Sal's flamenco soapbox

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About me

I'm not an expert ...God forbid

If I come across as an expert, please poke me in the eye with a pointed stick. I am not an expert by any means. My IQ is not enough to get me into MENSA but I am no intellectual dwarf either. To me, letters after a name are like an empty wallet you find in the street on a summer day. You expect there to be something valuable inside, but most of the time all you find is recycled hot air. Let a man or woman demonstrate their qualifications by their deeds and works. I can sense how much intelligence they really have by their approach, their general attitude and their ability to translate academic gobbledygook into plain English.


I can also sense the sincerity and even the motive of a writer by the way they relate, or fail to relate to the reader. I may not have fancy letters after my name but I'm not stupid. If the academic work is too highbrow and uses lots of big words and long sentences, you can bet the author has little interest in the general reader and is more likely writing to impress his peers.


Phooey to that! La-de-da works are too often full of fixed opinions and insincerity and exist only to prove a point in some obscure intellectual camp or other. Did I mention dull as dishwater? If I want to be bored to death I can sit on a park bench and watch grass grow. This website was designed to be informative and simple in it's approach. I don't pretend to be something I'm not and I write the same way as I talk. There is nothing like a cozy fireside chat over a glass of good wine. There is no pressure for me to perform or impress so I just say what's on my mind.


Why do I bother with all this flamenco stuff?
Let's face it. I could be out fishing or enjoying a drink at the pub with the local barflies. So why do I do it? I do it for the same reason a bee collects pollen and finds a way to fly despite the fact that it shouldn't be able to with it's little wings and overweight body. It doesn't understand aerodynamics, and what's more it couldn't care less about theories that attempt to explain or justify what it does. It just goes about instinctively collecting juicy bits from seductive flowers and takes this stuff home to turn into something more palatable. I have this irresistible urge to stock take, catalog and reassemble complex information and turn it into something I can sleep with at nights.


When I was learning about flamenco I was shocked to discover that not only did some dance teachers know very little about compás, but they also knew next to nothing about the dance forms they were teaching. Guitar teachers were much the same. I found that the ones who knew most were the most reluctant to share what they knew. Perhaps they didn't really know that much after all. Or to put it another way: What they knew was more often than not a pet theory or adopted belief and did not tell the whole story anyway. Consequently, I spent countless hours in public libraries, and later on the Internet to dig up as much as I could and was amazed at the inconsistency of the flamenco soup.


The thing that struck me the most is that although there are many "experts", they did not seem to be as objective as I had hoped and this caused me to downgrade my respect of them to a triple C minus. Eventually I came to realize that my conclusions are just as valid as anyone else's as long as I do my homework and I am totally open about my findings.


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