TOPICS, VIDEO: How to dance like everyone is watching

TOMMY Franklin didn’t always have the moves.
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For a guy best known as the Dancing Man, he used to be self-conscious. But then something clicked.

‘‘I decided that what people think of me is their business,’’ Franklin, in town for the King Street Hotel’s 10th anniversary, told Topics.

‘‘Dancing is about having a dig.’’

The Byron Bay native has spawned a cult following. Videos of him cutting loose have had thousands of hits on YouTube, and he didn’t need much persuading yesterday to do his thing on Darby Street.

And here’s the thing about Tommy Franklin: he dances, and they come. All kinds of them.

One chap interrupted the dancing to ask for change. Another spontaneous fellow, Nick Nyoni, from Mayfield, busted out some moves of his own.

It was a strange afternoon for your humble correspondent.

Gone barking mad

‘‘BARK’’ doesn’t capture it. Neither does ‘‘yap’’. Both are too rich, too melodic to describe the noise that comes out of this dog.

It’s more like a ‘‘yipe!’’. It rings out across Merewether, like guerilla gunfire.

‘‘Yipe, yipe, yipe!’’

Topics wants to be clear: the barking isn’t constant. In a way, that would be more bearable. This unseen canine banshee, a couple of houses away, strikes when you least expect it.

You sit down to have dinner.

‘‘Yipe!’’

You’re drifting off to sleep.

‘‘Yipe!’’

You’re watching a movie, and you’ve invested two hours, and the killer’s about to be revealed.

‘‘Yipe, yipe, yipe!’’

We mention this because Newcastle City Council has released a cost-cutting plan. Some of it makes chilling reading.

‘‘Restrictions in resources will impact on response times,’’ says a council document, ‘‘particularly to less critical complaints … and response to cat and barking dog complaints.’’

A line comes to mind from Lord of the Rings, when King Theoden contemplates the approaching hordes of Mordor.

‘‘How did it come to this?’’

In the Anzac spirit

TONY Brown, of Cooks Hill, reports an Anzac Day coincidence.

His daughter Clare, 19, is living in Brussels. Thursday morning, local time, she joined a bus-load of expats on a visit to Tyne Cot war cemetery in Passendale, West Flanders.

From the cemetery, Clare linked up with her dad via the video-conference tool Skype.

‘‘She was trying to find the grave of local Victoria Cross winner Captain Clarence Jeffries that I visited last year,’’ Mr Brown said.

‘‘After a video treasure hunt and [live] instructions and directions from me, she found it just before the bus departed.’’

The coincidence? A cemetery staff member handed Clare a small wooden cross to place next to a grave.

‘‘They were unaware she is from Newcastle,’’ says Mr Brown.

‘‘You won’t believe she was given one from Newcastle Grammar School.’’

The cross is nestled safely next to Captain Jeffries’s grave, thanks to Clare.

IN THE ZONE: Internet dance sensation Tommy Franklin grooving to the music on Darby Street.

PAY RESPECT: A picture of Captain Clarence Jeffries and his Victoria Cross medal on display at Newcastle’s Christ Church Cathedral.