Tuesday, June 19, 2007

We Should be Dancing

Em, Uprising 2007

Ever since Hamish and I first got involved in crewing New Year's dance festivals, around this time of year, I start having dreams on a theme. As the mid-winter Solstice nears I begin to dream that we are back at Visionz, near Pakawau, trying to set up our camp. Often my family is there. Usually the place is full of people I don't know, strange hippie types. Inevitably I end up wandering around trying to find the crew kitchen, where I used to volunteer. When I finally find the crew kitchen I always discover it full of unfamiliar and unfriendly types, and I am never able to find Tony, the camp chef and general campsite looker-outer.

The things that happen in the dream are easy enough to explain. I always feel a sense of dislocation on arriving at a party. We are always coming from outside, being as we are from Wellington, and there are always new people in charge. It always takes me a few days to find my place, and to learn again that I am accepted and that I belong. This process has gotten easier over the years. We know enough people now that we are almost part of the scene for real, and I have more confidence in my right to belong.

I have never been sure exactly why this dream occurs with such regularity. My best guess is that it has something to do with longing for the grasshopper lightness of summer in the midst of the cold and wind of a Wellington winter. However we have had a remarkable winter so far this year - both still and bright. Perhaps my soul just starts longing to dance.

I've been listening to CDs a lot recently at work on a pair of noise reducing headphones. I've never joined the MP3 player generation, though I'm starting to think I might need to. Last week I was into Tim Finn, Age Pryor and Samuel Flynn Scott. I kept getting carried away in the subtlety of fading piano chords in the Tim Finn album, distracted by Age Pryor's lisp, charmed by the slightly out-of-tune roughness in the voice of Scott.

This week guitars and vocals just didn't do it for me. Instead I've been listening to fat beats. In particular I've been listening to Salmonella Dub's earlier albums, a gem from Pacific Bass Culture and a Rhian Sheehan remix album. A single line from a Rhian Sheehan track keeps infiltrating my thought processes. Over and over something - my heart, my soul - tells me that we should be dancing.

Pip in a Pink Hat with Bubbly, Uprising 2007

In my imagination I'm dancing to Salmonella Dub surrounded by the tall trees of Canaan Downs. The sun is out, although perhaps there is a rainbow in the distance. I'm dancing in bare feet. I have a pink hat on to cover the fact that my hair hasn't been washed in five days. I'm wearing a skirt that I bought at the festival market for very little cash, and a t-shirt that cost me even less. Since I bought them I have worn little else. I have a chain of small bells around my ankle that my imagination can hear jangling quietly over the bass rippling out from the speakers to either side of me. I have a string of rosewood Mala beads wrapped around my wrist. A bottle of cheap sparkling wine is being passed around. Someone else is passing around a plate of orange slices. We are dancing.

At my desk I hit save on the paper that I am writing for my recalcitrant Minister. Salmonella Dub finish and I switch back to Rhian Sheehan. Should I now confess that this is not music that my mind pictures me dancing to in the sun? This is music to strip naked to with someone you love, to seduce them with in a dark room lit by a roaring fire. Not so good for focusing attention on work then. Even worse, this whole album would operate equally well as an RPM class. Except I'm not going to strip naked in an RPM class. That would just be silly, not to mention unhygenic!

We Should
We should be dancing.
Bare feet grass,
dusty toes,
dub bass fat.

Conscious elements.
Sun, oxygen

Sound silence
all thought that
does not rejoice.

Bind us here,
earth floor,
rhythm tied.


chocolate covered musings said...

count me in!


Sass said...

Stripping naked in RPM = not to mention ow! And the odd looks the instructor might give you;p

Listening to music at work so easily leads into daydreams (and you know you're a gym geek when certain tracks turn into pump/jam/whatever your particular poison is/ tracks in your head). Actually, yesterday I kept choreographing pole dancing routines in my head - really doesn't help one process invoices or summarise the links between education and various outcomes!!

Catherine said...

We always have the radio on at work, to a station of someone else's choosing, and I find it annoying - it's just loud enough to notice but not loud enough to actually hear, so if anything sounds interesting I have to stop and concentrate on it. I'd rather it was turned up or turned off. When I come home I rarely listen to music. I'm sure I would more if I wasn't subjected to it all day.

Crafty Green Poet said...

I really enjoyed this post, makes me want to dance!

Rob Kistner said...

Pip -

Bind us here,
earth floor,
rhythm tied.

Here in Oregon it is our longest day, our summer solstice -- I will think of you and dance you into our summer!

I really liked your poem! ;)

Clare said...

I really enjoyed reading about the festivities and the music you are listening to. And I like your writing -- "grasshopper lightness of summer" and your description of what you're wearing as you dance in bare feet. Your poem is cool, too.

chicklegirl said...

I love to dance, too, and I loved how this poem was so... visceral. Yeah, because that's how dancing is for me, just feeling the beat way down, moving... ah.

gautami tripathy said...

Your poem is one that makes me want to dance!