Monthly Archives: December 2013

The Fat Man at Christmas

I have just been for a walk. I needed to get out and burn off some of that Christmas food, and we haven’t actually reached Christmas day yet. So it set me thinking while I walked, why do we eat so much at Christmas.

It all started many centuries ago; During the winter months, people came close to starving or actually did starve as the winter progressed. There were not the resources to store or import food, so we only had what we could grow at the time.
When we reached the longest night, now close to the limit of endurance, the night’s started to shorten. This made it a time for celebration. Bring some greenery into the house to prove it was not all over. Kill one of the birds we had saved and have a mid winter feast, eat it along with what we could grow during the frosts, sprouts, parsnips, and other root veg.
Then the Christians came long, they adopted the pagan festival and called it Christmas. So we stuck a star on the top of the evergreen tree that we had in the house and called it a Christmas tree. Now we had a feast to celebrate something other that the end of a fast.
As we moved into the industrial era some companies provided a Christmas meal for their workers. Ironically the reason they needed to do this is because they paid them so badly that they were once again on the verge of starvation.
So now there were two feasts, the family and the company.
Then along came Coca cola, mass advertising, and an age of greed. They presented Christmas as a fat man in Coca cola colours along with mass consumption Father Christmas was born.
Now in a modern age, there is no risk of hunger (not for the rich third of the world anyway) so we don’t go hungry at all before we feast.
Then our family feast has grown. We have a work family to feast with. We have a social family to feast with (often more than one) and not forgetting our actual family.
So we feast, and then feast some more. Often completely forgetting why we feasted in the first place.
So before you feast again take some time to just go hungry for a short while and think of others.
Meanwhile I am off to another party. More cake along with the tango and drinks.
Happy Christmas from Gresford, don’t eat too much and enjoy the celebrations.

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Keep Calm and Tango

I’ve been getting some complaints lately about what is happening to tango here and they have given me food for thought. For me, if the music is good little else matters, but I can understand why people get upset.
The first complaint is about the cliques, this I understand. I arrive at many milongas with an entourage, usually more women than men. This causes me a problem; The one thing I am complaining about, people not circulating, I become guilty of myself. You see, how can I go around the room and dance with all the other ladies if no man will come over and dance with the ladies I bring? It is a problem that I have no answer for. I think it comes down to teachers and organisers. Down in Southampton when we went last year we were welcomed in and the men were lining up to dance with Viv, this left me free to dance with as many ladies as I could fit in. I put this down totally on Dele and his welcoming attitude. Now I am not saying that other places do not welcome us, they do, but the men definitely need to come out of their shells.
Then we have the posers, who circulate the milongas and only dance with the best, leaving many sitting alone and often having crisis of confidence. Trust me on this, the only way to get to be the best is to dance more. The more we circulate and dance with others the more good dancers will evolve. It is not just altruism, we create more good dancers and we ourselves get more good dances. Some day someone better will come along and take the good dancers up then you will have to dance with the beginners yourself or just sit out like the wallflowers you created.
Then finally we have my pet hate; criticism, we men are sensitive creatures and do not respond well to criticism. Women who tell the men that their dancing is rubbish, only have themselves to blame when no one will dance with them. Women, I know, also have to put up with this abuse. So we end up with a room full of people who will not dance for fear of being corrected on the dance floor.
Truth is, no matter how bad your dancing nobody should have the right to comment during a dance. A milonga is a social dance, a place to socialize and meet new people. If you want to improve your dancing go to a class, or just quietly practice. Don’t take your failures out on others, because, lets face it, if you can’t lead, or follow, your partner, it is as much your fault as it is theirs.

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