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Hijinks Ensue

ConFounding Tales! interim report

I'll do a full con report later, but here's a quick Sunday morning update while I sit in the bar with the free WiFi in it, waiting for the day's activities to start. I'm having a great time up here in Glasgow, and I'm very glad I came. The programme is packed with fun SF-themed games with lots of audience participation. I particularly enjoyed satellite_1's game, which was loosely based on the Knightmare TV show, except with several "mission controls" simultaneously trying to guide their blindfolded "space probe" to the correct destination planet within a time limit.

The best thing to happen yesterday was that I went to the Space Baron's wedding Ceilidh and thoroughly enjoyed Scottish folk-dancing with lots of young ladies. Considering I've never been to a Ceilidh before and generally avoid dancing altogether because I'm so bad at it, I was surprised by how much fun it was. It certainly helped a lot that I went to the introductory workshop "for English and other foreigners" beforehand - it was too short to learn the steps to the dances off by heart, but the practise and the pep-talk gave me enough confidence to get up and have a go (thanks also to Ann who asked me up for the first dance while I was still trying to work up the courage to ask someone to be my dance partner). There were lots of other novice dancers there, plus as the night wore on people got increasingly inebriated, so if you botched a move and suddenly found yourself at the opposite side of the floor to your partner or trying to dance with the wrong person, that just made it funnier. The best one (I can't remember the name but I think the band said it was an Arcadian?) involved the men stood in one line and the women in another line facing them. The top couple joined hands and spun around a few times, then they set off down the middle of the line; the man spins the next woman in the line around his right while his partner spins around the next man on her right, then you meet in the middle and spin around to the left, catch the next pair and spin to the right, meet your partner in the middle and spin to the left again, and so on, till you reach the bottom. Then you join the end of the line and spin around each couple that comes down the line, gradually advancing back to the top, at which point it starts all over again. New couples keep starting off down the line at a regular pace, so there are several pairs going at a time. The music sped up once we'd got the hang of the steps, and suddenly the line was one massive spinning whirl of people going round and round at breakneck pace, all trying not to miss a catch or collide with another spinning couple. Incredible.

Comments

See, knew you'd enjoy yourself!! I LOVE Scottish Country Dancing and really miss it so next time we're at a con and there's ceilidh dancing, you've got a partner already!
The dance you refer to is Orcadian (as in Orkney). Even at the poshest of dances, people get carried away and it's all part of the fun. It's a great way to exerceise and so much better than discos - I loathe discos with a passion!
Aha. I shall have to remember that if I make it to Orkney in August. I normally stay well away from discos, but the Speakeasy at Confounding Tales wasn't that bad. The Space Baron's wedding Ceilidh was better though! The band sounded pleased that so many of us got up and danced.
It's that arcadian dance thing involving - er - spinning that will no doubt be rambled about at work on Wednesday when I go back (grudgingly) - I found it a reminder that I need to be fitter (but it was great fun!)
I'm already back at work but having trouble getting my brain onto the right track today. I'm sure there must be something terribly important I've forgotten to do. The post-con blues haven't hit yet which is worrying me a bit because I'm expecting them to be particularly bad this time round.
Just did some poking around with Google and it sounds like that dance is the Orcadian (ie. from the Orkney isles) variant of a dance called Strip the Willow.