Posts Tagged ‘Dean Martin’

Dancing lessons

November 27, 2013

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While the streets are being dug up with a variety of cables being introduced or taken out, I remember taken dancing lessons. I don’t know why. Perhaps all those entangled entwined cables are the reason. Who knows? The subconscious does more than we are willing to give credit for.

It was many years ago. I was still normal, in my teens, and wanted to get in touch with women, even touch women. It was also a period when, historically, the country was being flooded by single men. They also wanted to meet and touch women. The reason for this flood of so many single men was migration from Europe and giant public works in Australia that needed brute male strength.

Cane cutting up north in Queensland and giant mines everywhere seemed to attract mainly men from Italy and Greece. Perhaps it was the heat. The Snowy Mountains with the damming of the Snowy Mountain river called for men able to stand cold, so, men from Finland and the Baltic countries flocked there. In any case, there was a copious number of single men and a dearth of women.

Things were grim for men, but, and rightly so, there were many glorious opportunities for girls. Women had the pick of good shiny dark haired Dean Martin Southern European looking men, albeit often a bit dishevelled from cane cutting or the blond giant Thors from Northern sword flashing Viking countries.

In Sydney, a desperately lonely male had white washed on an overhead railway bridge at Glebe in 1962, “Australia is a country of men with no women”. How sad an indictment of an immigration policy. However, dancing academies were flourishing. Many knew how to make a quid from misery already then.

Of course I was subject to this female drought as well. Worse, I wasn’t anywhere in the league of swarthy, dark haired Dean Martin Italians or a Zorba, nor had the sword flashing mien of the blond Viking. I wore glasses and a big nose. But, what I did have… was a Ford V8 (with a single chrome spinner) and leather seats with inbuilt ash trays. It was a light blue in colour and the rust in the mudguards was well hidden with metal putty and hand painted over.

I had nothing to lose and a lot to gain. I bought a complete booklet of tickets to Phyllis Bate’s dancing academy in Pitt Street. It cost a months wages but if that helped me to ensure a touch with a lovely soft yielding female, the heck with frugality.

We know that in the English speaking world, sometimes words such as ‘academy’ or ‘accredited’ are a bit, well…freely used. Phyllis Bate’s academy was a bit stretched for claiming ‘academy’ when on arrival the hall above a milk-bar was full, not of girls but of European males. I had already bought a years supply of weekly dancing lessons. So, what to do. I was crestfallen. It was too late for a re-fund.

Fortunately the dancing steps for beginners were already painted in black on the wooden floor. “Try to get in the rhythm of the music and follow the black steps on the floor”, I was told. “You’ll learn the Foxtrot pretty quickly”. I was totally floored by that. Dance by myself? That’s what I had been doing since arrival.

Even so, I tried feebly to follow the steps but the teacher (a woman) thought I was showing less than enthusiasm. “Try put more feeling in the steps’, she offered. “Don’t look at those painted steps”, “imagine a partner”. “Next time we will try a Cha,Cha,cha”. I wanted more than an ‘imagine a partner.’ It was so lacking in substance especially soft-ness.

Next week, there were a few girls as well. The Dean Martins soon were swirling around with a lot more gusto than I was doing a solitary Cha Cha cha. The teacher came up to me and offered to be my partner, just when I had resigned to have another dancing session following black painted steps. She said that she would hold a book between her chest and mine. I had to be careful not to let it fall on the floor. It was going to be the fox trot.

When the music started, it was a quick snappy version of ‘tulips of Amsterdam.’ I was most diligent not to let the book fall and managed to stay fairly upright pressing against a real woman. The book had the title ‘Of Human Bondage’ which I had read.

It was all a long time ago. I also had a Ford V8.

The second Piano Concerto by Johannes Kipfler, Opus 33 with sauce vierge.

May 22, 2013

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Why do words lend themselves, at times, with associations totally removed from reality? You would never associate Kipfler with a potato; yet, I have no trouble in accepting he could have been a composer born in Leipzig, 1862. His mother thought he was a dear little boy and even at the age of two he already showed great promise when he started banging on his Blechtrommel. (Tin drum).

Gunter Grass has a timbre to his name that can only ever be associated with being a writer of words in a certain order. He wrote the Tin Drum. You would be hard pushed to respect a writer called ‘Essenfrescher’, would you?  Perhaps this is why in the world of the famous, especially movie-stars, names are sometimes perceived as hindering fame and are changed to a more appropriate sounding pseudo. I mean Boris Karloff could never have gotten there if he was called by his real name of William Pratt or Dean Martin as Dino Crocetti, Doris Day as Doris Kappelhoff.

Names can be fluid or grindingly rasping with associations far removed from what they stand for or are. I mean, I don’t think there are many still called Hitler. The telephone book in Germany or Austria reveals not a single person named Hitler anymore. Apparently his father did not like the sound of Schicklgruber and preferred Hitler. Even the name Schicklgruber is now rare, as is Goebbels etc.

So, what to make of words and names? Why is a name change perceived to add to possible achievements. If Bach was called Kohlrabi, would his music have found less acceptance? Who was it again with, “what’s in a name?” or, “That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Shakespeare was destined to write brilliantly with a name like that. Mozart-Concert is so symbiotic in name. It had to happen.

Would Villa Lobos have written Bachianas if named Gauncho Pistachio? Who knows?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NxzP1XPCGJE

However, after my nonsense, what seems that what ‘is’ counts most and not the given name. Hmm, I am not so sure.

I went to get my hair cut last week and when I was asked how I want it cut, I said to the girl; “I would like to look a bit more like Justin Bieber”. “Can you do that?” Why? She said, a bit bewildered looking. Much to H’s embarrassment, I sometimes act stupidly convincing. I made it worse by saying; “I want to be mobbed by teen-age girls again”.

( I was only ever shunned by teenage girls) I then realized that my joke didn’t get traction and I recanted somewhat by saying. “Only joking”, “please cut it any way you like, perhaps as it was eight weeks ago’.”  “ Please, go for it, you cut so well,” I smarmed while surrendering totally to her comb and scissors.

She took her revenge at the end of the cut by asking very loudly; “what about your eyebrows, shall I trim them ‘somewhat”. The sting was in the ‘somewhat’ indicating my eyebrows were so verdantly overgrown it was more in need of weed-killer. Ah, old age is advancing especially in ear hairs and brows. It made me repent my Bieber remark. For days I was sulking over it. H reckoned it served me right and was secretly gloating.

Even so, Justin Bieber’s name wasn’t a hindrance to his genius, was it? Mind you his fame might well be waning. He was booed a couple of nights ago. Those sort of fames based on talent quests are so fickle, they come and go like falling stars, they light the scene for a second and fall spectacularly down into darkness to be forgotten forever.

Still, I sometimes secretly wish for a light mobbing by hordes of screaming teenage girls, after all those years. Grow up Mr Oosterman, your eyebrows are showing. Keep clinging to your wreckage.  🙂