ADRIENNE'S HIV BLOG – Hivine's Weblog

HIVINE is written by HIV positive women but still with a sense of humour

Archive for April 17, 2009

Two to Tango




Did anyone watch “Britain’s Got Talent” over the Easter weekend? If you did you will have been amazed, like I was, by that incredible group of male dancers, “Flawless”.  I’ve never seen anything quite like it – at times it was almost like watching an old black and white movie the way they flickered from movement to movement, from frame to frame of their brilliantly choreographed dance routine.

A bit like when we were kids drawings cartoons in a book and then flipping the pages to make them appear to move. Some people, such as the younger generation for example, probably won’t have a clue what I’m on about with the wondrous graphics we have now in the days of wii – as opposed to yore. The royal wii – I wonder if Charles and Camilla have one. I can just imagine Charles playing ‘Rock Star’ and giving his Royal Variety performance of the Deep Purple classic, “Smoke on the water.”


bam bam bam, bam bam ba bam, ba ba bam, bam bam.


Wham bam thank you maam.


Talking of performances and dance routines, I fear my days as a choreographer and dare I say it as an erstwhile flamenco dancer, are finally over. This is not an age thing as some robust older people carry on dancing until they drop, Bruce Forthsyth for example. But sadly, dancing is yet another of life’s pleasures that HIV has cruelly deprived me of – that and not being able to sit in the sun, so I can’t get tangoed in either sense of the word.


Recently, I’ve been accompanying my best friend Willo to salsa dancing lessons. This is more for her benefit than mine, because as I can’t twirl around anymore, thanks to vertigo caused by the meds, I can only take part in the initial part of the session, which is more for old crocks and no hopers like me and where there is very little twirling involved. I suppose I should really try a gentler form of exercise with no twirling whatsoever, swimming for example, which is all up and own in straight lines, but I’m not keen on getting wet.


There are other reasons why dancing is no longer an option for me; my wonky hip, my lack of bottom thanks to the dreaded lippo also caused by the meds, which means unless I wear trousers my knickers have a tendency to fall down, like my pinny – not that I would ever wear a pinny to salsa. Although some of those longer pinnies that the more trendy Italian and Spanish waiters wear look quite cool, so maybe I should start a new trend – pinny dipping as opposed to skinny dipping.


Oh, those happy days when I used to whirl around the stage doing my Carmen circle. The only association I have to Carmen these days is my reluctance to give up fags and if financial matters don’t improve, a very strong likelihood that I will end up working in a factory or hanging around in a bar like she did – although it would have to be Yates Wine Lodge on the once notorious Barbary Coast in Blackburn, rather than in Sevilla.


Our salsa dancing teacher is a really cool African guy who was once a World Champion. He has evolved his own style and unique way of teaching where he talks us through the various salsa moves – “You take de girl to the door, you twirl de girl around then you trow de girl out, then you bring her back again.”

Well, the poor guys who have to partner me, when it comes to the part where they have to throw me out the door – it’s a bit like a bouncer chucking out a drunk at closing time as I will more than likely, after an attempt at a double twirl, end up on the floor in a heap.

Willo gets twirled around like a veritable spinning top, but me; I can just about accomplish one pitiful twirl if I’m lucky without losing my balance.

“Sorry, I’m strictly a one twirl girl,” I have to constantly apologize as we swap partners.

Salsa can be quite a vicious dance and some of the terms to describe the various movements say it all; Whiplash, the Hammerlock, the Arm Fan and the Broken Arm, the Challenge Position and the death defying Head Loop. You can end up getting tangled up in knots and strangling each other if you’re not careful.


Willo and I went to an Argentine Tango lesson the other night. Now that was more like it, hardly any twirling, especially if you were forced to take on the male role as I was due to the lack of unattached men. There was one step where you have to put your leg between the woman’s knees and force her legs open like a pair of scissors. Well, I must say I quite enjoyed that. I would push Willo around the floor for a bit, then when she was least expecting it, perform the scissor move on her. She recently confessed that she is still harbouring a burning desire to do the splits, which for a woman of her age is an unusual and not I would have thought a particularly wise ambition. But if we carry on tangoing together, the chances are she will do just that whether she wants to or not, at least if I have anything to do with it.


Remember that film, ‘Last Tango in Paris’ with Marlon Brando, which caused such a furore at the time because he used butter. Well I don’t know what all the fuss was about really, because now, it is a known fact that butter is actually good for you, much healthier than margarine. I don’t know about last tango in Paris, the only tangoing I’ll be doing these days is sliding up and down the aisles around Aldi with my trolley. Last tango in Aldi!


The weather up here in the north has been glorious this Easter, but tragically for me, the other feel good factor I can no longer indulge in and this is once again thanks to the meds which have given me hypersensitivity to the sun, is wallow in it. I can wallow in mud if I so desire to my hearts content and I can wallow in misery, which I quite frequently do, but not the sun.  So I have to remain an unhealthy pasty white colour, without even a chance of getting slightly sunburnt or tangoed like David cheap as chips Dickenson, although at least I can still eat them thanks to my wondrous Tefyl Actifry which continues to whiz around on a nightly basis like a whirling dervish. But even watching that spin round makes me dizzy.  


Did you know that when a woman performs one of those sexy backwards kicks when she is doing the tango, she is really feeling for the size of the man’s wallet – good job for the Argentinean gaucho that she isn’t checking the size of his other credentials.


Another dance that we have started to learn is the Merengue – “Would you like a cake or a merengue – no you’re right, I’ll have a cake.”


Don’t worry if you don’t get it. It took me years to work it out. The trick is to say it with a Scottish accent.


“Would ye like a cake or a meringue? No ye’re right, I’ll have a cake.”


This one’s a bit easier – “Would you like a rock cake – well take your pick.”


Oh well, I might not be able to dance anymore, or get a suntan, but at least I’ve still got my sense of humour. HIV will never deprive me of that, no matter how hard it tries. I will simply have to refrain from twirling, or like Johnny Cash, make sure I walk the line. Although staying in line, or towing it for that matter, has never been one of my strongest points. Speaking of which, I received £100 fine yesterday (£50 if I pay within 28 days) for contravening the law by parking outside of the lines on the Staples and Matalan car park. Can you believe it? The car huge park was virtually empty at the time so I reversed into the nearest slot without noticing my back tyre was slightly over the painted line. When I came back out, I found a fine poked under my windscreen wiper. Absolutely furious and outraged, I stormed back into Staples clutching the fine to my heaving bosom to complain.

“This is happening all the time,” the shop manager told me, shaking her head sorrowfully, “We’ve even put an article in the local paper about it, but there’s nothing you can do. You can contest, but it’s written here in black and white,” she pointed to section seven, “That you have contravened the law.”


The ‘line police’ apparently hide in a grey metal box (for fear of reprisals) somewhere on the vast car park, waiting to pounce on the unsuspecting car parkers who have no idea they run the risk of a fine as it isn’t a pay and display and there is no sign up to say it is owned by NCP.


I drove around the car park in slow menacing circles looking for the box where they hide, but they had obviously moved it to a more inconspicuous place to avoid being beaten up by the angry, as opposed to nosy parkers.


The wonderful graphics for this blog on this occasion have been provided by Salsa Queen and I’ll do the splits one day if it kills me Willo Williams herself – artist, sculptor and graphic designer of considerable renown. You can find more of her amazing art work by clicking the link Willo Williams on the blog roll.