Monthly Archives: July 2012

Technology

Oh how we now rely on technology. When we came back from Cardiff my laptop decided it would no longer produce any sounds. Not out of the speakers and not through the socket into my sound system. It was rendered totally dumb.

 

I checked it all for virus, I checked all the settings. I powered it down disconnected the battery. I tried everything I knew. Nothing worked.

 

Now all my music is arranged, by genre, by artist, and even in tandas, so my computer is quite important to me. Never the less all was not lost, my desktop at home is also similarly arranged, so we still have the music for our practicas.

 

Then disaster; first it was just micro second interruptions of our music. Almost no one noticed. Then in the following week THE BLUE SCREEN OF DEATH appeared on my desktop. I rebooted it; it ran for twenty minutes then crashed again. I rebooted again this time it lasted fifteen minutes. This carried on at ever smaller intervals until it just would not stay booted up.

 

I rebooted in safe mode and tried to find the fault. Nothing was jumping out at me. The trouble was it was now the weekend and Monday was our practica. I had no play list and no idea what to do next.

 

There were, of course two choices; I could play CDs but unless I did it track by track there would be a jumble of tango, Vals and milongas, and I would have to stand in the room amongst the dancers. Or I could use Vivs computer and hope that I could choose well.

 

I went for the safe option, use Vivs computer. I used safe artists Juan D’Arienzo and Miguel Calo. I just had to hope that my choices were good.

 

Actually everyone enjoyed the music. I need not have worried. Maybe I should always rush a cobbled together list (only joking).

 

My desktop has now had a new graphics card and is up and running again, leaving me with the decision of who to choose for my playlist this Monday.

My laptop has gone away. I suspect the computer man will bring it back telling me it is beyond economical repair, but at least it will still serve as a good storage device.

I am now urgently seeking its replacement. On the up side at least in future I will not have to face the embarrassment of opening up my bag in the airports and security laughing at my battered old laptop again.

 As a footnote my micro SD card in my phone has now decided to die. Whatever happened to the days when you bought something and it actually worked?

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Three Great Nights

I often wonder at the differences in people and why some are so overwhelmingly generous. I guess I will never know, but I am thankful for those who are, and I am always glad to mention them here. I do not know why the Tango Edge team have taken us to their hearts, but they have. So here is the story of our recent visit.

I made contact via email, because I had heard a nasty rumour that the Monday nights at Barocco bar had ceased. Graeme wrote back to say that they are on as normal. This was great for us as our good friends Roger and Mirta would be in Cardiff for the wedding of Roger’s son. After the passing of dozens of emails we arranged to meet there after eight on Monday.

The weather had been atrocious on our first two days in Cardiff so we arrived in full wet weather gear, and changed when we got to the bar.Xeniaand Graeme welcomed us as old friends. Xenia did not want us to sit alone and pressed us to join the group. I would have, but we were waiting for Roger. When Roger and Mirta arrived they brought along another friend as well, so when Xenia joined us I had the choice of four women to dance with, and that was just on our table. Also Mabel (Her of the excellent music in Wilmslow) arrived saying she had seen on facebook that I would be here, I was truly blessed and flattered. I had a rare chance to dance with Mirta in the UK and Viv had the rare opportunity to dance with Roger in his home town. The company was wonderful the music was great, we were amongst friends, and there was a room full of women wanting to dance, could it get any better?

Soon though the night was drawing to a close and Xenia mentioned she would like to go to Chippenham on the following night. My lack of internet access meant it would be doubtful that we would be able to locate it if we went, but Graeme (God bless him) said “no we will take you” so we exchanged phone numbers and made tentative arrangements for the following night.

We left Barocco Bar with Roger and Mirta saying our goodbyes in the middle of the High street, not wanting to part until the last minute. Roger has family business to attend so we may not see him again this trip. So they left for their hotel and we headed off down the footpath to be greeted by hundreds of frogs enjoying the damp conditions.

The following night, true to his word Graeme arranged to pick us up at the camp site. It was still raining, so the offer to come onto the site to pick us up was more than welcome. We thought that they were running late, then I got a call from Xenia; they could not get through the gate. For those who do not know (I suspect that is the vast majority, as even locals do not) there is a wall running down between Sophia Gardens and Pontcanna. This means that if you follow the postcode for the camp site you will hit a dead end. The only way in is to go to Glamorgan County Cricket Ground first. Graeme had got to the dead end, and only pedestrians can pass this way. Fortunately it had stopped raining for a while and we found Xenia wandering at the top of the camp site and Graeme parked outside in Doggo Street. (yes that really is the name).

The journey to Chippenham was enjoyable if only for the company. Motorways are not the most scintillating mode of travel, but the time passed pleasantly. At the other end we got slightly lost but there was no panic and we still arrived early.

As is the way with these things, they have good nights here and bad nights. Unfortunately tonight was not one of their good ones, numbers were right down. Still the quality of the dancers made up for the lack of numbers. The lemon drizzle was delicious (more for me as there were less people) and it was good to catch up with Hayden again. We had missed his celebration milonga as we had been in Bournemouth, but I took the opportunity to congratulate him on escaping the treadmill. (I was trying to hide my jealousy as I did it).

The return journey was a bit more eventful, as some kind soul had decided to close the M4 for the night, but the detour did mean we had more time together

We thanked Graeme and Xenia for two wonderful evenings; they really do make our trips to Cardiff worthwhile. This was not over yet though, there was a Salsa band playing in the town the next night, they informed us and asked if we would like to join them. Having had such a good time these two nights, how could we refuse?

So we joined them again the following night in the Free Cuba bar for a night of salsa. Somebody from our group asked “Why is it all tango dancers can salsa” easy answer was “we will prove that wrong” and we did. But we enjoyed ourselves never the less.

We soon warmed up though and we gave it all we had. A few pints of San Miguel helped lubricate my legs. Viv was just high on life. OK we will never be great salsa dancers but we enjoyed ourselves.

The rest of our time in Cardiff was a bit of an anticlimax, (I thought of saying a damp squid here but that would be too much of a pun) I am extremely grateful for the three nights we spent with Xenia and Graeme they were just fantastic.

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Milonga Liso

I have no internet access while travelling in the UK, despite all the WiFi hotspots and free access at Weatherspoons. For some reason I just cannot get it to work. I always could before but not now for some reason. So tales of my travels are delayed until my return. This is the first, others will follow in time, but you will have to be patient.

On our travels we always seek out tango venues. Often the websites are out of date or the venues simply do not exist, still we always travel in hope. Where we do manage to find an actual dance, often the crowd is cliquey or the music is some score that a local DJ thinks anyone can tango to. So although we travel in hope, we are never too optimistic.

Such was our frame of mind as we set off for Southampton on a busy Thursday evening. Our satnav although not the best usually manages to get us somewhere near the venue, usually diverting us all around the houses first. The drive to Southampton was uneventful, although as we passed all the signs Viv was staring to doubt the “bitch” again. I had no knowledge of where this venue was so I had little option but to follow. As we passed over smaller and smaller roundabouts, suddenly we were in the street named on the website.

The “bitch was not having this though and sent us around the corner to as small shopping street. Why is it whenever you want to turn the car around there is a huge van right behind you that follows you up every turning you take to get out of the way? Once turned around we headed back to the original street, ignoring, “You are near your destination” and “You have arrived”. There sure enough was what looked like a community centre, and those people looked like they were carrying dance shoes.

We followed the small crowd through the glass doors into a beautiful room to the sounds of D’Arienzo. Already I was starting to like this. A black guy rushed over and introduced himself as Dele, welcoming us to his Milonga and quickly explaining where everything was. Just as quickly he rushed off again, I guess that everything was not yet quite ready.

We signed in, leaving my email address and looked for a seat. For the first few tandas not much happened, and then people started to get up. We joined them on the floor and I was instantly lost in the music. The combination of good floor, good dancers, and great music had my mind spiraling back to Buenos Aires.

Later Dele came over to talk to us about his milonga, his teaching methods and his music. Viv and I had been waiting for a milonga tanda, but Dele, being the great host asked her to dance. I knew that this would happen, one track then milonga. Still Viv looked happy so I grabbed one of the local ladies and set off to have some fun of my own.

We managed to get that milonga tanda later, so we did not miss out. As we sat down after the next tanda another guy approached our table “Hi Bob, I know you but you may not know me” he said “We have a mutual Friend”.  It turned out he was the John Morton that Janis told us all about. He had spent four months in Buenos Aires and left just before we arrived this year. It was great to spend some time reminiscing about venues and Milongas in Buenos Aires. We also spoke about Marcela and Ruben from Nuevo Chique; Ruben has had a Stroke and has not been to the Milonga since April. Marcela is now back attending the Milonga, we had all feared it may end and are glad she is back, but our thoughts are still with Ruben.

My fears on what we would find here were totally unfounded; here was a guy who really got what tango is. Often I hear “we teach only traditional Tango” from people who have no idea what that means, well I can only complement the standards here, the ladies I danced with, although they were mostly beginners, they followed whatever I had led. They understood the concept of following and moved without pre conceived ideas of what I would do next.  I took them often well beyond what they had been taught and when they passed the point where they could follow there was no recrimination just a smile or laugh and we simply carried on.

 It has been a long time since I have enjoyed a Milonga in the UK this much. The music was great, the host friendly, there was not a hint of any sort of clique and both Viv and I danced our socks off. My only regret is that it is so far away, I fear it will be some time before I can return.  When I do return, for I most definitely will, I look forward to dancing again with such great followers and Viv is looking forward to more good dances with all the friendly men.

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