Friday, December 24, 2010

PEACE

Eighteen minutes till leaving for a Christmas celebration with my brother and his family with my mother too. My website software is frozen so I can't update it, I have admin to do, which I keep putting off, I have not done a lot of contacts and friends Christmas messages - (we have sent quite a few but I need admin help!)... There is loads to do... and

I have a sense of PEACE... as I am here in my studio. The studio is starting to be much cleaner and sorted, a lovely place to be, another few items to make, buy and it will be welcoming and functional - a lovely space for an artist... ME :)

And I think about the story of Christmas. I am a Christian man and I watched The Nativity on the BBC last night - it moved me and brought home in a different way the Christmas message.

More than anything, be it financial success, celebrity, acclaim or derision, happiness or sadness, pain or joy it is about the person of a baby called Jesus. The incredible gift he was to free us - one by one - to have freedom and peace, that passes all understanding.

Wow that is where I sit right now. It doesn't happen often but I'd like to have more of it in 2011. And so for you too - here wishing you love and peace this Christmas 2010.

Love Nicky

9 minutes to go - must pack! :)

Monday, December 20, 2010

SKI-ING ADVENTURE


Have just returned from Austria - I have skied one day in the last seven years and this was getting back on the piste. I had the weekend with friends and last Monday and Tuesday on my own filming as I skied down. Got stranded in the dark Tuesday evening! Should make for a good film once I can get editing sorted - some beautiful footage.

My website is playing up - can't get the software to work so apologies for music not working etc.. Technical gremlins need to be found.

Love

N

Sunday, December 5, 2010

RUTHIE HENSHALL ROCKS...

Just back from watching Ruthie Henshall lead a super charity concert for Suffolk Carers with Christiane. She is the Patron of that charity. First time I have seen here sing and it was brilliant to see her at ease in her natural environment rather than being shouted at on Dancing On Ice - where I first met her.

The show was a great night with lots of new talent, a superb musical director and a treat to see the musicians - that are often hidden down in the orchestra pit - on stage. I learnt a lot about musical direction and drumming and percussion!

Caught up with Ruthie afterwards - lovely to see her again.


N




Thursday, December 2, 2010

A NEW VISTA...

A new vista - a fresh view. I have just invested in a new box of tricks that fits onto my EX3 video camera and enables it to take in up to 220 Megabites per second (MPS) - What?... You may say? Sounds like tech speak me... and it is.

The bottom line is that I can record at 100MPS, or over, and that makes footage that I shoot acceptable as broadcast quality footage in any area of the world.

So, from looking to create music and film for the web, suddenly I am able to create shows that can be on the web and could also be syndicated as television programmes on any world network. On my way to becoming a Production Company. Hmmm... it's the vision but it was s step away technically until today. I have full uncompressed HD in the studio - he's talking techie again.. Indeed... and now I have higher quality input from out and about... awesome.

Oh yes, from sublime to the almost ridiculous, I bought some funky squidgy toys that I imagine can dance - and you may see them dance with me on a video sometime soon, such is my world! The lady at Early Learning Centre had to go out to the container in the snow and brought back some different coloured squidges - brilliant. Buy three get a pound off - bargain. They will make you smile. Perhaps it's because I have been watching The Muppet Movie with my son that I am this inspired. I love Animal and Zoot - they are my heros from that cast....

Had to take the car for an MOT to save Christiane from the dreaded snow and I love driving on ice and snow so no problems for me. Wrote three lyrics whilst waiting for MOT and brakes refit... As you do between ten and 1.15!

Three lyrics and five squidges and I did make it to the gym - even though I was cream crackered. A productive day then.

Hope you had one too.

Love

N

PS - I didn't even get - my best bits from Dancing On ice - now don't you think after five years they might do that for me?... Only kidding - I think... I'm not bitter - just processing.... I mean a gold watch a £100k pay off as an act of goodwill all would be fine...




Monday, November 29, 2010

MONDAY MUSIC & CONGRATS...

Apologies, my music player is down on website - trial has expired - I'm going to get the bigger player (no Freudian comments or thoughts about this please - ha) but need to get code, embed etc... Been looking at other ways of doing my website - mocked up the nickyslater.com corporate world - exciting to see things being spaced out into their areas that I plan. Had some web design input last week that really helped me develop this. I love the web. My web software has fallen over too so need to re-install before I can get stuff redone - all part of the process!?

Just sat at my Oasys - always have it set as a Grand Piano and it sounds wonderful. Eight am is practise time and then see what comes from that... I'm now capturing midi and audio tracks so i can see scores and has the Oasys' brilliant sound output. Brilliant to see the chords that i like noted and captured.

Just created a melody and counter that are in F and play around the hands being central around middle C. Robert on the last cruise we went on did some Bach or Rachmaninoff I think - (or something fancy... ) and played like that so I used it as an inspiration point. Interesting because you can only play certain notes in between and around the central chord so it frames what you can play for the melody. Quite gentle and in 15 minutes of improvising the base has come .... a film score / symphony one day...

Still can't get flipping DOI at of my head - arrgggh... May do an internet show around it but considering that may take up time and fill my head with stuff that gets in the way of my main goals... Need therapy!

Guitar next. Then the dreaded admin - which once I'm into will be fine - just getting started. And filming today methinks - snow on the ground... we visited some glorious parts of Suffolk over weekend so look to be out to catch some of that today with snow on the ground - low angled light from late afternoon is glorious here.

There used to be a time I did not know what to do with my Mondays... Not any more...


CONGRATULATIONS
My mum - she has trained the current British Senior Champions, she is training the current Junior Champions and she has trained our Champions who were not able to compete through injury. Oh and she's off to hungary at the weekend - as you do for another comp with Josh and Charlotte.

Congrats Josh and Charlotte - Junior Champs second time and Louise and Owen for winning the senior...

Sorry I wasn't there - head down working and not feeling like being out and about with DOI gone - I'll get over it! Pull yourself together man! Yeah i hear you - read a Ben Elton book 'The First Casualty' over weekend - all about First World War - I don't know how lucky I am sometimes... Book is brilliant, superb twist at end. He captures the time.

Hope you're having a Happy Monday

Love

N


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A DAY IN THE OFFICE - MY STUDIO - BLISS

I was up at 2 am - wrote two lyrics - back to bed at three then my son came and snuggled in as he has a bad cough and cold... Bless him he does ask first which for a two and half year old is great. I tried to take him back to his bed at 5 am but he was not having it.. C and I both didn't sleep that well with his kicking and turning!

But today I had a day in my studio - 8.30 am to 6.30 pm with 30 mins for lunch. It's been great. Part of the issue with Dancing On Ice was that it took head space - and it took admin time. To be free to get on and create this morning and sort production stuff re lighting and systems this afternoon is brilliant. I have made very good progress and created a melody line in D for the piano - which I treated as violins - really interesting to feel how that develops and a base melody on the guitar which I treated as an electric guitar in Logic.

I had some Tweets of don't worry about yesterday - thanks for those - much appreciated... I'm excited about what I could be seeing in a year's time if I get this much done every day I have free time to use...

Hope your day was productive too.

Love

Nicky




Tuesday, November 23, 2010

HEY...

In the impact of loosing the DOI gig, got the official reason why today, and a friend, 42, died of cancer yesterday. So wrote a song simply called Hey. It's about when you get to the point when you have 'Nothing to say'... Did a lyric - Do you know your name... talking about purpose that has some base notes too.

Funny, Hey... could be the song that has everyone crying if there's someone or something that's gone.. I wrote it from the Oasys then sang over the base track. You never know until it's happened...

Anyhow, a few days with family has been super and back to the studio now. At the end of the day, for us, no one has died and loads of possibilities exist. But I'm going through a tunnel at the moment and kicking myself... Hey...

Love Nicky

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

THE BLUES


As I get more into music I'm becoming more interested in it's history. Last night I was fascinated to watch
Roll over Beethoven - The Chess Records Saga watch http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00vv0zz/Legends_Roll_over_Beethoven_The_Chess_Records_Saga/

The way the Rolling Stones took CHESS artists songs - often wrote by their in house songwriter a Mr Dixon - and made them their own was an eye opener. I'm starting to understand the song structures and business structures more, great to see. I was reminded of one of my favourite films, Dreamgirls. It has the same storyline CHESS Records had - anyway, if you are interested in music this is definitely worth a look.

I did write a lyric afterwards 'Get Away' but it needs some work before I put it up.

Have a great day.

Love

Nicky

PS Website update... pls tell me if fonts look ok on your browser?

Monday, November 15, 2010

BIGGINS IN PANTO - DEC 11TH ONWARDS...



Christopher Biggins calls... his dulcet tones warming the heart as he passes condolences on Dancing On Ice goodbye to me and sends love to Christiane and Tiger. He is just back off the Aurora - been in the Caribbean... lovely.

I am reminded, and told him, that one of my fondest memories of the five years with the DOI show was on Tour with him, Kyran, Andy Peters and Andy Collins last year.

We had a great time. It's one thing to have the public face during a show quite another to enjoy the company of others in the changing room over a period - we had some great fun. Oh Andy Peters had his own changing room... of course! With his own juicer... must put that in my rider - in fact - must get a rider prepared...

Working on the web - updating website - on a mission to embrace Facebook and You Tube. You should see some changes in an hour's time...

So much to do?... But hang on - We all, the whole country, must go and see Biggins in Wolverhampton. It will be a hoot, can't wait. From 11th December onwards for eight weeks.

Love N

Aladdin

Thursday, November 11, 2010

NOW'S THE TIME

This morning I came up with a lyric NOW'S THE TIME.

I've decided to start to publish what I write and compose rather than letting it sit in computer files.

So it's online at my site which now has a LYRICS page :)

NOW'S THE TIME - sounds like my first Album title...

Somehow I'm loving not being in Dancing On Ice - it's like a cork out of the bottle at present for me. Instead of being in someone else's show it feels like 'Now's The Time' to create my own. Need to get on as I need to support my family from that!

Scary, exhilarating, challenging and fun...

Have a great day.

Love N

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

SYNOPSIS - SHORTEN IT!


My beautiful wife has just asked that I do shorter blogs - 'No one has the time to read all that." I suppose I do write an epic...

So here's a synopsis of my previous missive:

Oasys - expensive workstation keyboard bought 2007.
Been a nightmare to learn
Thought I'd made wrong choice was in 'Wo is me land'
Been learning about music production and to play piano better in last 2 1/1 years
Today had a breakthrough with Oasys
James Bond sounding music up online
Seeing potential for music arranging more clearly :)
Challenges still ahead but celebrating a win today

Better?

Love

n


BREATHLESS ON OASYS



In May 2007 I bought a Korg Oasys. It was delivered on the Dancing On Ice Tour. I had played it in the shop and found it amazingly intuitive in following a lead I gave as it has Karma inside. Karma adds 'random seeds' as you play which feels and sounds awesome.

Now one of my goals was/is to write and produce my own songs and film and I thought this, very expensive, bit of kit could help.

Since then it has been a nightmare to learn for me. Whilst I can get great sounds out of it, it has been incredibly unfriendly to use in it's operating system. My Macs help me, the Oasys doesn't. You need to know how the Oasys, and sound engineering overall works, then it will work. It has no intuitive user interface and a handbook translated from Japanese that still has Japanese grammar - I swear some of it was written in Geek Japanese in the first place!

So, easy to use? No way. Not unless you are already conversant with Korg operating systems and sound recording overall. It's PC based in it's file structure has no - easy to use - PC interface. There's a reason for this, it doesn't want to waste anything on processing anything other than music, the result being it can process a phenominal amount of musical information. All that equates to great sound which is what you want.

Now I have battled and battled to try to get to grips with it. I suppose it would have helped if I knew more about sound recording as this is a complete music studio in it's own right oh yes and that I could play the piano!

I got sad. A waste of money? Maybe I will just use it as a piano and send some sounds over to Logic (my core audio software) in time. Oh yes and Korg stopped building it in 2009 so it's outdated now then... they have a lighter version that must be much better. Ah well, write it off to experience.

Two and a half years on and my journey sees me having a great morning with my lovely Oasys!? So good that I feel the potential this amazing machine gives me in composition and production and see that I didn't waste my money. So good that I felt the excitement you get when you jump out of a plane - Yes that good!

My story then: (1) Korg stopped making it because it was so expensive and only a few people bought it - thus it made no profit. They make cheaper ones because that is the market. It is a brilliant bit of kit, only a few thousand were made and I have one :) (2) I actually know lot more than I did two and a half years ago and it's starting to help me unlock routing patches and understand the audio engineering and file structures the Oasys has. (3) My piano is getting better so I can start to play it better - duh...

Bottom line. I play the Oasys, it records the sounds in to my Mac and I record the midi at the same time. I can then have Logic play back the Oasys and record a different instrument back into Logic. It is the sounds the Oasys makes that are superb added to Karma that make it amazing. Building o this I can do arrangements from the scores that are generated in Logic and I can back up onto the Oasys. Did you loose it there? Hee hee, little by little I'm becomming a sound engineer :)

So this morning a new vista opened up for me. A step change on my journey to make film and music combined. I played one Oasys Instrument - an orchestra - and thought it sounded a bit James Bond ish. You know - that time at the end of the film when it's going to be alright but then there's something else to sort out.

Christiane advised, "Keep the music short." So I improvised a piece to 1 1/2 minutes and I've popped it onto the net http://www.nickyslater.com/N/MUSIC.html and click on James Bond.

For me to be able to do this blows me away and yet it's normal for so many and is the World I'm stepping into. The player is a baby one, the website in it's infancy, some of the tracks have duff notes as I find my way but hey the tracks are all intuitive and free form, played once, and composed on the fly. So that's my excuse at the moment. I've been waiting for everything to be perfect before putting anything out... Change of tack in the last week...

Somehow I can start to see what I have been working towards for so long coming more into focus. No doubt challenges will come - software conflict with midi driver after an update yesterday is a classic - for example.

But... but... I can feel a shift. The 'Magic's in the Music' and slowly it's coming. To hear the tracks back from the computer as it comes from the internet gives a different perspective for me. To hear my sub woofer sounding like the time in the movies when that deep deep note makes your insides wobble was also a first.

My, I have so much to do and to learn but today is a big step forward, so I wanted to share it with you...

I hope you manage to move your dream forward today.

Love

Nicky


Monday, November 8, 2010

MUSIC AND MONDAYS


In the last week Christiane and I have captured some fantastic film footage and I've been noodling with some music creations. I've always been waiting for everything to be perfect before putting stuff up... However - maybe it's a DOI gone thing - but there is a sense of everything has been taken out of my way and I need to just be doing it... as the adverts say.

So maybe notes and phrases not as pristine as they will be when published but, for improvisational works, I like some of what I'm hearing and hope you do too.

Film to music is one goal for this week.

Love N

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

NOT ON DANCING ON ICE AS A JUDGE

I will not be on the judging panel for DOI this year
Cut and paste link for statement
Love
N

http://www.nickyslater.com/N/HOME_files/DOIEND_1.pdf

Sunday, October 31, 2010

AZURA ADVENTURE

Back after 12 days at sea on P&O Cruise ship Azura to the Canary Islands and back via Lisbon and Vigo. Cream crackered and need a rest! We were in Madeira when it rained and rained, there were floods there that killed 43 people earlier in the year. Interesting to here locals advising where not to go as they feared landslides!

I did my new YOUR CALL Show in the theatre. I was on 2pm in afternoon and had a super time with Techies form sound Richard and lighting Steve setting up. Twenty four lighting cues, smoke etc - all great fun.

The show was the best yet, a theatre being a lovely venue but... I did a little intro with a few laughs about life on the ship (5 minutes extra) I expanded a bit of story detail (9 minutes extra) and I found I was 59 instead of 45 minutes! Now this does not normally matter as most times I do two shows in an evening so if I'm a bit longer on one it's no trouble. I had noticed people arriving at the back - I thought it was my audience arriving late - the venue became chocker block - lovely.. I thought. Anyway something told me to stop - Benne the Cruise Director coughing from the wings, lights being lifted, red lights beings hone at me etc etc..

What to do with 15 minutes left... I summed up and found a convenient out point and we concluded. The team had 1 minute to reset for the 70 piece choir to follow!! Oh my word. Might have been fine if one artist was to follow.

I did a Q & A with Benne on the last day of the cruise at sea and did the last 15 minutes and we had some fun with it so all was not lost. However this was a 10 am so some of my former audience was still in bed. They allowed 30 minutes after me to get the choir in - just in case!

Anyway the learning for me is to check if the 45 minutes is rigid. I did 46 minutes in Barnsley the other week. But I didn't have all the visuals. It was 46 on Oceana running at full steam ahead. All in all a fun adventure although I did feel like a naughty school boy for a day and did get a boo from all the choir people wanting me 'out of the way' on the show. Actually there was frisson in the audience as my lot wanted me to finish my show and the others wanted me off...

I think I will be remembered! My apologies to the choir. A lesson I will not forget.

All this said Christiane said it was the best show yet and I had some very positive feedback, all the cues worked - except one - we were trying to get the fire to work a la DOI.

We hung out with the Entertainers this time, never made the main restaurant, saw loads of performances. I love to see it and learn as I spend time with these top professionals.

Bob, Mike(Mick) Victor, Andrew, Robert, Amanda were amongst those we got to know. My late nights in entertainment land added to early up with our son 8am! took it's toll. Well worth it. Back in the gym from tomorrow to clear the system and get into shape.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

YOUR CALL - MY NEW SHOW...


I had in mind a new show for a gig on P & O this last month. It took me ages to develop and I had the wonderful pictures of Ken McKay available to me. How to get into 45 minutes all I could and wanted to say? On the cruise I was distracted and not on holiday - except for a day on the beach in Monte Carlo - bliss! I was forever trying to square this circle of what the show would finally be. It was challenging.

Anyway, I did the shows. A deadline always helps! What happened was fantastic. I took the audience to a point of decision and had them sat in the judges chair. It was an organic thing that happened in the show itself as I wizzed through. I also found I can get much more in than previously if I pace things. All great learning.

I got some super feedback and as it was in the theatre we used effects and big screen for the music and videos and slides. P&O entertainment techies Martin and Kit were excellent support. Specifically the guys who came were saying how interesting and entertaining it was and how they had not expected that to be the case.

So, all good but... a lot of guys didn't come to the show. The one's that did were dragged by their wives... and yet the one's that came enjoyed it. So I thought I needed to change the title. I heard from a friend that a film was not a hit until it had it's title changed three times. My original title 'Here Comes the Judge' obviously wasn't doing it and I had some new shots Christiane took of the show itself.

So this morning I've created YOUR CALL. I think this really works because in the show this is what happens; I take you on a journey and you get to a point of having to make YOUR CALL. I think / hope this will appeal much more across the male / female divide because it is less Dancing On ice specific.

I also think YOUR CALL has a powerful Corporate application potential, everyone has to make decisions and communicate them, this is doing just that under pressure. I think it could really help peoples insight into how they are in that process.

So YOUR CALL is on the website which has been sprinkled with new formating... Much better methinks.

Enjoy

Love

N

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

THE CONSEQUENCE NEGOTIATION

Please do not do that without Mummy being there... A pause, my two and a half year old son disappears then returns to the bedroom and proceeds to do exactly what he was asked 'not' to do. This consists of pulling himself up and in a rather athletic manoeuvre flinging himself headfirst over the bed frame, normally landing on his head and cranking his neck (thus good to have supervision present to help him land) but this time more tidily done. But... Consequence...

So what to do? First thing in the day after hugs and "I love you mummy, I love you daddy," Here we go again. Yesterday it took 25 minutes before my son would sit properly by the sofa on the floor for two minutes. The 'sitting on the step' concept. We got the point where he would sit four inches from the alloted spot but still this was not acceptable to daddy. We got there - exactly, eventually. Back to today...

"Into the bathroom young man" says daddy. "Now; two minutes sat in the corner please? That is the consequence for your action of disobeying your mamma..." "I don't want to!" rings out loud and clear and rises to a shrill crescendo as feet are stamped and pitch of voice increases to one an Opera Diva would be proud of. I am always amazed at the volume such a small person can exude. "I don't want to daddy..". a refrain that is repeated again and again as I reason with what is happening and why... and after the tenth explanation stop explaining. He knows!"

My, the freedom to negotiate a child has, the changing intensity, the trying to gain a touch of ground here and there. The 'I'm not held back here so I'm telling you how I feel,' communication. Parents throughout the world will know it but for me, never having been a parent before, it is fascinating, and is most challenging (when I'm tired or cross at someone or something else).

I can understand how a parent, who is very upset at something else could transfer some of that anger against their child when the child kicks off. There is an outlet channel. Thankfully this didn't happen for me, I was unattached to the 'surround sound' with it's impressive volume and wonderful stamping and 'in your face communication' and kept telling him I loved him but there was a consequence. After 20 minutes of me sat in the bathroom and Tiger (Benjamin to his mother) standing I announced I was off to get my breakfast and he could tell me when he would start the two minutes. All was quiet.

"I'm sat in the corner daddy." came the voice from my son after another five minutes. Bless him. I went to look and there was a smiling angel sat 'exactly' in the corner of the bathroom. Two minutes were counted, I went and called time. He came out hugged me and said "I'm sorry daddy, I love you daddy." I love you too now go and say sorry to mamma." " Sorry mummy, I love you mummy. Can I have some breakfast of hoops and milk now please."

Another gentle start to a day. What a wonder children are.

I was reminded of what a XXXX (think horrible, abnoxious, argumentative) teenager I was and how badly I treated my mother who taught me ice dancing. She was my coach. My father let me give up figure skating (singles - which I am better suited to physically than dance) because I said I didn't want to do it. I tried everything to get my mother to say "Well give up then," on the ice dancing side of things. She never did. My story is that her love and determination to give me a future in this area allowed her to put up with as much stamping, shouting and sulking as I could muster. It is my story and may not be true but, as Coach, in acting so I think she lost authority and discipline. I needed to go and sit in the corner for two minutes, or, in my case thirty minutes and then ask if I may be allowed to come back on the ice. Maybe I would have walked away from ice dancing altogether, maybe I might have 'Chosen' to come back and stay. Anyway - she was a Saint to put up with me... I never really 'chose' ice dancing. Even though I did Olympics in it etc..

When one skated onto the ice in Queens Ice Club in London you had to say "Good morning Miss Hogg" to Glady's Hogg the doyen of skating coaches, I remember. Sixteen and full of confidence / arrogance I bumped into her with my partner one early morning session. If you have ever seen the picture of the guy sat in the armchair with his hair blown back by the sound of the speakers that would have matched my look as Miss Hogg proceeded to deliver expletives and discipline to this teenager advising on looking where one was going and safety and ... well it went on and on... I can't remember my response, apart from the fact that I was gob smacked that this little lady could speak like that and I was learning new words and that the tone was very, very clear! I imagine I said something like "Sorry Miss Hogg. Can I carry on now Miss Hogg." I never bumped into her again and always said "Good Morning Miss Hogg," when I went onto the ice in Queens.

Funny what comes to mind... My happy son has just gone to the shops with his mummy, negotiating about shoes to wear, no coat etc etc... Joy.

Have a great day.

Love

Nicky


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A LIFE ON THE OCEAN WAVES

Just back from a cruise. "It's alright for you," you may say, "but isn't there a recession on?" Indeed. However, I'm pleased to be able to report lovely weather around the Mediterranean, better than for many of the summer cruises (sorry chaps), and a millpond sailing back across The Bay of Biscay and 'all in all' a lovely time.

I didn't relax until near the very end though because I was creating a new show. I did it in the theatre of the Oceana and it went down well. Two shows in one night. The first one flew to time, the second one was 7 minutes slower because I ran out of steam a little in the middle bit.... Should have eaten between shows to keep energy up but I was getting lost in the bowels of the ship trying to find my way back to the stage without walking through the passenger bits. Time akin to Spinal Tap.

We met some lovely people and made some fun new friends. Ray Chopin - a concert pianist being one of these. I blew his identity after my second show but he coped admirably with the questions from passengers. I now have an in with the Welsh Police force, amazing who you meet onboard, not that I need an in with them you understand!

We linked up with old friends we first met in our honeymoon which was on the Oceana three years ago which is very special. It's great to see people onboard who were working then and they greet Tiger as though he is family. The crew are brilliant. It makes me think of what I/we have achieved in the last three years. I think we're doing OK but I need to speed some things up.

Oceana is my favourite P&O ship to date - atmosphere, crew, size, decorum all play a part as do the creche girls and guys who look after the youngsters. My son had a great time and sat with me this morning looking at his books not interupting me - he learnt that on the ship!

So two shows away and successful but the highlight of the cruise was an afternoon on the beach in Monaco. Tiger swimming with me and Christiane in the sea with his armbands on. Ages since I've been in warm sea water and to be with the family was brilliant. Mind you with beer at almost 8 Euros per glass you wonder how much it would cost to live there? Maybe the wine is cheaper?

We are blessed.

Love

N


Friday, August 27, 2010

JOHN WOODEN

I was creating a program to help people learn to skate today and thought of John Wooden. John is a legend of a coach in the United States and someone, along with Dr Vincent Peale, I have huge respect for and wish I had known his teachings earlier in my life. If you are based in Britain you may not have heard of him.

I thought I would like to include some quotes so I needed to see if I can get in touch with his publishers. I found he had died in June this year aged 99.

I'm sad to never have had the chance to meet him or write. I should have acted earlier... But his legacy is strong in what he leaves by way of a structure to give the best you can which I try to embrace.

If you want insight into how to be the best you can be Google John Wooden. It is wonderful timeless wisdom. I have a clip on my site http://www.nickyslater.com/NOTES.html - scroll down and have a watch and a listen I also watched this http://sports.espn.go.com/los-angeles/news/story?id=5253601

I'm very aware that I have short comings against some of the criteria Johnny Wooden established in his Pyramid - God help me to get better at these areas...

An inspiring man.

Love

Nicky

Monday, August 23, 2010

TOO BUSY TO BLOG...

Christiane my beautiful wife has gently berated me for not blogging or Tweeting or anything like that. My response "I'm too busy to Blog!" "Well tell people..." came her gentle reply.

I think it's more like the Blogging thing is ongoing - like a footsoldier - keep on keeping on.. But I am a Commando in my makeup so right now - with no specific deadline for much of the development and learning I do I'm not feeling provoked to blog / tweet...

Addressing scales, 12 bar blues, circle of fifths on piano, guitar barring (hurts the finger!), iambic pentametres, ternarys and troichaic and pyrrhic substitutions all becoming clearer in poetic mode and various areas of songwriting and website marketing stuff being drilled. I have been writing too. It is never a problem being creative. Oh yes and there are some specific projects being brought to life as I write.

But all that is perhaps a bit boring, unless you're doing it, in which case it all starts to cross reference and becomes rather fascinating and takes every waking hour.

Having a shoulder that crocked when I was lifting heavier weights and a cough doesn't help but all will repair shortly. I sound like an old fashioned Carlsberg advert at present...

If you lived in my world you would be seeing a range of characters developing and music and personalities developing for these. You would see the possibility of a mixing and matching of these characters and the fun in that. But that is my world... for now; so it's a secret and the subject of obscure ramblings..

Enough - "I am too busy to blog..." I am getting on, getting on..."

I hope you are enjoying the summer.

Love N

Monday, August 9, 2010

One foot cable!!!

I used to know a man who owned a Pools Company. Every weekend millions of people predicted the winners of the football matches and could themselves win millions if they got the right answers. The lottery killed the business. One weekend his computers weren't working. It was a nightmare; results are shown on television and broadcast on radio - to not be able to announce the winner was terrible - customers might not trust you again...

Experts were brought in to see the state of the art computers and fix them. All to nought. A helicopter brought in a super specialist. Still no joy. Then, one of the employees asked what he thought might be a silly question. "Is that the plug for the computer? The one that's not quite in it's socket?" Of course it was and no one had remembered to check it! Everything else worked but the power was intermittent and was 'upsetting' the computer results - as you might imagine.

In my studio, after much deliberation, I had choosen a certain type of USB mixing desk. This links directly to the software in the computer. It should be brilliant. It wasn't. Time and again one part of the system worked and another didn't - always a different part. I thought it was me.

Over weeks that became months I worked away to fix it. I know I am configuring it correctly, I know it should be seeing it work, I am getting in to midi controller programming- Ahhh... not somewhere I want to be!

Anyway - long story short - one midi cable 12 inches long was a dud. I finally saw that it worked sending but not receiving and started to spot quirks and isolated it to that problem, more by luck than judgement. So, £4.99 has delivered me a beautiful mixing desk that works like a dream. I showed Christiane and she was delighted too. So, in a happy mood I went for lunch. Came back after lunch and... it didn't work again!!!!!! Calm down check the wires. The new one was not pushed in far enough... and it all worked again - pretty lights, faders et al. Thank goodness. I can track across 72 tracks with two key pushes... joy...

Step by step I'm getting there with my studio set up. Just hope I can get there before I'm 96!

Love N

Thursday, July 1, 2010

450...

I am sorting all my files onto our new computer system. "BUCKET OF DOCS" is one file on the Raid Drive. Out of sight, out of mind is how things work for me so I am discovering hundreds (make that thousands) of documents as they are all laid down in one big file and not duplicated anymore across different hard drives...

I've also created one file for 'MY LYRICS' and I've been putting the words I've written into this as I've gone along. Last time I catalogued them was in 2006! I found this file and Christiane had me print them out so we had hard copy then.... Four years ago. Can't believe it was so long ago - time flies.... I decided to do a rough count of the work done since then... 177 Lyrics to 2006 - another 300 ish since then.

So I have written around 450 Lyrics for songs since my first on 17th June 2005 when I started to study lyric and music writing... Goodness. And I have produced the sum quantity of 5, which I hastily did in 2006 and were dreadful. I sent a copy to Mike Batt prompting him to write back to me and beg me not to keep singing!!!! He was very gentle in his observation and trying to save me from myself... lovely man.

I have far fewer melodies - about 50 so this is an area to develop.... or maybe just to produce a few would be a new strategy! More to come though from my studio :)

And Mike - I have a sound booth - no-one can hear me sing - so I can warble away free from upsetting the neighbours and letting myself go - which may help my tone and ability / capability ... you never know - beautiful sounds may one day be heard from here.... hopefully before another five years have passed!

Systematisation of production is what I'm after - a Sausage Factory for music and film... my rationale being that I want to enable a lot of output and - once the cork's out of the bottle we will be able to fly in that - that's the goal I have... Of course it needs to great quality output - a part of the challenge - interesting journey in building this capability. I think I'll need a backer and an engineering and production team at some time... Hopefully soon...

Keep the dream alive says my friend Chris - and as he flies in his journey - it's a good one for me to remember.

Now back to writing a new show for gigs on Monday evening... need to stop being distracted!!!

Love

N


GARDEN PARTY...

This Tuesday I was invited to the annual ITV Garden Party hosted by Peter Fincham, the Director of Television and all things Online for ITV. It was a glorious evening and some of the great talent of ITV's presenting and performance lineup were there along with execs that make things happen.

I always find it a bit daunting to go to these things initially. But once I'm there there is always someone interesting to talk to. Had a wonderful conversation with Melinda Messenger and with her hubbie Wayne - we chatted about music, swing songs and artists such as Chet Baker, Andy Williams and Sinatra and about bringing up kids. Wayne is a singer and was encouraging me to get out gigging! Scary... but necessary? Robin (Cousins) tanned and glowing from his West End success in Grease was great fun too... Some fun chats with DOI potential cast, Controllers and media people...

It's funny when you see the people that are 'Stars' in close proximity... Everyone is just doing a job but it still has a dynamic to it.

Anyway - I read in the BBC News that STAR PAY IS TO BE CUT... due to economic circumstances. The BBC does not comment on the salaries of individuals, however a spokeswoman said: "Whilst it's true to say that we are, of course, honouring existing contracts, our presenters are aware that when contracts fall due for renewal, the fee will be reduced." Now am I right in thinking the BBC is funded by a license fee and that this keeps going without advertising? So its income is guaranteed and is much less susceptible to economic circumstances than that of independent ITV or Sky for example. Perhaps I am missing something here?

Of course the prevailing mood of our country is tighten our belts and austerity all round but... Why can't we be happy to reward great talent? Now if you don't deliver and still get paid that gets me going as I'm sure it does you but performance related pay is nothing new... Are the BBC using 'the prevailing mood of the country,' helped by our media, to give PR leverage to their negotiations with Artists Agents? What will they do with the money saved? Reassign to other projects? I've been in the "Times are tough and we have no money, negotiation..." Which isn't true but is perhaps a place to start if you want to get people for very little money. A consultant friend of mine told of his dealing with a lawyer who said "I have a great day when I get everything for nothing." Not quite a Win Win scenario....

The danger in this stance is that PEOPLE LEAVE YOU... you can bank on the fact that right now the super agents of the big stars will be scouting out options for moves. But then they always will be. Top talent goes where the biggest money is - hence the plethora of foreign players in our Premier League.

I do wonder if and when it gets to the wire and the bottom line is... OK we will leave you now for a competitive broadcaster that the PR talk may become more muted and we may hear?

"We are delighted to have signed Mr Slater and whilst we cannot comment on individual salaries we are convinced we have excellent value for money." :) ....

Apparently the top 30 to 40 performers in the British Entertainment industry earn over £1m a year. (Source BBC Report - June)

That would do then...

What value Andy Murray if/when he wins Wimbledon?

Have a great sunny day.

Love

N


Thursday, June 24, 2010

HAPPILY MARRIED AND LIFE IS GOOD...

I got two 'Fathers Day' cards. One had a picture of a guy jumping into the sea against a blue sky. Below him on the picture was an island in the distance. The message read 'Happily married and life is good...' and - as I sit here waiting for my son to wake at 6.55am I am blessed to say that this is the case.

I do need to get more of a half full attitude though. I once spent a lot of time learning how to 'get over myself' in terms of addressing what held me back. It was lots of courses, met some great people, got some huge insights but... still my question that would keep coming up was "What's wrong?" Expecting something to go wrong, so I could sort it... But it's silly because it can go right just as much as wrong...

So, as the sunshines, I work in my studio (joy at progress over last few days) spend time with my wife Christiane and son and meet friends over this summer in Brighton and elsewhere. Life is good...

Must go - son stirring.....

Hope you are loving the summer.

Love

Nicky


Thursday, June 3, 2010

STAR SPOTTING

A day in London - hotel meetings then a walk down Goodge Street and left onto Chancery Lane. My, London was gorgeous today. (Some very nice frocks around too...! - I know that sounds bad and Christiane raised an eyebrow when I read that bit out but... well gentleman you know what I'm saying and ladies... you know what I'm saying) anyway...

Sat chatting at a table facing onto the street and suddenly before me there was someone I know. A rather well dressed man, distinguished looking. TV colleague? Exec, actor? I know you but....

I looked him in the eye and thought 'I know you.' But... I can't quite place you...

He saw me looking (did he think I was gawking) and (1) looked away because he thought I was a stalker and he gets that sort of attention a lot or (2) maybe he recognised me too but 'couldn't quite place me' and remember my name so was embarassed and had to look away.

Stanley Tucci - co start of Julie and Julia (that I watched with Christiane last Wednesday evening and is a great movie. Buy it, you will be inspired to cook if you don't already and Stanley was so well dressed throughout....) and of course THe Devil Wears Prada - it was him in the flesh, right there in London's media land.

Anyway - it was an exciting moment for me. Even if I do think I might have looked like a plonker as I stared in his direction. This is not America - I am not going to attack you Stanley you are safe.

I do need to get a bit more assertive though. Need to get over being star struck - it's all nonsense!!!

Perhaps Stanley might have considered skating in Dancing On Ice and we missed a golden opportunity?

Should have asked him...

Love

N

Friday, May 28, 2010

I NEVER WILL FORGET

My Godmother Dorothy Moore was buried yesterday. Twelve people attended here funeral. It was 280 miles away - 5 hours. I didn't go. She was 92. I had not seen here for several years and indeed my Godfather had asked that I did not go to see them. I think he thought they had reached a state he did not want me to see them in, and he had his pride. With sadness I honoured that request. Phone calls were then never responded to.

Dorothy and Edgar Moore were wonderful to me, they would look after me when my mum and dad were teaching at the ice rink. I would play with their Yorkshire Terrier Cindy. I would pull her out by her whiskers from under the sideboard (I was six) and once they could not find the poor pooch who was in one of the drawers! She never retaliated but perhaps was relieved when I left at the end of a 'baby sitting' session? Fish fingers and tomato sauce were my staple diet and I always felt safe and loved with them.

Dorothy and Edgar had a daughter Margaret whom my parents taught in ice dancing. Margaret tragically died at around 35.

I'm sad I didn't go to the funeral but I imagine Dorothy would have said - "No no you get on with your life." I remember she had once listened to me across their kitchen table as I explained - at age 40 something that I thought there was no one for me in the world - by way of a girl to be with for life. "There will be someone.' she confidently asserted. In a kind of spit-spot Margaret Thatcher warm and confident way. My - she was right.

They were a wonderful Northern couple to me, never knocking people - even Robert Maxwell who stole their pension and gave them hardship. Edgar was a newspaperman - a printer, Dorothy in her later years before her illness helped Marie Curie Cancer greatly cheering up people young and old.

Edgar was proud that he was driving up until his mid eighties and was never one to complain. Although he did give me some gip for my marks on Strictly Ice Dancing when it came on.

I remember them fondly.

Perhaps that's what today I wrote two verses - one about D - Day and one about our Capital Gains Tax which will affect pensions and how I sensed a 'Spirit of Fear' being propogated in the newspapers. Whatever it is - or because it's a Friday - I thought I would share them.

I NEVER WILL FORGET


I was a happy wanderer

Upon untroubled seas

When I heard the call

The radio beseeched

Men are stranded

On a foreign beach

Lives were being lost

We had to help them

Whatever the cost


We hoisted our mainsail

Engines full ahead

Sailed the murky depths

Going where they’d said

Guns roared above us

Smoke filled the air

Thousands in the water

Singing, saying prayers


We took aboard

The nearest men

All that we could hold

Then we promised

To come back

Four journeys later

Two hundred souls

Back to fight again

Some to fill the honour rolls


And I never will forget

Their dark faces as we’d go

Hoping we’d come back again

Hoping they’d get home

And I never will forget

The sound of the guns

And the calmness all about us

As mothers lost their sons



© Copyright 2010 N M Slater

Friday, 28 May 2010


SPIRIT OF FEAR



CH: Times they are a changing

Spirit of Fear

Money I once had

Disappeared (Rpt)


V1: I’m afraid

What will we do

Worked a lifetime

You’ve loved me through

I’ve tried to do what’s right

Sometimes - you know - it’s been a fight

Now how to pay our way

Work till you drop they say


V2: Pensions gone

Funds went down

Confidence crashing

All around

How will we make it through

How will others make it too

Time to leave grieve

What to do


V3: I heard about

A man who died

He’d a big house, fancy car

But no one heard his cries

A fire with his family

Verdict

Suicide


V4: Why save at all

Changing rules

Companies fail

Bonuses fools

Dog eat dog

Fighting abused

It’s tough for me now

It’s tough for you



© Copyright 2010 Nicky Slater

Friday, 28 May 2010




Tuesday, May 25, 2010

DAVID'S BAG

So there I am in the restaurant this evening with two of my close friends and we're having a great time. I love learning about people's backgrounds and experiences. My friend David has had a rich life... I was hearing something of his most memorable moments.

A young man (say 12?) came up with his sister and asked for my autograph - he was very respectful and brave leading his sister (8?) to get my signage. Another autograph request followed. All lovely...

I was talking a little about 'being clocked' and ruminating about 'Celebrity' and - in timely fashion - Adrian mentioned that it was not me 'being clocked' but actually it was David with his bag! Indeed.... Of course - how vain of me to think it was about me!!!

David has a European style bag and of course is a personality in his own right. Ha - so there I have it - as soon as the Celebrity moment happens my friends help my feet find the ground.. excellent.

A superb evening with great guys...

Love

N


Thursday, May 20, 2010

GTD.. AH YES I REMEMBER

Have you read Getting Thiings Done by Dave Allen? If not, and you have a lot to do, I recommend it. I was reminded of it today and dipped back into the book.

If your system is not 'hard edged' i.e. there is overlap your mind will think it's broken. Yes, yes that's what's happened for me. That's when 'Overwhelm happens'... So a day of sorting things and getting clearer. Lovely.. and getting things done with ease... Love that. Systems development to come. I've already got somethings in order as Dave suggests but need to clean up further and tweak to get more effective again.

It's like a delayed spring cleaning :)

Oh yes and Watch Julie and Julia - great fun. Makes me want to cook! We watched it last night.

Off to Kettle Bells and Abbs...

Love

N


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

PLUG IT IN - TECHNOLOGY CAN HAVE A GOOD DAY

Plumbing various bits of hardware and software has been a challenge for me over the last year as I seek to build my studio! A learning curve akin to the North Face of the Eiger being the climb for each piece of software and it's integration with hardware.

Back off tour my Raid drive refused to work properly which is a bit of a nightmare and I have been in technological overwhelm city...

Then a sunny day comes and some kind Tech support guru offers some advice.

Check to see if the cables are plugged in. Now don't be silly there are only two cables on a Raid drive and the green label one is to the green label marker on the computer and part of it works anyway and... well it looks like it's plugged in and.. well I'll just just wiggle that one to check and - 'click'..... Restart computer and there it is working! Oh my goodness what a bozo. The techies were kind - thank you Joel for saying it happens to all of us.

A man I new once told me the story of how his company, a Football Pools Company of national renown had to get results out on a Saturday. It was in the days of Saturday games only. The computer failed to work and experts were ferried in by helicopter and worked around the clock but to no avail. It got to Sunday, it was a nightmare and the punters would feel cheated and perhaps not keep using the company. A company that was in it's second generation of successful operation. "Have you checked the plugs?" asked one person. No doubt a withering look from the techies was received but? Yes you've guessed it, the 13 Amp plug powering the computer had a loose connection and the computer was of course being affected by that! Once fixed all worked again perfectly.

The moral of the story - Check the plugs first then! Doooh

And joy of joys - my Mackie Mixer has decided to see Logic - I can't get the C4 to read yet - but it will come. Touch sensitive controls and an easy to use interface - a breakthrough as it was refusing to see Logic properly before. The secret - remove everything - don't believe icons and rescan from scratch -plus some updates I've downloaded may have helped....

And my third techie joy today is with my Oasys - I recorded a Dance Track for fun this afternoon. Very detailed and easy.. Now - need to link it to Logic...

For anyone who has gone to sleep I can quite understand... but for me it's great when stuff works.

Now back to what I should be doing rather what distracts me :)

Love

N

Monday, May 17, 2010

MONDAY MONDAY

Once upon a time I can remember not having had much to do on a Monday. I could just go out for a coffee and enjoy the view of the beach.... my life was managed so that I didn't need to do much. But it wasn't fulfilling. I did enjoy my turkish coffee though.

Once upon a time I had retired. Interesting how people perceive you when you say that to them - and you're not 84! I think they imagine you as rich enough to never work again....

Well that was then and I'm in a different world today. This Monday is full of challenges and opportunities and after a melt down on Friday and Saturday where I was 'exhausted' - must have been tour reaction and body saying - STOP! Energy is back and moving ahead... and maybe the sunshine helps too.

Funny how - even when tired a song outline came on the Oasys last night... I love my Oasys even as she hides in her complexity. I am coming to be less daunted by and more able to work with her... and.. I have a new electric guitar that is great fun. Garage Band first for playing with stomp boxes and to Logic later. Loving the range of sounds I can create to add to what I write. Another palate to come from - Mud - lead singer of my band MudAthewall is very pleased with the Axe - as I understand it to be called.

Worldwide online business ideas developing and possibly a little skate in June... Plus a BIG IDEA for ice... but these are distractions - back to finance and tech linkages. My office is starting to look like I am flying a plane - just what I envisaged.....

What you can conceive you can achieve - or see it be it as someone once said somewhere...

Hope you're having a great Monday.

Love

N



Thursday, May 13, 2010

ADMINISTRATOR NEEDED

Back in my studio. Admin work piled up after time on the road :( I need an Administrator to do the bitty stuff. So many bits to be sorted, eats time and energy.

But studio is coming on and so are songs - wrote some on tour and another one yesterday.

It's exciting to realise I am being Producer - as in old fashioned Producer enabling the Artist to play, create and see what comes. The Artist being me :) It's a stretch to set it all up professionally with technical software and hardware engineering issues to be overcome but the potential is fun....

Time away gives a refreshed view for me. Just need to choose what's first on the huge TO DO list.

And other business opportunities coming up - I need an Administrator!!! otherwise I think I shall explode. A full time assistant to get stuff done.

OK job description to be put together...

Have a great day

Love N

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

HOPE?

David Cameron speaks outside No 10 and I am moved by his words. Change cannot be brought about by the Government alone but by all of us - Yes, of course, as Barrack Obama says - I have responsibility in this too... He speaks of Principles - thank goodness - not just 'I can give you 10p off this or that..." A tear runs down my cheek (what a softie!). It's because I am reminded that this is my country - and deep down it is a country I love passionately.

I watch David Cameron and Nick Clegg stand alongside each other in the gardens of No 10 Downing Street. I hear the words and smile at the prospect of two able men leading a team. I note the result of 'unhurried' negotiations led by William Hague - a man of mark - from the Conservatives side. These men speak of BRITAIN - indeed Great Britain. They speak of 'hope' they speak of 'responsibility' not of 'rights' they are young and seem sure in their stance of wanting to do the best for the country.

I am seriously considering leaving Britain - or UK as they have come to call it - because it has become more of a police state overburdened by bureaucracy and anti-entrepreneurial sentiment. Where posters roadside ask you to inform on people doing wrong. Report them? Some type of Big Brother watching you mentality. Where a person can make money by 'Being Right' in their 'Rights' easier than through their endeavours and service to others. Where the phrase UK - United Kingdom permeates a Kingdom that in the last thirteen years has pushed for separatism and devolution where the term Great Britain only surfaces around Olympic time.

'Deep down' I really love my country. But how I wish it was more businesslike. How I wish it did not produce inept overbearing form filling. CRB checks for everyone creating an industry that produces expense without really protecting. If you want to ceat it you could. A drivers licence that needs a paper form as well as a plastic card - why both? Health and Safety edicts that make it a nightmare to feed or employ people. Employment Law that leads to a contract by contract culture where loyalty to the company in the long term is the exception. PFI Contracts 'Off Balance Sheet' for the country that carry 25 year contracts with offshore companies and that, if included in our National Debt would add massively to it. How much money has been spent in the last thirteen years?

So hope? As with President Obama and look at his popularity ratings right now. We have to rein in spending on public funded bodies but pensions are contracted to last a lifetime? We have to 'PRODUCE' output, not simply check if anyone is OK to do a job, or looking for a job - for the set number of weeks then remove them from the register - as happened to my friend! We should remove any office that does not produce output... Output should be a positive contribution to the economy. Will we stick with the politicians when things get much tighter?

It was once suggested to me that I take a department I ran in company and set it up as a Consultancy. I was scared to do so. I did not realise that what I ran - a 15 person £1 million turnover communications and marketing department could actually have made a contribution and been a very successful business so I resisted. Perhaps part of the way forward is in envisaging the many people in jobs that do not produce into 'What's Possible' - their entrepreneurial traits and skills in administration - which are so valid - released to a new place.

Hope... I pray they can make a difference - our new leaders - serve us and inspire us to serve our country in return. I feel like staying and trying to help make things work better, make Britain Great again, if they can do it, lead us effectively...

And as my son gently talks himself to sleep I wonder for him. Where is the best place to bring him up? Could it be worth staying here? My I hadn't considered that until I heard David Cameron talk today.

Hope...

So God Bless this government as they seek to turn around a ship that is holed with a huge deficit and, like a tanker, will take a while to turn around.

Goodness, the Civil Service may have done scenario planning but even they will not have seen such an integrated cabinet and linked coalition as this.

Brilliant - I hope...

Here's to 'GREAT BRITAIN' - a Land of Hope and Glory. Now that would be special.

Love

N




Friday, May 7, 2010

2.5 to 6.0 - How People Perceive

I've just done a post about last night. It brought to mind that - whilst I explain to every audience what I am trying to do on the tour - I have never published such. So here goes.

I found myself trying to create a 'first to last' positioning for the competitors on this tour. It is a competition whereby eight couples skate a number and we - the judges - give one mark. To separate them - using our marking system of 0 to 6 with 0.5 increments means you must start at 2.5 and finish on a 6.0 otherwise you have ties.

In the past, and on the series I have had ties (couples on the same mark). My criteria is what I sum up as the whole package. This is a mix of skating and presentation. In my skating days their were marks for Technical Merit and Artistic Impression. These days it is split but still has the same route. For Dancing On Ice the mark is simplified ( as against skating competition elsewhere run by the ISU ).

It is interesting to me though that I have been tared with the brush of 'The Nasty Judge'. "My you give low marks." Because my colleagues stay higher and tie. What seems to happen is that people see the relative mark and think you're harsh - but actually I am trying to be absolutely fair to those that have done better.

How we perceive what people do then is an interesting observation for me in this spot. As 10,000 people gleefully booed me in Manchester for about a minute and a bit as I continued chatting to them (!) we have had some fun. Great pantomime moments.

It's quite character building as well - as you might imagine. As i walked back to the hotel in Manchester car windows rolled down and "We love you Nicky- sorry about the booing we were told to do it" was repeated again and again.

Andy Collins - our brilliant warm up guy doing a great job then (?) plus one of our cast was actively encouraging the booing! :) All great fun -

However I may need some therapy when I get home and my mother in law has suggested I paid by the boo in future... That would dramatically increase my worth!

It's a funny old world.

Love

N



BELFAST - MIKEY WINS FROM ME- DOI -LAST LEG

Lovely day in Belfast and looking over the Loch. Gorgeous. Last leg of tour 3 shows to go of 38.

Last night we decided to give Mikey (Graham) a leg up towards his Bolero - a 5.5 from all the judges for his performance. Audience voting had him in the final with Hayley.

Mikey skated the funniest Bolero I have ever seen and skated a routine that had moments of flow, poise and speed along with lifts and a relationship between him and Mel that has characterised their routines. There were also moments of wobbles, of 'which way should I go now?' and the feeling that it would all end up in a heap. But it didn't. A superb one off effort by an Arena trained showman. My it made me laugh and it made me think - you are skating out... and I was surprised to overall be impressed by his ice coverage and presentation.

Hayley skated her Bolero with Dan. This is a totally different routine. It is theatrically perfect in its presentation and works with the music. However, I always analyse from the feet up and Hayley and Dan's routine - which they choreographed themselves - has Hayley in the air for a major part of the piece. When the skating happens it is precise yet slow over the ice.

So, in comparing the routines I found myself reflecting on the amount of skating and presenting of his partner Mikey did in a positive light. And the comedic and entertainment value of his performance added weight to my overall decision.

I was the only one to vote for Mikey as my Champion. I was surprised - as I often am - that I was the only one to do so!

Well done him for delivering a memorable and entertaining Bolero. A treat for Belfast for one night only. It takes nothing away from Hayley and Dan's presentation but I will always be a stand for skating first as for me - Dancing On Ice is done best when you are doing the dancing whilst moving fast over the ice - that's when it's more difficult.

Love

N

Saturday, May 1, 2010

BIRMINGHAM NEC

In 1986 I chartered a private jet to fly in Chris and Jayne and Karen from Germany. I arranged for airspace clearance across Germany. The event was Sport Aid screened for ITV. My first producer role. Tonight - a few years on I judged celebs skating and Karen is on the panel and Chris and Jayne of course star in the show.

Booing seems to be much in evidence. I kept a booing relationship going for about a minute and a quarter tonight as I explained my marks to the lovely people of Birmingham here. All good natured and pantomine and a release of tension for our crowd - at least I hope that's how it is...

Two more two show days to come then Belfast for the final leg of the tour.

My mother in law is suggesting I get paid by the boo next time - this would increase my salary exponentially!

Love

N

Friday, April 23, 2010

ALTRINCHAM SKATING....

Hectic days of travel, home to repack and get business sorted, and shows. Manchester leg of Dancing On Ice Tour, crowd wonderful in my home town. Booing huge for some of my marks, but not with nasty edge, at least that is how I imagine it!

Off for a skate today - first time on the ice for a while with Kyran in Altrincham this morning. He wants to learn some steps... Will be fun.

We will be going on the public session - lovely!

Love

N


Monday, April 19, 2010

MONDAY - FLIP SHOW - ALMOST... DANCING ON ICE TOUR

I am getting disorientated. Is it Monday? Is it afternoon or evening. After a few days here with two show days over the weekend this is probably normal. Anyway - sat on the bus online!!! :) Brilliant dongle usage.

Show was flipped which means some people get different numbers on the Tour in the first and second half. This changes the dynamic of the competition part of the show. My marks reflected that. Linda Lusardi was the guest judge and it was great to see her again.

Hayley won the bolero by three judges to two. Close but will encourage her. Ray was in the final with her.

Worked out before the show as usual - our carpenters Mark and Ray fitting me up with two metal boxes full of weights - great fun. Kyron (Bracken) having a night off - we'll be back running and lifting some weights tomorrow.

Love n

Sunday, April 18, 2010

SUNDAY AFTER DVD DAY

Sunday - O2 - day three... two show day.. show 13 half way through.

Yesterday - on the Dancing On Ice Tour - we did a DVD shoot of the show and I found it difficult to judge. Up to now the placings of the competitors has been clear for me and a range of 2.5 to 6 covers eight couples. But... for DVD day skaters do different routines and this means some do better, some less so.

Emily was better - her Bad Boys number should be her competition piece. Mikey did worse - his new number had limited content. Gaynor did better and looks to be fulfilling the hope I had in her from the start of the tour and then Gary was scratchy with hips back and free leg not extended. So I ended up grouping this lower segment. For the top skaters Ray was super with a Grease routine that was developed very quickly but, I did not give him a six because his split jump is not yet up and sure as it was last year. So, after being that tough, when Chris Fountain didn't do his routine 100% I gave him a 5.5 otherwise I would not have been consistent and fair on Ray. I tied them.... All the other judges gave 6.0's to Chris - so, whilst I am sure of what I did I can't help having pangs of being a meany... Which is not the intention....

Today then judging is a challenge - as it gets around show 13 - some improving - some not so much - position changes afoot perhaps.

It might only 'be a show' but being a judge is 'being a judge' for me. Being strong and true to convictions and resisting tieing everyone and being polite is not the game I'm playing.... Would be easier if I did that perhaps...

Love
N

Friday, April 9, 2010

DANCING ON ICE - ON TOUR...

Must get a way to get pictures on blog...

On Tour with Dancing On ice. Backstage as second half proceeds. It's Day 2 - Show 2 of 39...

Chris Fountain and Brianne were a six last night, 5.5 tonight and still top for me. Mind you I got booed royally for not putting Hayley and Dan first. Some of my colleagues gave her a six - but, whilst it was a six in the studio - unless more speed can be squeezed out of the choreography and the small amount of skating can be expanded this routine won't fill the arena on bigger ice and.... in the context of skating against Ray and Chris.... will be a poor relation for me. No matter how loud the music is played!

It's a bit of a quandary, as I am not to judge the choreography, and the choreography does not include much skating for Hayley. But then - if this was an easy job anyone would do it!

Mikey skating, smile lighting up the arena. We are talking about music - how rich to be speaking with someone of his experience and I was playing Mark's guitar (on our video crew) before the show - Fender Stratocaster - he's looking at what electric I should buy. All this from the party last night which was fun and at which I did boogy!!!!

Lovely days - even with the booing!

Love N