Monday 18 February 2008

Road Songs (1st Mov 'Grave', 2nd Mov 'Allegreto')

In his 1993 film 'Falling Down', US director Joel Schumacher uses Michael Douglas' character, Williams 'D-Fens' Foster, as a parable to illustrate the pressure cooker American society has become. In the movie, Foster, desperate to get home to celebrate his daughter's birthday finds himself in a traffic jam. As incident after incident start to pile up, so Forster's patience begins to wear thin. Until he reaches his boiling point. And he snaps. And the consequences, as those who have seen the picture know, are not pretty.

Moral tale apart, it is very clear in the movie that Williams has succumbed to the road rage syndrome. This condition is defined as 'a fit of violent anger by the driver of an automobile, esp. one directed toward and endangering other motorists or pedestrians.' Although I have never been affected by this phenomenon (touch wood), nor have I been at the receiving end of someone's verbal or physical abuse as a consequence of road rage, I am wary of if. That's one of the reasons why I always have a bag full of CDs with me, both on short and long journeys in case I suddenly find myself inadvertently in that dangerous and maddening traffic jam.

Recently, after teaching an Afro-Cuban dance masterclass at The Basement in Islington, as a guest teacher at Damarys Farres' Cuban dance course, I gave a lift to a former dancer of Havana University Folklore Company, Ariel Rios. After dropping him off across Manor House tube station I took a left turn to get to Turnpike Lane and immediately realised my mistake. With dread I watched as the traffic stretched for what looked like miles on end. And it was not moving one single inch.

Luckily, I had my CD bag with me.

It was an unusual warm October evening and whilst the cars in front of me moved slower than a couple of turtles doing the 'danzon', I had my window rolled down and Ray Barreto and his Orchestra singing 'Te Traigo Guajira' on the car stereo. Pure bliss.

What follows are some of my suggestions to combat the first signs of road rage. You know: the frustration at seeing the standstill on the street ahead, the anger at vehicles cutting in in front of you, despair when pedestrians cross the road carelessly. Just take a deep breath and allow those nice melodies to seep in and stroke your senses. And make sure that none of those tunes IS 'Road Rage' by Catatonia.

Copyight 2008

1 comment:

  1. Cuban, el fifiriKU
    renunciO hoy a la presidencia de Cuba man. Hoy es 19 de Febrero de 2008.
    de P queridos amiguitos.



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