Posts Tagged ‘Dancing’

Reverse Parking and Dancing

June 14, 2021

The above photos were taken within a week or so of our arrival In Australia 1956 January. It was during a heat wave. I took them with my Agfa Clack that I bought from money earned delivering fruit to Embassies in The Hague.

The photo on the left shows our living quarters in an unlined Nissan Hut. Unbearably hot and not at all like the films we were shown about Australia. The other photo is after disembarking from our boat. My mother clutching her handbag and dad looking around.

It was within a few years after that I decided to buy a car and combine it with taking dancing lessons at the same time. I was around 17 years and liked the look of cars and girls. It was already well known that owning a car would be looked upon favorably by girls and would make up for going out with a boy with a strange guttural accent.   It did not take me long after a few driving lessons to get my license and soon after a large car; a clapped out Ford V 8 with leather seats, an ashtray, cigarette lighter and a blue smoke spewing engine. My dancing lessons were alright too but not so with getting a date. The dancing school was in Sydney above a milk bar called Stavros. I bought a booklet of twenty tickets on ‘special’, giving me twenty dancing lessons on a wooden floor with the required dancing steps painted in green.

The female teachers were soft and moved with some grace. One had to dance ‘chest to chest’ with a book held firmly in between in order to gently with suppled grace yet firmly, swirl and dance around without dropping the book. I only dropped the book once. It was a large book with the title ‘Of Human Bondage’ by Somerset Maugham. It was a very popular book at the time but a solid tome of over hundreds of pages. Of course the softness of the teacher was well protected by this heavy book and so it should have. It was a Phyllis Bates Dance academy and had a good name to behold and protect.

At the same time I had a good friend named Otto whose family was on the same boat as ours. He too took driving and dancing lessons at the same time. He was not so good with both of them and failed his drivers test on numerous occasions. He did not want to give up and decided to travel back to Holland to take both driving and dancing lessons. That’s just how Otto was. I can’t explain, but he was a good but somewhat unorthodox man. He passed away two years ago, well in his eighties but never been in conjugal bondage/married. He did get his driver’s license though!

During those years at one stage my mother rented out our previous living quarters, a humble converted fibro sheeted garage to a single divorced Dutch woman in her forties.  Otto watched her reverse parking her car. That was it! Otto became smitten. He would accept all sorts of blemishes, both mental or physical but if a woman could reverse park she would be his queen forever. Unfortunately for Otto, the woman had a boyfriend, a Dutch bricklayer with concrete and cement encrusted boots which he would kick off as soon as he arrived at the woman’s place from work and; according to Otto, most likely leap into her bed. Otto was that sort of generous man.

Here you have it; reverse parking was the overriding quality Otto looked for in a woman. As for my dating efforts? I’ll tell you next time.

The art of genuflecting is disappearing

September 15, 2016

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When political figures meet they often will shake hands. The recent climate change meeting or COP21 (Conference of Parties) showed endless footage of people facing the camera while shaking hands. I never understood that this has to be filmed. I mean; who thinks that shaking hands is so interesting that they actually want to see a film reportage of it? The Chinese leader was a bit bored by that conventional gesture. He looked as if a lemon had difficulty being accepted. Shaking each others hand and fingers interlocking seems a reasonable thing to do in accepting the other person as an equal. A kind of, let’s be friendly and acknowledge each other. The arms and hands are the logical tools to do that with. One could perhaps use legs and feet, but balancing on one foot would be difficult, especially for the elderly.

There are some cultures that have different methods of greeting. Here and there nose rubbing is normal and the ‘Dab’ amongst the young is also practised. See below.

But, the gesture of acknowledging each amongst royalty remains stuck in genuflecting or curtsying. I am not totally sure of this ritual between royals but certainly in strangers or other non-royals we are supposed to do a bit of a dip on one knee and then, if done appropriately, might be given the opportunity to touch the hand of the Royal. It is supposed to be a sign of one standing above the other. I am not sure if I could or even would do this. Apparently, if one is lucky enough to meet a royal, many are urged to practise the art of genuflecting well before. No doubt, one could even do a course in genuflecting, a bit like when I took dancing lessons from Phyllis Bates’ dancing academy back in the late fifties. This was held above a milk bar in Sydney named ‘Spyros.’ At that time a malted milkshake could be bought for one shilling and sixpence. I had to make sure that the book was held between the teacher’s and student’s breast or chest. It is still a much revered achievement that I successfully managed to do that. I remember the title; it was ‘Of Human Bondage.’ Of course, holding a book between a royal’s chest (or breasts) and a ‘common’ while genuflecting would never do.

As for the spat between us and the nasty one; let me just put this one up as a response to a dear follower on my previous piece.

The person we feel is responsible to the threat that we should go and sell up, also has a thing about the Royal Family. When the English Prince Phillip was given a Knighthood by Australia, she fully applauded the move by our previous government. It was such a silly move that the government subsequently lost the election.
We joined in the chorus of most, in condemning and rubbishing the giving of Knighthoods and Dame hoods. However, the nasty neighbour is English and when she holds Court would bore us to death about her regaling the English monarchy to its minute detail. She hinted she actually was the illegitimate fruit of one of the many Prince Phillip’s amorous conquests, supposedly consummated in a swanky address along the Seine in Paris.
We finally had enough and refused to genuflect and told her off. She is silly.