City wanderings - and a pilgrimage to some of the best eating and drinking spots in Brussels. Or maybe not eating or drinking - ah, oh well.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Madame Moustache

Madame Moustache isn't here, and there is nothing freakish about the people whirling gracefully around the dancefloor on a Tuesday evening in their braces and bowler hats.  There's also precious little facial hair in evidence. 

For me the bar, with its brass, kitsch colours and circus lights, is a thing of beauty; peopled with laughing staff in sailor uniforms and loiterers admiring the swing band and dancing spectacle.  Then there's the long mirror-lined room itself with its striking skylight.  Everywhere people are dancing, and all around the sides others are watching, captivated. 

You'll find me towards the back, tentatively practising my Charleston and triple step learnt in class, yearning - yes, yearning - to progress forwards, towards the bar to dance with strangers, while a circle of people unconsciously forms around you, clapping.  You are the spectacle: eyes gleaming you catch glimpses of your shining, laughing face as you turn.  No, you are not a freak - you are enchanting!

Watching us and our reflections I am convinced that we are the worthy successors of a more glamorous time.  Three generations ago I would be here demurely dressed and waltzing: now I'm in tights and trainers; hair askew; hat perched on head; dancing the lindy hop!  When the band starts up again I am unable to calm my still-fidgeting feet until I take off again, compelled by strident brass and the singer's recreation of Louis Armstrong's voice.  Look around and you'll notice 1950s fashion and some furious spinning and shuffling; but playful, uninhibited humour as well - steps are missed, and improvisation is meant to happen.

source: (thanks google)

Later on leaving my thoughts turn, not to freaks, but to poetry, and images of female enchantment!  Elation from a look - or a dance?

WOMAN! when I behold thee flippant, vain,
Inconstant, childish, proud, and full of fancies;
Without that modest softening that enhances
The downcast eye, repentant of the pain
That its mild light creates to heal again:
E’en then, elate, my spirit leaps, and prances,
E’en then my soul with exultation dances
For that to love, so long, I’ve dormant lain

Keats, Poems 1817

Madame Moustache hosts a live band and swing and lindy hop dancers fortnightly on Tuesdays.   

Quai au Bois à Brûler 5, 1000 Bruxelles

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