Fancy Dancing

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Zine
Title: Fancy Dancing
Publisher: Nut Hatch Collective
Editor:
Author(s): Kathy Keegan
Cover Artist(s):
Illustrator(s): JJ
Date(s): January 1990 (reprinted in 1991)
Medium: print
Size:
Genre:
Fandom: Professionals
Language: English
External Links: Online review
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.
Fancydancing.jpg

Fancy Dancing is a 166-page slash AU Professionals novel by Kathy Keegan.

It has many black and white interior illustrations by JJ.

According the the editorial of Clan of the White Fox, it was, at the time, The Nut Hatch's best-selling zine.

"Fancy Dancing" and "Paper Flowers": Easy to Confuse

"Fancy Dancing" by Kathy Keegan is often confused with "Paper Flowers" by Kitty Fisher. "Paper Flowers" is the one where Doyle is a prostitute who used to be a policeman. "Fancy Dancing" is the one where Doyle is club owner and exotic dancer who used to be a policeman.

Series

  • Fancy Dancing
  • Pas de Deux - in Encore!
  • Take the Stage - in Encore! #2

From Nut Hatch Flyers

FANCY DANCING: by Kathy Keegan

It is Christmas, 1982.

Two men, each haunted by the demons of the past, come together in a maelstrom of emotion ... Lust, fury -- finally, love. Bodie, running a CI5 surveillance operation. Ray Doyle -- in trouble as usual.

Bobby McCreesh is an IRA punk gunman who wants to take a crack at Princess Ann at an equestrian event in Kent;

Rodney Dangerfield is a theatrical entrepreneur who has loved Ray Doyle for a long time. Too long? Bodie is suspicious of him too;

Joe Corrigan is a small-time hoodlum whose association with Doyle and Black Velvet leaves Ray in the CI5 cells as Cowley suspects him of IRA involvement;

Jack Arnold is an underworld wheeler-dealer with a gaming club called Diamond’s. He just wants his money, and if he doesn’t get it, Doyle will pay a different price, fatally high.

Into the midst of confusion and fear steps Bodie; and his life will never be the same again. Meet Malcolm, Tony and Rick -- enter the world of a famous glamour club. Discover the worry, the shattered illusions, behind the glitter of the footlights. Intrigue, sudden violence, fury and fierce lust that becomes love.

Illustrated by JJ. A4, 170pp, reduced.
[another flyer, this one for the 1991 reprint]:

Here is the 1991 novel by Kathy Keegan -- the absolutely classic a/u, where Doyle is a dancer suspected of IRA connections and under investigation by Cowley. Bodie is under cover at Doyle's Black Velvet club ... back in print!

[duplicate description snipped]

First printed in January, 1990.

175pp, compacted type, coil bound.

A4, photocopy, 165pp, Illustrated with photographs. [1]

More Than You Probably Wanted to Know About Printers, Fonts, and Ribbons

From the editorial:

This is a story that grew in the retelling. It's been through four versions, and each one seemed to grow like a mushroom. When the typing was done and finished (at last) the horrible truth was realised...

If this story was presented in the same format as Affairs of the Heart, as was originally intended, it would have run over 240pp! That's bad news, not only because it would have cost about $7 extra on the copying, but because the airmail postage from Australia to the USA leaps from $8 to $17.50 in one bound, no stops.

So, what to do with it?? Microtype was the answer, and we decided to process it through the Star NX-1000 printer. It's a dot matrix machine, but it does fairly good work, and it will talk to the new computer (if you administer the odd kick). We now have a 640k monster computer that gobbles 5" disks and reads any IBM compatible software. Doing it on the Star printer meant you can have 17 pitch type and eight lines to the inch.

And the net effect of that is that you have in your hands a zine of 170pp, whereas you'd have had a zine of 240 otherwise, and you've just saved something like $24.50! That has got to be well worth saving. The dot matrix type is quite easy to read, and it comes off the printer looking like that, without us having to pay for reductions, which also bump up the price of production.

The bad news is that the ribbons cost $20 each and they expire - ooooh, fast, much faster than the ones that run the old printer. So, we won't be able to opt for the super-crammed text often, as we don't want to increase the price again to cover even higher costs. Apologies there... but we do like to break even now and then!

Regarding Safer Sex

From the editorial of "Fancy Dancing" (1990):
It is set in 1982, and only the willfully obtuse would refuse to recall that the English language had in those days recently acquired a new word. AIDS. Not a hell of a lot has been said in fanfic about safesex, which doesn't really matter in the 99% of stories that are set in the 1970s. But when stories like this one get into the 1980s, and when the characters are meeting for the first time as lovers, sexual strange-bedfellows... I think safesex is a subject you an not and should not ignore. I'm not campaigning (although I could), but I want to say here, safesex is the only sex that makes sense. Gay men have learned that at to their cost, and we would be foolish to ignore the lessons they learned so expensively. I paid heed to the rules of safesex within the parameters of this story. If you found the observations intrusive or disruptive, write and tell me. And tell me why!
From the editorial of Fantazine #2, (June 1990):
I want to say a few words in respect about FANCY DANCING. Just one reader took my safesex remarks, in the editorial, completely the wrong way, and assumed I was even trying to force safesex onto a twenty-year tarried couple! I didn't say this at all, Every remark I made in that editorial was concerned only with the novel I'd just written. When I said 'safesex is the only kind of 'sex that takes sense', I was obviously talking about (relatively) promiscuous young gay males, not twenty-year, faithful heterosexual couples. It never occurred to me that the remarks could be mis-read, or I would have included a disclaimer. Here is the disclaimer then, somewhat belatedly! To reiterate, more clearly: safe sex is the only kind of sex that makes sense for promiscuous young gay males. End of story!! And if there was confusion, I guess it was my fault: I honestly thought it was obvious what was being said. The same reader, again mis-construing, took my remarks to mean I was handing out uncalled-for advice to fans about their love lives, and this also a mile wide of the mark. Perhaps promiscuous young fans also would best advised to think in terms of safesex — but it's not my place to say that! This, girls and boys, I shall leave up to the Department Of Health, and organizations who are dedicated to controlling if not eradicating AIDS, lastly, on this subject, the same reader took Dancer-Doyle's remark, that he practises safesex because he doesn't like a backside full of needles, to mean that he is worried about AIDS; and I was told, quite rightly, that this would be all wrong, as no one was worried about AIDS in London in 1982. Absolutely correct!! My Doyle was just talking about garden-variety clap. Surety, the 'rump full of needles' reference made this clear. Antibiotics are literally useless in the war against AIDS. That much is known in '82, when AIDS was a new 'word', and the disease was previously knon as GRD, or Gay Related Diseases. Also known, now, for the sake of interest, is that repeated dosages of antibiotics are an immune system depressant. Gays, who can be re-infected with clap every couple of months, get so many courses of antibiotics that if they come, at last, into contact with the AIDS virus, they don't stand a chance. This is another reason for safesex, for anyone at risk. I stand by ay original remarks, but I do hope this 'feature column' has cleared up one or two points: I don't want you to think you personally were lectured in any way as to your private life!

Sample Interior Gallery

Reactions and Reviews

1990

FANCY DANCING, a novel, is possibly the best alternate-universe contemporary B/D I've ever read. Bodie's in CI5, here, but Ray's a dancer... it's a "how they met and fell in love" story, along with an excellent action plot and skillful characterizations of not just "our lads", but also the secondary characters.[2]
I liked the way B met D and the ensuing relationship. Doyle as a whore-as-a-hobby. None of the head trips the two of them circling each other, wondering if it's "safe" to come out. I especially appreciated, too, the scenes of Doyle practicing his dance routines and coping with the stiffness of getting older. [3]

1997

If it's the cosy domesticity of Rainy Days that appeals to you you might consider Fancy Dancing from NutHatch. Doyle is a club owner who appears in his own shows and fondly believes he's a cut above a stripper, but the dances as described belie this belief. Bodie is a CI5 agent undercover as a bouncer in the club. [4]
You *mustn't* miss "Fancy Dancing". If I have a best-beloved amongst the Nut Hatch zines, that's it. It's an AU where Doyle never joined CI5. He's a dancer, a good one, who owns a nightclub and Bodie, openly gay, is sent to find out whether suspected connections to the IRA actually exist. He and Bodie fall for one another like a ton of bricks and a chain of events is started which leads to - look, I don't want to give too much away but it's dramatic. Not the least of its pleasures are the descriptions of Doyle's dance-routines - golly, does she make him hot! (He does, amongst other things, a very suggestive strip. One's tongue hangs out.) And the secondary characters, the people who work at Black Velvet (Doyle's club) are great fun. [5]

2006

To my complete surprise I spent hours reading Fancy Dancing when I should have been doing many other things. In the end my eyes hurt from reading the small print, it was 3.00am, and I still hadn't finished. The next morning, coffee in one hand, zine in the other, I kept going until I nearly missed my bus into town...

There are lots of other Pros fics that I've spent similar gorgeous hours with, but as I said I was surprised by this one. For a start it's an AU story - but then I always say I hate those and end up loving them. In this particular AU though, Doyle is gay and was only briefly with the police before becoming a hustler and then a dancer at his own club, Black Velvet, which caters to a mostly gay clientele. I've got to say I didn't like this premise. All together it implied that Doyle was going to be weakened somehow. He would no doubt be small and delicate, an "exotic creature" who was prone to burst into tears when things looked a bit ropey. I hate this Doyle, because it so not ep Doyle. Have ya seen his biceps? The way he threw that bloke over the railings in Hiding To Nothing? Well anyway - I'm glad to say it didn't turn out that way, and so I was able to keep on reading very very happily. It still wasn't quite Doyle of course - I really can't see him dancing, Harlequin Airs notwithstanding! - but it turns out that if someone is close enough to character or at least interesting in themselves, and the fic is "well-written" enough for me, then I can live with that.

That dread phrase "well-written" - okay, what do I mean by that? Firstly I suppose I'm not thrown off by spelling, punctuation and grammar every five minutes. It's a clean read where you can concentrate on the story. Secondly that it's "in character", or close enough. Bodie isn't an idiot, Doyle isn't - well, see above. Neither of them ramble on continually about their feelings, or make long declarations of love and explanations of why they feel that way and how their life has changed since they realised, blah, vomit, blah. (I mean, how often do they do this in the eps? Come on!). Thirdly the author isn't always explaining things to me! I don't know how universal this is, but I much prefer to be painted a picture in a story and then allowed to work out the situation for myself. Along the same lines clever-clever authors annoy me too; sure let me know how a Smith & Wesson reloads, or what colour blood is, but only if it's important to the plot, not because the author has just found out and wants to show off! And perhaps finally - unless it's specifically set elsewhere, the lads are actually English blokes in Britain rather than some weird place that the author imagines is Britain. The geography is right, the culture and language are right. And that means a fanny is not a butt is not a bum, there are no forms to fill in at the hospital, and coffee is hardly ever made fresh and definitely not as a matter of course...

There. Practically a rant that was, wasn't it? So does Fancy Dancing fit in with all my current ideals? Mostly, yes. The first and the second - yes, absolutely, no problem. Well, maybe a bit repetitive of phrase now and then, but survivable. The third - yes as well. Anything that was explained seemed to be a part of the story rather than yanking me out by my hair and leaving me to shake my head before I could dive back in. That said there were a couple of oddnesses, such as Bodie being more likely to hurt Doyle internally cos Doyle was smaller, but the other way around was okay because... see? Odd. But brief enough that I could get past it with a quick "wtf?" and stay in the story.

Now, the British bit. Or more specifically, the English bit in this case. I suppose this might only make a difference if you're British enough to notice it? (I'd love to hear ideas about this if anyone has a minute!) I worked out fairly early on in Fancy Dancing that Kathy Keegan was not British. A couple of butts, Doyle interspersing his sentences with "man" (which to me doesn't sound early '80s English, but I didn't get there until '85 so I could well be wrong about this one - again would be interested to hear from anyone who could let me know!) and then the NHS was pretty screwed up in a couple of places. No forms to fill in, but Doyle gets moved to a private room because his insurance covers it... Hmmn. I can buy CI5 in private rooms in the first place, but I really can't see Doyle having gone private - and especially because in this particular instance he's having financial problems. Oh, and Exeter is just a brief car ride from Cornwall for someone with a back injury to get to physio. Hmmn.

The thing is, these errors were interspersed fairly thinly through 165 pages of small (ouch), two-columned text. When I was annoyed by something it was over fairly quickly and then there were hours of gorgeous fic before anything else came up, so they did turn out to be little annoyances rather than major teeth-gritters. I have had to stop reading fic because it just didn't feel right as a result of too many un-Brit-isms, or being too explain-y, or just plain about two characters who happen to have the same names as our lads. I know, picky I am...

But Fancy Dancing I liked. I was (clearly) compelled to read it from beginning to end. The plot was solid but simple enough that it didn't get in the way of the relationship stuff, I thought. Characterization hit my kink of protective-Bodie-desperately-in-love-with-Doyle without making Doyle into a simpering ninny in need of protection. Doyle does keep messing up, but in that way you do when everything seems to go wrong one thing after another - personally I could empathise completely with that! I might have liked to see Doyle more obviously in love with Bodie, but it was written from Bodie's pov, and Doyle was somewhat near the end of his tether... I also thought it was good and hurt/comfort-y (another kink) without being repetitive, which some fics can be (ye gods, they've misunderstood each other again!). It went on for ever which I love in a zine/fic, but again without being repetitive - it was a good long story. Oh, and lots of good sex too!

What didn't I like then? Because I'm not saying it's perfect by any means. Apart from the little annoyances mentioned above, they seem to be constantly eating, especially Doyle - which makes complete sense energy-wise, but I just don't see them interrupting what were several rather good bouts of foreplay because they'd rather eat. (Or maybe it's that I didn't want them to...) The spanking banter (not between our lads unfortunately) got a bit tedious after a while. Oh, and at one point Doyle tries to call Bodie "Daddy" while they're having sex - ew, ew, ew as luckily Bodie also thought... Finally Doyle's recovery made me wonder. He didn't actually break his back, and that said I have seen someone up and walking less than two months after they did break their back, but his recovery did seem to be rather quick - at least the bit between surgery and escape to Cornwall. And it always makes me wonder as well when an author has Bodie (usually) off living everyday life while Doyle is in a coma (or whatever) in hospital. Again, DiaG - "I'd rather stay here, sir." says our Bodie and has to be dragged away from the hospital by Cowley. And this Bodie and Doyle were in a relationship!

But then I don't expect to like every aspect of a fic, as long as most of my necessaries are catered to then I'm happy. Honest. And I think that here they were.

There is something else I'm curious about though. As I said, I picked up that Kathy Keegan wasn't British, and had her down as either American or more likely Australian (cos, not quite enough Americanisms I thought - don't ask me how I judged that exactly!). Blow me down, though, when I was searching ProsLit archives, I came across the idea/theory/assumption that Kathy Keegan is in fact Jane of Australia! Now, I've got to admit that I don't see this at all, because I've tried to read a few of Jane's fics and just not been able to get all the way through, whereas I've read a couple of KK's and enjoyed them. That said, I've by no means read enough Jane to judge properly, so I am open to instruction. Does anyone know anything about this? Please enlighten me!

[6]

2008

It seems as if every word out of the lads' mouths is an explanation of either what they're doing, or else something in the world in general, and it's driving me batty, because I just don't see either Bodie or Doyle talking like that in the eps! I mean yes, every now and then there's a little exposition-y moment, but... it's not lengthy, emotional dialogue. Even when Bodie was telling Doyle about the girl he loved and lost in Africa he managed it in about three sentences of barely half a dozen words each - it was everything else about him at the time that told the other half of the story, the way he stood so still, with his back to Doyle, the look in his eyes... That said, I remember reading and adoring Fancy Dancing the first time around - even though I found it harder going on the re-read, and then almost impossible the third time... odd how that works! [7]
In this Alternate Universe novel, Bodie is a CI5 agent sent to investigate the IRA connections of one Raymond Doyle, the owner and star performer at a trendy gay nightclub known as Black Velvet. From the moment Bodie stares into the enigmatic gaze of Doyle's dossier photo, he knows he wants to have Doyle for his own -- which is not to say that he's forgotten his duty to queen, country, and Cowley. He hasn't. Hardened operative that he is, he's not beyond using his own sexual charms to gain the information he needs.

Doyle, a former cop who was nearly killed in an IRA explosion, is having a tough time making ends meet. He's made some dangerous and foolish business decisions, and he's in debt up to his ears. He hires Bodie on as a bouncer for the club -- the sexual attraction between them is immediate, and this being the early 1980s, they have no hesitation on acting on their attraction.

I have to confess that I enjoyed this much more than I expected. Despite the fact that the young Martin Shaw really was one of those men who moved like a dancer, I don't go for AU stories where Doyle and Bodie are pop singers or dancers or acrobats or hustlers or family men. But for some reason I was able to get past the dancer thing with Doyle -- despite the fact that it is intrinsic to the story and not something that can be overlooked. For this Raymond Doyle, dancing is not just a job, it's his vocation. To my surprise, it worked for me. And it's to Keegan's credit that she managed to keep Doyle masculine and tough despite the body paint and tights.

There is a great deal of plot here -- numerous twists and turns -- and while I was somewhat bored by the considerable cast of side characters, I thought Keegan did an excellent job of showing a variety of gay male types -- and depicting the London club scene of the 1980s. There were a couple of weird touches: clumsy foreshadowing of Doyle being paralyzed and characters inexplicably named for famous celebrities (Nigel Bruce and Rodney Dangerfield). The dialog (always a weakness for this writer in her many incarnations) is stilted and reminiscent of those 1920s English novels about bright young things. The weaknesses are more than compensated for by the complex plot, the very hot sex scenes, and the abundance of hurt/comfort.

One thing I especially admired was the fact that Keegan was fearless about showing us a frankly flawed Doyle. This young man has made many bad choices -- everything from hustling on street corners to receiving stolen goods. (We won't even mention his voiced desire to be wed wearing a red tuxedo.) But he's still a strong, courageous, and genuinely good person. It makes for a very interesting dynamic. Bodie, too, is multi-faceted. Tough, disciplined, ruthless -- but ultimately tender and loyal. A man of action willing to resign his job in order to care for his crippled lover.

Which brings me to the other thing that struck me about this story -- namely the remorselessness with which Keegan brought disaster and devastation on her hapless Doyle. Just about everything goes wrong for this poor bloke, and Doyle's initial worries about winding up in a wheelchair turn out to be foreshadowing -- and justified. He is eventually shot in the back and winds up paralyzed. At the end of the novel he's able to walk with difficulty, but the chance of his achieving his dream of ever dancing again seems slight. (However there appear to be two sequels to the novel, so I'm guessing Keegan did relent.)

There is a great deal of impressive medical detail in Fancy Dancing, which seems pretty realistic to me. I thought the scenes -- contrasted with the holiday season -- of Doyle and Bodie trying to figure out how they will make their relationship work if Doyle remains paraplegic were surprisingly poignant. Less effective (in fact, downright goofy) was the "love slave" bit at the cottage in Cornwall where Doyle undergoes rehabilitation, but all in all I really enjoyed Fancy Dancing -- much more so than I ever anticipated. As this zine is OP and pretty rare, should you get an opportunity at it, jump for it. Highly recommended. [8]

2014

I remember fans discussing this zine on Virgule-L in the 1990s. Many members loved Jane's fanzines and this story came highly recommended. One of the things they liked about the story was the hot descriptions of Doyle's dance routines and the secondary characters the people who work at Black Velvet (Doyle's club). Others felt that the last section where Bodie is helping Doyle recover physically to be an excellent treatment of how tough love can aid healing. [9]

References

  1. Fancy Dancing
  2. from a fan in Short Circuit #3 (October 1990)
  3. Linda Terrell in Short Circuit #3 (October 1990)
  4. recommendation posted to the Virgule-L mailing list in 1997, quoted anonymously with permission.
  5. comment on the CI5 List (January 30, 1997) quoted anonymously
  6. by byslantedlight at Palely Loitering, Archived version, January 2006
  7. by byslantedlight at ci5hq: Kathy Keegan, Archived version, July 2008
  8. by JGL at The Hatstand, Archived version, May 1, 2008
  9. Morgan Dawn's personal recollections, accessed October 7, 2014, included with permission.