it's been a while since i did this and so much (and so little) has changed. i haven't written anything since Mary and I clinched the title in spectacular fashion in a thrilling season finale. Still now, i don't feel i can give a full account of the how, why's and what's. I guess the long and the short of it is that we won. We did three dances - our tango (for which we scored another four 10's) , our jive (three 10s and a 9) and a freestyle vibe (another gobsmacking four 10's). I don't feel ready to go into the whole rundown in detail, except to say that it felt a little like a cheesy hollywood sports/dance movie where the scores are unbelievable, the crowd is on their feet and even the judges are in tears. This all actually happened.
But right now, what's really interesting to me is how quickly life has moved on. I have decided to continue writing this blog - even though the only person who reads it is my gran - in fact that's probably why i'm doing it - always nice to know you have a friendly audience. I contemplated changing the name of the blog - but for now it stays as Strictly Come Blogging - because in truth, without the show, the blog would never have happened. However the subject matter is about to change drastically.
And so - on with the present. I am in France, rehearsing and preparing for a contemporary dance theatre piece that has been commissioned by a choreographic institute in Toulouse and that will tour France for the next two months. The choreographer - someone who i have worked with before (years ago on a very strange play directed by a mad alcoholic French woman) didnt want to work with dancers and so collected a rather strange and delightful group of people to help her create the piece. As is so often the case with a collaborative process such as this one - where there is very little overriding vision and therefore just way too many options - the creative process becomes riddled with frustration, peppered with moments of inspiration, seasoned with a fair share of hair pulling and stirred up with a generous helping of eye rolling and raucous belly laughter.
Currently we are based in Toulouse and we play to our first audience on Friday before premiering in Paris. All pretty daunting for a piece that does not yet have an ending. But these are merely details. What is really important right now is the vast amount of dog shit that litters the streets of this , one of the fastest growing cities in France. It's everywhere. In truth, i cannot tell you what the Toulouse skyline looks like. It is too dangerous to look up. Dani and i are contemplating creating a photo essay chronicling the myriad different specimens we encounter daily. Please forgive our vulgarity - it is a coping mechanism more than anything else.
Up until now, my days have been filled with rehearsals and more rehearsals with sporadic and all too brief sojourns into the city and its sights. Today however was a day off and we took the opportunity to get out of town entirely. Upon the advice of Pethso - our production manager on the French side, Dani and I ventured south to the fortified and walled Medievel Town of Carcassone. Like the pamphlet says , this marvel bears witness to 2600 years of history wherein Gauls, Romans, Visigoths, Saracens and Franks have all left their mark. The whole experience was truly magical.
After video skyping home this morning - giving us a much needed visual reference of loved ones and my rapidly growing and quite unbelievably amazing nephews - we set off in the snow. It was my first time and as a 32 year old man i felt a giddy child like glee as i caught my first snowflake on my tongue, stupidly surprised somehow of how cold it was, as we two tightly wrapped intrepid adventureers set off across town - dodging poo that was rapidly becoming cunningly disguised as snow poos- toward the train station. The train turned out to be a bus - because our French sucks - and in a desperate sprint to the station i managed to trip and face plant myself in front of one of the busses pulling out of the station. There i was lying spreadeagled on the pavement about to be squashed by the very efficient French public transport system. The bus driver, thankfully, was awake to my bumbling buffoonery and applied brakes swiftly before admonishing me with dashing Gaelic eyebrows as i scrambled off and away to our bus. The bus ride was cool. Dani asleep on my lap, me listening to a fine collection of tunes on her ipod as we glided along narrow roads through gently cascading fields of naked vines sparsely populated by leaveless trees stretching their bony fingers up to tickle the sad grey face of the brittle sky. It was all very Tim Burton - just more french. And then through quaint little villages where the grace and beauty of old, old, old buildings nestle uncomfortably with the garish, squat ugliness of the new. And every now and again - these unspeakably beautiful statues of either Mary or Jesus in tiny squares with bare trees which taunt you with their timeless and fragile elegance.
And so we arrived - and walked in the gently falling snow through a walled city that i thought only existed in very tales. Me and my wife. Totally rad.
We are back now in our tiny little room in Toulouse, my wine is spent and the snow continues to dance lightly in the street lamp outside my window. I am tired and happy and long to crawl into bed.
And so ...