I am not usually a very festive person but for some reason this year I am feeling much less scrooge-like than normal. I have even downloaded a Xmas playlist full of some old classics as well as some new tracks including the slightly filthy 'Christmas tree' by Lady Gaga.
As you can see from the picture (left) my students have had to endure my Xmas happiness as well as some very silly Xmas session plans. The picture was taken during last nights 6.15pm class where we tried to create a human Xmas tree made of pole dancers, we played Musical poles (video to follow very soon!) and we got so many students spinning on one pole that the pole nearly unscrewed itself! The Xmas fun continues tonight! (Students pictured are, from the top, Sara, Steph, Sarah, Aimee & Noni.)
I, like many people, am finding it hard to stay motivated at work, it is my last offical day in the office before Xmas and I seem to find myself neglecting my admin and opting to spend time on Twitter and Facebook instead. I am sure that my motivation will return with avengance in 2010!
I will get the student xmas videos uploaded in the next 2 days and hope to get the photos back from the St Luke's Xmas Disco too.
Before I sign off for today you may be interested in having a little flutter on local diving sensation Tom Daley, the bet asks how many times will Tom feature in the Herald on the 2nd January 2010? Click here to find out more.
Apparently I have just undertaken another pole dancing bet without even knowing. My lovely husband has decided that I need some more pole dancing endurance training and has placed another bet on how many times I can climb the pole in 60 seconds. If you didn't see the last challenge click here to see my madness! My last attempt was 14 climbs in 60 seconds but I didn't pace myself so I hope that if I do pace myself I might actually exceed 14 climbs. The problem is that I have started celebrating Xmas early and have had a little more beer than the recommended drinking guidelines which may hinder my performance. So if I do less than 14 climbs you can blame St. Austell Brewery! Click here to see the bet! I will be doing the challenge at 5pm on Tuesday 22nd December at my Plymouth studio if anyone fancies coming along to watch?
The massive St Luke's HospiceXmas disco is nearly upon us. This coming Thursday 17th December will see me performing alongside some great acts at Oceana in Plymouth - here is a list of acts:
Triple Soul are introducing their new female singer for her debut - Triple Soul will be playing Soul, Motown and the like, Karen G is singing some Christmas songs to warm you all up and Harry Lea will be driving you onto the floor with his Blues Brothers and Wham! Jack Bryce a superb Plymouth based Magician will be wandering the tables performing some mind boggling close up magic.
In the Disco at 8pm:
The Plymouth Calendar Girls shaking their booties and having some party fun plus you can buy their lovely new calendar as a stocking stuffer! The TJs will be performing Thriller, Saturday Night Fever and a couple of surprise dances - watch out for their spectacular costumes!
Sam Remmer from the Art of Dance will be stunning us with some class Pole Dancing (that's me!)
Karen Mills (World Famous!) will be letting fantasies begin (no no calm down) with her fantastic Body Art and Extreme Body Painting
Magician Jack Bryce will be popping up everywhere so be careful what you have in your ears that you didn't know about
Del Boy is to be confirmed !
DJs! Playing music from the 70s and 80s - Motown, Disco, Soul, Funk and Party Classics:
Organiser and Ex Fiesta, Academy, Monroe's, Top Rank, Barbarella's + the hellholes and dens of iniquity of Norway ;) and 15 years in California = DJ Wavy Davy (aka David Saunders or Symons) first ever sober job in Plymouth and just as wild!
DJ Ian "Calvie" Calvert (BBC Radio Devon, 261 Plymouth Sound and TSW) with DJ Skanking Dazza Cox
DJ Rob Storey (ex Fiesta, Snobs, Circus Tavern and Monroes)
DJ Peter Gunn (Devonair and loads of work with the Cavitron Trust)
DJ Ringo (One of Plymouth's original DJs - if not one of the first!)
DJ Dave Jordan (Caroline Roadshow)
DJ Roger (Jack Daniels Please) Lee (Fiesta, Snobs and almost everywhere in town) Win his original 70s silver platform boots
DJ Johnnie Vee (Everywhere in town that would have him ;) )
DJ Johnno (Plymouth Calendar Girl and professional Blagger Lucy Johnson) doing text shout outs and generally getting everyone moving
DJ Missus Motown (Wavy Davy's Old Girl from Detroit, Michigan YAY)
Lorna Baker (professional Can Can Dancer) LOL
Dom Moore will be the official event photographer
Birdman confirmed he is appearing today so we have emailed Christopher Biggins and told him sorry he can only do about 10 minutes we have BIRDMAN!
Click here to buy your tickets or get more information.
Having not had a holiday this year my husband and I decided it was time to get away for a few days to relax and forget about work. The answer to our prayers came in the form of a 2 night break at the St Austell Brewery owned Old Custom House in Padstow. Like many other establishments, the Old Custom House offers some fantastic off-season deals meaning you can have a luxury break without the luxury price tag. The 4 star rated 'Enjoy England' Old Custom House seemed particularly attractive to us due to its Michelin Star Fish restaurant and its bar with real ales!
Padstow harbour (the view from our room)
In true Remmer tradition we couldn't just have a holiday without some element of work so on Sunday we travelled to Padstow for a Muay Thai Interclub hosted by Higher Level Gym. My husband brought many of his University of Plymouth fighters for the event and they did him proud. it was a fab afternoon with some great bouts and a lovely friendly atmosphere. Thanks to Steve from Higher level for hosting the event.
Sid and his University of Plymouth Muay Thai fighters.
It was so nice to finish the interclub and not have to think about the drive back to Plymouth, instead we had just a 3 minute drive to our Hotel in Padstow harbour. The Old Custom house is situated next door to Rick Steins renowned seafood restaurant which we had originally looked at staying at, but we couldn't justify the inflated prices and had read several reviews stating that the Pescadou restaurant was just as good as Stein's. We even looked at some sample menus which confirmed the Old Custom House as our preferred choice.
The Old Custom House and narrow Padstow streets.
The interior of the Pescadou Restaurant.
The Pescadou Restaurant in Padstow.
After checking out our fabulous double room with sea view we ventured down to the bar to start sampling the beers before setting of to the restaurant for meal number 1. I opted for the salmon and dill balls to start and then the hake and gnocchi for the main with a side serving of purple sprouting broccolli and pine nuts. I think I would have been happy with just the pine nuts as they were gorgeous, the hake was perfectly cooked too. After the meal it was straight back to the bar to test some more beers to round of the end of the evening.
Me sampling the St Austell Tribute.
If we thought the evening meal was nice we weren't about to be disappointed by the breakfast: My husbands full Cornish breakfast looked divine and my Smoked haddock, mushrooms and poached eggs were truly scrumptious. I even had a little Greek yoghurt and grapefruit to freshen the palate and then washed everything down with some Orange juice and a pot of Twinnings Earl Grey. Feeling rather full I then left my husband to lie in bed for 2 hours reading the day's papers whilst I opted for a 2 hour Beauty treatment in the studio adjacent to our room. The facial and paraffin pedicure were amazing and I floated out fo the treatment rooms with one very shiny face and slippery velvet like hands. My husband did find my shiny face very amusing!
Sid enjoying the day's papers.
The afternoon was spent meandering around the tiny streets of Padstow with a brief stop for a Cornish pasty for lunch, unfortunately my husbands northern roots seriously kicked in when we were charged £5 per pasty! it took him some time to get over the shock.
Sid paying £5 for a Cornish Pasty.
I have to admit to a bit of people watching as being one of my favourite past times and the award for most interesting was two gentlemen in their early 70's who seemed to have a talent for synchronised dining. I have never seen such precision and timing as both gentlemen ordered their beers at the same time, drank at exactly the same moment, placed their glass back on the table at the same time and then carefully loaded their bar meal of spaghetti bolognese onto their forks and chewed and swallowed in perfect unison, it is a talent I have never witnessed before but it impressed me, my husband and the bar lady immensely.
A Seagull perusing Padstow harbour.
Peace and tranquility were restored in the evening as we returned to the bar and then to the restaurant for meal number 2, this time I opted for the mushroom soup to start, which I have to say is the best mushroom soup I have ever tasted, followed by a personal favourite of sea bass, cockles, lemon beurre blanc and more purple sprouting broccoli. My husbands sirloin steak was one of the largest steaks I have ever seen and was so filling he even skipped breakfast the following day. I however had no intention of skipping breakfast and this time opted for the vegetarian option with beans, mushrooms, toast, hash browns & free range poached eggs.
Another view of Padstow Harbour.
After breakfast it was time to head back to Plymouth to get back to work. We squeezed in a quick visit to Stein's delicatessen to buy some freshly baked bread to bring home. The drive back, or should I say aquaplane back, involved torrential rain but I didn't care, I was chilled, rested and refreshed. I would highly recommend the Old Custom House to anyone wanting a short break, it is amazing value for money and has everything you could want for 2 days of heaven. The staff were fantastic, the service was excellent, what more can I say. I am currently one very contented little bunny!
Just a short blog today to update you on the latest news:
Firstly a quick mention for yesterdays bed push which went very well despite the ferocious freezing wind! There were a few narrow minded abusive comments directed towards us volunteers but the majority of shoppers restored my faith in humanity! I hope we raised lots of money for the Eddystone Trust as well as raising much needed awareness of HIV and Aids. Click here for the Herald Article on the bed push.
Next, onto last nights Amateur Burlesque performances at Annabel's Cabaret by two our Burlesque students Delicious Delilah and Miss Purr-dy. Both ladies did the art of dance proud with their beautiful dispalys. We started with Delilah's enchanting belly dance based piece to 'Trust in me' from the Jungle Book and then we were delighted by the Gorgeous Miss Purr-dy as she performed a classic Burlesque piece to 'Need to be Loved'. Both ladies will be performing again at our next Amateur night in February 2010 although judging by their performances last night they look more like professionals. If you or anyone you know wants to join our next Burlesque course or try our January taster session just click here for details. A big thanks to our professional Burlesque Babes Miss Georgina Gale and Miss Amelia B for being such great teachers and for ensuring the night ran smoothly.
A quick bit of thanks to my lovely husband for the divine fish pie he made me last night that I am currently munching! The phallic pastry shape adorning the pie made it even more delightful!
Must quickly mention Max , the new addition to my aviary, and the rest of my menagerie. Max is settling in well and he took food from my hand for the first time this morning. For a cockatiel he is a very large male so he shouldn't have to worry about being bullied by the others! The Quail seem to be getting on OK despite some fighting during the summer months, perhaps they have been pacified by their daily treat of live mealworms (see picture left)? On the subject of mealworms my live colony is doing well despite one episode of the great escape during last weeks storms, trying to catch about 100 little critters in the pouring rain is not much fun and I must have looked a right state in my dressing gown and hiking boots racing around the back yard trying pick them up! I think I caught most of the escapees and with the additon of some extra sacking in the lid of their house I seem to have solved the problem.
Enough writing for me as I have lots of work to do, several interesting new projects lined up and I will be on holiday on Sunday and Monday - can't wait!
After my very negative blog on Thursday, as predicted, I am back on form and ready to take on anything! Before I blog further I thought I would share some news with from the UPPDC (University of Plymouth Pole Dancing Club) charity event held on Thursday to raise money for Muscular Dystrophy. The event was held in the student union which proved to be a perfect venue for a pole dancing showcase. The area has a natural stage area and 4 metre high ceiling enabling us to fit a static x-pole rather than having to use the scary freestanding pole. The lighting was a little harsh and made the stage feel like a sauna but luckily I had my gloves so didn't have to worry too much about the hot slippery pole. The audience of approximately 250 people were great and they cheered in all the right places with no innappropriate comment from the males in attendance. The UPPDC committe did some wonderful displays and wowed the crowd before Tamar & I finished the show. I am so proud of the UPPDC committee for organising such a great event and I hope they raised lots of money for charity (I will let you know the final amount as soon as I know). Here is my performance from the night, it was not choreographed but I think I coped OK with making it up as I went along:
Yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting with Dana Mayer from Rock n Roll pole in London and Kate Johnstone from Spin City Pole Fitness in Bristol. It was a very productive day and I will let you know the outcome of that meeting in due course. The 3 hour drive back was less enjoyable and the weather insisted on making driving conditions treacherous, I was definitely happy to return home in one piece.
As some of you know Linda Gilroy and I have never been best of friends and her attitude towards the Policing and Crime Bill has really angered me so I thought rather than getting angry I would do something much more fun! Click here to find out more.
So once again I must succumb to the calls of my fleecy dressing gown and sofa!
Excuse the tone of today's blog but I am really fed up with dealing with people's blatant ignorance towards modern fitness pole dancing. I won't go into my usual rants as my regular readers will be more than educated about my feelings however for those of you who have not read my previous posts here are three that discuss my crusade to change peoples perception of modern fitness pole dancing:
Today's upset comes from a letter I received in the post today. Having struggled long and hard to make the art of dance financially viable I finally came to the conclusion that the only way forward was to register the art of dance as a community interest company, that status would have entitled us to grant funding, reduced business rates, improved credibility and many other benefits. However despite a lengthy cover note and a meeting with Business link to ensure I had covered all areas of the application I received this back from Companies House today:
"Although your application makes a passionate case for the positive aerobic and anerobic fitness training of pole dancing and improvement in certain participants' self esteem, you will no doubt be aware that certain sectors of society would question whether pole dancing ...... are appropriate activities for getting under 18's fit and building the self esteem of vulnerable young women, and for that reason I cannot at this stage, reach the conclusion that a reasonable person would think that The art of dance's activities are being carried out in the benefit of the community."
Although I have been invited to comment further and argue my case I do wonder if I will be wasting my time and energy. Whilst anyone who knows me or who has been involved with the art of dance will know exactly how much we do to help individuals and to work with charities and other local causes I doubt I will be able to change the mind of a person sat in an office reading about the art of dance. I am unsure how much longer the art of dance can trade effectively as a business with rising overheads and an economic climate that means many people can't afford lessons with us. If we could get grant funding we could work with so many more people and pursue many more goals but I fear that without any financial help we will fail to work with as many individuals as we would like to. Indeed the future looks bleak.
Plymouth is already known for having very high rental rates, the highest water bills in the country, high business rates and low wages, these factors are all contributory into why the art of dance is struggling financially. The C.I.C status would have had so many benefits for us and without it we will struggle to carry on. Despite my current negativity I am not one to give up easily and no doubt by tomorrow I will be digging my heels firmly into the ground, tackling companies house head on and continuing to try to move the business forward. Watch this space....
Firstly thanks to Mary Garnett (nee O'Leary) for posting this old school pic on facebook, it made me chuckle! Can you guess which one is me? (The picture was taken during my sixth form at Devonport High School for Girls )
So just a few random things to blog today starting with a huge Happy Birthday to my lovely husband! Hope you liked your presents!
The coming week involves a rather hectic diary so don't expect much blogging from me! I will be busy doing lots of teaching on Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday (3 hours a day I think), I have some final pole practice to do before my pending performance at the University of Plymouth Student Union on Thursday night (video to follow). On Friday I have to travel to Bristol for a photoshoot with James of Motion Stop Factory followed by a meeting with Kate from Spin City & Dana Mayer from Rock n Roll Pole.In addition to the aforementioned I have lots of admin to do and am still trying to find time to do more work on my new art of dance website, more research on DVD sales, planning and risk assessing our new Sunday PoleJams etc etc, Sadly all this leaves me no time for housework!
Having not had a holiday this year my husband and I decided to raid our meagre savings and book a 2 day break in Padstow. I will blog fully about that nearer the time but can't wait for the 2 day pamper break!
Before I sign off for today I want to say that I am thinking about art of dance pole dancing instructor Tamar Preston who, as I write, will be sat patiently waiting for tonights PoleDivas finals in Manchester. Good Luck Tamar!
I received an e-mail yesterday that must have caught me a generous mood, it was from Dana at the Eddystone Trust and she asked me if I would be able to volunteer to help out with a charity bed push to raise money for the trust and to raise awareness of HIV and AIDS. I obviously forgot that the 3rd December on the Piazza is likely to be freezing and the last thing my muscles need is to be cold and pushing a bed but I agreed to help out nevertheless. Here are some details of the event:
The Eddystone Trust is a charity providing information and support for anyone concerned about HIV/AIDS and Sexual Health. This year, World AIDS Week takes place from 30th November – 6th December, with International World AIDS Day being on Tuesday 1st December.
This year, on Thursday 3rd December, The Eddystone Trust have organised a bed push to help raise awareness of HIV/AIDS and to also raise funds for The Eddystone Trust Hardship Fund. The bed push is taking place in Plymouth City Centre and we need your help please! We need volunteers to take part in the bed push around the Piazza, near the big screen; this will involve pushing the bed, handing out leaflets and collecting donations. I am helping helping out from 12:00-13:00 but they need many more volunteers.
If you would like to help out by giving half an hour of your time between 11am - 3pm, please contact Paul or Dana at The Eddystone Trust on 01752 257077 or email email@example.com (The Eddystone Trust is a charitable limited company: Charity no 1078268 registered company number 3867526). For more images or interviews, contact Sarah Aston, Head of Training and Development. Mobile number: 07792 151741.
So if you fancy joining me for some fun in the cold just contact the trust for more info, no doubt I will get some photos and videos from the day and blog about them later!
Lastly if you are interested in learning aerial silks with one of the masters just click here for details of Jenyne Butterfly's aerial silks and pole dancing classes and click here to see her in action.
Regular readers of my blog will know that I am deeply opposed to the 'planned ' (No doubt the decision is already done and dusted) Life Centre. With such strong views on the centre I was looking forward to reading the councils Aquatics strategy for the city which seems to be written purely to justify the Life Centre.
I have many issues with the strategy and the points made within it:
Firstly the Aquatics strategy has no provisions for any other part of the city other than the development at Central Park. The document does not take into account the lack of swimming provisions in Plympton or the North of the city, residents in these areas have campaigned for years for improvements which seem to have been denied to them. The document does not comment in any way on the Tinside Lido yet when the Lido was refurbished we were told it would be a major attraction for the city, we now know that the Lido is losing money and is not proving to be financially viable.
The strategy states that "The Aquatics strategy will establish a Plymouth Aquatics Academy this will be a new citywide structure for the organisation and delivery of swimming, diving and water polo, not based on one club identity." Does this statement mean the end of the smaller clubs who will be absorbed by one big club? How will this affect existing clubs such as Leander who have made a big name for themselves without the need for a 50 million life centre or an academy to dictate to them? The strategy does however recognise the success of clubs such as Leander - "The most successful age group swimming club in the country, Plymouth Leander (Swim 21 accredited), is based in the city, at Plymouth College. Plymouth is one of four high performance diving centres in the country– the others being Southampton, Leeds, and Sheffield. Some of the most successful and talented divers in the world; Tom Daley and Tonya Crouch, and Brooke Graddon are based in the city." We as a city are already producing world champions, so again, why the need for the life centre? Is this simply a publicity bid by the council so that they can take the credit for our existing champions?
The strategy also states that "Swimming is the largest participation sport in the city; given the low level of participation recorded in the 2006/07 Active People Survey (APS) (18.6 per cent) there is an obvious need to increase levels of participation and swimming provides a key opportunity as it is already the highest participation sport in the city. The APS results 2008/09 show an increase in participation to 23.5 per cent."
The aquatic strategy fails to comment on the largest aquatic facility in Plymouth; Plymouth Sound. Surely the development of Plymouth Sound and the hoe foreshore would benefit more people and be more beneficial for tourism? The Hoe diving boards have been removed with no plans to replace them. (check out my previous blog on tombstoning if you are interested in more of my views on kids diving of Plymouth foreshore).
The last statement of the aquatics strategy states that "The Life Centre will help improve Plymouth residents’ quality of life and make Plymouth a more vibrant and attractive place to work and visit." - Will it really? Not everyone wants to travel to Central Park and those residents living close by already experience parking problems during events such as Argyle home games, Concerts and Watchtower conventions. Will the local residents be happier after the life centre is built. If, as promsied by the council, there will be no more loss of green space from the park then where is the extra traffic / parking going to go? We are already told that Plymouth Argyle plan to expand their ground too?
Another fact which is omitted from the Aquatics strategy seems to be the existence of private swimming providers within the city. Has anyone considered the impact the life centre may have on smaller privately run pools such as the New Continental? In the current economic climate smaller clubs and pools may not survive the introduction of the Life Centre yet many swimmers may prefer the small clubs as they may be more friendly and less crowded and offer a more personal service to their members?
Whilst I certainly agree that there is room for improvement with the existing Pool and facilities at the Mayflower centre I think as a city in financial difficulty we simply cannot justify spending 50 million of the Life Centre and where exactly are are the council gong to find the money for such a cast project? Backing from Sport England may sound promising but Sport England have pledged just 1.99 million of the 50 million needed for the project and there are already rumours that the centre will cost nearer 65 million to build and complete. The funding issue seems to have been overlooked by Council Leader Vivien Pengelly especially when she was interviewed by the Herald about the sale of Citybus and the possibility of a referendum said "A referendum would cost at least £150,000 and will not be part of the process. Some people have been opposing our decision to find out the value of Citybus for purely political reasons. Throughout this process there has been scaremongering and misleading information about the potential impact of the sale of Citybus." She said the council was not looking at a potential sale for ideological reasons but because of the current economic climate. "We have a duty to manage all our assets in the best interests of local residents and tax payers, including local bus users," she said. Quote taken from www.thisisplymouth Monday 9th November 2009. Does this statement not imply that Plymouth is having to tighten the purse strings? How we can the council be so desperate to pull money back into the city by selling citybus but then lavishing £50 million on the life centre?
I sincerely hope that the sale of Citybus is not a way to raise the cash needed to build the life centre. It would be a real shame if the council sold of one of its most profitable assets to fund a new business that may not deliver all that it promises.
If you want to learn more about the Plymouth City Council Aquatics strategy then click here but be warned you cannot add comments as that function is disabled, you cannot click on the link to take you to the council website either as the link doesn't work. You can e-mail your comments to mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org. As you can imagine I will be submitting my comments!
Aside from work I am trying to find a little time for a personal MOT and that stared last week with a sports maassage and continues to moorw with an eye test. On Monday I have a GP's appointment for a pending hopsital visit that I am not looking forward to but have put it off for far too long. Hopefully the result of the massage, eye test etc will be an extra fit and healthy me!
Today has been a fairly boring day trying to get my new DVD's ready to send out. The footage from the 5th Birthday bash is finally ready for posting and looks great, it features our student showcase, instructor exhibiton as well as a guest performance by the Gorgeous Miss Glory Pearl (Miss Glory Pearl will be hosting an aerial workshop at the launch of the British Isles pole dance academy too!). The DVD costs just £9 per copy including postage and can be purchased via the events page of my website - just click here and scroll down to buy.
Also released this week is the first art of dance instructional DVD. Our first advanced level DVD focuses on 4 tricks - The Superman, Shoulder mounts, Elbow holds & Cradles. The DVD also includes many different variations on each trick as well as advice for combination tricks too. The DVD costs just £7 including postage and is a great guide to developing and improving your tricks. Just click here and scroll down to buy.We hope to add more DVd's to the range very soon.
Well I must dash of to do an hour's practice on the pole with Rosanna to get some new ideas for a pending showcase for the University of Plymouth Pole Dancing Club. The Charity showcase will be held at the students union on 26th November. I still can't decide on a song and am doing my usual thing of finding a song dancing to it 2 or 3 times and then deciding it bores me! Best I make a decison soon.
At present it seems like it is all work and no play. Despite supposedly having the weekend off I have been checking e-mails, doing research for various projects and editing video footage which hardly counts as time off work! I did find time to have a much needed sports massage on Saturday with the lovely Tracey Mitchell. Tracy realised quite how knotted my muscles were and applied some Bowen technique to the worst areas. I now feel like I have new shoulders!
On Friday night our beautiful Burlesque goddess Georgina Gale aka Sue performed at the Duke of Cornwal hotel in Plymouth. She was fabulous as always. Here is her performance:
At long last I finally have, in my hand, the first instructional pole dancing DVD from the art of dance. The DVD will be officially released tomorrow and will coincide with the release of the eagerly awaited footage from our 5th Birthday Ball. I will add details to this blog and the website tomorrow afternoon.
Lastly a huge Get Well Soon to the best Mum in the world ever! Hoping to catch up with you very soon and perhaps indulging in some lobster? X
Well today was the day I took on my pole dance challenge. In hindsight having quite a few real ales last night with the lovely Amelia B probably wasn't the best idea but I did my best nevertheless. For those of you who don't know what the hell I am on about I was challenged to see how many times I could monkey climb a 50mm x-pole (2.8 metres high) in 60 seconds - click here to see the actual bet on Be Lucky Tote. Anyway here is the video of my challenge;
So 14 climbs in 60 seconds! I am fairly pleased but know I could have done better. Being that time of the month didn't help either (sorry guys - more info than you needed I am sure!). I hope to set up another challenge soon and like the idea of a 60 second climb starting with a shoulder mount from the floor into inverted caterpillar climb then death drop into reverse shoulder mount and so on! I didn't actually train for this challenge but think that if I do another challenge it will encourage me to train harder and boost my fitness levels.
Anyway back to last night and my lovely night out with Miss Amelia B. We started off in the Mannamead to check out the Real Ale festival. I love the idea that you can buy 3 different beers in 1/3 pint glasses for just £1.69! What I didn't love was that one beer from Poland was made with fruit - YUK, if I wanted a fruit based product I wouldn't have ordered an ale! If you don't appreciate real ale you can ignore the next paragraph.
Here are the 6 beers I sampled and my comments on each; Shepherd's Neame - Damnbuster - 4.4% - Loved this one but have always been a fan of this brewery. A proper ale!
Batemans - Iron Lady - 4.1% - probably very nice but it was cloudy and the bar staff argued that it was fine even though it clearly wasn't!! Thwaites - Liberation Ale - 4.5% - Lovely Ale, beautiful colour, Mmmmm! Browar Namystow - Plum. Avoid unless you like fruit mixed with beer - simply horrible!
Galbraiths - Mr G's luncheon Ale - 3.7% - Lovely colour and pleasant taste. would try again!
My two clear favourites were the Damnbuster and the Liberation Ale!
After the beer tasting we went to see a contemporary dance production by Attik Dance at the Roland Levinsky Theatre at Plymouth University. I was dying to see the theatre as this was the place I have been excluded from for the past two years. Plymouth University hold an annual 'dance, dance, dance event' which is meant to be socially inclusive and about tackling prejudice - however they will not allow me to pole dance and will not give me a reason why! I have sent them videos of some of my performances to quell any concerns they have but have still been denied access to perform at the event. Remember this is the same event that has salsa and belly dancing in its programme! What was interesting was that the performance I saw last night contained nudity and swearing - So that is obviously fine but pole dancing isn't????
Aside from my crusade to take pole dancing everywhere last nights performance was brilliant and was beautifully put together. I loved the theatre and the lighting was amazing. I also loved the final scene which involved 8 foot scaffold chairs which the dancers moved around on (Mmm - dancers moving their body weight and dancing on a metal structure - sound familiar??).
So work now calls me and the pile of admin on my desk isn't going anywhere in a hurry.
Here are my latest pole pictures from Chris Trent at Global Eye Photography. We were just playing around in the studio trying to do something a little different than the standard black and white studio shots I normally do;
I think this is called the aviator but would appreciate any feedback on alternative names??
Me being silly playing Lara Croft - much fun!
Thanks to Chris for all our pics, you can check out Georgina Gale's burlesque pictures by clicking here and Tamar's new pics by clicking here, I will add Amelia B's pics in the next few days as I don't have her password so I can't hack her blog!
Off to teach my next 2 hours of pole dancing now, have 3 hours a day nearly all of this week and they are nearly all advanced classes! I expect to be shattered by the time I get to do my pole dance challenge on Friday! Wish me Luck!
I must have been having a moment of madness when I agreed to do a 'little' challenge on the pole. On Friday 6th November at midday I will be seeing how many times I can climb a 2.8 metre x-pole in 60 seconds! I had a go at the challenge yesterday and nearly passed out as the rapid climbing makes you quite light headed so expect paramedics on the day! The event will be videoed and I will let you know the results as soon as possible. If you want to bet on the outcome then you simply need to click here.
Sorry for the short blog today but I am running around doing lots of little (boring) jobs that need doing and am still feeling a little miserable so will blog again when I feel brighter
Before I get on to the main subject of today's blog I want to point out that I have far from forgotten my previous post on pole dancing competitions and I will address all the comments I have received both on this blog and via e-mail and facebook very soon. However, something came to my attention in the last few days that I felt I had to blog about.
In light of the recent MP's expenses, and a growing lack of confidence in the government from the general public, I was unsurprised by an official government response to the recent 'Save Burlesque petition' posted on the Number 10 website. You can view the actual petition by clicking here. Here is the original petition request;
“We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to make an amendment to the “Policing and Crime Bill 2008-2009” Section 25 to exclude any public performance or performance art from the act that involves the removal of clothing that does not result in nudity as laid out in Section 25 and to exclude it from classification under the Sexual Encounter Entertainment License.”
Details of Petition:
“Under Section 25 of the proposed “Policing and Crime Bill 2008-2009” Burlesque will potentially be eradicated due to the requirement of a “Sexual Encounter Entertainment License” even though there is no nudity in burlesque (as described in section 25) it has been stated by certain boroughs already that the element of the removal of part of you clothing constitutes as stripping and therefore requires a license, although you are able to appear in front of an audience partially clothed you are not allowed to remove any item of clothing in front of an audience in order to achieve this state without the aforementioned license. We would like this loop hole in the act removed to ensure that performances that involve the removal of part of your clothing and do not result in nudity will not require licensing.”
It all seems fair enough you may think but check out the response from Downing street;
"Thank you for your e-Petition dated 6 May 2009 about the introduction of Clause 26 of the Policing and Crime Bill, and its impact on ‘burlesque’ performances.
Clause 26 of the Policing and Crime Bill introduces a new category of sex establishment under Schedule 3 to the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 called ‘sex encounter venue’. The purpose of these provisions is to give local people a greater say over the number and location of lap dancing clubs and similar venues in their area.
Whether or not a venue will require a new licence will depend on the nature of the entertainment provided. Only venues who offer a live performances or live display of nudity, “which is of such a nature that it must be reasonably assumed to be provided solely or principally for the purpose of sexually stimulating any member of the audience”, will need to apply for a sex establishment licence. Therefore, as long as a ‘burlesque’ performance does not fit this definition a new licence will not be required. There is also an exemption for infrequent events.
The Government believe this is the correct approach to ensure the measures are properly targeted and address the real concerns of local communities."
Once again the new laws brought in seem so vague that surely they will be un-enforceable? To argue whether a performance may be sexually stimulating or not is a difficult one. Burlesque acts certainly fit the bill as 'live performances' and of course they may also feature removal of clothing or some degree of semi nudity but does that mean they sexually stimulate and does it matter if they do? Whatever happened to the idea of consenting adults? The problem is where to draw the line. One could watch Strictly come dancing and enjoy the rather skimpy outfits worn by many of the dancers but I am sure that the BBC will not be required to gain a sex encounter license for it to be able to have a live audience!
I think my main concern is what exactly the new bill aims to achieve and what the long term implications are? Surely local councils already have the power to prevent new lap dancing clubs opening should they wish to do so. What impact will the new bill have on the girls working in lap dancing clubs? How will they feel about their new label as a sex workers? Whilst many lap dancers may be providing more than just a lap dance is it fair to tar all girls with the same brush? Once the sexual encounter license are in place will that then encourage more sexual activity? Would a tourist visiting a lap dancing club see a sexual encounter license on display and therefore assume that a full sexual experience was on offer?
On doing some further research yesterday I found out that a sexual encounter license could cost each premises about £30,000 per year. This cost would no doubt be taken directly from the girls who work in the clubs through increased house fees and commissions. The result of this could mean that the girls actually earn less as more of their money has to go back to the club owner so he could pay the license fee. The knock on effect of this could be that the girls then feel more obliged to do 'extras' to boost their decreased income, they may also feel that as they are already labelled as sex workers they may as well work to description! So it is quite possible that one of the results of the sexual encounter license will be an increase in sexual activity within lap dancing clubs so well done all you MP's who voted this bill in, you have now created a bill which seems totally useless and will help no one. What makes the whole situation worse is that most of the MP's involved with putting the new crime bill into place and supporting the idea of a sexual encounter license have never stopped foot in a lap dancing club.
You may wonder why I am worried about this bill at all as I am not a lap dancer or a lap dance club owner but I am worried about the wording of the bill as are many Burlesque artists. Guidance from Equity suggests that if I do more than 12 public pole dancing exhibitions per year I may have to apply for a sexual encounter license as I am performing in a semi nude fashion which may sexually stimulate! Having worked so hard to try to improve the image of modern fitness pole dancing I don't want to slide back down the slippery slope where pole dancing is always deemed to be a pre-cursor to a sexual act.
The last line of the government response makes me laugh the most as apparently the new bill is to address the real concerns of local communities; Most people I speak to are more concerned about anti social behaviour and the antics of certain MP's than they are about a new lap dancing club popping up on their high street.
The new crime bill involves much more that just the sexual encounter license issue and has further reaching effects. Similar issues occur with new laws such designated non-drinking zones. For example if I want to sit in the park with my husband one Summer afternoon and drink a bottle of ale should that be a punishable offence, If I drink the bottle of beer then become abusive then there is a law in existence to punish me, If I throw the bottle of beer at someone there is also a law to deal with me so why I am now prevented from drinking in the park? I could carry on ranting but I will try to stop now. I just feel it would be nice if the government actually focused in issues of greater importance rather than this ridiculous crime bill which seems to benefit no one. I also wish MP's and local council would stop inventing new laws and by laws which just tie the whole system up in knots and actually seems to have a detrimental effect on us law abiding citizens and a beneficial effect for those actually committing crimes.
Well, I am unlikely to gain any new friends from today's blog but I do feel that I need to get a few things of my chest. I have competed in national pole dancing competitions since 2006 and reached the finals of both PoleDivas and Miss Pole Dance UK for each of the last three years. Every year I have come across issues with each competition that I have attended but things have come to a head this year and as a result I have decided not to enter any more competitions and have declined the offer to judge at this years Miss Pole Dance UK event.
The subject of pole dance competitions is a difficult one for me as I get on well with the organisers of both Miss Pole Dance and Pole Divas but unfortunatley my role within the pole dance community has involved me dealing with numerous complaints about each competition that have proved that it is not just me who is unhappy wih the standard of UK pole comps. There is one exception to this rule and that is the United Kingdom Amateur Pole Performer competition; Everyone who I have spoken to about this event has had nothing but praise for the competition and the way in which is was organised and I have heard no complaints about the judging either.
I have just received my feedback from PoleDivas and have 2 real concerns about the judging and feedback process. If I compete in a professional competititon I expect to be able to see my scorecards yet in both PD and MPD that is not possible. For a competition to be transparent and honest there is no reason why scorecards should be witheld, I know of no other competitive sport where points are kept a secret? I am not just being bitter about not winning the Bristol heats of PD and I am over the moon that one of my staff, Tamar, won and is competing in the grand finals and I am extremely proud of her and wish her all the best, I know she will be fabulous.
I don't want to get into a rant about the things I don't like about certain comptitions as I think that will just stir uneccesary bad feeling so instead I have a meeting with various renowned pole dancers to try to come up with a solution resulting in a big meeting in London where we hope to chat to the organisers of UKAPP, MPD, Pole Divas and BIPDC. Hopefully we can reach some kind of agreement about how we can improve the national pole dancing competition circuit.
At long last the MP's are being forced to pay back our money although it seems they are not happy about it. I listened to Harriet Harman's speech yesterday where she said she was "very sorry" for her expenses but I felt no sympathy; If I make a mistake with my business finances when I pay my PAYE or tax I cannot simply apologise, instead I will be either fined or dealt with by the courts. Click here for news of my local MP Linda Gilroy; she is refusing to divulge exactly how much she has been asked to pay back - so much for transparency!
I will keep the blog very short today as I have been writing an article for the pole dance community website so must return to do some essential art of dance work and boring data input! In the meantime you may want to check out the article on the gorgeous pole dancer Tracey Simmonds as well as viewing her latest instructional DVD's. Check out the picture below of Tracey doing the Brass monkey.
I have always enjoyed good food and am generally quite fussy about what I eat. For me buying food is usually a bit of a battle as I like to try to buy organic, locally produced food wherever possible but I also look at how much packaging a product has too and may pick one item over another if it has less packaging or a more environmentally friendly packet. My love of nice healthy, ethical food meant I was thrilled to find a local restaurant that makes wonderful home cooked, locally sourced dishes with an emphasis on good husbandry for all meat products too! The Waterman's arms (pictured above) near Totnes is a gorgeous pub, restaurant and hotel and on arrival my husband and I found a free table by the open fire where we accompanied by the pubs resident dogs, a very cute terrier and an equally cute collie.
The pub experience was enhanced even more by the local real ale, Palmers. Palmers is located in the historic dorset town of Bridport and has been producing beer for over 200 years. The Copper ale pictured was a light refreshing beer which clensed the palate perfectly after the mouthwatering mushroom and parmesan rissotto balls encased with breadcrumbs and served on a large salad featuring about 10 different leafy greens. My husbands lamb dish looked just as gorgeous and the meat was fresh and tender. We will definitely be returning to this hidden gem soon and would recommend it to anyone. Word of advice, if you want to dine in the restaurant you are strongly advised to book as this place is popular.
So after our meal out last Saturday and after watching an episode of Nigel Slaters cookery programme I have found new inspiration for cooking. Tonight I am cooking Nigel's grilled prawns which are meant to be very hot and spicy and I am looking forward to the detoxifying effect of the huge amount of chillies, garlic and ginger I have used! The prawns are currently marinading in the fridge so I will let you know how they turn out and will apolgise to my Monday night students as I fear I will still be reeking of garlic!
Before I sign off for today I must share a little news story I noticed in todays herald which I must admit chuckling too although I do recognise the dangers involved. Click here to read the story and watch the video. Apparently, judging by the comments and looking at the video, the driver may well have been within the speed limit. Unfortunately us humans do seem to enjoy laughing at other peoples misfortunes especially when it involves a group of school kids getting drenched!
Just when I thought it was safe Google have decided to update their blogger functionality which seems to mean that they have moved everything, hopefully the improvements will be for the better but I am yet to find out. It seems Google are not alone in wanting to update their online facilities and on Sunday Lloydstsb took the action of replacing their online banking system without notifying their customers! The result of Lloydstsb actions have caused some upheaval in payments to my staff resulting in some people not getting paid at all and others getting paid twice! Of course if I make a mistake the bank are more than happy to send me a nice little letter charging me £30 for my error however when Lloydstsb make an error apparently it is tough s**t!
The conversation with Lloydstsb reminded me that the collective noun for a group of bankers is a wunch!! No doubt there are simliar collective nouns for MP's and Plymouth City Council? Note to MP's "No, we haven't forgotten the expenses scandal, just wait till the next elections!". Picture below of Gordon Brown giving our money away!
Any of you who are local to Plymouth will be aware of the controversial sale of Citybus and some peole have picked up on the seemingly ridiculous statement that it will cost £1 million to value the company, how is this possible? If I want to value a busines with a view to buy it I simply get an accountant to look at the assets of the busines and the turnover and then come to some sort of figure, how this could possibly cost £1 million is beyond me. What is true is that many people are concerned about the potential sell off of another of Plymouth's assets as well as the huge costs of the valuation. Click here to read one of the recent articles in the this is Plymouth website regarding the proposed sale.
OMG, I have just discovered that the new blogger system actually does as it is told and is a vast improvement on the old system - Yippeee! Bad news is that I can't find the spell checker so I am bound to make loads of mistakes as I type too fast and am hopeless at checking my own work.
So it must be that time that I have to return to proper work, I have the exciting job of some data input (Yawn) but am looking forward to an hour of pole practice with fellow instructor Rosanna at 5pm. I have to start thinking about a new routine for my pending performance at the Plymouth UniveristyStudent Union as well as the UPPDC open day here at the art of dance. I have found a gorgeous new track to dance too but it is 7 minutes long so will need shortening as there is no way I am doing a 7 minute routine. Ok so I can't avoid the data input job any longer, just time to make a nice cup of peppermint tea before burying my head in the PC for the next few hours as I try to decipher the handwriting of my lovely university pole dancing students!
Healthy living, healthy outlook. Sam is the proprietor of the Art of Dance pole dancing school, born and bred in Plymouth. Sam says: "I have always loved the city, despite what others may say about it I think Plymouth is a fantastic place to live. We are extremely lucky to have both beautiful coastline and gorgeous moorland as well as stunning rivers." Sam blogs on issues of health and fitness in 21st century Plymouth for the www.thisisplymouth.co.uk website.