Saturday, 19 February 2011

Do Not Dance With Men on the Streets of Manchester.

Three groups spend other people's money: children, thieves, politicians. All three need supervision.
-Dick Armey, U.S. politician

You've turned off Deansgate onto Whitworth Street, heading back to the Northern Quarter. It's cold. You're power-walking. Outside the Hacienda Apartments, you feel a tap on your shoulder. You turn. There's a man smiling at you- he's taller than you, maybe 180cm. He's standing weirdly close to you. He looks maybe Brazilian- dark skin, almost black, but with thin European lips and narrow nostrils. He reminds you of Michael Jackson in the eighties, maybe when he released Off The Wall: young, unblemished.

You brace yourself for a fight, because where you're from this is the only reason a strange man will approach you in the street.

Then he clasps your hand in his, and for some reason he's salsa-dancing with you in the empty street. He spins you, then you're in a partner-hold. You break his grip and politely push him off you.

I've got to go,” you say. He runs off, as quickly and as quietly as he approached you.

That was weird, you think, and you carry on walking.

It takes a couple of minutes for you to realise your phone isn't in your pocket any more.

Fuming, you walk to the nearest police station and explain the situation. They tell you you're the second person to report a theft where the perpetrator was dancing. They take your details.

A few days later, and after a number of calls to and from the Police (on your battered old mobile that barely works), they tell you the incident wasn't captured on CCTV. This is despite it occurring in one of the most affluent areas of the city. By now you've cut off the line for the stolen phone, but the handset itself is already out of the country, the police say. Someone in Eastern Europe will be buying it on the black market in a matter of days. You're told that if you see the thief again, you're to call 999. Don't approach him yourself. These people aren't standalone guys. They are knife-wielding organised gang members.

Young Latin men are modifying Salsa-dancing in order to disguise theft. The movement of the dance lends itself very well to the act of pickpocketing- the closeness and the angles of the dancers' bodies throughout the dance works very well for those looking to steal. Don't fall for it. Just push them off you and check your pockets. Your best bet, of course, is not to walk on your own in the middle of the night down empty streets. I know this now...

1 comment:

Morgen Bailey said...

Oh no! They say write about what you know... :( Love the second person (big big fan :))