Sunday, 24 November 2013

My History of Skates

Let me tell you a little bit about roller skates – I love them!

Back in the 1980s our local sports centre held a regular roller disco. I loved going. I used to hire those old metal strap on skates and drag them around the hall, loving the swooping and zooming yet enviously watching the kids with the coloured hi-top skates and even more impressive, the solid black hockey skates. Oh how I loved the big chunky hockey skates.

On those crappy strap on skates I learnt to skate quite well. I could do cross-overs round the bends and backward skating with one leg. I could do turn stops although my favourite stop was barge right in and through.
I couldn’t do jumps or anything more technical like that. Partly because I hadn’t developed the skills and partly because you dare not lift your feet off the ground for too long in strap on skates or the stupid things would fall off.
It didn’t take much to convince my mum that I really wanted skates for my birthday. Why would it, she was a roller skater! Must be where I get my roller roots from. See picture... and she had performed on skates as a youngster herself! Go mum, who would have thought? Anyone spot her?



She made me try out Ice skating for a while. I could do it, but I just hated being cold. Plus falling over on ice skates slightly terrifies me. Falling on rollers was ok.

I got my first skates, when I was about ten. They were dark blue with neon yellow flames down the sides.  Remember, before you rib me forever, I did not pick them. However, I do wonder, perhaps those flame enhanced skates where the beginning of my need for speed.
On those Hi-top boots I rolled everywhere. To the sports centre, (back in the days when nobody cared about inside/outside wheels) to my friends, to the shops (yes inside too) and round and round the back alley where all us estate kids would hang out.

Then one day I just stopped. Maybe going to the High school with roller high tops just was not cool. Maybe my feet grew out of them. More likely I wrecked them. Whatever the reason, I cant recall. The flame propelled roller skates just disappeared out of my life and I never thought about them again.

I had a go at in-liners once, many moons ago, when they had not long been out. The technique reminded me of ice skating but in the outdoors. I found them a bit weird but then they were two sizes too big for me. Go to Brighton and people with in-liners swoop by you all the time on the promenade.

I have admired the crazy four roller skaters that went round and round in a very tight circle at a Cirque de Solei show. Lifting people and objects onto their continually spinning bodies. Sticking out legs. Showing off. generally being dangerous and skilled, risky and thrilling. A spinning kaleidoscope of rock-on people and roller wheels. I loved them.

But sadly gradually over the vast amount of years I have been on this mortal coil, my love of rolling skating was ignored.

Then two years ago BF and I decided to go to the South coast for our anniversary week. We had been together four years, been living together forever and decided we would have a lovely little July – August holiday in and around Brighton. We agreed not to do presents in advance. On our anniversary we spent the day, walking around Worthing spoiling ourselves and looking for that perfect gift for each other. BF is an incredibly helpful shopper. He is good fun, wild with money and encourage you to buy anything you happen to touch, like, love or coo over.

We encouraged each other to try things on (I tried on a fabulous raw silk bright blue jacket but for fucks sake it was £300) and we checked and double checked with each other if that was ‘the gift’. Maybe the open availability of options and spending spree attitude did it. We just couldn’t find it. The elusive perfect gift for our perfect day was not forth coming.

Then we spotted a Jewellers called Presleys!!! Well!! Being the big soppy tattooed Elvis fan that I am, it was a sign, we had to go in!
Within seconds we were cooing over a beautiful silver ring, with my favourite stone, BFs favourite stone and a cute everlasting circle design. I loved it. We loved  it. We asked to view it out of the case. The shop lady happily obliged and removed it, placing it on a black velvet showing tray. It looked so pretty.

We realised there we were, mooing at each other, seriously considering buying this ring and getting engaged! It was a really beautiful and heartfelt moment. For a while.

Sadly the ring did not fit. Nor could we have it sized up. We discussed a few options but it became clear, it was not meant to be. Eventually we retired to a nearby pub and giggled off how unusual and unexpected a turn the day had taken. Everything was ok. We were not disappointed. We were really quite elated and most definitely in love. The day we nearly got engaged and...

We had lunch, we wandered around some more until we made our way to the promenade front. We spotted a skater shop. Incredible boards and scooters in the windows. We decided to go in for a look.  As soon as arrived I noticed a wall of roller skates and there, pride of place, in the middle was a pair of brand new pair of chunky ice hockey skates. No wheels just big black plastic-ness of hardcore floor owner. I was ten again.

Oh how I cooed over those skates in that shop. I excitedly told BF how much I had envied the kids with these when I had been little. He made me try them on. Even up to this stage I had no intention of buying skates for my anniversary! I tried the big clunky things on. I’m stomping round the shop on the bear wheel braces. Laughing with BF and reminiscing. It was then that the shop owner changed my life forever, with the statement:
“You know we ‘ave ten kinds of coloured wheels for those skates!”

Well I was a flurry of over excited idiotic squealing and clapping. I went into a frenzy of indecision before finally and rather obviously for me, settling on a pair of bright blue glittery wheels.

Quick as a flash I was leaving the shop with BF proudly holding a £170 of skates for me.

“Happy anniversary babes!”

We scampered across the road and I laced up. My god they were so heavy! I gingerly took my first few swoops along the perfectly smooth straight and long seafront paths. BF eagerly watching with bated breath and his camera phone at the ready. I went up and down until my confidence grew, remembered a turn spin way of stopping and tried it a couple of times accompanied by some screeching and arm flailing. But I did not fall. I skated back to BF on the bench and plonked myself, pleased as punch right next to him.

“You can actually skate!”

Well der...he thought he would be having fun watching me stack it all afternoon! Cheeky sod.

When we came back to Scotland we began taking my skates and BFs bike to the cycle path. I had to warm up first or I would get terrible cramp in the front of my calves from the sheer weight of the skates. But then we would cycle and skate together. If I got tired I would just hang onto the back of the bike and get a pully. We looked silly, we looked like olduns playing at being younguns but we didnt care, we were having fun and we laughed so very much.

Thankfully BF in his nerdy “safety first” dad kind of way, had purchased me a set of protective gear for my head, elbows, wrists and knees. Thankfully indeed!

I had been skating on and off for a few weeks and was getting more comfortable at a fair speed (in a straight line) along the long sweepy cycle path. We stopped one day, taking a left off the cycle path and settling on a bench opposite a very busy children’s play park. There had to be at least three families there and about ten kids. I took off my wrist shields and helmet and we had a snack. When we left I had the most monumental fall I’ve ever had to date, on my skates. Right in front of these kids and families. Like a flailing yelping idiot! So funny.

When I got up BF had gone ahead to see if the junction back onto the path was clear. I began rolling slowly then very very quickly down the hill. He gave me the nod, I had to go right, and practically a hair pin bend!! Oh no. I was leaning to the left, hard, and I screeched round the corner too tight. I lift my right foot but my left stopped moving and I jerked into the air. High, I did what is known in gymnastic turns as a triple perpendicular pike twist. I went round a few times in the air, my feet barely but just scraping along the floor. My eyes saw the ground, hands smacked down first, then my shoulder, then my body. I recall holding my head tight at some point, as I rolled over one last time. As I stopped the air was quiet and still. I jumped up quickly, brushing myself down in defiance, embarrassment rising to my face. The silence was deafening.

As I looked over to the play park I could see parents nodding smugly and looking at their children,
“And that children is why you wear protective clothing.”

I raced off with a shrill “Come on!” to BF. Various areas of me rosy and throbbing from shame and pain.
Fucking hilarious though. I don’t know how BF managed not to laugh out loud and possibly hold up score cards...

Turned out after six weeks of a dull stiff throbbing shoulder, one morning in bed I moved, it twanged. Ouchy! I went to the docs, got a referral to the physio, got referred for acupuncture.
I had damaged the nerve roots! Its was bloody annoying. But absolute bliss when it was finally fixed. So I know how dangerous roller skating can be for adults. We have so much further to fall!!! Its pays to be safe and aware.

Looking back though, I wouldn’t change it for the world. I learnt a lot that day. About the goodness of protective clothing, about my over eager enthusiasm vs my actually technical ability. About the wound dressing kindness of BF and how easily jeans can embed into skin.
Most of all its really funny story to relive with BF.

Recently my friends set up a local Roller Derby team – Dolly Doonhamers. So of course I joined.

I now have a weekly excuse to skate (sometimes twice a week depending on life). Delighted! And not just skate, but barge around overtaking significant others!
Camaraderie!
Laughs!
Skills!
Girl power!
Chicks Rule!
We are all at different stages, but that is what makes it great. Everyone helping each other. Everyone getting so much out of it. Proud of my mates for getting it set up. Proud to be part of the crazy hardcore world of roller derby dolls! We have some wicked times ahead.

So in a funny way, all that roller skating and all that passion. No matter how distracted you get from it.
It all comes around in the end.
In fact if life is one continuing ever spinning circle cycle of life, then surely rolling through it, is the best way to do it?
When I have my skates on, I just want to Rock and Roll.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

One Word

Small and curly constantly moving doubt.
It lives in my head shifting about.
No matter what good deeds done through the day,
The doubting Thomas never goes away.

It takes effort to talk over the voice
On and on it goes exploring choice
I believe in my heart that all is well
But if you listened to my head you could never tell

It takes strength to keep off the negative curve
Turn precision indecision into style and verve
The pros and cons keep on chattering away
Find the positives to make it through the day

When will these thoughts converge to a decision?
When will the right path make incision?
Is it doubt or just plain  OCD?
The conclusions not forthcoming to me

Backwards and forwards round and round
Until finally I can hear only one sound
The sound of a choice being decidedly made
The sound of a path finally laid

Ah how they are quiet yet I miss all those voices
The dissectors of all of our colourful choices
Hark! The murmuring decision can finally be herd
showing the way with one single word.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Burns and Booths

Well busy times are ahead and i couldn’t be more excited!

I recently dipped my toe into the world of Photo Booths at parties and celebrations as an addition to my event production dreams.  It’s been slow for a while but then i acknowledge I haven’t really had the time to devote to advertising it and working on some new decor. What with the rest of life going on!!!

But every one I have done so far, I have had so much fun at. I mean, if you have to work evenings or weekends during which you need to stay sober at (ideally), then how better than working with lots of happy, tipsy (sometimes drunk) party people, being silly, having laughs and getting their pose on!
It is a party life through a lens. I am a part time agent Pro-Photo-Voyeur.

So all of a festive sudden I have four bookings over the run up to Christmas and another two day option over the 24th-25th January. Its all kicking off!
I am in a joyful mental flurry of new ideas.
I’ve got lists coming out of my pricked up ears.
I’ve already shed frantic over excited tears.
Yet I am more hyped than I have been for years.

As well as my booming booths, i have been asked to join the creative team for Big Burns Supper 2014, or BBS14 for short. And i am delighted! Yet another random creative outlet with the most talented and inspirational people who are not just darn good fun to be with but an amazing inspirational team of artists that roam this land.

I cant say anything about it all yet as:
a) I would have to kill you
b) its under an embargo. Of course.

The whole of BBS2014 is going to be great. The effort and talent that gets put into this Burns celebration with a big bold modern twist defies belief. The South West Scots rock their Scottish socks!

And there I am. The odd English insert of a devoted fan and enthusiastic artist. Friend for ever and ever, forever fffff. An interlude. InterLou’ed. InterLude?
Showing me wares and falling down stairs. So honoured and chuffed. Happy and buff!
And not only do I get to partake in the team work of pulling BBS off, i get  to come with my Booth too.
Oh my the good fortune! Oh my the prospects!
Oh my the pressure! A worthwhile local endeavour. Nothing to gain but goodwill and pleasure.

So much to do before my December booth deadlines and BBS2014.
I am spun out and delirious in an engulfing dream of Slo-mo cameras, booth decor options, recycle upcycle, tartan, new photography tools, pretty things and 80s neons... Seeing opportunity and art on my journey of Burns and Booths.

I'm kept awake with the excitement of more photo captures of live enraptures.
I live my daze in a haze slighty crazed but amazed.
The future is clear. Its here.
The future is Boothiful.


Friday, 1 November 2013

All Hallows Day


I have to write more often!There are so many good ideas, stories and quips that i have forgotten in the last week, because i haven’t found the time to sit the heck down and write them down. For me its not so much say what you see but think about it and dream of writing it. How odd.

Not to say i’m not a live in the moment kind of girl but these last few weeks have been oddly strung out and emotionally fluctuating that i have felt the need to write. Deeply. To express artistic paragraphs. And yet i have not found the time. How sad.

Until now. Hurrah!
So what to write about?

Well my big ideas are going into my book. Yes yes i am a writer. Of course i am writing a book. I have always been writing a book.
So far i have clocked up one tome, a handful of short stories, some self satisfying mild porn and a few blogs here and there. And there lies a writers block. Sometimes i just don’t know where to write.
I have a guzzilion stories to tell yet sometimes i just don’t know where to tell them..book or blog...book, or blog?

So, with new gusto and determination i am going to do both! I am working on a new house rota as i speak (type) and i intend to set myself a blog topic each week as well as plough into my current book.

So here i go! Feel free to comment or throw a new topic at me if you will!

And who knows? I may even share some snippets of my book on my blog and write in my book about blogging..

This week, a big shout out has to go to the bf. He has burdened the Rain train through back ache, bereavement, disappointment, guilt, pleasure and a good old dose of work stress. I’ve stayed some distance away from home and spent time at home still distant. We have fallen in, fallen out, fallen over and fallen into a plug hole whirl of intensity across the relationship spectrum. And we survived. We still love each other very much, (phew!),have a new beginning ahead with renewed fervour to get it right. Life that is. And all that it entails! Heavy. Maybe. But necessary. Definitely. The truth? Absolutely. Life is a tough old boot at times. With lots of curveballs and surprises. But there simply is absolutely nothing for it than to survive it, and when your strength is back, take a bloody great big bite out of it and show it who is boss!

Weeks like this feel a burden when you dealing with them. Living through them. And coping as close to the brink as you dare. They are hard and challenging when you are in them. Focusing on the positives can be a struggle. But somehow you do struggle on. You make it.

And when you look back on those moments, step back and can finally appreciate your efforts. You realise they are the moments that help make you who you are. They remind you how short, delicate and meaningful life is. You remember how to appreciate the small things. Take nothing for granted. Be positive. Be kind to yourself. That warm wholesome happy feeling from doing good. Being the cause of a smile. Finding yourself. And liking your life. A lot. Peace.

And bf hasn’t had it easy either. He has had his own shit going on. But amazingly. He has coped marvellously through it all. So a huge basket of kittens for him.

In summary. I am mighty glad it is Friday. The Dawn of a new way to come in sight. The calm after the storm is now here. We can sigh in relief. (I suspect the house will hear a lot of sighs this weekend.)

We can rejoice in our life. Nestle. Snuggle. Hug.
Sleep in, snooze and nap.
Recoup and recover. New rota. New beginnings.
And i can write. At last. Time and peace. Peacetime. Timepeace. Xxx
And today is All Hallows Day of course!
Enjoy the second half of this autumn people, its a stunner.

Oh maybe my next blog...