ah, home

Wednesday, 29 July 2009 at 16:55
It's good to be home. Gum's still a major pain, but got some new pills now... Had a chance to reflect more on my journey. What a great time! I didn't mention before the wonderful musicians that played tango for us through the week. We had a visiting tango band, an orchestra made up of the festival participants, almost operatic singing, piano and bass and of course bandoneon. Bliss. Thinking now of the SFTX (http://sftx.info/) 2010, and before that the winter Taboe camp in NL. Homer and Cristina (one of the founders of SFTX) were a real inspiration as usual, both personally and in their classes. Maria and Ismael were also excellent, they had such grace and timing in their movements. There was one moment where they used the first beat of a song after the soft intro to move into close embrace. It is one of my strongest mental images from the festival. I hope to keep in touch with some of the interesting people I met there. It always makes me smile just how easy it is to meet people either doing or thinking along similar lines as you in the tango crowd.

So, now that I'm back, the matter of paying the rent arises. After a clarifying meet with my business partner, we've decided to take a little longer over the Champagne Singles launch event, to give us time to refine and prove the idea on a smaller scale first and built up demand. So, the 5th Sept is off. It's for the best I feel, especially as the venue lease holder was served with an eviction notice. It also gives me more time now to focus on my book, which I feel has a better chance of making money sooner, so, lets see what happens in the coming weeks.

I do feel a little embarrassed about postponing the event though, telling so many people about it, accepting their generosity in helping and telling their contacts, now to have it not go ahead as planned. I don't like not doing what I say I'm going to do, but sometimes things happen beyond our control (actually quite often), so that's life!

It's great also to have a little more space now to move the PePol project forward, something bigger and grander and with the potential to make a real contribution to combating climate change. We're finalising the overview document and mockups before seeking funding, so more details when we do.

Tango was strange tonight at Archers, probably need to give it a rest for a wee bit.

A quick note on "switch catches" - some of the combinations that fit into the idea are of course very well known, it's the wrapping it up as an idea and exploring the various unusual, yet relatively straight forward possibilities of it I feel is new.

To bed.

Taking something good

Sunday, 26 July 2009 at 13:25
The most pressing reason I write this is that I miss home, which would normally feel quite strange as I generally feel at home wherever I find myself, but things aren't as they normally are. I also feel like I'm forgetting some of my own language having spoken almost exclusively to people with limited English (sadly my only language) the last 2 and a bit weeks.

At the moment I'm tired and sick, but also feeling grateful for the many unexpected things I've experienced in these days away. I spent some time with a very beautiful woman and shared some good understandings. The memories are settling into a sunny botanical garden of clear moments now. I remembered not to hold on so much to regret and trust in people's strength a little more. I then spend almost a week diving into the German tango scene here at the Phantastango festival in Braunsbedra. This place is spectacular, like a dreamlike mix of an art gallery, heavy industry factory and church, the the suspended swinging sofas, giant drills and tall, arched windows. It was good to meet so many faces I already knew from other venues around Europe and everyone was very welcoming. I think I was a bit of a novelty being the only Englishman here - which has bit hard sometimes, not having a clue about the details of what anyone around you is talking about. But when they can people have often translated and I've met some great people here who'd I'd like to keep in touch with. Amen for tango.

I was just about balancing my work (deadlines looming for a new event, see www.champagne-singles.co.uk) and dancing, having some great tango exchanges and input from the teachers and my favourite dancers here and getting a lot out of just observing the classes and demos (I was too late to book the ones I would have been interested in, and besides I find there's little point unless you know you'll be working with a partner who's vaguely on the same page as you in their tango), when a few days ago I felt very tired, with a strong headache and a very sore throat. The next morning I woke up with a brite red, swollen gum at the back of the mouth, so much so it was starting to cover my molar, meaning I was biting down on gum when closing my mouth fully. You can imaging how much fun eating then became. The gum has now changed colours (hopefully just healing from the biting) and I'm liquidizing my food as best I can. People have been extremely kind here, I've had massages, homeopathic treatments and many kind words from people I barely know. While I wasn't dancing I got some decent pictures of the tango action and the fine group performance on the final evening. Today I was taken to a dentist by one of the attendees here and given a painkiller injection and some anti-biotics and told to get the tooth out as soon as I get home. Nice. But if it works that's ok with me. I'd neglected to take out travel insurance, but she didn't charge me. So, such a lot to be grateful for, but I'm feeling quite fed up still. Simply bitting into a sandwich without wincing again will feel great. Feels good to write this.

I'm hear now, day 9, with the cleanup crew, helping out and staying an extra night as my train leaves tomorrow. I have a bucket of blended pasta, potato, peanuts, tomato, olives and port cutlets next to me and a Becks green lemon - which is not quite as affective as the double bourbon was, but tastes so much better. I'd orginally planned to having a look around the churches and landscapes. Unfortunately it will be another 72 hours before I see an English morning again and can book an emergency dental appointment. Pants. But on the plus side this experience will probably work out to be a useful one, tough one's usually do.

Take care

ps. in terms of personal tango learning, for me the most important things have been observing more carefully the weight tranfer onto my left foot (as I have left knee troubles) and continuing to develop my sensitivity to the followers axis (which of course allows more comfortable and peaceful dance as well as crazy sliding volcada type action). perhaps I'll write more on that when I have more energy. Just one more thing. I've named the set of techniques I've developed (accepting someone, somewhere, sometime may have done the same) and that often flavours my dancing. "Switch catches". I might change it, but I like it for now. Essentially variation on the theme of some kind of catch joined to another via 1 or 2 baredas and/or a weight change, most often with the same leg of the leader doing the foot play. The idea can also be used with secarda ganchos, with the secarda rasing the leg to be 'caught' with a gancho and then bought back through into potentially into another catch - either mordida or gancho freeze. This concept rarely fail to bring a smile and giggle to a follower when performed well. One of the great things about these things is that some of them are rather little and simple things that most leaders should be able to do with a little practice, and of course when divilered as a concept provide ready avenues of exploration. I shall aim to write more about "Switch catches" before long. Getting well again and sorting financial life are priorities now.

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