David goes to Edinburgh... One: And We're Off

29th May 2010


La Dulce has done a full and exhaustive review of her time in Buenos Aires.

Captain Jep has similarly done a thorough description of his time in Berlin.

Now, to match them all, I shall now attempt to better these Herculean achievements, by describing my trip to that equally-famous haven of Argentine Tango goodness... Edinburgh.

So, I'm booked in for 3 days of Scot-Tango-hood, for the Edinburgh International Tango Festival (EITF)

I'll admit, I tend to get suspicious of a festival with the name "international", it seems like every festival is international these days; I confidently anticipate attending the International Tango Festival of North East Haringey one day soon.

Not that there's anything wrong with North East Haringey of course.

So, one with the show...


I flew there - fortunately on BMI not the strike-ridden BA - with no problems, taxi to hotel and checking in. Apparently, my hotel is in the middle of what the cabbie called (avert your eyes, those of you with sensitive dispositions) the "Pubic Triangle", that is an area somewhat over-endowed with strip joints.

(I didn't even know Edinburgh had any strip joints...)

Still, if I ever need to give directions to my gaff, I can simply tell them - left at the strip bar and I'm opposite the sex shop". Ummm...

Still, tThe hotel is nice and close to the main venue - only about 10 minutes' walk. Which is why I chose it. Really.

The venue

Teviot Row House (pronounced "Tee-viot", not "Teh-viot", as the kindly taxi driver informed me), is the University of Edinburgh Student Union House. Which sounds much worse than it is - basically, a lovely big building with several halls, bars, and very friendly reception staff. As a Londoner, I'm naturally somewhat suspicious of anyone I don't know (or, for that matter, most of the people I do know) smiling gratuitously at me, but they seem to be genuinely friendly, weirdo foreigners....

I encounter some confusion regarding the class location - it was not in the main hall, but in a hall off from the Costa hall - Costa? Students? Cue rant about how I never had money for Costa when I was a student in the Stone Age - it would have been maybe useful to put the class location on the programme. Otherwise the programme is excellent - my classes are marked out on the back of a handy map, very useful.

Also a little confusion encountered when I ask if I can kill some time by watching the class- the organisers say "ask the teachers", the teachers say "it's up to the organisers" - after this ping-pong I decide to hit the bar instead.

Student bar prices!! 90p for a large organe juice! Faaaaantastic.

So I sit in the library bar, lovely place. I am a little disappointed that the "Photographic ID" requirement for the Friday night is simply because of proof-of-age. I had a cool theory that there would be some high-security porecautions taken, because of VIP visitors. In fact, I still prefer that theory. Plus, being brutal, I don't thing most Tango dancers need to be too worried about proving they're over 18...

Surrounded by Scots people, I attempt to blend in. However, my "Sacada me baby" T-shirt and bright orange "You know when you've been Tango-d" shoe bag may be giving me away a little...

I've booked myself in for five workshops over the weekend - by my standards, that's a lot.

My first class is "Villa Urquiza style", with Horacio and Cecilia, starting at 7pm.

Here's how it went...

~ David Bailey, 29th May 2010