Wednesday, 24 April 2013

How to see all knitting posts

I'm getting knitting referrals - I haven't posted any knitting for a really long time, but in case you don't see the 'tags' thing, here is a link that should give you all the posts about knitting.

When you get down to the bottom, you can click "Older Posts" at the very bottom left and you will find two more pages of posts.

Monday, 22 April 2013

What's so hot about Ruby?

As I said in 'Praise of other women', it can often be a bit of a mystery to the women in tango what we might aim to achieve, beyond just being able to follow the kind of thing it's possible to do in the open-level class before a milonga. Why do people want to dance with one woman rather than another? We often just don't know; and we make stuff up, often false and unhelpful.

I think that once you have some information about what people appreciate in good dancers, you can pretty much work out for yourself how to achieve it. When trial and error doesn't work, it's easy enough to find someone to ask. But if you don't have any idea what you're looking for, you're stuck, and lessons are often wasted.

Here, then, are some sticky notes of miscellaneous praise for various tango women, all of which came from people whose leading I respect. Some of them are almost the same as each other - but describing different women. I feel that's worth knowing. I've paraphrased some slightly - they were all in conversation over several years and not written down.

When stuck, you could pick one that you liked the sound of, and find out how to be it. Maybe we could have some more, different ones in the comments? Because I could only get these from people I know.

A hugging-and-then-flapping-hands gesture to signify: "her embrace feels like angel wings and my heart is happy".

 "It's like dancing with a little amplifier."

"She feels incredibly steady, like it would be impossible to push her over, but she's really easy to move."

"She was so on the beat, I realised I could think of it like the music was coming from her."

"She embraces you, and you don't even want to move."

"It's crazy how she manages everything!"

"I know I can trust her on a difficult floor, if I lead her to step straight into me, she'll always do it".

"She has an extremely comfortable embrace."

"Like a rollerball. Or a hovercraft."

"So smooooth."

"At the end, tic, tac, perfect!"

"Tres bonne connection."

"So easy".

"She gives off this snuggly vibe like she really wants to be exactly here."

"She has hungry feet".

"It's nice to dance slow music with someone who can do it justice."

"She's nice, I enjoyed it, she has quick feet."

"When we walk, she seems to have endless legs."

"Totally musical, and absolutely no ornaments whatsoever."

"She has one of the most wonderful embraces, I'm just, like, I'm happy now, we don't need to go anywhere".

"I realised I could weight-change her one toe at a time."

"You should have danced with her today, she's like a V8, brrrroommm!"

"Incredibly soft".

"Centred and playful, impeccable balance and axis."

"Tecnica, and feeling".

[post-publication additions below]

"Al compás!"

"Every time I dance with you, always new, nice embrace, nice musicality, always surprises ... [to friend] She's explosive!"

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Exhibition - Doomed Gallery, Dalston

There won't be any Gormlets, as such, but they're not jealous. I've got two pieces in a collective exhibition in a gallery in Dalston next month. It's called “Putting out a fire with petrol” and it's on from 8th to 12th May.

Both my pieces for this project happen to be about dancing. It's a new experiment for me to use words and pictures together as one thing, and it's been really interesting - I like the results a lot. @DoomedGallery have used an earlier version of one of my pieces in their blog post - the final version has the words more prominent. I've written a wee bit more about the project at Gormlets.

Flyer for the exhibition - Text, image and photography - Putting out a fire with petrol

There'll also be a book, which I'll link to it when it's ready.

Doomed Gallery: Wordpress, Facebook, Twitter, 65/67 Ridley Road, Dalston, E8 2NP (streetmap, google). I have no idea what the sound system is like ;)

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Tango Stories - Mike Lavocah - Vorticists - Pugliese

I'm really enjoying Mike Lavocah's book about tango music. It's full of fascinating detail, but with a concise, conversational writing style, readable and pleasant to be with. The stories about troublemaking singers, disastrous love affairs, submarines, trams, money, and people hiring each other, firing each other, having rows and being  late for work are unpretentiously told and lively. On the book's website he provides playlists for you to listen to on the Spotify ad-supported music player, and he points to them in the text. It's a lot of fun to explore this stuff with him.

The 'spooky' Cruz Diablo - Biagi performing his own composition for solo piano - is amazing, and I would never have heard it but for Mike.

Here's a quote which, although not perhaps as immediately useful as all the specific information about arrangements, musical developments, singers, and other soloists, really delighted me:

Pugliese once said that one of his inspirations was the sound of metalworkers. We can hear them, and also the working man walking the busy city streets ... The Pugliese beat has an unrelenting drive that is reflected in the entire orchestra. It is a veritable musical machine, like an old fashioned car engine in which the pistons are the bandoneóns. Even the violins play with a hard attacking sound, ratcheting up the tension. Just when you can't stand it any more, the music softens and melts, allowing you to draw breath. But this respite is only temporary: very soon, the engine starts up again, the yum-ba marcato driving you on towards the climax.

I don't know why it never crossed my mind to consider Pugliese as a Vorticist artist - but now it has, and I love the idea. (I recommend the videos on that page, but my favourite of their pictures is here). The Vorticists may or may not have been at all important - I just like the concept. The music below is "Negracha", which Mike describes as Pugliese's "manifesto". He quotes the bandoneónist Rodolfo Meredos: "Negracha is more than music, it is music for those to come."

You can get Mike's book from him at £15, or from the usual online sources. I think they still have some copies for sale at Carablanca tango club (ask at the bar if they aren't at the desk). I find it just as hard as Mike does to imagine what it would have been like to dance to this stuff for a whole evening. But there you are.


Not much time for anything - sleeping a bit more would be nice. The Gormlets will have a little announcement to make, when I can get my head together to write it. Sadly, they are not going to any balls, but some of their siblings are, and they are rather proud.