Sunday, 5 December 2010

La Milonga de La Luna

I believe this is intended to turn into a monthly milonga for 2011, but at the time of writing it's irregular and you'll need to check the website or the Facebook group to keep up. This occasion was an end-of-year party. It's organised by Eleonora Simoes. At ULU (University of London Union), Malet St, WC1E 7HY. 21:00-02:00.

The Class: There wasn't one.

Layout and Atmosphere: Once you get past the bouncers making sure you don't stage a sit-in, there's a nice lady doing the money and sitting in front of a coat rack, next to which are some chairs for your pupation into butterfly. It was a cold night, so this took me a while. The room's a theatre, with stage, big sound sytem, and a mezzanine or circle above. The DJ is tucked in below the stage, and tables with chairs behind them are laid out close to the wall, so you can sit behind but not walk, on the other three sides. There's a second row of bar-style tables along the open side under the mezzanine.You can reserve a table if there are four or more of you. It wasn't that full so there seemed to be enough seating for everyone. The bar is in the lobby under the mezzanine, and there's a large low platform, also with chairs, where the shoe shop and the cakes were. So there's plenty of room to sit out or socialise if you want to. The walls and ceiling are painted a very beautiful dark blue, the chairs are blue, and the silver velvet tablecloths looked very pretty and made me smile. I had no problems with the floor, which was perfectly smooth without being slippery. The room was fairly cool when I came in, but not cold.

Hospitality: Good. Coat racks for your stuff behind the desk, adequate seating. My single G&T was £3.50, tap water and bottled water appeared to be available from the bar. Actually someone got the water for me, so I didn't try to ask for tap water myself and can't vouch for it. On this occasion there were also some cakes on the platform in the lobby. The loos (ladies' by the bar) are clean and very well lit and in good condition, if a little rickety, pretty much what you'd expect from a university building. The coat rack was already near full when I arrived so your stuff might be a bit squashed if you come at 23:30.

Anyone or anything interesting that turned up or happened: German Salvatierra gave a performance entitled "The Man With Four Legs". I didn't have a good view, but it's nice to see intentional comedy on a dance floor. Also, Coleccion La Recoleta were there with their Comme Il Faut tango shoe collection.

What I thought of the DJing: I'm actually not sure whether German Salvatierra was DJing, or Diego Doigenau (who's also the usual DJ at Negracha). Tandas, cortinas, 90% traditional from when I came in. There was one dodgy milonga that that didn't go in the tanda and about half the floor assumed to be a cortina, but I don't know who played it, it might have been an accident. Otherwise it was all strong music, mostly familiar, I had no problems with any of it.

Getting in: £13, well over the London norm of £10. Non-dancers and ULU members pay £10.

Getting there and getting home: Russell Square is, marginally, nearest. When you come out of Russell Square, walk left, crossing the street; turn right at the lights. You're now on Woburn Place. Take the first left, next lights, just after the big "International" hotel. Carry on past various university buildings till you get to the corner of Malet street. There is a red door on the street you're on, but this time a sign directed me round the corner to the brightly-lit main entrance. There were a lot of bouncers, who may be there all the time or might have been there in case we started looking like we wanted to stage a sit-in. Or a dance-in, or something. Go in, go upstairs (on your right) to the first floor. It's a few minutes' walk, but under ten.

If you returned to Woburn Place and went back past Russell Square you'd come to Southampton Row, Theobald's Road, and the Holborn area where lots of night buses go from. If you went in the opposite direction you'd very soon get to Euston station, where there are more. Last Tubes are between 00:25 and 00:45 on Saturdays.

The website: is at, but you're better off with the Facebook group.

How it went: I had a really nice time and I went home in a better mood than I arrived. It had a good atmosphere, which is often the case with Eleonora's events. When she had the same room as Negracha, but on Sundays, it was very striking how she managed to create a nice atmosphere with just a bit of embellishment and changing where the tables were. I thought about staying to the end, but quit while I was winning and took a train. The main reason I left was that England were 2 for 317 at Adelaide, leading by 72, which doesn't happen every four years, play started at midnight, and the siren voice of Jonathan Agnew was calling me to get home at 1am rather than 4. But also I'd already had some nice dances and the core of those who go to Eleonora's events are more nuevo-style in their tastes than me; so although quite a few of them are good dancers and I can totally work with it, I'm not quite their thing. Anyway, the evening made me happy.

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