Thursday, 31 May 2012
This morning I was reading Jenny Woolf's post on English Dancing. I found it an enthralling way of spending 45 minutes whilst I had my breakfast.
It's funny, though, how these things lead one's mind into a long and convoluted thread which starts with a simple thought (my inability to dance) and ends with me being thrown out of a pub for dancing very successfully.
The process went something like this:
Me: I really think that those two dancers are much more clever than some of the steps suggest at first sight. I wish that I could do that. I wish that I could dance.
Wee Small Voice: Ah but even if you could your knee wouldn't stand up to it.
Me: I wonder if it will if they ever replace it.
WSV: By that time you'll be too old to Morris Dance anyway.
Me: Perhaps you are right. It'll just have to join the long list of things I can do really well.
WSV: What are you talking about? What can you do well (apart from hit a ball round a lawn occasionally when you are in That Other Country)?
Me: I can sing very badly; I could write pretty intolerable shorthand (tried Gregg's and Pitman's); I am exceptionally good at reading very slowly; I once got a clue in a cryptic crossword and even managed a difficult Sudoku - once; I could play scales on a piano - I might even have got to Grade 1. The list of things at which I don't excel or even come close to being even half competent in is very impressive indeed.
WSV: But you could dance once upon a time.
Me: Ah. But only once dance. The Cossack Dance - and only rather badly at that. Cossack Dancing looks spectacular though however badly you do it. In any case that was in the sixties and I was just in my 20s. It actually led to me being thrown out of Snows, a quite smart down the steps bar in London’s Piccadilly. Given that I was much older then than I am now (mentally anyway) I was mortified. I was, I hasten to add, stone cold sober at the time of this incident. I was in London on a training course for something or other and we had finished for the day and gone to Snows. Someone learned that I could Cossack dance and probably dared me to do one on a table - I was quite adept at winning bets that I wouldn’t do something. So I took my shoes off and did a Cossack dance on a table – a very substantial table I should add. I was asked to leave. I was mortified. I can’t understand why but everyone else thought it was very funny!
WSV: So you see you you have achieved being ejected from Snows. Not everyone achieves that.
Me: I'm not sure that being thrown out once qualifies me for being good at it.
WSV: Well just rest on your laurels. Well, laurel, actually if it's only one achievement.
Me: Ah well I will have to content myself with being exceptionally good at one thing which, QED, is that I am exceptionally good at being mediocre.
And for that I am today exceptionally thankful. Why? Because I might have ended up being mediocre at only one thing as it is the list is endless. You see I am the Jack of all trades and the master of none.
Posted by Graham Edwards at 10:02