Keep calm and carry on?
Most of London’s lindy dancing is cancelled tonight for obvious reasons and whilst I totally agree with the organisers’ decisions to cancel (I wouldn’t want anyone to get inadvertently tangled up in the violence I saw outside my flat last night) a part of me is thinking what happened to the British “keep calm and carry on” spirit?
“Keep calm and carry on” has become a bit of joke but the events of the last few days have reminded me that it takes a lot of courage to “carry on”. London is closing down tonight. Shops are being boarded up, social gatherings are being cancelled and everyone seems to want to get home before dark. Londoners are collectively choosing to protect their property and to stay safe knowing that this will all be over in a few days. But what if we didn’t know when the violence would end? Would we still have the courage to go out and dance like they did in the 1940s?
Getting togged up in vintage clothing and going to World War 2 dances is a bit of a lark for most of us, an entertaining way to spend an evening. We live in a London that so different and so far removed from 1940s London that it’s impossible to imagine what it must have been like to dance in a hall that might be bombed or to walk home and not know if you will ever make it back. Perhaps it’s not surprising that Charleston and Jitterbug, two dances that are incredibly vibrant, immediate and full of energy, evolved at times when life was far more uncertain.