Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Buenos Aires

I'm writing this from our hotel room in San Telmo in the heat of the late afternoon. We've already got into a routine of sorts, me with my Tango workshops in the mornings , meeting for lunch then back to the hotel for a siesta, out for a stroll and then out for dinner. Of course,this being LATIN America, everyone eats late(i.e.not before 9 or 930pm).Last night after a meal at the Catalan Cultural Centre we walked a few blocks to Ave Peru and to the Queer Tango milonga. The venue - at easily passed by number 571 - was like something out of an art film. From the street the building looked like an old derelict tenanment block but there was a poster advertising the event inside the porch.We stepped into an echoey vestible which cradled a lit booth;inside sat a young woman, to whom we paid our 15 pesos. We then were directed up a sweeping art nouveau staircase enclosed by flaking green walls and eventually were confronted by double red doors(like old fashioned Gaumont cinema doors with a split down the middle- if anyone recalls those, or is that an embelishment of my vivid imagination??) We could hear the muffled sound of tango music comming from the other side and I had no option other than to surrender,quivering and filled with expectation. I wasnt dissapointed. We entered a large, dimmly lit space illuminated with(oh yes) fairy lights; a small dance floor surrounded by tables and chairs and a bar at one end of the room.It wasnt crowded .It was welcoming, though Howard was jetlagged and bored(he doesnt dance).So we soaked up the atmosphere of this intimate qeer space with men in close embrace with other men, women with women and occaisionally in imitation of the hetero mode.

All this is not getting my novel drafted BUT sublimily its good for my writers soul, I tell myself. I've decided to make the minor character in my novel - Elyes - a gentle man. Not a Gentleman you must understand but BUT a gentle man.This decision was provoked just before we came away for Christmas by a conversation I had with mini cab driver A about mini cab diver B who both work out of the same office. A is Jamaican and B from Nigeria and A ferries me about fairly often , B less often but recently more and I remarked on this to A , who said "Isnt B such an unusually gentle character" - I instantly agreed with this observation made by A because it was my own overwhelming impression of B also. His soft voice of entirely thoughtful and genuine intent, his good mannered politeness; his whole demeanour envolopes you in warmth and sincerity. This man is a giant too,he must be over 6'5" and 16stones I'd guess. Any how, at that moment I just felt it would be right to give Elyes B's gentleness trait.So, you see I havent been completely vacuous. The priority here in Buenos Aires for me is tango - obviously -when we go on to Patagonia and onto the cruise ship around Teirro del Feigo ( I'm sure thats an incorrect spelling!) thats when I plan to get into a daily writing habit again...I may try to begin here in the late afternoon after siesta if I have energy but for now we are both still recouperating from the 15 hours flight from London on 28th.


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