Strictly not dancing
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Lynne is the dancing queen, young and sweet, only 63...
The highlight of the week was going to a young friend’s 50th birthday party. We met Tim (small cough) years ago in a production of Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music. I was the saucy maid, Petra, and he was the amorous manservant, Frid (it’s Swedish, not a misspelling).
For both of us it marked a first on-stage tryst – it was also my first and only (to date but I live in hope) stage appearance in underwear.
Tim lives on the Norfolk/Suffolk border and the village hall had been commandeered for the occasion.
Readers, I danced.
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I am a reluctant Terpsichorean. I normally volunteer to look after the drinks and watch the handbags while everyone else hits the dance floor. Dancing is behind me and I’m not talking about the conga.
At primary school we learned Scottish country dancing, changing direction in the Gay Gordons and so forth. At the Victor Sylvester ballroom, I learned the waltz and the March of the Mods (whatever happened to that?). In my teens I was like a whirling dervish. A group of us used to sneak into the school gym at lunchtime and put Norman Greenbaum’s Spirit in the Sky on the record player and twizzle round and round until we fell over.
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In the youth theatre group, I was one of the performers in a dance drama set to Albinoni’s Adagio for Organ and Strings. In my 20s I went to a local disco and bopped away the evenings in unsuitable shoes. In fact, it wasn’t until my 30s that I realised I couldn’t dance. It dawned on me when I tried to comply with choreographers’ directions in a number of amateur musicals. For a start, it takes me a full beat to work out which is my right foot and which is my left, so I am always a Corporal Jones behind the music, finishing just a little bit after the rest of the ensemble and, along the way, treading on heels and being arms up when everyone else is arms down. I also have a natural lack of grace and a slow left foot.
It didn’t take long for choreographers to realise that it was best to put me at the back, or so far along the line I was in the wings. Today, most stage artists present what is called a “triple threat”. They can sing, dance and act. I was more of a 0.5 threat.
Anyway, over the years I danced less and less until I became an elective wallflower.
Next came Mum Dancing. It’s like dad dancing except in heels and should be attempted only after two glasses of prosecco and not at all after four. Too much fizz tends to prompt the false memory that you won the sixth series of Strictly Come Dancing with your jive and that Darcey Bussell asked your advice on turnout. However, even armed with this alternative truth you should under no circumstances attempt throwing yourself into a fish dive without informing your catching partner.
Anyway, back to the village hall, last Sunday. As the designated driver (again) I hadn’t touched a drop and yet I felt the urge to get up and do something rhythmic with my feet. The band Soul Riot wore my resistance down until I just had to dance. It wasn’t great dancing but on a warm late-spring evening, buoyed up by four glasses of lime and soda, what can you do? So I did.
• I am not given to complaining, as you know, but I am increasingly aggrieved by the shoddy parking practices of some motorists. I speak of the over-the-liners: those whose vehicles are so big and important that they have to take up two parking spaces in crowded car parks. The trouble is, you can’t always tell which car started it because, if one vehicle is hogging two places, the next person to park may be forced to go over the line; and so it continues. By the time you arrive and invoke the curse of Hermes, the Greek god of motoring, to summon the wrath of a parking warden, it may be that the original line-violator is long gone. Meanwhile you have to find another space, which may require hovering until someone leaves.
There seem to be some drivers who have a sense of entitlement, thinking they are a little more deserving than the rest of us lowly types who simply take it for granted that we should park between the two white lines drawn on the ground.
When my children were tiny, there were no specially-designated spaces for pushchair parents; there were similarly none for people with disabilities. But while things have been greatly improved for those who genuinely need more generous parking spaces, there is currently no separate provision for the A-listers who are too important to park in B-lister spaces... so they take two.
How are we to deal with this? Maybe pay-car parks should have a few, more expensive, premium spaces to accommodate the larger car... or should that be larger ego?
Not that I’m complaining, mind.