Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Cursed by the gods of Burlesque

I have meant to blog for a while now, even having a couple of false starts, but I have been feeling so foul that all that came out was a self indulgent, emotional rant. No promises that this one will be any better but I do feel I am over the hump thanks to a weekend of fags, wine, bitching and partaying (yes it needed the 'ay') with brilliant burlesque smokers and all round hot-pockets Cherryfox and Daquiri Dusk.

Apart from some absolute crapola going on in mine and (more importantly) my OH's life (mainly involving vanilla jobs and money - too boring for this blog) I seem to have been cursed by the gods of burlesque and whereas traditionally it was first-born sons who bore the brunt, with me it seems my Jackalope is paying the price.

For those of you who don't know me, my Jackalope act has been a daydream for long over a year but in the past few months I have started work on this act in ernest. The music has been selected and edited, the narrative mapped out, the choreography is still in the most tentative stages as my costume will almost definately have a effect on how I can and can't move, but it has definately transitioned from a daydream into a work in progress.

Unfortunately, costume wise, it seems that everything that can go wrong, will go wrong. Firstly I ordered my corset (off the peg but to be customised by my own fair hand) and that arrived in the wrong size. A trot to the post office and a quick email and that was resolved. The very next day I was the proud owner of the correct sized garment - phew! crisis averted. Or so I thought. On the following Saturday another, correctly sized corset arrived! Once again (during the busiest working week I have had in ages) I had to potter off to the post office and return it. I am still waiting for the refund on the second round of postage as the fax machine at the corsetieres seems to be broken and I can't work our scanner at home! Oh the joys of modern technology!

So, that's not so bad. A bit of stomping out to our newly re-vamped to be even more annoying than usual Post Office, but nothing I can't handle. Next there is the issue of my wigs. It's wigs plural as I need to rip wefts out of one to bulk out the other, but essentially it's two of the same wig. I ordered these on the 6th of January. The company that sells them does not ship outside the USA but there is a woman (I am not naming names - it's not that kind of blog post) who will buy them for you and ship them and she is of very high repute on one of the forums I visit. I ordered the wigs and on her site it says the minimum processing time is two weeks. That seems reasonable. So time passes and around a month later I start wondering what the progress is on these wigs. They have to be somewhere en route by now, surely? However the tracker tells me they are 'processing' and the little description below says this means she probably hasn't even received them from the original website. It has now been almost six weeks and it still says 'processing'. On her website it says one should avoid emailling her as she gets a lot of spam. This did not exactly inspire me with confidence but I emailled her anyway. At the time of writing I have received no reply (I emailled on Thursday though so there's still time). When I went back to the forum where I first heard of the service a lot of people informed me that she is very slow and other people said that the original website is slow too. So I have no idea who is at fault there but either way it would have been nice to have been warned how long it might take. I have no idea when these wigs are coming and I'm not sure whether to wait it out incase it's just a few more weeks or to cut my losses, cancel the order and start over with another company (of course risking having the same long wait from them too).

Also - am I being unreasonable to be peeved at this (?): One woman said I should cut the buying service lady some slack as she is a new mother. Now, those who know me know that I view parenthood as a lifestyle choice, ie other people's kids are not my problem, especially if you are running a business. But, lets assume that I didn't view parenthood that way and that I felt that motherhood was the most important thing a woman can do with their life or whatever and trumped anything else one might be up to - I still didn't know that was a factor. Nowhere on this woman's website did it say, 'delivery may be a bit slow because I have not long had a baby'. If it did, and I still went ahead with the order then on my own head be it. Even if she felt it was nobody else's business that she had just had a kid she could have still put a note saying 'due to personal circumstances'. I'm not saying the woman is a sheister or a dodgy dealer I just feel disappointed that it seems to be common knowledge to those that have already used it that the service is slow but she doesn't think to warn new customers of that before they pay their money. So, I am wigless until further notice.

Finally, at the same time I ordered the wigs I commissioned my antlers. I always knew the antler situation was going to be tricky. I found the perfect website that makes costumes for business and sports mascots and they made a whole range of lightweight cold foam latex antlers for costumes. The antlers themselves were not cheap but I could stretch but the shipping was so insanely high as the company are based in Canada and the box would have to be so large. So I shopped around and eventually found a UK based firm that could make them for me. They said that rather than foam latex they had a better material to make them from so, because they are the pros, I went with their recommendation. Their communication was great and I went into great detail about what they were for and how I planned to attach them and I felt really excited to see the finished product. They sent me an email to say they had been shipped last week and I emailled to find out which shipping address they had taken from my Paypal - home or work. Either would be fine but work is easier as there's someone there in the day. It seemed though, that Paypal had other ideas. They gave him, as my preferred delivery address, my old flat that I moved out of in September. Despite the fact that I deleted that address from Paypal when I moved. I went back on to check and it was nowhere on my profile (my other two, work and home were still there). When I emailled Paypal to express my displeasure (putting it politely) they had the cheek to blame Ebay, saying it must be my default there! I found that rather curious considering the antlers weren't purchased through Ebay and every other private OR Ebay transaction I have made through paypal has come to my home or work address!

Ahem. Paypal rant over. So after a lot of chasing around and going to my old flat three times (finding nobody in on each occasion)and an incredibly kind and helpful member of Royal Mail staff (yes, they do exist!) I finally intercepted the package at the sorting office at 8.30am on Saturday morning (after going to bed at 4ish). When I go the antlers home, I was a bit concerned. They look great. The shape is great, they need painting but that's no biggie but they are a lot thicker than I expected and heavy. Too heavy to sew into a wig. Bugger. I have emailled to the chap who made them (actually, I think I may have hurt his feelings - I didn't mean to, he has obviously done his best)to tell him that I don't think they will hold standing still let alone when I am dancing. He has kindly offered to put a support cap made of perspex inside the wig to take their weight.

I am not sure how confident I am that this will work though. Also, it can't be done until the wig comes as it has to be constucted together, and I am nervous about sending the wig away after spending so much time and money on it. The other options are to try and fashion a support myself at home, or to just pony up and buy the Candadian ones (not any time soon, the way my finances are looking), or to go on ebay and buy some real anlters (they are notoriously light) attatched to the skull plate and do it that way. I'm not sure what to try at the moment. I have a bit of thinking time as I can't do anything 'til my wigs come but the whole week of rigmarole has made me seriously consider giving up on this act. I don't really want to shelve it as I have put so much of myself into it and I really feel as though I have to get past it before my mind will let it go and let me work on something else.

So I will press on, and hopefully the end result will be worth the money, time, faff and heartache that has gone into it. Fingers are firmly crossed at this end.

In other news my painful leg is still not right but the ballet is helping and I'm off to the doctors on Thursday so hopefully they can shed some light on it.

'Til next time. TTFN

Monday, 1 February 2010

A pain in the leg


After a fairly shaky start to my endeavours at ballet I decided to put in a little practice at home (using the book I mentioned in my last missive). Boy, did that backfire! Cut to Emerald walking like the Hunchback of Notre Damme, walking around dragging one overly turned out foot because it hurt too much to turn it back in! I was fairly sure that I had been turning out wrong as the part of the leg that hurt was the front of my calf, just by the bone.

By Wednesday (the day of the class) my leg was still very painful and I was considering staying home and licking my wounds. Luckily I plucked up the courage to go to class, planning to sit out anything that hurt too much and it paid off! The stretching at the barre seemed to ease things off a little and by the end of the class my leg felt better than it did before. Not great but definitely better. I also had a quiet word with one of my more experienced classmates. She explained that I had been over ambitious with my turnout. I had started turning correctly from the hips but had then tried to force myself to turn out further from the ankle which had aggrivated the muscle in the front of my calf. Clearly I am just too keen!

The class itself however, sore leg and all, felt so much better than last week. I felt more relaxed at the barre - less focused of my own embarrassment and more in tune with the movements and my body. The floor work, which I had been dreading, felt a hundred times better that night than it had the week before. While I did not float and glide across the floor like some of the more experienced dancers seem to do I felt like I managed to keep up with what I was supposed to be doing and if I made a mistake (which I did. Repeatedly) it was more to do with using the wrong foot or just falling out of step rather than because I hadn't a clue what I was supposed to be doing.

I left the lesson beaming with confidence and exhiliration. I could have happily stayed and danced for another hour. I felt too excited to go to bed when I got home! Of course, a lot of this probably has to do with the endorphins of exercise and so on but it still felt good! I felt as though, perhaps I CAN do this after all. Obviously, I am still one of the weakest (if not THE weakest) in the class and the improvement I noticed in the lesson is more likely a fluke or the result of feeling a little less nervous but if I can do something better once (even if only by fluke), I can do it again.

I am excited for the next class and determined to do better!

'Til the next one,