Saturday, 26 November 2011

Something for the Weekend

It's a cold and misty morning in London town, and I'm making the most of my favourite Christmas jumper and bed socks, by sitting in bed with carrot cake watching films, reading trashy magazines and generally enjoying my day off!

My first outing with AM Preacher -
can you guess where the riding crop is?

The gig with The Boom Boom Booms was a fantastic night -  a small but devoted crowd ensured I felt the love from all sides (and in particular the young man whose lap I sat on to remove a troublesome stocking), and the band played he most amazing set, with influences from 50's and 60's rock and roll, classic rockabilly, and my personal favourite - Rebel Yell by Billy Idol.

I first danced to this song with the band AM Preacher (who share Lars, their enigmatic front man, with the Booms) about 3 months ago, and completely feel in love with the decadence of the 80's rock movement. Billy Idol in particular appeals to me as an artist because his voice is so full of raw, unadulterated passion (not too mention incredible sexual magnetism!) Listening to any man screech the lyrics of this song is enough to get me swinging off a chair, or chasing someone around the room with my riding crop - a permanent feature of the act regardless of where I am!

Wearing more than normal for the end of a routine!

Speaking of venue, the pub hosting the gig was a gorgeous little pub in Islington call the Queen Boadicea. With dark wood panelling on the walls, tasteful decor and low lighting it was one of the cosiest, warmest gigs I've ever played, and the owner of the pub even vacated his bedroom for my fellow dancer Sophia Disgrace and I for the night, so we could enjoy our offstage moments lounging on a bed eating bar snacks and swapping accidental nudity stories. In other words, a perfect evening!

However, my absolute favourite moment of the night had nothing to do with me or my acts (fabulous though they were!) No, I have to confess that the final act of the night by Sophia Disgrace totally trumped me, and rightly so, for Miss Disgrace performs an axel-grinder routine wearing nothing but silver hotpants and electrical tape. Imagine if you will the delight of the audience when she whips out her safety goggles, leans back and sends sparks flying from her crotch to the corners of the room, only to discover Lars has decided to join in by playing in the direct line of fire! Fan-bloody-tastic!

Lars getting involved with a real Fire Crotch!

After this display of fire-crotch goodness we retired, changed and went on our way, bumping into some of the audience members on the tube on the way home. Though a little tiddly and very sleepy they were most complimentary about all the acts, and wished us every success in future crotch related endeavours, which just goes to show that you can meet nice people on the tube after all (provided they've already seen you in your underwear!)

In comparison to this I though Friday night would be tame in comparison - how wrong I was! My best friend H is a drama teacher for a school in SW London, and called me up after work yesterday (when I was indulging in some wine, gossip and complaining with a colleague) to invite me to see The Woman in Black with some of her Y11 students. Well, what's a luvvie to do? I finished my (second) wine, grabbed my files and strolled along to the theatre to see what I had been reliably informed was the scariest play I will ever see. I don't know if this is true or not because I spent most of the play hiding behind the tall man seated in front of me, so bloody scared was I! Not only was the play itself remarkably staged, but the scares were so genuinely terrifying that at one point I was almost crying with terror (no doubt helped along by the screeching girls behind me who kept saying 'Miss I am soooo scared right now, I can't even watch innit!)

Thankfully I was so tired when I got in I didn't have enough energy to have nightmares, so hopefully this truly terrifying experience will not come back to haunt me...though I can't imagine I'll be happy to hear a rocking chair for a while!  And on that note, I'm going to get up, have a long shower (in a brightly lit room) and enjoy what is shaping up to be a really lovely weekend!

The Woman in Black, Fortune Theatre, Russell Street, WC2, London.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Under Pressure

This is not where I work

It's been a hectic couple of weeks for me since I last wrote about my impending Halloween show. Immediately after returning from the South West I accepted a new job working with young apprentices studying for their Level 2 NVQ qualifications. The role is an odd combination of teacher, mentor, manager and mum, and every day brings a new challenge, including some terrifying teenagers, sulky senior management and mind-numbing Macs. Oh yes. I, the consummate PC user has been forced into Mac usage against my will. So one month in I'm enjoying most of the days, and the various tantrums, tears and triumphs that accompany any given minute in my office.

Pretending to be a Cello
is one of my many gifts to the
noble art of performance
However, I'm trying to balance this with taking on more freelance offers of gigs and performances, a lot of which involve travel and time (which I have much less of than I did when I blissfully self-employed!) Getting the balance between work, other work, home, fun and anything else I need to do at that particular moment is proving very difficult, something I don't like to admit, because I'm spending every day hammering home the imprtance of effective time management to my staff!

So what to do? I don't want to give anything up, especially not now - I've just finished transporting all my costumes to London, a task that included dismantling my beautiful feather fans and squashing said feathers into an overfull suitcase for a 6 hour bus journey with Benny the welsh Megabus driver, who very much enjoys telling jokes over the bus tannoy system. We've met several times now. It's always a pleasure.

I'm holding off making a decision about the impossible workload, as I believe it's better to be in demand than pathetically available. Yes, the 'wait and see' approach could have some potentially dire consequences (I've agreed to a 12 hour round trip, just so I can dance for the grand total of 10 minutes, because I'm nice like that) but I'm hoping that, somehow, it's all going to turn out well in the end. How? I don't know, it's a mystery!

"The Boom Boom Booms" Burlesqueabilly, with Fanny LaRue and Sophia Disgrace, The Queen Boadicea, Islington, Thursday 24th November.