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Tuesday, 1 January 2008

Will Maurabella go to the ball?

This is a true story that really cheered me up after the barrage of tripe in the media about celebrities or sub-celebrities, many of whom seem pretty trashy people, inculcating worthless values.

Maybe you will like it too.

My partner’s sister Maura is a tango lover. By “tango” I don’t mean the disgusting vaguely orange-y drink; I mean the not-in-the-least-vaguely sexy dance. Not long ago it was her birthday.

The best tango dancer in the world is Pablo Veron. Some judges think he is the best dancer of any kind in the world. You can see his picture at the top, looking somewhat piratical with Maura.

She looks pretty happy, right? Let me tell you why.

Pablo was appearing till recently in Carmen at the English National Opera here in London.

So my partner somehow got hold of Pablo’s mobile number and arranged for her sister to have a private lesson with him. It was to be a birthday surprise. All she told Maura was that they would both go to one of Pablo’s public lessons.

They stood outside the venue having a cigarette and waiting for Pablo. When he arrived the conversation went like this.

Partner: “Hello Pablo, I am the one who rang you about the private lesson.”

Pablo said hello and kissed my partner, to the astonishment of her sister, speechless when faced with the man of her dreams. And utterly speechless when he kissed her too.

Partner: “This is my sister Maura who’s having the lesson.”

Maura (finding her tongue): “No.”

Partner: “Yes; it‘s your birthday present.”

Maura: “No” (These girls from the south of Italy are persistent).

Eventually she allowed that the lesson might indeed exist.

Anyhow although he gave a public lesson, they couldn’t have the private lesson that night. Pablo had a film director friend, Sally Morgan, with him. Nor could it be done the next night, as he had to fly to Italy.

“I will call you on Tuesday to arrange it,” said Pablo.

But he didn’t.

Maura was in despair. Her sister was in despair. They rang - repeatedly - both of them. (These girls from the south of Italy are really persistent) but Pablo didn’t reply.

Unkind words were said about Pablo, I’m afraid. I tried to be comforting.

“Let’s face it, Maura, the man is extremely busy.”

But eventually he rang. We might have guessed the truth. He had booked his return flight with Alitalia, leading contender for the much-contested title “World’s most useless airline”.

To be honest I admire his courage. Would you reply to someone who – together with her sister - had rung about 56 times and was clearly a demented stalker? I thought not.

He said he would try to fit her in, but could make no promises. He was a hero again! We took back the unkind words.

He asked her to go to a milonga (that’s a venue for dancing the tango) to make arrangements. She went and they danced together; then he told her it would be almost impossible to fit in a lesson.

Maura was resigned – but she was already happy that she’d danced with him - see picture above. So she forgot about it.

But after a couple of days she received a call at 6pm one evening. “Hola! Soy Pablo Veron”. And she replied “Yes, and I’m Lady Diana”. He said, “No, soy Pablo Veron and I can meet you tonight at 8 because I moved my ticket to tomorrow morning”.

Now, there were one or two problems. First she had no money, improvident creature. Second, the only place where she could have the lesson was our office – but she didn’t have the keys. Third, the only people who could help were her sister and me, who were on the train to dinner in Teddington.

A crisis! But these girls from southern Italy always have plan A, plan B and plan C because nothing works down there.

My partner leapt off the train with seconds to spare and caught the next train back to Clapham Junction to meet Maura and solve everything.

In the meantime Maura took a taxi to go to Clapham.

They met there, my partner got the money, paid the cab, gave Maura the keys, and put her on the train to Waterloo (not before stopping at Superdrug in the station to get some make-up).

Maura rushed to the office, cleared the meeting room (moving a table and 8 chairs) and then waited for Pablo.

He came. They danced. It was wonderful.

And you know what? Afterwards he put all the furniture back.

A gentleman.

There aren’t that many nowadays. Maybe they all went to Buenos Aires.

Happy New Year, everyone!

And thank you for the kind messages you send.


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