Around Here Lately: Madonna, Mum Dance, and Megxit

{Note: I’ve got several blog posts in the works right now recapping trips we’ve taken, but I just realized that I didn’t post anything in February at all. Fortunately, I got an extra day this year to make sure I got a post up this month! So this is going to be a bit random and rambly.}

It didn’t fit in with the alliteration in my post title, but actually the main word on everyone’s possibly-masked lips right now is “Coronavirus”; “Megxit” and even “Brexit” seem to be taking a break from the mouths of the gossiping masses. We just had February half term (weeklong school holiday), and a ski holiday in the Alps is a very popular destination for this particular break every year. We know lots of our kids’ classmates who did this, as well as our next-door neighbours. (We went to Lisbon, which will be given a full and robust post soon.)

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In Lisbon last week

Of course everyone who was traveling to Asia was cautioned before half term (one of E’s classmates went to Singapore), but no one knew to be worried about northern Italy! Before half term, we had emails from both girls’ schools about coronavirus and traveling to Asia; and post half term, we’ve had multiple email updates from the schools as well as guidelines from every organization we are a part of—E’s gymnastics, our GP (doctor’s office), our gyms, the charity I volunteer with, etc. Even our grocery delivery service emailed to caution that they are currently receiving more and larger-than-usual orders right now, so we should order early “to avoid disappointment.”

I didn’t understand that at all, until a few hours later a friend happened to mention that people are stockpiling food over fears of the pandemic. (My Brexit stockpile has been pretty well depleted since last October.) I hate that word: pandemic. It looks and sounds way too similar to “panic,” which is what it tends to incite when it’s mentioned in the media.

Several London schools have closed completely over coronavirus fears, though our girls’ schools have not. Mostly all the messages I’ve received or seen posted say some version of if you have traveled to any of the affected areas, please don’t come in for 14 days until you’re sure you don’t have the virus. Instead of shaking hands with the headmistress at R’s nursery school as the children enter and depart, they’ve switched to waving. Two dozen new “remember to wash your hands!” signs have been posted around E’s gymnastics place. Antibacterial hand gel is everywhere. Not much more we can do, really.

Update: There is now a shortage of hand sanitiser all over London. I checked our grocery delivery service, and sure enough, it’s all sold out there too:

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Anyway, what else has been going on this past month? I tend to overcommit myself on a regular basis, and have had a very full schedule lately, especially considering post-holidays winter is usually the slowest time of year. Tickets to shows on the West End, trying out lots of new and different workout classes, mums’ nights out, my Culture Club, and various other social events… I won’t deny that my life is pretty great here in Southwest London.

I just started weekly Mum Dance classes with a friend, which made my serious-athlete husband roll his eyes. Yes, it’s doing dance routines to ’80s songs. No, I didn’t wear leg warmers. 

We danced and posed to “Vogue.”

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And then I tried Bounce Fit trampoline class with another friend. We jumped to “Vogue.”

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Can you guess which one is me?

We went to a child-friendly class, so our kids got a bit of a workout too.

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On Saturday the 8th, I went to a Madonna concert. We sang along to “Vogue.”

She brought her Madame X tour to the London Palladium, which is a fairly small venue; a theatre, actually. There were no big screens showing the stage, you could just see her from every seat. She had scheduled 12 concerts, but then ended up canceling quite a few of them, due to injuries. She is 61, after all.img_7411

Luckily for us, she didn’t cancel the show we had tickets for. This was also not the show she ran very late for, and then went past curfew, and the theatre let down the “iron curtain” on the show, which made her VERY mad.

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I went with a friend I met here in London, but who lived in Baltimore almost the same years I did. (Fun fact we discovered: she has an ex-boyfriend who worked with my husband in Smalltimore.) Her husband got the concert tickets through his work, and two other friends joined us as well.

img_7424They locked up our phones, so I don’t have any photos from inside (I fully support this practice, btw; it’s nice to watch the concert live instead of through hundreds of tiny phone screens being held in front of me).

The concert was pretty amazing. I had no idea Madonna is so musically talented. She can play the guitar, the piano, and the drums. She sang live for two and a quarter hours straight and sounded great. She isn’t doing quite the dance moves she used to do, but she did get around surprisingly well for someone who was pictured leaving the Palladium post-shows with a cane. My theory is they are injecting her with some Russian-Olympian-level drugs to get her through each show. Plus she’s dating one of her dancers, who’s 26, so good for her.

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Leaving the Palladium with a cane and assistants

We wished she had done more of her classic hits, but she performed mostly songs off her new album. I’d listened to the album before the concert, but just couldn’t get into it. I did like that it’s all inspired by her moving to Lisbon, since I was about to travel there, but overall I just wanted to hear some “Express Yourself.” She’s gotten very political, Madonna. Material Girl no more, evidently. We did get a fantastic performance of “Like a Prayer” with a gospel choir backup, and that was a highlight for me. More of that, please. Give the people what they want, your Madgesty!

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And as for Meghan and Harry’s sudden departure for Canada and “step back” from their royal duties… this is what I get asked about the most by friends and family back in America, and the answer is, I have no idea what’s going on there. No one I know here in London has any inside connections to the royal family, or I definitely would have exploited those by now. Your guess is as good as mine.

So that’s the February 2020 life-in-London news update from me. I promise those European trip posts are coming! There will be photos! And possibly puns! If you’re lucky!

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[UPDATE, 4 MARCH]: I had my second Mum Dance class last night, and without any prior warning or even letting us rehearse one time, they filmed us doing the “Fame” dance routine, for advertising purposes. UGH! So now people will be scrolling through their Instagram feeds and will suddenly see me shaking my mum-bod. And now I can’t get this out of my head: 

“SHAME! I’m gonna live forever….! Remember! Remember! Remember!”

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