Tricky lifts and dancing



… and watch out for the B word.

Yes, it’s the annual week-before-we-go-to-Blackpool bonanza.

But back to my original reason for coming here. OLA!!! Steve can dance – just because he can throw throw you from one side of the dance floor to the other doesn’t mean we didn’t want to see those amazing Charleston moves again that we saw so brilliantly in the quickstep, and all too little of, in this Charleston. Grrr – so frustrated last week, – that could have been the dance that netted them the undying devotion of a whole bunch of viewers, just like it did for Team Cola. Such a missed opportunity :(

It was the same disappointment I felt when Natalie walked out in a leotard with Ricky Whittle, and similar repulsion for Lisa and Brendan. As for the World Champion Show Dancers, well, I’d rather watch Scott and Joanne’s foxtrot again. Seriously – I agreed with Len, re the dance off – Scott’s foxtrot was much cleaner than Alison’s, and the whole routine was a pretty decent effort, considering where he’d come from.

Frankie and Kevin stormed the dance floor again with their tango – such an emotional song and they danced it perfectly, she’s become a strong favourite for me. Mark and Karen have brought themselves right into contention – and the training footage for tonight looks to cement that position.

Caroline is still being Miss Consistent, Sunetra still has her lovely arms, I too noticed Jake’s flappy foot a couple of week’s ago, and Steve will hopefully put in a strong showing in the Paso – he needs a big dance. As I write this, Carmen’s Overture has just begun playing on the radio – a good omen, perhaps? Let’s hope so!

Happy Tunesday: Greatest TV Theme Tunes


These are in no particular order – how can one possibly choose? That most of them are old is less a reflection on the quality of today’s TV themes, and more to do with me not able to watch as much telly as I used to! You won’t agree with all the choice – but they’re mine – make your own list ;p

Barry Gray  compositions – he was to Gerry Anderson what John Williams is to Steven Spielberg!

Thunderbirds My first crush was Scott Tracy.

Captain Scarlet Actually, I think it might have been Mr. Indestructible …

Stingray then again it could have been Troy Tempest.

Joe 90 It wasn’t Joe. He was just a kid.


Children’s classics

Black Beauty Sunday afternoon adventures, curled up in an armchair.

The White Horses I’ve hummed this pretty regularly for many years – but for the life of me cannot remember watching it! I’m guessing it had horses. Which were white ..

Double Deckers Before Buffy became the go-to feisty, strong  female lead, we had Billy.

Casey Jones


Watching the detectives …

Hawaii 5.0

Van Der Valk

Cagney & Lacey

The Sweeney

Hill Street Blues

Mission Impossible



Lost in Space – Theme 1 and Theme 2 - both written by … John Williams! Gets everywhere, doesn’t he?

Dr. Who – all of them! (warning: Video may hypnotize …)

Buffy the Vampire Slayer


As seen on TV recently …

The Big Bang Theory You’ve no idea how taxing it is trying to find videos whose comments haven’t been taken over by science vs religion arguments …

The Musketeers My present day superhero crushes. And it’s a perfect Paso Doble in the making … which brings me nicely onto:

Strictly Come Dancing The single most recognised theme tune in the WORLD! See, you’re humming it already and you hate it. Da da da da da da dah – da da da da da … da da da.

Rochester LitFest: Six Ways to Wellbeing Swale


An innovative new collaboration between Ideas Test, Swale CVS and ourselves is set to help teenagers in Swale boost their wellbeing.

6 Ways to Wellbeing Swale logos

Ideas Test and Swale CVS will be offering an exciting programme of free taster sessions and workshops through autumn as part of Kent County Council’s Six Ways to Wellbeing campaign. The events will explore how getting involved with something creative can improve health and wellbeing. If you’re a young person (age 13-19 or 25 SEN) this is your chance to have fun with poetry and spoken word, both writing and performing.

We’re delighted that the brilliant and exuberant Dan Simpson will be with us to run poetry and spoken word sessions, which will culminate in a short performance at a finale of the whole project. He’ll be kicking off the entire Ideas Test Six Ways project by crowdsourcing a poem from 10am on Monday morning, finishing on Friday 24th October. The finished result will be recorded for broadcast at the finale event. Read more about the poem here or join in on Twitter with #wellbeingpoem

The first of the LitFest hosted sessions is Capturing Stories – a digital storytelling workshop by Jaye to make the most of smart phones or tablets when attending events. Covering the basics of Twitter, Vine, Audio Boom and Storify, this session will help the participants capture and document their activities across all the different sessions they take part in, aiding them in their quest to obtain a Bronze Arts Award by having an easily accessible digital archive. Blogging will also be covered. (This and ‘Captured Stories’ are also available for those not doing an Arts Award or taking part in other sessions).

The workshop dates are as follows:

Saturday 25/10 12 – 4pm Capturing Stories. Pulse Cafe, Sittingbourne
Tuesday 4/11 6.30pm – 9pm Poetry/Spoken Word. Sheerness County Youth Centre
Thursday 13/11 6pm – 8.30pm Poetry/Spoken Word. New House Sports and Youth Centre, Sittingbourne
Saturday 15/11 11am – 3pm Poetry/Spoken Word. Sheerness County Youth Centre
Monday 17/11 5pm – 7.30pm Poetry/Spoken Word West Faversham Community Centre (disability group/all welcome)
Saturday 29/11 11am – 4pm Poetry/Spoken Word. Phoenix House, Sittingbourne (open workshop and final rehearsal)
Saturday 6/12 6pm – 8pm Finale Performance Avenue Theatre, Sittingbourne
Saturday 13/12 12noon – 2pm Captured Stories. Pulse Café, Sittingbourne
The finale performance will include activity from the other partners in the project overall. See the Ideas Test website for more information.

The ‘Captured Stories’ session on 13/12 will bring together and share all the media surrounding the project.

All sessions are completely free to attend and you can book on line here or by calling 07713 865955. Cassy will be delighted to send you all the information you need to know. Please note that photography and other media will be shared on line and in promotional material.

The Six Ways to Wellbeing are all about doing more of the things you enjoy, with research showing that this can help improve your moods, strengthen your relationships and even add seven years to your life! It can be something as small as having a dance around, meeting a new person or learning a new skill.

The Six Ways are:

Connect – with family, friends, colleagues, neighbours
Be active – walk, run, garden, dance
Take notice – be curious, reflect on experiences
Keep learning – try something new
Give – doing something for others
Grow your world – planet care for its sustainability
You can find ourselves, Ideas Test, Swale CVS and Six Ways to Wellbeing on Twitter @RochLitFest @IdeasTest @SwaleCVS and @liveitwelluk, all of whom will be tweeting about the project under #sixwaystowellbeing. Six Ways to Wellbeing is also on Facebook, please search for ‘liveitwellkent’.

Find out more about the Six Ways to Wellbeing at

This programme of arts events is being funded jointly by Kent County Council, Artswork and The Royal Opera House Bridge.

The wait for a Paso Doble to Pirates of the Caribbean continues …


I love Movie Night on Strictly. This, combined with one of my favourite songs from a favourite movie being used by one of my favourite couples dancing one of my favourite dances means I was a very happy bunny last weekend.


Team StevO did everything and more that could possibly be asked of them, with a fun, bright and lively routine to I Wanna Be Like You that must have cemented them as firm favourites of those who like their dancing with bucket loads of personality. And that’s the last use of a word threatening to usurp the ‘J’ word with an ‘F’ word!

I thought I’d reserve judgment until three weeks in, so I could get a good look at all them doing Latin and Ballroom. In the meantime, we’ve lost Gregg and Jennifer (and, very sadly, the lovely Tristan :( …)  and I’ve decided I’m only going to concentrate on those I enjoy the most (rather than having to be positive about those I don’t – because I’m not an Internet Troll and don’t say nasty things about people – regardless of what I might be thinking!).

So Team StevO, having stormed upon us with a fantastic tango, followed with a passable cha cha that just needed a bit more hip action – which we have seen – so I’m hopeful for tonight. You might remember that Ola and Chris Hollins began with a terrific tango, and Steve is pretty much a bigger version. Normal, happy, fun, keen to learn. I’m just sayin’ … There is a danger we could see the rise of an ‘N’ word as we go along. I can’t be doing with grumpiness and tears (see earlier Strictlyfied post).

Frankie and Kevin’s Paso Doble blew me away. The passion and attack were brilliant, her timing, the acting – it was fierce. A lovely waltz and a slightly strange yet wonderful charleston-come-jive means she’s in my top three as a beautiful dancer but very natural and n… down to earth.

Caroline and Pasha I think are brilliant together. The rumba kept moving with some lovely shapes and lots of action, especially those twirly things – supported promenades? A sassy cha cha and a dramatic tango, all delivered with real commitment. And she’s n … n …. oh, what the hell. Normal. No drama, no grumpiness, just like one of us.

As a fiction writer, I know conflict is everything, and I know TV producers probably encourage it. But Strictly (as with the Great British Bake Off) is a different animal. We want cosy, we want cheesy,  we want to sit there wearing a soppy smile along with our sequinned aprons. Which is why, as an audience, we generally vote for the down to earth, good dancers, who aren’t having to work hard in front  of the cameras. One piece of constructive criticism for Simon – don’t be grumpy! That’s the only reason you ended up in the bottom two.

Tapping on the window, looking in at my top three are Jake, Alison and Sunetra. Jake’s salsa was incredible and his waltz and tango showed off his acting abilities with great technique. Alison is fabulous, so groovy and bags of personality brought onto the dance floor with her in all three dances so far, cha cha, foxtrot and jive. Sunetra is going to get better and better I feel, and will be challenging the top of the leaderboard – a 9 from Len for her American Smooth? Come on! She’s also shown how nifty she can be in Latin.

So will things change around tonight? Will someone else make a breakthrough onto my shortlist? Will one of the above have a complete meltdown and totally shred my musings into the nearest bucket and be thrown into recycling? I hope not …

Draw inspiration from Croquis dancers


Traditionally, Croquis is quick sketches drawn by artists watching a model who occasionally changes position. However, the Croqis being introduced to Medway is a collaboration between Rebecca Ashton of The Right Step Dance Company and Richard Squarecube of Squarecube Artisans, who’ve taken it a step further by incorporating dancers.


The artists are inspired in many different ways and are encouraged to explore the concept using their own techniques. Mostly, they’ll sketch with pencil or charcoal, but already one enterprising soul has used an iPad and others using different forms such as sculpting or modelling are also welcome.


Taster sessions will be held in November, with the official launch in January 2015. It’s an intriguing add to the creative pot of Medway events, so why not go along and try it out?

Sunday 16th November, 2-3.30pm ‘An Introduction to Croquis Events’

Sunday 23rd November, 2-3.30pm ‘Explore Croquis Your Own way’

Sunday 30th November, 2-3.30pm ‘What Can We Do With This?’

All held at Sun Pier House Gallery and Tea Room, Medway Street, Chatham, ME4 4HF

Just £15/session or £10/session if you bring your own materials.

Book one of the limited places now, by email to:

An invitation only promo session was held, for which there is an archive with images and feedback – the blog about it can be found here:

The artists also gave verbal feedback and that’s on the Facebook page:

There’s more information online…


Twitter: @Croquis_Events