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My ArtsFestFirst: The Breakaway!

Ok so I know I’ve had a schedule, and have even changed it a couple of times but honestly, I just want to go where takes my fancy. I’m the creative type after all! And by gum if I cannot be in my element and run off on a flimsical whim whenever I feel to, we’ll..that’s just proposterous!

So, in light of my new found rebellion I walked. I collected leaflets, I spoke to people, I filled in forms and received a pedometer, various info packs, a trendy-looking magazine and various freebee trinkets.

Then there was the crafts section. Yesssss!!!! I saw many children and parents occupying the table spaces so I kept my distance at first. I wanted to do something but would I be in the way, not having any children on my own, nor an excuse…? I decided I would commence the hover manoeuvre so I began to look at their literature and display on the make shift wall space. I picked up the leaflets and finally stood over the table by the facilitators looking intrigued until somebody addressed me.

When offered after a short while I did the classic ‘Am I allowed? and added, I don’t have any children with me!’ luckily she chuckled and invited me to sit down. It was a badge making craft by the people at craftspace.com (bare with me if this is incorrect). I proceeded to take instruction and draw my lil design onto the thick sheet foil square. I handed it back for the finishing touches and my trendy new badge was born!

I promptly attached it to my coat and moved on to the next table, deploying operation hover once more. I am summoned to an empty seat a ‘Hello, have a seat’ and a ball of moulding clay. I immediately proceed to roll, flatten, smoothe and carve a tiny collection of items. I spend a good while here, I feel like a child again. At school in my own corner making various ornaments – yes I am introverted mostly, but I have learned ways to interact with the outside world! Garsh I love clay. I finish and arrange my pieces on a box corner, take my ticket and leave it in the care of the representatives so I can catch a must see. The best thing was, they had hand wupes provided to clean your hands, good form!


My ArtsFestFirst: Belly Dance Fusion

Well, I once again entered the M&A and made my way with my friend to the round room.

Two foldy seats were conveniently empty close to the entrance ūüėČ and although the place was buzzing and all the other seats were full, nobody had occupied these yet. As if they were waiting.. So I humbly accepted and began to dig in my boombag for my trusty camera.

I’d been rather excited about getting some belly dancing love as lately I haven’t been able to part-take as much as I’d like in a regular belly dance fixture in my schedule. Anyways, the blurb on this was enough to catch my further attention, et voila! My camera battery was fully charged and the memory was clear, ACTION!

Promptly, the introduction began, the music started and she was ready. Alexis Southgate began her belly dance fusion, which was basically belly dancing done to a non-belly dancing-esque type of music. The music itself was more of a fusion though – was a lil bit drum and bass, a lil bit dubstep, a lil bit metallic and a lil bit retro. I must say, I subconsciously began bobbing around when some of those beats kicked in, I do listen to this kinda music anyways so I had no particular objections.

There were little magical moments in her poignant connecting pops and shimmied with the various buzzing and riffing climaxes the music style had to offer. And she did a mean hip drop where the bass boomed, its always good to have your basics on point, you go girl!

Her outfit was also a quirky refresher on the traditional belly dance attire. In keeping with the relevant crop-top and long flowy skirt – stomache exposed, naturally – Southgate wore a gothic alternative. Dark burgundy draped with black lace. And a mis-representative black bindi at her third eye-thats her forehead, betweem the eyes, fyi. I had to discuss my distaste with my friend who agreeingly disapproved also. However, it was a nice touch and I can understand its necessity. Southgate also donned, dark smokey eyed make up with that deep burgundy lipstick. No coin belt or coin attire, but that impressive bangle arrangement sevres her well.

I was glad to see she had the authentic belly dancing belly! She wasn’t some over-toned gym-freak (I love gym freaks though, don’t get it twisted!). All my belly dancing research has helped me to understand the nature and origin of the dance is to celebrate femininity. It is the dance of the womb and a good stomach is the main attraction. Heck, it has been nicknamed, renamed and therefore nownamed Belly Dancing so if that’s not maths, I don’t exist. Not to mention, when done with a good tummy, the belly-roll is mesmerisingly hypnotising and gripping to no end. I found myself hooked on a number of occasions, I had to remember I was filming!

The last dance had a good traditional piece of music to it and the movement seemed to shine just that more brightly as she performed now. I did find this the most aesthetically pleasing and she smiled throughout.

As a performer, Southgate was obviously somewhat versed in doing it well. She worked the room, gliding both sides and pausing for the various cameras held up throughout the room. Not to mention, making good eye contact with members of the audience. I see she also had a fan club/support group in the audience. Fellow belly dancing ladies who were clearly also performers at other venues/times during the Fest as they were in full costume. At first, I thought they may be performing too but it was apparent they weren’t after a few songs – even though I half hoped they would right till the end.

And with that, it was finished. A healthy applause and a standing ovation from some in appreciation and a gleaming smile in thanks from Southgate. So, its her friend filming and listening to my comments eh, ah well I wasn’t rude, lol. I stop my filming at a good interval and pack to take my leave.

Check out the video if you haven’t already. I apologise for the heads in the footage, I had to sit back down as many people were behind me and as I had a seat, I thought it a bit inconsiderate.
For being new and interesting, despite my personal taste I give this performance Four Thumbs Up!

Seriously smelly guy, you STINK!!!

Yes, I am going to have a little rant about smelly people. I think it’s time I did since it is some thing that effects all of us – well those who (still) have the luxury of being able to smell.

First, let me break it down. We’re all human and smell is a vital part of humanity. We live and die by scent, it can turn you on, or turn you right off!

I mean, I will follow my nose when a good smelling person is about. I remember once standing in a chippy packed full of people on a saturday night (or a Sunday morning, rather). I am standing next to a rather tall fellow and my goodness did he smell good!!! Now my extra surprise was that it was the end of the night and he smelled boxfresh!!! I’ve always wanted to use that word, lol and in my utter surprise I had to let him know!
Well, he had to crouch down a little to be able to hear me, which just shrouded me in his beautiful stink more, and back he had to get a lil closer, he had to return the compliment! Naturally!

Anyways that is one good example, I have more, but it’s not that time, and I particularly appreciate when a person of slightly taller statute smells good, the shorter population commends you, taller person!!!

Now let’s get to the nitty gritty. Bad smells!!!

Let me just say here, I am a Nursing Auxilliary and I work in a hospital. It is the home of bad smells! I have now been there long enough to tell the difference between rotting flesh and necrotic (dead) flesh even though both are pretty darn hurrendous. I am around bad smells for a living and at work, I do not mind. There is a legitimate reason for these bad smells, and by gum at least those people are in the right place!

So, smelly people of the outside world, what is your excuse???

Now I recall a time in my life when I was so ‘ depressed’ that I did not wash/shower for the best part of seven months – true story. I did have a tidy however, and changed my clothing to stop suspicion. I did ask close comrades about my odour and I was never, as far as I know, offensive to another nostril during that time. They could have been lying to me, but I was sure to ask my sisters – who never miss an opportunity to point out my bad points, so I am confident of their honesty. Go team!

Anywho, I can appreciate others may not have been so willing to cover up and that is their journey, and I may also add the mentally challenged and the drunken and drug abusing souls lost in those stupors, you are also not part of this immediate context.

No, these people are not under subjection here.
I am talking about Mister Narstee!!! Who gets up at some point in any day, in the clothing he was wearing the day before. He eats, he shits, he pretends to be busy doing work (work that is never completed nor will ever be because he will move onto the next project before finishing properly).
See, Mister Narstee thinks he is a perfectionist. Which is why he won’t finish. It won’t be good enough for his standard so always stays in that, nearly finished limbo.
Mister Narstee is really rather ruddy intelliegent too, but so arrogant with it that he thinks he is more intellectual than he really is.
Mister Narstee is so sure of himself that even when in conversation about a smelly person he will agree, so even an expose like this, he would be chuckling along obliviously about some other punk. No Mister Narstee, I mean YOU!!!

In your home he will occupy one corner, as well as your settee, and it will be the messiest (not to mention smelliest
) corner of your home.

This Mister Narstee even has the ordasity to wash his hands before meals – although the jury is still out on whether or not he does so after toileting (he leaves too soon, some would say).

Mister Narstee has never had his own place, and is a reluctant applicant to the process. He is also very well travelled as he has occupied the settees of most of his circle of friends.

Mister Narstee is not afraid to ask for help, but if you make the silly mistake of giving yours, expect that to mean doing it for Mister Narstee – ha! You fool.
Mister Narstee is also full of surprises. Just when you’re at the end of your tether with his stench, he takes a shower!!!

Am I talking about someone? Yes! However this is not based on one individual. It is my experience of a few people like this over my short lifetime so far. And no, Mister Narstee has not stayed at my abode, I couldn’t have that shoddiness in such close proximity!!!

Hmmm, even I am feeling sorry for Mister Narstee so I will shift my focus.
What I’m getting at is the mentality of such an individual. Who thinks the world¬†owes¬†them¬†something¬†but is fundamentally too damn lazy to take
what they’re ‘owed’.

It’s the sheer ignorance in which they operate, a guise, if you will and they are so wrapped up in there own infinite amazing wonderousness that us innocent bystanders have not only to endure there smelly odour, but a stinking attitude to boot!!!

Come on smelly dude aka Mister Narstee, FIX UP!!! The world is already at a shortage of decent men, and while you have the potential it is obvious that you cannot see past the end of your own nose – not to mention smell further than your own stench! (Every pun intended!)

*sighs* rant over, for now! Even though I could go on…

My ArtsFestFirst: Second City Sax and other stories

At the New Street Information Booth played the players that make up Second City Sax. I find a good spot in the ever changing crowd and proceed to record the saga on my digital camera as it is perhaps safer than fiddling with buttons on my notemaking device!

They are already playing by the time I arrive, friend in tow, at a couple mins after their scheduled play time. By the time the second song came around I felt it was time to go. The songs were unrecognisable but sounded beautiful with the four octaves of sax in harmony but, it took a little too long to begin song number three and it was too practical. They play because its a good thing to learn an instrument rather than the fact that they love it. I take this opportunity to take my leave.

The rest of the Fest is calling me to pay attention to it, and I cannot help but explore.

Just a lil way up a solo sax player gives his token at the fest. A man by the name of Andy Gayle whom I knew of before now – if only knowing that he carries his sax everywhere not to mention the fact I questioned his legitimacy at the Fest., I’m just being honest.

Further, I’m drawn by a voice, sounds like Louis Armstrong, but I know its not. The cuban cigar guitar club? I think. The title evades me, even though it is right in front of me, but the music is gritty and lifts the day a bit more.

I continue around the venue and let it happen constantly thinking I should stick to my not-so-original plan for the day so that I have something to write about. All kinds of stalls filled with all kinds of artsy fartsyness and I don’t know where to start. I want to spend time at every one but there’s is certainly not enough day left for that madness!

I’m sidetracked, after a while, by a woman. Clearly she was a dark skinned black woman but had used some form of paint to make a mask over her face, with the mandatory blue eye shadow and red lippy (ps, black woman; the blue eye n red lippy thing rarely looks good!!!). After finishing a brief chat with another stall-tender she approaches me and asks what I think of the look. I ask why she has done that to herself. And so she explains she is doing a play about woman bleaching their skin and a study she has conducted on this. Her stunt today was just to get a wider response from people. I almost immediately offer my help for the show, in November, giving all my details so watch this space for more news on that, if she calls!!!

My ArtsFestFirst: Reschedule!!!

So upon closer inspection of my freshly acquired ArtsFest programme, I see that there are a lot more things that take my fancy, more than my originally planned list had.

My dilemma on this first night is now to make up a new schedule which is as follows…

12-12.30 Three On A Match at the Old Joint Stock Theatre
13.15-13.45 I disco er Byron Channer is playing again (YES) at the inromation booth on New Street
14.45-15.15 Second City Sax at the same place.
15.30-1600 Belly Dance Fusion in the M&As Round Room.
15.30-16.30 Heijoshin Dojo at the Arcadian Centre

This ArtsFest has a lot to offer. I cannot wait to get into it tomorrow. I’ve even got some other people interested enough to join me. Roll on tomorrow!!!

My ArtsFestFirst: Witchhazel

Ooooooooooo I’m so glad this event is on, its like a very welcome, unexpected, little gem! I love the sounds of the nostalgic so it’ll be a lovely way to close the first evening of a fun packed weekend. A nice little surprise to spurr on the novel excitement.

After obtaining two lovely little notepads from the M&As gift shop, I float into the next item on my list. I can see the ‘band’ warming up (good job!) In a discrete corner. I can here a guitar a violin and what sounds like a banjo. Didn’t the flyer say ‘a Titanic tribute…nostalgic music that they were listening to back then‘ or things to that effect? Anywho, I think nothing of this and continue to secure my seat. A badly chosen seat is the bain of my¬†existence, I sit nicely positioned to be able to take a couple sneaky pics and really appreciate the offering.

There are only three in this four piece. A violin, a guitar and a banjo. Another guitar is placed on the staircase behind – and never referred to again.

Very bubbly tune to begin with, instrumental but not quite what I had in mind when thinking of titanic-esque music. Or maybe it is accurate and I just don’t know my music. I don’t claim to be a connoisseur, but deduction has always worked in my favour. I cannot quite hear Mr Violin which is slightly frustrating, good job I’m in the middle at the front!

Second song, Mr. Guitar breaks into song accompanied by Banjo Lady. Finally a violin solo so I can actually hear it.” Roll on buddy,dnt u roll so slow, how can I roll roll roll when the wheels won’t go..” I like the lyrics though.

Banjo Lady takes the lead with a song I have called Across the great Divide which seemed to be the punchline, and therefore the title. She had a very sweet voice. The kind that is not loud, but always crisp, even if you doubt whether she will make that high note! But she does, easily. Bad Mr latecomer. I understand you wanted to settle in quickly but could you please refrain from nudging me and brushing my attire with the velcro side of your bag! Garsh, I wish he could have been across the great divide that is my personal space!

Pay Me My Money Down is, and I quote (Mr Guitar) ” In no way directed at the Birmingham city council!” teasing a relaxing laughter throughout the audience. Later he attempts to get the audience involved as the words are pretty simple but we do not catch on, and his only warning was over exaggerated facial expressions, the kind that makes one just smile and nod in quiet discomfort. Never mind eh.

Ooo its a fiddle not a violin. Frank dudley, we discover his name here, takes the lead for this one. His heels-a-tappin’ with more purpose now. More intent in dat natural frown his face as he fiddles his lil heart out.

The lady is hazel (does this mean sheez a witch?) A folk song with an alluring melody.. If you knock me again Mr latecomer, my ghetto side is coming out, true story! ..and OMG she has her tongue pierced! You go girl!

We are informed the next item is a train song, what is a train song… They begin to play and.. ahhhh yes I hear what you mean now.¬†Alexanders Ragtime Man is introduced as a song written as an inspiration from the Titanic. Its a nice tune, a good close to a good set.

In honesty, I wanted to leave at song two or three once the novelty of the music wore off. I did’nt have any qualms with the performance, its delivery or anything technically, but I was not expecting the genre by its description I read on the net, so I was somewhat disappointed by having although it was a good set. I couldn’t due to my centre front seat, I should have chosen one less conspicuously, I did not anticipate this factor in my seat choice. The bain of my existence.

I give this performance three thumbs up, and three out of five aint bad.

My ArtsFestFirst: Adjustment Dance.

I chose this event purely for the title and its obscurity. It reminds me of a lecturer I had at uni whose thing was dance theatre. But her use of language when giving us a task brief somewhat changed everytime she repeated herself. And no matter who asked for more details it would remould itself to comply with their understanding, never really taking form. Suffice to say that all those not considered agreeable enough for whatever shallow reason, it became clear when scores came out for that module, just why nothing was made clear-so she could change her answer when we probed for feedback hmph! Anyways, it felt like a constant adjustment to dance theatre, so I guess I’m projecting those memories onto my expectations of this piece.

The first piece opens with the full group positioned in a cluster. A tinman walk forward bursting into their wider space and an odd, but intriguing style emerges as they probe with fluid and jagged shapings all with a rather laxed fluidity.
I like the energy and obscurity of this piece but something is missing. I feel like something is supposed to happen but as the seconds pass by it becomes more and more clear that that something is not coming..
It is as this point that I began to allow myself to acknowledge just how seethrough the ladies’ leggins were. I understand they may not have been a-list professionals but if u do dress rehersals the point is for somebody to be watching to point these things out. Try the more opaque versions ladies, your dignity depends on it!

The second piece begins and just three female members of the collective take the floor. A wicked soundtrack kicks in and I start bobbing around like I’m warming up for a head-banging competition.. O yeah, the performance. This looks promising. After a few flowy introductory movements a keen solo begins whilt the duo take a freeze frame. Methinks somebody took their moment to shine and mostly, she did. You go girl! Erm, they keep making this weird pirrouette ballet movement, I think it’s called the ‘title move’ in the business. Facial expressions-nothing

I am then more drawn to the effort of the dances. Being a theatre boff (well kinda re-boff) I can’t help but put my performance hat on and do what I do best. Rip it to pieces. This piece was under rehearsed, the very movement communicated that the collective was intended for unison (collective always suggests this in performance) and the slack delivery crumbled the image. Staggered bursts of movement did ripple throughout but I assume the lack of a suitable warm up effected the fluidity as well as the special element one tries to create. The facial expressions, as I searched the individual entities, all said nothing even about sixteen different languages. In she second piece the ladies spent their time looking at different levels of the floor and I just wanted, by this point, to scream out and say “come on girls, give us a smile you’re doing great!!!” If only to give a boost that would definately life the ambience.

And then they were finished. When the three flew back to the safety of the bench and whilst we waited for our remaining 18minutes frazzled looks danced throughout the group. And then, the easily exciteable male volunteered the upsetting news. You could feel a wave of disdain descend over the audience as people sheepishly walked around and away.

I am aware that this is a daunting experience. Strangers who are intentionally present to watch you. Some just happened to be there, other there to write their first collection of reviews and all inbetween and beyond. But you are a performer, not a person. It is your talent to translate everything that you wish to within the realms of a performance to create understanding for us. If you do not agree, I assume you are not currently a performer.

Messy choreography and over in twelve minutes. A botch job I’m sorry to say.

I have time to mosey around the Museum and Art Galleries gift shop and can’t decide between two little note books, one with a william morris design on, the other a japanese print of a little bird with a pale blue background., I bought them both! Good times.