Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Chapter One: In which an Englishman with three left feet learns to salsa dance: part 2

During the interlude I am taught by CR's wife how not to dance. Basically everything I have been doing since birth is wrong. My hips do not move correctly and it needs to be fixed. I concurred with her opinion, especially now that I have had a chance to reminisce on my clubbing days and how I was infinitely more successful with the ladies when leaning near motionless at a bar.

I thank her for the advice and promise to work on this.

At this point, MH is leaning over the balcony to look at cleavage. I will point out that like me, he is married and every time he finds something worth investigating he looks to me, laughs with a very mischievous grin, lifts his shoulders and taps his wedding ring. We follow the same code: We window shop but always buy the same pizza. We like our own pizzas.

Samba music plays. I like it. I can vaguely tell it's Brazilian and ask if it is sung in Portuguese. It is but they can't tell me what it is about properly. Instead I am told it's not about what is said, but what your hips can do with the beat. In my case that's not a whole lot.

The song finishes and our camel toe sporting friend returns with her two shambling dancers. They have all changed. She is now in a blue dress and we are thankful for it. She lip syncs a couple more songs badly, turning the mic back on between the songs to talk with the crowd and gets a guy to come up and sing a song with her. She actually sings this time. I preferred the miming.

All finished she leaves and all three hundred people below disappear to the bar. As I am treated to another beer CR is crapped on by a pigeon in the rafters. I shit you not (pun heavily intended). He repairs to the bathroom to clean up and the real band, Xtreme, get on stage and start tuning up.

Lesson four: Musically I am a total geek. I have been to more gigs back home than I remember. From the world's biggest acts filling up an arena like Metallica to the lowliest three pieces set up in the corner of a pub like Spunky Birthday.

They are a large ensemble with three guitarists, one acoustic rhythm, one acoustic lead and an electric lead. There is a bass player four percussionists (various bongos, hand drums, a kick drum and metal scrapey thing which I will guess to be the Dominican equivalent of the English wash board (as seen in the Ozark Mountain Dare Devils' song Chicken Train) and a traditional drummer. They also have a keyboard player (Does that count as a percussion instrument these days?) on top of the two singers who are still somewhere in the back, probably being serviced by something with dark, dark eyes, a badly designed short, tight dress, high heels and long black hair.

They kick off with an instrumental piece that is most likely the bastard offspring of a session spent getting high and listening to Led Zeppelin. There are good bluesy undertones, a thick sound that makes you want to listen to Black Dog and it's wrapped up in a burrito. That may sound slightly racist but the Hispanic influence of it overwhelms everything. Perfectly.

Lesson five: Good music is good music no matter what it sounds like.  Most everyone I know hate Tin Machine. Those everyones suck as human beings, but they would probably say these guys suck, too. I know for a fact KP would love these guys.

This is going to be amazing I think to myself, as I am often prone to do. MH starts dancing by himself - very well. CR and his wife are cutting a rug... in fact their niece and I are about the only people not dancing. I'm watching the guitarists jam and the percussionists... well, I've never seen anything like that so I'll have to come up with a new word for the experience. The singers get on stage and the crowd goes wild. CR's wife and niece are waving and screaming. CR, MH and I shrug a little and try and talk above the noise but I can't make much of it out.

They start singing and it doesn't quite fit with the music for me, but all of the ladies are lapping it up. One girl runs on stage and clings to one of the singers for dear life as security try and peel her away. The singers are not helping security at all. I am amused, this is only the first song they have partaken in. 

This, as it turns out, is just another day on the job for them and for the next hour they encourage wave after wave... after wave of tight bottoms in tighter dresses to come up and grab their junk and make obscene suggestions about back stage antics after the show. Patently I am working in the wrong industry.

More to come...

Monday, October 10, 2011

Chapter One: In which an Englishman with three left feet learns to salsa dance

It's Friday, Noticeiro Telemundo have been live in Denver for a week. They thank me with an invitation to a Hispanic concert.

You may or may not be aware of this but I'll try anything twice, even if it's dangerously hazardous to my health. It's how I grow. The opportunity to go out with very new friends in a new location to experience an entirely new culture is the thing of dreams.

So I'm told to meet them at the venue down town between nine and nine thirty and that I'm going to learn how to celebrate Latino style. A bold statement thinks I.

Lesson one: Between nine and nine thirty means ten fifteen on the dot for Latinos, and the stroke of midnight for Latinas.

I get there at a modest nine fifteen and spend the next hour of my time in the venue learning a couple of three or four things:

1: I will be the tallest guy there who is not working.

2: I will be the only white guy there who is not working.

3:  I am the only human being there who doesn't speak Spanish or Portuguese.

I order myself a three dollar bottle of 50 cent water and go to the VIP section I am supposed to meet my good friends. I stick out like a sore thumb on a fresh water fish. Did I mention I was wearing a white t-shirt in black light? I stuck out like a sore thumb on a fresh water fish and I glowed as well.

I'm on the balcony over looking the stage, because that's where VIPs go, and I drink my water whilst surveying the scene. This is where I found out why Hispanic women have great legs and even better bottoms. The band isn't starting for an hour and the floor is a sea of dark dark eyes, badly designed short, tight dresses, high heels and long black hair. It's a pretty good vision for a straight human male to behold. There is something for everyone as long as you like everything listed above. Some of the girls are short, some tall, some skinny as rakes, others big and almost all of them are beautiful. Arses are swaying, arms are raised and legs are moving around close to the speed of sound.

The guy next to me who was doing his best to meld with one such specimen and I looked at him, he looked right back and we just nodded. No language is needed between men in a venue such as this.

So for an hour or so whilst I waited for my friends to meet me at nine thirty at ten fifteen I watched bottoms, scored them all on my usual scale. It was an above average group I admit. My time was not wasted and I decided that when Bef gets tired of me and kills me dead I'll get myself hopelessly involved with a Latina woman... and invite Bef.

Lesson Two: Bef and I are determined to break up, have break up sex, break up kids, live in break up sin and see what else we can break up. It's a good arrangement.

CR and MH arrive right on time at ten fifteen just as the first act is coming on. We get beers have fun, make jokes and I learn that beso means kiss. CR brings his wife and niece and they are awesome. I instantly fall in love with them as a family and want to put them in a cupboard. There are an awesome collective. MH brings himself and as it turns out that's all he needs. They tell me that their boss, AC and the lovely MR will not be making it tonight. It's cool.

Lesson Three: MH is a quiet and mild mannered man at work. MH at a concert (and later as we will find out, a club) is a party ANIMAL. I do not say that lightly.

MH proceeds to point out the very best bottoms and rumps on show, whilst being careful to point out the fact the opening act is miming. Also her back up dancers look like random skinny guys found on the street just before the show. They have no timing (I have personal experience of this and so consider myself a connoisseur on terrible dancing) no looks but they do have incredibly inane grins and they do seem to enjoy her blatantly displayed camel toe. I see her switch he mic on when the show finishes so she can talk to the crowd but I think the crowd played along well for the most part.

She sings three songs, the back up dancers dance (?), and they leave. I am happy. Aside from the tight outfit and camel toe I think I'm better off for not knowing Spanish, though I politely ask MH what she was singing about and he replies with a shrug and says "Who cares!" as he points out a nicely presented set of norks I missed for all the arses.

More to come....

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Iker Casillas - Leg end.

So there I was sitting on the couch with my lovely infected kidneys watching the Sevilla vs Real Madrid match on Gol TV. 

It wasn't the best football match you're ever going to see but it did have a moment or two of brilliance. Usually when you think of Football and brilliance and Real Madrid one tends to think immediately of one of their star players they buy every year who are commonly known as Galacticos. For example Portuguese winger Cristiano Ronaldo, as much as I loathe his diving antics, is indubitably one of the most talented players in the world and as he cost Madrid something in excess of $100,000,000.00 should be considered to be a Galactico.

But no, this brilliance came in the form of their home grown progeny of awesome: goalkeeper, Iker Casillas. He's perhaps the best keeper in the world right now, and this is why:

This may not look like much as the striker shooting is only a few yards away from the goal line when he hits it, but watch it again and take note of a couple of  points: First Casillas is on the opposite side of the goal, beyond the post, when the ball is crossed. Then not only does he manage to get all the way over to be in a position to make a save, but he also makes the save before the striker takes his shot.

The anticipation, agility and speed to make this save is possessed by maybe two or three other goal keepers in the world and even then the odds of getting in the way of the ball is at best one in three. Goalkeeping is, in many ways more important than any other position, especially when preventing an ironclad goal, like Casillas did here, is sometimes more important than scoring at the other end of the pitch.