Sunday, 23 March 2014

Do you Remember Rasputin?

When I was a student we went clubbing. A lot.

  • Monday: Kabanas
  • Tuesday: The Zone
  • Wednesday: Da Vinci’s
  • Thursday: Panache
  • Friday: Roadmender
  • Saturday: Student Union
  • Sunday: Recovery – we weren’t religious, we just needed a day off.

This was primarily to dance. Boys were also on the agenda but secondary to friendship and the phenomenon of communal movement. Dancing is a strange primal thing. I don’t dance on my own. Some do. I remember calling for a friend and he answered the door covered in sweat from dancing alone. I never ever saw him dance in a club. So it works for different people in different ways. I love dancing; it is joyful, it is without reason, a happy madness. And I am good at it. I’m full of English reserve in many facets of my life but yes sir I can boogie! It is the one realm where I can easily attain Flow, where my mind can halt the merciless neurosis that is much of the human condition. 

So I would be first on the dance floor, dragging friends to join in. And as I said, it was about boys too. We gave them names: Perfect Profile, Triangle Man, Tank Girl Boy, Mean Face man, Sexy Big Nose Boy, Taurus Tit, Dreadlock Boy 1, Dreadlock Boy 2 and Rasputin.

Rasputin was different.

  • A: None of us fancied him
  • B: He was old (Sadly, I suspect he was about my age now)

He had a bush- whacker beard, long hair, shorts and a singlet. He would pop up in clubs sporadically. Spontaneously a circle of clappers would form around him while he danced like a man possessed. I remember dancing with him once or twice. Bliss. He was the opposite of us in our carefully selected clothes. Despite his difference nobody ever started on him. If people took the piss out of the way he danced he’d dance right back at them and turn the joke around. He’d only ever stay for two or three songs and then he’d disappear, maintaining his mystery. To this day he is my dancing hero. I hope he’s still tearing up the clubs of Northampton. 

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Beautiful Too

Yesterday for research I had my nails done. The protagonist in the screenplay I’m writing works in a Nail Bar, so I had to go. It’s not me. It’s so frivolous, so vain and so absolutely wonderful! I got what I needed and the staff were very sweet to a Nail Bar virgin. I know the process, what happens; the little heated hand baths, the hand and arm massage, trimming the skin, the spaceship dryers. The fantastic chatter and gossip. And the range of punters, from gardeners to the posh to the orange-skinned. I was going to go for turquoise, like I would do myself when I paint my own nails but I was so very far from my comfort zone I thought I’d plunge a bit further. So now I have bright red nails. Sexy, slutty, come to bed, red nails. With sparkles! I love them. I have only chipped them a tiny bit. They are great! I may be a convert…

On Beauty

When I was little I was reconciled with being plain. This was partly due to not being blonde. Somewhere, somehow I’d decided that truly beautiful girls were blonde. Like Cinderella and Marilyn Monroe and the Timotei girl. It didn’t help that I walked to school with the two prettiest girls in my year, both blonde. It didn’t matter that my mum told me I was beautiful, she didn’t understand; she was blonde too. It just didn’t matter; I was perfectly adjusted to being plain – swarthy – messy-faced. It’s funny/strange/sad/completely understandable how external forces can validate you, so when my first boyfriend told me I was gorgeous I believed him. He bigged me up, infused me with a self-assured arrogance that carried me through to thirty. Not necessarily beautiful, not pretty, but attractive to some. Attractive enough to those discerning enough to appreciate non-blonde, non-big-boobed, non-long-legged women. I was also fortunate to be vivacious enough to seem prettier than I actually was. 

   But now I’m forty the mirror shows a face sliding south, I’m fast becoming that dismal cowboy dog, Droopy. But beauty isn’t always how we look, it can be how we feel, how we move. When I was dancing last week I had a revelation, I am beautiful when I dance. Not pretty, not attractive but beautiful. Nia has done wonders for me. Physically I am fitter; it gets me out of bed at the weekend for a 9.00 am boogie and on Tuesdays I dance away my stress. I don’t have to feel ancient and out of place in a nightclub, I don’t have to drink. And I am beautiful. It might be how I move my arm with a melody, it might be how I punch with power, shout with passion. Surrounding me are others of all ages, shapes, places and we are all beautiful together!

Happy Belated Women's Day!