Friday, 12 October 2012

Tea dances


I started the process today of really getting inside the 100 Faces composition. I’m slightly grasping at straws because I've no idea who our 100 faces actually are, and therefore how much space to leave for each story, but it’s important that I get at least something down. It is, afterall, scored for a full orchestra, and that doesn’t exactly write itself!

I went to Newcastle yesterday to hang out at a tea dance with 12 wonderful over-80s in a community centre in Byker. I love tea dances and I adored the community centre we were in, which dates back to 1928, with glorious wooden floorboards and art deco trimmings. The dancers seemed to know the most astonishing number of steps. Shuffle, shuffle, step, step, little kick, step, step, shuffle, shuffle, slide, slide, turn around... Every type of song has a different variation of steps, all of which all twelve dancers seemed to know. I loved watching them gliding around the hall. They were properly dignified, and terribly graceful.

There were cups of tea and wagon wheels at break time. I was sad to leave.

I took a taxi across Newcastle to Shiremoor, very much the back of beyond, where I’d been engaged to teach the song Shine to a group of corporate types. They were a fun bunch, as you’d expect from a group of Mackems and Geordies who’ve had a bit of alcohol inside them and they sounded pretty good by the time we’d waved our magic wands.

We drove home through sheeting rain, in a big white van, and arrived in London at 3am.

Sunday October 12th, 1662, and Pepys had made his way to his father’s house in Brampton, near Huntingdon. It was a Sunday, and he went to church with all the local fancy people, but his heart wasn’t in it. He wanted to be back in London taking care of his business.

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