Friday, 31 July 2009

Capsulitis... the inflammation of the membrane that protects joints. It frequently affects the joint at the base of the second or third toes and the ball of the foot. It's more common in women; even if you don't wear high heels you'll probably still dance on your toes. Apparently most patients are found to be wearing shoes that are too small. It seems to be important not to ignore discomfort in that area: try to dance through it and it will get worse, and long-term inflammation can damage the joint and deform the foot. A friend and dance partner has just been put out of action for a while. Beware! Seek expert help early.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Eva Wolff

Since I'm always going on about the Orquesta Escuela: the BBC broadcast a short programme about Eva Wolff, a bandoneón player from Belgium, who won a scholarship to study with the Orquesta in 2001, and now lives and plays professionally in Buenos Aires: it should be here. It's in the Musical Migrants series.

Monday, 27 July 2009

Happy Together

Happy Together (1997) is a surprisingly tough, difficult film by Wang Kar Wei, which really took me by surprise. I think of In the Mood for Love (2000) and 2046 (2004), both of which I saw before Happy Together, and remember some of the most beautiful female actors China and the Chinese territories have found, dressed and presented with alluring elegance. Zhang Ziyi, the young princess in House of Flying Daggers, in sumptuous 1940s brocade costumes and elaborately elegant hair, for instance, and male counterparts to match. Not that these films are lacking in toughness; their lack of certainty about event, sequence and character make them constantly challenging.

But the tale of two young Chinese men who have run away together from Hong Kong for various reasons, whose relationship is turbulent, intense, often violent, and ultimately disintegrating as they struggle to survive in Buenos Aires, came as a surprise. There's not a great deal of 'plot' in the conventional sense. Ho Po Wing (Leslie Cheung) is the more resilient of the two, getting work as a doorman at a tango club – and meeting other men. They manage to buy an old car to visit the Iguaza Falls in the north of the country, but it breaks down. They learn a bit of tango, and dance together, but it's hardly a 'tango film': it's more about being an outsider speaking a foreign language and struggling to survive in a difficult city.

Ho Po Wing meets another young Chinese traveller, who invites strangers to tell stories into his tape recorder: he takes Ho Po Wing's story down to the lighthouse at the extreme south of Argentina, a place where it is said that reconciliations take place, but the 'story' on the tape is just the sound of sobbing. & Ho Pi Wing does finally visit the Iguaza Falls, an overwhelming, destructive force of nature, like desire, and beautiful, too. The compassion and emotional strength of the film is extraordinary. & like all Wei's films it looks amazing, black and white for the more intense scenes, and powerfully altered colour for the run-down boarding house at the edge of the old docks in La Bocca: the area has probably been 'regenerated' since then. Homage, I guess, to Argentine novelist Manuel Puig, (Kiss Of The Spider Woman) in style, although Puig has a dark sense of humour. Happy Together is a film of despair.

The 'Extras' reveal that Wang Kar Wei kept his cast and crew in Buenos Aires months longer than planned, writing and filming scene after scene to try and work out what seemed to him the right sequence. Everyone became increasingly fraught and homesick: Tony Leung reveals that at one stage he'd packed his suitcase, bought a ticket and plotted his escape. All of this, of course, fed into the film, which won Wang Kar Wei the Best Director award at Cannes in 1997, and some Best Actor awards elsewhere.

Sunday, 26 July 2009


Carablanca was closed last night, so I went to Negracha and had an unexpectedly good evening, dancing for the most part with partners I didn't know.

I'm always fascinated by tango stories, the one-sentence stories people tell strangers about themselves in between dances. They always follow the same pattern: a situation, then an event that leads to a new situation. It's a traditional story pattern, in a single sentence. Less is usually more: so little is said that a lot is often suggested, intentionally or unintentionally, or perhaps simply imagined. Immediately, you know a lot about your partner – and nothing at all, really. I've thought of writing them down, but although they actually say very little, and the teller can be anonymous, there is something quite personal about the telling of them. I'd feel uncomfortable about writing them here for anyone to read.

An evening with plenty of dancing in a crowded room: it gets easier, particularly with a partner who can be led easily. Yes, it's a lot more pleasant in an open space, and Negracha was crowded, the usual clogged-up floor. Not that there were actually that many people there: it's just that their dancing takes a lot of room. Beginners and gancho-throwers occupying the line of dance: not much to chose between them! I notice that Igor Polk, the deep apilado man, or rather the man with the deep apilado partner, comments on it (you'll need to scroll down to 2009 April 20). He observes that forming a 'bus' of several couples moving round is one possible response, much as I've heard the 'convoy' suggested here. More interestingly, he says that '...floor stagnation is quite a recent phenomenon' and he wonders why.

& Leandro Palou and Romina Godoy, Tangosoul, were there. Good to see them again briefly. I haven't attended their classes for a while. & good music: plenty of favourite D'Agostino.

Friday, 24 July 2009

You said candombe and I said canyengue...

… which rather confused things. I'd never sorted out the difference: now I need to.

Candombe is the only music with drums we're likely to hear in a milonga. It's still a big part of the popular music tradition in Uruguay, but has more or less disappeared from public view in Argentina, along with most of the black population. But it used to be there: the black milonguero Facundo Posadas told RFT that when he was a child in 1945 the candombe drums used to play at the Shimmy Club in Buenos Aires for black audiences, who would go into trance, and that he was warned not to bother them. RFT says: '...key candombe steps were inserted into the habanera and the result of this was the milonga'. Facundo says: 'The candombe of today is not the candombe danced a long time ago. But the little that remained we put into the milonga.'

According to RFT's sources, canyengue was the pre-1900 precursor of tango, and it started to evolve rapidly after 1900. Rodolfo Cieri and his childhood friend, 'El Gallego' Manolo learned the canyengue of 1900, along with tango, when they were growing up in the 1940s. 'El Gallego' Manolo and his partner Martha Anton still teach in Buenos Aires.

RFT claims an African origin for both canyengue and candombe but says that along the way they met the polka, newly arrived from Europe...

(RFT = Robert Farris Thompson: Tango: The Art History of Love, an exploration of the black origins of tango music and dance.)

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

The Alfano Decree

I haven't seen this referred to anywhere else, but perhaps we should all be aware of it:

"On July 15 around 200 Italian bloggers gathered at the Piazza Navona in Rome. They wore gags to protest a proposed law that is a direct threat to internet freedom in Italy. If passed it could impose heavy fines on bloggers who don't correct 'offensive' comments within 48 hours. Hundreds of other bloggers 'froze' their blog posts for a day in a show of solidarity with the protesters.

"Given the appetite for repressive measures in Italy these days, it's not surprising that Italian bloggers have become a target. Berlusconi and his sycophantic retinue of crypto-fascists, compliant bureaucrats, models-turned-politicians and party girls doesn't like negative attention.

"Italian bloggers are some of his most vociferous critics. Legislative measures are under way to place them on a short leash and possibly put some of them out of business altogether.

"The tactic being employed is the so-called Alfano proposal, named after Justice Minister, Angelino Alfano. But you could also call it an 'internet killer' because in effect it is an attempt to silence and intimidate online critics by means of a law that is at root anti-democratic.

"The Alfano decree has already been approved by Parliament and if passed by the Senate, will become law. The provisions have far-reaching implications for freedom of speech in Italy.

"If a citizen deems a blog post to be defamatory, he or she can lodge an official complaint that could require the blogger to edit the offending content within 48 hours. A blogger's refusal to correct 'offensive' comments would allow the denouncing citizen to sue for as much as $18,000... The effect will be to mute blog content, particularly criticism of government and public figures.

"Bloggers are already liable to penalties in the case of defamation. The Alfano proposal is a bureaucratic tactic that crosses the line and handcuffs bloggers as they sit at their keyboards. It is nothing less than an attack on a fundamental freedom under the guise of 'responsibility'."

More music notes

I'm afraid I under-represented Emilio Balcarce. I wrote that he was ...'an octogenarian who takes on a new orquesta, directs it, and writes its repertoire'. But he is also a composer (Bien Compadre, Si Sos Brujo, La Bordona among others) – and he played bandoneon with the Orquesta Escuela too. Although he often conducted them, you may hear a bandoneon that is incredibly expressive, that really sings, that has an incredibly fine sense of volume and a marvelously supple sense of rhythm, and that may well be Emilio Balcarce. A truly extraordinary musician.

Fabio Cernuda, a bandoneonista from Buenos Aires, recently completed a discography of music recorded by tango musicians: it took him 20 years. Between 1902 and 1992, 90 years of accoustic recording, he found an astonishing 70,000 tracks were recorded. Not all of them still exist as records, unfortunately, but what an achievement. In terms of duration that's about 5,000 full-length classical symphonies: in terms of quantity, in a single century Buenos Aires may have produced almost as much music as the whole of Europe in three centuries. Perhaps that's indicative of the importance of tango in creating an identity that unified the diverse cultures of Buenos Aires.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Some music notes

I enjoyed Color Tango but, as someone pointed out, their performances are still very much Pugliese: nothing wrong with that, but the arrangements they use are those familiar from Pugliese recordings. There are five albums for free (plus a few ads) on Spotify.

I've liked the Orquesta Escuela since I first heard them a few years ago, and the arrangements they use are new. The film Si Sos Brujo hardly mentions that Emilio Balcarce, who was an arranger and bandoneon player with Pugliese and who directed the Orquesta, seems to have written new arrangements for everything they play; an octogenarian who takes on a new orquesta, directs it, and writes its repertoire. I wanted to link their Cumparasita from the Contrapunta album, which is just absolutely the best and a long-time favourite, and was actually the first tango I heard in Buenos Aires: stuck in downtown gridlock the driver turned off the radio and put on a cassette – and out came this very distinctive Cumparasita. I wanted to link it, but you can't link from Spotify, and although LastFM has the Contrapunta album, for some bizarre reason they have substituted another Cumparasita, by 'Various artists' in place of the orquesta one, and it's dire. But the album is available as a download from Amazon for £5.99, which is great value and has the right Cumparasita on it. Listen out for the bandoneon solo: it rocks. Like any Pugliese-style music it would be a challenge to dance to, but it's exciting listening.

But it's easy to link their Gallo Ciego and La Bordona.

A music journalist and music addict, musically illiterate and with no music skills, spends a year at the Royal Academy of Music learning composition, trying to understand his obsession. He can hardly tap out a simple rhythm to start with: music, its structure and how it's made, has to be explained to him from the very basis upwards. The luxury of suggesting ideas to groups of talented students to improvise on, and having another talented student to write them down, is his. How to be a Composer is on BBC4: the first episode is here, for anyone within reach of the BBC. The editing is innovative, very fluent. (PS. & some of the best young and not so young faces I've seen anywhere for a long time. There is hope for the world, and it is called music.)

Friday, 17 July 2009


I remembered reading this interview with Maria Nievas a while ago, and dug it out again last night. Maria Nievas, lying about her age, first went to milongas when she was 12, and when she was 14 she started to dance with a young Juan Carlos Copes, who she danced with for many years, in Paris and on Broadway, and around the world. Here she is, interviewed by Silvia Rojas:

“I learned by watching, girl, nobody taught me,” she starts to tell, this living legend of the milonga and stage tango…
- So, what do you think of the schools?
- I’m against the schools. Absolutely! It’s a con. Nobody’s the owner of the truth in tango. I always tell them when I give a lesson: there’s no better teacher than to go to the milonga! Wear out shoes, get kicked and have your feet stepped on, and do the same yourself. It’s true, girl!”

I listened to a recent programme on jazz trumpeter Booker Little, who died aged 23 in 1961. He was one of the first generation to learn to play jazz in school, whereas his peers had learned on the job. I was struck by his observation that learning jazz in school led to an over-reliance on technique, a tendency he had to struggle against. & I wonder about the tango academies of present-day Buenos Aires. I can't help imagining a syllabus: third semester, major in Estilo Milonguero with a minor in Villa Urquiza... (PS. I hope I'm being unfairly cynical.)

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

A performance

Somebody asked me what I thought of Rachel Greenberg's dance on Friday night, and I've been thinking about it. Rachel gave a demonstration dance with Ivan: there were several performances that night and theirs was the only one I saw apart from Brigitte and Leo. It was crowded, and I was more interested in the orquesta, and I have to admit I'm not that interested in performances anyway. I love to watch the occasional couple in a milonga managing crowded circumstances with elegance, creativity and musicality. But give a couple the whole floor to themselves... Where's the challenge?

I like watching contemporary dance. I've watched a lot, enjoyed a lot; occasionally I've seen something that didn't quite work, but more often than not I've come away from it enthralled by the imagination of the staging and choreography, the energy and intelligence of the dancing. But I think that if I'd ever seen a whole performance that was little more than technically amazing I'd have felt cheated: you expect something more. The dance on Friday night lasted little more than three minutes, but I couldn't see more than technical excellence. Compare that with Gavito's three-minute dances: his little stories and apilado steps can be repetitive, but there was always a heart and passion and musicality to it, which I felt was absent from that dance on Friday night. It was cold, technically amazing and cold.

My impression is that this is an entirely new type of Argentine tango teacher. The teachers of the older generation danced all their lives because they loved and valued tango, and that a few of them have been or are teachers now is almost an accident. I believe the new type often starts out brilliantly at a young age in gymnastics or classical dance, and my impression is that the choice to become tango teachers is a career decision promising travel and change. They can manage effortlessly the complexities of stage tango, and they study how to teach. They are skilled dancers and teachers, but their tango seems heartless.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Color Tango 2

This gives some idea of the performance. Sound quality is better for the first milonga: there was a dance performance. But it was open dancing during the second milonga and the tango, and it was a bit noisy.

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Color Tango

Wonderful to hear Color Tango in London at Negracha on Friday night, an orquesta with the whole history of tango behind it. It's very much a Pugliese-era band, all the rending dissonances, complex rhythms, and lyricism too, of Pugliese. And although dancing at Negracha on Friday wasn't easy as the floor was very crowded, not only with dancers but also with people standing to get a view of the band, of course it was a real treat to dance to. Another problem for dancers was that there was a lot of talking, people shouting above each other to be heard while the band was playing, so the sound at the back of the room wasn't great. A pity it couldn't have been held at Conway Hall, which would have been big enough, although it wouldn't have had the same intimate club-like feel to it. A real feast of great sound, real tango and of the highest quality.

There seem to be three orquestas, led and trained by bandoneonistas of an older generation. Color Tango was founded in 1989 by Roberto Alvarez, first bandoneon of Osvaldo Pugliese's orchestra, and is still led by him. Emilio Balcarce, who played violin with the Donato orquesta and later was bandoneonista and arranger with Pugliese, was invited to form and lead the Orquesta Escuelo de Tango about eight years ago: the orquesta has since been renamed after him. & Rodolfo Mederos, a bandoneonista who played with Piazzolla and Pugliese has led his own orquesta tipica, among other groupings and solo performances. Between them, these have trained a new generation of musicians.

Tango is a dance music that's avoided percussion. When it does get used (Fresedo's cymbals, for instance)it sounds out of place. The musicians have learned to play more percussively, and also incredibly closely as an ensemble, so that even when the whole orquesta marginally slows the beat, or speeds up, the beat is absolutely clear, and entirely characteristic of tango. Good tango is ensemble playing of the highest order. Thanks for the music, Color Tango.

PS. There are five complete Color Tango albums you can listen to for free on Spotify.

Friday, 10 July 2009

Tango Fatal

A friend tells me she reads everything I write, unless it's about films. But this is a tango film...

A mysterious stranger wearing a white hat walks into a tango bar, full of beautiful women in fishnet stockings. There's a lot of dancing, but no po-faced stage tango, it's colourful, it's a fun film. A skilled dancer (Copello, who part-directs) dances with his favourite partner. The mysterious stranger invites her to dance, seduces her in dance. The skilled dancer attacks him... and is knifed. The stranger leaves. The stranger returns to dance again with the favourite partner... who knifes him. As he dies we discover he's a... but I wouldn't want to spoil the ending.

The dance includes social tango as well as theatrical numbers. The score is by Argentine-born Carlos Franzetti who, I discover, performs with well-known jazz musicians, writes for well-known film directors, and has also written operas, symphonies and concertos. The score includes straightforward tango as well as symphonic tango, with Nestor Marconi on bandoneon.

Franzetti talks in the 'Extras' about working with non-Argentine musicians. The subtitles say: 'It's very, very difficult to convey it to non-Argentine musicians. For instance, the double bass is played quite differently to the way it's played by symphonic musicians. It could take a whole year to teach this to a symphonic musician... It's said that tango is a way of walking through life. For me the most difficult popular music is tango because it doesn't have a constant vibe ('ritmo'). It doesn't have a constant rhythm like jazz, like Afro-Cuban music, like rock. The rhythm changes. It has rubatos, accelerandos, calderones, pauses.' (A 'rubato' is a slowing down. I'm not sure what 'calderones' are: says they are pilot whales, which doesn't sound quite right.)

The whole film is less than an hour, and the music carries it from start to finish, defines the characters, expresses the action, supports the dance. The film is just enough over-the-top; they had fun with all the cliches, and it's funny and a bit sad too.

“El tango es una manera de atravesar la vida.” Jorges Luis Borges.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Carmencita Calderon

Welcome to the D'Agostino appreciation society! When I hear Adios Arrabal, I always listen out for the nostalgic, and mysterious verse towards the end:

El baile "Rodríguez Peña"
el Mocho y el Cachafaz
de la milonga porteña
que nunca más volverá...

Very roughly:

The “Rodríguez Peña” dance (hall?)
el Mocho and el Cachafaz
of the milonga of Buenos Aires
that will return no more.

Recently I found a video of Carmencita Calderon, who was the partner of El Cachafaz eighty years ago. There's a video of her dancing with Jorge Dispari on her one hundredth birthday last year, which isn't that clear, but this one is good. I don't know when it was made; not so many years ago, I guess. She not only dances but makes a very spirited, passionate speech about 'el tango', I think: I understand only a few words, but I love watching it as she's marvellously enthusiastic and cheerful. & it's followed by a very brief clip from a late 1930s film of her dancing with El Cachafaz, who died in 1942.

What struck me immediately is how clearly, decisively and unhurriedly she marks with her heels the milonga double time when it's in the music, without disturbing the flow of the dance. In fact, her rhythmic stepping, combined with short heels almost looks like flamenco, and really shows the excitement in the music.

Monday, 6 July 2009


The Tanguarda performance at Carablanca ten days ago left me slightly confused. The concert, mainly of Piazzolla, was pretty good, apart from over-amplification: at their loudest the violin seemed to screech, and the double bass came over as a booming thud. But I found I got little from their sets for dance. Dancing to live music is usually magical: I remember being very moved by Joaquín Amenábar's solo bandoneon at Carablanca some months back, moved emotionally but even more in the sense that the sound he made led me to move. 'Golden age' recordings do that. But Tanguarda...

Listening to Orquesta Escuela Tango on the train this evening, I started thinking about this. (It's been renamed Orquesta Escuela Emilio Balcarce in honour of the violinist, bandoneonista and arranger who grew up in the golden age and worked for some 20 years with Pugliese. A fuller story is on the video Si Sos Brujo.) There's a wonderful elasticity of rhythm in their playing, which is a characteristic of the golden age recordings. A phrase can be very slightly slowed as an introduction, as a springboard to another voice, another instrument entering, making up for lost time. I think this is a legacy of musicians learning to play by playing together, by listening to each other. The musicians in the Orquesta are all young and learned to play in school, but maestros like Emilio Balcarce have schooled them in playing by ear, rather than by the literal printed note. It was this quality that struck me in the first tango lesson I ever went to: the music was alive, it seemed to draw me forwards, hold me back. I think of this instinctive and quite precise use of shifting tempo as the idiom of tango.

I felt this was missing in Tanguarda. They are highly trained European musicians and they make all the right noises, but their music is flat alongside the Orquesta, or Color Tango, or even Astilleros (definitely not golden age), as if it shouts at you rather than gently leading you. They are a quartet, so perhaps a good comparison would be with D'Agostino, who often recorded as a quintet. There's a kind of easy clarity about his music, a few quiet chords on the piano effortlessly supports a bandoneon line, which itself leads into a violin line that seems to arise as a part of it. There's a total harmony, five musicians all part of the same music, and dancers still want to move to it all night long.

I think Tanguarda are more at home in concert tango, and in Piazzolla in particular, music written to be listened to rather than danced to. I don't think they play as a dance band, possibly they don't even have much feeling for dance tango.

Sunday, 5 July 2009


I was about to uninstall Spotify when I noticed it offers the complete recordings of John Coltrane... and the complete recordings of Miles Davis, too. Which seemed too good a thing to do away with. Then I found how to list by album, so tracks play in the intended order, and how to control the amount of hard disc space it uses. In fact it is a huge collection: 14,000 CDs were added to it one day at the end of June. The classical recordings aren't always the most recent, but it does seem to offer the entire Naxos catalogue and much else besides. Sound quality is adequate, but for £9.99 a month you can get close to CD quality, as well as freedom from ads. As for tango, Pugliese and Troilo are well served but there's no D'Agostino (apparently overshadowed by Latin singer Gigi D'Agostino). There are recordings by younger musicians: Orquesta Escuela, the bandoneon solos Instantaneas of Julio Pane, and several CDs of Orquesta El Arranque and Color Tango, but Rodolfo Mederos only appears through his CDs with Daniel Barenboim. So it is a patchy tango collection, but useful. At the rate it is being expanded it won't be long before the tango collection improves, especially if it is used. & it's entirely legal.

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Of Time and the City

This film seems to have been 'legendary' since it began as a commission for Liverpool as European Capital Of Culture 2008. Terence Davies has made just nine films: those I've seen are intimate, small-scale, a close focus on scenes of life, his own experience.

The film is about time and about the city, the city being Liverpool, the time being Davies' own growth into consciousness there, from childhood in 'some of the worst slums in Europe', through the movies and, as Liverpool was singing 'Yeah yeah yeah', to his discovery of classical music from Bruckner onwards, and of T S Eliot's The Waste Land, itself very much about time. And also about the effects, 'ravages' of time on the city and on people.

A lot of unforgettable archive footage of Liverpool from the 1940s onwards. Masses of people: an unimaginably overcrowded Mersey ferry, the crowds disembarking into the city, soldiers embarking for the Korean War, the vast sea of faces at a football match. & the streets of crumbling brickwork and rotting windows, the front doors hardly ten feet apart, and the people, the adults struggling through work and cleaning, and the children, who lived in them: the faces of children at play half a century ago. Then the demolitions and, memorably to Peggy Lee singing The folk who live on the hill, the transition to high-rises. Immaculately put together, could be watched over and over: the strange, unexpected quality of the archive footage, the juxtapositions of image and soundtrack, music, song, Davies talking or reading. Here's the trailer.

The DVD also includes Humphrey Jennings' Listen to Britain, a 'seminal' (these overused words) documentary poem of life in Britain in 1942. This short extract gives the feel of it, and includes a wonderful ballroom sequence, a huge crowd of couples strolling and turning in calm happy order round the floor. Floorcraft? Why the problem?

Too bad YouTube doesn't have an extract showing the Myra Hess concert at the National Gallery, an old friend damaged by bombs, patched up, shorn of pictures, outside which people stand relaxed in the sunshine. Who knew what terrors the night would bring?

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

The medium

Pause the messages a moment to pay tribute to the medium, the internet. It's astonishing that we can have a worldwide dialogue, exchange experiences, learn, and look at videos too. I'm stunned at the immediacy of it. I post comments about Luisito Ferraris and within a week he's noticed it and thanked us all. I fantasise about a milonguero tango festival in London, and get an email of encouragement from a milonguero born in Buenos Aires. And inevitably I get a bit worried when I look for information and am directed to... a blog called Tangocommuter.

A couple of new things on it that I've come across recently. A legal music service called Spotify. Unlike LastFM you can listen to everything on Spotify, but you have to put up with a couple of short ads every 15 minutes: they are fairly quiet, and they go away if you pay £9.99 a month. The tango holding is reasonable, with some gaps. Not much Piazolla. A fair list of Miguel Calo and Julio de Caro, not much Pedro Laurenz. But Troilo, Canaro, D'Arienzo, of course, and a reasonable list of Hugo Diaz. The classic side has a good range but for the most part the recordings don't seem to be anything special and they are listed by individual tracks, so 'Finale' is listed before 'Scherzo': the 'album' listing isn't much use. & it's a streaming service that has stored 500mb of files on my hard drive in a few days... I don't need it since my tango collection is almost as good, and Radio 3 never stops, but for someone who wants to get to know the music it might be worth a try.

An online petition to the Westminster parliament to relax the 2008 immigration controls that are making it difficult for visiting artists (including tango teachers) and academics to make brief working visits to the UK. Over 6,000 'signatures' collected so far: the aim is 10,000.

& the tango database a work of love being created. The list of blogs includes several we are familiar with, and 454 films are listed under 'Films', but 'Teachers', for instance, remains blank.