Wednesday, July 30, 2008


1,600 miles in 10 days, two successful ICE TIMES shows in Darlington and Fife, new partner Jade for Darlington and a new couple Jordan and Kaysha for Fife along with Charlotte coming up and doing a great job for our last show.

Fourteen ICE TIMES shows since January and I am now confident in my control of the show content, I'm better at delivery, letting words breath, saying less at times and pushing things along where they need more pace, I'm able to deliver within a 60 minute and 45 minute format. I now control a myriad of cue points for visuals and sound and you don't see these happening. All this is a million miles from when we started the shows. Pain there has been at almost every venue and major challenges but what doesn't kill you makes you stronger and I know more what to expect...

So a theatre show has been created and people seem to really love it, they laugh, they find it insightful and they get value for money. It has loads of music, skating and visual content and is now sophisticated in its use of technology. Brilliant fun....

So now - review and chose what's next. A big job in itself... exciting times.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


We are in Scotland for the last ICE TIMES show of our current run which is in Fife on Saturday.

Darlington was last Tuesday and we had a fine time - the rake on the stage was so great that it enabled me to get loads of speed up on the down slope! I love raked (angled) stages. Also the audience sees the lovely colours on the ice and the whole look is enhanced. The theatre is beautiful with triple layer in the old style, I had to remember to keep looking up.

I had no partner coming up to Darlington last Monday and, after an appeal on the regional news, I found one - Jade was great fun and did really well.

So it's been: Louise 1, Louise 2, Charlotte, Jade and now Charlotte again as my main partners and having Stephen and Zoe involved for four shows was also super. Quite a journey.

I'll be glad of the break after Fife, we've learnt so much from doing this tour and now need a bit of time to reflect, take that learning on and see how we can develop things. I love it all in this show business but a month off for August will be just fine. Although we have plans now for August that are exciting and another blog subject.

I was really pleased last week to not be stressed by not having a partner for the show. We spent a weekend with family and friends, I sang in the band at church and we made our way up here. By Tuesday evening everything was just fine. Amazing for me to realise more and more what's possible without being stressed out about it!

Oh yes - how did the Worthing show go? Good, but not brilliant - I spoke for too long and the back lights didn't work leaving a flatter atmosphere but.... well I think it was a 7 out of 10. So far I think we had one 10 / 10 evening in High Wycombe, the next will be Fife! Darlington was a 8.5 out of 10....



Tuesday, July 15, 2008


I've been playing with my iWEB features on my Mac and have published a very simple site that includes some new photos from ICE TIMES and recent pictures of my son TIGER. You may want to have a look - click on site button adjacent.

Two shows this next Thursday and Friday. First time with two back to back, a different challenge. It will be interesting to feel how this works... plastic ice takes its toll on the blades and everyone needs a re-sharpening after each show. I'll need a new set of blades after this tour! I think I'll get some old style Pattern 88's - theyd have bolt on blades - I'll see if I can have some specially made for me for next time! We shall see...

Last Friday I got on the ice and found I was slipping sideways! It was awful I just couldn't skate. I tried to get emergency sharpening but - being in Malvern - this was impossible so I did the show sliding all over the place... I didn't do the routines with Charlotte because it would have been dangerous. I was able to demonstrate how not to skate very well!!! There's always an upside. I just felt such a plonker and really cross with myself. My blades had been part sharpened the show on Wednesday and I somehow thought they would be ok. This was not the case.

I've got Charlotte and Zoe and Stephen with me for the next two shows which will be excellent as they are a lot of fun and do a great job. Next week they can't skate though so - new cast to find again... Anybody out there in the Darlington and Fife area?

The slides and videos seem to have a mind of their own again for the shows. Need to get them nailed down - they seem to do their own thing at times. A bit disconcerting when presenting in  front of an audience.... keeps you on your toes though.



Thursday, July 10, 2008


Interesting day for Hayes Show yesterday. I feel I am being trained for something in this series of ICE TIMES what the something is I'm not sure yet. Anyway - we lost our technician for the show who sets up ice and lights, sound, set so we had no show at 10.15am. A bit of a pity as we had already cancelled this show once and to do so again would be awful. 

I'd met Ryan and Ricky at a charity bash for Leukemia last week and they had ice - I helped youngsters to skate on it. Wasn't sure if it would work but called them and they said they'd come along. So we had a show - at 11.15am..

But I needed to be the technical set up director as well as present the show and skate with Charlotte and Zoe and Stephen and re-brief them so - all in all a bit to do. And I needed my blades sharpened - thanks Clive in Slough for that. 

So theatre set up, Patch on lights - great job... fun to have the moving lights revamped. Becky on sound and Kerry helping get us set us... all coming together. Focus time for me. There's a lot of stuff to sort out. Ice went down....

And skated - couldn't hold edges! Sliding sideways, plastic ice surface was harder than Ice Magic surface and none of us could skate properly - and to do routines was impossible. Show set, everything ready - 7 pm. Do I pull the show because we can't skate routines? No pressure at all then! What would you have done.

Giles our Producer who was on his way I was a help - "We've come so far you've got to give people a show." So I considered..... everyone waiting, spoke to Christiane, skaters, theatre manager.... Choose Nicky... "OK we go ahead." I edited the show content in 10 minutes to remake the show!

So we did the show, and  the projector didn't work at the start (it had been working) so I had a false - warm up start - funny time. And start again. Two hours overall - a bit too long but we had a lot of fun and the audience could see we were giving it everything we could. It is always a surprise to me that different stories come up and associations in each show. even though I have a framework It is always different.

I tried to skate at the end! I looked like Bambi - I would have got applause for a fall I'm sure.

Great comments from audience at the end who really enjoyed it and Giles was right... "The Show Must Go On." This is Show Business..... and I love it.

Day off and to develop my theatre brief as Technical Manager(!) and to Malvern Theatre on  tomorrow. We'll see some skating there.

Have a great day.


Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Our 'Source' said

Ha ha - a friend showed me an article that said the DOI judges were asking for much more money - a doubling of their £60k to £120k per series that was in a Sunday paper.

How interesting to read something you have had no input into! It is a story, fiction...  based on something? A source said... who is that person called 'Source' I've never heard it as anyone's name.

How do you/I respond though? This is where you see the 'it is fabrication and we can't talk about individual contracts' disclaimer being handed out. 

What would my statement be? Perhaps....

"I am quite happy with the £1 million pounds per series I receive which added to the use of a Bentley Turbo for the year as a tax free perk makes my involvement in the show enjoyable." - now that's another story - or maybe I'm dreaming... Would be good though, maybe I should suggest this to the producers?


"I don't do it for the money I do it for the joy it brings to the British public, for the inspiration it brings to young people who take up the sport and to contribute to fair decisions amongst the competitors."

Or maybe it's somewhere in between at which point you get to. 'I am not a liberty to disclose individual agreements." 

And I used to believe what I read in the papers! Duh....




This evening we are due to skate ICE TIMES at the Beck Theatre in Hayes. 

Looking forward to seeing you there if you've got tickets. 

Looking to replicate the success of the last one... lots to do today!

Charlotte, Zoe and Stephen will be along with me on stage.. we'll have fun...



Monday, July 7, 2008


I've been hectically busy and then last week - (I don't know if this ever happens to you?) - I hit a wall. I forget to schedule in the holiday after some major projects and tried to keep going. Both Christiane and I were completely cream crackered and productivity dropped off to a standstill! I need to get better at holidays... Back with engines firing on most cylinders today.

We're staying at a friends house whilst they're away as house sitters - great fun - but they have a television - and I want to watch it all the time! I haven't had a tv for seven years and it eats time and energy. Some wonderful entertainment - Vicar of Dibley and Wimbledon final and news on Channel four but such lightweight shows elsewhere and repeated ad infinitum.... It's odd to see The Bill after all this time and analyse scripting etc... I need a time limit on viewship so it only works for four hours a day maximium - must invent one of those....

Where we are staying the guy of the couple is a guitar expert as a player and collector. The upshot of this is that I have 13 beautiful guitars to play with. Danelectro 12 string is awesome as is Turner Jumbo and the Fender Telecastor - he has a Stratocastor somewhere I must find. Grist to the mill of songwriting and playing guitar that's for sure, it's an Aladdin's cave.

Talking about tv Anyone see the tennis yesterday? Fantastic. I  haven't seen the championships for a few years. I really liked BBC's coverage, very accessible and so well presented with a coue of quirky moments - being interviewed on a roof with wind blowing / boys walking out into rain at end of interview, the last one Sue picked up on.  Sue Barker was excellent as anchor with her mix of knowledge humour and professionalism and Andrew Castle's insights into the people of Wimbledon made it a more real occasion or me - great coverage. Boris was very strong and funny and Tim did well (they must take the monitor out of his eye line though it distracted him, - it distracts me when I do interviews too) Tim mentioned the phycologists always told him - Stay in the present - it's not the past or the future, it's the present you're playing in is how I interpreted that. Makes a lot of sense. 

Two shows this week for ICE TIMES - the first time I'll have done two shows almost back to back. Charlotte and Zoeanna and Stephen will be with me and we will have some fun.

I've also got a couple of contracts being negotiated - we'll see how things go. I'm excited about the possibilities I see in the next year and whether I'm in TV or producing songs somewhere lovely, or a mixture o both there's a lot to be done.  

Right now though to have some time out to develop my competence as a songwriter / performer and producer is the priority. I need to complete songs I've written and have an ongoing production capability for more. Big mountain to climb but one I love the challenge of. I've got some super material and it keeps on coming as I learn more about the craft of songwriting but I need to bring some to fruition. The big question for us is where to base ourselves in this time? The options develop daily....! 

I think too I'm a bit reticent about 'coming out' as a singer songwriter, I did a demo for my friends very quickly three years ago and it was - creative, bold and.... from a production and performance point of view well.... - pretty dreadful! So I want to get excellence before lifting the curtain on this again.... and for this I need time and to focus exclusively on this area. That's what I'm aiming or right now.

Little Tiger is a joy, he found himself surrounded at church yesterday by four lovely little girls - ha, ha he can't engage in meaningful conversation yet but they didn't seem to mind.

I was a bit stressed at times last week (you know when you're tired and have so much more to do and... well you just can't be bothered...) and then I stepped back and looked at my life. I have a beautiful wife I love to bits and a gorgeous son, I am 'being showman' by being on stage in my own show and people loved the last one in particular. I am pursuing an area of development in music that is a thrill for me and singing is a big stretch - I love that challenge. I have a super family, loads of great friends my health is good and I have the blessings of sight, hearing, motor skills etc... (I so take these for granted). And I have a firm faith in God  as a Christian. Not a PC thing to put on a blog (?)  but hey let's do politics and religion. Actually I don't like the word religion I prefer faith.

I was told you can't be in the entertainment business and talk about religion or politics. Well we shall see. I love to talk about both. Maybe there's a job in that somewhere, that would be fun - once I've done the music... don't get distracted.

I'm getting rid of a load of stuff from my life right now. Years of cutter, empty files that I've kept (why) and books I've read. Going 'light weight'... another big job but useful if you are about to cast off and travel to some - yet to be defined - song writing inspirational place in the world. 

Wish me luck.

Have a great day - love n