On losing a tango friend

It is still hard to believe that Tony Walker is gone. His sudden passing on 20th April sent a shockwave through the tango community. A dancer of many years, tango DJ, milonga host and all-round warm and kind human being, Tony was known to hundreds of dancers across London and around the UK.

I was fortunate enough to interview Tony a while back. Since his death I’ve found some of my notes from the interview, looking for anything additional I could share with you. It is mostly already there, and the things said that he didn’t want shared will remain so. I’m left with memories of discussing major life decisions, beliefs, politics and navigating the crazy maze of tango etiquette.

I’m thankful to have known Tony as a friend. I’ll miss dancing tango vals with him (he was fast!), helping him with the TOTT website and our random Facebook chats about science, philosophy, funny things and life’s ups and downs. It pains me deeply that I’ll never see Tony dancing with Gabrielle again; they were the cutest couple on the dancefloor. The last time I saw Tony, a couple of weeks before he died, he showed me (he was puffed up with pride) a lovely photo of Gabrielle and him dancing. It was the wallpaper on his laptop.

Tango is an extraordinary salve in times of loss. The music reaches into our pain and gets it out. Witness the scenes at Tango Bridge on 26th April: the grief still very raw, the disbelief still circulating, a packed floor, long faces and many tears shed. The music kept us going. I can’t help feeling Tony would want that. Keep going. Keep playing the music.

Antonio said so perfectly that night: Tony is gone because there is a milonga in heaven and they needed a new DJ.

And so, life goes on. The tango community pulls together, memories are shared and plans made for tributes. I’m left with a smile, remembering laughing with Tony on more than one occasion about D’Arienzo in this, one of Tony’s favourite videos. A piece of a memory of a friend we have lost. Enjoy.

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