Sunday, 23 February 2014

Deja Vu

 Last night the Guru's Swing Band had a mammoth gig which I went to with some trepidation. Why? Well, apart from me, the oldest person there must have been all of thirty. I went on the 'bus which meant that I approached the door from the end opposite to a snaking queue the end of which was not visible to the be-spectacled eye. Taking my courage in both legs I advanced straight up the couple of steps to the Doorman in control of things. Not unreasonably, he pointed me to the far west where there was evidently an end to this queue. Firmly, waving my stick at him, I said that old ladies with incapacities were not about to line up in the wind and the cold. He must be fond of his Grandmother because he let me in and this post testifies to the fact that I was not riven by those still waiting in the queue. I knew that the band's first set was not until 9pm but there was a great deal going on before that. It turned out that the main opening event was lessons in jitterbugging and related dances from circa the Forties and Fifties. Imagine my excitement: I must have been the only person there who danced those dances the first time around. The girls were mostly wearing the waisted, full-skirted dresses of the time, with trainers, but even a pedant like me was able to accept the practicality of that. My poor feet were itching to get in there and threatened rebellion as I sat, decorously, on a chair provided by another young man who must have loved his Grandma. I honestly think - is there another way to think - that, had I seen a place to pose my stick, I would actually have joined in.

I remember an attempt at a parental embargo because of the risk of underwear-showing as one twirled and pirouetted without caution. The solution was to sew weights in to the hem to hold the skirt down. That didn't work, of course, largely because I took them out away from parental observation. My seamed stockings and ladylike knickers, colour co-ordinated, were, therefore able to enjoy and be enjoyed by the lovely freedom of the boogie. When I told the Guru of my retrospective identification, he nearly fell over. He looked at me as if I had dropped from Venus. Clearly, there was no way to associate the ancient with the modern, in the past and on the present dance floor. ( I have some reservations about the personification of various non-person references above. Please forgive me. I am really carried away by last night's events. But I agree: I don't like 'arch', either.) Memories I didn't realise I had stored swam about in my current consciousness; people, too. I have been here before, I knew, different county, different companions, replicated experience. With my inner eye I could see, clearly, the young me swung around a boy's back, thrown about at the end of his arms and coming to rest in an elegant curtsey at the end. There were no mobile phones - Good Heavens, what else was there none of - so I had to keep looking at the time to be sure to be ready for the parental pick-up. 'Nice' girls did not go home with anyone else, especially not A BOY. Oh Dear, where are the snows of yesteryear? Melted by the hot Chinese herbal pain patch I have to wear to sooth the chronic pain in my back. Prynhawn da

1 comment:

Tanya Williams said...

Liz this is really evocative. As the mother of teenagers, the idea of having any say in what kids wear to go out is quite unthinkable. All I can do is hope that a) their mobile is charged b) they will stick with their friends all the way home - whichever home they are returning to. As they have the run of London we only rarely collect them from anywhere, so maybe that's something I should be grateful for.