See You Next Year

Years ago the fad was to highlight important moments in movies using a certain gimmick, after a decade or so the gimmick receded to its usual medium and occasionally bobbed it head out to say hello. Usually it was well received, akin to a liked relative but, until very recently, there has been very little interest in inviting that relative on purpose.

I’m talking about Musicals; the spontaneous bursting out in singing and dancing. Mamma Mia has really brought the singsong into the limelight, Hugh Jackman whom a few can remember performed Curly in the Royal National Theatre’s Oklahoma! is a well established singer and brilliantly rendered the opening tribute to the 81st Academy Awards. I wasn’t expected something so bold, perhaps a comedy dialogue but the small cabaret routine blew me away. I digress, And of course for those of us in the geeky know; Dr Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog a web based production by the (Joss) Whedon clan.

It seems that Musicals are back in fashion, but for some of us they never really have been out, the Milton Keynes Gang Show is 19 years old this year, Milton Keynes Scouting and Guiding have been at it for nearly 20 years we don’t do it because its a fad, we do it because the Stage is a magical place where anything can happen. What you can imagine can be made manifest, everyone says the perfect thing and acts at the right time. And its a whole lot of fun too!

It has always been a pleasure performing in the Milton Keynes Gang Show, based on the feedback, the close to capacity theatre crowds and the atmosphere backstage it was a huge success. It certainly has been great being back this year, catching up with everyone and seeing how the junior cast have grown up. By co-incidence I found a 2001 Programme in the cupboards, it was one of the last shows I was in before going off to University. Inside were pictures of the entire cast, including a very young me and many of my old Vortex V.S.U..

The moments that I’m going to keep with me the longest are Adam’s 120% volume onstage cockup when his recruits made him so angry he forgot his lines! I think I’m also going to fondly remember doing the Street Dance sketch, and its multitude of rehearsals, which as I mentioned in a one of my last posts I luckily landed.

It been a great 6 months and I can’t wait to do it again in another six, I hope you all enjoyed it too and we’ll see you next year

25 Random Things

It’s doing the rounds and I’ve finally given in; these circulars are silly but they’re also fun to review after a year or so, plus it helps you to get to know me a little better if you’ve merely popped by my blog rather than being an avid reader.


Rules: Once you’ve been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it’s because I want to know more about you.

  1. I used to be a pretty good amateur dancer.
  2. And I purposely did a worse job of hiding being a Scout than one as a child.
  3. I started dancing because it was better than sitting on the sidelines whilst my sister did it for 3 hours each Saturday.
  4. I eventually went to competitions and won enough trophies to fill 3 shoeboxes.
  5. I still do the odd bit of dance in Scout/Guide Gang Shows.
  6. Before I was in a Gang Show I was in a Theatre Group for a year.
  7. Funnily enough my Secondary school aptitude test listed my top 2 careers as: 1) Actor, 2) Naval Architect.
  8. I have never pursued acting as a career although the skills section of my resume would be quite broad.
  9. I’m not an Architect either, although I like to think the creativity of acting + precision of architecture = Graphic Design.
  10. Scouting is still a major influence in my Life.
  11. I got my first real taste of confidence in myself at 18, and I owe it to one person.
  12. Oneday I hope to thoroughly convey the scope of my gratitude.
  13. Whilst I am very grateful to my teachers I think I could’ve learnt more at School if I had been educated using a different teaching method.
  14. Despite this, most of my grades were ‘B’ or better but I got at least one of every letter E-A*.
  15. Quote: “Smart enough to act stupid”.
  16. I will not let my children go to Sixth form, they will go to College, and University will be optional.
  17. Despite having 2 gap years I didn’t have enough life experience to choose a degree that would led to a career I would enjoy.
  18. But if I hadn’t gone I wouldn’t know what I enjoy (Drawing/Design).
  19. I believe I have designer skills equal to a 2nd year design student, despite having having a job as one.
  20. I’m very critical of myself and don’t take praise well if I don’t believe it first.
  21. Hence my natural instinct is to undersell myself.
  22. My New Year’s Resolutions tend to be to spend the year exploring a different personality trait, if I like the result I try to make it stick, if I don’t, I shrug it off with something else the following year.
  23. Socially I’m a Switch, I can be the Leader of a group or a member.
  24. Likewise I can have two minds about something, and alternate views in an argument sometimes confusing the responder!
  25. This means that I sometimes take the opposite role for daft propositions which makes me look dopey but lets me explore the root of someone else’s conclusion which is great for familiarity and I find fun.

Whilst this list is 25 items long I’ve actually told you more than 25 pieces of random information about myself and where possible connected them (however obscurely) to the preceding one. Don’t forget to ping back!

Street Dancing

Amidst what seems to be a jumble of rugged movements you see some crazy stunts performed by street dancers, most of them on their hands but occasionally some in the air. I never thought poorly or highly of them, I just accepted it was a combination of abrupt moves. On Tuesday I tried for the first time performing a stand-up routine in this style; it was hard.

I don’t shout this sort of thing to the hill tops so you’ll be surprised to know that in my teens aswell as attending Scouts once a week I also attended dances lessons, and occasionally, a competition. I’d say I’m reasonably well versed, enough that I will not shy away from performing in a show, sketch or teaching a routine to a Scout or Guide Group, so when Gang Show opened auditions I thought I’d give it a go.

Once we got our moves down to music I quickly grew a respect for Street Dancers, I don’t know how professional the routine we were doing was but it felt like something you’d see on television or at a competition but without the lifts or floor work.

I have a rough idea of what’s involved to pull off shows like “Strictly Come Dancing” but until I sampled Street Dancing I thought Tango and Rock’n’roll were the hardest, both can have rhythmic high paces and are physically gruelling, especially if doing lifts. Breakers, use strong movements in quick succession (the bits we did) and also do floor work, mostly on their hands, something much harder than lifting the usually smaller, and therefore lighter, female partner.

The results of the audition haven’t been given out yet so I don’t know if I got a grading at all, I’m more interested in getting a part in the Rock’n’Roll section, so I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

(The picture above was drawn by me for practice at work)

Birds of a Feather

Gang shows calling!” The Milton Keynes Gang show is starting rehearsals and auditions next week. It’s been a few years since I’ve been in the cast, regardless I’m still looking forward to it, hopefully I’ll be getting a few dance roles and not so many vocals, what can I say I’ve never really been any good at singing *shrug*.

Continue reading Birds of a Feather