I am not by nature a musical person. I can carry a tune in a bucket but I usually spill a few notes. Rhythm is another issue. When the beat of a song infects me I feel an almost uncontrollable urge to move – not necessarily to the beat but at least to a diffident drummer.

Dancing is sometimes an option. Even dead sober, it doesn’t take a lot of convincing to get me to the floor if I’m in that particular mood. The mood is not a constant thing but it comes over me regularly enough that I’ve been known to do a few steps and turns even when walking alone with only my Walkman to keep me company. Put a drink or two in me and I’m hard pressed to stay in my seat.

I can either dance alone or with a partner willing to follow where I lead. My style is a weird amalgam of jive, two-step, salsa and slide step. I can even work in a few taps. Hard to say what it looks like when I ‘m moving across the floor but people watch, take photos, occasionally even ask where I learned to dance like that. I’m never sure if ‘like that’ is said in italics.

The partner is the key. My wife is the one that ensures that I don’t look the fool or, if I do, I look a happy fool that brings out the best in everyone.

Last night, in Dublin, the mood was on us and we danced our knees and hips off. The young people were amused – until we tried to get them up dancing too. Some of the girls joined us but the lads looked away. One tall fellow begged off, saying he had a sore knee. And me, with the cartilage long gone in both of mine. But the girls had fun – even if they gave all the credit to Liz; a good woman they called her. And they were right about that.

This morning we were a little rocky – from the drink and short night but mostly from the memory of the beat. Still alive after all these years.

And that’s ten minutes.



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