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August 31, 2004

FSP. exercise in narrowcasting

I'm working on another blog at the moment - it's called FSP and it's a guide to social swing dance in Melbourne.

This is my first attempt at 'serious' websiting. I'm using MT, as it's all I know, and it's actually quite useful. There are some things I wish this website had: a calendar for marking when gigs are on, for example. Or a template for a nice photo essay. But these things are beyond my technical know-how right now.
I know it’s got some lame bits: the design is pretty amateury, there are some broken code bits, etc etc. But as I’ve said, I’m just learning. And I don’t put any effort into seeking out new references and knowledge (I save that for my thesis). Except for this new site. It’s great.

But I’ve been getting quite a few hits on this freeswingpress. And I’ve really only done a tiny bit of promotion: two links on swingtalk ( this one and this one , plus a link in the links section of sweethotblue. I have just asked the tasswing people to put a link in their links page. Other than that, there’s only been word of mouth flogging this horse. In the last week I’ve had about 200 hits, which isn’t too shabby, considering how small the swing community in Australia is, overall. I’m just about to start a more aggressive promotional campaign: asking people in swing community in other states and countries to put fsp on their links pages, and there’s been requests for tshirts.
There’s one floating about that someone else did that has the site’s logo plus the words ‘swing socialist’ instead of ‘free swing press’. I kind of like this one as it’s a play on the site’s emphasis on social dancing, plus my own politics. The fact that it has the old address – is kind of interesting, as I’m known for my politics around town, and by my handle dogpossum.
There’s also been requests for business cards or flyers to promote the site in person.
I’m touched that people find it useful and want to promote. But that’s very swinger – plugging other people’s shit, because they understand how everyone benefits. Well, that’s very every swinger except swing patrol. They don’t seem to have grasped that concept. Interestingly enough, the swing patrol site doesn’t have a links page. Very un-community like, I reckon.

Meanwhile, the fsp site is going well. We’re on a separate server/domain now, so there’s some semblance of independence from dogpossum, but if you search on the fsp site you still get results from the dp site. That’s because there’s still a copy of the dp site on the server with the fsp one. Which I can’t delete yet as that’s where many of the photos are stored, as you can see if you look here. not so many, really, but still. It’s embarrassing.
Ah, dilemma! Will have to hassle The Squeeze about that one.

But it’s been nice working on fsp as it’s entirely practical: it has a function, unlike dogpossum. Which I do like, but really, it’s pretty useless. I’m still deciding about articles for fsp. I want to take it up a notch and maybe get into a bit of critical thinking/investigative journalism. But I dunno if I can be bothered with the fallout. I’m sure my hits would go up dramatically if I got gossipy. In fact, a gossip column would be a nice touch hmmmmm.

One of the nicest bits of fsp is thinking about it as an exercise in narrowcasting. Narrowcasting is a media studies term. In practice, narrowcasting is sort of the opposite of broadcasting. While broadcasting aims to secure the widest possible audience for a particular media form or text (let’s say television program or network), narrowcasting is more interested in smaller, niche markets. It’s generally a term used to describe minority media programs – like a Chinese language news program or a queer TV program. The audiences are smaller, but they tend to be quite loyal.

So when I imagine fsp as an example of narrowcasting, I think of it as a media form targeting a particular audience – swing dancers. But even more particular than that – people who are interested in swing dancing in Melbourne. I am working with an even narrower cast that that, really – people who’re interested in social swing dancing in Melbourne. Luckily there are a few thousand swing dancers in Melbourne, plus a fair few who visit every year.

I really think the site fills a gap in swing media in Australia: the schools focus on their own events and classes, the swing talk board is more a place for discussion and to-and-fro, so useful information is quite often hidden under the bulk of chitchat, plus the format’s a bit difficult to negotiate if you’re not used to discussion boards.

I also hope that the site – with its focus on social dancing – will encourage people to think of swing dance as a social dance, rather than the exclusive preserve of the schools. I use the title ‘free swing press’ because I wanted it to be an ‘independent swing media’ (as the subheading says), outside of the schools. I use the term ‘press’ because I want to draw allusions to the print media – newspapers. And therefore suggest that this is a site/medium devoted to swing ‘news’. There are all sorts of lovely ideological associations between ‘the news’ and ‘telling the truth’ or ‘revealing facts’ or ‘bringing information to people’ that I also like to hint at. Though I’m not pretending to do any of those things. If, coincidentally, I am actually putting people in touch with some useful information, then so be it. Huzzah.

I am also, sneakily, working on my own political agenda: in presenting a discursive space which values social dancing above all else I am (hopefully) encouraging people to revalue social dancing above classes and performances and competitions. Currently the focus-areas (and most-valued) aspects of swing patrol’s dancing agenda. It seems that shouting about it on swingtalk isn’t enough. Hopefully people will come across the site when they’re doing their first web searches for lindy hop and swing dance on the internet and that will shape their expectations of swing in Melbourne: that it is a social, street dance.

Plus I also want to present a medium where Melbourne’s swing bands are showcased. We have a very great many of them, and we’re very lucky. One of Melbourne’s One of Melbourne’s failings as a swing community, is its lack of attention to live music. I think it’s challenging for dancers to dance to live music, and something new for musicians. I also think it’s part of the heritage of the dance. One of my most favourite descriptions of jazz dance is that it’s music made visible. And that there has to be jazz in dance or dance in jazz, or it just don’t work.

I also think that getting out and dancing to live music is a way for the Melbourne swing community to heighten its profile in the wider community. Non-dancing music lovers may see the dancing and think ‘yeah, I’d like to get into that’. Bands will learn how to play for dancers – how to organise their sets: which songs to play in what order. Venues will think of customers as more than simply beer-swilling rabble though really, there’s much more benefit in a rabble of beer-swillers than there is in a floor full of dancers for venue management. Financially, if nothing else.

These all the things I’m thinking of when I edit fsp.
Those and the fact that I wanted a useful guide to social dancing in Melbourne that I could use, so I figured I might as well share it.

"FSP. exercise in narrowcasting" was posted by dogpossum on August 31, 2004 7:06 PM in the category


tonight was a big snail night. it's been raining for a while (so our roof is leaking. eeexcellent. but the plumber came today). but it's a bit warmer.
so there were millions of snails on the bike path.

dilemma: i don't like to deliberately run over them, but i like the scrunchy slush sound they make when they get squashed.

"sn!" was posted by dogpossum on August 31, 2004 12:29 PM in the category

August 30, 2004

Floating lives: Asian diasporas, swingers and homelands

ok, enough about domestic violence and terrorism. and on to something much more interesting!
globalised media! yes, i'm back in the reading-stuff-for-the-thesis mode. and i'm enjoying "Floating Lives: the Media and Asian Diasporas" (ed Stuart Cunningham and John Sinclair) immensely. i know it's nerdy to admit to loving work books, but i do. i just love this crew. it's media/cultural studies in MY type of style. most of the people involved had something to do with UQ or the Australian Key Centre for Cultural and Media Policy in Brisbane at some point. it seems UQ (or Brisbane, anyway) is THE place for me to be for my work. excellent. i move to Melbourne - the place to be for swing dancing - and what do i discover?


at any rate, these key centre people rock. i lubbs media policy studies, media studies and light-on cultural studies with a practical bent

but really, i do love this book. it's just perfect for me: globalised media. diaspora. communities who're defined not by geographic placement or nationhood, but by their own feelings of 'belonging' to a community that crosses countries. and looking at how they use media.

sound much like swingers? yes indeedy. but even better, sound like fans? oh yes.

Cunningham, Sinclair et al do take care to make the point that they're not discussing being Asian as being somehow an 'essential' definer of identity or community in diasporas:

"every diaspora treated in this book is seen as a collocation of class, ethnic, origination, education, work and financial configurations, whose status as a ‘community’ is the product of strategic unities and alliances, sometimes engendered more from without than within, rather than ethnic ‘essences’” (Sinclair and Cunningham 13).

So they see community as being a more complex confluence of different factors, of which ‘being Asian’ is one. Their model (and this comment) is encouraging: I’m jumping off from here, using their methods for analysing media use by members of Asian diasporic communities in Australia. The key point, here, is that community membership is not designated by geographic location or by national boarders. I like to use this approach for discussing swing dancers.

Here, swingers around the world are part of a global community, membership of which is defined by interest and cultural practice. As well as media use. Though various swing communities in different countries are quite unique – localised – they are still part of a more global community, in that they share interests, customs – class, education, work, financial configurations – and their global community is shaped by strategic unities and alliances.
Swingers are, particularly, made a diaspora through their community’s being structured around shared cultural practices and ideology, ritual, tradition and ideology, despite geographic distance. They are diasporic in that they are also somehow outside, and looking ‘back’ to a specific ‘homeland' from another 'place'.

Sinclair and Cunningham discuss the ways in which diasporas are marked – to varying degrees - by their “fetishisation of the homeland” (Sinclair and Cunningham 20). Swingers are quite definitely involved in fetishisation of a ‘homeland’ in their attention to 1930s New York – Harlem. And then, perhaps, Australian swingers are also looking to a ‘homeland’ in their attention to contemporary Sweden or America (and their local swing dance communities).
Sinclair and Cunningham are referring to a ‘homeland’ – as a country - from which groups and families and individuals journeyed out to other countries to settle or work or escape. In swing culture, we can read Harlem as the ‘homeland’ from which all swing dance culture moved out into the rest of the world. It is also the homeland to which contemporary swingers journey in pilgrimage, to see historic sites (the Savoy Ballrooms former location), to learn from swing dance ‘gurus’.

Just as Sinclair and Cunningham frame ‘homelands’ as being as much an ideological construct or idealised ‘memory’, swingers construct a Harlem of a specific time and place, with attendant social and cultural milieu. The Harlem to which swing dancers journey, or harken to as homeland, is the Harlem of the 1930s, birthplace of lindy hop, swinging jazz and ‘swing culture’.

The ‘homeland’ – as an ideological construct – is also a site for various ideological contestations and discursive practices. Definitions of ‘homeland’ are marked by ideological disputes, or/and by markers of power and discursive influence.

So that's what i'm reading for work at the moment. it raaaawks. so much so that i'm working on the weekend as well as mid-week. which breaks my cardinal rule.

Sinclair, John and Stuart Cunningham. "Diasporas and the Media." Floating Lives: The Media and Asian Diasporas . Ed. Stuart Cunningham and John Sinclair. Brisbane: University of Queensland Press, 2000. 1- 34.

"Floating lives: Asian diasporas, swingers and homelands" was posted by dogpossum on August 30, 2004 2:18 PM in the category

August 24, 2004

and more....

a bit of googling offers some following resources...

this page on the australian institute of family studies site (a gov body) provides a bibliography of recent articles on domestic violence. note the title of this entry:

Walther, V.
Intimate partner violence and child abuse: terrorism in everyday lives.
Children Australia v.27 no.4 2002: 6-13, table

In this Kath Dawe Memorial Lecture paper, the author discusses family violence in its social and political contexts. She explains some of the manifestations of this type of violence and presents related statistics. She talks about the role of hospitals in fighting family violence and reports on the Mount Sinai Hospital Domestic Violence Prevention Program, with which she is involved.

Available from: Oz Child: Children Australia, PO Box 7020, Dandenong Vic 3175. Email
An american example, but really some thinking in the right direction.

and this site provides an article which is perhaps offering exactly the right sort of thinking. it opens with the following lines:

BRUSSELS - More Spanish women are being battered to death by their male partners than the number of people killed by Basque terrorists.

But while terrorism makes the headlines, domestic violence is not highlighted, either in Spain or elsewhere in Europe.

and contains this bit of text:

Globally, women between the ages of 15 and 44 are more likely to be maimed or die as a result of male violence than through cancer, malaria, road accidents or war combined.

this page is interesting as it lists a whole heap of links to sites with information about personal safety. it's a guide to government resources in Western Australia. i like the intepretive link between the domestic violence and terrorism links encouraged by the layout of the page.

a link to discussion board posts on the abc's sites sees people making the same links i have, but with an eye to votes.

this somewhat dodgy article on the 'anti olympics alliance' site is interesting as it notes the use of the term 'domestic violence' in legislative documents, referring to incidences of violence on domestic soil. i have no cross-references for the use of this term, but it's an interesting term.

some of the more interesting things to note from my dodgy research:

the phrase 'patriarchal terrorism' and 'psychological terrorism' are used to refer to domestic violence.
the phrase 'domestic violence' is used to refer to violence on australian soil.

things that might be worth writing about in a paper on this topic:
a comparison of the government packages about terrorism and domestic violence: a study of 'official discourse' on the topic... or rather, official voices in public discourse. this might also involve some attention to public media discussions of the two topics (specifically, responses to the two packages in the mainstream media).

it's also worth exploring the public criticism of the howard government's scrapping of a more complex and useful anti-domestic violence campaign/package. particularly in light of howard's public, personal association with the 'be alert not alarmed' terrorism campaign and of course the australian government's deployment of australian troops in the middle east post september 11.

the mistreatment of prisoners by american/allied soldiers in the middle east also seems relevent to this discussion, probably because it's a very good example of the misuse of power and the ways in which institutional structures faciliate this misuse. patriarchal terrorism?

"and more...." was posted by dogpossum on August 24, 2004 6:27 PM in the category

August 18, 2004

if only today was a cleverer day

i'm back working. it's not so great. it's not so bad. but it's not so great.

i am having trouble getting concentrating. thesis? wuh? well, today is better than yesterday. at least today i'm writing things. and i do sort of have a proper thesis hypothesis thing. well, a thing that will lead to a hypothesis.

the research trip to europe was good. it was great. thing is, it was like a holiday. and i was so physically wrecked it was very difficult to do any work while i was away. especially in herrang. oh well.

i do have ideas for a chapter using my experience at camp savoy and herrang. a chapter on camps and exchanges and the importance of travel in swing. oh, and looking at the management of labour in swing. and all of this under the broad (thesis thing) of performing fandom in swing communities.

if only today was a cleverer day.

"if only today was a cleverer day" was posted by dogpossum on August 18, 2004 1:48 PM in the category

August 14, 2004

i am in a flurry

i have just been reading the Horrid wench's blog. it's not a good idea. now it doesn't incense me the way it used to. it just makes me sad. i want to take that sad, pathetic girl and straighten her out. she needs to think less about her weight and what she's wearing and more about... feminism. yes. feminism. that'll straighten her out.

i'd have liked to think my trip overseas would have stopped me posting inflamatory posts on discussion boards, but it hasn't.
soon i will be back in the crazy obsessive land of phd thesis working-at-home people. soon i will return to obsessing about the Gym. i too will write long, complicated posts where i describe exactly what i'm wearing (red fleece, purple trousers, brit hop tshirt, purple and green stripey thermal, house knickers, white and purple striped knee-high socks, hiking boots, fyi). they won't be very interesting as i wear the same things all the time.


meanwhile i'm in flurry about tap dancing (i may Dabble), yoga and lindy hop. yes, lindy hop.

"i am in a flurry" was posted by dogpossum on August 14, 2004 6:50 PM in the category

August 13, 2004

how's about them colours?

a work in progres...
i'm not sure about that purple for the links....

how to colour coordinate all these little vanity images?

"how's about them colours?" was posted by dogpossum on August 13, 2004 5:00 PM in the category

i have a long history as a door bitch

p>tonight i will be overwhelmed by the power of my position and exploit it.

mmmm,maybe not.

tonight i'm doorbitching for a mate who's DJing at another person's regular dance 'club' while they're in tasmania at Canberrang.

now, it's certainly not the first time i've door bitched at a dance doo (in fact, i have a long history as a door bitch, but it's been a little while), but i do suddenly feel very naughty. i could do anything. i mean, i won't, but i could. i could take revenge for all those irritatingly puritanical swing-nazi comments.


i could fuck over all those crappy swing guys who've already started shitting me again (and i've only seen them one night since i've been back). Perhaps i should introduce dance licences...


"I'm sorry, sir, but we'll have to withdraw your dance license as well. We can't have just anybody dancing at this venue, can we?"

that'd teach em for introducing that god-awful 'popular in america at the moment' basic into melbourne. sheesh.

"i have a long history as a door bitch" was posted by dogpossum on August 13, 2004 12:09 PM in the category

the internet was broken yesterday

our internet was broken yesterday. seems there was a big adsl (man,i can never get that acronym right) Issue yesterday. unfortunately yesterday was also The Squeeze's official Sick Day. he has caught the IT nerd version of the Herrang cold and was Languishing yesterday. that means sleeping, in Squeeze terms. that boy is the best sleeper i've ever met. but round about 3pm he woke up a little and wanted to play online (checking work things, mostly, despite my instructions to Rest and Heal). but the internet was broken.

yesterday was a frighteningly productive thesis day.

"the internet was broken yesterday" was posted by dogpossum on August 13, 2004 11:28 AM in the category

it's a sad, sad day when you're eating instant noodles for breakfast

but it can't be helped. my first night of proper dancing since i've been back (where i dance like a nut all night) and i wake up feeling a little ill. now, i've been dealing with herrang cold remnants since i arrived home last thursday, but it seems the IT nerd version of the cold which laid The Squeeze low has decided to take up residence in moi. sick again. so i'm feeling tired and rough and a little disappointed in my immune system. i thought we were a team.
at any rate, despite my attempts to eat only sandwiches since i arrived home, there is no decent bread in the house. the only alternative for sick-girl was obviously instant noodles. and i think the milk has gone off.
meanwhile, the handyman (who i quite like) is wacking things in another room, attending to 2 of the 10 or so items on our list of 'fix it now you bastards' things. a list we sent to the real estate agent before i left (we're talking at least 7 weeks ago). only now, since i've been home and threatened to kick arse have they done anything about this list. a plumber is promised, but i doubt we'll see him any time soon.
meanwhile, the lease is up, so we're living on borrowed time and with little room to apply pressure to our arsehole landlord. we are trying to decide whether or not we should move. unfortuntately, though, areshole landlords dominate our price bracket, and while we pay too much rent here, it's still cheaper to stay than to pay for all the moving crap.
ah, renting. how wonderful it is.

"it's a sad, sad day when you're eating instant noodles for breakfast" was posted by dogpossum on August 13, 2004 11:19 AM in the category domesticity and lindy hop and other dances

August 9, 2004

and while i was away...

i stayed with my mother's sister and her husband in Chiseldon, a little village outside Swindon in Wiltshire. My mother's family have long been crazy animal people, and ann has been rescuing abandoned animals since... well, since forever. in our family, you don't buy animals. you rescue them. so anne has.

they have about 7 cats (most of whom are really really old and really really disgusting: i wouldn't touch them if i could), 3 dogs (including a grotty mongrel with multiple neuroses, a spoilt and badly behaved beagle and a wonderfully gentle staffordshire terrier who has only one leg. he was rescued from the welsh vallies, where they'd broken his jaw and thrown him to some pit bulls to fire them up for an illegal dog fight. he is really lovely, but was most amusing when he hurt his remaining front paw and developed balance issues), a pony, a pig, a ferret, lots of weirdo chickens (whose eggs are sold to raise money for some save-the-children charity) and stacks of ducks. there used to be a goat, but he died. that goat was nice, too. he once lived at a school, where he served some sort of educational purpose. then they decided he had no proper use, and lived in a teacher's front garden til he was rescued. but he's dead now.

here is one of my absolute favourites. colin.

colin is a vietnamese pot-bellied pig, who lived in a pub, fed on crisps and chocolate until he grew too big and was abandoned. so my family rescued him. he has been steadily dieting since he's lived with anne, and while once hideously overweight, he is now just hideous.
that sounds too harsh. colin is actually a friendly, cheerful pig, who loves company and being patted. this isn't always the case with pigs - they can be nasty and vicious.

read on for more crazy animal stories....

this is messel villa, where my aunt and uncle have lived for over 30 years. it's very beatrix potter.

colin really is a very fine pig.

particularly when he's reclining.

but, being a horsey girl from way back, my heart belongs to edward:

edward is a shetland pony. he and his twin sister once pulled a tiny pony trap (that's cart for you plebs), until she died. now, edward is not only an unusually sweet and affectionate pony (esp for a shetland), he also gets very attached. when his sister died he was so despondent, he wouldn't pull the trap any more. so he was retired. now he's getting cheerfully fat and spends his time hassling passers by on the new shire walking trail which passes right by his little field.

this is sylvester:

there's actually nothing wrong with him. well, he does get motion sickness. last time i was visiting the UK my aunt dropped me off in swindon to pick up a train ticket. i had a horrid headache, it was bitterly cold, and we were taking the cats to the vet. sylvester and his overweight brother who's name i can't remember were sharing a cage. one of them was so distressed by the whole deal he lost control of his bowels. the other, justifiably, vomited. the stench was incredible, but we couldn't open the windows because of the cold. the aunt was driving like a mad english country woman down tiny, windey country roads in her battered merc station wagon and truly, it was the journey from hell. not least of all for sylvester, who needed to be washed when he arrived at the vet.
poor sylvester.

i actually have a few little movies i made on the little dig-cam of these animals. they make me laugh: colin is snorting inquisitively, edward loses interest when i don't front up with an apple, and sylvester is typical of most cats: desperate to be my friend and sit on me. cats never seemed to find me this attractive when i wasn't allergic.

"and while i was away..." was posted by dogpossum on August 9, 2004 5:04 PM in the category

one day

and one day i'll sort out those inconsistent titles over there on the left hand side. and the ugly comments page.

one day.

"one day" was posted by dogpossum on August 9, 2004 4:27 PM in the category

just pull the plug

is it just me, or does this blog seem to have gotten all boringly sentimental and personal?

well, i stand by the word that blogs are meant to be Long and Boring. that's why they're called blogs. they're also destined to be fearfully wishywashy. just make sure you pull the plug when i start posting pictures of animals.

"just pull the plug" was posted by dogpossum on August 9, 2004 4:25 PM in the category

August 8, 2004

hair cut

i've also had a haircut (finally!) so i don't quite look like those little pictures any more. short. it's short. and i love it. i'm sure i could tell an amusing anecdote about my trip to the apprentice hairdresser, but i don't have time. though i will say, it was a pretty close thing at one point. i was just reading the trashy mags, obvlivious, when i look up: aaaarrrrgggghhhh!!!! i had horrid, long, straight 70s hair. that shit that's tres popular with the young kiddies at the moment. i had to cut in on the hairdresser's enthusiastic blow waving and straightening and say 'i'm sorry, but i can't do this hair. it looks nice, but it will drive me nuts. can we make it much shorter?' and then i had to salve their egos and they were all worried i was shitty, and i had to reassure them that i wasn't, and then i looked through some mags and basically got the same short hair cut i've had for, oh, about a million years. well, since i stopped shaving my head, and after i got o ver my big 60s hair stage.

but i like it. short, curly-ish, dark red. it's all a win.

"hair cut" was posted by dogpossum on August 8, 2004 8:42 PM in the category

first night dancing

Last night we went to the Austrian club to see JW. My first night dancing since i've been back (and it's been about a week since i last danced - feels like a couple of days, though, owing to the weirdo travel thing). The Squeeze brought his excellent digital camera and took some wonderful photos of the band. i had a play and took some nice photos of my friends. they're a bit grainy because it was quite dark there, the shutter speed wasn't quite quick enough (i think - i don't really know about this stuff), i don't use flash (because people look horrid and washed out, though The Squeeze has introduced me to the notion of fill flash. hm.) and they were a bit far away.
This is a picture of doris and corinne. aren't they pretty? this is an edited version (i cropped for framing). i'm still learning, so be kind.
also, i'm having some troubles with mt uploading my files. so the link to the popup might be broken. check the archive for a better copy if you want to save a copy. please keep in mind that these are photos i've taken myself, and you should (if you're any sort of decent person) credit me. if you want to use any of these photos in your own publications (including websites) please get my permission or at least credit me and link to my site.

here's another photo of doris:

i am trying to upload another version of that dory and corinne one, but it won't work. poop. you'll have to settle for this gorgeous photo of dave:

nor will it let me upload an interesting photo of lotte. i think i smell technical problems. oh well...

"first night dancing" was posted by dogpossum on August 8, 2004 1:46 PM in the category lindy hop and other dances

August 2, 2004

increasing silliness

As the only person in this block of accommodation I feel it is my duty to see just how loudly I can play my music before I reach my own auditory limits.

But miles is just too adolescent. And ella is too twee.

I am so un rock n roll.

"increasing silliness" was posted by dogpossum on August 2, 2004 2:58 PM in the category

flying home

There’s something strange about being the only person in a block of apartments after spending two weeks in the constant company of at least 200 people. Especially when those 200 people are almost always in constant physical contact with each other.

The second camp – Camp Savoy – is over, and I’m taking an extra night in the student housing to recover before I fly out of Heathrow tomorrow night. The weather has been utterly wonderful: very warm, very sunny. This could be a university campus anywhere in Australia. Though the food marks it as singularly British. Otherwise, there are very few English accents about – this being a university campus and all – and I’m really quite enjoying doodling about on my own.
Could do with a bit of company, but still how could I complain about such a long, glorious evening with such wonderful warmth and cooling breeze? And after all this sitting about on the hilly lawn under the student accommodation, reading The Guardian (which I’ve missed) and beginning to think again, I’ve a lovely clean, dry bed with sheets and no early morning missions ahead of me.

The last two weeks have been incredibly intense. Herrang was the perfect exercise in indoctrination: intensely, physically demanding days with round the clock dancing, where doing a beginners class in aerials at 12midnight (midday Herrang time) seemed perfectly logical and plain black tea was a precious commodity to be traded illicitly and only between friends. I have surely joined a cult, and am in dire need of deprogramming.

Living with constant physical exhaustion, sleep deficiency and irregular meals have taken their toll and my health has once again dropped. The Herrang bug has been hanging about in my sinuses since late last week, and pushed me into naps every afternoon. Expensive classes with world-class lindy hop egos be-damned. There’s rest and recuperation to be done. My lungs are beginning to fill and the Horrid Cough has returned. I predict much wailing and gnashing of teeth when the plane takes off.

Flying with feet as sore and mangled and swollen as mine were last week resulted in a pain so spectacular I would have bawled like a baby if I’d not been so tired I fell immediately into a sleep that defied even take off. While the effects of constant dancing haven’t quite worn off – there are some disturbingly numb spots on my toes and recurring bouts of pins and needles – I’m hoping these couple of days of rest will make flying a bit more comfortable. I’ve regained some higher brain function and have managed to stay awake all day, though I’ll probably find myself all awake and twitchy at about 1am, looking for some dance floor action. But for now, it’s 8:34pm and I’ve not napped today. I must be getting better. There’s also been no dancing, and I’m not sure I’m ready for that. Over two weeks of dancing every day for at least eight hours is kind of addictive. I’m in endorphin withdrawal, I’m sure. How will I cope with Melbourne’s dark and horrible winter?

Pft. It’s such a lovely, warm evening, it’s hard to imagine Melbourne’s crap weather. For now, while I’ve borrowed from Lionel Hampton, I think Miles Davis is the only possible musical alternative for this evening.

"flying home" was posted by dogpossum on August 2, 2004 2:55 PM in the category herrang and lindy hop and other dances and travel

shoe reportshoe report

The dance shoes are not coming home with me. They have failed to go the distance. Massive holes in the sides, rubber sole coming away from the sides. Never being completely dry has done the expected damage. But the sueded sole has stood up to the task. But they’re only 8 months old and making an incredible olfactory contribution to my luggage. Alas, poor dance shoes. I loved you well

My feet are still numb and pins and needles in alternating bursts. Sitting upright for any serious amount of time results in very uncomfortable numbness and tingling. And cramps. But definitely better than they were – pain killers are no longer necessary for sleeping.
But some mild concern about looming plane epic.

Dance shoes are not to blame. Excessive dancing is.

Seeking a suitable dance shoe alternative. The ked, while a wonderful shoe, is perhaps not the best option. Need a wider shoe. Though the padded ked was almost enough support. I need more support, but light. And not too thick a sole. Hm. Thorough investigation of all alternatives is in order

Hiking boots: still rawk. Still the best shoes ever.
Should have bought those cheap flippers in London: I long for thongs.

"shoe reportshoe report" was posted by dogpossum on August 2, 2004 2:53 PM in the category

laundry report

My backpack full of clean laundry, care of Eva’s washing machine and a night break between camps, is now more a mixed bag. I am down to the non-dancing underwear (where the dancing underwear seems to have largely disappeared: I’m sure I’ve lost knickers in the Herrang laundry. Despite Grace’s best efforts) and once again wishing I’d brought some thai fisherman’s pants with me. But who’d have thought loose, cotton nappy-inspired trousers would be the perfect garment for a dance camp in Europe? Note to self for future reference, I guess.
The wedding clothes proved just as irritating as I’d thought: sure, I could have dressed up for the blues nights at Herrang (one can never be over dressed for blues night), but then I’d not have felt as comfortable as I did. Ah well.
I’m going to have to hunt for something clean for flying in. Something I can bear to wear for 24 hours straight
Future Herrang visits: more trousers. More loose, comfy cotton trousers. More thai fisherman pants. Ten tshirts is enough. Bring bike pants to manage inevitable Chafing Issues. Never too many pairs of underwear or socks. Bring only machine-washable, quick-drying clothes. Care not for crinkles. Swimming costume an essential for shy-bies (not that I had the opportunity to see if I was shy). Sheets. Say yes to a sheet. Hat. Sarong – another essential.

How will I manage Melbourne’s winter weather and fashion requirements? Especially now I’m at least a size smaller than I was before I left. Goddamn this super-responsive metabolism. It adores exercise. And dancing truly is the best exercise there is.

"laundry report" was posted by dogpossum on August 2, 2004 2:51 PM in the category england and herrang and lindy hop and other dances and travel

brit hop revisited

I subsequently met the young fella from London who designed the London Lindy Exchange (LLX) Brit Hop tshirts. He was in Herrang. He was young, cute and a lovely dancer. I know it’s wrong to be patronise, and I do try not to. But he was.
And it was a brit pop joke.

"brit hop revisited" was posted by dogpossum on August 2, 2004 2:46 PM in the category lindy hop and other dances