Tag Archives: war and peace show
I will be doing a picture post in a while, but thought I would quickly post my performance videos for you whilst you are waiting!
I came across this lovely article on ‘tinterweb’ tonight so thought I would share! I also wanted to let you know my performance schedule for the War and Peace Revival Show. This is liable to change, but should give you some sort of timings to aim for. There will always be someone on hand to ask in the Victory Marquee!
Wednesday – Adult evening performance, time TBA
Thursday – 2 daytime performances (Family Friendly)
Friday – Family friendly daytime performance and an adult evening performance (Time TBA)
Saturday – 1 daytime performance and 1 evening performance (as part of a “floorshow” cabaret with the John Miller Orchestra) – both Family Friendly. Around 3pm and 8.45pm
Sunday – Daytime family friendly performance, around 3pm
Thursday – Live singing slot and burlesque performance from 11pm (time TBA)
Friday – Live singing slot from 11pm (time TBA)
I will also be doing picture and Military World Magazine signings, so make sure you collar me when you get the chance, because this will be one busy kitty!
See you all there!
The War and Peace Show has been at the Hop Farm in Kent for the past 25 years. With rumours ‘dot-dot-dash-dashing’ on the reenactor grapevine and hushed whispers of the event closing its doors, we can faithfully poo-pah rumours and say ‘huzzah!’ to the new phoenix rising from the ashes/ water logged fields. War and Peace Revival won’t be the same….it will be even better! Based at Folkestone Racecourse it has given Rex and the team scope to plan the reenactment fields and entertainment area more carefully, with better facilities for the public, vendors and performers!
Imagine watching the choreographed reenactments and vehicle displays from the grandstand…a market place dedicated to vintage fashion and homewear as well as the separate military stalls…and being able to get there by train instead of car with only a short walk to the station!
I wanted to find out what the man behind the world’s largest and most renowned military show had in store for us in 2013….
What made you decide to start again with the UK’s largest military show?
After 30 years of the show we started to feel that it had lost its momentum and was becoming a bit predictable – not perhaps to the vast majority of our public visitors, but certainly to
some of our exhibitors and Officials. After a very tough 30th anniversary show we felt we were left with two choices; to call it a day and close the show on a high, or to close it and relaunch at a new venue with a new name. Having spoken with some of our valued friends within the military vehicle world during late summer, we realised that closing the War and Peace Show without anything else was not what any of us really wanted, so we were really left with just one choice: to relaunch a new and improved version.
What has been your overall favourite moment?
The Sunday night Officials get together in the Dray Bar in 2000 where my friend and later business partner, Brent Pollard, who owned the Hop Farm, gave me permission to go behind the bar and pour my own beers. When spotted by the staff, who immediately attempted to take control of the beer pump on my behalf and shoo me out! Brent stepped behind the bar and said to his staff: “Rex is my friend and tonight if he wants to, he can give the whole goddamed bar away!” Those words resulted in one of the finest parties we’ve ever had, which saw over 50 Officials dancing on the bar. It was, without doubt, one of our most successful shows and many of us wanted to celebrate it and share it together.
.. and your funniest moment?
There have been so many, but I suppose one of the funniest memories we have involved my brother Rod and our workshop crew and Mike Stallwood of R&R Services and his workshop crew. Mike’s team took a corroded M38 A1 Jeep chassis and fitted a Ford Escort engine, gear box and back axle, adding military wheel rims and fairly tired bar grip tyres. Meanwhile, in our workshops, we took a very moth eaten Jeep body, one time property of Andy King, completely re-skinned it, welded on wings, bonnet, and seats, fitted a windscreen and all the little trinkets that would make it look like a wartime Jeep. Between the two workshops, both efforts were grafted together and without too close an inspection a very acceptable WW2 looking Jeep had been created.
On the Sunday of the Show, a T34 belonging to the Stallwood camp “broke down” in the Arena. Tony Lawrence, the Arena commentator was asked to put out a public address for replacement batteries to be brought into the Arena for the dead tank. The very smart Jeep miraculously appeared and drove up to the tank, parking at the rear where batteries were duly passed up to the tank crew. Meanwhile quite a substantial crowd of several thousand people lined the Arena barriers, waiting for the tank to fire into life.
All of a sudden the tank fired up, throwing up lots of black smoke – quite common on the old T34s. The driver, Tim Fuggle, rocked the tank back and forwards several times as though the brakes were sticking and all of a sudden the tank lurched backwards at speed, straight over the rather smart looking Jeep! As you can image – the gasps from the crowd could be heard for some distance. For me, the funniest moment of that entire escapade was at about 10.30pm when I was passed by two guys running hell for leather clutching a Ford Escort back axle that they had salvaged from the wreckage believing they had won themselves a gem! Like all stories, you really had to be there to see it. And to top it all, judging in those days was not the exact science that it is today – as the Jeep won Best Jeep in Show!
Can we expect any VIPs at the show (cast of war movies? Vera Lynn? Etc)
The old War and Peace Show often welcomed celebrities and VIPs, with many of them coming as private individuals. It was something that we prided ourselves on in that they felt able to visit our show without being subject to intrusive behaviour or being used as a PR tool. Over the years we’ve had royalty (foreign and British), film and pop stars, government officials and senior police and service personnel – many of them we only hear about afterwards! We’re at very early days with the planning of the new show, but we’re delighted that the cast of Allo Allo will continue to support us in our new War and Peace Revival. We fully expect the usual mix of celebrities to continue, and will as always respect their privacy. I’m reliably informed that people are amazed at who they meet in the stalls or bars at a War and Peace event. I once spent the day with a very famous local musician who seemed to know as much about War and Peace as I did. By the end of the day I had discovered how!
When you ran the first ever W&P did you ever imagine it would end up being so hugely popular and vast?
No! Actually when I became involved in 1989 as part of an organising team of two, I dragged my long suffering then secretary Barbara into the team and we set out to double the amount of vehicles that had been at the previous show. Our dream was to eventually see 1,000 vehicles – we never imagined that one day we would see 4,000!
I always knew it had scope to be something great, but I never dreamed it would get so big and with such a huge worldwide reach. We have literally welcomed visitors from every country of the world – now that’s some claim that not many shows and events can make!
So there you have it, the same fantastic team recreating and remoulding the greatest military show on earth so that it may become even bigger and better than it was… But don’t forget the reenactment groups who make the event what it is, if it wasn’t for their amazing displays and dedication to War and Peace then goodness knows where it would be today.
Hello Catnips and welcome to 2013!
Please take a moment to look at my dates page for this year’s performances. I am determined not to burn the candle at both ends this year as for the past 4 years at least I have overdone it. I still have exciting things planned such as the Cold War Express in June which will be amazing (and over my Birthday!) and hopefully the new War and Peace Revival in July too! I have 1 performance a month from March to November (some are private bookings) so that suits me just fine.
I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year’s. Here is to a new start, clean slate, a year that will be what YOU make it. Go get ’em!
Many of you may have heard that the War and Peace Show is being transformed next year to War and Peace Revival at Folkestone Racecourse, with many new exciting features!
I have just seen the website and SHAZZAM! Yours truly is on there! Eeek!
So take a look at what exciting things next year’s show has in store and get ready for some brilliant changes. Don’t worry, you can still dig your trenches, camp and enjoy brilliant entertainment. The facilities themselves with be far better and with access to the train station it is a no brainer!!!
On a rather soggy weekend at Wartime in the Vale (June), Mother Nature slapped me round the face with the back of her gale-force hand and tested my hairspray and heels to the limit with rain. It then struck me how different and more prepared you have to be as an entertainer at WWII and other open air events.
Walking around as a visitor, you bask in the glory of vintage vehicles, reenactors, stalls and entertainers, but forget that those singers, dancers and models that enthrall their audiences aren’t effortlessly immaculate. They have to walk the same cobbled streets you walk, brace the same weather and still have to look as if they stepped out of a magazine or movie, no matter how boggy the fields.
I always love watching such performers as Lola Lamour, who (like me) is a complete devil for iconic 1940’s fashions, but to abandon her original snakeskin heels for a pair of wellies would degrade her star-like status and outfit. So we must hop, wobble, hobble and skip to dodge the hazards that may turn our nylons into “Goodbye, so long!”s and beloved pinup shoes from ‘irreplaceable’ to ‘untraceable’ under the mud. I stare enviously at those wearing military gear and warm boots, but am hell bent in wearing my lovely hats and 40’s dresses! Sure I could shelter in a tent for the entire event, but what would the fun in that be? I want to be out, meeting people, seeing things and buying bargains!
Portaloo’s can also be a strategical nightmare as you force your layered outfit into the confined space, dodge the floor of mass disruption (the glory of mud caught in the deep tread of boots), try and balance your handbag as you struggle with your straight-jacket underwear and test the endurance of the wall and door with many an accidental elbow ‘thwack’ as you try and rearrange your outfit again. You either exit looking as if you have been wrestling hippos in there or with an upturned nose and shudder. Classic signs of a girdle struggle is when you can hear the lady in question jumping up and down in the cubicle and she comes out all red faced and puffed out. I almost feel like waving a little flag and giving a cheer to those poor souls that survive the porta-hoopla.
Performing at field events can be the most tricky of all, especially if the changing room is in a completely different area. I say room, when this could actually be a tent depending on the event. I remember fondly getting ready in the back of the USO tent with just a gas lamp and tiny compact mirror; ducking and diving behind stacks of debris to change into my Burlesque outfits and praying that my pasties would be somewhat even…
My most recent event was a huge challenge because of the weather! Getting changed in a nice large mess hut was great, but then negotiating the journey back to the performance tent (where I would have to wait outside to make my entrance) in the mud and rain was a different story. I had decided to do my Pipe Dreams act, which is a gorgeous, sparkly WHITE costume (silly, silly kitten….), which would also showcase my new, spangle-tastic silver shoes from Johnson’s Originals (yes…I know…).
As I hid beneath my ghillie ‘tobacco’ cloak and staggered towards the entrance of the tent, a rather lively German reenactor didnt realise I was creeping up behind him and gave me a prompt kick on the knee (He was performing an energetic Morecombe and Wise dance move that would have been impressive without the plastic beer glass in hand). As the mud gave me friendly pat on the back of my fishnets and greeted my NEW SHOES with as much enthusiasm, I suddenly realised that the front of my white panel skirt also now resembled a piece of used toilet paper and I hadn’t actually started my performance yet. So what happens in this sort of situation? Do you storm off like a big stroppy Diva? No, you ruddy well get on with the show and laugh it off. Yes there were swear words later and even a disgruntled huff with furrowed brow (I know, stand back when you see these signs), but those are the hazards you have to face when working in these environments. They still enjoyed the show and I fear most of the audience were more ‘moths to my light bulbs’ than my disgraced shoes, but that is all the better. More importantly the shoes are now clean and lovely again! Huzzah!
If one of your socks suddenly became a fan of James Bond movies and started stalking round the house with a shoe string for a tie and a toy gun, how would you make sure the other one didn’t feel left out? (Institut Corsetologie)
“I would write a film part in a new Bond epic for him – ‘You Only Live Tights’ or ‘Socktopussy’ and perform it to a whole laundry basket audience to build up his confidence.”
Did your parents leave you out in the rain as a small child? (Tom Stewart)
“Im gathering so as I am only 5ft 4″ and made of 75% wool… I used to love playing outside and making dens when I was little. I lived in the middle of nowhere with not many friends, so found the joys of nature, being a Pirate Princess and listening to the rain on the leaves above me as I sheltered under a huge tree.”
Do you like Ike? (Damien Travers)
“Well, you like Ike, I like Ike, everybody likes Ike. So put out the banner, beat the drum and we’ll take Ike to Washington. Unless he wants to just stay at home.”
Do/ did you ever smoke? (Owen Lancaster)
“Noooooo, hate the stuff. I remember my best friend at high school trying to force me to smoke and I didn’t want to know. I think the only thing that was tempting was the visual glamour portrayed by old movies; the long cigarette holder or smoking a pipe. The only smoke I liked to smell was that of my Grandad’s pipe tobacco. It is the one thing I really miss. I wish I could have bottled it.”
Have you ever had the misfortune to taste tea AND coffee in the same cup by accident? (Jet Oswin)
“Cofftea is the WORST! I have to drink caffeine free tea and coffee because of low blood pressure, but when I treat myself to a proper cup of tea, you want it to be untainted. It’s like getting to the bottom of the cup and finding you have a mouthful of sludge from dunking biscuits. It ruins a perfectly good beverage.”
What made you be a vintage model and basically love like the 40’s in general? (Helen Knight)
“I was never a ‘normal’ child and in the 80’s I was listening to 50’s rock n roll not Madonna and the 90’s I was dressed in my Grandma’s Victorian boots, high necked blouses and themed my room for different decades. That wasn’t normal for a 13 year old girl when everyone else was jumping around to Take That. On Sunday mornings they used to show great old films like Babes on Broadway, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Duck Soup, The Square Peg…I used to love watching them as Ma made Sunday lunch and longed to be one of the curvy dancing girls or strutting around in a beautiful gown.
I got some self confidence after college and blossomed into some kind of neo-vintage in 2000 ( they called me the comic Book Girl in town as I had pink hair in victory rolls and a corset over a skirt on most days with polka-dot shoes) and progressed to vintage and repro by 2003. I always knew that I wanted an Art Deco or 1930’s house (my Grandad used to live in a beautiful 1930’s mock Tudor house with huge bay windows and original features). Although currently in a tiny rented place, I worked hard in collecting vintage bits of furniture and bric-a-brac to create quite an authentic looking living space. When Mr Mew moved in we continued this and he has helped me with the kitchen too now, which used to really bug me! It is always a joy to walk through that front door and see our creation.
I felt totally lost when I was growing up and never fitted in at school or college, but now feel completely myself.”
Have you ever had a supernatural or other worldly experience? (Tracey Cook)
“Good question and a great one to do after the previous one! I have had quite a few, but am a total wall sitter when it comes to UFO’s, ghosts and bumps in the night. Unless Ive seen it or have proof, I am more of a logic thinker. But on saying, that Ive seen so much I know things are out there.
I once worked at Warwick Castle as the receptionist in the old Victorian mansion building. The main occasions I saw/ heard things were:
I had to go and find one of the managers and rushed down the corridor and into the level with Lady Daisy’s bedroom where two large doors are open for you to see in. There was a visitor’s guide dressed as a butler (as one used to) looking out the window. All I remember thinking was “Ooh what beautifully polished shoes…wait, why aren’t the alarms going off, if he is standing over the rope?” I bumped into the rest of the guides and their manager around the corner and said “Who’s the new guy dressed as a butler? He’s over the other side of the rope but the alarms aren’t sounding?” She looked at me and then to a couple of the older guides and said there was no newbie. I just carried on as I had a chore to do but I knew I had seen him. Later she told me how there was a gentleman guide who used to work at the castle and dress up as the Earl’s butler, but he passed away 3 years previously. The weird thing is that before the news reached the castle of his passing, another guide had seen him in the kitchen reading a newspaper as he always had before work and wished him good morning.
Another occasion was when I was on ‘Concert Switchboard Duty.’ This was when we had the classical or pop concerts with fireworks and I had 4 security radios around me and would put out the call for an ambulance or answer the phones etc. The security guard was constantly walking around the grounds and buildings, but had radioed me to say he was locking up the house (where I was), so the tower security camera would go black when he turned the light off. Then I was alone in the house. I said it was fine and saw him wave at the camera and it went black, so I switched the screen off. About an hour later I heard him scuffing up the tower’s stone spiral staircase and radioed him asking whether he could pop in as I needed a toilet break and he said he was over in the Peacock Garden. I said I could hear him coming up the stairs, but he said that every door was locked over that side so no one could get in. I heard the footsteps come right down the hall and passed the door. I looked out and there was nothing there. I crossed my legs for a good 30 minutes before venturing out!
I also went on a Ghost Hunt at the castle as one of my guide friends was part of the paranormal group. i was just fascinated to see behind the ropes and snoop around the artifacts and bits you can’t usually see! We were in the gallery just after the main hall when the spiritualist stopped and said “Is anyone here called Catherine?” We all shook out heads and carried on. “I’m sorry, I have this firey old lady in my ear saying that it is definitely Catherine.” Well my mother’s name is Catherine and I look a lot like her when we was younger and to say my Grandma Davis was a firecracker was an understatement. She literally used her big old handbag as nunchucks if my dad’s father said the wrong thing. She also used to have firey red hair. “She had something wrong with her chest, pain and coughing?” Yes, she died because of smoking. She woke up coughing and then passed away. “She says she left you a ruby ring and gold watch?” Yup, I didn’t know about the watch, but I had seen it in my mother’s jewellery box. “You’ve taken all her photos down and she isn’t happy about it…” Well bugger me, there used to be some kind of cruise portrait up in the living room but that had been taken down. I phoned dad asap and said “Dad, Grandma Betty is cross, get those pictures up pronto!” He did put a little one up for a while then in December it was popped in a drawer. That week my Christmas tree fell down. I keep a Polaroid of Grandma on my dressing table now!
I did a spot of work at a Pagan shop in Stratford for a while. I loved it as I got to dress up as Mab, queen of the fairies on the odd occasion and talk to the children! I did another ghost hunt there and the owner was a little like Derek Acorah; loveable but you knew he was completely acting up sometimes. Anyway. I decided to test the night vision on my video camera and picked up an awful lot of things. At first we sat or stood in the main shop and were asked to close our eyes and visualise. I thought it was all very ridiculous and all I could visualise were my tiny feet hovering over stone slabs with watery smoke. I listened to the usual ‘There was a dark figure over there’ and mentally rolled my eyes.
We went up to the lavender room to do some table tipping and I set up the camera on a sideboard in the corner of the attic room. We all stood around a little table, inside a lavender circle, with a bowl in the centre of it. Each placing our fingers on the bowl, various questions were asked and it would go left for one answer and right for another. I could feel when people were pushing or pulling, but it did sometimes feel as if we were all being led. Anyway, A girl called Laura and I were stood next to each other to begin with, but we couldn’t seem to fill the gap between us, like something was there. I also kept feeling a weight on the side of my skirt and then realised it felt like a little child clinging to me. I told the others and we tried asking questions but he wouldn’t speak. Apparently there were 2 men who wouldn’t allow him to answer and they were NOT nice people, the oppression in the room was crazy. We carried on with questions and asked the men’s names. We came up with T.B., so assumed this was how one of the died, but as we carried on, we found out it was T.P. one of the men’s names began with T and the other P. “Is it Philip?”…table turned to no…”Is it Peter?”…no again…”Is it Paul?” The table turned to yes.
When we looked back at the video footage a chill ran up our spines, for there was another voice on the tape: “Is it Philip?”…no…”Is it Peter?”…no…”PAUL”..”Is it Paul?” The booming man’s voice came from the other side of the camera to us and was clear as day.
We went down a flight of stairs to the Romanov room, which was set up like an old dining room and was always cosy. We sat at the big oak table for the seance and immediately you could smell pipe tobacco and something like custard! I had set up the camera in the hallway looking through the door. There was a little wooden rocking horse in the room and we tried to beacon the little boy to come in, but he was scared of something. Nothing else spiritual would come in, but there was this annoying ‘guy’ dressed in Civil War military attire (wool jacket, breaches, tall boots) that I could see leaned up against the door frame with his arms crossed smirking.
Little did I know that every time I would say I saw him again, the camera would go in and out of focus as if something was standing in front of it in the corridor.
When we were in the room we naturally looked around to see whether anything was moving or changing. I suddenly realised that the stone slabs I had visualised earlier were those of the large fireplace in this room. It suddenly occurred to me that I had been up the chimney and smoke around my feet. I never knew that a little boy had been murdered in this building when it was once an Inn, but apparently the story says he is somewhere in the walls of the place. We managed to piece together that when the 2 boys were naughty or wanted something, their drunk uncle would force them up the chimney as punishment. As we came to this conclusion there was a ‘CHINK!’ sound. We instinctively looked up at the glass-topped candle holders on the fireplace as if someone had tapped them. We thought it may have been the little boy, but as I was in the middle of saying “It couldn’t be, it is too high up”, someone pulled open the curtains and we saw the Victorian windowpane still cracking. The lead looked as if it had been pushed from low down and the pressure had broken the window. To this day, they keep having to replace that pane of glass as it keeps cracking.
I was always fascinated with past lives and always thought mine had something to do with Egypt as I would often had dreams or daydreams of hieroglyphics and gold gilt. I was given some special incense that is supposed to help you get a stronger sense of your past life. I tried it thinking it was all a bit silly, but I couldn’t believe it! I was knelt down by some hieroglyphics as I had been before, but this time I could look around. I had paint on my hands and then turned my head and I was in a 1930’s theatre, painting the set of an Egyptian show or opera. There were gold gilt angels and red velvet drapery. I turned right round and saw a man sat on one of the theatre chairs watching me.
I was so excited about this that I rushed over to see my (then) manager and cried out “I saw my past life!” He said “I know, I was sat in the theatre watching you.” I hadn’t even told him about the vision.
Is that enough?!”
“Do you have an opinion on the progression of burlesque into the showgirl type performances as opposed to the original theatrical character-based parody format that the modern mainstream audience doesn’t seem to be aware of?” (Ann Martin)
“To fill in those who don’t know; Burlesque didn’t start out as purely a striptease type affair. It was a theatrical mix of all sorts of short skits from different people. There were musicians, singers, comedians, magicians, dancers… It was a variety show. As far as we know, burlesque as we know it started in 1860 with Lydia Thompson (British!) and her troupe of blonde beauties, who went off to America to become stage starlets. Girls would regularly be put in jail over night for ‘forgetting’ to wear their body stocking (of which were compulsory by law). It is a bit of a myth that only ankles were allowed to be shown, as they would come out in tights/ body stockings with corsets and skirts etc. It was a variety performance for everyone to enjoy!
Annnnnyway. A lot of it was cheeky, but not vile or sleazy and they would sing, dance etc. It wasn’t until around 1889 with the opening of Moulin Rouge in Paris (The Palace of Women) that a lot more was shown. This progressed and got more risque up to the 40’s when the women were forced to pose without moving if they wished to show breasts and the sets were extravagant. The women would pose as if part of a huge painting and there would often be either a rotating stage or a singer. Burlesque traveled and in WWII the troops were often entertained by patriotic and exotic Burlesque dances as morale. Some girls even made their own satin and rick rack ribbon versions of sailor suits etc with poppers down the leg so that they would strip it off. Hula girl costumes were also popular!
In 1943 Lady of Burlesque came out and it looked sexy and glamorous to younger women. The costumes were creative, the story was full of romance, daring, funny and Barbara Stanwyck was the ideal lead.
I don’t know when it suddenly all changed. I’m sure there were seedy strip joints in the 30’s and 40’s that aren’t talked about. The stage made these showgirls glamorous, untouchable and somehow still pure, even when discarding stockings. Suddenly pole dancing, lap dancing and ‘stripping’ became the new mask to taint burlesque. Women wore less, the moves were a lot more provocative and class went out the window.
So this new age (I usually see it as starting in the mid 50’s up) was still regarded as burlesque by some and still is. I and many others in the scene regarding it as something completely different. Theatre was not as popular, so the glamour that once was on the stage and later transferred to musicals on film was now not the fashion. Blue movies and magazines were more readily available and not hidden with such titles as ‘The Photographers Study’.
So…my opinion… It is a slippery slope when starting out with burlesque. You may topple into stripping at a bar. Just because you wear nipple pasties with your neon spandex costume, it doesn’t make you a burlesque dancer. There are many avenues of burlesque and with everything, it changes and moves with the times. When techno and cyber raving clothing (think gas masks, Victorian goggles and metal corsets but before Steampunk became popular) was in fashion at the beginning of the Millenium, you had people who would incorporate axle grinding their corsets, fire tassels, flame throwing and more. It became almost circus like and some of it was very entertaining, especially when you would have silk climbers, trapeze artists and such. Not a fan of girls bathing in pig blood myself. Then there were the obvious Dita wannabe’s; finding their feet and copying the Vegas style of g-strings, feathers and rhinestones everywhere and saving up for a martini glass. It’s a shame because Catherine D Lish was way before Dita and should have been on a greater pedestal; especially as she helped train Dita AND gave her a bunch of props and costumes when she was starting out.
There has always been quite a divide in styles and I have been through my slightly goth or neo-burlesque stage and am firmly rooted to my classic style. I still have twists in my acts, but people know me for my style. I love the thought of giving people a little taste of the 1940’s burlesque girls that you may see in a movie or on old stage footage. Just that little snippet into the past, but you get to see things in colour and close up.
I can’t really judge others and their choices. If I see them steering a little in the wrong direction I will offer my help, but some prefer the more risque take on things and that is obviously up to them! Although I love the thought of recreating the past, we have to sometimes move with the times and if girls are doing this as a business, they have to think like a business and go with what will make them money, increase their bookings and what is in fashion at the time….which is why I’m not a wealthy lady…”
What’s the best food you ever ate while visiting America? (Stephanie Pitchers)
“Guess! Pancakes stacked with chocolate sauce, strawberries and bananas. Either that or your full breakfasts. I really love crepes with crispy bacon, maple syrup and bananas too!”
What was the epiphany moment that you knew doing vintage/ pinup/ burlesque was the right move for you? (Stephanie Pitchers)
“I guess it was 2001 when I got approached by a photographer at a live music night. I had taken inspiration from Bettie Page and he was the only one that ‘got it.’ When he asked for a shoot I thought he was nuts. I may have dressed creatively and confidently, but I have always been extremely self conscious. It took me quite a few weeks of his pestering to pluck up the courage and realised that in front of the camera I just seemed to know the classic poses. Sure they needed tweaking and perfecting, but at that point it wasn’t the fashion and vintage pinup and burlesque were really only just starting to come out of the shadows. I made a few mistakes and you live and learn by them, but I always knew since that first shoot that it was the right move. I unfortunately lost a really dear friend because they didn’t want me to get into it and didn’t trust that it wasn’t a huge mistake, but I had to think of my self and stick to my guns. I was sick of seeing stick figured catwalk girls with no shape and thought it was about time that some bite-able wobble and wiggle got a little limelight. Shazzam.
My first act was Bride of Kittenstein in Sheffield and I was shaking before I went on and then as soon as it was over, I didn’t want to come off again (I had no choice though as I got carried off on a camp bed…)”
What makes you purr? (Aaron Reames)
“Oooh, new shoes, the smell of old books, foot massages, melted chocolate, stumbling across a really great busking musician, hearing a baby’s belly laugh, cat’s purring, seeing people really engaged in the audience, especially when they laugh at a funny bit, the smell of the sea, bare feet on wet grass, dunking a chocolate digestive biscuit into Earl Grey and taking that first bite, putting together a costume and seeing it in the mirror for the first time thinking ‘I did that’…”
What’s the strangest request for a dance/ performance you’ve ever had? (David Burt)
“Well I did have someone asking me whether I could do my RAF Fancy and then everything I took off, people would buy whilst I was still performing. I obviously said no. You can’t just walk into Matalan and get a new one… I also got asked whether I would dance naked. I said “Sure! I would be completely naked underneath everything I won’t take off. I didn’t get the gig.”
What do you want to be when you grow up? (Bob Toy)
“Ha! A good mum. I want to bring up children in my creative world, have them come to my shows at War and Peace etc, enjoy singing and playing with them, reading stories, introducing them to the vintage lifestyle as a completely natural thing. Then when they are teenagers they will rebel and hate until they need money for something.”
If you were asked for a question for a Q&A what would it be? (Lee Parker)
“Oh you nutcase, not this early on a Monday please! Argh! Erm… Possibly ‘ What is your favourite vintage piece that you own?’…
Oh I guess you want the answer to my own question now huh?! Well I’ve lost my favourite piece, which I’m very upset about, but I would have to say if I were to grab anything if there was a fire, it would be my 1930’s locket, which holds a picture of my Grandad with the Pipe. He was the founder of my vintage passions.”
I have just received some great photos from Lee Parker of my new Lili Marleen inspired act, so I thought I would share some with you all!
My very talented Mr Mew made the lamp from scratch and I made my pasties, fascinator, train and garter. The dress once belonged to a drag queen (who has passed away, rest his soul). I stripped it of all the black ruffles, tassel trim, netting and fake boob inserts and designed it into a sleek and sexy gown with rhinestones and turquoise trimmings.
The gorgeous corset is actually from Vollers Corsets! When I did my interview for The One Show at the corset factory, I got to see some lovely designs that weren’t even for sale. I saw these zip down corsets and thought they were a brilliant idea! They are still tight lace with metal boning, but have a ‘quick release’ function with a very heavy duty, military grade zipper at the side. Determined for other corset lovers to see these unique designs, I vowed to wear one in an act to demonstrate how easy and sexily them come off! No more tangled lacing! Hurrah!
I wrote a parody of Lili Marleen as well as sang The Boys in the Backroom for Terry Elliot! You can see this act next at Twinwood Festival 2012!
A Great video taken by my gorgeous friend Lee Parker of my family friendly Boobie Woogie routine with the alternative ATS costume (‘Almost Totally Starkers’ as I like to call it!). Thanks Lee!