I suck at dancing competitions

I do. This isn’t faux humility. I literally forget the steps. Steps I’ve done hundreds of times before. Steps I could do in my sleep. This doesn’t happen at social dances, or in lessons. I reckon I’d stand a fair chance if I could just hold it together. But put me on a large floor, with a dozen competitors and judges, and everything goes to shit. I’ve never got through a heat, let alone made a final. Every time it happens I think I can brute force my way through it. Practice harder. Go over the routines more. Understand the steps and how they ... Read More »

iPhone vs SLR

iPhone vs SLR

As the old saying goes, the best camera is the one you have on you. The camera I have on me is my iPhone. I take a lot of photos with it, despite having an SLR that’s obviously higher quality. But it’s so much easier to do things with iPhone photos! Emailing / Twitter / Google Photos. Quick and easy. Not to mention the weight. And smartphone cameras are pretty great these days, aren’t they? Hmm. Last night I was at the Blackpool Tower for their New Year’s Eve bash. Here’s a shot I took on my phone, and put on ... Read More »

You Need A Budget

In January 2014 I set myself a new year’s resolution: control my money better. This was a long-standing ambition and a genuinely tough problem for me. I’d put in plenty of effort in the past, but failed each time. Nothing stuck: budgeting spreadsheets, Microsoft Money, detailed spreadsheets for specific projects – everything seemed logical and comprehensive, but never actually worked. But I needed to do something: the previous December I’d come back from a dancing competition in Paris to find £1000 less in my account than I’d anticipated through my amazing Winter 2013 Budget Spreadsheet, so this was getting serious. So I tried You Need A Budget. And by ... Read More »

2014, then

Highlights Entered a bunch of UK dancing competitions. These are tougher than the international ones: there are more competitors, and the standard is higher. This was entirely the point, as I wanted to be challenged. And so I was: I failed, and I failed hard. Honestly, it was ridiculous. In the entire year I got through a single round, which took me into a quarter final. This was tougher to deal with than I’d anticipated, to be honest. But I’ll keep working. Hopefully I’ll get better. And it meant I got to dance at the Blackpool Winter Gardens, which was great (the dancing world is ... Read More »

Why you don’t like photos of yourself

Me: Hello! I thought you might like this photo of you. Them: Oh god it’s so awful. I understand this, I really do. I used to be the same. But now it makes me sad. If I’ve sent you a picture of yourself, it’s because I think you look good. And I’m probably a better judge than you. Not because I’m a photographer, but because I see you like everyone else sees you: I see the non-mirror-reversed version of you. And unless you’re a model or a visual performer, you probably don’t see this version very often. And it looks weird. ... Read More »


I was feeling pretty run down. Had been for months – maybe a year – and I figured it was lack of sleep. This was new: I often sleep badly, but I’d never had problems with tiredness. But, you know, age. So I bought Night School, and worked through its recommendations. I put up blackout curtains. I cut out blue light. I timed my sleep to circadian rhythms. It didn’t help. I got more sleep, sure, but still woke up with what I can only describe as a mushy head. The brain-feel that everything is further away than it should be. It was a dull weight at ... Read More »

June Gala Showdance

June Gala Showdance

We’d been working on this for over a year, off and on. There’s foxtrot, jive and cha-cha in there. Quite pleased with how it turned out – that’s probably the best we’d ever done it.   Read More »

2013, then

Ok so this came round fast. Has anyone looked into whether time is still working right? I have suspicions. But highlights of the year: Danced a lot, with much training for a showdance in April then an amazing Pro-Am competition in Paris in December. I also found a few more local events to go to, with open-air dancing in Regent’s Park being a particular highlight. And I got to see the best dancers in the world compete at the Albert Hall. I had a big year at work, given that I essentially took all their systems apart and started from ... Read More »

10 years old

My little blog is 10 years old today. Blimey. That’s a total of 728,396 words, over 3,502 posts. Plus 6,828 comments, and over 35k words sitting in unpublished drafts. ‘Wonga’ wasn’t really a popular word when this site started. Now it has connotations, and I sometimes worry new people must think it’s all about me spending money, or something. I even got a confused email about this once. In reality it was just a funny sounding word, and I liked it. This site’s seen me leave home, start and shutter my own business, get into my long-term interests of Humanism ... Read More »

Dapper Day 2013

Dapper Day 2013

I first heard about Dapper Day via Boing Boing, who described it as: a day when masses of well-dressed, nattily turned out happy mutants converge on Disney parks to enjoy a day in fine style. Obviously this attracted my attention. I was in Disneyland Paris last year, and enjoyed it a lot. And I am, you know, occasionally a fan of dressing up. Therefore: win. But, as ever, the problem was finding companions. I’m generally happy to do things by myself, since the alternative is not doing them at all. But I couldn’t go alone to this. Walking around the ... Read More »

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