I get many comments, some require no answer, some I can answer with a note in the comment, some requiring a comment from me, and then occasionally I get one that requires a whole blog. Such is this one from Chris:
“I am still frustrated at home by the lack of milongas, the in fighting and the way nobody wants to run a dance unless they can make loads of money first from a class.“
Things in the UK have improved in the year since you wrote that, Bob. New traditional class-free milongas Tango Journey, Madame Ivonne and La Milonga Conexion have joined the existing Menuda, Los Gatos de Baile, Milonga Liso (which I know you know) and probably more that I don’t know. I’ve stared a list here. The UK total is only about one tenth of BA’s, but is rising a lot faster!
I will not argue any points here, nor am I saying the comment was wrong or bad. I just feel that it deserves more time and consideration.
I will start by thanking him for the list here. Anything that promotes the ever growing tango scene in the UK is to be praised and all information is useful.
The Milongas listed are all to the good, my problems are; work, time and distance. You see, take for instance MiIlonga Liso, as that is mentioned as One I know. It runs on a Thursday in Southampton. This month I have to work two Thursday nights and one Thursday day. These are twelve hour shifts so even when I am on days I cannot go anywhere that is not fairly local. And this is the real problem for me; Southampton is a four and a half hour drive each way. So as much as I enjoyed my last visit I simply cannot get there unless I make it part of a holiday.
Looking at the others on Chris’s list, I don’t think that there is one within three hours of me. That said there is a growing scene around Manchester and the North of England, although again mostly too far to allow me to go unless I am off work. Similarly Stoke and Stafford are propagating two wonderful groups.
I will be taking a group from Gresford Tango to Stafford and Wilmslow this month. It is good that they can spread their wings. I am afraid the in fighting means that our nearest group still has me on the banned list, so they all miss out. My group misses out on the venue and the one who thinks I will steal her customers will miss out on the revenue.
I doubt though that even the whole of the UK tango scene amounts to a tenth of the Buenos Aires scene, of course there will be some milongas that I do not know of and without doubt it is getting bigger. That is the problem though; we are looking at a scene that spans the whole country, whereas the BsAS scene covers an area of about five square miles.
To prove my point I will list just some of the milongas that I know of on one night in Buenos Aires:
Firstly the ones that we can, and do, walk to from our apartment:
El Arranque, Salon Canning, El Beso, Porteño y Bailerin, Club Fulgor and La Viruta
Only a short bus ride away is: Nuevo Chique, Club Gricel, Confiteria Ideal, Boedo, Niño buen, La Nacional, and Lo de Celia.
Then a little further out are the many milongas in San Telmo including Club La Independencia.
Go out further still and there is the Rivadavia club, Sunderland club and Sin Rumbo. In fact the barrios are filled with clubs that I have yet to discover.
I stress that these are just the ones we know of. There are many more and they come and go at an amazing rate, so much so that I dare not list many as they may no longer be there. Therefore I have only listed the long established clubs. Follow the local (usually free) tango magazines and you will see new venues appearing every week.
So you can see, although we get out more and we can still dance every night (although unfortunately not tango) I will always be a frustrated milonguero here in the tango desert that is N.Wales.
My working life though is rapidly reaching its end; hopefully this will enable me to spend more time in the city of tango. The time when I am at home, with luck and good health, will also be filled with more tango, as I will have the time to travel further afield and maybe visit some of the milongas recommended by Chris.
Keep the comments coming, because when I dry up they are an invaluable source of new ideas.