About this blog

This is a window into the weird world of Anglicanism, as experienced on a Cathedral Close. Has anything much happened since Trollope's Barchester Chronicles? You will still see the 'canon in residence' hurrying across to choral Evensong, robes flapping, as the late bell chimes. But look carefully and you will notice he is checking the football score on his iPhone as he runs. This is also a writer's blog. It charts the agony and ecstasy of the novelist's life. And it's a fighter's blog. It charts the agony and ecstasy of the judo mat. Well, the agony, anyway.

Friday 15 April 2011

WEEK 15--Learning the Can-Can

'The can-can is a high-energy and physically demanding music hall dance, traditionally performed by a chorus line of female dancers who wear costumes with long skirts, petticoats, and black stockings. The main features of the dance are the lifting up and manipulation of the skirts, with high kicking and suggestive, provocative body movements.'

According to Wikipedia. It was a slightly different story last Saturday, when the bevy of lovelies pictured above (that's me on the front row, extreme right, looking like I have an ice cube clenched in my buttocks) gathered in Bar Risa, Broad St, Birmingham for a can-can workshop. The occasion was Harriet's Hen Party. She will be marrying our cathedral organist next month. What a triumph of organisation and duplicity! It was not until the frilly skirts came out of our choreographer's hold-all that Harriet was reassured that she was not, after all, going to learn how to pole dance.

In one and half hours we were transformed from a bunch of hopelessly uncoordinated incompetents into... Into what, exactly? A bunch of knackered hopelessly uncoordinated incompetents who could gamely stumble their way through a 2 minute dance routine. It was indeed high energy and physically demanding; though no more so than your average martial arts session. (Interestingly, I came away with more bruises.) There was kicking. There was skirt lifting and manipulation. There were suggestive, provocative body movements. But above all, there was hilarity. Three of our number revealed themselves capable of a pretty impressive cartwheel. My contribution was a leapfrog. I have not leapfrogged in a skirt since I got catastrophically hooked up on a bollard at the age of 9, so a ghost was laid to rest there.

The verdict of the bride to be: 'I don't think I've laughed so much for ages.' I believe the stag party will be learning Cossack dancing.


  1. Wonderful picture. You really do not look comfortable, it's true. Your face says that the gentleman who tried to slip his hand up your skirt would probably not get it back.

  2. That's my default expression when wearing a frilly frock.