don’t judge a book by its cover

behind a grotty looking façade in a dark street, you will find a small hall. a small hall with rich dark red walls, smooth concrete floor, a little stage with heavy red velvet curtains. low lights with bare bulbs. walls covered in big and small photos and paintings from years gone by. on the stage a piano and accordion and a string instrument – playing sublime soulful music with a gentle rhythm. opposite the stage is a long bar, with people watching the dance floor, watching the smooth moves of feet and legs.

 

this is albert hall in woodstock. this is the weekly tango night. this is, quite simply, a whole different world. i felt like i had stepped back in time to the 40s. to the dance halls during and after the war. to a time when people spent an evening with friends and strangers, dancing to music, and soaking up the soul.

 

i spent the entire time watching – how the novices and the experienced dancers mixed graciously. how most people danced with several different people and not only one partner. how some were dressed to the nines in short dress, high-heeled tango shoes and beautifully coiffed hair-do, others in t-shirt and jeans with dreads down to their waist.

 

and all the time the soulful sounds of the tango tunes from the live band on stage. albert hall has succeeded in taking me back to another era, and i’m certainly coming back sometime.

 

quite different to how the day started – with an hotel breakfast that i savoured over a period of an hour and a quarter. from yoghurt and fruit, through early grey tea and pineapple juice, followed by yoghurt, muesli and coco-pops, then an omelette and finished with danishes and a chocolate croissant. accompanied by the sunday paper, it was a decadent way to start my sunday.

 

after i checked out, i watched the rough seas in bantry bay for a while before heading home in the strong pre-cold front winds. i spent the afternoon watching a dvd (august rush – a beautiful yet fantastical movie about the power music has in emotions and communication) and reading. i read a bit more in my book about the genocide in rwanda, eventually nodding off. straight into a nightmare. i don’t normally find that movies and books enter my subconscious. i can watch a horror movie and go straight to sleep afterwards without any problems. but today, the journey and sights the book was describing, had me being followed and persecuted in my dream. this book shall have to be taken in small doses, interspersed with lighter literature.

 

and i am not the only one to read in this fashion, i am happy to discover. i met a guy at the party last night who also has a thing for books, and i was excited to find that he had a similar philosophy to owning and reading books as i do. we both will buy books that we find interesting, and know we will read at some point, but not necessarily immediately. to the consternation of some of my friends, i have bought books that have been untouched in 3 years. but then i will look at my bookshelf one day, and that book will be read within days. i also never travel with less than 5 books. usually very different books. because i never know what my mood will dictate for me to read while i am away. and i will, of course, usually read 2 or 3 books simultaneously.

 

talking of meeting people – i did meet quite a few interesting people last night. mainly guys, it being m.h.’s birthday party in a gay venue. but every time i mentioned to m.h. who i quite liked the look of, he would invariably tell me that he is straight… ho hum… but he did drop a hint in an sms this morning that i did make an impression on some people last night… we’ll have to see when he decides to let me know more.

 

and that made me wonder whether i am sometimes my own worst enemy.

 

i’m keen to meet other guys, hook up, have a few (safe) experiences – not looking for a long-term relationship just yet. but i am petrified of that initial move. that transition from “he’s a great guy i get on with” to wanting to put my hand on his thigh. i imagine it boils down to a fear of rejection, and that i think i can’t read a situation well enough to know if he is interested as well or not.

 

yet, when i get told by another friend that one of the guys i met on friday “is really taken by you” i freak a little inside. i don’t quite know what to do. i am flattered of course. but i am dead scared. how “taken” is he with me? i know that i don’t find him attractive even if we do get along well. so i guess i am afraid of being the rejector – ‘cos i’m a nice guy and i don’t like hurting people’s feelings. but i don’t want someone to expect me to go somewhere that i don’t want to go to. i don’t know if i’m making any sense. even to myself.

 

life. it’s never easy. but if it was we’d be complaining it was boring, right?

 

at least i have the memory of being in a 1940s dance hall to take me to sleep tonight…the music goes on…

 

 

what bugged me today: american visitors talking so very loudly at the next table during my entire breakfast

 

what i learnt today: just how cruel humans can be to each other – in particular in rwanda

 

what i am grateful for: my first visitor from south america to this blog J

 

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