Wednesday, September 29, 2010


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.




Tuesday, September 28, 2010


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.



Tuesday, September 21, 2010


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.