Wednesday, January 31, 2007


If you watch a typical disco scene, you are witnessing something dedicated to St Vitus: an aimless twitching and gyrating which does not involve human contact of any kind (Thus Spake The Old Scrote). Me, I belong to a more gracious age:
I can do the Quickstep.
I can do the Foxtrot.
I can do a snazzy Viennese waltz with variations.
Given warning, I can still do the Gay Gordons and the Valeta.
If you have no idea what I am talking about, I am sorry for you. It was called "ballroom dancing" and I took lessons when I was 17-18. I, and my fellow acne'd sixth-formers from Wellington Grammar School for Boys made our way to a dance academy in the Square to get to grips, terpsichoreally-speaking, with sixth-formers from Wellington High School for Girls.
The music issued from 78s - it's a fair bet the gramophone was the wind-up kind - and was of the kind known as "strict tempo ". If you have never heard of, or listened to, Victor Sylvester and his Orchestra, you have escaped one of life's soul-numbing experiences. But, to give him his due, the old maestro did his bit to keep our feet moving properly and at the right pace.
The essential stance for dancing the quickstep, foxtrot and waltz was that the gentleman put his right arm round the lady's waist, decorously, held her right hand in his left, decorously, while the lady put her left hand on the gentleman's left shoulder, decorously, and then away, to the music and the instructor's voice: quick-quick-slow quick-quick-slow, or whatever.
Talk about a navel engagement without loss of semen. Never mind, it was all very innocent. More importantly, it was a way to civilise us brutish boys, and a chance for the girls to realise that if they didn't have boyfriends, they weren't really missing anything.
Tango, anyone?

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