I'm writing this post on the bus, on the way to work. There's a pimply teenager making a statement to the world via horrible trance music blaring through the tiny speakers on his phone, and I've just read six emails from my supervisor about things that require my immediate attention. This is called reality. Reality totally sucks.
Well, it didn't completely suck until I got back from MLX9, otherwise known as the Melbourne Lindy Exchange. Last years MLX was my first interstate exchange, and I was curious to see how my two experiences would differ, after going a little hard core with my dancing in the last couple of months. The weekend was highly anticipated in Adelaide this year, with a huge group making the pilgramige. Last year 8 of us made it over, this year more than 30 dancers (!!!) converged on Melbourne, with 'Adelaide Swings Your Mum' shirts packed and at the ready.
Unfortunately, I missed the Thursday night, but have heard from numerous people I didn't miss much. Apparently the floor was so packed even a slight swivel knocked over all the surrounding couples. So Friday saw me boarding the plane, wearing six tshirts (carry on luggage only) and thoroughly sedated as a nervous flier with the cunning use of beer. I arrived at the House of the Innapropriate Touche (where I stayed with some awesome peeps), not really feeling like dancing and hoping to snap out of it.
Laced up in my favourite corset and heels my fellow roomies and I arrived at the Ball like expectant Cinderellas, ready to pursue Lindy love. After a glass of unlabelled red and numerous hugs from long lost friends I hit the floor, and had an amazing time. The band, Red Hot Rythym Makers, wore me out quickly with their super fast tempos, but I managed to last all night in my corset and heels, and dance a lot anyway. Woohoo!
I had a great time at the ball, but I was hanging out for the late night, where the flats went on and hair was pulled back. Too my great dissapointment I was not feeling it. I had some fairly average dances, got frustrated with the changing tempos in both rooms (and the many times when both rooms were the same tempos) and some inconsistent djing. The tracks were great, but some of the sets seemed to jump from one style to another with little flow and connection. I couldn't get into a groove and really feel my way into the music. I'm sure if I'd been a better mood it wouldn't have bothered me, but I spent most of the night sitting on the sidelines being a sulky wall flower. I also managed to offend half of the Adelaide contingent by avoiding dancing with them! You know I love you guys, but I have my reasons! I remembered from last year, that hanging out with just your friends doesn't get you out there meeting people and dancing with all of Australia and the rockstars (if you work up the nerve). It's nice to dance with the people you know but at events like this it's good to bust out of your comfort zone. But I did have some amazing dances with some of the Adelaide leads, and inflicted my horrible leading on a couple of the ladies.
Saturday night I got my mojo back. Yvette Johanssen kick started my dancing and I wanted to dance every song. I can't say enough how much I was digging the band. Too my surprise I felt the urge to swing out to high tempos, which is something I never do! I'm all about the slow and mid tempos, but despite the extremely slippery floor I found my fast feet and had some dances that made me feel on top of the world. I did have one lead who was really rude to me (and it was my second dance of the night, jerk) but these things happen I suppose.
Throughout the weekend I tried to remember my own tips for not behaving creepily, but unfortunately my stalker nature just comes out every now and then without my noticing. Like when my hand got stuck in someones shirt, and in trying to get my hand out I traced all the way around his stomach to his back. Or when after finally getting to dance with a lead I'd been following around all night I spent the entire dance staring at the floor grinning in my excitement. All it needed was for me to twirl my hair and say 'wow I've wanted to dance with you aaallll night'. My favourite creepy stunt to pull (on leads that I know) is to do a few belly rolls when in closed position-it feels so creepy! I pull this on the Adelaide boys all the time, for a laugh. But at MLX, a complete stranger actually did this to me! Uggh! Dude, don't be rolling your less than toned stomach on mine, especially in a blues dance that started off badly when you thrust your crotch into my thigh. Blehhhh.
Sunday night is always depressing, being the last night of the exchange and when reality begins to infringe on your psyche. Quite a few though numbed their psyche at the Swing Mafia Pub Crawl, which I rocked up extremely late to. By the time I got there, the beers had been flowing for quite a while. The venue was a cool Irish pub, with a kicking irish band that a few got up and Lindy hopped to. It was clear I'd missed out on a lot, when the entire table would burst out laughing at an inside joke except me. But I also missed the afternoon hangover, which I'm pretty cool with.
The Sunday night social was rad, I felt pretty relaxed and had decided to stop pressuring myself to dance every single song with a million new leads every time. It gets a bit tiring having to ask for dances all the time. A few leads asked me, but if I didn't make an effort I wouldn't be dancing too much. Unfortunately, these events are often follow heavy and so the guys can lean against the wall and wait for the ladies to flock to them. Darn it!
I think the highlights of the night were Noni and Tims dj sets, I could have danced every song. My other highlight was being undressed against my will on the dance floor by a friend slightly less than sober, who was cheered on by a group of randy leads on the wall. You know who you are boys, you disgust me but I still love ya.
A friend and I left the after party around 4am, went to the airport, got back into Adelaide around 7.30am, and then went to work. I then taught a class that night, after being awake for over 30 hours (needless to say I'm not sure how coherent my teaching was). Ah the things we do for MLX. Comparing this year and last year leaves me hoping no one remembers my terrible swing outs from last year, but looking forward to thinking the same thing next year. Nothing can beat a weekend of Lindy Lindy Lindy, pandas, dumplings, 5am discussions about how lame jokes are funny, sleeping in a corner of the dance floor, swooning from an amazing dance with a complete stranger, going to bed at 7am, and rocking up to venues with a 6 pack, sneakers, and back pack filled with tshirts and towels that will be soaked by the end. MLX you have broken my body but I'm still begging for more.