Blogger Spotlight

Blogger Spotlight: Gwyneth at “The Lockwood Echo”

Per tradition, I would normally scribble a clever and glowing introduction to the featured piece you are about to read. However, in this case, I feel the story should be as much of a surprise for you and it was for me. Enjoy.

 

Shuffle Hop Step Tap Ball Change

 

This is the story of a little boy from Oklahoma who had a dream. A dream to dance. And he lived his dream. Briefly. But with it being so far removed from his small town Oklahoma reality (not to mention the fact his dream came true over 4000 miles away from home, on a continent he’d never yet visited), the memory of those halcyon days have since been filed in his brain under ‘In Case Of Emergency Look Here For Long Forgotten Stimuli That May Bring Me Out Of A Coma If The Unfortunate Need Should Ever Arise’. I assume the giddiness of such a dream coming true has messed with the ‘it absolutely did really happen/it’s too fabulous to have really happened’ divide, and the grown man has sadly no recollection of this part of his childhood.

But I was there. I remember. I REMEMBER IT ALL!

The first rule about Dance Class is you don’t talk about Dance Class; you express it through the medium of DANCE! And dance we did. Our little four-year old legs throwing themselves out in all directions as our arms tried to keep up. Sticking our tummies out because, well, because we were only four and had not yet learnt the word ‘posture’.

And this is how I first met Brian. Brian with the very short shorts and the tap shoes with the very big bows. Brian tapped his way into every class and tapped his way out again. His Shuffle Hop Step Tap Ball Change was the envy of us all.

Don’t you remember any of this, Brian? The classes covered Ballet, Tap and Modern dance. ‘Modern’ being anything that wasn’t Ballet or Tap. And Ballet and Tap were merely defined by the shoe. Those early years presented little distinction between the forms, given that as human beings we were still learning basic coordination. Ballet was just very quiet tap-dancing. Don’t you remember doing Ballet, Brian? By the time we were eight or nine, we’d learnt how to wrap those satin ribbons round our legs like proper ballet dancers. You spent hours practising with your satin ribbons. And we discovered the secret to balancing on our toe tips, without it hurting, was to cut off our circulation by tying the ribbons really tight, rendering our feet numb. The reality was we never progressed to going ‘En Pointe’, so the opportunities to wear the classic satin ballet shoes were rare. Much to your disappointment.

There was only one other lad in the class, so as we grew up and advanced into more complicated routines and to PUTTING ON SHOWS, because I was tall, I was often cast in a boy’s role. This was the Seventies, so boy/girl divides were the order of the day. The upside being we were able to rehearse our routines together. And we rehearsed during every spare minute didn’t we, Brian? Do you still not recall any of this? We would run through our steps, helping each other keep time, although you often found yourself gravitating towards the ‘girl’ part. I often felt you weren’t entirely comfortable learning the boy routines.

And do you still know all the words to ‘Oliver’? I do. One of my favourite musicals and any of those show tunes can take me right back to dance class. I’m surprised you don’t remember us being cast in ‘Oliver’. Don’t you have even the vaguest recollection of the Dockyard Pantomimes? Each Christmas, the little theatre in our local Naval Base, hosted a pantomime and we’d feature in several numbers. All those sailors. Surely you recall the sailors, Brian? Those British Naval uniforms were chorus-line ready. I know all the nice girls love a sailor, but I was too young for such. Besides, I’d already given my heart to David Bowie, at the totally inappropriate age of seven.

Perhaps you remember the costumes we wore? Pixies? Military? Swans? Don’t you remember being a swan, Brian?

Well, I don’t know what else I can recount to help jog that memory of yours. I mean, you LIVED it. You were THE DANCE. You marched your band out. You beat your drum. It was YOUR DREAM! It happened, Brian. It really happened.

 

Footnote;

This little piece was inspired by the rather marvellous Mr Lageose (no, I’m not entirely sure how to pronounce it either, never had to, never asked), resident raconteur at Bonnywood Manor. This was the dream of a boy from Oklahoma. I’ve made that dream a reality here, because it was indeed my reality. The details are true. I only attended dance classes until around the age of twelve, but it was a huge creative escape during my early years. I wasn’t any good, but the legacy of those days lives on, not least in the fact I have really stretchy hamstrings.

This post is dedicated to the memory of Iris Barnes. A French-looking, chain-smoking theatrical luvvie who clapped out Triple Time Steps in her sleep. My introduction to winged eye-liner, uncomfortable tights and David Bowie.

The Editor

If you enjoyed this post, head to The Lockwood Echo’s Hot Off The Press page and peruse the other amusing articles on offer. If you didn’t enjoy this post, please feel free to drop your thoughts onto a postcard, cut it up into little pieces and pop it down your waste disposal unit.

 

You can peruse more of Gwyneth’s work by clicking here. If you have comments specifically for Gwyneth, please be gracious enough to make them on the original post found here so Gwyneth can be assured of receiving your thoughts.

 

For those of you who are at least mildly curious about the proper pronunciation of my last name, I’ll be sharing an older post tomorrow that addresses that very question (among other things). I’m sure you can barely stand the excitement…

 

26 replies »

  1. Oh this was so much fun to write! Thankyou to those above for the kind comments. As for your surname, it occurred to me whenever I see it written, my internal voice just skips over everything past the ‘L’. I feel we are at that stage in our relationship where I really should know your name 😉. I’m glad you enjoyed it enough to share it, my ‘stats are booming’, but that is a side bonus. It’s no secret you are one of my favourites out here, so this is my curtsey to you. And I may have hit on a brilliant money-making scam, I mean scheme. Making people’s dreams come true by telling them it happened, but they’ve just forgotten about it. I will bring that memory to life by writing about it. For a small fee 😉.

    Liked by 4 people

    • I really did enjoy this lark you created, singing as it did of the whimsy I try hard to maintain here at Bonnywood. Any chance one takes to run wild and free with the imagination is a very good thing. And I’m glad to hear that some folks have found their way to The Echo, as that’s the real method behind my madness. People need to see your words, delightful as they are, and giving each other a leg up is one of the finer things in life.

      Now, this scam/scheme of yours. You are truly on to something. We could make millions, or at least get an extra click or two on our wayward posts. Count me in as a founding member of your enterprise, and we will soon rule the world. At least in our imaginations… 😉

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Thoroughly enjoyed this posting and can’t wait for the confirmation of the correct pronunciation of your name. The Italian I had to learn for vocal lessons (and all the bad words learned from friends) gave me some idea. I’m saving his post because of its poignancy. And I will NEVER forget the first time I saw The Trocks 30 years ago. I took my cousin and she was dubious then delighted. I’ve never been to a performance where the audience continued to laugh throughout the intermission. The unfortunate aspect is that they were/are so much fun that their dancing may not be fully appreciated.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I never had the opportunity to see The Trocks, yet another glaring omission on my cultural resume. But at least I had The Dance, according to Gwyneth, and that dream kept me alive amid many and sundry deprivations. And the sailors. The sailors helped a lot, as well… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I love how one of the main things to have come out of this is how much everyone adores you, Brian, but NOBODY UNDERSTANDS YOUR CHUFFIN’ NAME! I’m now off in search of the Big Reveal…….
    P.S. Thankyou so much everyone for your very kind words 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Just wondering – do you remember what colour your shoes were? I feel they should have been something bright and sparkly – to match your soul.

    Re your name – last names are so overrated – don’t ya think? (but I do remember your post about how to pronounce it – although there was some discension within your family about that too if I recall). I have enough trouble typing your first name – I ALWAYS type Brain first, then have to go back and fix it. Maybe there is a message in there!

    Like

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