Sunday, 20 July 2014

Man, It's A Hot One! seven inches from the midday sun!

Well it's been pretty damn hot the last couple of weeks, hasn't it?! In more ways than one!

I've had a tonne of amazing shows at three of my favourite venues: House of Magic, Kaff Bar and Proud Cabaret, and it has been fabulous - hot, sweaty, deeply unglamorous at times; but full of fun, laughs and lovely people. And that, my friends, is what it's all about.

P.S. - I was uploading these pictures and realised how much the people in them are some of my favourite people ever! That made me happy!

Mirror Pictures! House of Magic family; Elliot Mason, Stevie Smallwood, Steven, David Crofts and Abby!

The Master and Mistress of the House of Magic ** Cast and Crew Dressing Room

The gorgeous Jasz Vegas popped along to watch the show!

My new favourite place: the grotto in the garden


Rocking the Kaff Bar! With Ruby Deshabille, Joe Morose, Steve Ross and Chastity Belt!

Proud Cabaret Mirror Picture! With Jonathan Finch, Abi Collins, Betsy Rose, Joe Morose and Taz Zebrowski and Jamie Moon hiding in the background!

I was lucky enough to be offered a ticket to watch the glorious Diaghilev Festival at The London Coliseum as well - considering I had only been to the same theatre the previous week to watch Leah Debrincat in the opera 'Cosi Fan Tutte' I felt very posh going again for the ballet! It was actually stunning and the third act combined a full corps-de-ballet, a full orchestra and an entire opera chorus! I got goosebumps!

The beautiful London Coliseum

With Sophie and Vince - ready to watch some ballet!

And of course, I've had the necessary days out with the boy, and days off with the cats!

Day out by the lake

Smug Marrieds...

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Stepping Away

So this is kind of a non-announcement as it's not really an announcement and it's not really a big deal. But I've had a couple of people ask so this is more of a 'Frequently Asked Questions' situation.

I'm going to be stepping away from Burlesque for a while; not quitting, as such, just not getting involved in the hustle any more. I will be honouring bookings I've already got in my diary and I'm still available for shows but I'm not going to be travelling much outside London, and I'm not going to be pushing for constant work, work, work.

I took the decision a couple of weeks ago to reactivate my 'real' profiles on Facebook and Twitter. I realised a long time ago that Facebook can be poison and I was finding myself getting horribly depressed over the smallest, most insignificant posts and pictures. I will still use my Burlesque profile, but only for what it was intended to be; a networking tool.
I went back onto my 'real-life' profile and deleted everyone I didn't know or didn't care about (I set it up when I was in college and got carried away, accepting friend requests from all and sundry, whether I knew them or not, whether they were current friends or people I went to primary school with!). I made a conscious choice to only add people from the industry if I considered them, what I call 'Coffee Friends'. That's not to say that I don't class a huge amount of people I work with as friends, but if I can't hang out with them and drink coffee, and talk about things *other* than Burlesque; if I'm 'Mia' to them; if I couldn't call them with a personal problem; if they don't know much more about me than the bare basics, and if the only things they post on their pages are related to the industry, then, with the greatest respect and love, then I'm not going to add them in my real life. If I loose 'friends' over this, then it kind of just proves the point that we're obviously not 'real-life' friends in the first place.
Facebook is NOT REAL LIFE anyway! And it was starting to mess with my head; being a not-real person on a not-real medium. What we post on Facebook, for the most part, is an airbrushing of our real-lives; as, what is essentially a fictional character, that is another step away from reality; and with some Burlesque performers this can create a whole load of shite; "ooh, look at my new amazing costume" "ooh, how sparkly is this necklace" "oh that bitch can't do her make-up for shit" "oh I'm so, hashtag, annoyed"... I've fallen prey to this in the past, and as a networking tool Facebook is perfect for showing off new acts, costumes, finding out about gigs and keeping up with the Joneses. But it's not healthy for me to be so submerged in this any more. So I'm stepping away.

In real life I'm moving on; I'm growing up I guess (gasp!). It was bound to happen. As much as my stage age might be one thing (and I still, sometimes, get ID'd at bars, in supermarkets buying wine, and, once or twice, for lottery tickets!) I'm no longer a spring chicken, and sometimes I feel downright old! I have some wonderful things happening at the moment: I have a new job - a proper, grown-up, full-time job, that I'm really excited about and want to give my all to. I have also been accepted into University in order to take a course which will top-up the vocational qualification I already have into a full, BA(Hons) Degree. My significant other is also moving on with new projects and circumstances are changing for us. In the context of all these events, Burlesque can no longer be my priority and I no longer, really, want it to be.

Growing up is scary!

I don't really know whether I like it any more. The industry has changed beyond recognition from when I started all those years ago. In the last eighteen months a lot of the top performers have either quit completely, wound down their performing a lot, or moved into other aspects of the industry away from performing. A few of them have written really interesting blogs about their reasons for doing so, others have chosen silence over huge statements. I'm still a performer through and through so I'm choosing the big bang :P
When I first started, Burlesque was still relatively underground and exciting. There were hardly any shows or clubs outside London and small, emerging groups of performers in a handful of the big cities. Back then the newer performers worked for free, or expenses, or, excitingly, around £50 cash; and the top performers were earning hundreds or sometimes thousands of pounds for corporate events, launch parties and private shows. Nowadays the newer performers are demanding to be paid for every single show, and the established performers are being asked to work for free. The Burlesque Bubble burst many years ago; it's rare to get a huge paycheck for anything these days yet the standards are higher and the competition is fierce. Where are all these performers getting the money for their costumes?! Why should performers think that swarovski equals talent... and breathe. I blogged about all that crap a year or so ago, and I don't want to care that much any more. There are much more important things to occupy my brain space with than glitter and fairy dust.

From my first ever Burlesque performance

I've had a couple of setbacks anyway that have forced me to rethink my choices. I blogged about one of them when it happened. And recently I've heard things about myself, read something about myself, and been told things to my face that, while I may appear to be unfazed or nonchalant about, have actually really got to me in the end. I no longer want to be made to feel bad about myself. I no longer want to be sat at home thinking "why did that person get that job?" "how did she get that gig and not me?" "what do I have to do to make people book/want/like me?" That kind of thinking is pure evil and I refuse to allow it in my head any more.
I don't want to be made to feel like I'm not a good performer because I can't afford a custom-made eight-thousand ply ostrich feather boa. I'm not less of a person because I buy my underwear from Primark and not Agent Provocateur. And, elephant in the room, I may be slightly curvier and less toned than some of the gorgeous ladies I share a stage with, but I am, by no means, fat. I am size ten, with a bit of a belly and some cellulite. And nine times out of ten, I'm fine with that. I want that to be ten times out of ten. It's funny that Burlesque gave me the confidence to be happy with my body (after being massively overweight as a child, followed by years of eating disorders, I've tipped the scale at both ends!), yet has ended up almost destroying my body confidence in the end. I've said it before and I'll say it again: As Burlesque becomes more commercially acceptable, there is a lean towards a more commercially accepted ideal of beauty. And I don't fit that. I know that, and I've tried to. But you know what? I like food. I like ice-cream and the occasional take-away. I like wine. I really like wine. So that's that.

I still love performing; I love being on stage, I love creating new acts, dressing up, putting on make-up; I love the adrenaline rush of being in front of an audience, the feeling of doing an act really well, of accomplishment. And I love it when the audiences members tell me afterwards that they loved my act or that I was their favourite (even if they say the same to every single performer on the night!).
I've made so many friends, real friends, had some amazing experiences and incredible opportunities that would never have happened without Burlesque, and I don't regret it for one moment. But all good things must come to an end, and a lot of the things that made Burlesque good for me have ended - whether actually ended or just come to an end in my mind.

And you know what? The last couple of weeks, I've been really happy. Actually, real-life happy. I'm not constantly comparing myself, my life, my choices or my body; I'm doing things and seeing things and being with people that I really, genuinely want to do, see and be with, and it's flippin' wonderful.

So I'm not going to stop completely. Just step away. I guess I'll be a (shudder) hobbyist. And I'm fine with that. I think I'll enjoy it more now it's not my main focus any more. I won't be scrabbling for scraps of gigs or sucking up to people I don't want to suck up to just in case they might throw a show my way in three months time. I'm going to do the shows I want to to do, with the people and the companies I want to work with. And I'm going to be fucking fabulous while I do it.


Saturday, 5 July 2014

And I'm Feeling Good

I've had such a lovely couple of weeks! I feel very, very lucky and happy :)

I rejoined my House of Magic family for a rehearsal and a fun show; much fun and hilarity was had by all and it was great to be back after a couple of months break:



Scenes from Simon Drake's House of Magic! With Abby Drake and Stevie Smallwood!

I spent a lovely Sunday night with friends and had an amazing roast dinner cooked for me! I've not had a Sunday Dinner for absolutely ages and it tasted like heaven!

Thank you Emma! All the yummy stuff!

Last year I was lucky enough to be invited to The Tower of London for the Ceremony of the Keys; and on Monday we were invited back again! It was another fantastic evening spent with friends; I'm such a geek for History and being in such a historic place with like-minded friends was just lovely. We were served sausage and mash in the Yeoman Warders Club, with cake in a teacup for dessert, and I won a bottle of wine in the raffle!


On Tuesday the Cabaret community came together in grand style at a fundraising event for Kitty Devine's little nephew who is very poorly in hospital. It was a truly fantastic night at Proud Cabaret; raising a couple of thousand pounds to help Baby Nolan!

Outside Proud Cabaret with Trixie Kixx, Scarlet Cuffs and Vanity B!






I had an amazing 'first' this week as well: I went to the opera! The incredible Leah Debrincat was performing in Cosi Fan Tutte at The Coliseum and I went along with a couple of friends to watch. Having never seen an opera live before I wasn't sure what to expect but the sets were amazing, the singing was beautiful and the costumes were envy-inducing! Afterwards we met up with Leah in the Opera Room of the bar next door!


At the Opera and Opera Room!

In between all the fun and frolics, I found time to have a picnic in the park, and have downtime with the boy and the cats! I've also had some exciting developments in 'real-life' that I shall be sharing at a later date! It's been a good week!! :)