Saturday, 30 August 2008

Frantic mind

For those of you who are expecting this blog to follow on from the debate on my previous blog then you will be disappointed, to be honest although I am still a little angry with the way that the Herald used the headline of 'pole-dancing' in such a scandalous way I have also had plenty of other things to worry about so I will follow up the pole dancing debate another time. Also as the saying goes all publicity is good publicity!

On Thursday I visited the beautiful village of Corfe Castle (Castle pictured above) in Dorset with my Mum, whilst there we had lunch with my great Aunt who is now 88 and looking great for it. The outing held mixed emotions for me as it was the day before our 'Family Chat' ( I will come to that later) and as great as it was to See Betty (my aunt) it was also tinged with sadness as she talked about the problems of growing old and the increasing isolation she faces. Betty has been active all her life and she now finds that living on her own is becoming a problem yet she doesn't relish the idea of going into a home. The subject of aging is part of the family chat that I will come to shortly. Despite any worries the lunch with Betty was actually lovely and it was good to catch up with such a great lady.

Friday was the day of the 'Family Chat' and involved My Mum, her three brothers and myself attending a meeting to discuss the future of my grandparents. My Grandad has what we think is Alzheimers (it is almost impossible to diagnose Alzheimers without an autopsy) and is needing an increasing amount of care which at present is being provided mainly by my Mum, My Nan is not coping with the change in her Husband and the family unit has been breaking down somewhat as a result. I felt quite awful sat in a room ( a room I didn't want to be in for other reasons but won't bore you with the details) discussing my grandparents but knew it had to be done. One of the problems is that the NHS will not pay for care for Alzheimers sufferers as it not classed as an illness.

To cut a very long story shorts the 'family chat' went as well as it could have down with only a few tears and a general sense of agreement, we then joined my grandparents, great uncle, 2nd cousin etc for a lovely family meal followed by a return to work to face a pile of admin.

By 8pm Sid and I were ready to hit the town with our advertising banners (see below) and new PA system courtesy of Adwheels, blaring out the tune 'Jump around' by House of Pain we literally had people dancing in the streets, I just wish I had had a video camera so I could share the antics with you, this was just the pick me up I needed and hopefully it will bring new members to my Saints & the art of dance.

You can probably tell from the general tone of this blog that my mind is a little frantic at the moment, things are quite tricky financially, family worries have been playing on my mind a lot, my competitions are looming (the first one is next Saturday and my practice today was truly awful!), being end of the month it has been wages time and I hate doing any form of mathematics or anything involving Microsoft Excel, I have also been trying to find a little time to spend with my Aunt, Uncle and Cousin who are over from the States but time has been very limited. Tuesday sees the launch of the new art of dance Torquay venue which could potentially bankrupt the art of dance, Sid is having fun and games with his business expansion and generally I always seem to have 101 things to do all of the time. All in all I feel like I need a holiday but with no spare cash or time it is not going to happen. Still, things could be an awful lot worse!

If you are reading this prior to 8pm on Sunday 31st August then you may want to visit the 24 hour fund-raising event happening at the
Seymour Arms to raise money for Archie Barton who contracted Meningitis B at just 18 months old and lost both his legs and part of his finger, ear and nose. Just reading Archie's story makes me feel like all my problems are really insignificant. if you can't make it the fundraiser then you donate online here. I am hoping to pop into the Seymour later for a few drinks and have also donated some art of dance gift vouchers as Raffle prizes.
Stay healthy

Sam x

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Exposing lap dancing.

If you are local you may have seen today's Herald, the front page features the headline - Pole dancing club for Barbican - you can read the full article here. The annoying factor is that the club owner is using the title of pole dancing club rather than lap dancing club when the club is clearly going to involve lap dancing. This whole scenario throws up all sorts of problems for the art of dance, firstly it brings the negative image of sleazy pole dancing back into the headlines and secondly it does not highlight the difference between fitness pole dancing, lap dancing and club pole dancing.

Lap dancing is used as a form of titillation, it is usually about women stripping in return for money. Each club has their own rule and the law states that a lap dance should not involve physical contact, lap dancing is meant to be performed at a minimum of 3 feet away from the customer, in reality I have never visited any lap dancing where these rules are followed. I have also spoken to girls who work in lap dancing clubs who are expected to offer extra services to customers such as Lesbian dances and pelvic grinding.

Here are a few other home truths about lap dancing clubs, the lap dancers have to pay to work at the clubs usually in the form of a house fee, on top of the house fee the lap dancers have to pay commission out of the money they earn from their lap dances. I was the house manager (mum) for a lap dancing club for a short while and was horrified to watch some girls getting into debt because they did not earn enough money to pay their house fees.

To add insult to injury lap dancers are told that they must be self employed, the owners refuse to take responsibility for the girls therefore the girls are required to pay their own tax and insurance. Some clubs will even insist that the girls dance topless in the club for free, imagine providing cheap entertainment to draw men into a club and then not getting paid for it. The club owners earn money from the door fee, the vastly overpriced drinks, inflated cash machine withdrawal prices as well as the money they take off the lap dancers.

Lap dancing clubs in general do not look after their staff, they do not provide support for their girls, they do not generally provide staff training or deal responsibly with health and safety issues surrounding the girls . Also if you think it is only the girls who are exploited in the lap dancing clubs then think about the clientele who visit such establishments, would you pay £20 for a 3 minute dance where the girl is only naked for the last few seconds of the dance? Would you still pay that money if you knew that up to 50% was gong straight back to the club owner? OK so most lap dancing clubs do have poles in them and most lap dancers will pole dance during their evenings work, standards of pole dancing within clubs will vary, the current Miss Pole Dance UK 2007 is a lap dancer and dances beautifully, however there are also girls working within the lap dancing industry who can't dance to save their lives.

I have worked with ladies who have become trapped within the industry either because of drug addictions (some clubs are known for actively encouraging their girls to take substances such as cocaine as it makes the girls more relaxed with customers) or trapped because they reach an age where the club doesn't want them any more and they then find it difficult to move to another job, lap dancing generally doesn't look good on one's CV. I have also talked to girls who been verbally or physically abused by club owners. I could shock with you with worse stories or name and shame particular clubs / club owners but I think you get the general idea.

My point is that I have been working hard for the last 5 years to build up my fitness pole dancing business, in that time I have also been ranked highly in the national pole dancing scene and have reached the finals of Miss Pole Dance UK for the last three years and got through to the finals of Pole Divas 2007 after winning the South West heat. My business now has 9 employees, all of whom are first aid trained, fitness qualified and receive ongoing staff training, running a small business is very hard especially in these current climates and attaining a high standard of pole dancing is also very challenging both physically and mentally. To then have someone look down their nose at you because they assume that what you do is no different to the antics that occur within a lap dancing club is deeply offensive and shows extreme ignorance from the accusing party.

It is not just me that has got my hackles up over the Herald article, here are a few of the comments from the Herald website:

"Miss_Anthrope there is a pole dancing school behind Mutley Plain which has been featured in a couple of documentaries about Pole dancing, both competative and occupational, so yes it is an athletic pastime envied and therefore degraded by a majority of women these days as they can`t get their own lardy bottoms off a chair let alone hang off a pole with any degree of skill. By the way I have never been in an operating theatre or a prison but have a pretty good idea what happens in them - we have a television a marvellous device that keeps people informed of all sorts of wonderful things that go on in the world without the need to actually go in them if you don`t want to. Not arrived in Mannamead yet?" Rhetorician, Plymouth.
"I feel sorry for the residents of the barbican,having a seedy club like this being forced upon them,and for what purpose? to keep creepy men happy." Michaeal S, Southway.

"Didn't you notice, Rhetorician, that everyone else was avoiding the obvious and not really very funny 'Poles' pun? So pole dancing is an 'athletic and skillful non contact spectacle' is it? That's an amazing statement considering you have (apparently) never seen it in action. What next? Drunken projectile vomitting is really an ethanol enhanced exhibition of abdominal excavation dexterity? " Miss_Anthrope, Mannamead.
"Suzannah - less of the "old" please, age is not a precondition for appreciating the looks of pretty ladies. It is well documented that the most likely group of people to criticise women are...other women, mostly because of jealousy. This group are usually past their sell-by date, have a dress size a few sizes larger than a Russian shot-putter and have a face like a slate-layers nail bag. And just because a "dolly bird" wants to earn a living by wrapping herself around a pole, it does not make her a bad person." RobRoy, South Yard.

I will be speaking to the editor of the Hearld - Bill Martin and have already spokn with Stuart Able who wrote the article. I will let you know what response I get.

Well my pole now beckons so I will try to calm down, check out some of the other comments on the
thisisplymouth website and feel free to add your own,

Stay Healthy,

Sam x

Monday, 25 August 2008

My bank holiday weekend in pictures (and some text!)

Lots has happened since my last blog, My husband and I had the pleasure of a roast dinner at BarZeegco on Saturday afternoon, my husband opted for the lamb dinner while I settled for their fantastic home made nut roast.
Saturday's performance at Annabel's went well apart from the fact that I forgot one of the pole extensions and had to dash back to the studio in a taxi, then on my return I realised one of the other pole parts was missing (we managed to survive without out it), then we misread the stickers on the ceiling advising us as to where to put the pole and nearly took the x-pole through the ceiling (again!). My wardrobe decided to misbehave again, putting one pair of pants over the other to avoid any flashing incidents resulted in near disaster but luckily not too much diginity was lost!

Apart from the aforementioned mishaps all the performances went well, I danced twice firstly a static routine to Chrisitina Aguilera - Fighter then a spinning pole routine to Nasty, naughty boy, also by Christina Aguilera. Both routines went fairly well and were a nice rehearsal for the pending competitions. Jo did two outstanding performances which I hope she will blog about soon. Rosanna did a great pole / podium routine and was followed by her Exeter student Nicole Windley, I am hoping that Nicole will put her name forward to dance at our forthcoming student showcase as part of our Art of dance black tie event. Sue wowed us all as usual, I will ask her to blog about her two performances later in the week.

Sunday was Shakespearean scarecrow day at the White Thorn Inn at Shaugh Prior, the weather was OK for a short while allowing us to check out the scarecrows as well as indulging in a beautiful pint of Otter Ale! The winning scarecrow was Quince from Midsummer Nights Dream made by Robin Younge - pictured below. On our return from the White Thorn we popped into Vincent's Farm Shop to get lots of fresh veggies for our proposed Bank Holiday roastie. Vincent's is about to get a face lift as a new concrete floor is put in making way for their new fresh meat counter, I have promised that I will return to check out the new farm shop very soon. If you haven't been to Vincent's before then it really is worth the visit and is a unique shopping experience, it comes highly recommended. Sunday evening invoved eating a lovely organic prawn Balti (pictured below right) cooked by my very own masterchef - my husband.

Today I had the pleasure of a Pole Jam with Tracey Simmonds (Miss Pole Dance 2006), Michaela (Britain's got talent) and the lovely Hayley Silk (The Art of dance). I did an hour and a half and really went for all my best moves as well as some new ones which have seriously stretched my back and shoulders. The Instructors and myself plan to shoot a new youtube video later in the week so watch this space. Tracey will be one of my competitors in the forthcoming Miss Pole Dance UK 2008 competition and she will definitely be hard to beat.

On my return from the studio my lovely husband had been busy preparing a roast with the fresh produce we had purchased on the Sunday. The Roast dinner was divine but I am now feeling fat and full as well as being beasted from the vigorous pole workout. The rest of the evening will involve doing very little!

Stay Healthy,

Sam x

Friday, 22 August 2008

Nude news!

Yesterday afternoon saw myself, the Lordette and Tamar hanging around naked on a pole for several hours, as you do! The reason for our antics was due to a local artist deciding that we would make great models for her end of year project. Kasia Andrews is a fantastic artist who is training at the Plymouth College of Art & Design, she contacted me several weeks ago regarding her end of year project stating that she had seen some pictures of us on facebook and wanted to paint us on a 6 foot canvas. The life size images will be painted in oil and should look fab. I forgot how hard it is to hold some of the poses that we do. I had the 'pleasure' of holding the figurehead pose (see left) which is a bit of a back breaker, Jo did a crucifix variation ( below right) and Tamar did a Mantis variation. (below) We are all more than capable of performing these moves but holding them for long periods of time is seriously knackering and has taken its toll on my right shoulder. This afternoon I have the please of an hours sport's massage to help my muscles recover before tomorrows performance at Annabel's. If you want to see more of Kasia's work she is exhibitng at The Flavel in Dartmouth this next weekend, 29th - 31st August.

Some of you may remember that the art of dance are proud silver sponsors of the man in the red scarf, a theatre production about the life of the late artist Robert Lenkewicz. The production is the brainchild of Executive producer Jojo. The production will be showing at the Barbican theatre from the 9th to the 20th December, Tickets cost £10 (£8 concessions) and are available from the Barbican Theatre box office.

After Jo's return from Egypt she has smugly posted a video of swimming with Hammerhead Sharks!

I must dash of now for my sports massage before meeting my Mum for a curry at Raffles. Have a great bank holiday weekend,

Say Healthy,

Sam x

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Jo is back and venue news

Well the Lordette returned yesterday after her holiday in Egypt and amongst other things she has been chasing sharks! Check out her blog for more news and videos which will follow shortly when she has completed her mountain of admin, no seriously it is great to have Jo back and she has been greatly missed.

Once again I must sing the praises of the mooncup which is still proving to be outstanding, shame it doesn't get rid of stomach cramps as well! I reckon I should be on commission as many of my students and friends have gone out and purchased one and apparently the stocks in Boots have nearly sold out!

Today Jo and I visited a new Plymouth venue in the hope that it would be suitable for our art of dance black tie event. I must thank Keith Rossiter from the Plymouth Herald for putting me in contact with Sean Griffin the Harmony's owner. We met Sean this afternoon and donned our hard hats and hi vis jackets to peruse the building site that will be Harmony's. The venue looks perfect for what we need it for and we propose to run a black tie event for 150 people with a sit down meal /buffet and various dance showcases with the focus being world class pole dancing at its full gymnastic, jaw dropping level. The event is scheduled for the first week in November but I will keep you updated on what is happening. Check out Jo and I in our lovely reflective jackets!Harmony's looks like it is going to be fab venue for Plymouth and I wish Sean every success with the venture. For those of you who can't wait for the November event don' forget that we have our monthly social at Annabel's this coming Saturday 23rd August, the show starts at 8.15pm prompt in the 2nd floor discotheque. All are welcome although you should be reminded that the dress code is very smart - no chavs- and the door policy is over 21's. Entry is free before 9pm and £5 after. For Tamar and myself this event will be a dress rehearsal for the forthcoming South west qualifying heat for the national Pole Divas championships.

If you are at a loose end this weekend and fancy doing something different on Sunday then why not attend the Shakespearean scarecrow competition being held at the White Thorn in at Shaugh Prior, full details on the poster below.Today is my day off from exercising but it is back on it tomorrow for a 3 hour nude photoshoot, all will be explained later, and then Friday is DIY day in the back studio. I have booked my monthly sports massage for Friday afternoon to get rid of some of the tension that has been building up in my neck and shoulders. More stuff to follow....

Stay Healthy,

Sam x

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Controversy at Saints?

I have been meaning to write this blog for a while, it follows on from the recent Herald article regarding my husbands new Ultimate fighting den. The article made one faux-pas in stating that ultimate fighting or cage fighting as it is more commonly known has few rules when in fact the sport follows the rules of the Nevada State Athletic commission, this commission actually advises more rules and regulations than the British Amateur boxing clubs therefore making the sport considerably safer. Ultimate fighting is also a hard sport to master as it is a mixture of boxing, kick boxing and ground work so a fighter needs to be proficient in all areas to do well.

Since the article was written Devon & Cornwall constabulary have released a statement denying involvement with the ultimate fighting den, this is despite the fact that the week before Saints Open day, two D & C officers had entered the gym and had talked about referring youngsters to the ultimate fighting den. It seems that D & C are just worried about public opinion rather than what is best for the young offenders they are working with. I understand that they have to be very careful as to what they get involved with but by denying any involvement they are implying that the officers never entered the gym or that my husband or the Herald have lied about the story.

As Sid points out the focus of fighting sports is to teach discipline, whether you like fighting or not, for these youngsters violence is quite often part of their lives already and they just need re-educating. Sid asks you to consider the following points: You are not likely to see a trained fighter drinking or taking alcohol, you are not likely to see a trained fighter down union street brawling, fighters at Saints develop a huge sense of self confidence as they are pushed beyond the realms of their own personal expectations. Sid talks about one young lad who is going through a difficult time and points put that the lad has never had any form of positive praise from his parents, the lad is always told he will never be good enough, training at Saints has given the lad hope that he can succeed at something and this will be a new skill that he can apply to other areas of his life.

The Herald article did also mention that Saints was working with youngsters from the Zone formerly the Youth Enquiry Service, this activity started last week and proved extremely successful with all the participants. Surely this is more proof that martial arts / fighting sports can be used as a positive form of physical and mental exercise. Take Christi Campbell for example, she was a young girl who came to the gym lacking in confidence and is now a World Champion Thai boxer who has grown vastly in maturity and has seen an improvement in her academic work.

Christi has two major fights coming up, the first will be against Jojo Calderwood from the Griphouse gym in Scotland, Jojo has an undefeated 9 win record, Christi then goes onto fight seasoned champion Jackie Short, as Sid says this will be a battle of youth versus experience. Both bouts are eagerly anticipated.

Even Christi's Dad is participating in an interclub being held in Plymouth today courtesy of Wildkick gym, you can read the full info on Christi's blog but for those of you who are too lazy to click the link here is a picture (below right) of Darren in training mode!

My main point today is really aimed at the people who have written very naive comments about the Herald article on the cage den, most of these people have commented without any knowledge of the sport which they are so keen to judge.

I will now partly descend from my soap box to cover a few other bits of news, you may remember me writing about the scandalous decision over the recent Rob Hingston fight, if you want to watch the full fight then click on this link to view the full 7 round fight, judge for your selves who won!

Well it is off to the interclub for me which means that sadly I have missed Penny Scaffolds baby shower, the fabulous Amy tree will be there and will be passing on my apologies for lack of attendance. Also this week will see the return of the Lordette of Darkness and a subsequent reduction in my stress levels.

Stay Healthy,

Sam x

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Pictures & a Pole dancing uniform?

Firstly thanks to Nicole Windley from Broadoak fine art for the pictures she sent me from the Devon Car Show, you can view all the pictures on our art of dance face book, links further down the blog. You can also see Hayley's pictures on her blog.

Some of you may be aware that I have never had much success building a nice gallery page for my art of dance website, I have tried software like jalbum but have failed miserably to get it to look right on my site so I have now uploaded most of our archive images to our art of dance facebook group, click here to see them.

After hacking Jo's blog in a most unprofessional manner I have now uploaded something slightly more sensible, it is a video of last night's 7.30pm class in Plymouth learning to sequence their tricks, click here to view. Thanks to Julie, Kelly, Lynsey, Nic, Linda, Lucy, Amy, Claire, Sian & Sara for letting me film them.

Before moving onto other news I wanted to send a huge hug to the gorgeous Amy tree who received some very unnecessary criticism in one of her jobs, I know how professional Amytree is and therefore can vouch for the fact that she is hardworking as well as being forward thinking, so whoever made the negative criticism must be living on a different planet.

Fantastic observations from Puss on Olympic Volleyball, I , like Puss, had never really watched a volleyball match so on her advice I settled down to watch Georgia vs Russia, a game that must be tinged by recent politics and conflict. Not only did I start to enjoy and understand the sport but I got to view the uniform, as Puss points out it is nice to see a sport with people wearing less than us pole dancers. Could this make way for a professional sports uniform for us fitness Pole dancers or even a chance for us to make Pole dancing an Olympic sport?

A reminder for all of you living in or around Plymouth that this weekend sees the return of the fabulous Flavour fest to Plymouth's City centre, this is a great opportunity to buy great fresh local produce, I will definitely be attending.

Today is (hopefully) my last day of moving rubble from the second studio, so I will keep it short and will follow up with a blog about Christi Campbell and her forthcoming fights, these will be some tough bouts as well as news from Saints Gym who started their first piece of work with the Zone yesterday. Also future blogs will include a controversial new piece of work taken on by Sue, Tamar & Myself in conjunction with Plymouth College of Art & Design.

Stay Healthy,

Sam x

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Is water bad for you?

I thought I would start today's blog on the subject of hydration, Without getting to gross one of the main ways I check whether I am hydrated is to check my urine, the colour of your pee is usually a good indicator of your hydration levels. If your pee is dark then this may not only indicate dehydration but may indicate something more serious. I have always believed that drinking a lot of liquid is generally good for you but a study from two scientists in Philadelhpia may suggest otherwise. Dr Dan Negoianu and Stanley Goldfarb from the university of Pennsylvania found no evidence that drinking 8 glasses of water a day had any health benefits, instead they found that those subjects who did drink 8 glasses of water in the day subsequently had lower levels of sodium in the blood which posed other health dangers.

The scientists went on to say that they were not implying that water was bad for you but that there was no evidence to suggest that increasing your water intake had any positive benefits either. The results have left me a little confused, I do drink a lot of fluids, mainly in the form of herbal tea and ale! I do supplement my fluid intake with mineral water but not daily, I also use milk as a way of hydrating my system when training. I suppose the old argument of moderation comes back into play, drinking too much water can be as unhealthy as being dehydrated and too much water can actually kill you however the body does need fluid so a happy medium is called for, whatever that may be!

For those who you who read my blog on Saturday you will know that I was planning to celebrate the life of a dear friend who died 10 years ago, but that didn't happen due to a phone call regarding another friends death.
Andy Piper died tragically whilst on holiday in Spain. I have seen many of my friends pass away over the years and it highlights to me how short life is, you just don't know what is around the corner so you just have to live for each day. My thoughts are with Andy's friends and family at this awful time. picture below of Andy courtesy of the this is plmouth website.

I am off to watch one of my favourite events of the yeartonight, the British fireworks competition on Plymouth Hoe, this event is truly spectacular and has become an annual event bringing thousands of people onto Plymouth Hoe to watch the night sky lit up by thousands of amazing pyrotechnics.

You may want to check out Jo's blog for live pictures of her dancing in Egypt. Since her departure I have done about 20 hours of teaching and my shoulders and back are aching badly! No more staff holidays ever!

Stay Healthy,

Sam x

Saturday, 9 August 2008

Competitions & general news

I have confirmation that I can wear my sports gloves in the national Miss Pole Dance UK competitions, this is fantastic news for me as it will seriously help me to overcome some of my performance nerves. I now have the task of choreographing a routine and finding a suitable costume. As I am entering the fitness competition I have to dance in bare feet but I am going to go for a slightly punky look to, I found this website to give me some ideas for some dramatic stage make up for the event.

The main emphasis of the fitness section are strength, flexibility and technique so I don't really have to worry to much about costume, hair and make-up but I want to make an impact and I think the punk look may prove interesting. I am also making enquiries into having my hair braided as the Thai fighters do as this will keep my hair out of my face so I can concentrate on my routine.

So serious training starts today. breakfast consisted of a large jacket potato - plenty of carbs for energy release and some prawns and tuna to boost my protein levels and help my muscles. I added some beetroot and garlic mayo for flavour and some extra vitamins. I am also drinking some white tea which is supposed to aid digestion. As soon as the food has digested I will be heading up to the studio for some pole practice to one of my chosen songs - Pink - U and UR hand (this song is the chosen song for Miss Pole dance UK). Any suggestions for Pole Diva's will be gratefully received

The first competition is the Pole divas qualifiers on the 6th September in Bristol although I have until October before the Miss Pole Dance UK competitions. I have a few new tricks and combinations that I hope to pull off successfully on the night.

Some of you may have heard me talking about a large 6 metre by 3 metre banner that has been travelling around Devon & Cornwall, for those of you who haven't seen it - here is a picture - it certainly grabs your attention!

The second studio is starting to take shape and the hard physical work involved is probably aiding my strength training. Nearly all of the rubble has been removed and I reckon there are only two trailer loads left to go next Thursday before we can start on filling and then painting. We look set to open the studio , as planned , in the first week of September coinciding with the new venue in Torquay.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of spending some time with my Mum, my usual hectic schedule has meant that I haven't seen as much of her as I would like, but we found time yesterday to go to the garden Centre to buy some new plants for my studio - doing my bit for Plymouth in Bloom - as well as pooping to raffles for one of Julie's marvellous curries, Sri Lankan Prawn Masala. My mum has two weeks of in August during which we hope to get up to Corfe Castle in Dorset where my great Aunt lives. here is the picture I promised to post for my Mum:

You may want check out Jo's blog to see how her work is piling up in her absence. Also Puss's latest blog is all about acroyoga, something I an dying to try.

Finally I wanted to raise a toast to a dear Friend Stephen Evans who passed away exactly 10 years today. Stephen was a young man with great prospects who died tragically early. I hope to meet his brother Rich for a drink later to celebrate his memory.

Stay healthy,

Sam x

Thursday, 7 August 2008

Casting feedback

I arrived at the New Continental Hotel at about 9.20am this morning to find a queue stretching from the front doors of the hotel then winding its way around so that the hotel was encircled by the queue. There was little movement until about 10.45 when the queue seemed to start moving quite quickly. we soon found out that this was because the casting crew were perusing the queue for possible extras, if you were a possible then you were given a red star and told you would definitely get seen, I was one of those lucky enough to get a red star so got moved towards the front of the queue. Those who did not get a red star were told they could wait if they wanted but that they were unlikely to be seen. Others were just told they were a definite no, usually due to the presence of a fringe or heavily dyed hair.

One lady queuing with me called Krystel did not get a red star as her hair was too short but she did have the most impressive Alice in Wonderland tattoo, see picture below.

The shorter queue still took approximately 2 and a half hours to clear, the rain caught us out at one point but two lovely people from Penzance offered for me to huddle under the umbrella. The atmosphere in the queue was a very British affair, we all queued patiently and chatted to each other to keep our spirits up.

Eventually I was ushered into the Athena Suite in the Hotel where we given a briefing about the production, when it would be filmed, what was expected of us. Next we were divided into two queues, male and female, before being told that some of us may be taken to a separate room for a different set of parts. I was one of these, now I am not sure if this was a good move or a bad move and still have the idea that if I get through, rather than a lovely corset, I may end up dressed as a rabbit in a field!

Basically the crew tried to get across the message that being an extra is not in any way glamorous, I think the queues proved that to us. The actual days of filming will be long and gruelling and the pay isn't as great as everyone has been making out, but it does promise to be an experience. I will hear within 2 weeks if I have a part so will let you know if I hear anything. For full stories on the whole Disney / Plymouth saga click on the Herald link.

News as promised on the new national pole dancing magazine, Pole 2 Pole, as you know normally I would link to the magazine but I was so disappointed by it I don't think it deserves the link. Basically this magazine is not supportive of the fitness pole dancing industry and therefore does not get my support. Here is what I wrote on the body and pole forum followed by some of the replies: "Ok, so I get to unleash my honest opinion, I will try to be constructive but will find it hard. One of my students bought the magazine and then gave it to me to look at, I was horrified, the magazine shows a blatant lack of knowledge regarding the fitness pole dancing industry and I am unsure exactly who the magazine is marketed at.

The print quality is dreadful, the magazine is littered with spelling and grammatical errors and has little content. If I had paid £3 for this magazine I would feel completely ripped off as does my student.

The magazine features one article from an Exeter based pole dancing instructor with the line " in just one day instructors can learn everything they need to know to teach beginners pole dancing to classes, circuits and one to ones" How can anyone teach someone to be a pole dancing instructor in just one day?

There is nothing in the magazine about pole Unity and it bears no resemblance to the picture on the website with a front cover featuring CJ & Amber.

To be completely honest I could rant about this publication all day, I was asked to write an article for the publication but am glad that I chose not too. There is a bad and then there is truly awful and that is me trying to be nice about the whole subject."

Follow up comments;

fyers89 - "I was so unimpressed by this magazine! When it arrived through my door i COULDNT WAIT to read it! I was expecting loads of pictures of great pole dancers, articles about peoples experiences and how they started pole dancing. I was so disappointed to find it was full of adverts, even the crappy articles were pretty much advertising! The quality of the pictures we're embarrassing.. such a let down!"

PoleKitten -
"The magazine is currently is still edging towards the more controversial side of pole dancing and the side that many of the people in the "pole fitness" industry are trying to edge away from. I notice one advert completely for sexy outfits with the statement "spearheading the drive for professional fitness through pole dancing". (Now i don't know about anyone else but if i could have an effective workout in half the dresses on that page without my breasts falling out everywhere I'd be impressed!)"

Kat - "I hope they take those thoughts on board, I was really excited about this magazine but I am relieved my subscription was cancelled now."

I think you get the general idea that the publication hasn't gone down well.

For the first time in three nights I get to rest, well I say that but I am planning half hour pole jam with Rosanna at half 5! Apart from the Pole Jam I have the whole night off before shifting rubble tomorrow! I think a quick pint at Raffles is called for!

Stay Healthy,

Sam x

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

News from the girls.

Firstly awful news regarding our Torquay instructor Kelly, her boyfriend Ryan was working the door at a Torquay club on Monday night when a fight broke out, Ryan tried to break up the fight but was bottled, the initial injury resulted in him being knocked unconscious before being repeatedly kicked in the head whilst he lay on the floor. Ryan spent the night in Torbay hospital before being released yesterday afternoon with a large amount of stitches. Kelly has been monitoring him to watch for signs of concussion. Get well Soon Ryan and hope the police manage to catch the irresponsible thugs that did this x. The NHS website has a great question and answer flow chart to help identify concussion in vomiting patients.

Sue, Hayley and Rosanna have been busy updating their blogs with pictures from the recent Devon Car Show, we have already had confirmation of our attendance at next years show if they can find another venue. Apparently the Exeter Racecourse land is being turned into a speedway track so the Devon Car Show is on the lookout for some suitable land. Hayley's blog also feature news of the new Tribal Voice shop that is opening in Plymouth this Saturday, Hayley will be performing as part of the Grand opening.

Big love to Puss & Amytree who have had their fair share of trials and tribulations over the last few weeks, hope things improve. Apologies to the poor students who endured my new evil session plan last night and good luck to those who are attending tonight's session as I will be using the same session plan! I think the students will be begging Jo to come back!

Tomorrow is casting day for the forthcoming Walt Disney film rumoured to be Alice in Wonderland, I am sure that the casting will be packed both today and tomorrow, some enthusiasts arrived at 2am in the morning to be at the front of the queue! I will be arriving tomorrow at a more sensible hour! Inside info direct from today's casting confirms that if you are selected to enter the casting then you will be photographed without make-up, if you turn up with heavy make up applied then you may be automatically rejected. Also they will not accept people with fringes or heavily dyed hair. Today's queue stretched from the new Continental hotel to jesters nightclub approximately a quarter of a mile away. Casting staff perused the queue and instantly rejected many people to reduce the size of the queue.

A quick but disturbing bit if sexual health news, a recent project at a local college aimed to get students to come forward for voluntary chlamydia testing, many people declined the offer, particularly those who were considered most at risk but of those who did come forward 80% tested positive for the disease. As chlamydia has few symptoms it is difficult to know if you have the infection but it can lead to infertility and other problems if left undiagnosed.

A last controversial comment for me for today involves the news that a mother had found an insect larva inside her takeaway box, no doubt there was more nutrition in the larvae than the rest of the meal! See picture right!

Back to work now but will report back on the casting, the appalling new national pole dancing magazine and some competition news.

Stay healthy,

Sam x

Monday, 4 August 2008

Sam in Wonderland?

This week should be an interesting one, Jo has disappeared of to Egypt for two and a half weeks to go diving (or skiving as I prefer to call it) which means I have the annual job of hacking into her blog and putting something silly on it, all suggestions welcome.

On Thursday I will be attending the casting sessions for the forthcoming Walt Disney film that will be filmed in Plymouth. The film is rumoured to be Alice in Wonderland and speculation suggests that it ill be produced by Tm Burton and will star Johnny Depp. I am off to the casting on Thursday 7th September at the new continental hotel. You may be wondering what on earth I am doing attending the auditions when I have a business to run, but if I get the opportunity to be an extra in the film I can have a working holiday which will hopefully raise some money to go on a well deserved realholiday at the end of September. In addition to this I would relish the opportunity to spend two weeks dressing up in full make up and corsets!

Of course there will be hundreds of people at the auditions so the chances are that I may not be an extra but there is no harm in trying. I will let you know how things go and already have Jo on standby to cover for me if I get a part.

Saturday saw the official opening of Devon's first cage as well as a chance to celebrate the expansion of Saints gym. The herald covered the story today with this article written by the lovely Tristin Nicholls, check out the comments section too.

The day involved a selection of demos including Muay Thai, Pro boxing, Kickboxing & Self defense. There was also a tyre pull - see picture right- which was won by the ladies team. Saints gym now has over 35 different classes focusing on fighting and general fitness classes. One of the new classes is Bex bag work, Bex is a children's nurse who trains at Saints gym and will be holding her bag work class every Saturday afternoon at 2pm, this class is not about figthting but about releasing your aggression on the bags in a fun friendly environment. This looks to be a great cardio workout. Another one for the ladies is Guy's boxing classes, check out the Saints website for full timetable and prices.

I must keep it brief for today as I have 4 hours of teaching to do plus it is staff wages day and I won't be easily forgiven for paying the wages in late!

Stay Healthy,

Sam x