When a ceilidh comes to town

Photograph by Diana Fraser-Mackenzie

It was fast and fun, and in London.

Kilts and fiddle music, a spring in the floor, and a caller to keep the formations whirling. Part Scottish reeling, part barn dance, and two parts of give-it-a-go, enough knew enough, and on it span.

Why did it work? Because the young crowd from Scotland had danced in their PE lessons. Through primary school and adolescence they had kept dancing, now here they were, a decade on, owning the floor and taking the rest of us with them .

It made me wonder, as hearts pumped and bodies got caught in the wrong direction, why is there no dancing in PE in English schools? Or is there? It’s great exercise, social, non-competitive, accessible. Plus it would give everyone a chance to keep up.

Two pieces of advice to anyone contemplating a ceilidh – go for it, but take off your shoes before you start.

Here, is a link to comedian Danny Bhoy’s brilliant description of a ceilidh.

Copyright Georgie Knaggs & The Phraser 2023

So how’s the weather with you?

It’s cold, in England.

The photograph above was taken on an early morning, in the middle of this week, just south of London. Leaves were trapped in frosted white, and the sunlight danced. It was beautiful. Proper winter cold. And dry, which was a relief after the days of rain we’ve had.

Then I came back to the centre of London. Today, Thursday, it is still cold, but I haven’t seen the delicate ice lines that fill the gardens and hedgerows.

Here, in the built world, the pavements hold a cold of their own, and the wind more slice, as it whips between and around the buildings in the City. There are fewer greens and browns, and less sky. There is more scaffolding, concrete, hard greys, and steep sides. It is only in the evening that it softens. Then the hard lines fade around bright office windows, and bars and restaurants beckon like burrows.

I suppose a cold city has its own kind of beauty, but it is the cold I am happiest about – happy that London and the south of England, can still do cold after the dry summer of 2022, with temperatures that hit over 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit).

Here is a link to an article I found when typing 40 degrees Celsius into Google.

Copyright Georgie Knaggs & The Phraser 2023

The Photographers’ Gallery – London

The Photographers’ Gallery, in the Soho Photography Quarter in London, is a brand new space to me. In case it might be to you, here’s a little more about its history.

The gallery opened in 1971 in Covent Garden, and was the first space in the UK dedicated solely to photography and photographers. The founder was Sue Davies OBE (1933 -2020) who, for many years, played a crucial role in building the community of artists and enthusiasts around the gallery, and in raising money to support the exhibitions. As the gallery grew so did awareness of the power of photography. Sue Davies was the director until 1991.

In 2008 the gallery moved from Covent Garden, and after a bit of re-arrangement, opened in its new building in Ramillies Street in 2012. The area around it is now known as the Soho Photography Quarter (just off Oxford Street). I loved the feel of the area, and of the gallery as soon as I stepped into it.

Before my visit I did a little research into the gallery. I found this under Visitor Information on its website:

“Photography, curiosity, and respect for people’s health and safety is encouraged everywhere”

I look forward to visiting again.

Here is a link to an article about Sue Davies OBE, including a short audio

Copyright Georgie Knaggs & The Phraser 2023