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Dancing Bare : The memoirs of a callow colonial wannabe actor in 1960s Europe, North Africa and the Middle East

By Taylor, Rigby

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Book Id: WPLBN0002828023
Format Type: PDF eBook:
File Size: 1.15 MB
Reproduction Date: 2010

Title: Dancing Bare : The memoirs of a callow colonial wannabe actor in 1960s Europe, North Africa and the Middle East  
Author: Taylor, Rigby
Language: English
Subject: Fiction, Drama and Literature, Social commentary, romance, love
Collections: Authors Community, Erotic Fiction
Publication Date:
Publisher: Self-published
Member Page: Rigby Taylor


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Taylor, B. R. (n.d.). Dancing Bare : The memoirs of a callow colonial wannabe actor in 1960s Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. Retrieved from

Dancing Bare is the amusing and unconventional memoir of an impossibly innocent young man who swaps the suffocating confines of middle-class New Zealand for love and liberation in nineteen-sixties London and Europe. Revelling in the freedom conferred by anonymity, Rigby becomes an actor, stripper, rent boy, lover, teacher and dedicated traveller through Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, where travellers were uncommon and countries still retained many of the differences that made travel so interesting. Rigby meets with a wide variety of people, life styles and customs, eventually settling in Paris where the state did not consider his sexuality to be a criminal offence. A moving, light-hearted and entertaining story of hope and love, sex and sexuality, theatrical showmanship and artless innocence, laced with a little philosophical speculation as he wanders the world in pursuit of true love.

Aspiring actor in 1960's UK, travel and social comment

Conceit, ignorance and optimism are the main ingredients of youth. Without a fair dollop of all three I'd never have dared turn up in the largest city on earth, the centre of the English-speaking theatrical world, expecting to land a job as an actor. I was nervous, of course, but that added spice. An existence devoid of unease would be pretty dull. Even hunger triggers exhilaration. Ignorance – some would say stupidity – sometimes propelled me into situations that later, in the light of calm reason, brought blushes and self-recrimination at my crassness. I can only blame the opiate of anonymity. Failure I can cope with – but not if there’s a witness! No one I cared about was around to witness any rebuff, so I dared. London commerce had shaken off the vicissitudes of war with a vengeance. Shops overflowing with goodies, food plentiful and varied, restaurants of every persuasion opening their doors to an increasingly adventurous public; theatres full, film studios on a roll, television had taken off, and best of all, war had exposed religious dogma to rational scrutiny. A god that allowed such a bloodbath was not a god to be followed. The blinkers of faith-based lies were dumped along with their burden of guilt regarding the pleasures of the flesh. European civilization had teetered on the brink of annihilation. Memories of destruction, death, and grievous bodily and mental harm were burned into the brains of all who had lived through it and Europeans embraced democratic egalitarian social welfare, free thought, humanism and a fairly harmless hedonism. Cinemas were showing nudist movies. Strip and sex shows were opening everywhere. The Windmill Theatre that boasted it had never closed its doors, now allowed its naked girls to move. In even the most traditional theatres, plays were presented in which men took down their trousers and indulged in sexual innuendo previously reserved for pubs. In movies, heavy petting and kissing and simulated sex titillated the masses. Magazines brimming with sexually explicit photos were liberated from under-the-counter closets to flap proudly in the winds of change alongside their more august counterparts at roadside kiosks. While New Zealanders had to go to the barbers or wait till the male assistant was not busy at the chemists’ to make a furtive request for condoms, in London, large signs enjoined everyone to use Durex! Assuring us they were lubricated, for smoother satisfaction, leaving many innocent young Australians to wonder why the English lubricated their toilet paper. The contraceptive pill was the greatest liberator. No longer reliant on men to take precautions, women were demanding the right to fuck with the same reckless abandon as men and to be treated equally in all other respects. The right to fuck they got, but they’re still waiting for the rest. Their new sexual freedom, however, created problems in an unexpected quarter. Along with thousands of other unwilling young men I was dragged, mentally kicking and screaming, into too many female beds before I learned to read the warning signs and retreat on time. A dirty yellow sun shed pale light on ancient monuments as I strode forth; secure in the knowledge that Fortune favours the fearless. I was heading for Shaftsbury Avenue and a theatre – any theatre. The main doors to the Lyric were locked, so I searched around and found an alley that led to an unattended stage door, which led to stairs and… ‘The Boards!’ I was on a London stage! The fire curtain was down concealing the auditorium, which tempered the thrill a little, but couldn’t dilute the glorious mystery. Backstage was huge, dim, freezing, draughty. Scenery and ropes disappeared up into the flies from which drifted down masculine curses and the tap tapping of a hammer. The only illumination a couple of working floods. A harried fellow carrying a clipboard emerged from the gloom to demand my provenance. I asked to see the director. Why? I was an actor. He stared at me in confusion before trotting briskly away to be replaced a minute later by a tall, willowy frowner wrapped in a heavy duffle coat and scarves – it really was cold! I asked if they had any vacancies for actors. His jaw dropped and for a brief instant I thought he was going to open his arms and declare that I had just saved his show, because the junior lead had fallen from the stage and broken his neck. His laugh was a bark of hysteria. I smiled nervously and explained my predicament. He shook his head, and started wandering around the stage, waving his arms and shouting disconnected phrases; ”Lights rehearsal, scenery run-through, props disaster, script changes…” Eventually he turned a hoarse voice on me and hissed, “This is a West End production not some provincial Rep! Why must I be plagued by madmen?” I retreated from his onslaught into the arms of a couple of stagehands who hoisted an arm up my back until I yelled, which prompted the director to bellow for the doorkeeper, who came racing on stage doing up his flies. While the director was threatening the poor bloke with garrotting for leaving the place wide open as an invitation for the IRA to plant bombs, I was bundled down and out into the street, scuffing the toes of my beautiful new shoes on the stairs. Self-assurance somewhat undermined, I retreated to Piccadilly Circus where I bought a copy of the ABC London Street Guide and, as the pockets of tight trousers were unusable, a woven Greek peasant shoulder bag to carry it in; fashionable with London youth, although no Greek I'd seen in Greece had carried one. I'd been told that if you walked eight hours a day for your entire life, you could never walk down every street in London, and I was beginning to believe it. All those narrow lanes, service streets, cul de sacs, Squares and Places. I also bought a newspaper – not for the news, I‘d never been interested in that, but to check the addresses of theatres and what was on. Near the entrance to Piccadilly Circus underground, the Criterion was presenting Iris Murdoch’s A Severed Head. When I eventually discovered the stage door, confidence deserted me. I think I imagined West End theatres would be like amateur dramatic societies back home. You'd meet the director and he’d say, “We’re putting on such and such a play next week, and there’s a part that would suit you. Come along to the auditions next Wednesday evening at Mary’s place…” something like that. I decided I'd be a little more circumspect this time and sound out the doorkeeper first. When he heard what I wanted he guffawed, patted me on the shoulder and reckoned that was the funniest thing he’d heard in years. Instead of convincing him I was serious, further protestations merely convinced him I was several shillings short of a quid. “Go and buy an Equity mag,” he said patting me on the head, mussing up my hair. “Equity mag?” I parroted.

Table of Contents
Chapter 1.......... In the Beginning Chapter 2..........When the pupil is ready, the teacher will appear Chapter 3...........Escape Chapter 4..........Shelter, Fashion, Food Chapter 5..........When Ignorance is Bliss Chapter 6..........Jewels Chapter 7..........Performance Chapter 8..........Farce Chapter 9..........Work & play Chapter 10..........Dance and sex and… Chapter 11..........Interviews and work Chapter 12..........Saturday to Tuesday Chapter 13..........Tuesday to Friday night Chapter 14..........Assistant Stage Manager Chapter 15..........Cruising Chapter 16..........Riviera Chapter 17..........Playing in the Parks Chapter 18..........On Tour Chapter 19..........Touring On Chapter 20..........A Winter Tale Chapter 21..........Orgy Chapter 22..........Time Out Chapter 23..........Friendship Chapter 24..........Rootless Chapter 25..........Muddling on Chapter 26..........The Grand Tour Chapter 27..........Even Grander Touring Chapter 28...........Edinburgh Chapter 29..........Of lust and learning Chapter 30.......... Shop assistant and Teacher Chapter 31..........Eureka! Chapter 32..........Flawed Companions Chapter 34..........Up the Nile Chapter 35..........Middle-East Chapter 36..........Paris and...........


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