Saturday, September 19, 2009


And no, I don't mean the Marillion song.

A few weeks ago I got an email from Glittering Lee that said:

"I'm thinking of going to this - interested?"

The 'This' was a Ceilidh, and not having any idea what a Ceilidh was, I said yes.


An aside:

After the car accident back in April, I came to the realisation that I was saying no to a lot of things. Would you like to do this, Tim? No. We're thinking about going along to this, want to come? No, not really. We should catch up! Um, another time, maybe?

This, I later found out, is actually one of the symptoms of whiplash. Strange, eh? Anyway, upon finding this out, I decided that I really needed to get over it, and in an almost Danny Wallace style I decided I'd say yes to everything. Well, maybe not *everything* but definitely most things.

Especially things that didn't involve people crashing into me.


Soon after saying yes I decided I'd better find out exactly what it was I'd said yes to. So I hit up Google, and about five seconds after that I'm pretty sure my neighbours would've heard an almighty "Ooooooooh noooooooooo…" emanating from Sparky Towers.

Because a Ceilidh is like some sort of Celtic medieval rave.

After hyperventilating into a paper bag for a few minutes, I considered trying to get out it. But then I realised that would totally go against my newfound 'be positive, say yes' attitude. Plus, any opportunity to hang out with Lee is always welcome; he did, after all, make me burst out laughing at a rather inopportune moment during the second Lord of the Rings film, thus making it far more memorable than it would otherwise have been.

On the plus side I do have something of a track record in this kind of thing. For some inexplicable reason we used to do Celtic dancing as some variation of P.E. at my infants school when I was about seven or eight years old. Lord knows why; maybe because the teacher couldn't be bothered to get a football out? So yes, every now and then they'd get out this ridiculously old radio-thing that looked like it hadn't been used since 1934, pop on a vinyl album of Celtic music, crank up the volume, and make us kids dance up and down the school hall like we were having the time of our young lives. Of course, we all hated it. At the age of seven I was more interested in being a Transformer than learning how to dance, and it also meant we had to be in close proximity to girls, who, as any seven year-old boy will tell you, are smelly and horrible and all kinds of eeeeuuuu.

Another thing that made me think I shouldn't try to weasel my way out of the Ceilidh was that I've recently seen the movie (500) Days of Summer, and OHMYGOD it's the best movie of the year so far (as long as you don't count Star Trek, of course). In fact, I've seen it twice now, and it was every bit as good the second time around. Where was I? Oh yes. About halfway through (500) Days of Summer there's an awesome and totally unexpected dance sequence that made me wish that sort of thing happened in real life.

Of course they don't, so you have to pay to go to organised events if you want to do a big group dance thingy.

Unfortunately, the day before the Ceilidh I made a textbook schoolboy error. I went to Youtube and typed in 'Ceilidh.' The ensuing videos, which I shall not repost here because the mere thought of them continues to strike the fear of God into me, were full of middle-aged people in kilts twirling around. They were almost enough to make me start coming up with excuses as to why I shouldn't go - no, make that *couldn't* go! Things like: my iPhone needs charging; and: I need to put the washing machine on.

Then the next thing I know it's five o'clock on Friday afternoon and I have a text from Lee asking if I'm coming out to play. Um, I s'pose so?

An hour or so later and we've met up with The Boy and the delightful Ness, and are at Vinopolis in central London, getting ready to throw ourselves into some crazy Celtic dancing. Now, one thing that had really confused me about the whole Ceilidh thing was what to wear? The ticket said 'comfortable clothes/shoes' which wasn't very helpful because I always try to wear comfortable clothes and shoes. I eventually went for the classic jeans and black shirt combo, with a light grey knitted jumper and black shoes, which I thought would cover me for any eventuality - comfortable enough to dance in, warm enough for the journey home if it dropped down a bit chilly.

Stupid, stupid me. It was like Bikram Yoga in dance form.

Within about 10 minutes I was drenched in sweat. I ditched the jumper soon after it became apparent that moisture was seeping through in a rather unattractive series of patches, and went with the 'just looked like I showered in my shirt' look. We took a breather outside about halfway through just so we could dry out.

Sweating aside, it was a bloody great evening, though. There was a live band who not only played brilliantly but taught you the dance moves before the dance kicked off. Sadly, nothing the singer said initially made any sense in my mind and she just ended up sounding like the teacher in a Charlie Brown cartoon, so the first few minutes of every dance were a little bit chaotic on my part. I did eventually get to grips with them, though, and thoroughly enjoyed swinging a number of delightful ladies around and stamping my feet like a loon. About the only downside was when we got roped into dancing with a couple of hardcore Ceilidh types who frowned out us if we botched a move and then started freestyling their own moves just to confuse us. I knew they were going to be trouble when I saw the guy was wearing a kilt and the woman had deeply unfashionable sandals on.

Any-hoo, it was the most fun I've had in a long time and I seriously can't wait till the next one. If you're in London in November, you will be coming along - although I advise you not to wear a knitted jumper, or keep your travelcard in your pocket; they tend not to go through the ticket barriers when they're in paper-mache form.

It's in the washing machine right now.


Tara said...

Very cool - I love fun, energetic dances! Good for you for following through with the evening! Sounds like it was all worth it!

Ponita in Real Life said...

Good for you, Tim, for going outside your comfort zone to discover a whole bunch of fun! So many people just won't do that and miss out on a lot of great moments in life.

Sounds like a blast. If I am in London in November (yeah... right), I'll be sure to drop by for a twirl about the dance floor... although, at my age, it might kill me.

*mental note: hit the gym... like, NOW!*

Inexplicable DeVice said...


You're sure you put that jumper in the washing nachine and not in a zip lock plastic bag ready to be mailed to me?

Inexplicable DeVice said...

Before you ask, nachine is a new type of machine.

CyberPete said...

I told you to wear a kilt but you wouldn't listen.... Noooo! You said. Tsk tsk tsk!

I'm glad you had a good time. I am on my sofa watching Desperate Housewives while being sick.

Oh by the way, I totally dig your yes philosophy.

Tim said...

Tara - It was, definitely glad I went along!

Ponita - We'll get ya dancing!!

Inexplicable Device the first - You've developed a sweaty jumper fetish?

Inexplicable Device the second - Fool.

Cyberpete - Sorry, I don't do skirts, even if they are man-skirts.

the projectivist said...

You're so good, Tim! I'm so pleased that your night out exceeded expectation. Interesting what you said about the No Factor as a repercussion to whiplash. I've never had whiplash but i think i need to work on saying Yes more often.

Hey! What was everyone else wearing?

Tim said...

Say YES! Hurrah! To be honest, aside from about three guys wearing kilts it was a pretty casually-dressed crowd. You got a free dram of whiskey if you wore tartan, so there were some people wearing tartan ties, but mostly it was jeans and a shirt for the chaps, and dresses for the ladies. Nothing too posh though!

CyberPete said...

As long As they aren't pink or bedazzled you'll be fine.

Tim said...

As long as they're trousers I'll be fine.