Friday, 30 October 2009

My Pole Dance Challenge (I must be mad)

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

Stay healthy,

Sam x

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Policing & Crime Bill? Who is it actually helping?

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.

Stay Healthy,

Sam x

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Pole dancing competitions

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.

More to follow on this delicate subject!

Stay Healthy

Sam x

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

A Short rant!

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.

Stay Healthy,

Sam x

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Indulging in nice food and enjoying a little controversy!

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!

Stay Healthy & avoid big puddles!

Sam x

Thursday, 8 October 2009


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 Univeristy Student 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!

Stay healthy,

Sam x

p.s. Get Well Soon Dad x

Thursday, 1 October 2009


After yesterdays pole jam and open day at the art of dance I ventured to local club Raffles with Sue, Rosanna and two of my lovely students Justine & Jo where we joined by Gordon (pictured above). Gordon & I took it upon ourselves to support a local business (St Austell Brewery) by consuming several pints of their gorgeous Tribute ale.

The open day and pole jam had been a great success with some new faces turning up to view our two Plymouth studios. Free Bra fitting was provided by Donna from Sienna Lingerie and Miss Amelia B and Miss Spanky McScaffold provided some guided tours of the premises. Myself and my team of Plymouth pole dancing instructors Rosanna, Hayley & Tamar had a great time playing on the poles and trying new moves and combos. I achieved a new spin combo consisting of a back hook spin straight into a spinning shoulder mount, will try to get it videoed and posted soon.

On the subject of my staff team I was beginning to think they had all forgotten how to blog but Hayley has redeemed the situation with a mammoth blog including tales of her recent lesson with world champion pole dancer Felix Cane.

Despite a mild hangover I am finally feeling free of the infection that has plagued me for the past 2 weeks and I also feel that my pole strength has returned after the fortnight of pole weakness! The only small niggle now is the back injury I sustained whilst performing at Jess's open day last Saturday, the injury occurred whilst I was doing the 'stargazer'; as I arched backwards I heard a large click in my back and since then my back has been reminding me that something is not quite right, I will see how it is this week but may have to get some professional advice!

picture left of me at Jess's open day performing 'the knee con'

If you a pole dancer reading this blog and you fancy entering the next series of Britain's Got talent then just visit the pole dance community website for more details. It would be really nice to get some good pole dancers on BGT, I am hoping that AJ may be persuaded to enter!!

I will sign of shortly as I am off to Torquay for the night to stay in a hotel with my Mother in law an her sister and husband. My husband and I have been given a free hotel room for the night and have promised to join in with all the hotels activities - I will update you on that later!

Lastly if any of you are local to the south west of England and you are interested in sustainable living then you may want to attend an evening with writer Tracey Smith, author of The Book of rubbish ideas. The evening will be held at Ashtorre, Rock Community Centre next Tuesday 6th October at 7.30pm and will be hosted by the Saltash Environmental Action (SEA). The evening will include a lively interactive talk on reducing your rubbish and making a difference to the local and global environment, this is an evening not to be missed (donations welcome, and there will be FREE fair trade/organic teas, coffees, squash etc!). If you would like more info on this event please contact Louise Austin

Stay healthy,

Sam x