I learned to dance by watching my cousins groove out to the Everly Brothers in their basement rec room. I was 9, they were about 5 years older. I was not savy enough to tell if they were full blown bad girls but they were definitely flirting with the wild side. And they were so cool.
The most valuable lesson they taught me was the upper body, especially arm movement, had little place in top 40 dance. Their wrists remained relaxed by their waists at all times. As if they didn’t give a shit.
If you looked at their intricate footwork, however, they did give a shit. That’s where the action was. There, and in the hips.
Years later after I’d moved to California, I would sometimes find myself in a new age-y, rural commune type bar. Like in Bolinas. Or Guerneville. I would look in dismay at the dancers as they violated every tenet I’d learned in that basement rec room.
I was especially peeved by the crusty looking hippie chicks who would sidewind their way solo across the dance floor. Their blonde hair so damaged it was immobile. A sharp contrast to the suede fringe on their cowgirl jackets which flew.
Their moves were more athletic than dancer as they traversed the floor diagonally at rapid speeds. When they reached the edge they’d do a break-neck reverse course, arms flailing constantly. Through the entire song they never broke their gallop.
The rest of the crowd would step back and watch. Not so much in appreciation but in resentment that this floor hog was taking up most of the real estate.
I’ve decided to go with the faux shagreen Evans and Brown wallpaper for the bedroom. I know there are those who chagrin the shagreen (certainly not Peru, Indiana’s Cole Porter). But PETA be damned. I’m going with the fake stuff anyway.
Working with the fish scales made me think of the Wilson sisters. Their Ponderosa beat was the perfect foil for those hippie chick bolters who wanted to break free.