Friday, May 28, 2010


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 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


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



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


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...



Thursday, May 20, 2010


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...



Wednesday, May 19, 2010


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 :)



Monday, May 17, 2010


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.



Thursday, May 13, 2010


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


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.


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.



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.




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.



Saturday, May 1, 2010


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!