Friday, 13 November 2009

Pole Dancing

For the past few weeks there has been a palpable buzz in the SB studios. There has been whispering around the toaster, giggling over coffee and hysteria over afternoon chocolate which seemed disproportionate to any kind of sugar rush. When words such as ‘Spandex’ and ‘Orange’ started being bandied around I was forced to step in get some clarity on whatever it might be that was making our girls so excited... It turns out that after several months taming her inner sex kitten with pole dancing classes, our production manager Danielle had entered into a pole dancing competition held at the O2 Center. Once Amiee and I got wind of this we were not going to miss it for the world - it isn’t everyday you get to see your number one employee dancing around in (orange) spandex underwear!

So last night Amiee and I set off to watch the great Happening. We were meeting the girls there and had intended to get the tube as laughingly recommended by Danielle but it was dark, raining and a deeply unappealing idea so we decided to drive. We put on the Sat Nav and set off with Eve Karpfs’ dulcet tones guiding us our merry way. And we were motoring along just fine until we got to Shoreditch High St where they had closed the road. Obviously this sends Eve into tailspin-her now irritating monotone advising us to ‘in 100 yards turn right’ onto a no right turn one way system and subsequently driving us in circles around the Dickensian streets of Shoreditch in the pissing rain. In my great wisdom I had also printed off a map from Google but the stress of Eve’s ridiculously calm voice advising us to turn right had forced me to open the window to have a cigarette and the driving rain had soaked the map which was now illegible.

So we find ourselves lost in East London with no map and a confused Eve whose only advice is still to keep turning right. So we decide (with the logic of fashion designers) that if we drive a long way in what is clearly the wrong direction we will sufficiently confuse Eve to force her to find an alternative route (at what point we thought we could reason with a computerized voice I don’t know but at the time it seemed to be a good idea!). So we drove in a random direction, through a very long tunnel and eventually Eve stopped telling us to ‘please do a u turn’, shut up and obviously went to sleep. At which point we saw signs to Greenwich…

Everyone knows the Millennium Dome is in Greenwich so we figure that if we just get to Greenwich we won’t be able to miss it. The Dome is a 50ft Marshmallow with huge great lights sticking out of it which cost the country something like £800 million pounds. It must be hugely, highly, revoltingly visible. The least one would expect is a sign post. But no. Nothing. (Quick personal rant: First they spend £800 million 800!!!!! on a 50 ft marshmallow which is somehow meant to represent Great Britain and then they go and rebrand it O2 in the name of a Spanish Telecoms company! And on point of principle I will not refer to it as such.)

Not only could we somehow not see this 50ft structure but there was not one single sign. Not one! So out of pure desperation we stop the car and start asking the good residents of Greenwich if they could point us in the general direction of The Dome... Dome? They asked blankly with engaging intelligence… The Dome? Yes you know, that enormous £800 million pound marquee that is somewhere in this small district of Greenwich… Perhaps you noticed it whilst out walking the dog? Nothing. (worrying in itself I feel… Something in the water?).

And then, like a beacon of light, a mirage we spot a police station. I run in and ask the good policemen of Greenwich to help two girls find their way to a pole dancing competition. Admittedly some eyebrows were raised but once I explained that I wasn’t going to be the one up the pole they were very amenable, told me we were minutes away and gave me a whole new map. And off we went again with renewed vigour. So what if the residents of Greenwich hadn’t noticed the 50ft marshmallow? They do have a wonderfully modern police station.

But then we realise that despite the map we had gone wrong again and had no idea, once again where we were. So we pull into a petrol station. I need more cigarettes and maybe a new map. But guess what? Closed. And here is where I lose my temper. I turn around to the two young men who are walking across the forecourt towards the shop and start screaming at them about the inadequacies of the Greenwich petrol station and to be honest I was fully expecting them to look at me blankly uttering ‘petrol station?’ But they didn’t. And although they clearly thought I was a raving loon they stopped to ask if they could help. Once I explained that we were on our way to a pole dancing competition at The Dome they perked up considerably and offered to hop in the car and take us there. Honestly speaking I would be a little disingenuous if I pretend not to realise that these two lovely young men had clearly just thought they had pulled big time but needs must. They were so excited that they left their friend (who they later told us was waiting at home for them to bring back supplies for their evening on the Playstation!) and hopped in the car with a promise to take us to The Dome. Their disappointment on encountering the baby seat in the back was palpable but they handled it with good grace and chatted drunkenly with us all the way to The Dome. It turned out that Dave and Gareth were older than we first thought at 26 (worryingly I thought they were about 21 compared to my worldly ways!). They turned out to be charming, good looking and very sweet boys and we were delivering them straight into the hands of our girls! That is what team building is all about!

And they were good to their word. Thank you Gareth and Dave. We got there seamlessly (we never, ever would have made it without them). The girls were thrilled to meet Gareth and Dave and Gareth and Dave were thrilled to be there. And most importantly we got there in time for the big moment...

And then there was Danielle… The epic journey was worth it as she was amazing. Hundreds of people, a huge stage, long slippery pole. She worked that body (clad in orange spandex) and was utterly brilliant. Less stripper- more gymnast. Worryingly as her boss, it was one my proudest moments in her career to date!

Unfortunately I can't get hold of the video to post for all to see but here's the picture of Danielle that graced the front page of The Muswell Hill Journal...

And here's the latest move to be perfected by our genious gymnast!

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