Blogging is so Last Century Dad

A few weeks back I got to spend a Sunday afternoon dancing on the River Thames with Ceroc Evolution.  Before I caught the train back to Nottingham I got to spend some time with my younger daughter, who lives in London.  As always she was interested to know my ideas for developing the blog, and I was able to tell her about the ideas that Tel and I had for a YouTube Channel.  She seemed quite impressed.

I’m pleased that you’re looking at video Dad, because blogging is so Last Century.  The future is Vlogging!

That’s Video-Blogging to the uninitiated.  I was quick to point out that in the last century (some eighteen years ago) I hadn’t even heard of Blogging – thinks move slowly in Dad-land.  I also explained that the idea of The YouTube Channel was simply to have a place to put Tel’s videos of the freestyles we review.

Vlogging is a whole new ball game

The idea of Tel ever videoing me talking about dancing would be a disaster.  It takes about ten rewrites before I ever publish anything, and Tel would get very cheesed off if I wanted to do ten takes all the time.  No I’m a writer – happy to be no where near a video camera.

The other thing is that Vlogging is not just reading a script to, or having a conversation on camera.  There’s a lot more to it than that, and this point was brought home to me when I stumbled upon an amazing set of dance video blogs on YouTube.

When I saw the way it was presented and the professional production and editing that went on in the background, I realised that there is an art to it, that I and Tel couldn’t hope to get anywhere near.

This Video-Blog is just brilliant

The video-blog I stumbled upon (sorry, I just can’t call it a Vlog) was produced and presented by David Addis.  I suspect, from what I could gather about David on line, that he is an amateur video maker, but you’d never think it, as the three videos are of the highest professional standard.

The three video-blogs tell the story of the most recent Ceroc Weekender at Camber Sands in June 2018.  David gets right in amongst the action – I suspect that Ceroc gave him Access All Areas status – and so he is able to perfectly tell the story of an amazing weekend of dancing.

In amongst all this action David organises a dance on the adjacent beach and captures it with the most amazing drone footage.  This just blew me away – and I realised that writing could never have captured the sense of fun that David’s cleverly edited video footage did.

Here then are David’s three videos.  I’ve added a few notes to give some context to Davis’s filming, which I hope compliments the visual imagery.

Blog – Day 1:  From Central London to Late Night Dancing

The first video opens with David setting off from Victoria, in Central London, to catch a train to Rye in Kent – the closest station to The Pontins Holiday Park at Camber Sands.

We see David talking to camera.  This is no smart phone on a selfie-stick, as the straps over his shoulder suggest that David has a proper video camera rig attached to his body (see Postscript below).

David introduces his Blog as he walks to The Underground Station in Central London

David has a very clear delivery

The first thing you notice is David’s unhurried delivery of his dialogue.  You hear every word, and I found it very engaging.  When my daughter first mentioned the idea of vlogging, I shuddered at the thought of hearing my own voice on tape.  Most of us cringe when we hear our voices played back to us, but I can only say that I was impressed with David’s vocal presentation.

You get a true impression of Camber’s setting

Anyone who has been to Camber or Southport, will know exactly what the Pontins Holiday Camp setting is like.  This is where this video-blog comes in to its own, for it gives anyone who’s yet to experience a weekender, a true impression of what it’s like to arrive and find your chalet.

Then David treats us to a bird’s eye view of the holiday camp and the adjacent beach as he tries out his drone camera.  I loved the video sequences as the drone rises from the sand dunes, and takes in views of the holiday camp and beach.  If you look carefully so can actually spot people dancing outside the main building.

I particularly loved the images that Davis took at sunset, including the view of the horses on the beach.  These images are incredibly artistic, but they also give a sense of the pure escapism that a weekender offers to the people who flock there in their thousands.

The drone shots give a great impression of the main building that contains the dance hall

A live interview shows the value of a video-blog

We soon see David interviewing one of the regular Camber dancers.  This really shows the value of the video-blog, as it paints a very true picture of the Weekender experience.  Here are two people simply talking about their love of dancing, and the joy of being able to do it for a whole weekend, free from the stresses of their every day lives.

Again anybody who has yet to go to Camber, or indeed my favourite weekender Southport, gets a real understanding of why dancers travel from all over the UK to these three-times a year dance fests.

David’s ‘one take’ interview captures the spontaneity

I loved that David didn’t read his questions from a script, and the interview seems to have been done in one take, with little or no editing.  I couldn’t help think that if I was writing up this interview, I would have edited it down and probably taken away some of the spontaneity.

David cleverly allows the vocal track to continue over clips from the dancing in the main Thunderball Room.  This adds colour and clarity to the subject matter, and once again creates a great visual advertisement for such weekenders.  I noted that the lady has yet to visit Southport.  I hope she gets that opportunity, and I can’t help wish that David and his video camera make the trip too.

David’s interview sells the whole Weekender Experience

David captures the joy on the dance floor

Take a second look at the clips of the dancing.  Much of the action takes place in the main Thunderball Room and there are some great wide angle shots that show just how busy the dance floor is.  If anyone had any doubts about how joyful Ceroc and Modern Jive dancing can be, then this video does a great selling job.

Being a dancer himself, David selects clips that show a high level of proficiency, and his slow-mo technique really shows just how graceful Ceroc and Modern Jive can be.  I have always felt that weekenders, like Camber, attract some of the best dances from across the country, and I for one love watching them dance.

The dancing at times is quite inspirational, and David captures some wonderful flowing moves that make me realise that I still have a lot to learn.  I loved the clip of David himself at the end of the dance sequences.  Now tell me David, how does that move go again.

David captures some wonderful images of the dancing

Early to bed – at two in the morning

This first video ends with David walking back to his chalet at two in the morning.  He explains that this is quite respectable, but that many people will stay on the dance floor until gone six in the morning.

One of the reasons that David wants some sleep, is that he wants to be up in time to film some of the morning lessons.  I remember one Southport wanting to review a beginners’ lesson.  I’d been up until four in the morning and the lesson started at ten.  I some how staggered out of my chalet at 9:45 while my dance friends enjoyed more sleep.  It’s tough being a blogger sometimes.

Blog – Day 2:  Classes, Dancing on The Beach, and a crazy chalet party

David’s video diary of Day 2 opens with him up early and heading for breakfast at a cafe on the beach.  David comments how quiet it is, and that many people will still be fast asleep, or perhaps having a late breakfast in their chalets.

I’ve met people who don’t come out until after midnight, preferring to dance when the dance floors are not so busy.  I must admit there is something rather special about dancing in the SILC Zone to chill-out music at two in the morning.  It seems these night owls simply wind their body clock forward for the weekend.

David shows the great variety of dance classes

In this second video blog David talks about and features the many classes that are on offer at Camber:

There are also lots of lessons.  Starting at about nine in the morning and finishing about seven.  All sorts of different genres of dance being taught to all different levels – Beginner all the way up to Advanced, and including Master Classes as well.

And there’s always something new as well, so if you think you’ve seen it all the chances are that you’ll still be surprised when you come to Camber, and find someone with an annotative new class.

You can do as many as you want, and since they are on all day you can tailor your own timetable to match, which is very handy.

Once again David makes a great case for the weekender experience, and his clips of video show the great variety of lessons he refers to in his dialogue.  There’s an interesting clip of Tim Sant-Turner teaching a seducer, and I couldn’t help spot my own teacher Ashley Davis, from Ceroc Heaven in Nottingham, who David features in a speed-ed up section.

We are very proud of Ashley in Nottingham, and this was his Camber debut as a teacher.  I was pleased that some of the lessons that Ashley developed for Camber, and previously at Southport, have been brought in to his Ceroc Heaven classes.  This just shows how these weekenders are a melting pot for new teaching ideas that benefit all of us.

This view of Ashley’s class shows just how popular the classes are

David’s drone footage creates some magical moments

Regular readers of my blog will know about many of the magical moments I’ve written about in my reviews and articles.  The Ceroc and Modern Jive lifestyle lends itself to some wonderful times that can be enjoyed with like minded people.  Many of these moments occur on the dance floor, but David captured one such special occasion on the beach at Camber.

David organised a freestyle on the beach.  I was interested to hear that David advertised it by creating an event on Facebook.  I know Facebook gets some bad press sometimes, but It think it offers a great service to the Modern Jive dance community.

David invited a few people and interest in his Freestyle on The Beach just snowballed.  The fact that David had over two hundred people turn up speaks for itself, and David’s resulting drone footage captured the unique experience that his idea created.

That’s an impressive turn out David

More fun on the dance floor

In the interview in the first video blog the lady mentioned a competition.  I’m used to the competition that’s held before the Cabaret at Southport, but it seems that at Camber they do things a little different.

From what I can gather they hold a Dance with a Stranger competition.  Every one lines up with a partner.  A random number is selected, and then the ladies move up the lines, this number of times, to a new male partner.  The numbers on their back help the judges pick four finalists.  It’s then down to a popular vote, with a Decibel Dave’s clap-o-meter in action again.

David captures some wonderful dancing in this competition, and if anyone is in any doubt how much fun we have on the dance floor then this video shows it in buckets.

David captures the fun of the dance competition

David gets an invite to a party

The second video ends with some fabulous footage of a party.  I’ll let David explain:

So apart from all the dancing, lessons, freestyle, and chillin’ out we have at Camber, late at night we also have epic Chalet Parties.

Now I’ve been invited to many Chalet Parties at Southport, but they tend to be in the afternoon.  While they involve copious amounts of alcohol they are quite mild mannered affairs.  David it seems got an invite to a somewhat more crazy version of the Chalet Party.  It involved some super-heroes fancy dress and a lot of neon paint.

Some people were having more fun than was good for them

More late night dancing

David’s second video blog ends with footage from the late night dancing.  David captures the amazing atmosphere of the main Thunderball Room, with some more shots of the exceptional dancing.  We don’t get to know what time David went to bed, but I suspect it was a lot later than the night before.  Hey, and why not.  When dancing is this much fun, who wants to go to bed!

Blog – Day 3:  Feeling tired, Al Fresco dancing and home on the train

Video number three opens up with David admitting to a rather late night, and being, in his words, a little flakey.  We’ve all experienced that feeling David – it wouldn’t be a weekender if we all didn’t overdo it a little.  Interestingly David doesn’t start filming until the afternoon – seems he had a lie-in like everyone else.

The opening of this third video has some more lovely drone shots of the beach.  It’s worth remembering that Camber Sands is one of the most beautiful beaches in the South East of England, and its not surprising that Mr Pontin chose it as the site for one of his holiday camps.  Something else to remember is that the Summer of 2018 was one of the hottest on record and Camber was the perfect place to catch a cool breeze in the sweltering temperatures.

After a paddle in the sea David conducts another really interesting interview.  Like the interview on the Friday night the conversation really explains the draw of weekenders like Camber.

Another interesting conversation about the Camber experience

I loved the reassurance for Beginners

The lady tells David that she’s been to Camber eight times now.  David asks how she found the first one.  ‘Daunting!’  The conversation that follows is so valuable as it shows that even the most experienced of us still have a real anxieties about going to our first ever weekender.

Listening to the lady talking with David about how she actually found her first visit to Camber will be very reassuring to any first-timer:

I was worried about being with lots of really, really good dancers, but when I came I found it was relaxed and everyone was in a good mood, so I needn’t have worried.

In the conversation the lady has these reassuring word for beginners:

. . . if you are a beginner, there are plenty of beginners classes, and no one makes you feel stupid.  When I first came I was under confident, but I’ve never been made to feel that I’m not a good enough dancer, no matter what stage I’ve been at.

I’m always impressed that so many Beginners make it to Camber or Southport, and as the lady says, they are made to feel very welcome and a great effort is made to involve them.  I’m equally impressed that David broached this subject in his interview, and that the lady responded so honestly.  This candid conversation just proves yet again the value of this video blog.

More fabulous Thunderball Room images

David interjects the interview with some fabulous sequences of the dancing in the main Thunderball Room.  Once again he captures the energised atmosphere as hundreds of people pack this large dance floor.  David mixes up some wide angle shots of the large room, with more close ups of individual dancers.

I must say David that you make the standard of dancing look very high.  It would be nice to see some of the out-takes where people went wrong and ended up in a tangle of arms.  That would make many of us feel a lot better.

To be fair to David, he has set out to show the very best of Camber, and just like in my own reviews I concentrate on the positives of this wonderful dance scene, so I have no problem with David showing the dancing at its very best.

David captures the energised atmosphere of the Thunderball Room

One last dance in the open air

Sadly David is due back at work on Monday morning, so it means he must catch his train back on Sunday evening.  Many of us take an extra day off from work and so are able to enjoy another late night of dancing, but for David there’s only time for one last dancing session.

Fortunately David gets to dance in the open air outside the Boudoir Pub.  Both Camber and Southport were blessed by the most glorious weather and one of my own fond memories of Southport was the opportunity to dance outside.  In this last piece of dancing footage David captures the joy that is alfresco dancing.

You can’t beat dancing outside.  Some thing weekenders are known for

Back home – there’s always next time David

All good things have to come to an end, but its worth remembering that Camber, just like Southport, takes place three times a year.  So something for David to look forward to.  As I write this review, it’s just three weeks to my own next weekender at Southport.  The anticipation is just starting to build.

We finally see David back in home territory with, I might add, a lovely view of Westminster Cathedral in the background.  In the three videos David has given a wonderful insight in to The Camber Weekender experience.  I’m sure for the many who were there it will bring back some fabulous memories.  For the uninitiated it will thankfully take away a lot of the mystery surrounding weekenders.

Meeting my daughter again

I’m meeting my daughter again next week and she’ll be wanting to know about what I’ve decided about this Vlogging thing.  I’ve spoken to my good friend Tel, who makes his own videos of the events we visit together.  He thinks we should have a think about it.

The thing is, David is a master at producing these videos.  It must have taken him hours of editing to put the three videos together, and that’s not even taking in to consideration the time he spent on site planning, shooting and editing.  Writing articles like this one takes a substantial amount of time, but I’m able to produce an average of three posts a week.  I doubt that myself and Tel could put a video like David’s together in less than a month.

I think it’s best that I stick to what I do, and I leave David to do what he does so brilliantly.  Tel thinks we might start with just interviewing people.  May be, but even that will be a big ask.  I can see myself talking to my daughter:

I did have a think about this Vlogging thing, but I’m going to stick with blogging.  I know it’s a bit last century, but I enjoy it.

You see I do enjoy it, and that key to any endeavour we pursue.  I’ve got lots of ideas of how my blog can develop and for the moment I’m more than happy to promote David’s video blogs with my readers.

What an advert for Ceroc & Modern Jive

The highlight of the three videos for me was the drone footage above the beach.  Here’s one last screen grab from David’s video that shows the two hundred people dancing on Camber Sands Beach.  You can’t help wonder what the non-dancing holiday makers mage of it all.  Hopefully some might be interested enough to join us.

And that’s the point.  This video is a great advertisement for Ceroc and Modern Jive dancing – nice touch to write the Ceroc logo in the sand – and I hope that people will share this video blog with anyone who is thinking of starting at dance lessons.  My blog is designed to promote every aspect of this wonderful dance scene and this video blog does exactly the same.  Please share it.

This video blog is a great advert for joining the Ceroc and Modern Jive Dance Community

Please subscribe to David’s YouTube Channel

I note that David gives credit to Jay C Low for additional video footage.  I suspect it was Jay C who we saw on the beach with David, and helped out with the drone  filming.  I don’t doubt that Jay C also took some of the indoor dancing footage, including that of David himself dancing.  I would also like to acknowledge Jay C’s role in the making of this fabulous video blog.

As I said above David’s video is a great advert for the world of Ceroc and Modern Jive.  Please take a look at David’s YouTube Channel  and subscribe so that you get to see future video blogs about this wonderful dance community.

POSTSCRIPT: I was fortunate to meet David at the recent Ceroc Evolution freestyle at the Cutty Sark, and discussed this article with him.  He tells me that when he’s doing his own shots to camera, he doesn’t have a camera rig, but simply holds a small video device in his hand and extends his arm in to the air.   That must take some practice to constantly keep his own face in shot.