Last night I went to yogi dancing. This is basically yoga with a deejay, and then a “freestyle” section where you “just dance” for 15-20 minutes and feel like you are in a nightclub rather than a sandstone church in Paddington with a bunch of hippies.
What to expect at a yogi dancing class
- Upon arrival, place your havaianas in a room full of havaianas. I positioned mine next to a dead cockroach for reference.
- Enter the church. Inside it is eight hundred degrees and there are four thousand hippie backpackers sitting on the floor. They are all surprisingly attractive. Make awkward small talk with some of them. There is a pile of glow sticks at the front of the room and flowing light projections on the ceiling. There is one toilet. Behind the organ.
- Meet the yogi, Angel. She is wearing a microphone headset and what I suppose you could call shorts. She has a glow stick in her hair. She is the nicest person you have ever met.
- The yoga begins. Angel takes you through each routine, then leaves you to do it in your own time. So she’ll show you how to draw circles with your heart, then leave you to continue drawing circles with your heart on your own, while the deejay plays Sigur Ros and sways at the front of the room.
- The difficulty increases unexpectedly. The poses pretty much go from swinging your arms from side to side to a headstand. You sit down on your mat, defeated. “This is bullshit,” you comment to the Irish girl next to you. She doesn’t respond though as everyone has their eyes closed.
- Angel asks you to put your mats to the side and come into the centre of the room. She shows you some basic tribal-esque dance moves. The lights go down and the class pretty much turns into a rave, complete with glow sticks and smoke machines, but without any drugs. Then you just dance, frantically, for twenty minutes. (This was an issue for me, as ordinarily I do not dance unless I have a gun to my head or a blood alcohol level greater than 0.1). You are all sweating buckets. The hippies fucking love it.
- The dancing stops and you are told to do a few “cool down” laps around the room, introducing yourself to everyone you walk past. You meet River, Ariel, and Clover, and shake their sopping hands and then you stop caring.
- Everyone does some wind-down poses to Sufjan Stevens or whatever. Angel walks around spraying eucalyptus or something over you.
- You discover a puddle on your mat and glance up towards the ceiling before realising it is your own sweat. You smell pretty bad.
- You all lie in the corpse position for 5 minutes. Someone farts and nobody reacts except me, because I think it’s funny. Anytime anyone ever farts in the world is very funny.
- Angel asks everyone to come onto her mat so we can pose for a group photo. She tells us to tag ourselves in the photo when she puts it on Facebook, so that we can all become friends.
- On the way out, Angel gives everyone a kiss on the cheek. You feel a slight buzz as you leave, but that could just be due to the fact that you are severely dehydrated and inhaled quite a bit of that eucalyptus stuff.
- This all takes just over 2 hours.
Actual helpful advice:
- BYO mat. You don’t have to, but this is a very sweaty, full-on class and you might get pregnant if you don’t.
- Take a towel too.
- If you’ve never done yoga before, take a few beginner classes at a yoga centre to familiarise yourself with some basic poses (like downward facing dog, warrior pose, salute to the sun, extended angle pose.)
- Make a booking. Classes are pretty popular. It’s $25 a pop. Deets here. That is also where I stole the above image.
A few years ago, I played guitar in a band with my co-worker (a secretly talented singer) and her older brother (a drummer/psychopath).
We drank a lot of beer and pissed off a lot of neighbours, and we decided that a bass player was essential to our continued existence.
I offered to place an ad online and the drummer nodded.
“Yeah, that’s good,” he said. “Just make the ad really vague, but also specific. Say that they need to be cool, but not cooler than us. We’ll ask them to meet us at a bar, and then we’ll interview them. If they have a last name for a first name or a first name for a last name, they’re out. And if they use any faggy music words like “progressive euro-tech” that’s also cause for immediate disqualification.”
“I don’t want anyone whose outfit costs more than mine, and if they order a Coopers red, we’ll know they’re a dickhead.”
We never found a bass player and the band broke up a month later.
Mum: You’re going to love Lior’s show. He is an amazing performer.
Me: Shhh I haven’t seen it yet. Don’t tell me what happens!
Mum: It’s a concert, you already know what happens. He plays guitar and sings.
Me: I said, don’t tell me.
Mum: Oh but you should make sure you cheer for the encore. He does something really cool, you’ll never guess what.
Me: He removes all his clothing and fellates himself on stage, then proposes to the sound guy.
Me: He tells us all to look under our seats, and we each get a midget to take home, then they have fireworks and ice cream.
Mum: No, stop guessing, that was rhetorical. God, you’re so weird sometimes.
Most of my relatives live interstate or in France and the Sydney ones don’t like us, so my family usually spends Christmas day getting drunk in our living room and letting out all the pent-up rage that has accumulated over the year.
“Why should you get to park in the driveway while my car sits out on the street like a whore?” I snap at my brother, tearing open a carefully wrapped gift from my mother. “Oh look, more Bryce Fucking Courtenay. You know he hasn’t written anything good since Four Fires. Buy me some Tim Winton or something. Goddamn it.”
“I’m the oldest,” my brother says, slurring slightly, “I get to park where ever the hell I want.”
“You’re the ugliest,” I retort. “Besides, you sell cleaning products, you’re going nowhere in life. At least I went to uni. I tried to make something of myself.”
“Yeah, tried being the operative word. Unlucky for you, there isn’t much demand for ice-queen bitch accountants with half a degree under their belt and a drinking problem. Face it, Neek, you’re a fucking failure. You have no career prospects, and no man will ever marry you because you have terrible genes. No offence, Mum.”
“You cunt, I’ll kill you,” I say, smacking his beer off the coffee table and reaching for his eyes, which were recently operated on and cost him $9,000 in medical bills.
At this point, my father rises from his cane chair and sighs. He walks over to his new electric piano and plugs in his headphones. Then he sits and plays Gershwin for three hours, until we have all passed out or gone to our bedrooms. The piano is my father’s happy place. He is an amazing musician, and people often go to my parents’ church just to hear my dad play. But at home, he plays to himself through headphones while the rest of us sit on the couch and watch television. Eventually, my mother falls asleep on the lounge and my brother goes to the garage to work on his motorbike. I walk down the road to the park with play equipment and sit at the top of the slippery-dip. I smoke cigarettes and ash onto the slide, thinking about all the local children who will now go home to their mothers with ashy, smelly pants. I think about how much I hate my family. I think about how much I hate Christmas. I think about the arbitrary cruelty of having a designated day of the year where I am forced to spend 24 hours with my family, regardless of whether I am in a good mood or have a sufficient supply of valium to see me through the holiday.
It wasn’t always like this. We used to have guests over for Christmas. Not traditional guests (ie friends and family) but random people my mother had met throughout the year who didn’t have anything better to do on Christmas day, because they were so scummy that they had failed to achieve basic relationships in life and had nobody to hang out with on the most important holiday of the year.
First there was Warwick, a thirty-something IT professional who lurked around my parents’ church and rode his bicycle everywhere. He came over for Christmas each year, and I hated him passionately.
“I think he’s a pedophile,” I told my mother as we stood at the kitchen window, looking out at Warwick in the backyard. He was sitting by the pool, supervising the neighbour’s children as they swam.
“Do any of you kids know what skinny dipping means?” he asked them, trailing his big toe through the water. “I like to skinny dip.”
Then there were the pregnant bikie trashbags. They only came once – the last year we had guests. My mum had invited Gail, a crusty woman she met at TAFE, and her daughters. They showed up for lunch at 4pm and were all wearing leather jackets.
“Sorry we’re so late,” Gail said, picking something out of her teeth. “Young Natalie here had to stop every five minutes to take a piss.”
“I’m pregnant,” Natalie explained.
“Cool,” I said, draining my wine glass.
“Not cool!” Gail shouted. “Do you know how many times I’ve driven her to the abortion clinic? She pussies out at the last minute every time and decides to ruin her life instead.”
“How old were you when you had Natalie?” I asked pleasantly.
“She was sixteen,” Natalie replied, “Just a year older than me now.”
“What a charming family tradition,” I smiled, pouring myself a gin and tonic. “I recently turned sixteen myself.”
“If that’s the case,” Gail interrupted, “Should you really be drinking, young lady?”
“Well I’m not pregnant,” I replied.
Just then Warwick entered the house, holding a dripping child under each arm. “Did somebody say something about babies?” he gasped.
“Yeah,” I said, “This is Natalie. She’s pregnant, but she’s still trying to work up the guts to have an abortion.”
“I beg your pardon!” Gail spluttered.
“I like babies,” Warwick said.
“Oh my god, we’re out of wine,” Mum whispered to me.
“I’ll get some more,” I offered. I caught a bus to the local shopping centre and smoked a joint on the loading dock. Then I watched The Ring three times because nothing short of the apocalypse would cause Greater Union to close their doors. By the time I got home, Mum was asleep on the lounge, Dad was playing the piano, and my brother had disappeared to the garage.
Three years ago, I sold my Yamaha Pacifica. I was living out of home, studying full-time, working part-time, drinking heavily, and dirt poor. I really needed things like bread and dental work, so I flogged my guitar on eBay for $150.
To be honest, I had no regrets at first, as I had purchased Francine mainly to hold while I struck rockstar poses in front of the mirror in my bedroom. She was also useful for creating extremely loud and distorted noises while my parents attempted to hold bible study lessons in the living room. But apart from that, I didn’t play her often. Sure, she was soft and sleek, but I always seemed to come back to my Maton acoustic because he complimented my voice better.
However, now that I’m getting older and more experimental with my music, I really miss Francine.. She allowed me to do so much more than Mate, and was smaller, thus allowing me to dance more freely while playing.
The worst part is I don’t even know where she is.. I have no idea who bought her, because I made my friend sell her online, not having the guts to do it myself. I simply told her that I needed a “break” and that she was going to spend a little time away from home.. then I collected the cash, had a boozey night out in the cross, and awoke the next morning fully dressed with a splitting headache and a bruise the size of a grapefruit on my thigh.
I’m really worried about Francine. She could be sitting in any old geyser’s garage in Australia, cold, alone and unsatisfied. I’ll bet whoever bought her has put his filthy hands all over her.. By now he’s probably stroked her neck, removed her g-string and touched her entire body. Thank god she’s not acoustic or he might have put all kinds of things in her sound-hole.
I guess I just have to hope that Fran has gone to a better place. Perhaps she’s in a nice house in the country, surrounded by a loving family, romping through fields of daisies under a bright blue sky.. Or maybe she is the pride and joy of some young budding guitarist, the next Nathan Cavaleri, and will rocket him to early stardom..
I will never know for sure. I just hope she’s okay.