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Howling at the moon

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I’ve been the DJ at a couple of milongas recently where there were show dances during the Milonga (not at our milongas, I hasten to add. We never have show dances, for reasons that’ll I’ve made clear in the past ). Both times were an absolute nightmare, for different reasons:

Both times I was only told which tracks they wanted to be played after the Milonga had started, so there was no chance for a sound check.

Luckily, at the first milonga, the selection was in my extensive collection. But then the performance was delayed 3 times because of ‘wardrobe issues’.  Now, it may not seem like it sometimes, but when I’m DJing a lot of thought goes into the flow of the tandas, so a big break for show dances is bad news. If I know when it’ll be happening then I can prepare a good selection Tandas to try and keep the Milonga flowing. But when I have to change my carefully thought out plans 3 TIMES then I start to lose my sunny disposition and start sticking pins into voodoo dolls.

At the 2nd milonga the show dancers didn’t select the tracks for the show dances until just 20 minutes before the performance, when I was given a memory stick. With the wrong tracks on it. Cue much frantic file swapping whilst the correct tracks were found, whilst avoiding interrupting the music currently playing, all the time managing to stay calm and professional, even when the track volumes were at least 10Db different from each other. And, quel surprise, the show dance started one tanda later than scheduled so once again my careful planning was trashed. Oh, and you know what? After all that fuss and drama, the choice of music didn’t seem to make any difference to the performances, after all. My curses were saved for later; they matured and festered before emerging as a blood-curdling scream of murderous intent as I howled at the moon.

Dancers. Your moves may be sublime and your balance jaw-dropping. But FTLOG save a thought for the DJ; choose your tracks well in advance, and start the show dances on time. Then even the DJ might applaud afterwards, too.


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Things I find extremely boring:



X Factor

Airport check-in queues



But most of all…

Photos of couples locked in embraces at Milongas

ooo look -I’ve got a camera

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So you’ve been to a Tango marathon or encuentro.  Lucky you. And whilst you were there you took lots of photos, presumably because you weren’t dancing much. And now you’re back, you’ve decided to post the complete album on Facebook.

FTLOG why???

Huge albums of photos from Tango events have to be the most tedious and pointless wastes of time on social media. And lets face it, that’s saying something. Typically they’re just endless shots of couples in an embrace. Either smiling or ‘lost’ in Tango blss. They just leave me wondering who, exactly, is supposed to be interested?

People who didn’t go won’t be interested. After all, they weren’t there. People who were there will only be interested in photos of themselves, and will struggle to find any. People who wanted to go, but couldn’t, will feel bitterness about what they missed.

Hmmm. So the only person who is interested in all the images is the photographer?

You’re not Annie Leibovitz. Put the camera down.

And start dancing.

DJ shopping

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It’s around this time of year that we start to recruit and select the DJs for our big events coming up at Easter, September, and Christmas.  All together, we need to sort out the DJs for around 20 milongas and this takes many weeks of discussions and emails. So what do we look for from guest DJs, and why can it get so tricky?

I think that the music is the main fundamental element of a Milonga, and so the DJ is absolutely crucial.  That’s why I get very cautious and careful when it comes to selecting guest DJs.

By and large we only ever use guest DJs that we have heard playing at least once.  It doesn’t matter how many recommendations they have, or how popular they are at other events, I will try to check out milongas where the DJ might be a good choice for us. And when I’m at a milonga there are several things that I’m looking for in a good DJ:

  • Do they arrive and set up on time?
  • Do they spend too much time with their headphones on pre-listening to tracks?
  • How much do they walk around the dance floor, checking the music quality and volume?
  • Are they actively using an equaliser with at least 8 channels?
  • How are the Tandas constructed?
  • Are they using BPM or another method to manage the energy within a Tanda?
  • Are the tracks volumes all levelled?
  • What is the mix of familiar favourite tracks and lesser known recordings?
  • How does the mood of the Tandas vary through the evening?
  • Does the music link without pregnant pauses or, even worse, crashing between tracks?
  • How do the Cortinas contribute to the atmosphere of the Milonga?
  • Are they familiar with their DJ software?

Simple, isn’t it? Er, no. That’s why it gets so hard to recruit DJs of a good enough standard, and why we tend to stick with the good ones.

And, by the way, that’s often why I’ve stopped going to some local milongas with a resident DJ.  So now you know.



We are all doomed

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At a well-known regular Milonga in London recently the DJ still hadn’t turned up 25 minutes after the Milonga was due to start.

There was no apology from the DJ.

There was no apology from the organiser.


Everyone who had travelled to get to the Milonga when it started was kept waiting without any explanation, and the Organiser didn’t even contact the DJ to see where he was or when he would arrive.


We are all doomed.

Get thee behind me…

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Please spare a compassionate thought for poor students in Tango lessons having to line up behind the teacher to follow them as they demonstrate a sequence. Stuck amongst a bunch of other students, with a view that’s more limited even than a UKIP supporter.  It’s no surprise that they don’t really have a clue what’s going on.

Just look at this photo of a Tango lesson in progress; no doubt the teacher loves himself, but what about the lovely people who have paid to be taught how to dance? Only one out of a group of over 14 students is actually doing what is being shown.  The rest are craning their necks and struggling to see, or just looking bemused and lost (like me when people start talking about ‘Game Of Thrones’).  They don’t really have a chance, do they.

And this photo is actually being used to advertise a Tango teacher #facepalm