Consumption, creativity, celebrity



This is the beginning of a theory,  about life,  about dancing,  about asking the big questions.

I think we are faced with some choices about where to aim.  The culture tells us that consumption will satisfy us,  and money is what we need to make it happen.

It doesn’t. We know we were put here to do more than that.  A lot of people hit this recognition and have kids.  Others consume more,  travel further or try to buy extreme experiences.

For me it’s increasingly about creativity rather than consumption.  Of course,  as V points out,  some things are in-between.  (The desire to support an artist by spending money with them.  Intentional, expressive choices about what to buy.  And creative production can also be only about money.)

It was V who pointed out a third to my dualism,  the yearning for celebrity.  Neither money nor creativity are enough if no one thinks you’re sexy.

Marta Savigliano says  it takes three to tango because there is a gaze,  even if imagined.

SO let’s get back to dancing…

I have written before about Revels who come to the milonga to be danced,  as consumers.  And I try to show how they can get even more if they learn how to contribute to creativity by setting their Marks free.

Now I have seen the Mark’s version of consumption.  He goes to the milonga not to create art or express himself but to consume sexy women,  and his dance is only the most expedient means to maximise his possibilities.  Simple moves and a fixed embrace will enable even the most incompetent pair of legs and their miniskirt to be his.

I spent last night,  my last night in Berlin, at the most beautiful and free milonga, TangoLoft.  I was thrilled to have the chance to interview the owner and founder,  and will post that interview once he has checked the text.  I am in awe of and so inspired by what he has created,  and even more now that I know his motivations for doing so.

But there is some tiny thing about that milonga which irks me, not his fault, and has to do with this post.

When I leave TangoLoft I feel I am leaving the beauty behind.  When I leave my other favourite milongas – Clärchens Berlin,  La Viruta Buenos Aires,  Pablito’s Sydney – I feel I am taking the beauty with me.  At the end of the night,  the room and everyone is spent.  The room may be more stark,  may give us less,  which means we have to create it.  In the end,  whatever passed between us has taken root in our souls now,  and we take it with us.  Is it possible that if you give people too much they don’t discover that the beauty is in them? They don’t have to fill an empty room with their spirit.  They receive.

When I’m at TangoLoft I almost don’t need to dance.  Sitting on a red velvet couch,  with candles and a big round glass of red wine,  a kitchen at hand, happy dancers at play,  and beauty and elegance in every direction,  I am already so delighted and full.


Silences in history. Silences by code. Silences of fear. You already know that Tango’s silences can be sublime and they can be devastating.

What I do in my blog is use myself as a lens – sometimes a microscope, sometimes a telescope. I try to be as honest with myself and you as words concede. Then I try to find a deeper meaning and imagine a pathway for us.

A blog post can be a fragment, a wisp of inspiration, an outline for thinking. A book must complete and reconcile it all. Now I drag the social scientist to the scene to enumerate the facts of the case, the mystery which brought both stardom and tragedy to my life.

I invite you to join my resolution to take a look at the dark silences of Argentine Tango in our lives. It’s time.


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