Last week, an 8 hour walk on Albert Drive visiting 4 people to hear their stories about dancing at home. I was Lindy Hopping in a living room, dancing to the Four Tops round a kitchen table, dancing in a garden and enthralled by a childhood story about tap dancing in Mr Kelly the lollipop man’s house because he could play the required tune on his piano!
One of the deep joys in being involved in people and place based art making like the Albert Drive Project is the attention to detail and the noticing. I walk the drive and its tributaries on my way to visit people, with eyes wide open, and notice things that I would never normally notice – the small patch of rhubarb in a disused earth plot at the end of a street, the shoe that hangs from the railing, the party poppers all popped and strewn on the pavement. I can get my car fixed, go to a cash and carry and buy an antique column for my house. I can also treat myself to an ice cream in the ice cream parlour! This is a vibrant area and I never noticed that before.
The people are vibrant too. When I meet people in their houses, each has a story to tell and the more they talk about dancing, or not dancing, in their living rooms and kitchens and gardens, the more they remember and the more stories there are to tell. Energy increases as dancing times are remembered and shared and, like me on my walks on the Drive, details are noticed, enjoyed, re-lived and savoured. It is both a joy and a privilege.
I look forward very much to a few weeks time when the Living Room Dancers will meet each other in person. Till then, I’ll be meeting, sharing and collecting in the living room.