Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Have the CPS lost the plot?

Before I get on to the main topic of todays blog I must direct you to breaking news from the United Kingdom Amateur Pole Performer competition 2009, it seems that some competitors have broken the rules - click here for more details. It is really sad that certain individuals have attempted to cheat to win this competition and must be deeply saddening for the organisers and the competitors who have played by the rules.

Recently I have read several articles in both the local and national press regarding increasing lack of confidence in the Crown Prosecution Service, some have already started referring to the organisation as the Clown Prosecution Service. I have read these articles with interest as I have had a poor experience when dealing with the CPS in the not too distant past.

One day last year I had decided to stop for a quick beer after work and therefore had opted to leave my car in the local car park overnight. The following day I discovered my car covered in blood and with a large dent in the targa roof. I called the police who asked me to take my car to the scenes of crime unit for further analysis. It emerged that overnight a young man (I am being polite in calling him that rather than using another more appropriate term) had attacked his girlfriend in the car park and the dent in the roof was where her head had been smashed into the roof knocking her unconscious. The 'young man' had been arrested at the scene but the girlfriend did not want to press charges. The 'young man' had also assaulted two police officers at the point of arrest.

Further investigation then found that the incident was recorded on CCTV owned by the car park. So to summarise the incident involved an arrest at the scene, police witnesses, an assault on 2 police officers, a vicious attack on a young woman, DNA evidence in the form of blood on my car, CCTV footage and to add to the story the 'young man' was already known to the police. Despite this the CPS decided that there was not enough evidence for any charge to be brought against him and suggested I claim for the damage via my insurance which would of course result in a loss of my no claims and a excess payment charge. As you can imagine I was none too pleased.

The incident makes me question exactly what sort of evidence the CPS need when the case looked so clear cut and had so much evidence?

Lastly a quick date for the diaries of all of you who live close to Tavistock, if you love cheese then you must visit the fantastic Real Cheese Festival organised by Country Cheeses. The event will take place on August 23rd & 24th at the stunning Tavistock Town Hall.

More news to follow on a fight with another school who are failing to see that modern fitness pole dancing is not the same as lap dancing.....

Stay Healthy,

Sam x

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Sunday stuff

Well, Firstly a big Congratulations to Drea on the success of Scarred for Life; Drea and her bandmates got through to the quarter final of Plymouth's Battle of the Bands competition. I hope that Scarred for life make it through to the final too! Good Luck x

Today was meant to be a day of fishing and BBQing but the British Summer (bbc forecast for today in Plymouth is torrential rain and a maximum temp of 16 degrees Celsius) has other plans for me, even my contingency plan of visiting the moors to plunder some bracken for the quail seems unlikely and so the call of my dressing gown and sofa is seeming to be the most likely destination for today. Even as I am writing the weather is getting worse. Luckily one member of my household is having a great day; Kye, my cat, has just discovered one of the beautiful new red velvet curtains purchased by the Lovely Amytree as part of the furnishings for the nearly completed second studio. Kye has managed to wrap herself in said red velvet curtain and shows no signs of moving for at least the next 7 hours.

Talking of the lovely Amytree, I had the pleasure of visiting her yesterday and meeting her Mum, partner Chris and younger brother Trevor. I had arrived late due to having to teach a 2 hour hen party in Exeter. The hen and her friends were great fun to teach and no doubt will be aching today as a result of their hard work, their pain is probably accompanied by a hangover too after their planned night out. Anyway, my visit to see Amytree and family provided a nice opportunity to chill out and chat with new and old friends as well as the highlight of my day - meeting Starsky! Starsky (guinea pig on the left) is one of AmyTree's guinea pigs and he is simply adorable.

My husband, whose bike has just passed its MOT, is using the kitchen as a temporary garage and the smell of petrol is quite overwhelming. His petrol tank cleaning plan looks ingenious!

I should sign off now to make the most of the rest of my day off, I will be back soon and will post results from the Manchester heat of the UKAPP competition on the pole dance community site ASAP,

Stay Healthy,

Sam x

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

My Husband's Terror!

My mobile phone rang, I answered it, it was my husband and he sounded distressed - he announced in a shaky voice that he had been attacked by a fresh, hot, Morrison's Chunky Steak Pie. Apparently he had been innocently typing away at his keyboard when the pie jumped off the desk and forced it's way down his throat. I was concerned for my husbands welfare and decided to take action by replacing the steak pie with a Marks and Spencer's Choux pastry filled with Vanilla Custard and topped with chocolate. To my horror as soon as i reached the house the custard item leapt from its packaging and dived at my husband leaving his face smeared with chocolate sauce and the rest of the pastry well on it's way to being digested, the remaining pastry sat innocently in the Kitchen away from the temptation to molest some poor unsuspecting human.

But, shock, horror - As I ventured back through the Kitchen minding my own business I suddenly found myself removing the pastry from it's packaging and biting into the top of the pastry removing some of the chocolate, by the time I had noticed what was happening the evil pastry had retreated to its wrapper. The the following morning I noticed that once again my husband had been attacked and this time the pastry has lost it's entire custard filling in the process. Both my husband and I have remained traumatised and fearful of purchasing any more pies although I fear that more pies will find their way into our home regardless of our good intentions!

OK so back to seriousness. I may not get a chance to blog much over the next few days as my schedule looks rather hectic, tomorrow and Friday will involve trying to get the second Plymouth studio ready for the floor to be laid and ready for it's pending opening on the 10th August! On Saturday I have a hen party in Exeter and will be popping in to see the lovely Amytree whose mum is visiting from the US. As well as general admin I am involved in a complete restore of the art of dance which seems to involve a fairly large amount of paperwork, I will explain all later! In addition to the aforementioned things I have to find some time to update the pole dance community website so as you can imagine spare time is not really going to be in plentiful supply.

Look forward to blogging again ASAP

Stay healthy and avoid swine flu!

Sam x

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Mallkhamb and retail therapy

Before I share the smugness of my day yesterday with my Mum I wanted to share a video with you that is truly amazing and should quieten the anti pole dancing brigade a little. I have blogged about Mallakhamb before but this time will let Nehal do the talking:

"Mallakhamb as the name suggests is a pole used by wrestlers for practicing their skills in the game KUSTI. But now a days the trend has changed and it has got a special identity. Mallakhamb needs concentration, speed and flexibility. It is the only game which is played against gravity.

Mallakhamb is a traditional Indian sport in which a gymnast performs poses and feats while hanging from a vertical wooden pole or rope. Mallakhamb also refers to the pole used in the sport.

The name of the performer is Rajesh Amrale who appeared in India's Got Talent, a show that has eminent judges trio of Shekhar Kapoor, Sonali Bendre and Kirron Kher.
The word "Mallakhamb" is composed of Malla, which denotes a gymnast or a man of strength, and khamb, which is a pole. Mallakhamb, therefore, can be translated in English as pole gymnastics." Click here to watch Rajesh in action.

Yesterday I had the pleasure to spending some quality time with my Mum, it seems like weeks since we have caught up properly and as I am very close to my Mum I was really looking forward to our day out in Plymouth. We started with a spot of retail therapy as my Mum wanted to treat me to a few belated birthday treats, our first stop was La Senza where we purchased a bottle of Undiscovered. I had first discovered undiscovered at a recent promotion at the Grosvener Casino where I was promoting the art of dance, I met the lovely Sarah from la Senza and sampled their latest fragrances and fell in love with the undiscovered perfume.

Our next stop was Jane Norman where we bagged 3 bargains before walking to the Barbican for a bite to eat. We decided upon the Seafood and Pasta bar and opted to share the special - Rainbow Trout, Coquille St Jacques, Mussels in Tomato & Chilli sauce and salad - it was fresh, perfectly cooked and delicious. Even the view was great - see picture top of blog.

The day with my Mum was as lovely as expected and was followed by an evening of relaxation with my Husband involving T.V., a very soft fluffy dressing gown, some real ale and a home made pizza with fresh garden herbs and Tuna.

Anyway before I sign off for today I wanted to leave you with 2 bits of pole dancing news. Firstly
Congratulations to Trixabell aka Aimee Jenkinson who achieved first place in the first set of heats in St Alban's for the United Kingdom Amateur Pole Performer pole dancing competition.Congratulations to Stacey & Kat for organising the event which was an outstanding success. More news, pictures and videos from UKAPP to follow soon. I will leave you with another little pole dancing video gem from the amazing Jamilla dancing on the X-stage from X-pole - enjoy....

Stay Healthy,

Sam x

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Pole dancing stigmata & Quails eggs!

For any of you who pole dance regularly you will understand that the metal pole always comes of better than you when it comes to damage! If you don't pole dance then you can probably identify those that do by their pole dancing stigmata, next time you see someone out wearing sandals just check out the tops of their feet for the tell tale signs - bruising, scarring or scabs across the top of the foot.

As a regular pole dancer I was getting really fed up with losing bits of skin from my left foot (my dominant climbing foot) and my left shin, once the skin is damaged there is no chance for it to recover and all that seems to happen is that any scab formed over said missing skin would be ripped of at the next training or teaching session resulting in scars and the risk of infection from cuts that weren't healing so the PDC ankle supports have been a real help in protecting my poor little size 5's.

On the subject of pole training I have neglected my own personal practice a little but with several member of staff of work I am doing enough teaching to keep my fitness up and through extra sensible eating have dropped the 2 extra kgs I was carrying and returned to my optimum weight of 55kgs - OK so 2 extra kgs doesn't sound like a lot but being the wrong side of 30 years old i did not want the extra 2kgs to increase to 3 then 4kgs etc etc!

At present I have Rosanna of sick - GET WELL SOON Rosanna, Nixi still injured, Tamar skiving for 4 weeks in Bali and Hayley with limited hours due to her full time job and her sister leaving to move to OZ. Jo and I are certainly being kept on our toes!

Next week I am covering Rosanna's Exeter class again. Rosanna's Exeter Ladies were an absolute pleasure to teach last week so no doubt next week will be good too, I have a hardcore session plan for the girls so they will probably be begging for Rosanna's return. I will also be teaching Hayley's Liskeard class on Tuesday so will prepare an equally gruelling session plan for them too!

I mentioned earlier about my extra sensible eating regime at present and meant include a new item on the menu - Quails eggs. As I am the proud owner of three very cute quails, Amber, Tawny & Eve, I thought it made sense to try some of their eggs. I am still mastering the art of breaking the tiny shells without smashing up the entire egg but poaching them is easy and they taste gorgeous and are obviously very fresh. The quails are now getting very tame and are enjoying getting out of the aviary for a few hours a day to collect worms and pester me for mealworms, they have even ventured into the house to check things out before returning to their outdoor home. If you don't have your own Quail I can highly recommend Clarence Court Quail eggs as they have excellent standard of animal care resulting in great tasting fresh eggs.

Well it is now time for me to teach the 6.15pm Plymouth class and I have 6 students with a pole to themselves so they should expect a real beasting!

Stay healthy,

Sam x

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Hard times

When I first saw the headlines about the recession late last year I thought that things would be difficult but i had no idea quite how hard things were going to be. It seems as if the second wave of recession is now hitting and the more business people I speak to the more I learn about the hardships some people are facing. Even my friends who are employed are struggling as they have watched their outgoings increase whilst their income remains unchanged or lowered.

The news yesterday that some employers are asking their employees to work for nothing or take a year off without pay demonstrates exactly what troubles we are all facing. The financial woes alongside the run of bad weather (OMG have you seen what the jetstream is up to!!!) has certainly increased levels of depression and stress for most people. My current stress levels as well as limited time have reduced my regular blogging but I intend to get back to full blogging mode ASAP.

Since I last blogged about the controversial new policing and crime bill I have had no response from Linda Gilroy (apart from an automated response), despite e-mailing her and sending her a copy of my blog. To be honest I will be surprised if I get any response at all.

Anyway, soon, I will update you fully on recent developments with me, the art of dance and the Pole Dance Community site which I will be updating tomorrow.

Lastly Good Luck to my 2 students Alex Bell and Lucy Sings who are both in the final of Face of Plymouth 2009 !

Stay healthy,

Sam x

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Should Tom Daley wear a wetsuit?

How would you define semi nudity? How would you define behaviour that may be sexually stimulating? I am asking these question as I concerned about certain terms within the new Policing and crime bill 2009 one of which is the term semi-nudity.

I became aware of plans to introduce the new bill last year and actually wrote to my local MP Linda Gilroy (she is one of the MP's who voted for her expenses to be kept secret!) to raise some concerns. I had received a newsletter from Linda Gilroy entitled 'Pole dancing', the newsletter was actually about a crackdown on lap dancing clubs so I was worried Linda had chosen the title pole dancing. I also mentioned to Mrs Gilroy that the crackdown on lap dancing clubs did not seem to address any of the real issues that surround such establishments. To further my worries I was informed that none of the MP's or councillors spearheading the campaign against lap dancing clubs had ever actually been into such a club or spoken to any of the girls who work at such places.

I received a letter from Linda Gilroy (pictured below apparently snogging the former prime minister Tony Blair- I joke of course although perhaps Mrs Gilroy was 'sexually stimulating the poor man and therefore she may need her own sexual encounter establishment license!)!) in January 2009 responding to me e-mail that had been sent on 10th December, she apologised for using the term pole dancing rather than the term lap dancing although she pointed out that "pole dancing is usually a pre-cursor to striptease in these clubs". Linda finished the letter by wishing me the best in my fitness pole dancing business.
On Friday 26th June I went to the Equity meeting in London for the Equity Pole dancers working group and was horrified to learn that the policing and crime bill had already gone through parliament and that conditions within the bill could require me to hold a sexual encounter establishment license for my premises as I do more than 11 public pole dancing performances per year! here is the exact legislation that affects me:

Sex establishments
26 Regulation of lap dancing and other sex encounter venues etc
(1) Schedule 3 to the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 (c. 30)
(Control of sex establishments) is amended as follows.
(2) In paragraph 2 (meaning of “sex establishment”) after “means a” insert “sex
Encounter venue,”
(3) After paragraph 2 insert—
“Meaning of “sex encounter venue”
2A (1) In this Schedule “sex encounter venue” means any premises at which
relevant entertainment is provided before a live audience for the
Financial gain of the organiser or the entertainer.
(2) In this paragraph “relevant entertainment” means—
(a) any live performance; or
(b) any live display of nudity;
which is of such a nature that, ignoring financial gain, it must
reasonably be assumed to be provided solely or principally for the
purpose of sexually stimulating any member of the audience
(Whether by verbal or other means).
(3) The following are not sex encounter venues for the purposes of this
(a) sex cinemas and sex shops;
(b) premises at which the provision of relevant entertainment as
mentioned in sub-paragraph (1) is such that, at the time in

The bill mentions live performances and this apparently applies to live pole dancing in a semi nude display and Burlesque acts who will also be affected by the Bill. So my first question hence the title of this blog is what exactly is semi nudity? At what point do I go from clothed to semi nude? Is Tom Daley (pictured below in 'full' sporting attire) semi nude when he dives at the Olympics, he certainly isn't wearing much and I wear more than him when I perform so how come I may need to get a license and he doesn't! OK so the Tom Daley arguement is a little tongue in cheek but it does highlight the point about exactly what is semi nudity.
(Before I carry on my debate I must laugh at the statistic I have just found whilst searching for aTom Daley picture and link, when you type Tom Daley in as a search term in Google you are given several search options, one of which is Tom Daley six pack which has 59,600 results but more disturbingly there are 6,100 result for tom's 'bulge' and 13,700 results for Tom's bum! - and you thought it was just pole dancing that aroused excitement!)

What is yet more amusing is the fact that on one hand I am registered with the governments Change for life initiative to tackle obesity, I am currently working with neighbourhood policing and have provided youth group sessions to the former Caradon District Council as well as exhibitions to the Womens Institute and other charity and voluntary groups but on the other hand I may have to hold a sex encounter establishment license? It simply doesn't make sense.

What is worse is that the new bill could be used to further restrict my work. Plymouth City Council have already put restrictions on a local strip club by stating that:

34. 34. Definition of all references to striptease, nudity, lap dancing, pole dancing and entertainment of a similar nature shall be referred to in these conditions as approved adult entertainment

38. There will be no external advertising or leafleting of the premises or any adult entertainment. They will cause no publication and display of obscene and indecent matter to be displayed or distributed in advertising performances being held at the premises. In addition opaque glass will be installed.

These conditions imply that all pole dancing is approved adult entertainment and that promotional material containing pictures of pole dancers is inappropriate. Burlesque artists are already on the case and are planning a Pastie Protest in London, the event is scheduled for 23rd July:

Quote from Shake it;"It has come to our attention that burlesque is not only been banned in the London Borough of Camden but under new licensing laws (SEEL), we will also be put within the same category as strip clubs and lap dancers….. Time to stop this…if not, then certainly stop it spreading to other boroughs. So rally the troupes! get your pasties, pants and placards and march with us on Camden High Street! The press have been informed! N.B: if you’re not willing to get arrested for your art then feel free to wear more than just pasties and pants :-) ."

You can also help the protest by signing the governement petiton to save Burlesque -

If you want some further reading then why not try this American psychologys students essay on my performance at South Devon College or the recent Guardian Article about the current Burlesque debate.

So perhaps it is now time for a pole dancing protest to prove that we are not all sluts of Satan, we are not out to degrade women, we recognise pole dancing as a great way to boost our physical and mental health and we will not be told by our government that what we are doing is wrong. Remember that the MPs' that have passed this bill are the same people who have claimed ludicrous expenses so exactly who is the wrong doer here - us or them?

I have planned one individual protest in London that, if I get the relevant permission, I will blog about later.

I could carry on ranting about this subject for some time but I think you get the general idea, I will keep you posted on the ongoing arguement and hope to write a more cheerful blog soon. I will leave you with a video of two guys showing exactly what a show of strength pole dancing can be, the video really gets amazing at about 1min 08 secs.

Stay healthy,

Sam x

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Spin City Pole Jam - 5th July

I have just got back from a fabulous Pole Jam at Spin City in Bristol. The jam had been organised by the lovely Spin City owner Kate Johnstone. It was great to share ideas and meet new faces as well as catching up with old friends. I am now slightly bruised and quite achey but really glad I attended the event. Kate's 2 studios are gorgeous and well equipped. I spent most of the time in the first floor studio where I fell in love with the 45mm x-pole - it is so much easier to use - however I will stick to my hardcore 50mm's for the moment.

Picture above; Me doing a 'tabletop'

More pics and videos from the day to follow,

Stay Healthy,

Sam x

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Not enough pole time!

As a result of my busy schedule I have been neglecting my pole training regime, I hope to make up for things a little at tomorrows pole jam at Spin City in Bristol. The 3 hour session should give me the kick up the backside that I need to get back into training.

Today's blog will be a very short one despite some burning issues that I am dying to share with you! If I don't get a chance to blog before Tuesday morning then you can hear me ranting about said issues on Tuesday morning on BBC Radio Devon with the lovely Gordon Sparks at 8.15am.

Before I do sign off for today I want to send a huge GET WELL SOON to Rosanna who is currently very under the weather and will be off for at least another fortnight, we all miss her and wish her a speedy recovery.

Off to teach a group of 15 ladies for a hen party alongside Burlesque beauty Georgina Gale. I am also hoping to get to the Waterfront for an hour later to check out the Lobster Festival!

Stay Healthy,

Sam x

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Beware - I'm back!

I have so much to tell you that I fear this may be the longest blog I have ever written. I will start by sharing details of my recent trip to London and then blog again later in the week with further developments:

By 9am on Friday morning I was on the Penzance to London train on my way to the quarterly meeting of the Equity Pole Dancers Working group at the Equity HQ, Leicester Square. The train was packed so I was less than thrilled to find out that despite paying £72 for a return ticket I had no seat! To add to my disappointment I then discovered that the carriage I found myself squeezed into contained 2 stag parties, 1 hen party, a group of AC/DC fans on their way to Wembley and a well spoken elderly couple who clearly weren't enjoying their journey much either. The elderly couple seem even more disturbed when one of the AC/DC fans ventured to the buffet produly dislaying his 'F**K SCHOOL' t-shirt.

It was nice to see that one of stag parties, a group of young lads from stonehouse, had planned well for the journey and had bought their own personal off license and were armed to the teeth with the latest Michaeal Jackson jokes most of which I cannot repeat.

Halfway into the journey and both stag parties had seen the back of my t-shirt which read "Pole Dancing Instructor" and so they made a smal chant to sing to me each time I ventured to the toilet or buffet which I found greatly amusing. On the subject of the buffet I had been informed that the buffet had a 'delicious' new menu and a chef on board so I was looking forward to sampling some freshly cooked delicacy, here is a picture of my food, OK so it was not really awful but was incredibly hard to consume given that the only equipment I was provided with was a bendy plastc fork and spoon.Despite the food not being quite as lovely as it could have been I was impressed to find that all the teas were organic and were made by Clipper who have a great fairtrade policy too. Also all the eggs were free range.

As we pulled into Westbury the first stag party 'entertained' the carriage with their special song entitled "Nicky Reilly is our mate", the lyrics were fairly simple but explained that the lads had grown up with Nicky and understood his vulnerability. After my interesting journey I made it on time to the Equity HQ where I met Michael day from Equity, Emma aka Miss Glory Pearl, Dana from Rock n Roll Pole and Kate Johnstone from Spin City. Apologies were read from Genevieve Moody from the Flying Studio, Steve & Kay from Pole Passion, Elena Gibson from Pole Dancing School, Jason Parlour and Tracey Simmonds.

The meeting covered several current issues including the dreadful new policing and crime bill 2009 which includes some new legislation concerning lap dancing clubs that will impinge on both pole dancers and Burlesque artists; this subject is more than worthy of its own blog and I will also discuss it in more detail on BBC Radio Devon next Tuesday morning at 8.15am with the Lovely Gordon Sparks.

The train journey back to Plymouth was just as eventful as the outbound journey, once again it was standing room only but this time the train was even more packed, the corridors were blocked with bags and I struggled to find somewhere even to stand, I gave up my search and made my way to the buffet car where I managed to find a small spot on the floor next to the bin where I could sit down. One gentleman joked with that it was like taking a train in New Delhi athought I pointed out that knew of no train journey in Delhi that would cost £72!

The last 2 hours of my journey were spent next to the buffet with a lovely guy called Mike, Mike and I decided to indulge in several cans of beer whilst talking politics, we were then joined in our lively debate by a guy called Callum who had consumed several Ecstasy tablets and was having a few problems maintaining normal speech, however he was harmless, quite funny and very interested in our political rants. On arrival in Plymouth I departed from my two male companions and returned home excited about my pending 2 day trip to Par Sands (I will blog about that at the weekend).

Before I sign of I wanted to warn you of a recent decision that I have made, I am going to stand as an independent councillor, I am so fed up with my own endless whinging and am also disheartened with current council arrangements that I feel I have nothing to lose from standing as a candidate, I will keep you posted on further developments.

Stay Healthy,

Sam x

p.s. rest in peace Citybus!