Pole Fitness Level Two and Three

January 31, 2011 at 6:30 pm (Uncategorized)

As I can’t go to my usual class on Tuesday, I ended up going to Sunday’s class this week for pole fitness – which also gave me a chance to stay and observe the Level 2/3 class which follows on immediately afterwards.

Must confess I didn’t feel hugely athletic on Sunday – not that I ever do – but I’m glad I went now, not just because it gave me a chance to meet some other lovely Ladies Who Pole but also because I got to see what’s around the corner for those who make it to the end of the beginner’s class. Oh my goodness. I got a real appreciation for dancers in clubs and competitions because they make it look so effortless, when actually it really isn’t. Although the ladies managed to make moves like the Iguana, the Barbarella and the Angel look elegant, getting into them took some doing and I was glad I was just sitting there watching rather than posing at the top of a pole hanging on with nothing more than the skin of my inner thighs. There is also the dilemma faced by everyone, namely to chalk or not to chalk? No chalk, and your grip slips and leaves you splat on the mat before you’ve completed your spin. Chalk, and the friction between the pole and your palm makes a noise like the gates of hell opening up.  Sweaty palms are definitely not an advantage.

As for posing inverted at the top of the pole – you’ll know you’ve got there when you can do it without gritting your teeth…

I sat on my mat at the back of the class and drew little stick pictures of all the moves and poses – they happen at a much faster rate in the Level 2/3 class, let me tell you – and looking at them this morning some of them look anatomically impossible.

Ladies, if any of you are reading – thank you so much for tolerating me watching you all off-puttingly from the back of the room!  As a reward for all of that hard work I’ll share with you a video of a performance by Jenyne Butterfly. I recognise some of the moves from the Level 2/3 class, which means, ladies, that you are not far off being this good.

In other exciting news, tomorrow is the launch party for Into the Darkest Corner… ridiculously excited about this. It’s going to be such fun!


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The Office of Letters and Light

January 27, 2011 at 10:02 pm (Uncategorized)

What a wonderful name for an organisation…  The Office of Letters and Light (OLL) is the not for profit company behind NaNoWriMo, and therefore directly responsible for me having written a book in the first place. I have a lot to be thankful to them for.

Anyway, they are extra-lovely now because they have featured me on the OLL Blog today!

It’s been a very exciting day in lots of other ways too, but I’ll save that news for now… watch this space for more…


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It’s all about the girth (apparently)

January 26, 2011 at 7:34 pm (Uncategorized)

At the risk of inducing titters in the audience, last night I was discussing pole width with Jane and Louise, the lovely pole fitness instructor ladies.

Apparently, it’s not about the size of your pole, it’s all about the girth. Poles in clubs are wider, which makes them easier for sitting on, but not quite so good for grip – since you can’t get your whole hand around the pole.

Control yourselves.

Actually I didn’t realise quite how dodgy all this sounded until I innocently broached the subject over Tea Break at work this morning and got several raised eyebrows. (Good job Matt wasn’t there really as I’m sure he would have had something to say about it.)

Following this of course we had further discussions about using the skin of your inner thighs to grip the pole, how dangerous it would be in these circumstances to have your flaps out, and how a wider pole could therefore be more advantageous from a gripping point of view.

And I shall say no more about that.

Last night at pole fitness (having once again almost killed myself with the warm up; there were bits that my legs just couldn’t do. I don’t know why. I told them to do the bendy-knee-to-the-floor-and-kick-back-up-again but they just flailed about) the ladies who pole did this amazing thing where they started with a Carousel spin and somehow turned around and morphed into a back hook spin, whilst still going in the same direction. Was mightily impressed.

After all that, I did actually do a little saunter round the pole, and whilst it was very nice, I did look silly and I won’t be doing it again. Probably.


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A very posh fish-finger sandwich

January 24, 2011 at 4:35 pm (Uncategorized)

Had a productive weekend, as is often the case whenever I write a To Do List. I invariably end up adding more things to the bottom of it than I actually manage to tick off, so these lists are often more trouble than they’re worth – but I felt better for it this weekend, anyway!

One of my ‘ticks’ was a little research visit to the Brands Hatch Thistle hotel. We went there in between visits to Morrisons (breakfast) and the Asda Stuff Shop (random stuff we actually don’t need, but it gave Son a chance to play the DS game he already has on a DS which was bolted to a display unit, and Husband a chance to stand for upwards of twenty minutes and stare at displays of electrical cable) – so not exactly en-route, in fact it was probably a 25 mile round trip – but it was a nice little visit nevertheless.

We partook of some massively expensive (having just had breakfast in Morrisons cafe, I should point out) but very nice drinks and sat and took in the general atmosphere. As part of my research, I needed to know whether the Gents’ toilets has a condom machine in it (I daresay they do usually but it was important to check) so I sent Husband in there on a research expedition and he came back to tell me that there is a general vending machine in the area outside the lavatories which also has things like toothbrushes in.

Which has made me wonder how many people find themselves unexpectedly staying the night at this place, which is in fact a reasonably smart establishment (selling fish finger sandwiches for the princely sum of £11.50 each).

I mean, such a vending machine would be useful in, say, a motorway travellodge or somewhere you might find yourself if you’d been stuck in a traffic jam for five hours and were too tired to continue with your journey – and therefore hadn’t come armed with a toothbrush and other essentials. But in a posh hotel?

Or maybe the vending machine is there for those poor souls who have come away for a planned conference or a wedding, open up their overnight bag only to find that they have forgotten to bring a toothbrush, or razor, or Pack of Three. And, to be fair, the hotel is pretty much in the middle of nowhere so you couldn’t just nip out to the nearest supermarket and buy your missing items there.

Ideally, I need a nice hotel somewhere en route between London and Rochester. The Brands Hatch Thistle, nice as it is, isn’t strictly speaking on a direct route between the two places; if there was a hotel at Bluewater, that would have been ideal. But there isn’t. Fortunately, though, the Brands Hatch Thistle serves a further purpose because it’s a smart place, and, perhaps more importantly, the restaurant is called Genevieve’s. This coincidence in itself means that the hotel has earned its place in The Revenge of the Tide.

Genevieve's Restaurant, Brands Hatch Thistle Hotel

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In which I nearly start pole dancing…

January 22, 2011 at 1:04 pm (Uncategorized)

Those of you poor souls who know me in real life will know that I don’t have the physique normally associated with a pole dancer. In fact, I am a bit of a heifer. (In many ways I am happy with that. I must be, or else I’d stop eating so much, wouldn’t I? That’s a whole other entry and now I want to get back to the topic of pole dancing, thankyouverymuch).

The reasons why I decided to write a book with a pole dancer as the main character, therefore, are a little bit hazy. I suspect at the time it was the wonderful spectacle of Alesia Vazmitsel on Britain’s Got Talent and it seemed like a good idea at the time. Of course, at some point the tricky question of research comes into it. The web is wonderful, particularly on the subject of pole dancing – who knew? – but if I’m going to bring any sort of authenticity to this book, then I will need to actually see this art for myself.

My friend and fellow writer Cat sent me a link to Poles Anonymous, a pole fitness specialist who just happened to be setting up a new beginners’ class not far at all from me. I contacted Jane, who runs the classes, and an email conversation fluttered back and forth. We were clearly thinking along quite separate lines. My thoughts included going along to the class with a notebook and possibly a latte and a bar of chocolate, watching in comfort from some chair and occasionally asking questions like “does it hurt when you do that?” Jane’s thoughts were more along the lines of try it, it’s fun, lots of big girls do it, you might like it and besides, what’s the point of researching something and not actually trying it? My next thought was, there are big girls and there are BIG girls. And I’m the next level above that.

Nevertheless, I went along. I took a notebook when I should have taken a water bottle.

So we are now heading towards week three and I haven’t actually touched the pole (so to speak). I have been doing the warm up with the other ladies, which has half killed me, but I’ve done it which is the important thing.

(I should stress at this point, because I can hear some of you laughing, that it’s quite a long warm up (minutes, not seconds!!) and I’ve not done any land-based exercise for some years, so this is quite impressive. Are you impressed?)

After the warm up, I stand around and watch while the other ladies partake of the pole. I know I should try it, but I know for a FACT that I would look ridiculous, it would spoil the lovely elegance of the class and turn it into a comedy hour, and besides which although those poles are secure I doubt they’ve ever been tested to quite that extreme. And I can get a sense of what it’s like from watching and from listening to the comments from the ladies who are learning. Things like, if you grip too hard it’s like getting a Chinese Burn on the palms of your hands and the insides of your thighs. And if you hurl yourself at the pole too hard you might hurt your foof.

All things considered, I am definitely enjoying my pole fitness sessions and I am very grateful to the ladies who don’t seem to mind me standing there in my black jogging bottoms and black T shirt looking like some kind of pervy giant ninja. I have sworn to attend every one of the beginners’ classes (with the exception of 1st February, since I have somewhere Very Important to be on that particular evening) and if nothing else it might get me a tiny weeny bit fitter, thanks to all the warm ups.

Picture from the Poles Anonymous Facebook Page:

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