SeVen

Posted by Jeni in Ad Infinitum | 16 November 2019

I am not ashamed to say that Saturday night is a special blend of heckles and fleckles. When a wooden telly presenter is voted in and a lithe DJ is voted out I heckle, when a vlogger, blogger, or Diva displays a passable fleckle I'm out of my bean bag and howling with the dog.

Shazzer, an Am Dram queen who works in the local farm shop, is forever telling me I should be on 'Strictly' and she's right. I come from a family of hoofers. My Uncle A, used to sing in front of the nudes at the 'Windmill Theatre', my Aunty F, used to reveal her lady bumps when ever she was given a chance and my father won medals for his jitterbugging.

According to Wicked Peedjha; The Jitterbug refers to a swing dancer or various types of swing dances, for example, the Lindy Hop, Jive, West Coast Swing, and East Coast Swing.

The head of my nuclear family was a reprobate and cruel charmer. He wore bespoke suits, had the gift of the gab and was irritated by Chopin cos the Polish genius did not display enough rhythm. My East End father was a fighter, trader and dancer. I would stand on his feet as he whisked me round the room at bar mitzvahs. He played the drums on biscuit tins, using my mothers knitting needles, and built the first gym in our road. He wore white singlets and taught young offenders how to box. The quadrophonic stereo system he installed in our East End front room, shook the walls, the dockers could here John Coltrane's sax the other side of the Highway as they loaded the containers in St. Katherines Docks.

My errant father was pathological and Scatalogical, ( according to Wicked Peedjha it's The study of fecal excrement) so you could say my father was full of shit, but boy did he have rhythm.

My mother, refused to go dancing with him so he went alone. The obligatory cigarette hanging out of the side of his mouth, his hips switching and swaying, his black hair slicked back, his eau de cologne scenting the air, he ruled the dancehalls of Aldgate. So when I watch Mr. 'Emmerdale' dance the light fantastic I am back to the 50's but I am torn between hiding my eyes on behalf of my mother or stamping my feet for Mo, the jitterbugging demon of Watney Street.

I can't dance to save my life - I've told Shazzer this several times - but I do have the rhythm, passed down from my fathers line. I can make Chopin sound like Jools Holland's big band. The old git won't dance, if I were to offer him a new electric car he would not dance with me, although he did jive when he had hair, not with me I hasten to add, I was too busy working out how to make Chopin swing.

So in a couple of hours time I'll be eight inches away from our telly-box , criticising Claudia's outfits, rooting for Karim and watching Michelle Visage chuck a turn with her explosively delicious Italian partner. Would I have accepted if they had asked me to be part of 'Strictly' of course I would, but musicality alone would have not kept me in, by week three I would have fecked up my fleckles, and todgered my tango, whilst my delinquent dad would have been watching from the wings shouting 'Where's your effin rhythm.'

Jeni Barnett tells of her scrumptious time at Good Food Live in her first audiobook! Download NOW from iTunes

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