make a music video, could I take a selfie with you?”
The idea that I have inspired someone to do something creative delights me. I gave him a wrist band also, but pointed out that he doesn’t really deserve it because he hasn’t danced. We chatted for some time about dance, video and people’s reactions. He told me he would get me a copy of the video and give the photo to his student.
This raised my dance to another level for the next ten minutes or so until I was worn out. I was so tired and achey that back at the Chine I only did one song and was very conscious of the smell of barbeque as the weakness from hunger stopped the dance and I walked home.
Back home in the evening TV is playing 50 R’n’B tracks each too dance-calling for my poor wrecked body.
27 July Sunday
No idea what happened.
28 July Monday
Danced on beach. A group of about 10 teenage boys came over to jump around with me. I took off the headphones and they asked if I could teach them to dance and how do you become such a good dancer. I showed them my favorite Bob Fosse step which I realised later I had taught them wrong. I told them that the ones who had danced would get a prize. When I gave them their ‘I danced with the beachdancer’ wrist-band, one of them said, “That’s sick.”
“That’s sick,” from the tone of voice appears to be a youth compliment, but I could be wrong.
They then decided to have a dance-off in which two of them compete and I was to judge who had won. Their enthusiasm made up for their lack of dance skills. One was willing to make a fool of himself and the other risked breaking his neck with some gymnastics. When they finished I should have declared a drawer, but I awarded the win to the one who did some big dance move-poses.
They shook my hand and left.
At Branksome chine some very young children asked me to teach them something so I showed them how to turn in a slide-slip kind of way. I think I did it wrong.
29 July Tuesday
I think something happened, but I can’t remember the day at all.
30 July Wednesday
Went to Bournemouth gardens because I had read there would be a Samba band at the bandstand, but there wasn’t so I went to the pier to see if there was anything happening and there was. The Bluejays were playing on a very large stage in what used to be a car park and prior to that a swimming pool. They play 1950s rock n roll Billey Hailey, Buddy Holly, Elvis etc. Not my favorite era at all, but they were good and the area in front of the stage was at times filled with 70+ year olds dancing like teenagers. (Well, like teenagers with athritis). There was one woman who was in huge demand as a partner. It seemed that husbands were ignoring their wives in order to take turns dancing with her, and if I knew the steps I might have asked her to dance too.
I felt out of place, but after some younger persons began dancing in a modern style I could resist no longer and started jumping about. I suspect this was not welcome amongst the old rockers and bizarely a small boy seemed to be very annoyed by my dancing; he gave me a foul look and threw his arms around like he was trying to sweep my away.
When the music had finished two young woman who were walking past me said, “Nice dancing.”
“Oh, thank you,” I replied with relief that no one was saying that I had spoiled things. “I felt a bit out of place because I don’t know this style of dance.”
One of the women reacted with surprise, “No, we came over and got interested because we saw you dance.”
The musicians had gone off, changed into modern beach casual and were putting away their instruments. The speakers were playing modern music and I was lightly stepping around for a while, before walking away. Some minutes later a dark skinned mature adult walked up to me. “Nice dancing,” he said while offering me his hand. “My son said, Dad look at the guy in the hat.”
Back in the gardens there were lots of people walking or sitting. It was candle night where hundres of candles in bottles in various designs are lit around the gardens. I started to do my stretching exercises and after beanding over backwards a young woman said, “Do that again.”
“Why?” I asked.
“Oh, go on, just do it,” she instructed while signalling to her friends.
As I leaned over she made quiet noises reminiscent of hip-hop or rap music. She told me that her friend is organising some kind of dance event and that I should take part. She left as her friend arrived. A beautiful young black skinned woman who probably had no interest in my taking part in anything, but based on what her friend had said I was interested. I still don’t really know who she is or what the event is, but it is connected with Pavilion Dance. We chatted at cross purposes for a little while. I gave her my web details in case she wants to contact me, but I assume that she does not.
Then I heard a drum being played by a man seated on the other side of the stream which attracted me toward the rhythm until I danced to the beats.
31 July Thursday
Went to pier again where the Robbie McIntoch band was playing. Not my favorite kind of music. I wanted to stay away from the speakers to protect my ears and so I went up the stairs at the side of the fly-over which lead to a balcony area at the side of the stage with a nice view of the sea and hills & looks down on the audience. I noticed that the glamorous and popular dance partner of yesterday was seated near the stage again today. She looked at me briefly. Today she was not dancing.
I stretched on the balustrade and danced around a little bit, but the flooring is very high friction. A couple of youngsters came running up the stairs to dance with me, but the music stopped as they arrived and they went away again.
Later I went down to the back of the very small audience, far smaller than yesterday. I started dancing. A young olive skinned woman in her twneties came over to me, “Nice dancing,” she said.
“Would you like to join me?” I asked.
“Yes, I would.”
We danced side by side, not really dancing together for the next song. I looked behind me and five others had lined up behind us dancing.
She turned to me to say, “We are attracting a crowd, its infectious.”
“I hope that the next song is a bit slower, ” I said and she said, “I hope so too.”
“Were you here last night with the rock n roll? There were lots of old couples dancing.”
“Oh, I wish I had been. I am on my way to Portugal from London.”
The next song was very very fast and I went wild.
That was the final song. A young man came over to talk to her, to say goodbye and then he shook my hand saying, “Good dancing, have a nice night.”
A middle aged woman walking hand in hand with a small girl approached. “We enjoyed watching you dance.”
“Oh, thank you.” I looked at the girl and asked, “Did you dance?”
“No,” she replied and the woman said, “But she enjoyed watching you dance.”
When they left the young woman told me, “If you ever come to London I would like to hear from you because it’s nice to know someone who would like to go dancing.”
As she didn’t tell me any way of contacting her, I have to assume that London has become much smaller and cosier since I lived there.
I told her a bit about dancing and that someone tagged my video on youtube as ‘Prize twat of the first magnitude’ when I was only expecting to be awarded third magnitude.
She said, “Why do people make fun of you, is it just because you enjoy life?”
I gave her a wristband and then said goodbye, but we bumped into each other a little later and I thought we were both going to accuse the other of stalking.
Tomorrow it is a jive band. Do I want to go? It is also fireworks night and 7-9 is salsa. What shall I do?