Monday, 28 December 2009
Some milongas: Confiteria Ideal
Confiteria Ideal should be one of the truly wonderful milongas of Buenos Aires. You can practically scrape tango off the old mirrors and hardwood panelling. Everything about it (even the waiters!) seems to predate the golden age. And yet...
The BBC did a marvellous job in creating the image of Ideal as a place where all the great milongeros and milongueras hang out, where people from all walks of life turn up just to dance. I guess it might have been like that six or seven years ago, although I doubt it, and it's definitely not like that these days. It's very sad for this wonderful old building to have suffered such a terminal tango decline. At El Arranque the ordinary people, good dancers and OK dancers, go to dance tango. It's a serious milonga. Relatively few people turn up at the daytime milongas at Ideal, and to judge by a recent afternoon, very few of them are serious dancers. The night-time milongas may well be better, as I remember from last year. In particular, Friday night is when Unitango play, so at least there's live music.
But the sparsely attended daytime milongas have their uses. Go with a partner, and you've got plenty of room. You can just walk! Something hardly possible in the downtown milongas. You just have to avoid the occasional couple drifting round the floor the wrong way. & in particular, we had to avoid the 'pareja' doing high boleos in platforms. It was that eccentric. But if your partner happens to enjoy people-watching, then you have some innocent entertainment in front of you too. & the music is OK, although they didn't play a single vals in over two hours. The floor is hard and slightly uneven, but tiled floors aren't unusual here. & if you are very lucky you might catch a waiter's eye and be able to order a coffee or a bottle of water. All in all, what a strange place!