One thing that is a given with myself is that I’m always in the mood to dance. As such, I’ve come to the realisation that my spiritual partner is Mumble from Happy Feet.
If my memory serves me correct, ‘Happy feet’ was the title of the first VHS tape that featured my performances from the Chris Wright’s School of Contemporary Dance. I remember going to watch two of the sisters from my primary school in one of their shows at the Little Theatre and thinking how I needed to express my pizzaz on stage. I remember being dazzled by the sheer nude tights of the 100+ girl and 1 fabulous guy production (he wore straight leg black jeans and a purple sheened shirt). I too needed to be that fabulous guy who was ‘popular with the ladies’. I wore my standard matching dickie bow and waistcoat combo. I’m pretty sure it was the sonic the hedgehog one. I’d get a set each christmas from Marks & Spencer along with a pair of LED socks that light up and play seasonal tunes in midi composition through a circular disc that would indent in to your left leg. From the get-go I was festive and fierce!
Taking on a new challenge, I joined the tap classes and executed my first tap performance terribly. Luckily this one wasn’t filmed as my ball-click-changes and understanding of mirroring the teacher were dire (all 29 girls went clockwise and the 1 gay went anti-clockwise, along to ‘All I want for christmas is you’). I remember one of the girls wolf whistling me when changing costumes as she stood there in her bra and bell-bottom jeans. I went bright red, and looked away with immediacy. I think I may have had a ‘girl crush’ on her. Mainly because she could touch her toes with such finesse during warm up routines. I’m still bitter that just as I had joined ‘Say you’ll be there’ by the Spice Girls was number one on the album chart show, we didn’t perform the routine once.
I left half way through high school - an all boys school filled with BO, spliffs and ‘lad’s lads’ threatening to cut teachers’ throats with blunt scissors. The guy that I sat next to in many a classes (seated alphabetically, by surname) was, presumably, banging one of the girls who happened to be in one of the lesser-abled classes that finished as mine was starting, had heard from her that I went to dance classes. ‘I’ve already quit’ I panicked, after being ousted (yep, for the first time). I let Mrs Wright know the following evening.
Well you know what Chris, I bet you can’t hit the gold moves during ‘I want you back’ by Jackson 5 on Just Dance. Nor can you snap every move to every beat during Single Ladies when it thrashes on the dance floor at every skeezy club you went to in 2008.
I find karma in my Happy feet.
There are a few highlights to primary school. One of them not on the list is semolina pudding, rememberable for all the wrong reasons. Do you remember when everyone munched on turkey drummers and those turkey twizzlers? Makes me want to projectile vom. They’ve now been delegated to being the bane of Jamie Oliver’s school dinner takeovers nationwide.
Sometimes I say sorry and I don’t mean it. This is one of them. When I was in year one (about five years old I’d say), break times were a time to run havoc across the playground, feeling free-spirited and sassy. Rainy days suppressed this blonde child to a classroom where he’d already spent half of the day reading Biff & Chip books. Being the creative soul that I was, I needed to find a creative outlet. Step forward Matthew.
Now you may find this hard to believe, but I was all for sprucing up the drab back in the day and Crayola was my proud sponsor. Spotting the Crayola Supertip pens on the table beside me, I realised I already had the transferrable skills to become a fully fledged make-up artist. Consulting my management team, the dinner lady who’s name I can’t remember, she said that I could apply the face paints, also known as dazzle, rouge and shimmer. Tonight Matthew you shall be a clown, my clown. Through right red trout pout lips, long lashes and blue eyeshadow, he was on another level to my classmates. Upon my competition of his transformation, I showed him off to my delighted audience. Dinner lady not being one of these members, sent me out the room claiming she never gave me permission. Bitch please!
During my walk home alongside a very stern mother, we passed by Matthew half caked in the not-so-‘washable’ ink, and his mother who threatened to report me to the head master. This was the moment I realised that a Max Factor makeup artist I was not meant to be and that ‘trust no bitch’ will forever ring true.
Do you remember when bowl haircuts were the trend? I think my mum might have started it. We used to go round to a family friend’s house, Maureen I think she was called, and have our hair cut the size of a salad serving bowl. Me and Matthew had thick replica cuts that shone like golden rays when we shook our locks like mop heads on brooms. There was a lad in high school, Alex his name was, who was a right bell, made derogatory remarks about sexuality, race and a general gingerist (I’ll get to that in a bit) who had the most engrossing mop of a haircut, I swear it was like a lampshade to his light that wasn’t switched on.
Alex sure was a cocky soul. See in an all boys high school, there’s ranks that are commonly depicted by what year you’re in. This is voided in some cases if you toke the same spliffs that the uneducated delinquents whom occupy the back of the bus do. Alex was a cocky soul as when he was in year nine (I think), he decided the pick on the plump, fiery ginger haired, spectacle wearing year 7 child. He would shout abuse from the back of the bus, as ginge faced forward avoiding altercation. One day Alex sat behind ginge and proceeded to repeatedly flick the victim’s ears to no temperament-raising which then led to slaps across ginge’s face. This then evolved in to ginge’s glasses being forced off his face and launched across the the double decker’s floor, much to the amusement of 95% of the lower deck. Ginge however saw flames and proceeded to beat the bowl cut bonzo on the floor much to the brute’s confusion and humiliation.
The moral of the story is that those flame-haired individuals are in fact trained ninjas who will beat your sorry ass. Furthermore side sweep fringes are in and bowl cuts are out.
Tuesday marked the return of Madonna to the country of queens. Myself and Miles got settled in to our spot amongst a sea of tensabarriers and hardcore fanatics at 10:30 in Hyde Park. We may have been golden circle certified but we would be damned if we could’t make eye contact with that platinum blond.
I’d had visions of falling asleep and watching clock faces tick away at half speed with the amount of time we would be queuing for a solid space. However, amongst our line, we met some really nice fans whom provided sun screen, refreshments, food, and company that was refreshing to be around. With the sun beaming down my 45° nose, it seemed to take a beating and a reaction to the riddled air which left me 10 pocket tissues and 4 Neurofen tablets down, to little avail. Finding us later in the evening, one of our comrades plied me with antihistamines which left me ready to rumble and merry as the day is gay.
Roughly an hour before gates were due to be opened, and fans dispersed, wristbands were sealed and a representative (presumably from tour sponsor Live Nation), tended to both the early entry and golden circle sections of the queue for an opportunity to press a button on an iPad app to determine whether you had simply won or lost an opportunity to get closer to the Queen of pop. With Miles baring his MDNA brandished back and few access passes remaining, his finger got the opportunity to press. In a Bernard’s Watch moment of pause, pressure and adrenaline pumped as he forced his print against the retina display. We were in. Within 2 seconds we were upgraded from a 10,000 collective to an exclusive pit consumed by towering rigging and encased in two runways.
As the physical barriers parted between the crowd of fans, metal filters and burly security, I literally felt a sense of freedom and delight reminiscent of Dorothy and her friends scurrying through masses of poppies. I laughed as I ran through what felt like a field of opium. My landing place being a barrier against a multi-million dollar stage and feet away from a woman who changed the course of pop culture and the way I saw production, branding and performance.
Dancing the daylight away to DJ Martin Solveig and LMFAO, we were ready to be graced in the holy presence of pop royalty. A vision, and composition of some of her most carefully constructed, tantalising and thrilling performances I’ve ever witnessed, I’ve debated whether this was to be her best touring production yet. Although segments were wrongly weighted in areas (I needed less folk, more band camp), and a questionable editing of a crowd-pleaser (the full performance of Papa Don’t Preach, please M), Vogue, Girl Gone Wild, Give Me All Your Luvin and Like A Prayer were stunning. An absolute treat to a fan like myself, the tour, and it’s pre-show experience, exceeded expectation.