Dancing Cheek to Cheek
At my age I will do anything for fun. Her Indoors and I tip up at a nearby village to
entertain a crowd of crumblies. This courtesy of our friends Su and
Alan – she lovely and kind and interesting; he a witty, talented and
curmudgeonly Welshman; both of them very community minded.
Actually the main attraction is our other friends, Pat and (another)
Alan – she a smling, lively, funny Liverpudlian; he a puckish former
chef and TV documentary producer. Both over 70, they while away their
hours promoting their new sport of Guerilla Bandstand Dancing (see http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&q=patandalandancing&meta), and
doing dance demos and lessons. This can land them in odd places. Tomorrow they are at a prison for geriatrics, where they
will be teaching elderly murderers and sex offenders to hand jive and
As we arrive at the community centre, the old dears are playing bingo
and we look down on them through a squint from an upper room as
Christians might have watched a pride of comfortable lions discussing
the culinary merits of eating Nestorians in preference to Athanasians.
On with the motley, and Pat and Alan dance a nice West Coast Swing, mirroring a
video of their doing the same in a Liverpool bandstand, which is
flashed on the wall. In general, however, the old ladies prefer the tea and
salmon sandwiches and cast a leery eye over their visitors in case they may be Jehovah’s Witnesses. There follows a little more of the same, and
Shirley and I get on our feet and dance a foxtrot to Cheek to Cheek,
to some desultory clapping.
Finally it seems we have warmed the ladies up to a sufficient degree
that they join in a barn dance and a Charleston and finally a couple
of waltzes. I dance with several of them and quickly realise from the
twinkle in their eyes that they are not to be trusted unsupervised
with a bottle of Baileys. All is going swimmingly.
At this point, as the second waltz ends, an old lady pegs out. Over she goes like a sack of flour and lies on the floor in a state of shock. She is tended to and an ambulance is called, but it takes a half hour to arrive, during which time the patient remains on the floor. As for the rest of the old ladies? Well, they’ve made gravy during the Blitz and aren’t much fazed by anything. So once it seems there’s nothing more to be done, they return to chat and sponge cake and a further round of tea. There is general agreement that – notwithstanding a certain untoward incident – it has all been a great success, and can we come back next month?
Afterwards we return to Su and Alan’s, drink Pimms or shampoo in the garden and have dinner in the summer house, the evening being balmy. We tell stories about our respective youths and the silly things we have done. Pat and Alan speculate about what they are going to do to entertain their ancient murderers and sex offenders.