We had a few gatherings in the Gailian lounge / dining room / bar while the cats were away and the mice came out to play.
Luckily Hec & Stell would regularly gallivant off to Kruger Park and other places in their yellow and white kombi. ‘Don’t worry’ Tabs would say, ‘We’ll look after the place’; ‘Enjoy yourselves’. I would nod.
One such evening* is engraved in the memory bank. ‘Twas a dark and starlit night after we had sat all afternoon seeing to it that the sun set properly, and fine-chooning ourselves to a well-honed pitch, like a master-crafted musical instrument. A lute, perhaps. By carefully choosing our poison by percentage alcohol multiplied by millilitres consumed we had manipulated our PEF** to a wonderful advanced state where we were erudite, witty, charming, sparkling company – and wonderful dancers.
Especially wonderful dancers.
The theme for the evening was high-speed langarm, and we whizzed around the lounge to classical waltzes at ever-increasing speeds on that slick polished parquet wooden floor till centrifugal force spun us out onto the veranda, onto the lawn and across it to the swimming hole in the dark thutty metres away; back over the lawn and round the dance floor again. To tremendous applause. I personally did a few laps with Lettuce Leaf which were wondrous in nature. Strauss would have been proud of his waltz that night.
Some people didn’t get the langarm memo though and arrived in punk outfit. No names, no packdrill, but Des had a safety pin through his earlobe and Timothy Leary one through his foreskin and these two pins were joined in holy matrimony by a chain. Never before have two dancers been so in sync, Des leading and Tim not daring not to follow. After that performance they even named a band In Sync.
Before the sun rose there was snoring and long after the sun rose there was still snoring and that is how Aunt Stella found us when she returned unexpectedly to find Des and other bodies in her double bed. On seeing his Aunt Stell Des spun onto his tummy, burying his face into the pillow. Des has always believed if you hide your head in the sand maybe the problem will go away.
But this time he shouldn’t have: Written in bright red lipstick on his back was “FUCK! PUNK! PUNK!!”
*This tale might be an amalgam of a few blurry evenings;
**PEF – Personality Enhancement Factor; Found to various degrees in all bottles of hooch;
langarm – two or more perpetrators remain attached by various body parts and run around more or less in time to music they normally would not listen to, while pumping the outermost arms up and down;
This critical observer might have been watching us at Gailain, although he was actually talking about the 1815 season in Brussels:
Whenever they get together the severest etiquette is present. The women on entering always salute on each side of the cheek; they then set down as stiff as waxworks. They begin a ball with a perfect froideur, then they go on with their dangerous ‘waltz’ (in which all the Englishwomen join!) and finish with the gallopade *, a completely indecent and violent romp. – Rev. George Griffin Stonestreet.
- A lively French country dance of the nineteenth century, a forerunner of the polka, combining a glissade with a chassé on alternate feet, usually in a fast 2/4 time. Sounds about right, huh?
Recently Des went viral – in a good way. Thanks to great backing from sister Val, he put what he learnt at Gailian to good use. Roomerazzit he got extra points for his dancing shoes: