Those who have been following my recent posts will know I’ve been working on losing weight for a couple of months.
I just asked Alexa (other smart speakers are available) for dance music in a bid to work off a cheese muffin (I did mention my approach to dieting was haphazard, didn’t I?)
The first number immediately galvanised me to action. Do you remember something called Sandstorm? (By Darude, apparently. I had to look that up.) I can never keep my feet still when it’s playing. I have several such triggers, but Sandstorm might be the most addictive.
Before I met my second husband, I would go with a group of girlfriends to ‘over-thirties’ discos (otherwise known as grab-a-granny’ evenings; I don’t think many of us were under fifty). Sandstorm had me skipping around with demented animation every time.
Another dance activity I enjoyed before I retired, although quite different, was Scottish Country Dancing. This wasn’t so much physical as cerebral exercise, although some of those reels can get lively. There would be a walk-through before each dance, and the challenge was to remember the sequence of moves once the music started. Get it wrong and you’d mess up your entire group. And, of course, I never remembered any of the sequences from one week to the next.
These midweek sessions were held in a local rugby club. At the end of the evening, when I felt obliged to leave and get back to my dogs at home and get some sleep before work next day, the mostly-retired members would decide on ‘just one more’ and I’d leave them still dancing. Sadly, there are no Scottish Country Dance groups near where I live now.
For a while, after I retired, I joined a local Zumba class. From those sessions I added a few newer numbers to my party playlist, but somehow the choreographed routines were never as satisfying as actually moving where the beat takes me. I stuck with it until the teacher changed her daytime Zumba class to a different kind of workout, but it was only the music that had kept me turning out every week.
Where pop music is concerned, my husband is firmly stuck in the fifties and sixties. His sister was six years his senior, which I think influenced his musical tastes. Over breakfast, we listen to older rather than dancier numbers, but it’s been worth revisiting hits I didn’t appreciate properly at the time.
How did I not recognise those blows in the backing to Simon and Garfunkel’s The Boxer? the punches become more relentless as the final chorus repeats and repeats and repeats. . .
I’ve always loved Leonard Cohen’s growly voice, but I never appreciated the poetry of his lyrics. Hallelujah didn’t register with me at all until the film Shrek.
Back in the day, I was indifferent to Fleetwood Mac’s Albatross, but now when I sway to its surges, I chill out. It reminds me of winding down watching our tropical fishtank, back when we had one; I once read that fish-watching can bring down blood pressure. I think Albatross does something similar, but the synchronised movement (mine) offers more of a whole-body experience.
I have my selected playlists, named ‘Party’, ‘Relax’, ‘Simply the Best’. and ‘Jingle Those Bells’, but I rarely open them when I’m working at the laptop. I can’t concentrate on writing when I’m swaying or bopping or singing along. (I love to harmonise; bring on the Everly’s.)
Away from the computer, it’s taken me a while to get into using the smart speaker my daughter bought us for Christmas-before-last, but I’m getting there. (Although I can do without it asking me to rate my Amazon purchases before I’ve even read them. . . or used them.)
My husband’s enjoying the music, but he still looks at me oddly when I talk to Alexa.