Swing Dance

Vintage at the South Bank – a guide for Lindyhoppers

This weekend Wayne Hemmingway’s Vintage festival comes to the South Bank Centre as part of the 60 year anniversary celebrations for the Festival of Britain. It’s a celebration of all things vintage from the 1940’s through to the 1980s and although it had its teething troubles, it did get some positive feedback from vintage lovers (a good roundup of reviews can be found on the Tissue Clouds blog).

My assessment is that there are potential good times to be had here for Vintage-loving dancers as long as you set your expectations correctly: as with any vintage event there will be a mixture of hardcore Vintage lifestylers and vintage tourists, for whom the mere sight of a cravat is an exciting novelty. There will be dancers there, but don’t expect to be able to dominate the dancefloor.

Tickets are £60 , but Time Out are selling tickets at £19 – not sure exactly for which days…

So what does it hold in store for Lindyhoppers and which day should you go on?


For one week only: free analyst/developer in London


After following up a couple of possibilities I’ve decided to go and work with New Bamboo for the week to see what value I can add as a Business Analyst. I’m looking forward to working in a very fast-paced agile environment – somewhat different to the projects I’ve been on recently and I’ll report back what I’ve learned.

It’s been extremely interesting talking to the guys at GoSquaredWikiJob and Pusher and getting an insight into what their priorities are and how they work.

Original post:

Calling all London-based Charities, Green or Social enterprises, Web agencies and Ruby-on-Rails development houses, I have a question for you:

If you had access to skilled analyst for a whole week and it cost you nothing, how would you use them?

I’m leaving my current Consultancy job and have taken some time off before starting my new position. In the first week of August (1st-5th) I’m looking to have some new experiences with an interesting organisation and I’m very much open to suggestions.

So what can I offer?

I’m a Generally Clever Chap – I’m all about dealing with complexity and solving hard problems.


Swimmin’ in the rain

On Sunday morning I went swimming in Tooting Bec Lido for the first time. I possibly didn’t see it at it’s best – the rain ranged between drizzle and torrential – but it’s still a beautiful pool with its colourful changing booths. It’s also massive: the biggest open air pool in the UK.

Tooting Bec Lido by Vapour Trail on Flickr
Let’s just say it wasn’t quite this sunny… (Tooting Bec Lido by Vapour Trail on Flickr)

Swimming in the rain is one of those little unimportant but enriching experiences: there’s something special about comfortably swimming through the droplets. The water was a tolerable 17 degrees – slightly colder than the Serpentine Lido on a sunny day a couple of weeks ago, but vastly warmer than the mixed pond at Hampstead Heath on a baking day in April (slightly magical, teeth-chatteringly cold).


Artisan food producers

Artisan Chocolate Bars
Photo by salimfadhley on Flickr

I’m commuting to Reading a couple of days a week at the moment and today on my way back, while searching for some sort of cake to satisfy my sweet tooth, I dipped into Tutti Frutti at the station and emerged with a cone of incredible Raspberry sorbet, absolutely rammed with real fruit.

Swing Dance

ESDC ‘Blues’ Comp

I’m nearly a month late on this, but I wanted to share my thoughts on this clip from the first European Swing Dance Championships:

This was advertised on the ESDC website as a “Strictly Blues” comp and the compere introduces it as a “Strictly Blues Final”, but there’s something not quite right: to my semi-educated eyes, there are 3 couples on that floor dancing Blues and 3 couples dancing ‘slow swing’.

Go to 1:15 and look at who pays attention to that second big beautiful brass gliss. Look who’s listening to that big fat blues pulse in both of the songs. Now look at who came last (Fabien & Lisa and Chris & Annette). Did they give the best performance on the floor? Probably not, but they arguably exhibit far more of the elusive ‘Blues Aesthetic’ than some of the couples who placed higher.

So what’s going on?

Basically it sounds like the competition was advertised to some of the dancers and perhaps some of the judges as a “Slow Strictly” – certainly Jo Hoffberg’s blog post refers to it as such.

What does it matter what a competition is called? It’s important because the result of a high-profile competition says something about a dance. This result doesn’t quite say is “Blues is just slow Lindy and West Coast Swing”, but it doesn’t help the cause of a dance which needs to project a clear unique identity if it is going to continue to grow.