From the Old Dart to Wintersun

By ED SOUTHORN

IT'S a long way to Wintersun if you want to rock'n'roll.

Four visitors from the cold, grey English Midlands have arrived in Coolangatta ready to dance their socks off.

Keith Russell and Pete Collins are Teddy Boys from way back. But they're glad they didn't bring their weighty clobber with them - they were enjoying warm sunshine on the first day of winter yesterday.

"Everyone here is just so friendly, the people in the shops want to know where we're from and they're proud to talk about Wintersun," Keith said. "And the town is so clean and tidy."

The boys, with their wives Shirley and Jen, are diehard members of the Malvern Crepes and Drapes.

For the uninitiated, their dance club name refers to tailored "drape" coats falling just above the knee and crepe-soled shoes, the Teddy Boys' uniform in the 1950s.

The Teddy bit refers further back to the English Edwardian era, when formally dressed men were sometimes called Dandies.

There's nothing effeminate about Keith, an aged care nurse, and Pete, a health services design engineer. They just really dig rock'n'roll - the original stuff. That's Bill Haley, Buddy Holly, Eddie Cochrane, Carl Perkins and, of course, Elvis.

It's music that still makes women swoon. Keith remembers one of the best things about '50s rock'n'roll is the dancing partners can hold each other.

Shirley said rock'n'roll "reminds us of our youth".

"When you dance, you don't feel your age".

Keith, Shirley, Pete and his wife Jen were told about Wintersun by rocker Graham Fenton, who has performed at Wintersun and whose band Matchbox is popular on the British rock'n'roll dance circuit.

The four good friends, who recently drove to Germany for a rock concert, are all planning to enjoy Wintersun's biggest dancing events.

They have even been invited to dance on a float in the Wintersun parade.



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