May 1 Dia del trabajador o algo asi Jueves
A holiday. Had to stay indoors for the morning because the double glazing man came to measure. Very old world and subject to error because he sketches and scribbles measurements on the back of his printed computer generated estimate. One error was to believe that he had measured a door as being just 1.5 metres high, which was actually a window. At the end I asked him for a printed version which I could sign and agree. “Hombre eso es mucho trabajo” (Fella that’s a lot of work). So he has no intention of re-printing the estimate with the exact dimension or details of which way the windows are to open. Nor does he have contracts to sign. I ask how he wants to be paid and he goes on endlessly about NOT wanting cash. NOT that I was going to offer him cash, but this is Spain and so he assumes that I have ‘black money’ (cash that has not been taxed) and that I want to use it. Obviously I don’t. I want to know if he would accept a cheque or if he would insist on a direct bank transfer, “Hombre me questa mucho cobrar talon” (Hey, man it costs me a lot to cash a cheque)
But he wants me to go to his shop tomorrow for something or other and I am too lazy to do that so I sit him down, get him to write on the original, but wrong, estimate that he has received a cheque as a first payment & I gave him a cheque for 3,000euros. I have to hope that his scribble ends up producing the right size and type of windows. (I am not fully confident on this point as his estimate had windows 10cm smaller than the measurement I had given to him which he had scribbled in his great book of scribbles.)
As a comparison the boiler maintenance man puts all data into his smartphone connected to the company’s computers. His measuring equipment connect without wires to a portable printer to give me a copy.
Lunched and went to beach. No chance of going on line due to holiday. Picked-up billboard and danced. Fairly busy. Spoke to a couple, explained dances and when I explained who was involved she said, “and everyone knows who you are.” Spoke to two other women and as I started to explain she said, “I know I saw it on facebook.” I asked where and she said ‘Javea connect’ or something like that.
Then I had to endure the bitter contempt of a Dutch woman who not only hates seeing me dance when she is eating, but who asked me repeatedly, “Do you know that everyone thinks that you are stupid, that you are sick in the head and that you are pathetic.” I assume that she was making such an effort out of her sense of public duty to protect idiot mentally ill persons such as myself from doing self-harm. After enduring this for a while I decided not to invite her to the charity dance event and instead I simply said, “Go away,” and I returned to dancing without being able to hear her departing comments.
I am not thick skinned. Everything anyone says to me affects me, but fortunately this kind of rudeness is rare. For each unpleasant comment there are 100 nice ones.
A Spanish speaker of about 25 was videoing me, I danced over to him and began to describe the events. He asked if I minded being videoed and he excused this intrusion by saying that he had to video me because I was ‘autentico’ (authentic). I have no idea what being ‘authentic’ implies, but his smiles and his grabbing of my hand seemed to be enthusiastically friendly (actually it seemed fanatical).
I ran out of leaflets for the Nostro event exactly as I predicted. Still have some for the other event.
I approached a group of guys seated near Peca2. Their immediate reaction was mildly hostile. As I usually do I started in Spanish, but then asked if they speak Spanish. One said no, another asked if I spoke Japanese and then spoke to me in what I assume was Japanese. I apologised in Spanish saying that I can’t. Then asked if anyone speaks Spanish or English. One of them took pity on me and replied in Spanish. When I explained they seemed to change attitude and became mildly interested. One put his arm around my shoulder and said, “At first we thought you were mad.” I explained that if they search on youtube for ‘loco de Javea’ they will find me.
There was a table full of dinners watching me. I walked into the restaurant and held out two flyers. They struggled to grab them from me. I left.
I walked over to a table of 3 at Peca2. They looked nervous. I started by telling them to relax because I am not asking for money. I explained and asked if they wanted the flyers. They took them. I asked them to tell others and to follow on twitter.
In general I only give leaflets to persons I have first spoken to and who seem to want the leaflets. But how many will come? 1% 10% 20%? Very small numbers.
Heard some teenagers whispering as I walked past them something like, “Its the dancer.” So I spoke to them and invited them. Saw a girl do some kind of small dance routine so I gave her a leaflet.
2 May Viernes
Spent two hours on-line which cost just over 4euros. Designed and Printed out what will be wearable banners of @PlayaDance. Asked the owner of the ‘cyber’ if he would put the artwork for one of our posters on all the computer screens as wallpaper. He said yes. I wonder if he will. [He never did] Sent ideas for on-the-day DJ announcements and a draft for after-the-event publicity. (The last event got publicity after the event but with distorted information and nothing useful. So I plan it ahead of time.
I tracked down all the Spanish language regional newspapers and sent them a Spanish language description of what I am doing. Can’t mention charities or radio or restaurants because that would need approval of each which would take weeks. Don’t expect much to come of that.
Checked twitter and sent some messages including a corrected date and time for my interview on TotalFM. (They are considering my idea of a joint promotional flag, but if they do it probably be too late for event.)
Picked up billboard and chatted to manager of cafe for a while about how many customers he wants to see in the place to make an event seem worthwhile and what response he gets from handing out leaflets. [When offering a special discount, and the marketing is done by chatting with people while giving discount cards he had 70% of the cards being presented in the cafe. I found this astonishing, but I didn’t ask what the offer had been – perhaps it was irresistible.] I told him what I have been doing and the response I have had. It occurs to me that as 2 persons have said that they already knew about the events and I have spoken to about 200 persons, that this is a very rough indication that 1% are aware
Went dancing/ Lots of people from Madrid, here for ‘el puente’. I am convinced that the posters I have been given are nearly useless. They just help me to identify persons who are vaguely curious or interested.
I was chatting in Spanish with a French woman. I told her about the insults of yesterday. She said, “People who say such things are usually very unhappy.” The she told me, “You are a happy person.”
Oh, reminds me that yesterday I was talking in English with two women, one of whom asked me about my dance history. I said that I have only recently been dancing like this in public, to which she added, “Compared to dancing on stage.”
Spoke to, I don’t know how many persons, but gave out 12 leaflets.
I have invited staff in my local supermarket. One young man there seemed excited and thanked me. He said that he and his friends would come. [They didn’t] I walked over to the beach cleaner, thanked him for his work, explained that litter can make me slip and injure myself and then invited him to the events. I invited my neighbour’s handyman who said he will come with his wife. [They didn’t] I am curious how many turn-up.
I bought a baseball cap and told the owner about the events. He was confused, perhaps he thought I wanted him to make a donation. He agreed to have a poster, but I don’t have any posters.
In the supermarket I skimmed through the free newspapers on the off chance of a mention of our events. Two newspapers had nothing, but third time lucky – RoundTownNews has me in a quarter page photo (the photo that I did not like, but the only one I have dancing in Javea) together with an article that covers three of the related ambulance appeal events. I am described as ‘the mysterious beachdancer’. I had hoped that they would print my twitter handle. Also the photographer wouldn’t be very pleased at the lack of photo credit (I had suggested they give credit). [I picked up 2 copies of the paper even though I don’t like the photo.]
May 3 Sabado 2014
Weather cooler and very comfortable. Woke up at 7am which changes my day. Did housework in the coolness of this (to me) night time hour. Went to log-on, but found that I had left my glasses in the house so went to beach at 10am. Very quiet with some restaurants not yet fully open. Hardly anyone walking about so I decided to buy some glasses and then go on-line. First picked up another 15 leaflets at Peca2, not enough for the week. Wanted them to move the poster which is on the wall behind the counter and put it on the glass exterior of the cafe, but didn’t push them; don’t want to annoy anyone. Starting to be demanding and critical of how things are organized, but don’t want to annoy anyone as they probably organise better than I do.
As I walked along the palm-lined street that runs from the beach to the fountains, a man started dancing in front of me in an oriental almost belly dance way. I smiled and chuckled going directly into my pitch for next Saturday’s event. He is German and did not really understand. I handed him a flyer, “Ohhh!” he exclaimed realising that there was an event. As we spoke in a knot of English and Spanish half sentences he said to me, “Please, never change.”
I don’t think he was referring to my socks.
The cyber has not yet put the poster on the start screens of the computers. Nothing interesting on-line. Searched on twitter for anyone even tenuously connectable to a beach dance charity event and than I tried to find something that they had tweeted sometime on which I could put a reply.
There are Deejays with 100,000 followers. One of these, his every tweet is a reflection of how wonderful he is. I am trying to piggy back on these 100,000 followers. If only I can think of something sufficiently interesting that he re-tweets it. No doubt it would have to contain fawning praise. (Makes me think that it is worth spending an hour trying to draft a sufficiently -damn cant think of the word – comment. ‘obsequious’?)
Picked up billboard, sat and ate mandarina and a cereal bar then exercised and began dance. The beach proper was fairly busy, but the walkway not so.
A group of teenagers were watching intently from the beach. I held up a leaflet and pointed to them and then to the leaflet. They waved back. I indicated that they come. Two of them did. I gave them the sales pitch and then gave the leaflet. Tried the same with another group and they cowered and ran away. Later tried again with a more mature group and they indicated that I should come to them. I pointed to my shoes and they pointed to their bare feet. I shrugged and continued dancing.
A young man came over from another group, leaned over the bench to try to read the billboard. I went over and pitched, but he said he would not be here next week (so many weekenders here). We chatted for a while. He was impressed and a touch jealous at the idea that I don’t work and that I spend my time dancing on the beach. I handed him a leaflet and asked him to take it to the mature group for me, which he did.
Spoke to a few others who won’t be here, some said they would put something on facebook or twitter. One woman said she definitely would come. [I suspect that she did not come.]
Only gave out 6 leaflets. Have 24 left. May last to Mon or Tues. Absurd to be in the final few days, when people are most likely to respond and I have nothing to give them. Tempted to print something myself.
4 May Domingo 2014
Same weather, glorious. Went to Nostro to pick-up billboard. Chatted with manager for a while about restaurants and the ‘Kitchen Nightmare’ programmes about running kitchens.
Outside, sat on bench to do warm-up exercises and change shoes. A woman, brunette maybe 30 came over. She started to tell me that she has a friend who dances on beaches. I asked to be put in contact with the friend, then I spoke about our events. She told me that when she watches me dance it brings out the best in her.
“Oh, it is lovely to be told that,” I replied with emotion. As we spoke I told her about the ‘stupid, mad, pathetic’ insult. Her response was, “She was talking about herself, seeing you brought out what is sad in her life.” We continued chatting for a while and then she said, “May I hug you?” I put up no resistance. She was there with a child and a man, they are from Slovakia. Later I saw her showing the leaflet to others.
A very young couple who were filming me turned out to be English and going home that day, but they asked for a leaflet to leave in the villa for the next people. He turned to his very pretty companion and said, “What is it that you always say.” She smiled and responded, “A dance a day keeps the doctor away.” I also smiled and added, “That is my hope.”
More persons going back to Madrid ‘despues del puente’ (after the bridge). One said he would think about coming back.
When talking, if I don’t see interest, I go back to dancing, but if they stop and listen intently I continue. Many seem moved and impressed by the description that I give them which is the combination of free to dance, okay to just come and watch, but if you buy something some of the money goes to local charities and then I specify buying a new ambulance for the local town and help for those who have cancer. They often seem moved and even if they aren’t going to come they often say nice encouraging things. I ask them to tell their friends and announce on twitter or facebook if they use them.
I probably should talk to more people, but I get lost in the dance much of the time. Today handed out 10 leaflets, but spoke to more than that. I may have to print my own leaflets for the rest of the week. Only have 14 left which is probably 2 working days distribution. Just 5 more promotional days. Plan to rest Friday and on Wednesday have interview so maybe only 3 dancing promotional days means need probably 10 more leaflets. Assuming that I survive the event, what will I do to fill in my time afterwards? -planning the next one I suppose. Want to do in UK and want another in Spain in October.
Someone asked if I was promoting a dance academy and another said that if I do lessons she would like to come.
A small girl asked the usual Spanish, “No das verguenza?” (don’t you feel ashamed) and then, “Y si se rien de ti? (and if they laugh at you.) I shrug indifference (Obviously when people laugh at me I don’t like it, but you have to accept that doing anything notable will result in some people making fun of you.) The other girl says, “Me gusteria ser asi.” (I would like to be like that.) I try to explain to her the trick to achieve this, which is to start with small actions in friendly places where no one is going to laugh at you and little by little you overcome that fear. She didn’t seem to believe me.
5 May Lunes
Slightly more cloud, fresh, lovely day. Planned to do lots on-line, but forgot to take the plug-in memory and also forgot my reading glasses. So went straight to beach. The place is so EMPTY this early Monday morning. It always surprises me after the business of a national holiday. Little point in trying to promote to an empty beach and my body is a touch tired after 4 days of intense effort; so I went to supermarket to do my final large shop of the season which I hope will last me until I fly away. In the supermarket a pale, white haired gentleman did a couple of dance moves and spoke to me in a kind of Spanish. A couple from Swansea who chatted with me for a while and mentioned an English entertainer Bruce Forsyth for some reason that was not apparent to me. (I later realised that he is the presenter for some kind of dance show/competition on UK TV. The type of dance show that features persons either famous or not who don’t dance trying to do a dance routine. For me the antithesis of what I want to watch.) My new friend mentioned that he saw my picture in the local newspaper and that he had seen me dance many times including last year. As a note of the usefulness of being covered in a local newspaper he had no idea that we are going to have a big dance event on the beach – precisely the point of getting coverage in the newspaper.
I have heard that I am known by another name: The dancing man. (So that’s The dancing man, John, Jeremy, Jeffrey, Gordon, Peter, HH and of course The Beachman.) What’s my name? The Beachdancer.
Having decided not to dance I went to the 2nd hand shop run by one of the charities which has arranged one of my dance events. “You’ve not been well,” the woman on the till tells me. “Oh, that’s news to me,” I reply. “You haven’t been able to dance, will you be okay on the day?” she asks. “Oh, that! I injure myself all the time, yes, I am okay.” She smiles and adds, “See, we care about you.” I then brought up the surprising fact that they don’t have a poster on display for their dance event that I am presenting and promoting.
She comments, “There’s another dance event the same day, ” she touches my forearm, “not connected with you.” Another assistant with a grim look on her face tells me, “They clash.” I correct the first woman by saying that the other event is connected with me, but I had no idea that they would be on the same day.” I feel that I may be judged a traitor for this.
What I don’t correct is the idea that ‘they clash’, although at first I thought like that, I have completely adjusted to the idea that 2 events on the same day is synergistic (I have waited years to be able to use that word).
It makes me wonder about marketing. Here is a person connected to one of my dance events who has not noticed that she doesn’t have a poster, they think I may be ill, and she and her colleague are unaware that I am dancing also in the other event even though my name ‘The Beachdancer’ and photo are plastered all over the other event’s leaflets and posters. (They haven’t seen them or they haven’t made the connection. I suspect that they haven’t seen them.)
She tells me that maybe their other shop has a poster. “They often forget us,” she explains, “I’ll phone to get another poster, don’t worry.” (As far as I am aware there are no more posters. I wonder how many were printed and who paid for them and where they are.)
It makes me want to create a marketing plan and budget for future events. (Plus redesign the publicity material.) I may not get any opportunity to do this or be capable of doing it better than the charities, I am after all just the guy who wiggles his arse.
Tried to borrow neighbours portable computer to do on-line work in the afternoon, but although they probably would have lent it, it seemed like such an imposition that I told them not to worry about it, that it didn’t matter. (I don’t like imposing on people, I don’t like borrowing things.)
Slightly exaggerating what it is like telling strangers about an event goes something like this:
“Next Saturday we have two dance events on the beach for charity.”
“Oh, when is that?”
“No, next Saturday.”
“Saturday, eh. So whereabouts would that be?”
“Here on the beach.”
“We start at 11 in the morning and go through to 3 or 4”
“11 until 3 in the morning.”
“Midday, 11 am, 11 in the morning through till 3 in the afternoon.”
I then explain which cafes are involved, what charities we are raising funds for, how we raise funds, how you don’t have to pay, and then they say, “We won’t be here Saturday we are going home today.”
The difficulty of getting such simple information across to people is one of the reasons why I make no attempt to explain how one of the events raises money. It is written on the poster and has been explained to me, but I still don’t get it and regard it as impossible to convey. With the other event I haven’t heard what they have decided to do. Therefore I have told people something which is simple and may or may not conform to what happens on the day.
I walked the 60 metres or so to the charity’s other shop where they do have a poster. I pondered for an inordinate amount of time whether I should take the A4 sized poster that is taped to my backpack and get a photocopy of it. The effort of pondering this wore me out so I went home.
I am curious to know what marketing is being done or has been done, how many leaflets and poster were printed at what cost, what has been done on-line. Do these events mostly depend on the normal supporters of the charity turning up or are outsiders brought to the event? The majority of the persons I have spoken to on the beach spoke Spanish, and of those who preferred English, many spoke it as a 2nd language.
I am not an organiser, but…
Ah, forget about it, I settle down on a sofa on the terrace and fall into a snooze until a bang awakens me. Ah! I have forgotten that the shopping is to be delivered. I run to the kitchen, call out, “Olah” then go to the front door and explain that I was in the garden. It’s the beautiful Flemenco dancer who has brought most of the shopping but has forgotten the frozen veggies. I tell her about the interview, she says she will try to listen to it. I don’t mention that she won’t understand much as it will be in English.
I feel that after all this activity and amusement that I may crash after Saturday. I sooo want the events to be successful. I want them to be sufficiently good that all parties what to do more events and, I have a secret dark desire….
I want the events to be noticeable better than the February one and in case that is just attributed to it being May instead of Feb, I would like the first event to be at least as good as the second. This is ego and a desire to see my efforts bear fruit. What I fear is that after all this effort the first has no one or so few that it disappoints.
The Feb event, I did not promote because I was not sure it was for real. About 80 were recorded by the cafe as attending (tracked because they bought the beachdance special) and my count there was never more than 20 dancing at any one time. The promotion was by the charities and the DJ. I have no idea what they did. I don’t know if they have done anything differently this time, but I have been on-line, retweeted to thousands, in the paper, promoting on the beach and will be on radio. What will the result be? Nothing? Trivial? Moderate? Masses? I have absolutely no idea.
To the charity organisers this is just another little thing when they have loads of such events in their calendar. The media treat it as something worthy of mention, but not newsworthy. I see it as a fantastic event that if only it gets sufficient coverage will become a tourist attraction and have restaurants and others clammering to be involved. That is what it already is to me, if only others start to see it equally.
I may end up disillusioned. I may go back to dancing in my ‘stupid, mad, pathetic’ way. Only 4 days to go.
6 May Martes
Up early and out while air still cool. More cloud made me wonder whether I should put on long trousers. Went in shorts and as I reached the gate I realised that I didn’t have music with me. Jeez, Beachdancer without music, what is the world coming to? Went back.
On-line with a list of things to print and do, but my sense of ‘get up and go’ had gotten-up and gone. Wavered over whether to bother printing things out. Struggled to get multiple versions of a very simple text message onto an A4 sheet suitable for cutting-up and giving out when leaflets run-out. Printed out description of event and something to display on the day. Forgot to print more ‘I dance with the beachdancer’ tags. I bought rubber bands because I want to give dancers something that they can wear as a memento. (It’s silly and cheap, but may work.) Received email from one of the organisers, she is going to talk with the radio station TotalFM about who is doing what on the day. I was sitting at a computer terminal in a cyber about 300m along the same road so thought I may as well go see, but first I had twittering to do. Denia tourist authority is now following my tweets so that’s Calpe,Javea and Denia. (Here and the next two large towns). Number of followers has increased to the still tiny number of about 22, but that is up from 1 in the last month. Compare my 22 with those of a DJ with whom I have swapped messages who has 100,000. A few of my messages have been re-tweeted (re-sent by the recipients to everyone who follows them. If I can think up clever, witty, stupid or rude things that people want to re-send there is a possibility of more people becoming aware of our charity dances.)
Only 3 days to go.
Doing these print-outs and all this twitter work took about 2 hours. I bought elastic bands which I had to ask for in English because I didn’t know the name in Spanish. I asked and they just say ‘gomas’ which is ‘rubbers’. (I could have said that.) Then went to the studio.
The organiser was chatting with the manager, “And there he is,” one of them said as I came up the stairs. We chatted about the event. The radio has printed out my suggested announcements for the day and will use them as a script. They gave me various logo stickers to use or give out. Then I was taken into the studio to meet the presenter who would do the interview tomorrow. (I write ‘studio’, this may bring to mind something glamorous, which in the case of the studio at HotRadio in Bournemouth would fit the image you probably have, but here, DIY shed built inside an empty and undecorated office would be a better description. RadioShoeString.) But on the radio dial what difference does office decoration make?
The organiser will probably give me a lift on Thursday to dance at the market to promote.
Went to beach which was so quiet that I gave up on dancing after about 30 mins because so few people walked past. Some small children spoke to me in what may have been Dutch or that mixed with English or maybe some made-up language. I gave them a TOTALFM sticker which pleased them so much that they tried to get into my bag to steal more. (The power of radio).
Went to supermarket for bread and to pick-up the food that they forgot to deliver yesterday. Told staff that I am being interviewed and they told me that I had already told them. Oh, bugger, boasting again. Walked back along the beach, saw my favourite waitress, chatted with her told her about interview, gave her a TotalFM sticker and the time. She said she is having people over that lunch time and will put the radio on. I told her it would be in English, “Better,” she said in English, “the others will understand it.”
“I hope that I can talk as well as I move my arse.” She smiled at my joke.
7 May Miercoles
Lightly overcast which makes a change after so many identical days. I think I had an attack of bossiness today. I try to restrain this tendency, but sometimes I can’t keep it in. Probably caused offence. I am sooo keen to make these dance events super successful that my passion leaks out and my desire to organise the way I think it should be organised boils over. I don’t know how far I went, I don’t know if I actually upset anyone, but it is possible. But first…
Went on-line. Printed some more of the little ‘tags’ that I plan to give out. For some reason this printed out on 4 sheets instead of one, splitting some of the images in a way that is unuseable and costing 4 times as much. On twitter there had been some reactions to things that I had sent. A grower of olives in Dorset re-tweeted my surprise that there was such a thing as a grower of olives in Dorset. More amusingly I had complimented a dancer that I had seen on google+ and invited him to our beachdance. Turns out that he has an agent; they are both in Los Angeles and the agent has tweeted the important news that his client has been invited to perform in Europe. When I watched his video, I felt what people tell me they feel when they watch me. (Watching real dancers delights me, but also makes me feel pathetic.) (So that is one out of the 3 -stupid, mad, pathetic…. let’s move on to stupid…)
Picked up the billboard, but had no plan to dance because the interview on TotalFM was due within an hour. Did warm-up exercises and then danced just a itty bitty (without putting on dance shoes so it doesn’t really count). Then went to supermarket, sat for a while then headed to studio. Stopped outside to sort out my things. Walked up stairs and felt apprehensive, so I put my things down and pirouetted on the shiney floor tiles while some office worker walked by trying to ignore me. The studio door was locked and no one answered the buzzer. I waited a short while. A large man, with a small key, came to unlock the door to let me in.
This is office space of about 30 sq metres (small) with a sound room built of unpainted wood on one side and a couple of office desks strewn with stuff and more stuff on the floor. The walls have half been painted. They have only been on air for 8 weeks and looking around, that comes as no surprise. The charity organiser arrives with the station manager a little later. The presenter is trying to set up a mic stand, but is having problems. The techie is trying to sort out the communications link which if he does not there will be no interview. The organiser has changed what she wants to say and has a printed script. I glance at what she is holding in her hand and I think, oh that is way too long.
They struggle with the computer-printer link to get me a copy which I don’t much want. They give me a copy of what I had emailed them weeks ago, which was a guide to what we might say, I scan it and then ignore it. I ask if we can have a recorded copy of the interview. “Sure,” I am told. “Mp3?” I ask, “could you email it to me?” “No problem, we have your email address because you’ve sent us loads of emails.” I detect a negative tone suggesting that I had sent far too many emails.
The comms link is fixed. We go into the small sound booth which has two wooden kitchen chairs for guests, a desk covered in various junk, a computer sitting under it with a flashing broadband router and other cables and bits of stuff randomly hanging around. My foot, when I sit is against the PC, the carpet is caught under my chair, the chair is the world’s most uncomfortable chair, the mic stand is broken and too low, the soundproofing doesn’t keep the outside noise outside. I drop the ‘script’ on the floor as I have no intention of using it. I place my 1 sheet of reminders under a coffee cup full of pens so that it doesn’t fall on the floor and so I don’t produce rustling noises – (if that were to be the least of the problems). We start, or better said, they start. I am prepared for a lively chat with lots of silliness, but the first prepared questions are to the organiser who gives deeply worthy replies which are being read and sound like they are being read.
I am drifting, looking at the disorganisation, the piles of stuff, the unkempt cables, the ‘glamour’. Then the door opens and man rushes around to point to something that the presenter hasn’t noticed. He leaves. That at least broke my drift into boredom. The interview so far in which I have said nothing is so worthy that it would tranquillise an elephant. I want to interrupt, but I don’t because my ad-libbing could throw the organiser and may annoy her. The man comes back in, this time with more urgency. As far as I can tell the computer has taken over the broadcast and whatever had just been said was not broadcast. (I know from experience that software schedules everything and the presenter is supposed to watch the screen to know when to stop talking – the screen counts down to the moment when it will play an ad or music – the presenter takes over in-between.) The impression is that the presenter is not paying attention to the software.
The man points to things and the presenter shrugs. “The ads have kicked-in,” he explains. The presenter doesn’t know this, why?
This cubicle of wood and foam is about the size of a bathroom. Three of us, a computer and a mixer are all warming it up well and good. I am sitting in a chair that is torturing me and having to lean over a microphone at the wrong height. This is not how it is meant to be. At least now I am going to be asked a question. As I talk, the man is looking worried. He’s outside signalling to me to get nearer the mic. I try, but not to his satisfaction. He comes in, takes hold of the mic stand and pushes the mic in front of my lips, grabs my hand, places it on the stand to hold it close and then he leaves satisfied. So now, I am in a chair that is torture, leaning over, holding a mic-stand to keep the mic almost touching my lips, and now I am supposed to speak in a happy excited warm way about our wonderful dance event.
I had rehearsed. I had several stories ready and catchy sayings which I hoped would be delivered in the same easy jokey style that we did at HotRadio in Bournemouth. It didn’t turn out that way.
I managed to use “Arenal Beach -it’s within reach” which I planned to use as a regular comment that if you can hear this broadcast, arenal beach is within reach and another “Saturday 10th of May at midday” , but God knows what I actually said and what part was broadcast and whether I was audible. Oh, yes… After the organiser read her worthy 3 hour speech (okay it wasn’t literally 3 hours) My opening comments were… “I am delighted to be here and to be part of this worthy cause. It particularly impresses me that I can help this very worthy cause, help raise money for a new ambulance, simply by wiggling my arse.”
The presenter replied, “Can we say arse on radio? Wiggle your derrier?” I then added in terrible spanish something like, “Que solo tengo que meneo el culo”. I blame the chair, the bending over the hand held mic-stand, the man signalling to get it even closer to my lips, the heat, the boredom, the sweat forming on my back, the time of month, the phase of moon and the international anti-dancer conspiracy for this not being my best interview.
I tell some quick stories about insults (blot on the landscape, stupid, mad & pathetic) and I tell some of the compliments. The presenter tells me that she dances in the aisles of the supermarket. And then it is over.
Not surprisingly the presenter doesn’t think that the computer recorded the interview. “It was recording, but I think it stopped.”
The presenter tells me that this was her first interview. Cruelly I reply, “It shows.” (I really should not have said that, but ignoring the fact that ads are running and that we are not on air while believing that we are… well it shows. I assume that if I am back for an interview for our October dance she will be silky smooth.)
I leave the joys of the sweatbox and talk with various crew. “You shouldn’t use headphones that bleed so much sound,” I tell them as if I knew what I was talking about, and the man (whom you have met before) tells me that the mic doesn’t pick-up the sound. This surprise me because in my home studio my mic does. We talk about geographical coverage and their plans to decorate their office with local photos. Although it is called TotalFM I think of it as Radio Shoestring.
And that is the glamour of being on local radio. I wish them well. I wish them proper mics on cantilevered stands, more practice with their software, and above all else, I wish them comfortable chairs.
Having sweated and partially fluffed my lines and been frustrated and concerned that having been on radio is utterly pointless I said to the station manager, “Before Saturday I would be very happy to come back,”and then, as if I were taking responsibility for every error, “I am sure I could be more entertaining.”
The look I was given told me that I won’t be back.
I have arranged with the organiser to give me a lift tomorrow into the old town where I plan to dance because it is market day and there will be thousands of people. That will be a tough gig and I am not sure that I am brave enough to do it, or if I am brave enough whether I may get arrested.
I am feeling the stress. I so want these two dance events to be bigger, better than the last one. I have no idea if they will be. So many things seem to me not to have been done optimally.
The first event in February I did nothing to promote other than agree to allow the use of my photo. I turned up on the day without being sure it was even a real event. I enjoyed it, lots of other enjoyed it. The charities and the cafe got a big enough return from it that they were happy to do another and I was approached by a different charity to present their own beachdance event. Up to that point I had done no promotion.
The new charity didn’t have the manpower (womanpower) of the others and so I became more involved. The first group gave me leaflets and posters first so I began giving these out on the beach because I wanted to see the event grow from its initial size. The first group didn’t ask me to do any promotion and didn’t seem interested in any suggestion that I had whereas the second charity reacted very positively to my suggestions and involvement. This is all a lot more interesting (and stressful) than just turning up on the day. I have such a commitment to their success that it will be emotional seeing what happens. (I may break down and cry on the day.)
I hope the two are sufficiently busy to make further events happen. I want one every month. I would like it to grow to be a recognised tourist attraction. 3 days to know.
8 May Jueves
Up early, bit concerned about dancing at the market, but actually my mind woke up wondering why the exterminator companies never gave me an estimate for treating the woodwork for wood boring beetle.
I spent a while last night reminding myself that my life does not depend on these dance events being hugely successful. Even if no one turns up I will be there dancing to a DJ playing music just for me. If it just has a few people it means no more such events and another ‘failure’ in my CV, but so what? (I almost convinced myself and then I put on some music and danced 15 mins or so before going to bed.)
Will they come? (Oh, during the interview when the organiser was talking I heard her say that the talent contest she is organising has no contestants yet with just 3 days to go and that she may go to Benidorm (major tourist town on the coast here) and bring back a busload of drunken Karaoke singers to compete.
“My life does not depend on this” Repeat until effective.
8 May Jueves
Up early again. STOP IT!
Picked-up and transported into the traffic packed Javea on its weekly market day. I had planned to dance in front of the post office, but my driver suggested another spot which turned out to be covered in market stalls. We parked and I headed to the main market, walked around it, considered dancing in the seating area below some large trees, but decided that this could annoy the persons seated there and the ground is rough, uneven compressed sand. I moved and then spotted the large step-like smooth surfaced structure between the two levels of the market. ‘Perfect,’ I thought erroneously. First there was a disabled, wheel chair bound, accordion player near the place, and I feared that he might launch an attack to protect his pitch. (Militarily he is classified as light infantry.)
I danced anyway, but no one noticed, so I moved to the other side of the stairway, only to find that I was outflanked by another disabled accordion player. (Obviously they have superior intelligence.)
I danced anyway, but hardly anyone noticed.
I suppose the problem is that in the market people are occupied, some are selling, some are buying, some are picking pockets. This compares to the beach where everyone is bored.
I saw a policeman approaching, a stall holder looking from the policeman to me and back, the rising expectation of an arrest. I put my leaflets back in a pocket (I have the posters on display on plastic supports.) The policeman is standing still next to a trader. I hop and bounce down the steps towards him to say hallo and to explain what I am doing, before he decides to interview me, but when I am close to him he is in conversation with the trader and pays me no mind, so I bounce back up the steps, get my leaflets out and continue dancing. The policeman continues on his rounds.
I went back down and talk to the traders to tell them what I am doing. They seem impressed by the idea, but not being local they won’t be coming. I walked over to an Indian looking youth who is a trader and explained to him, after asking if he dances ‘streetdance’. No, nothing. I invited him and gave him a TOTALFM sticker and a leaflet. Later I went to talk to him again. He seemed interested in learning how to dance. “No das verguenza hacer este?” “No,” I replied and explain about breaking the fear barrier. I tell him that dancing is all about practice. “Practice what?” he asks. I tell him to watch dancers on TV and try to copy them in front of a mirror in the bedroom. He’s not convinced. He says something like, ‘Okay in the quite of your own home, but here? How can you do that?’
Now I am adjusted to the mood of the place so I am dancing my way up and down stairs to approach people who don’t really want to be approached especially not by the dancing madman. When I have said a couple of sentences some people relax, it is almost visible, then they become intrigued and then some of them become moved.
A European family, from I am not sure where, went through these stages, starting with a small step backwards in fear, but ending with thanks and a signal that the daughter will want to dance.
A possible mother and son, the son with earphones and a refusal to acknowledge my presence, the mother listening to my Spanish and responding in Spanish. I then say, “Are you English?” She smiles. “I could have told you all that in English.” I give her a leaflet, but she will be taking visitors to the airport that day. I went back to dancing, but noticed her beckoning me. She explains that she has a website dealing with something in Javea and that she will put the event on that. She takes a photo of me to go with the announcement. I thank her, but I have been told many times of what someone is going to do, but don’t.
I talked to two teenage girls, an elderly couple from somewhere who, when I explained that we would buy an ambulance asked me, “Why?” That was one of the toughest questions I have been asked. Oh,jeez, what the @%*# do I know, I just want you to come down to the beach and dance.
Dancing in the market was no better a promotion than dancing on the beach, but less pleasant for me and farther to walk home. It could have been better if we had a team and a big sign. But I think that it gives exposure to people who don’t frequent that beach.
I think that a proper promotional plan would include the market and the port area at least once, but with signs that explain and persons with leaflets chatting with passersby.
I went to the library, renewed the book that I don’t have time to read, explained what we are doing, invited the librarian and left some leaflets (there is only tomorrow for anyone to notice them). I went on line to check twitter. A local woman who I don’t know has registered on the blog. That is a first. (If you are reading this Bienvenido.) A few more persons are following @PlayaDance. I think the number is now 30. At least one is a local who tweets in Valencian which I barely understand. She seems to be a member of the local emergency rescue squad.
Having responded to or searched for useful ways to respond to those tweets by others, I then opened my file of prepared tweets and cut and pasted them to send off.
Shopped and then walked home.
I am unreliably informed that various people involved in the two beachdance events are annoyed at various other people involved in the two beachdance events. It may be that they are all annoyed at me for promoting the other event, when I should only be promoting theirs. Both events were initially agreed on Feb15 with some 5 minutes separating the first and second agreement, but back then no dates were mentioned. On Good Friday (or Goofy day as I just mistyped it) I saw the posters and realised that they were scheduled for the same day. Both events have publicity featuring pictures of me together with my name. Does anyone really think I would not promote both? (When I was at TotalFM I tried to avoid mentioning the other event – connected with a different radio broadcaster, but it hurt to do so.)
Being a loner I don’t have much practice at ‘office politics’ or in this case radio and charity politics. (I am half interested to hear the complaints)
I have been given two cartoon images of an ambulance to wear during the first dance event. I will have to figure out how to do this.
I receive no information at all from the team behind one of the events and close liaison with the organiser of the other event. (Have I offended the first group or do they assume that I don’t want/need to know?)
Only 1 day to go. How many people will come? Will it be a success?
Composing tweets to send tomorrow, if I get on-line.
9 Mayo Viernes
Woke-up absurdly early; it has to be something to do with the excitement, I sat at the notebook computer writing something to send to the 3 charities and the 2 radio stations. I had heard some comments that seemed like some of the people involved were annoyed at others because of there being two events. Exactly what to me seemed a huge potential advantage is seen by others as a conflict. This is what I wrote and sent:
“Much to my surprise the two dance events agreed back in February turned out to be on the same day.
After the initial shock and worry, I discovered that the public loved the idea.
In more than 200 face to face conversations with people on the beach or in the street I can assure you that it would have been a brilliant idea to have the two on the same day, if it had been someone’s idea.
As both events were inspired by my dancing, both feature my photo and my artistic signature, ‘The Beachdancer’, obviously,’ I want both to be successful and I have spent my own money and about 100 hours of my time in promoting both events.
I am delighted to be able to support your charities in this way and look forward to helping you with future fund raising charity dance events.
See you tomorrow.
(I couldn’t send it to one of the radio stations because I have no contact address for them.)
Spent about 90 mins on-line, twitter and google+. I am starting to understand the power of these software, but they take a lot of work. Again, for things that have to be local these international social networks are not ideal – I have a contact in Russia who is unlikely to come dance tomorrow even though he tells me he would love to. I have a photographer who wants to come, but he is in America – he says he will come to the next one.
Compare that to the effect of announcements on the radio. The man who runs the cyber told me that he had heard an ad on the radio. “Do you remember what it said?” To which he replied, “That something is happening tomorrow in Arenal.”
This triggers another thought, why do radio stations want you to know them by name?
The venue for the second dance does not have a poster on display. Why? Because the one he had he gave to me for my billboard and no one gave him another one. He tells me that everyone is on facebook and so they’ll see it. Well, in my 200 conversations I had the impression that maybe 40% had someone in the family who used facebook and maybe half that who used twitter. But even if they use it, doesn’t mean they’ll see where you put your ad.
The staff tell me that they are not looking forward to tomorrow; they expect to be very busy and would rather sit and watch. I go past the other venue and just say, “See you tomorrow” to the manageress.
As I walk back along the beach I see two members of staff from EstapaTi whom I recognise. I walk over to say hallo. As we talk I realise they know nothing about the event tomorrow even though I had mentioned it to them about a month ago and given a leaflet to one of their colleagues about 2 weeks ago. So I explain and give them leaflets. She, who I have mentioned before, young blonde and if I remember correctly from Slovakia says she will come and dance. [She doesn’t come]
Oh, forgot, was told that first dance we will also have a zumba instructor whose going to do 2 songs and may be bringing some of her ‘girls’ (synonym of ‘old ladies’?). I think I have seen her before, blonde, pretty, about 35, super fit with abs that any man would desire (desire for his own belly that is), but could be someone else. [Either she didn’t come or it was someone else]
Did not take dance shoes, deliberately wore non-dance clothes and managed not to dance. I want to let my body rest and would like my mind empty and calm because tomorrow is going to be physically and psychologically demanding.
Also curious to see which event is better managed, which attracts bigger crowd and how much money they collect. I hope some photographers will take some appealing photos. So want impressive images for future promotions.
I suggested to TotalFM that they record some interviews with people at the event for future publicity. Don’t know if they will do it.
So how many will come?
10 Mayo Sabado
Woke-up at 6.30 which is 2 hours earlier than I needed. Managed to doze until just after 8 which is is still an hour earlier than I want to get up today. I don’t like having lots of time to fill in when I have something to do at a specific time. Need to leave house about 10 to get to Peca2 before 11. Not taking wallet, but have a spray container of water in case I overheat, and I am taking a fancy cowboy style wide-brimmed hat with gold flecks and a ‘pony-tail’ consisting of my twitter address @PlayaDance which I printed out together with two other copies attached to the arms of my shirt. Probably they will all fall off or I will turn and they will whack someone in the face. (One did fall off, but was put back) I have fruit and cereal bars and I may take my MP3 player to try to get some interviewed reactions recorded on it. (Didn’t record anything. Too busy dancing.)
I feel almost exactly the same as on any other day when I have woken up too early. My thought is that if no one turns-up it will be like a normal beach dance day for me except that I don’t have to wear headphones. If lots turn-up it will be more interesting. My life does not depend on this.
My shirt also has two cartoon ambulances on it, one on each breast pocket. I will have to take them off before the second event. (Forgot to take them off before going to second event, but took them off a bit later) I would wear insignia of the other two charities, if they wanted, but don’t want to cut-up the poster I have because I want it as a memento. I would like to know that there will be photos and that I will get copies, but I don’t know this. (At event they offered me a T-shirt, but I said that I will get too hot.)
In a couple of days I will be able to think of normal chores again such as weeds in the garden, muck in the house, and flying back to England; or will I be planning and negotiating more beachdance events?
Well, now 5pm. I danced for 4 hours and survived. In the second two hour dance at Nostro I sat out maybe 4 songs and in the first I sat out a couple or three and the ‘zumba girls’ took over in those periods. That worked well. At the end of the Nostro event a policeman took notes. I joked, “Has he come to arrest me?” but this went down badly with the DJ. “Has someone complained? I asked. Apparently, yes, someone had complained about the noise and the talk is that there will be a fine of maybe Euro200. The staff were distracted and the DJ was clearly annoyed. Hope they don’t fine me. Prior to that everyone was happy. Both restaurants did good business; I asked and both they and the charities want another event.
The cancer charity thinks it was very bad having the other event the same day and that those who gave to the first were not going to give again to the second BUT, on questioning, they raised more money than they expected. I spoke to the owner of the first restaurant and he was pleased with the day and is happy with my suggestion of another in October.
I was disappointed by the turnout. All that on-line activity, all those chats with people and leaflets. I did recognise one young man as being the guy with a woman in the market that I mentioned above. He came to both events, sat quietly on his own. I spoke to him a couple of times and even offered to introduce him to the red cross girls. After 3 hours of sitting watching he joined in when there was a dance leader (one of the zumba girls). It was obvious that he dances. I gave him a ‘I danced with the beachdancer’ leaflet attached to a rubber band. (I gave out a few of these.)
But let’s start at the beginning. I got to Peca2 far earlier than I expected at around 10.25 The DJ was setting-up, the manager from TotalFM was ‘managing’, the organiser was ‘organising’ and I was stretching. Various young women in Cruz Roja t-shirts arrived. They had collecting tins. Two woman in ‘zumba’ clothing were seated with some children. It was too early, the music had not yet started and I should rationally have waited, but after changing my shoes I started dancing to my own music. Then the speakers kicked-in. I took off my headphones, put away the over the shoulder bag and then changed my hat. This is the first time I have worn the cowboy hat with the gold flecks. (Later one the zumba girls asked me, “Where did you get the hat, it really stood out” I said that I had bought it some time ago, but had not been brave enough to wear it before.)
So, there I was, the only person dancing for some considerable time. (nothing novel in that) After a while I encouraged the Cruz Roja girls (teenage or maybe 20 year olds) to start dancing. They gradually relaxed and one of them I complimented because she moved well doing something that I don’t know how to do. A guy was taking video. I approached him to ask, but he spoke neither Spanish nor English, but one of his friends spoke english. I was asking to be sent a copy. He and a woman later began dancing so I gave them one of my ‘I danced with..’ bracelets.
Here’s the thing that disappointed me. With so many people saying to me that they would come or showing great interest, and with so many face to face promotional chats, leaflets and on-line efforts the number who I could claim to have brought there is at least ONE, but I can’t be sure it is any more. Many of the people who come are ‘the usual’, persons who know someone in the charity and they come to show support. But the restaurant looked much busier than normal. At the peak of the dancing in the first event there were 25 persons dancing. Maybe 40 inside and another 40 watching outside, plus two ambulances. Oh, they played mostly the music that I had chosen or at least music by artists on my playlist that I had supplied to them. At the end grown-up Spanish members of the cruz roja came over to thank me. The DJ (who, I believe is part owner of the radio station) also thanked me. [It is odd to be thanked.] The last thing they did was announce that the other event was about to start. That was nice of them, they didn’t have to do that. I didn’t have time to say goodbye to the organiser as I was due at the other event.
The second event did not yet have music, so I ate some fruit. Then started to dance when the music had begun. I don’t much like the playlist from this DJ. Maybe next time I can get it changed a bit. (Although if they get fined will there be a next time?)
The zumba ladies (‘girls’ may not be the proper term) also moved to the second location as did some of the spectators. I was feeling weak at times during the second 2 hour dance session.
One of them said to me, when I was sitting down eating fruit, “You are supposed to be dancing, we are only here for you.”
A very old English lady danced with me far too much and at times she made me take her walking stick, which I then danced with in fake ‘hat and cane’ style until she faltered and demanded the return of the stick. She also cringed every time I span around because she feared being knocked down.
Young girls seem to want to do everything as a chorus copying some dance leader. They try to copy me, but I do too many things and change from one to another too fast. That is where the zumba ladies are so good. They get 20 girls dancing at the same time while I dance around them or take a rest.
At the second event (Nostros) 3 or 4 men danced. I gave them ‘I danced with the beachdancer’ bracelets (I write ‘bracelet’, but they are a printed piece of paper attached to an elastic band that you can wear around the wrist.) One middle aged guy was sufficiently happy with this that he had his wife photograph him standing with me. A young mum asked if I would let her photograph me with her 5? year old son, but he was too shy even though, she told me, he makes his mum sit with him to watch me when I dance on the beach.
At the end I was sitting at the bar drinking another half litre of chilled water, chatting to one of the zumba ladies (who incidentally isn’t an official zumba lady – who would have guessed there was such a thing) when a 30 something well built guy interrupted us to say, “Hello, I just wanted to meet you.” He shook my hand and that was about it.
Someone at sometime came over to buy me a drink, but the barman was supplying me with all the water I wanted (my own bottle already consumed). I guess I drank about 2litres and could have taken more. I ate 2 mandarins, a banana and 3 cereal bars then bought a forth. I could have eaten more.
The DJ came over to the second event (as did the owner of the first venue- videoing everything). That DJ thanked me again. The cancer charity lady thanked me and we discussed the clash of events. There was an implication in her comments that I have some blame for this. Although I only realised the clash a short time ago on Easter Friday, I was informed earlier, but had not noticed it. But, even if I had noticed it, I had no control over the dates. Nevertheless it seems that both events were financially successful for the charities and the venues. (So did the clash reduce or increase the success?)
I have sent text to DJ asking to be kept informed if there is a fine, because I am inclined to contribute something towards paying it (a bit, not all of it).-[This is when I imagined a total fine of 200 or so…]
It may be that my leafleting had a 1 or 2% success rate. (1 person confirmed as coming from leaflets and I gave out roughly 100.) I was hoping that having spoken to the people and having got lots of apparently interested responses, that the turnout would have been higher – I was guessing up to 10%. Maybe we should change the leaflets to feature the reasons for coming. Or maybe I am nuts when I think that this kind of event has a demand. (but I feel that it should be immensely popular)
I suspect that twitter messages have more like a 0.1% response rate. (Went to about 10,000, but many recipients not in area.)
What am I going to write on twitter next Monday?
Other comments: “No point in having a dance event without you. You’re the star.” – from one of the zumba ladies.
I was so busy dancing or resting or eating or drinking water that I didn’t really communicate much. Last February I think there were more passersby, the walkway was just busier. Why?
Just received text from DJ saying that police came back in evening and stopped the live performance and threatened to close the cafe. He thinks it will eventually turn out okay.
11 Mayo Domingo
Slept till 10. Joy of joys, not only did I survive 4 hours of dancing, but I just have a low level of aching muscles, nothing important, barely perceptible. Decided to go to beach to dance, but forgot to take my dance shoes. The result was that I only danced a bit and I ripped the sole off one of my sport shoes. (I don’t know my own strength.)
On the way, as I passed a small cafe, the owner gave me a wave for the first time and a young boy ran after me to ask in Spanish, when the dance was to be, “Ayer,” (yesterday) I replied. He relayed the information to his family. I went over to tell them how happy I was to have danced 4 hours and to still be alive. This amused them.
I walked back to talk to the owner. I told him about the police and Nostro. He told me about the police and his sunshades. The man sitting next to him asked my age. I told him. “Increible,” he replied. The owner told me that its not just that I dance, but that I dance so fast and with my arms flying about. “Everyone knows you, you dance every day and you don’t annoy anyone.” (Not true, not true and not true.) I told them how odd it is to be internationally locally famous and how having complete strangers talk to me like they know me makes me think I have altzheimer. “Because they all know you,” he said. We chuckled and I left.
I danced a little and then went into Nostro. I announced that I am happy, because I danced 4 hours and I am still alive. They smiled, but they are not happy.
I sat down and asked the manager what happened with the police. Apparently, when they came back they were looking for other infractions. “They will find them even if there aren’t any,” the manager explained. “Tomorrow we have a meeting with the technical office and we’ll find out what they are going to fine us for and how much. It’s the mentality here, if they keep annoying tourists they’ll just end up with picking oranges.” The police have told Nostro that any beach event needs licensing from Alicante (large city some 100km to the south) and that the local council has no authority over the beach area. Nostro liked the event and would do another, but can’t if they are going to be put through this kind of inspection and probable fines.
Nostro like the idea of a properly licensed BIG event which includes lots of restaurants. (They like lots of restaurants because they assume that it was one of their competitors who complained to the police.)
The 2nd event was no noisier than the first. Both used the paved walkway in front of the restaurants, but I suppose that no one complained about the first. The first event was for a very Spanish Cruz Roja, which may make a difference, but the future of these dance events is now at risk.
On the other hand if this pushes all involved to co-operate, and to get more Spanish involvement something very good could come of it.
One of the staff asked how old I am. He swore, but I can’t remember what word he used, but I said that that is what I say whenever I see my reflection in the mirror. He asked if I have my eyes closed when I dance. I said no, but I didn’t think to mention how difficult it would be to dance with eyes shut.
I sent a text to the organiser of the other event as this news threatens all future beachdance events.
12 May Lunes
Another sunny warm day. Still affected emotionally by the legal process.
Went on line to buy ticket and probably bought one slightly earlier than I otherwise would have, induced by the distaste I have for what has happened here.
Visited by the double glazing window man due to simple misunderstanding over the meaning of ‘desmontable’ (dismountable). Something simple that I had suggested that I was told was impossible, but now that I explain it he agrees it is simple.
Chatted to another bar manager who said that some restaurants lodge complaints over anything against other restaurants.
The owners of Nostro are with their lawyers. I went in and chatted with a member of the family to show ‘solidarity’ as they say. I wasn’t involved in any part of the management of the event, but I am very associated with it as the ‘star’ of the event.
Told the staff at Peca2 what I had been told about he events at Nostro. They were shocked. I danced for a while trying to forget all this silliness.
I like having these events. I like being useful.
Now have just 16 days before going back to England. Had received email from a dancer and his agent in LA keen to know more about these charity dances and whether they would be paid if they did one in LA. Also received email from someone asking me when the dancing starts and in which bars. Not having an internet connection means my reply was just 2 days after the event.
Now have 30 ‘followers’ on twitter.
I expected that after the dance events I would feel the anti-climax, the let-down. Several weeks of talking to strangers (something I don’t normally do), having a purpose, now I feel mildly annoyed and vulnerable. The thought crosses my mind of being arrested or being handed a notice of a fine. Our minds bring up the possibility of this drivel.
ROCK N ROLL – what entertainment venture doesn’t get raided by the police?
Treated bamboo that is growing around pool with herbicide. Immediately feel like I have poisoned myself too.
13 May Martes
Overcast to begin, but clouds broke-up later. Went to beach where the place was deserted and the sky still dark. Saw the DJ, sat and chatted about the legal clouds. Amazed that the potential fine for noise is Euros 6,000. I have no direct knowledge of the events. What I have been told, which may or may not be accurate, is that the organisers relied on a spoken comment that the event would be okay, rather than getting it in writing. In Spain everything is in writing, stamped and preferably in multi-coloured triplicate. (I have the impression that it doesn’t matter what the form says, just so long as it has an official looking stamp and you have the correctly coloured copy.) The assumption is that there is a bit of embarrassment within the bureaucracy that a perfectly permissible activity may be fined for a procedural oversight and that the event was for charity. Nevertheless, the owners don’t yet know if they will be fined. SIX THOUSAND EUROS.
The manager seemed in a better mood today, sufficient for us to chat about future events. The irony is that the venue is subject to the fines, even though they don’t organise the events. (The political dispute over who can give permission – the council or the regional coast authority continues unresolved.) We do a ‘youth handclasp’, it seems like we are swearing eternal devotion, and I leave.
The sky keeps changing and is now warm, birdies singing, and I am happier, because the people at the cafe and the organisers are less stressed.
A couple, who I swear I have never seen before, greet me as old friends. (Better than old friends treating me as a stranger.)
14 Mayo Miercoles
Overcast, moderately heavy rain that we haven’t seen in ages. The earth needs more of this. Danced at home.
15 Mayo 2014 Jueves
Sunny cloudy, breezy, low 20C. Very nice weather for humans. On way to beach I was told by a Spanish woman speaking in English with a Scottish accent, “You are a fantastic dancer, I love watch…..” her voice faded out as her male companion steered her away. (What male companion wants to hear his lover praising another man?)
Forgot reading glasses so did not go on-line. Have left it late to change delivery address for The Economist. Could mean that I read the May 24 edition in October. Now that I don’t have dance events to promote, I am back to having a very laid-back attitude to internet. During the promotion I want to be online afternoon and evening, but now don’t feel much pull. Theoretically I could use the time to build-up on-line connections for future events, but the lack of any obvious response to my efforts over the last few weeks is not encouraging.
If people are already in the area, many will stop to watch a dance event and a small number will join in, but it seems that very few, very very few, will come specifically to the event. I am wondering how to change this. Can I find those few keen dancers who will make the effort and who would then attract others? This is a social phenomenon, and ‘social’ isn’t my thing. I don’t know how ‘social’ works.
Beach very quiet. Danced a while. Oh, the anti-climax, I knew I would feel it, and I do. Although the beach dance charity events were nowhere near what I had hoped, and were much more like what I expected, they were more fun than dancing alone and unconnected today. (But only a bit.)
Just thinking about publicity cost-effectiveness or ineffectiveness. If an A6 leaflet (quarter of an A4) costs 5c each and brings 1 in 100 to the event that person has cost Euro5 and needs to produce more than E5 in donations. I suspect that publicity doesn’t pay. Perhaps one needs to locate a number of base supporters (those keen on dance or keen on charity support) and keep them happy to return to each event.
Why don’t people turn-up in large numbers to a beach party? Is it that they assume it will be something rotten? Did they not hear about it? Are people just not interested? Was the publicity incomprehensible?
If I could figure out how to get lots of people dancing at the October event, that would be an achievement.
16 May Viernes
Cool morning with big clouds, but warmed-up later and the clouds dispersed. Went on-line. Told that the mayor has announced his version of the Nostro permission/fine on facebook. Unfortunately, I can’t access facebook as I am banned from it. I suspect that his version will be not be looked on with warmth from those facing the fines.
I have no direct knowledge of what happened as I was not involved in the management of the event, but I feel affected by it. I feel sufficiently affected by it that today when I was dancing and I saw a policeman taking video of me, I stopped dancing and did stretching exercises until he went away. I couldn’t help but feel, that I was under surveillance.
17 Mayo Sabado
Being the wimp that I sometimes am, I went to the beach in long trousers and without dance shoes. I talked to my favourite waitress who was horrified by the potential fine. Then the dancin6g waitress spoke to me about it and she already knew the amount and was equally annoyed. I told them that it has taken away the pleasure of dancing for me. “Oh, no!” they responded. “Don’t let it do that.”
I went into Nostro to talk to one of the owners. He explained that with fines here it could be a year before they know if they have been fined or not or they may never know for sure. It just hangs in the air until someone gets around to delivering the demand. I told him how this has taken away my pleasure in dancing and how being filmed by a policeman the day before spooked me.
Listening to my story he commands me: “Don’t stop doing what you do.” We swapped stories of officialdom’s ability to mess up our lives.
His story was that one day when working a drunk came in and began annoying various customers, the owner guided the drunk off the premises. Later the police arrived because the drunk had complained of being punched. The police required the owner to prove his identity, and because he did not have proof on him, he was arrested and taken to the police station until they could check his ID.
As I was leaving I said to a group of persons that I know, “They haven’t arrested me yet.” One of them replied, “They can’t arrest you. You haven’t done anything.”
“You don’t have to do anything to get arrested,” I respond and then talk about the fine. They are suitably shocked, but of course no one really cares when it doesn’t affect them personally.
They mention video on-line of Americans being arrested for dancing near a federal monument. I have been told about this before. One doubts that this can be true of America because it sounds like Afghanistan. (How innocent.)
One of them who, it turns out, does classes in Tai Chi and self-defence held in public spaces tells me that I should continue dancing, that many people are drawn to someone who has such confidence… I interrupt to say, “And now I lack that confidence.” He continues that he has been approached by the police who checked who they are and why they are doing what they do. His parting words to me are, “Don’t let the bastards grind you down.”
As I walk along the beach towards the supermarket a middle aged short woman speaks to me in Spanish asking me if I am going to dance. I tell her sadly not today because I feel a bit depressed. I explain about the charity event and the fine. She is livid. She is animated as she describes her disbelief that someone would fine a charity event and that some people are only interested in themselves. As she says this she gestures with one hand as if putting food in her mouth.
Two women walk past, one says, “Buenas dias”. No idea who they are.
Outside the supermarket I see a tramp who has not been around for a week or two. I say hallo and ask him where he has been. He smiles and nods. I say to him that he doesn’t understand, and this he understands as he shakes his head in reply. His face has a number of cuts on it, he is dirty, but he usually salutes me, calls me ‘sir’ (actually senyor) and seems pleased to see me (probably because I treat him politely), sometimes he grabs my hand to shake it while grinning (which makes me remember to wash mine as soon as possible) and I am reminded how goddam lucky I am to have the life I have even though wood boring beetles are coming out of the woodwork, my hopes for well attended beachdance events are on hold and I am ‘on the lam’ from the law.
(This is my moment of living up to the title ‘pathetic’. I have the confidence to dance alone in public and risk being punched by yobs, but I imagine being detained by the police for some kind of ‘public disorder’ charge or for being responsible for the music noise of last Saturday and that wrecks the pleasure of my life which currently pirouettes around dancing.) I don’t like being such a coward.
Is this prudent or pathetic?
This too will pass.
18 Mayo Domingo
Light shower. Overcast for most of day at a mere 17C then the clouds broke and the temperature rose to a normal 23C. Stayed at home. Played video game, then read in garden, in the evening watched a typical modern movie which consisted of hundreds of persons being shot, stabbed or other-wise murdered by the pitiless good guy or by the pitiless bad guy, and then late at night I danced for a while.
19 Mayo 2014 Lunes
Breezy, some cloud, about 23C max. Nice weather. There are people lying on rented sunloungers under rented sunshades on the beach. Some of the cafes are 25% occupied and others empty. It is late morning and I am not sure if I will dance, but I have my shoes and I do my exercises and then, yes, I dance. There are no police. I manage to forget my background anxieties and I get lost in the movement for a while. I tire, do my end exercises, do just a little more dance and then to the supermarket.
I am thinking that this summer I should take some dance classes. Or watch lots of dance video. I have a desire to learn some new stuff, even though I know I dislike the feeling of being awkward and stupid that learning new stuff entails. (This has been stimulated by watching -on my google+ page – a Russian female dance instructor showing steps and explaining them in Russian.)
20 Mayo Martes
Partially cloudy warm day. Shopped and visited the charity shops connected with the dance events. Not recognised: how soon they forget.
21 Mayo Miercoles
Yet another sunny day, with strong wind gusts, probably max around 26C. Took book back to library, used computer there. A comment I had placed on the above mentioned Russian dance instructor’s video got her sufficiently peaked that she replied (in Russian). The Google system is impressive because a single click translated her response into English. “Why beginner’s class?” is what she was asking and the only problem is that I don’t know the answer to that. If I had an internet connection I would probably try to do some of the dance steps or routines that Google+ has allowed me to watch.
The system has some elegance to it. If you can find another user who puts stuff (that is of interest) on his/her Google+ page, it is possible to tell google to let you see anything that that person puts on Google+ in future. This is done elegantly by the new content appearing on your own google+ page. The downside is that there is far too much content and so your page becomes infinitely long and you scroll down and down to see what is on it.
As with all these ‘social’ websites, you can stare at a blank screen wondering what you are supposed to do because there are no apparent instructions.
On twitter now have 38 followers, but what am I going to tweet about now that I don’t have dance events to promote? Maybe I should try to find dance crazy people around the world or nearby.
Just over 6 days left in Spain.
The Economist sent me an email agreeing to send the newspaper to my UK address, but the email was addressed to ‘Mr Chdancer’ which leaves the outcome in doubt.
22 May Jueves
Another mainly sunny, breezy, warm day. Went to beach intending to dance. Chatted with a Brit who has a shop near the beach. We swapped stories of bureaucracy and arbitrary enforcement of possibly non-existent rules. (A tourist was fined Euro200 for cycling through a red light, and not having any cash, her bike was confiscated. But the bike was a rental.)
We both comment on how quiet the beach has been this May after a widely reported high hotel occupancy around May1. He adds, “Yeah, today you don’t have much of an audience, Geoffrey.”
Then spotted some old friends sitting in one of my favourite cafes. I squatted until the pain of doing so prevented further conversation. I was told by one of the women that her son and a friend had danced with me some years ago, before she knew me.
I chose to dance away from visible police. I had noted one standing in one of my usual dance stations, his gaze flitting from parked car to car in what I assumed to be a bored hunt for infractions.
Although the place appears unusually quiet for May, there were enough people taking video of me and among them was a man with an expensive camera with a large lens. When he and the woman with him passed by I asked if he could send me copies. I spoke Spanish and then he replied in slow and difficult English. His reply was that it was impossible. I thought he was telling me that the camera used film, but then I thought maybe he was saying that he had filmed me, but no it is stills and digital, but at 20Mb per photo he didn’t want to send them by email. “It is a professional camera,” he explained, to which I, cheekily, replied that all the photos I have were taken with professional cameras (True, irrelevant, and he didn’t understand me anyway.) The woman suggested to him that we take more photos tomorrow, smaller, and that he email them. I tell them not to worry. He says, “You dance very well.”
“Thank you,” I reply. She says, “We saw you last year.” He adds, “You are on youtube,” and as I nod, “you know.”
I wonder how or why they found me on youtube.
It was a good dance session; I got my ‘happy’ back.
As I pass the Brit shop owner, I say, “I have danced and not been arrested, so I am happy.”
I should be doing at least three things that are pending as I am only here for another 3 working days, but I can’t be bothered to do them. God, my ability to let things slide is impressive. And instead of doing those important things I am looking at a wisteria seedling that is growing in a yoghurt pot: what am I going to do with it as I will not be here to tend it? (Isn’t it odd the things we treat as important. It is the first time I have figured out how to get a wisteria seed to sprout, so it seems important.)
23 May viernes, 24sabado, 25domingo
Friday danced and also Saturday, but Sunday woke up with pain in my hip which fortunately passed, but when I arrived at the beach I felt so calm and lacking in desire to dance that I did my stretches, sat a while, bought some bread, walked along the prom feeling wonderful, and then went home. The beach is fairly busy this Sunday.
Some of the things pending have sorted themselves out without my intervention, but had to contact the gardener because I forgot to pay for April and need to pay in advance for the next few months. (The end of April had a public holiday and then with the dance events I forgot. Only realised a few days ago when I found the already written cheque still in the chequebook)
The month of May has been close to perfect weather (if one ignores the drought). Almost every day has had sunshine, breezes and temperatures around 24C with mild nights. I saw a recent photo of Bournemouth pier with black clouds, rain and low temperatures – ah, something to look forward to as I return on Wednesday.
26 Mayo Lunes
Another identical weather day. Danced, but still wary of dancing when police agents are nearby. I waited until two of them walked away before starting again.
A woman, blonde, slim, maybe 45 or 50, Spanish came over when I was doing my end exercises. She asked if I spoke Spanish and then explained that she has seen me dance, she asked if I made a living from dancing (as she asked she slapped the back of one hand onto the palm of the other in a signal of payment). “Why don’t you have music that everyone can hear, I would like to hear what you are dancing to.” I explain about dance events and fines to which she responds, “The police are thieves.” (She is not the only person who has said this to me.) She volunteers the idea that if I had audible music perhaps I would be fined. I shrug. When I told her about the dance events she replied, “With just you dancing?”
“No,” I reply, “we had 25 persons dancing.”
“When will the next one be?”
I reply that we had planned in October, but now I am not sure.
We talk about dance classes and she tells me that she paints and sometimes goes to classes, but doesn’t much like being told how she should paint.
She says goodbye and disappears onto the beach.
It is funny how women come over to talk to me. (Or insult me.)
27 Mayo Martes
Danced, but can’t remember anything because it is now several days later and I am in another country.
28 Mayo Miercoles
Danced, but possibly should not have done so as it is the day I am due to fly to England. I should have gone on line to check my flight has not been delayed, but forgot my glasses so danced. Got back for lunch and then very very busy getting ready to go. Driven to airport and danced in the terminal near gate 31 on an irresistibly shiney slippery tiled floor (oh, the slide of it). Videoed by amused travellers and then they weren’t quite so amused when I boarded the same ‘plane with my T-shirt damp wth sweat.
In England chatted to taxi driver who turns out to be from Afghanistan and who fled when the Taliban took over. Very interesting, made the drive seem short.
29 May Thursday, 30 Friday, 31 Saturday
Went into Bournemouth and picked up details of dance events from the dance studio. Quite a lot happening especially next weekend with a street dance festival. Danced a bit late Thursday night, but weather so grey and chilly and damp that I have not danced on the beach yet. Slowly adjusting to the gloom, chill and greenness of England.