my life

T’other Paul W stepped into the breach for both Clive and Bruce this week, and jolly good he was too.

<lj-cut text=”Doing our bit for heteronormativity”>
The foxtrot from last time now has an ending, so go look at that if you care.

Natural turn SQQ
Pivot turn: back L, pivot to to point RF to diag centre, forward R on heel SS, stay low and rise into lock
Forward lock, L, R, L QQS
Quick open reverse forward R, forward L, side R starting to turn L, LF back under body in CBMP, back R, S SQQS
Sway thingy: back L to point to wall with L knee bent, stay there and rotate slightly to R leading her to ponce around a bit. SS
Barrel roll: QQS to R, swaying R, turn R and QQS to wall swaying L, turn R and QQS up LoD facing centre swaying R, turn R and QQS to centre swaying L finishing diag centre pointing to opposite corner (not the one between the current long side and short side, the one after that)
Locks into corner, SQQS
Natural turn SQQ
Scoop: back L, side R to face diag centre of new line, lowering into knee with sway to L, SS wait there for SS
Sway to R and lockstep out on L, R, L, QQS
Side R with sway to L, forward L outside partner with sway to R, SS

Alternate easier ending, from quick open reverse:
Chasse to left,
Natural turn,
Chasse to right aiming to far corner of short side with sway to R (small steps to allow lady to move ahead),
Rotate to left shoulder lead and forward lock into corner,
Natural turn
Spin turn etc. etc.

Spin turn
Back locks R, LR, L 1 2& 3 maintaining right shoulder back to end of bar
Back R turning L, pivot, side L, forward R continuing to turn to face centre, side L under body in CBMP, leading lady to step through 1 2 3&
Back L, chasse to left RLR 1 2&3, take your time over first step
Curving walks L, R, L 1 2 3
Outside spin: back L with toe slightly in, take heel of RF past lady’s right side and step around her, side L to end backing diag centre
Pivots (2), 1&2 3 1&2 3 (I can’t seem to make the feet work for these when I’m dancing them around the kitchen, since a 180 degree pivot on each beat leaves me on the wrong foot)
Natural turn

Hip twist to fan
Hockey stick ending
Forward, replace, back lock back
Back, replace (leading lady to alamana), forward lock forward (she locks forward towards you to end on your RHS)
Forward, replace, small cha-cha-cha to left as leading lady open out, replace, spiral, (she has 4 1, not 4&1 to give a foot change), ending in loose shadow hold
Cuban breaks with RF
Cuban breaks with LF
Forward R, spot turn, forward lock
Forward lock,
Forward lock (she turns on this one to get her foot change)

Paul’s Latin top top for the evening was about stepping forward or back in cha or rumba, where the passing foot should have the toe pointing down and the knee as high as possible without lifting the toe off the floor by the time it passes the stationary foot and then take the weight as late as possible starting with the ball of the foot. He was also keen for side steps to arrive with the body over the step rather than going foot-knee-hip, but allowing enough give to settle into the hip afterward. If I do all this, I forget how to do anything with my arms, but presumably practice makes it second nature.

<lj-cut text=”That was a 2 shirt evening”>

Paul pp Clive

B rumba

Forward L, replace, side L,
Top (behind, side, close)
Forward L leading lady to step back and open out, replace, back L leading lady to close up and rotate further into cuddle hold.
Release hold with right hand taking it over lady’s head and out in front of you, rock forward onto R, replace, side R.
Forward and across L, replace R, side L (she ends up on your left)
Forward and across R, replace L, side R (she ends up on your right)
Somehow she ends up in front of you, forward L, replace R, side L leading alamana (I think, can’t see how else the feet for the next bit work)
Rock R, L, R.
close, side, close, L, R, L
Rock R, L, R
Forward L to start again.

B waltz

Start facing diag wall of short side near corner.
Spin turn, usual reverse turn ending, back, side, close, forward, side close.
Check: back R with upper body rotating to L, recover to L, side R to face toward centre.
Weave ending: side L under body keeping as square to her as you can, back R begining turn to L, side L to face wall.
Curving walk to right, R, L, R.
Back lock 1 2 & 3
Outside spin (back R with toe slightly in, pivot L to step outside her, forward R continuing to turn to end backing diag wall).
Reverse turn (I always do a turning lock instead cos my brain is programmed to follow outside spins with it).

Cha, can’t remember which lession

cha-cha right
New York to R
New York to L
Fast New Yorks R, L,
Spot turn to R
Taking a firm hold with both hands, step diagonally outside partner with RF, forward side back turning R.
Back side forward continuing to turn,
Forward side back contuning to turn,
Back side forward (on last forward L, take small step and gather her up)
Top (RF behind) ending closed
Thing like cuban break but stepping to side with LF and closing, twice: 2&3 4&1
Side R, replace, back R, close L, forward R 2 3 4 & 1

C foxtrot

Starting diag centre on long side
Fallaway, QQQ
Slip RF back, pivot LF to diag wall, cross RF behind LF QQQ
Continuing to turn L, step forward left, side R, side L under body (another fallaway) QQQ
RF back, LF side, RF forward (feather finish) QQQ into corner.
Forward L turning so diag to new wall with RF closed to L without weight S
Extend RF to side S
Put weight to RF and lower into knee S
Stretch up left side S
Recover and rotate left shoulder foward. S (that’s 5 slows, count ’em)
Recover on to LF, slip RF back to face new LoD QQ
Forward L, side close side backing wall S Q&Q
Weave ending: side L under body, back R, side L, forward R to corner, outside partner QQQQ
Reverse turn (that’s the one turning L), L, R, L, SQQ to end facing diag centre of new long side
Back check: back R with rotation to L
Weave again, forward L, QQQ QQQ

There was a rumba but my brain melted.

For the rest of you: I recently re-read Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, so I’ll post about that soon.

<lj-cut text=”Contains explicit steps”>
Bruce’s B waltz

Starts across a short side:
Natural turn,
Spin turn, (if you weren’t on a short side, you could over turn this)
Turning lock ending diag to centre on new LoD (sway to R on both natural and turning lock, but straight for spin turn)
Running weave: forward R, across lady L, back R, back L, 1 2 & 3, finishing with lady outside on man’s RHS, man backing diag centre. I’ve forgotten the sway 🙁
Tumble turn: back R (woman back in line) pivoting to diag wall, tightly curve steps to left, L, R, L for 1 2 & 3, to finish backing LoD. Sway starts to right and switches to left to assist the final step of the turn.
Oversway: back R, side L to point foot to wall, rotate foot and lower into left knee, right leg straight out to side, 1, 2, 3. Stretch up left hand side of body, allow right arm to give her some more space (one bar). Close R to L maintaining sway, rise and straighten into promenade position, take left foot to side in PP and we’re off again, 1, 2, 3

Clive’s C quickstep

Natural turn,
Open impetus to end in PP diag to centre.
Chasse to left,
Wing (SQQ for woman, only two steps for man obviously)
Chasse to right,
Back L, back R, lock L, SQQ
Two runs back R, L, QQ,
Back R, lock L, back R, QQS,
Back L, tipple to right with sway to right, SQ&Q
Swivel to left shoulder lead, LF forward into lock diag to wall on new LoD, QQS.

Clive also had a waltz which had the overturned spin turn/turning lock ending closed rather than PP and talking a toe pivot on the final step (L) to end backing LoD, but I’ve forgotten what happened after that, so traumatised was I about not ending in PP. Anyone?

<lj-cut text=”Cut because I care”>

As usual, errors are mine, especially the timing and the names of stuff.

Bruce’s samba
Samba rolls (2 lots, starting RF, finishing RF) SQQ, SQQ
Forward R, Forward L, rock back to R, rock forward to L, S QQ S (woman opens out to man’s right)
Forward R, rock back to L, rock forward to R, QQS (and to the left)
Forward L, rock back to R, rock forward to L, QQS (and to the right)
Forward R turning half turn left, cross RF in front of LF, QQ (give her a shove, she moves across as you turn, end with wide hold, with woman leaning forward)
Back R, side L, close R turning half a turn left, SQQ (close up hold)
Forward L, side R turning half turn left, cross RF in front of LF, SQQ (end wide hold, woman leaning forward)
Back bogo-pogo (mate!) finishing facing diag wall, 1-a-2,
Close L, side R to end in shadow hold, left hand in hers, right on her hip, 3,4 (not 3-a-4, as it’s a foot change for man)
Travelling voltas (if that’s the name, you know, the flat-ball-flat ones) x4 starting on LF, curving right and down the room,
Same again starting RF curving left and down the room, finishing facing diag wall
Voltas around on the spot, still in shadow, turning full turn to the left,
Bota fogos R, L, R and then L, R, L 1-a-2, 3-a-4, (stay in shadow for first one, let go as woman does foot change as we step around her on second one)
Promenade runs: 3 steps forward, 3 steps across, 3 steps forward (she crosses), 3 steps across
Can’t remember whether we did anything to make it join up.

Waltz lines
Start backing LoD.
Back R, side L, lower into left knee with LF and body facing diag wall, RF to straight to side, 1,2,3
Stretch left side up and, it seemed to me after Bruce posed us, right arm forward a bit her going back, 1,2,3 (very little further rotation at this point, according to the teacher, it’s all about the sway)

Same foot lunge from here:
Straighten up on 1 but don’t change weight, close RF, lower into right leg extending left leg to side, 1, 2, 3. Tip: angle RF out slightly rather than straight to wall as it makes it easier for her to keep a connection to your right thigh.
Exit to weave:
Rotate left on 1 but no step for man (foot change as we’re on the same foot), forward L, side R, 1,2,3
weave ending, L, R, L, probably chasse after that.

There was an easier exit from the throwaway but I’ve forgotten it. 2 lines in a row will clearly win me more friends at GD, anyway.

Reggie‘s doing this, so I thought I would, mostly as an aid to my memory. <lj-cut text=”You don’t care about this if you’re not a dancer”>Your comments on what I’ve got wrong are most welcome, any errors are of course mine and not the teacher’s:

Paul’s waltz (that’s the other PaulW, not me).

Starts on LF, facing diag. wall:
Traveling contra-check
Curved feather to right
Outside spin
Turning lock
Chair and slip pivot (can use this to take the corner if you’re at the end of a side)
Double reverse spin
Chasse to right
Weave ending

Bruce’s rumba

Alamana into sliding doors (man steps back, side forward around lady)
Sliding doors twice, ending in hold with lady on man’s right, man’s weight on RF, LF trailing.
Lady’s leg over (probably not the official name for this): 2: man LF forward leading lady to step back and open out again as if to to another sliding door but with hold, slide right arm as far around her as it’ll go so you can hold on tight for the next bit, 3: replace and lead her to step forward, she hooks her right leg around man’s waist remaining on his RHS (not in front of him), standing on her LF. 4,1: lunge into left leg, right leg straight, lift right hip towards her for support. 2: recover onto RF rotating upper body right which gets her off you and leads her to ronde her RF behind her (4,1 and 2 should be a bounce, don’t settle into it or it’s hard to get her moving again, no offence lauralaitaine).
(Not sure of timing for this bit, maybe he’ll go over it again) 3: no step, 4: let go with RH, single hand hold with LH, LF forward turning 180 degrees, ronde RF behind LF for 1,2, plant RF on 3, AND LF forward, 4 RF forward to meet lady coming back towards you having done something completely different, I know not what.
Hip twist, fan.

Bruce’s stuff with fall away in waltz

Starts on LF diag to centre (e.g. having done spin turn and natural turn ending):
1&2 LF forward, RF forward turning hips to centre, LF back in what I think you people call CBM, head backing LoD, hips to centre.
Weave ending: rise at end of 2 (on the “oo” of 2 :-), 3: RF back still in CBM and lower. 1,2,3, 1,2,3: LF back and weave.
Pivot ending: rise at end of 2, 3: slip RF back tracking past LF and turn right toe in, straightening up so you’re together backing LoD before pivoting onto 1: LF forward down LoD, 2&3 chasse to right, do what you like after that (weave ending, probably).

I’m back from the Cambridge Folk Festival. It was the first one I’d been to. I enjoyed it.

 went on Friday. I’d booked the day off work with the thought that I might go, but didn’t in the end. A combination of being busy at work and staying up late to read various books had left me a bit broken, so I just had a quiet day at home.

By Saturday I judged that my beard had grown out sufficiently to blend in with the other festival-goers. We got there just in time for Bellowhead‘s set. They’re a big band doing folk stuff with a lot of other influences, from jazz to disco. They were technically good (according to 

, who can apparently tell whether violinists have been classically trained by looking at them) and made the crowd laugh with their disco sea shanty.

We popped into the Club tent to hear Lisa Knapp. She can sing, but the mixing was painfully bad, so we went and found some chilli from the food stalls instead.

We finished that just in time to meet up with

 and squeeze back into the edge of the main tent for a view of Kate Rusby from a distance (Graham has some great pictures taken with his paparazzi-grade long lens). Turns out she’s from the Wright ancestral seat of Barnsley, so she scored points for that alone. She chatted amiably with the audience and sang beautifully.

After Kate Rusby was done, we made a dash for the front in anticipation of Joan Baez’s set. That meant we had great view of Fanfare Ciocarlia, a Romanian brass band who tore into their gypsy tunes with verve (you could tell it was going to be interesting when the stage hands laid out towels for the band members to wipe themselves with). The audience responded with whooping, clapping and as much dancing as we could manage in the confined space. In the middle of their set, Baez appeared from the wings and danced a bit with the slightly bemused Romanians, who didn’t know who she was.

Finally, it was time for Baez to come on. Amazing music, whether accompanied by her excellent band, playing her guitar alone, or acappella. She’s a trooper who, she implied in her comments, sees as much need for her activism now as in the 1960s. She attacked President Bush in Dylan’s With God on our Side and Elvis Costello’s The Scarlet Tide. She also put in some of her best known stuff, according to

, who loved Diamonds and Rust. She finished with Imagine, which I usually can’t stand (it’s a bit of a dirge, and it’s a “wouldn’t it be nice if everyone was nice” sort of song). This time, there was a lump in my throat as she got the crowd to sing along. Nothing could top that, so then we went home.

January was busy. terriem and jacquic‘s long awaited musical day was at my house on Twelfth Night. jacquic did a great job as a piano accompanist, and we also had clarinet, harps (2), and violin. We started off with Christmas carols, went on to various traditional songs from scribb1e‘s book of Hearty Songs for Public Schoolboys (book may not actually have advertised title). Then it was time for musicals, starting with Once More With Feeling (Walk through the Fire went particularly well, I think). We sang some Andrew Lloyd Webber and some older musical stuff, before moving on to pop songs. There was also lots of eating and chatting. I had a great day: thanks to Terrie and Jacqui for suggesting it, and to Jacqui for her excellent sight-reading.

unoriginal1729 had a cocktail party the next weekend. For once, I wasn’t driving, so I was able to sample a few of other people’s creations. Given enough of the rum cocktail (which dab13 claims was called rumbaba, something which the dictionary says is a cake), cowe, dab13 and I were transformed into pirates, which involved saying “Arrr!” and me trying to lead them through Heart of Oak and Spanish Ladies without much success (neither of them had read Hearty Songs for Public Schoolboys). The rum cocktail was a bit pink, leading kadia to label us “metro-pirates”.

If alcoholic cocktails have dubious names like a Slow Comfortable Screw and a Screaming Orgasm, non-alcoholic ones must, we said, have names which are more innocent. lauralaitaine suggested a Flash of Ankle or a Stolen Kiss. My own suggestion of a Quick Fumble Behind the Bikesheds wasn’t quite in the right spirit, apparently.

The next weekend, chaos_natsci had another party. There was plenty of entertainment, what with limbo dancing, table football and watching cowe and sammagain throw women into acrobatic rock’n’roll moves.

A few quiet weekends since then have provided a much needed opportunity to relax. Today I’ve terrified scribb1e by shaving off a week’s growth of facial hair leaving myself with a goatee (people on Facebook can see the picture). Beards are good, but goatees are bad. Who knew? I’ll be clean shaven tomorrow so girls in Clive’s lesson don’t run away.

Happy New Year to you all. December was busy. We visited my family in Yorkshire, saw gjm11, Mrs gjm11 and the new sprog, went to the CDC Christmas Dinner Dance, and to Safi and Mike’s wedding. We had 9 people over to ours on Christmas Day, and I spent New Year showing people how to tie a bow-tie.

<lj-cut>The Christmas Dinner Dance was fun. As well as the ex-student hangers-on like me, there was a contingent of people who I’d guess were about my parents’ age. It’s always nice to see the old people enjoying themselves 🙂 Wolfson did good food and there were plenty of people to dance with. unoriginal1729 took some pictures, but I’ve not seen them yet: did any of them come out?

The wedding was lovely. Always nice to see the bride make the “obey” vow: the old ways are the best, I’ve never seen the point of this picking and choosing from the Bible you get these days. There was a ceilidh during which I managed to fall over on scribb1e (the basket is a dangerous ceilidh move) but she didn’t break.

scribb1e volunteered to cook Christmas dinner this year, for 9 people (my parents, her parents, her grandmother and my sister and brother-in-law). I helped by peeling several kilograms of vegetables and by getting out of the way. The turkey was called Sidney, apparently, and he tasted very nice, although the cook herself refused to sample him. scribb1e got me Sam Harris’s The End of Faith, among other things, so expect a review of that at some point. We had a sing-song around the piano in the evening, which made a change from watching whatever tat they’d put on TV.

Between Christmas and New Year, I mostly sat on the sofa and ate After-8’s while reading Robin Lane Fox’s The Unauthorized Version, which is a classical historian’s take on the Bible. I’d recommend it to anyone interested in Biblical texts. A fuller review might follow at some point.

gjm11 had an open house, at which there was an impromptu meeting of the LiveWires ex-Christians society in the kitchen. I don’t know what they put in the water at LiveWires: if I did, I could extract it and sell it to Dawkins or Harris.

I was at a James Bond themed party on New Year’s Eve. I was the only man present wearing a real bow-tie, so demonstrations of how to tie it became a party-piece. Sadly, it looked better on the girls than me. Alas, the blokes’ demands for the girls in the full bunny-girl outfit went unheeded. I have vague, now suppressed, memories of cha-cha’ing with dab13, but luckily there are no photos of that.

Back to work tomorrow.

You know it’s been a good night when your feet hurt and you go through two dress shirts. The CDC Ball was fun, as usual. The demo couple, Marco Cavallaro and Joanne Clifton, were very good. Their tango in particular stood out as a great performance as well as being technically good (how does she do those head snaps?). Definite passion there. Not sure I’ve seen hair grabbing as a move in tango before. Wise to seek partner’s consent before using, I think 🙂

unoriginal1729 has great photographs. The consensus on Facebook about this one is that I am singing, and not that lauralaitaine has just stood on my foot. I don’t remember singing during that one, although I do recall treating one fortunate lady to my rendition of “New York, New York” while carefully choreographing the fast “it’s up to you” bit to be the weave and twiddly thing (technical term) that Clive’s taught. Go me.

There are a few more of scribb1e‘s photographs here, although some of the ones that would have been good didn’t come out because of the low light and rapid motion (q.v.).

I was a bit broken for the rest of the weekend and so missed all of the possible parties on Saturday. Sorry all. Watched Strictly Come Dancing instead, and agreed with the result (Carol Smillie was the weakest dancer, I think, and I didn’t rate her samba this week as highly as the judges did). I am a bit worried that Craig Revel Horwood is mellowing in his old age, but it’s possibly just that the increasing standard of the remaining dancers is giving him less opportunity to stick the knife in and twist it in that entertaining way of his.

There are some photos of my 30th on the web. These ones were taken by Barney. If anyone’s got any more, do point them out to me.

There’s also a video of David B and me dancing rumba, but that will never see the light of day, oh no. Barney got a couple of scribb1e and me singing Paracetamoxyfrusebendroneomycin, too.

Seeing yourself on video is odd: I do hunch my shoulders a lot, don’t I? Must stand up straighter. Also, I sound a lot posher than I think I do. Cambridge has rubbed off on me, dontcherknow.