Tuesday 24 December 2013

Merry Christmas

Have a very merry mid-winter fire festival of your choice - or a convivial midsummer barbeque, for those of you in the Southern Hemisphere.

But if you are not happy, it's probably not because you needed reminding to do it. 
I've posted it before, but:

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Monday 23 December 2013

Jade Vase

There hasn't been any knitting for ages. I started to make this a year ago then got a bit discouraged, forgot about it, and finished it when I came back from Buenos Aires.

It continues my idea of objects from an imaginary archeological dig in an imaginary tomb. Pottery is both fragile and exceedingly long-lasting, but textiles hardly ever survive. The previous object so discovered in my brain was the Leaf Amphora, and before that there was the Aran Vase. Like the Aran vase, this one has little feet made with bobbles. Although they're not needed to make this shape stand - it has a flat base - I've used them to start the lines of rib and give it a little extra structure.

Inside the jade vase
 I considered putting some sort of reinforcement inside, but in the end I didn't. It stands up and maintains it squarish shape very well just from being blocked around a square plastic water bottle.

This light green cotton has a lovely glossy sheen, and it reminds me of the jade which is found in the ancient tombs of China. Nobody is quite sure what a jade bi was for, but they are often found.
Jade vase
To see all the knitting and crochet posts, click http://mshedgehog.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/knitting%20and%20crochet.

Wednesday 18 December 2013

Argentine Tango for TV Viewers

So, I interrupted the series of posts from my trip to Buenos Aires to work for a solid week on a video-illustrated explanation of what Argentine Tango is, for people who've only seen it on Strictly Come Dancing.

I have no problem with Strictly Come Dancing or its children like Dancing With the Stars or Ballando con le stelle and so on. But they have limitations, and we can't really complain if they give people a wrong picture of tango. If people are curious, it's up to us to take that opportunity, and if they're not curious, that's their affair.

I've made it a page, instead of a post, for ease of reference. This is a bit of an experiment. It's linked in the menu at the top ^^, or you can click here, and come back to the blog by clicking Home.

I had to cut out loads of stuff to make it not too overwhelming. I hope I didn't edit out too many of the good bits. Perhaps people will ask questions and I can blog them. It's still quite long, and has some lovely videos. I really hope it will help both people who want to know what tango is, and people who want to explain it to them. Please feel free to send the link around.

Saturday 7 December 2013

Men At Work, Art and Flowers

Very beautiful gardens on an island in the Tigre delta, with a gardener at work among the irises.

Irises, with figure
The gardens were full of sculptures. This is Twelve Chairs of Harmony, with Brazilian Tourists and a Gardener. (The Brazilian Tourists part is only a temporary supra-installation. Not sure about the gardener).

Twelve Chairs of Harmony
 This one says "tenemos el poder de elegir", which means "we have the power to choose".

Tenemos el poder de elegir
Here it is seen from the other direction, with two blokes tending the very large number of David Austin "English" hybrid roses. The roses smelled amazing.

Rose Gardeners

I think this is obviously an enormous penguin, but the guide said I was the first person who had ever said that.

Enormous Penguin

This house, on another estate we passed on the journey, belonged to an interesting President (I think this one). For that reason, a giant glass case has been built around it.

The moon really looks quite different seen from the other way up, although you might not notice if you hadn't looked carefully at the markings before. My camera is not the right kind to take pictures of the moon, so this is the best I could do.

Wednesday 4 December 2013


VivaLaPepa, Sunday I think.
Danced quite a bit. Very informal, pretty good place to just jump in and get some sort of start (and it helped to be with a group). Very young, very very bumpy. Crowded. Surprising performance by famous middle-aged couple who repeated one of the numbers with minimal alteration, apart from not kicking the audience the second time.

La Viruta - I think also Sunday, later. It probably matters which night you go, sorry, I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure it was Sunday after the Pepa one.
Club-style, very dark, don't bother if if you're not with a group, but hit the two-for-one capirinhas with some mates, and you're all set. Probably not a bad place to be seen around though.

La Piccola at a new venue, no idea where and can't remember what day, probably Monday or Tuesday but totally confused now.
Great start at finding partners in the traditional format. Good find was DJ man, one of favourites, v v musical. Quietish. Liked the venue. Traditional, segregated seating, therefore cabeceo, but it's OK to dance with a lady occasionally.

That very small one, forgot its name, probably Diez (10) on Monday or Tuesday
Young, small, informal. Mix of strategies but cabeceo works fine. Had a ball throwing crazy nuevo shapes. They were well thrown, much better than they generally are here, and musically, so I enjoyed this. Some youngsters could do with more shirts, though. Good to be with a group.

Cochabamba444, Wednesday I think.
Described to me as a tango dive, and that was a pretty good description. Basically a bar where people dance, kind of like Happy Days but crowded and everybody dancing tango. Loads of historical stuff on the walls, a bit like they have in theatreland restaurants here. Close embrace, very sticky floor (the only one - all others were on the slippery side), very crowded, bumpy. Interesting. Really interesting. Mixture of invitation styles. Attention started to wear me out. Hid in notebook. Was approached by friend-of-friend, a journalist, who wanted to know if I was one of these anthropologists. No, I was writing a vegetable shopping list because I wanted a break. Couple of nice dances, delightful dance and conversation with journalist, sorry to miss out on promised milonga with him but left with friend. In a funny way this evening was very inspiring to my imagination.

Cachirulo (Saturday at Obelisco)
Great space, apparently purpose-built (check it out on YouTube), and more or less the ideal shape and size, with very few poor seats. Bit bumpy. Lengthy announcement threatening to expel offenders, to disapproval of some as I later found. Formal, segregated seating, cabeceo (obviously), well lit and appointed. Fascinating mix of personalities. Rock and roll, salsa, chacarera, mad party atmosphere. On my second visit somebody actually rock-and-rolled themselves to a horizontal position on the floor, accidentally I'm sure. Whole thing insanely entertaining, highly efficient night out. Managed to make first ever Spanish witticism - probably incorrect, but certainly understood. In my opinion, much better to be 'sola' or with a female friend than with a group; groups have the only difficult seats. Memo: Try to remember to take small amount of money to the loos.

El Beso on Sunday (I think - Susanna's?).
Traditional. Overlapping crowd with Cachirulo at both its locations, and La Piccola. The room is a slightly odd shape, with a couple of pillars, and a lot of tricky seats, but it's also quite small, so you can work around things a bit. A seat in back row near the bar was recoverable by working the room on first visit. Once they clock you, they look for you - keep your eyes open and let them take care of it.

Cachirulo (Tuesday at El Beso)
Similar crowd. I have the impression that women tend to arrive at different times, and leave when satisfied; it's the men who stay all evening. This would make sense as a response to the imbalance of numbers. The Obelisco one might be a better choice for a first try, because of the easier layout. Memo: turn right at the top of the stairs before you buy your ticket, it's where the loos are, and you can change your shoes before going in, which is much easier in this particular case. For this and all hardcore traditional milongas, once you have found the entrance you are okay; hover holding your ticket and let them sort you out.

The one with Sexteto Milonguero just up the road from El Beso, the name escapes me, it was an anniversary for the milonga. [Edit: found the ticket, it was Porteno y Bailarin, Riobamba 345]
I think this must have been after the Tuesday Cachirulo. Two dance floors, mixed seating, informal. I'm not really that into this band, but sat with two friendly Swiss guys and danced one track of live music and one or two recorded. It was a fun event but I was honestly more interested in a beer and a natter at this point.

Milongueando en el 40 (Wednesday at Obelisco)
Had a really really nice time on both visits, hardly stopped dancing while I was there despite a rather painful foot on the first visit. Lighting a bit lower than on Saturday, which made it a bit tricky for some. Quiet, but good. Excellent Pugliese tanda and some interesting dancing generally.
Also, a pizza was abandoned, or at least wolfed very rapidly, in my favour. He was my favourite. Bugger, he's not on Facebook. Probably for the best. I was told I was the only foreigner there (it wasn't crowded), but the lady next to me was a USAmerican.

Lujos at El Beso (Thursday)
Got on v well, similar crowd to both the Obelisco ones, big overlap with La Piccola too. The woman who organises this is poetry in motion, and also the printed tickets are really pretty. I have kept quite a few milonga tickets and thinking I might do some sort of decoupage. Counted the last one mentally as the last milonga of my stay, since I knew the planned outing on the Friday probably wouldn't be my thing, and had a wonderfully indulgent evening with affectionate goodbyes, more repeat dances than I usually would have, and a kindly lift home.

Lujos at Plaza Bohemia, forgotten the day. Possibly Sunday but I'm not sure.
Liked this space a lot less - big and square - but it's OK. At this stage I was having terrible trouble keeping track of all the new faces, especially with the changing contexts. I was with a couple of female friends and by comparing notes we discovered that one of us, not me, had been mistaking two men for each other for over a year, with unfortunate consequences since only one of them was an arsehole. I made a mistake or two in choice of music and partner combination, but had a good time. We went somewhere else after, I think to El Beso, so it was probably Sunday.

La Baldosa on Friday
Civilised, sat with a group, dancing style very very 'salon' which is honestly just not really my personal thing (the event as a whole reminded me strongly of Tango South London, only the room at TSL is much smaller and in my opinion rather nicer - this one is very grey), but I danced the chacarera with pleasure.

Best compliment (in very carefully constructed English) (and if you ignore the pizza - it is something for a woman to be prized above pizza)
"You make me a better dancer".


Monday 2 December 2013

Photoshop Disasters

Needing a laugh today, I bring you an authentic photoshop disaster.

Buy our tango shoes, and your right breast will detach from your body and fly away? Barely to be restrained by drapery, and both hands?

Wait, why?
What does the drapery mean? I don't know.