Back to blogging: London life

Mexican football fan at London 2012’s Men’s Football Quarter Finals, Wembley Stadium. Senegal 2, Mexico 4.

It’s been a horribly long time since I paid any attention to this blog, for many excusable reasons that I won’t delve into in too much detail. The main justification is the time-consuming realities of full-time work, causing not only the temporary suspension of my energy to write, but an understandable opposition to staring at the computer for the 10th hour of the day.

Now that the contentment of passing my first, second and third month review is a distant memory and the humdrum of office routine has kicked in, I’m back at the keyboard with a renewed desire to explore and share. And I have a new playground to do it in!

After Barcelona and a brief spell in Suffolk, London called and I followed.  I found myself living for the first time in the capital that I had so often visited to see friends, absorb my first tastes of live music, or gaze at the pierced and buckled contents of Camden. I’d always relished a trip to London but had never called it home, so it felt very different to arrive there to a new flat and new job, suitcase in tow – kind of like Dick Whittington but without the hanky on a stick. As a weekender, I’d bounced around seeing different friends and working my way round the tube map, but suddenly I was here for real life, and I couldn’t help feeling like a small fish in a big pond.

The pond hasn’t really got any smaller, but I’ve got to know different corners of it, from Canonbury and Clerkenwell to Streatham and this weekend, even Penge East. Penge seemed to me a ridiculous name for a place, reminiscent of plunge or whinge, and I never imagined I’d have the need or desire to visit it. But after an evening spent being spun around by Elvis lookalikes and men twice my age at Brockley’s Rivoli Ballroom, I ended up staying at a fellow jiver’s house in the grimly-named Penge. I can actually tell you that it’s a beautifully leafy place with various impressive mansions and an array of cafés offering enough combinations of bacon sandwich and coffee for any a hungry and haggard jiver.

Jive Night @ Rivoli Ballroom, Brockley

Two houses, one bicycle and countless pounds later, I’m back to blogging and will be using this page to share some of the most impressive and memorable things I’ve witnessed in this heaving metropolis.

Firstly, I’d like to wholeheartedly recommend Rivoli’s monthly Jive Night as a must for anyone who’s the slightest bit tempted. The ballroom is an incredible time-warp of gilded walls and red velvet upholstery, brought alive by a swarm of guys and gals clad in dapper suits and swinging skater skirts. Fear not if you’re not familiar with swing – Ladies, there are some seasoned pros who will quickly endear themselves with the magical skill of making even the most left-footed of girls appear sprightly and glamorous. It’s not quite as easy for the gents, who have the onus of leading, but with a class to kick things off and dancers of all levels,  it’s a low-key affair. I’ve tried and struggled with both tango and salsa, so I was pleasantly surprised to find swing pretty easy – you only really have to spin, lean back, and swing!

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