Tag Archives: Biagi

No beef in the land of cattle

Getting beef in this land of cattle, is becoming increasingly difficult. I wanted a kilo of mince, and our local butcher said “mas tarde” so I tried the chino two doors away. The butcher there was shut up. The chino opposite us had non. So I returned home without, because I had a bag full of shopping and was being looked on suspiciously in the chinos.

I left again without my shopping to try elsewhere. What I did notice is that there are increasing numbers of Tiendas Granjas. Don’t bother to translate, it translates as farm stores, which is not what they are. They sell chicken, whole, breasts,legs, and whatever bits you might want. I wanted minced beef. Last time we had this problem we had stopped at a place on Gascon, it was expensive, but needs must. So I went there, inside there was no sign of mince. “Hay picada?” I asked “Picarda Carne?” he replied “Si un kilo”  “Si” Now as I said there was no sign of it there, but he took what looked to me the leanest steak I have seen, trimmed any remaining fat off it and put it in the mincer. This was all good stuff. He weighed it out and it was just over a kilo. He picked some out and put it into his hand until it weighed exactly a kilo. Once it weighed the correct amount, he threw what was in his hand back into the bag. Like I said it is dear here, cost me $400ar, but let’s put this into perspective, that is £4, and it was slightly more than I paid for.

Nuevo Chique never fails.  Today there was a shortage of women, this meant that occasionally I was stuck, but I have a few old favourites that will always dance with me. For Viv there was no such problems, she was up every tanda. I only missed two, Pugliese and Biagi. and thereby hangs a tale; Viv always dances Pugliese with Miguel, who incidentally hates Biagi. So when a strong beat started, Viv got up with Miguel. I never even gave it a thought, I just headed for the toilets to freshen up. I was out in the corridor before I realized that it was not Pugliese but Biagi.

When I got back, cursing, it was all my fault, of course. I should have told her. Well in the course of four hours one missed tanda is not the end of the world. Next tanda was a Vals, and this was followed by, you guessed it Pugliese. So she danced again with Miguel.

I had a pile of raffle tickets by the time the sorteo came. I failed to win the champagne, I failed to win the chocolates, I even failed to win any discount vouchers, but my number came up for two free entradas for Caminito milonga Saturday night. I did not respond, and let someone else have it, who may actually want it.

We retired to Congreso Plaza Pizzeria for a coffee and medialuna. I fancied the tostada again, but Viv was not for that, she wanted us to save ourselves for her pasta later.

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Coughing fit

When we bought skirt hangers, I said we should have bought ten, but we bought five. So this morning Viv sent me out for more. It was a hot walk down Levalle, but when I got there the man said he had non until Thursday. I did think of buying different ones, but that would never do. So I headed back. On the way I spotted a shop selling perchas, but not the ones I wanted. Then on the other side of the road I saw another. There were two just like the ones we had, so I thought I would give it a try “Hay cinco?” I tried “Si” said the guy. Now the last five were $137 these were $125, and I thought I’d had a bargain. Seems the first guy was ripping me off.

Funny place this they have a cavalier attitude to prices, but they weigh lettuces. You just can’t figure it.

Viv was not at her best today, but at the last minute decided to come with me to El Beso. The numbers were down but I was still having problems getting dances. Viv however was not, she was up every tanda until she had a coughing fit and dissapeared over to The Coffee Store.

I would have joined her sooner, but Maria arrived and I had to dance with her. Then it was Biagi and I could not miss that tanda. Then it was a ladies choice and I was grabbed. When I finally got out to Viv she was disappointed that she was having such a good time but had to leave. At least she was not mad at me, for a change.

On the walk back we stopped at Farmacity again and then the shop that sells the glace fruit. The prunes in here are cheaper that Goji but the avena (oats) is nearly double the price. So then we had to go to Goji for the oats. As I said, they just seem to make up the prices as they go along.

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If you could see

For those of you familiar with George Formby, cleaning windows in Buenos Aires is nothing like the song. You see we are three floors up, you just cannot do it off a ladder and any scaffold would get knocked down by the crazy traffic. The answer is to lift each window out and wash it in the bath. A laborious process as cloths have to be put under the window each time to preserve the enamel. Still it did not take me as long this time, as it is only nine months since I last did them.

Our old venue for a Monday is no more, but Gabriela and her crew have moved en block  to Plaza Bohemia. There is no Obalisco on a Monday now. Time to take our trusted 168 collective again. Not so far this time, second stop on Alsina, but it was still hot and sticky on there.

The place was almost empty when we arrived and I wondered how we  get along. As there was no one to dance with I danced the first tanda with Viv. Fortunately a few more came in while we danced. It worked out great for Viv, as more people came in they got her up to dance and she never missed a tanda. At one point everyone was dancing except those without partners, unusually there were three extra men.

A group of ladies I know were sat on the next table to me and there were also a lot of new faces willing to dance with me. By the 7 0’clock sorteo Viv was ready to go. The  tanda before was Pugliese and I sat it out.  I wanted to do a last tanda but Viv had changed her shoes, Shame, it was Biagi. A last tanda together to Biagi would have made the night perfect.

There is a couple we see in El Arranque and they were here as well. What they dance could not be called pure tango and they are jigging about in every Cortina. If you see me laughing at them, do not get the wrong idea, they are awesome, not only do they make me smile, but they do not care what anyone thinks. They are just having a great time. If only every one was like them (me included).

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A new respect

I have developed a new respect for the DJ’s of Buenos Aires. Every day and every night these (mostly) men  create tandas straight from their vast knowledge and entirely off the cuff.

It looks easy, all you have to do is put three or four tunes together from the same artist and from the same era with similar rhythms. Of course anyone could do it, and many over here think they can.

I decided to create a Milonga to celebrate our Coral wedding, a simple matter of putting together about twenty tandas with a Cortina between.

My first problem was with a milonga tanda, I just could not find enough tunes by D’Sarli, I had to add one otherby Firpo to my list. Several times I could not find what I wanted but after a lot of work in the end Ithink I managed it. It all looked grand until I played the whole lot together, then I realised that there were more than one or two errors.  My Fresado tanda consisted of three canjengues and one melodic tune; I had a similar problem with Troilo.

I have rewritten my list over and over, maybe I am striving for a perfection that cannot be achieved, but I know that every day in Buenos Aires this is done successfully.

This work has taken me several weeks, I think I am finally there, but I would not want to do it again in a hurry, never mind putting it together on the night, with an audience in waiting.

To some here I am the expert on the music, because I am able to name some tunes and, mostly, knowing exactly when they are to end. This though is just an illusion I create, I have my favourites, tunes that I know well. These I can name, but if you could imagine the vast catalogue that exists outside my knowledge, then try to imagine knowing all this music, when it was produced, the cadence and the rhythm, you would get some idea of the skills possessed by the Buenos Aires DJ’s.

These men were born into a world of tango, from their mothers knee they heard the tunes of  D’Arienzo Tantori and Biagi, we can try to ape them, we can work on preparation, but in the end they are almost as great as the artists themselves and they have a genius that we can only wonder at.

Footnote Jantango has just published an article about Dani a Buenos Aires DJ. Read it and enjoy:http://jantango.wordpress.com/2010/03/21/best-dj-in-buenos-aires/

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