Thursday, 14 June 2007

Lords of the dance

No sooner was I elated to rediscover some childhood heroes this morning then they were tragically taken away from me again. The London Boys - Edem Ephraim and Dennis Fuller - had their short-lived fame back in 1989 with three hit singles, 'London Nights' and 'Requiem' which both went to no. 2 in the UK singles chart, and 'Harlem Desire' which reached no. 17. All these tracks came from the brilliantly titled The Twelve Commandments of Dance...

Why so tragic? Well it would seem Edem and Dennis died in a car crash in Austria back in 1996 and the music world was robbed forever of their hopelessly upbeat dance tunes and moves that would put Kid and Play to shame. Seriously I don't think I've ever seen anyone have more fun performing than these guys either, camping it up like you only could in the 80s - just check out those midriff bearing t-shirts, classic.

I now know where I stole all my dance floor moves from (honestly, anyone who has seen me will testify) and my taste for baggy pants. I'm gutted anyway. It's so strange too because stumbling across them has rekindled so many memories, I know I had the album and I remember seeing them being interviewed all over the shop, showing off their dance moves. I can almost taste that time in my life so strong is the sensation.

If you want to read more about them do it here.

Otherwise, enjoy a couple of brilliant videos, and for those who remember enjoy the memories. Rest in peace London Boys.

Wednesday, 13 June 2007

All my friends

A lot has happened since I last posted ramblings about my adventures in the old US of A. I went ‘tubbing’ for the first time; did my first ‘beer bong’ then repeated the feat twice for good measure; fell in love, although with the author Jim Dodge before anyone gets too excited; got into a few arguments; went to many parties; met lots of interesting new people; I celebrated Chris Shea’s 29th birthday; became a San Antonio Spurs follower albeit begrudgingly; and I saw a Blue Moon for the first time. And while some of these experiences have simply been that, moments chalked up in a life of rapidly neglected memories, others have profoundly affected me, which in any person’s being is a healthy thing.

It certainly seems strange to acknowledge it, but 100 days have now passed me by since my tearful departure from Heathrow, leaving the ever reserved and endlessly sincere Graham awkwardly standing with a smile that said everything and more than he needed to. It reminded me of the powerful hold friendship can have over you if you allow it to. That way in which love only reaches its peak when you jump from the highest point imaginable and release yourself to the endless freefall, life rushing past your senses leaving only the slipstream of your dreams behind you. The bonds of true friendship are no less strong.

More time than I expected has been given over to the people I left behind, far and wide, since beginning this little North American adventure. But what has become apparent on this journey is the universality of friends as family. It is all-pervasive, like a melody that echoes sweetly and angrily in a great hall. And like any family, it is, at times, highly dysfunctional. For me this though is a true test of friendship, its ability to function even when something is rotten, when things are messy and when tension permeates. What is important though is the acknowledgment that we are here for one another no matter. I know that what I am writing is somewhat saccharine, but I like to think of this as one of my more endearing qualities. A certain naivety I have always been a subject of.

Nevertheless, I believe it is this that has afforded me the opportunity to see something of the bigger picture in a life fraught with challenges. While mine may not be one of great personal difficulty, the need to find meaning in being is a desire we can all relate to. To this end I have tried to understand the qualities that define different peoples collectively and individually. Most recently that quest, if you will, has led me to explore this in relation to what it means to be an ‘Austinite’ as much as it does to understanding what makes me human. It is simply a microcosm of a bigger picture. How is it that we live together and get along in this ever-shrinking space? The adaptations we make. The sacrifices and the adjustments.

I have noticed certain of my own personality traits have become more extreme of late as I have attempted to forge a space for my own character whilst treading the water of this new pond with its current of personalities, some stronger than others, all the while trying hard not to lose connection to the core of who I am whilst also avoiding intruding on other’s delineated spheres of being. After all, we all deserve a space to be ourselves.

[I started my apprenticeship at KOOP radio station in Austin this past Sunday on The Great White North hosted by Doug the Canuck - a radio show devoted to Canadian independent music. Tune in guys, 19.00 on Sunday nights central time (BST -6.00)]