Wednesday, 26 November 2008


180 degrees from my balcony: a dull morning but it doesn't look any better in sunshine. The forest of masts is hardly visible against the sky.

I step onto the balcony at night and immediately recognise Orion. The stars are surprisingly clear, given the street-level pollution.

Dawn on the balcony: every building, it seems, has a radio mast with a red light at the top. These blink at different rates like a sculptural landscape by Takis. A city reaching up into the ether.

The city is putting on a free open-air concert by the Berlin Philharmonic, this weekend I think, in the middle of the 9de Julio, underneath the Obelisco, the local Nelson's Column. One of their conductors is Argentinian. Would the Mayor of London put on a free Berlin Philharmonic concert in Trafalgar Square? But I guess the Berlin Phil is going to be more generous here.

But tango is why I'm here. I arrived nearly two days ago, and not a dance yet. Anyway the time change (two hours) still means early waking. I bought shoes from Darcos yesterday, a simple, light pair of handmade black shoes. They will be comfortable. & stuck my head around the door at La Confiteria, just down the road. I only saw downstairs, a dark cavernous hall, in need of redecoration. The staff seem indifferent. I sat for half an hour and watched a class without being asked to buy anything. The class was more or less tourist beginners: those in trainers and shorts, those who'd bought the flash shoes, all dancing at arms length. I went back later in the evening: still downstairs, more complex steps but still at arms length. I didn't feel inclined to join in, so I went back to the flat and sent off emails to Mary Ann to find out when Oscar's classes are, and to Sylvia, Tete's partner. Both replied by this morning. Tete's only doing private classes these days so I emailed for details. Oscar's teaching at 1pm. It's 11.30, so I'm off.

Oscar's class didn't disappoint. It's in El Beso, one of the more traditional milongas. Leading a sequence of cruzadas must be clear, and that's what it was about. He teaches in Spanish and English, which is interesting, emphasising the need sometimes to lift and sometimes hold down the follower to create a lot of movement in a small space. Mary Ann gave me reassurance about turning up at milongas, and his son and daughter were there to help out, so it was good value, two hours for £5, friendly, and I had some good dances. I'll do that again. Strange to see them in 3D after having watched so many of their teaching videos. Silvia emailed that their private classes are £60 an hour, so I'm going to have to think about that.

It's hot. Everyone says it's hot. About 30, I guess, not excessive, but hot, and humid. You avoid the sun. I'm told that this time last year was so cold you had to wear a sweater.

Google's gone Spanish on me. Instead of 'Did you mean...?' it says 'Quizas quiso decir...?' & I now 'Buscar la net con Google'.

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