Restlessly vital and possessed of great physical strength, José Beyaert lived many lives. During the Second World War, he boxed and trafficked arms for the Resistance on his bicycle. After it, he became an international cyclist. In 1948, a mile from the end of the Olympic road race around Windsor Park, he broke away alone to take the gold medal and started an adventure that would last the rest of his life. A Tour de France rider in the sport's golden age, José was invited to open a new velodrome in Colombia, South America. He travelled, intending to stay a month. Instead, driven by his thirst for adventure, he stayed for fifty years, becoming by turns athlete, coach, businessman, emerald-trader, logger, smuggler, perhaps even hired killer. Matt Rendell, who knew José Beyaert and met many of his family, friends and associates, tells the fascinating story of an almost-forgotten sporting hero who, incapable of living by other people's rules, lived his many lives on his own terms.
Every week for much of the year, millions of Brits view and vote on Strictly Come Dancing, with the salsa being one of the most popular dances. Dark, enticing Afro-Caribbean rhythms; moving bodies gently interlaced, responding to the music: at first sight, salsa dancing seems to recover something our regimented British lives suppress. For not much more than a fiver, salsa can reconnect us with our bodies. So we seem to think: with perhaps a million Britons taking a class every week, salsa is statistically our national dance.Matt Rendell learned salsa the British way, as an adult, rote-learning figures and routines. His Colombian wife, Vivi, acquired salsa in early childhood from her parents and grandparents; the dance made her part of her community.A love story about two people from cultures at sometimes comical cross-purposes, Salsa for People Who Probably Shouldn't explores how the world's most popular dance went global, how it reached the UK and whether the saucy, salacious salsa of our national fantasy life is really as exotic as we like to think.