Greetings from London!

I started this week in Dublin, mixing with the Swing folks there. Sean, the local DJ, took me under his wing and had me over for a couple home cooked meals. We excitedly played CD's and discussed music. He is very knowledgeable about African music, and tried to teach me how to dance to it. I returned the favor by taking him through the Lindy, still a coveted skill in those parts.

Sunday around ten dancers showed up to dance to a jazz band in a park. We had a blast, they got to show off, the locals got to see that there is Swing in Dublin, and the music promoters told them to show up to as many shows as they could! Win-win-win! That night I went to one of Sean's Tango gigs with one of the Swing follows. He is a gifted dancer, and it was a pleasure to watch everyone, though I didn't get out on the floor myself.

Lindy In The Park
Lindy In The Park

Before leaving town, I visited the Museum of Irish Music, which is an overwhelming mix of music, history and interactive displays. There is tons of music to listen to, of course, but I was interested in the dance area. They have a small dance floor set up, with life size films of dancers on two sides, and mirrors on the other two, so you can follow along with the various traditional dances. You enter the area under an arch of video screen pointed back down at you, and showing footage of a dancer, looking up at them as they dance on plexiglass. The effect is that you are viewing the dance from below their tapping feet.

I returned to London on Monday, just in time for the night's dance. I was recognized by a couple of the dancers I had met on my previous visit. It's nice to walk onto a floor half a world away from home and have friends there to ask me to dance. I didn't stay long, being wiped out from a day of travel, though the band was fun. Tuesday I was more rested, and was able to dance for longer. At this point I had been joined by Brie, so I had a Seattle dancer to dance with. While I enjoy dancing with new people on the road, there is definitely something nice about dancing with someone you are familiar with.

From the Roof
Over the edge of the roof
I finally got in some touring in London. It seems my pattern for this town is to just settle in and 'live' in it: dancing, errands, pubs, etc. Brie and I stopped at the large Methodist Church across from Westminster Abbey, and got a tour from a delightful older British lady. She took us all around, including on the roof (which had no railings), and was the very picture of charming. No one can do light, pleasant chit-chat like the British. I love these conversations where nothing is really said, but everyone leaves with a warm fuzzy. A dying art.

Westminster Abbey from the Methodist Hall

Last night I saw a play (An Inspector Calls) with Heidi, a local follow who has been good enough to put me up. She is an actress, and I was relieved that we agreed on its strengths and weaknesses (of which there were many). We discussed it over beers afterwards surrounded by celebrities (the only American one being whathisname who played John Boy Walton) I guess that showed how starry eyed I was. I resisted the temptation to walk up and say how much I loved him in some production I knew he wasn't ever in.

Probably the most exciting event this week is I got my new credit cards so I am now pretty much recovered from my Paris adventures. I am pleased to report that they work at all the major record stores!

I'm afraid I'm not full of as many stories as in other weeks. My life has been one of immersing myself in the town rather than running around looking at touristy things. It's nice to start winding my trip down, and just take it slow and easy. I've visited a few sites, and certainly plan to see some more, but I'm also happy to just wander about and be a Londoner.

Some highlights:
1) riding on the top level of a bus with Brie, as she discovers there is a heck of a lot of sway to those things! (easy, girl!)
2) getting another 21 rolls of film processed: whoo-hoo!
3) baffling a waiter by ordering a schooner. They're 'half pints' here, gang!