Thursday, May 21, 2009


FIN - for a bit
Ever so busy
Thanks for looking in and for kind words
Some kind of service will be resumed when new transmitter is switched on,
The Test Card
Picture of scarey clown with lecherous look in one eye, and small girl with balloons, surrounded by patterned frame with BBC logo at the bottom.
The scene played out to the sound of a long continous tone or a selection of lift music.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Could've Been a Lady

And the dance continued. On and on, our merry band wending its way through the holiday camps and leisure centres of the land. A travelling band of Minstrels paving a scorched path of dance and mystical magic, Two weeks extended into four, Guido and Stephanie delighted at the success of the show and their reintroduction into Showbiz Society. Bob and Jean the only casualties, press ganged at a coastal venue into a return to the Choppy Main and a new challenge demonstrating the Magic of Ballroom to seafarers on the P&O ferry “Pride of Bilbao” while battling the rise and fall of the Bay of Biscay.

After the initial giddiness of running away with a dance circus had diminished I settled down to a steady routine of life on the road. Seven shows a week, each night a new venue. Wake early in wherever we are staying, into the minibus and van and on to the next venue by midday. Set up in the afternoon, quick run through of performance, back to digs for meal and change, back to venue. Perform, glasses of fizz to acknowledge triumph, pack van, sleep. Same again. Monotonous though it may sound, it was all still relatively new to me. Other hoofers had their own ways of dealing with the repetitious days, To Sweaty Pauline, a new day, a new palm. Khan Astrologer of Doom lived the part twenty four seven, doom lay all around. Guido and Stephanie were under the most pressure, onstage for over half of the show and troupe leaders; they are busier than most, but as yet, no cracks showing. The biggest surprise to everyone, performers and audiences alike, has been Ivanka. The cross dressing Cossack has gone down a storm every night, and has displaced Khan as the penultimate act of the show; a move that Khan had predicted a week ago. The two continue to share a room, Khan confident in his prediction that Taurean Ivanka will be usurped amidst fire and thunder, and no good will come of this change in the running order.

Ivanka has grown into her role, and may have had his/her head turned by this elevation in status. Keen to attain the next stage of gender realignment he/she put in a request for an increased performance fee. Guido and Stephanie quietly reminding him/her of visa regulations in the UK and what they do to cross gender Cossacks in the barracks of the Caucasus.

This was the first real incident of creative tension between Troupe leaders and the popular Cossack who held the belief that he was fast becoming the future of Light Entertainment. At that night’s performance the air crackled with creative tension. Khan foreseeing trouble repeated his prediction of Fire and Thunder to the troupe and as I moved into Svetlina mode and climbed the stage I had a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach that all was not well.

Blending Science, Art and Dance, the routine begins with me assuming the position of Vitruvian man behind a large circular screen. I am displayed en silhouette, standing still for thirty seconds before the first Doo Doo Doo of the title music from Tales of the Unexpected strikes up. For the next thirty seconds it is a slow swaying of hips with arms outstretched, the arms are than introduced for two minutes of free style swaying before finishing in the position of Bruce Forsyth’s “The Thinker” As Guido has commented, it is a stunning opening that could only be improved by the addition of a full orchestra.

Returning to the dressing room and slipping out of my Lycra body stocking, the tension remained. Pauline was now on stage after some nifty sword work from Willie Watson. Glistening with palmistry pride she had maintained her run of discovering a Dragon Slayer on every day of the week, a surprise to Pauline who had only ever previously come across them at the weekends.

Next came Khan, keen to regain his place as number two in the line up, he was carrying out on the spot readings for whoever was born under the sign that the Sun currently happened to be in. In Astrological terms death defying stuff, the audience struck dumb by Khan’s reading for the man who had his birthday the next day,predicting the death of his cat in the morning and a particularly nasty and messy event late in the day on the way back from a celebratory evening out.

Ivanka followed on. A staid performance, in which he/she seemed to be holding back, a going through of the Cossack motions, just doing enough in a Russian Steppes kind of way that did not quite match previous performances. Then It was Guido and Stephanie. Freestlye Salsa movements from opposite sides of the stage, each night a new move, electrifying stuff that drew gasps from the audience. A sensual Rhumba to follow and then a super Samba, lost in a dance bubble they carried the audience away on a magic Latin carpet. Completely transfixed no one noticed the subtle change in beat. Ivanka irked by her pay dispute and emboldened by Oestrogen, was in control of the music and had skilfully segwayed the music to a new track, storming the stage with a high and low kicking Cossack routine to Hot Chocolate’s “You Could’ve Been a Lady”

Professional to the last, Guido and Stephanie adjusted to the change in beat and proceeded to dance the ladyboy Cossack from the spotlight, escorting him via a routine of tangoesque rushes to the side of the stage where he/she became wrapped in the stage curtain, eventually pulling the curtain down with a crash along with several lighting units.

“Fire and Thunder I tell you! Fire and Thunder! AAAGGHHH!”

boomed Khan as he dashed across the stage arms outstretched in a diversionary tactic that pleased all the audience bar one, who returned home to check on his cat and cancel his birthday celebrations. Guido and Stephanie took the applause and we all returned for the end of show Hokey Cokey except for Ivanka.

I don’t know where this leaves the tour now, Ivanka is piqued at his/her treatment and failure to achieve top billing. Khan has yet to predict the end of the world but I can feel it coming on, and just how many Dragon Slayers does one need to discover. Stephanie says the show must go on, but I just don’t know. I have spoken to husband several times this week, and the kids came to a performance with Grandma which was fantastic. Secretly I think they are quite proud of my new career, but I can’t leave them for much longer. We have to sort something out soon. We are all suspended in a dance/football limbo and must find a way to move forward.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Time on my Hands

Two weeks have flown by. My Svetlina, the dancing shadow? A triumph! Every audience we played to joining in with the title music to “Tales of The Unexpected” A throbbing mass of people waving their arms and singing along. “Doo Doo Doo do do do Doo Doo Doo do do do Do Do. No need to fret about my appearance, I am a dancing shadow, just wiggle and dance, wiggle and dance. I have never been in such good shape.

The kids are ok, I ring them every night. Of course they ask when I will be coming home, to which I can only reply soon. Daughter tells me that Husband has worn out his Bill Withers album, playing “ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone” into the early hours, which induced a pang and a gulp. Son is secretly quite proud of his Mom. Granddad told him that lots of people used to run away with the circus when he was a lad; Grandma had gone off several times during the past few years but never with a circus so it was a first for the family.

Guido and Stephanie are over the moon with the success of the show. Ivanka, formerly Ivan the heavily bearded Transvestite Cossack, has gone down a storm, bar one night when he wore inappropriate underwear during his mini skirted Cossack dance. Bob and Jean, between cruises, have unfortunately fallen out, Jean’s head momentarily turned by the fleet-footed Scottish sword dancer Willie Watson. The two males of the ménage a trios exchanging places, Bob proving to be a rather dangerous sword dancer and Willie providing an unusual interpretation of a Viennese waltz with several leg cross overs and bended knees when a simple point of the toe would have done. There! you see, I am even beginning to sound like a dancer with all this technical talk, anyway Guido and Stephanie were so enamoured by the way the tour was progressing that they added extra dates and extra acts. Chief among them Sweaty Pauline the Palm reader, her favoured sobriquet - Sweet Pauline, suffering from a misplaced vowel in the programme, and “Khan the Astrologer of Doom”, no encouraging forecasts with this one. The two were to fill in between the dance acts. Plucking people from the audience, Pauline builds em up and fills them hope, thirty minutes later Khan knocks then flat with a swish of his cloak and an astrological projection that leaves them wondering if they will make the end of the show. Guido and Stephanie swiftly taking the stage with a fiery Salsa to reassure everyone that all is well and that despite Khan’s forecast, the dance lives on.

I’ve never mixed with mystics before, the closest I’ve come? A roomful of faux wizards and witches at a Harry Potter theme party. With our merry troupe expanding and rooms at a premium I was required to share with Pauline; Khan striking an instant rapport with Ivanka, the pair agreeing to hunker down together until more rooms were available.

I had not shared a room with another person since my student days, Pauline was not that sweaty and neither was she that mystical. She snored and looked a little liverish in the morning and she couldn’t predict what holiday camp we would be staying in the following night. We talked a little, late at night, while battling to dispel the highs of the evening’s performance in an effort to attain sleep. I explained that I was temporarily running away from a life of football, I was missing my family but could not go back to what had gone before. Pauline, glistening with an evening of satisfied customers, turned on the light,

“Show us your hands love”

I sat up on the side of the bed and presented my hands,

“Colour’s Ok, shape wise I’d put you as Spatulate with a hint of fire, your Mercury mount is well developed and Venus mount suitably fleshy.”

And so she went on: this line does this, this line does that, islands on my life line, tridents on my heart line, whorls on my finger tips and an apex on my Luna mount, finally consulting a crumpled chart to declare my best suited role in life to be a Dragon slayer

“It’s an old chart!”

Pauline, declared as she returned to her bed.

“Sorry Pauline, its just…. Oh I don’t know, thanks for the reading it has really helped and I promise to fully appreciate my fleshy Venus mount, but I think I am going to sleep now”

I turned off the light, Pauline snored, and I toyed with the idea of Palmistry in football; coaches picking teams by examining hands rather than assessing fitness and ball skills. Obviously a Goalkeeper must have hands, preferably big ones at that. A line of intuition would be a desirable trait on the palm of the aspiring keeper to predict opposition attacking moves. Any sign of the Girdle of Venus, a marker of sensitivity and inner turmoil, then keeping is not for him, if the ball goes in the net, you have to move on. A definitive moniker for the defender is a high set apex on the Jupiter mount that suggests a stickler for correctness, while prospective midfielders should display a loop of serious intent in the whorls below the middle finger. Strikers should not display a line of fate. The tip of the middle finger should be flexible, denoting a gambler, which is just what you want around the box. Substitutes should have a fork leaving the line of fate around the Luna Mount signifying patience, and the manager should have a Mount of Jupiter to die for.

What have I done? Twenty minutes pontificating about the merits of footballer’s hands when I have pledged my short term existence to the world of dance. Is my life missing a soupcon of the dreaded football?

Thursday, January 22, 2009


After the plumbing disaster of last week, and husband’s indifference at my Saturday morning dance tryst with Guido, I had been left in an emotional limbo. The excitement of the morning, the thrill of the dance left me feeling more alive than I had for weeks, only to be lain flat by husband’s reaction to my plight, Indifference hurts!

Years ago and capable of stirring to great heights of passion, his first reaction would be to rant, rage and sling Guido out on his ear. This would be followed by a prolonged period of dark brooding before making up passionately some hours later. Now his first concern is locating the stopcock and brooding about selling a bloody Iron! Indifference hurts!

He can still stir himself to great heights of passion as long as he is standing on a white line, watching twenty-two boys chase a stupid white ball around. There he will rage against indifference urging the boys to show the same passion that he is displaying, play for the shirt and do of their best. To him this is when Indifference hurts!

To the footballer indifference cannot be tolerated. It is a black and white world with no room for shades of grey. Us against them, all for one and one for all, a legitimate reason to show passion in a game where a shrug of the shoulders and a “whatever” has no place. To the footballer on the field, and the end result for the team Indifference hurts!

Normally in these situations I would come up with an indifferent eleven, a fantasy footballing side, a mental fight back against the footballing machine. First name on the team sheet was Catherine Tate, Am I bovvered? indifference on the edge. A back line of Frenchmen relying heavily on the Gallic Shrug, and a Swiss midfield, neutral to a man backing not one side or the other. The masters of sitting on the fence, Worzel Gummidge. Phil Drabble and Jack Hargreaves, the three man strike force. All playing under the tutelage of a French manager whose main half time mantra is “comme ci comme ca” It was a feeble effort and one riddled with my own indifference to the task. His indifference away from the field of football was catching. Indifference hurts!

Helpless and unable to get him to show passion about anything but football, I have had a Gloria Gaynor moment and “got up and walked” He tried to stop me and briefly displayed feelings that had long been hidden away from the football pitch, but I had to go, walk out the door, don’t turn around now. I was still welcome but I wanted more. Guido and Stephanie keen to resume their dancing careers had put together a small band of hoofers to embark on a two week tour of spectacular dance. A two-hour show where Guido and Stephanie’s’ Latin dance headlines. Bob and Jean, between cruises, do the ballroom. Ivanka (formerly Ivan) a heavily bearded Russian transvestite dances Cossack style in high heels and mini skirt followed by Wee Willie McWatson a small and elderly kilted Scotsman who dances with swords. After my morning session with Guido in the kitchen “en silhouette” drew rave reviews from the villagers passing by, Guido has persuaded me to open the show dancing behind a screen to the opening music from “tales of the unexpected”. Football is no longer on the menu and I am no longer Soccermom, but slinky hipped Svetlina the dancing shadow. Tonight will be our third performance of the two-week tour. We are ensconced in a holiday camp in the depths of winter; the place is shabby and cold. The first two nights were a triumph. After my five minutes of wiggling I get to watch the whole show, returning for the group Hokey Cokey at the end. The dance is fantastic, the days are long but fun. Of course I miss the kids, and I miss him and home, and I think that after the two-week tour I shall go back, but just for the moment, Indifference no longer hurts.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Livin La Vida Loca

Christmas come and gone and a return to Football madness in the New Year, with three weeks passing since the last football fiasco, husband and son having kittens at the prospect of pulling on the studs again. I too had reason to be excited about the coming Saturday, I too would be pulling on a stud, Guido having relented to my request for an individual dance class at our spa day had agreed to come around when I was home alone and give further one to one instruction in return for me raising a small discrete group of like minded individuals who were keen to be instructed in all things Latin and Ballroom. Just a small class to get him back on his feet after the furore over his and Stephanie’s unfortunate arrest in the med on a yacht. So with husband and son away on footballing matters Guido was popping around on Saturday morning for a one-hour session. On a need to know basis I decided that this was one that Husband did not need to know about, especially with the pre match tension he would know doubt be enduring that morning.

So with the ready excuse that I would be spending the morning listing many of the Christmas presents that he had bought for me on ebay, namely the Teflon coated corset with Kevlar supports, the eau de toilette titled “fishee” that comes in a goldfish shaped bottle, and the Iron, yes an Iron, purchased, he proudly told me, after a particularly convincing advertising campaign that ran along the lines of:

“Need to impress someone you love? Say it with an Iron”

Must have missed me that one. Anyway husband didn’t seem to mind, thank goodness for ebay, at least I could choose something that I really wanted and all that, he chuntered as he put on his coat and left the house on the coldest morning of the year so far.

Up into the shower, put on the top that revealed eye popping décolletage that I wore to our first lesson, with jeans and heels for luck. Pulled the curtains, moved back the furniture and waited for his Latin loveliness. Brief pangs of guilt at the thought of husband and son wending their way in the cold to some far flung field that were instantly dismissed by the ring of the doorbell. My heart jumped, butterflies fluttered in my stomach, suddenly it all felt rather naughty. I opened the door and with a nervous giggle invited my dancing matador across the threshold,

“Ah……. you are wearing the outfit that you wore when we first danced”

He said, kissing my hand and moving through to the lounge. Speechless I snapped myself back into the room with a note to self,

“Careful, he’s a live one this, just do the dance then show him the door, dance dance dance”

Thoroughly ensconced in the lounge Guido was changing into his dancing shoes, waving his arm he said,

“Cherie this room will not do. We cannot dance on carpet. The floor it must be hard and firm, springy with slide, it must be the kitchen, now come”

He leapt to his feet and pulled me through to the kitchen, where I remained still speechless as he transported the kitchen table and chairs into the lounge.

“It is not much but it will do, now Cherie”

The kitchen looked out across our drive and the road beyond.

“But Guido we will be seen”

“You wish to hide your dancing? You should be proud to dance with Guido”

And with that we began to Salsa, no room for a tango or Cha Cha Cha, just a simple salsa step, back and forth to my daughter’s Now 62 CD. Hip movement? Check. Correct hold? Check. Back straight, chin out? Check. We are dancing, we are flipping well dancing. On to the next song and an introduction to a simple Rumba, Guido encouraging me to be more carefree in my movement, oblivious to the passers by who were transfixed by the shapes I was throwing in silhouette through the window with my dashing dance partner. Some repeatedly walking by just to take in the passionate dance framed by the fridge and the oven.

And then in one of those brief periods of time when a million critical things seem to happen at once, the wheels came off our dance journey. Leaning back gracefully with arm extended waiting for Guido to pull me back to his embrace I felt a drip of water on my head, looking up I could see a huge damp patch on the ceiling.

“Oh bloody hell, I think a pipe has burst, Guido are you any good at……”

Ding Dong the doorbell rang

“Oh get that Guido, I will have to turn the water off”

Bending down on all fours and shoving my head under the sink I heard a familiar trans Atlantic Drawl

“Oh good grief, Brandi what the hell does she want?”

“Guido!!! It is you, I could see you through the window and I thought to myself that’s Guido, that’s Guido, so Honey I just had to……”

“Guido, could you turn the tap on and see if I have turned the water off? I cried from under the sink”

I could feel Guido leaning over me just as the sound of the dripping through the ceiling turned to a torrent, unfortunately at the time Ricky Martin was belting out Living La Vida Loca from the CD player, drawing further squeals from Brandi who on hearing the line

“She’ll make you take her clothes off and go dancing in the rain”

Leapt under the dripping water peeled off her top layer and swinging it around her head.

“Come on Guido whadda ya say ??”

I was still head stuck in cupboard with Guido pressed up against my backside trying to reach the tap when in walks husband.

“Hi Brandi, Guido good to see you, where have you been? What are you doing down there darling?”

He calmly inquired despite the bizarre highly charged scene set out in front of him,

“Game was called off, frozen pitch. Have we a burst pipe? Not surprised in this weather, oh well got all day to fix it. You turn the water off in the garage love.”

And off he went to the garage. Brandi towelled off and put back on her damp layer, and Guido withdrew from his position and put on his going home shoes.

“Good to see you again Guido, have you moved back into the area? Nasty business about that yacht, how is Stephanie? always a pleasure Brandi”

Husband inquired as he escorted Guido and Brandi off the premises, returning with a click as he closed the door behind him. Bracing myself for a row I struck a defensive pose.

“I can’t believe they didn’t have the sense to call the game off earlier, it would have saved us all a drive, the ground is as hard as nails.”

And with that he went off to the garage to mend the pipe. Not a word about Guido, or the position he found us both in when he walked in the door, or mention of a half clothed dripping Brandi swinging her top around her head to the pulsating beat of Ricky Martin. Just the game, the tap and the bloody game, THE BLOODY GAME! I could have been stretched out naked on the kitchen table with Guido tickling my feet with sticks of celery and he still would not have seen beyond the bloody game.

A little chastened and sad I withdrew to our bedroom emerging after a few hours to explain how hurt I was by his indifference. Was he not jealous at finding me alone with another man and an ageing nymphomaniac? Was he not hurt that I had not done as I said I was going to do that morning and had arranged a secret dancing tryst? Did he not feel anything at my apparent deceit?

Looking up from his pipe bending machine he turned to face me, he looked sad, I could see emotion in his eyes, he did have feelings, he did care, he opened his mouth and croakily whispered

“I really thought you’d like that Iron, it was a bloody good bit of kit”

Before bowing his head and returning to his bent pipe