I went to Pole World Festival and was moist for the entire day

After spending the past four days laid up on the sofa battling a nasty case of Bubonic Plague, by some miracle I was cured (thank you Day and Night Nurse!) in time for a rather monumental event in the pole calendar, Pole World Festival!

Anyone who attended the festival knows that it’s a fucking impossible task to summarise the vagina wetting awesomeness that was Pole World, but here goes! Held in my home city Bristol, Pole world is a badass, day long festival of all things pole related. This includes killer workshops from some absolute legends in the industry, such as Tiff Finney, Shane Godliman, Dan Rosen, Heidi Hildersley, Sarah Blackmilk, Doris Arnold, Kira Noire, Crystal Gibson etc (click here for the full list of pole maestros who appeared at Pole World 2018), a Have a Go Area, where festival goers can try their hand at all manner of activities from twerking to handstands and finally talks from industry experts on everything from what supplements to take to how to unleash you sexy side when dancing. Boom, summary written! Now on to the juicy bits…

Pole world queues

Plenty of eager workshop attendees ready to start the day!

The festival marked my pole squad and I collectively losing our pole festival virginity, and fuck me we were gagging for it! We had each booked in for two workshops, had seen plenty of badass activities going down in the Have a Go area to try out and were buzzing to see what stalls were there for us to increase our ever growing collection of pole wear.

Being the eager beavers that we are (and one squad member having a 9:30am workshop) we arrived as the doors opened at 9am. After swiftly getting into the festival and collecting the wristbands for the workshops we were attending (this already got the day off to a good start, as I for one cannot abide fucking queuing, and the whole entry process (giggity) was meticulously well organised) two of us went for a cheeky little potter around before jumping straight into our first half hour Have a Go activity- Active Flexibility with Sam King.

Holy shiteballs that was a beautifully brutal wake up! As previously mentioned plenty of times, being a bendy Wendy ain’t my forte, especially when it comes to my back and shoulders, which is what this mini workshop focused on. Working in pairs, my pole sister (whose idea it was to subject ourselves to 30 minutes of active pain) and I stretched our decrepit backs as best as we could, including attempting some rather effective rotate-y activity to loosen up the old back. Well, I think that’s what that one was attempting to do, here is a video of me attempting it looking like a pissed salmon/Magikarp.

Pole World Sam King

Sam King about to put us through our paces!

After an intense back flexibility session, we then had a pleasant little rest before some gentle yoga to ease us into the day. LOL FUCK NO. It was time for our 90 minute workshop “Signature Strength Tricks” with the absolute Scottish powerhouse that is Heidi Hildersley-Lyle! To say that Heidi beasted us was an understatement. It is now 8:30pm on Monday evening as I type and my upper arms are still aching! Heidi put us through our paces with an array of bicep-busting lifts, tricks and combos and yours truly over here even put on her brave girl pants and attempted her first (heavily spotted) flip.

pole-world-heidi.jpeg

With the warrior queen Heidi!

After that hour and a half of hench fucking lifting, it was thankfully time for a little gap in our schedules, which came as a gargantuan relief as otherwise we may well have imploded. After grabbing lunch, we then then had a mooch around the many stalls in the shopping area. Pole World had so much high quality swag to offer, that the fact that I walked away with just a pair of lush Off the Pole leggings and don’t have Bailiff’s knocking on my door this evening is a solid achievement. Whether you fancied some new pole gear, stretching equipment or some comprehensive guides on handstands and everything in between, Pole World and it’s many vendors had something for you.

One of the more unique and fascinating elements to the day were the many talks and seminars that were on offer to us as well as workshops. Being a bit of a fan girl on all things that sexy, classique pole has to offer, I naturally attended Anna Frost’s fascinating talk on the psychology behind creating a sexy persona when dancing. I’ve hit a bit of a slump at the moment in terms my body confidence, and feel quite akin to a mouldy old spud, so hearing what useful tips and tricks one can apply to put the filth and pazazz back into your dancing was definitely needed. Anna provided us with six simple to try tips and moves to add to routines that will boost the sex appeal of a dance and the clever, boffin psychology elements behind them as to why they work, all very interesting stuff!

Pole world Anna's talk

Anna Frost giving us the 411 on how to charm your audience!

Equipped with some stellar new found knowledge on all things sexy, I trotted off eagerly to put the theory into practice at Sarah Blackmilk’s badass flow work shop Slinkography.  As someone who flow, floorwork and coordination in general doesn’t come naturally to, I was shocked at how well I managed to keep up with the routine we learned! Sarah’s unique, slinky style was a treat to both watch and learn, as she really broke down the moves brilliantly, making an intricate, twirly flow combo seem not so scary after all! Thanks to Sarah’s encouraging teaching style, and having the patience to deal with my uncoordinated ass, I finally felt confident enough to join my pole pals and upload a flow video of my own to Instagram. Sarah, if you’re reading this thank you so much, I was wondering when that day would happen!

As the evening drew in and the day’s workshops finished up, there were still plenty of entertaining events taking place in the evening to keep our bums firmly in our seats. One brave member of our pole squad completely SLAYED it in the Freestyle competition (seriously I wish my choreographed pieces were that good) and the finale of the night was an epic, two hours of prize giving and inspiring performances from the pros. I am so glad we decided to stay right until the bitter end, as it’s always so cool as an amateur dancer to watch the professionals strut their stuff in their own, fabulous styles.

I’m well aware that the former 1,100 words sound like a soppy as shit love letter to the organisers of Pole World, and that’s because it sure as hell is. Fair play, they played an absolute blinder! The day was organised and planned perfectly down to a T, and a previously very grumpy and irritable Eilish, who was up uncharacteristically early on a Saturday and fighting off the last remnants of a plague, left feeling buzzing, inspired and motivated to get herself into the studio and practicing! Thanks a million Pole World, you sexy motherfucker, same again next year please!

Advertisements

If your pole friends were Game of Thrones characters

GOT

Fuck me if there is one thing that I love on this planet just as much as I love Pole its Game of Thrones. I have honestly never been so obsessed with a TV show in my entire life. I first jumped on the bandwagon in 2013, after finally giving in and deciding to watch it and now, five years down the line I have watched every season twice (gotta pump that rookie number up!), read all the books, planned many a Game of Thrones themed pole routine out in my head and have my favourite character (The Hound in case you were wondering) tattooed on my thigh. The obsession is strong with this one and I don’t care who knows it.

Anyway, back on the subject of pole dance, my bestest pole friends and I, who ironically all have Game of Thrones inspired nicknames for one another, had got me thinking how many of the attributes that our favourite Game of Thrones characters have also transfer nicely over to that of our pole friends. Below are a list of characters who I think represent the different types of pole dancers we all know, train with and love. If you can think of any more please drop them in the comments!

The Cersei

GOT Cersei

Oh we all have a Cersei who we train with! This type of pole dancer is crazy about power spins and intense aerial combos that leave their audience shitting their pants in both fear and amazement. They come to practice sessions with a solid agenda and won’t quit until they have seen it through and nailed their nemesis moves like the savage boss that they are. Cersei is your sassy as fuck, brutally honest pole pal who is renowned for serving raw sex/ resting bitch face when performing.

The Jon Snow

GOT Jon Snow

The Jon Snow’s among us need a gigantic hug (I would legit do way more than hug the actual Jon Snow if I was wandering around Westeros, but I don’t think any of my pole pals would appreciate me sitting on their face for hours on end, so we will leave it at hug). Jon Snows are our badass pole friends who are epic dancers, nail tricks, spins and floorwork and are an absolute treat for the eyes to watch, but they haven’t got a clue how phenomenal they are! Your typical Jon Snow for example will execute a flawless Janeiro, leave you gasping in amazement but won’t take it when you compliment them on just how awesome they are. You have no idea how badass you are Jon Snow! You are the Prince that was promised!

The Jaqen H’ghar

GOT Jaqen H'ghar

The Jaqen is your pole partner who absolutely fucking drills you until you’re a broken and bloodied mess. Do not go to a practice session with Jaqen unless you know what you’re letting yourself in for and categorically DO NOT DO IT when hungover. Jaqen is a total and utter strength machine who will have you busting out drills and tricks on both sides and facing your nemesis moves until they are firmly defeated. You love Jaqen because you know that after enough practice sessions of being drilled and broken to within an inch of your life, you’ll be a better dancer for it.

The Daenerys

GOT Daenerys

Yas queen! Your Daenerys is another strong, powerful and epic dancer who, like the Cersei, favours energetic, power combos above flexible, flowy moves. Be warned, the Daenerys can be quite a fiery character to be around and is prone to fearsome bouts of rage and anger when they cannot get into their trick of choice and may lash out at you in this situation. When this happens, make a quick exit before the bitch burns you alive. Lastly, the Daenerys is a stickler for a solid knee grip, and will shout at you to bend the knee if you’re not hooked in your trick securely!

The Davos

GOT Davos

Ah the Davos. The OG pole friend who always has your back and will look after you whenever you’re training with them. Run out of Dry Hands or grip aid? No problem, Davos will lend you some. Forgot your water? Davos has a bottle of sparkling, ice cold H20 straight from the Dornish Mountains for you. Need spotting in a trick? Davos to the rescue! Your Davos will never let you down and will have your back until the bitter end. Their secret skill is giving you the greatest pep talk in all the seven kingdoms when you’re doubting your pole abilities and feel like quitting. If it wasn’t for your Davos, you wouldn’t be the dancer you are today, so spoil your Davos appropriately.

The Bronn

GOT Bronn

Holy fuck the Bronn is an instructor’s worst nightmare. They love the scary motherfuckers. Dangerous Brian’s, drops, flips and all the mad shit right at the top of the pole. Bronn is the kind of pole dancer who will take a stab at some crazy and complex trick first and worry about the consequences later. Who cares if they fall out of a trick and crack their noggin open on the floor? Not Bronn. Fuck all scares them, literally, which makes them a hell of a lot of fun to train with. Usually great for banter with quite a positive attitude, just bugger all regard for health and safety.

The Joffrey

GOT Joffrey

If we are going to be completely honest with ourselves here, I think we can all say that we have acted a bit like this cunt when poling! Pulling a Joffrey is when you are being taught or have seen a new trick that you’re about to learn, give it the whole Billy big bollocks attitude thinking you’ll be able to smash it no problem but when it comes to the crunch, you scream in pain and come falling off the pole in a heap. You can be visited by the ghost of the Usurper Joffrey Baratheon when the time comes for you to learn a new trick again, as the old fear of the pain kicks in, but do not let it! Turn around and give you inner Joffrey a hard and swift boot in the balls before he halts your progress!

The Pissing Pole Plateau

plateau

I swear the pole plateau is 10/10 the most annoying fucking thing you experience as a pole dancer. In real life, the plateau is more annoying than getting a less than pleasurable song stuck in your head for hours on end, more annoying than when your tit decides to randomly itch like hell in the middle of an important meeting and yes, even more annoying than when your arsehole of a co-worker has eaten your snacks you left in the fridge. The dreaded plateau is literally Satan.

For those of you who are reading this and am not quite sure what in tarnation I’m rambling on about (shit the bed, you have no idea how lucky you are), the plateau is a dreaded destination you reach at some point along your pole journey where for some unknown reason, you feel like you’re just not getting any better. FOR WHAT SEEMS LIKE FUCKING AGES!

The plateau can be a right shitty, demotivating and disheartening place to be. I hit my first plateau during April 2016 when I first went up into Intermediate class, and sat at said plateau for four, agonisingly long months. Watching your pole pals smash new tricks and have badass progress pics to upload to Instagram whilst you’re sat there feeling like Pauline the plateau-y potato and fall out of every trick you attempt can really piss you off big time. It took me months to be able to confidently execute tricks in Intermediate class, and the crash mats stayed firmly out for a long time after the plateau had finished I can tell you.

Sometimes, plateaus can really try and fuck with you and only happen for one bastard trick. All the other spins, floorwork and tricks that you’re learning you appear to be picking up fine and dandy, but that one bastard just won’t quit. I find laybacks and the arsehole Superman are two of the worst for these. I have made weency progress on my Superman in the past year, but I am still a long way from seamlessly executing a Superman in a routine, that’s but a mere fantasy in my plateaued little noggin!

What’s probably the cuntiest thing about the plateau however is that there’s just no telling when the bastard will end! Having experienced a good few plateau’s (I think I’m currently in my third one right now) I can provide some reassurance in that they do pass eventually. Yes they may pass like a colossal shit after a Vindaloo, burning your very soul from the inside out and leaving you close to tears, but they do pass. I have recently seen some of my pole family smashing tricks that have taken them a year to nail, such as Handsprings, flawless Gemini to Thigh Hold combos and nailing their Shoulder Mounts, so trust me and my pole family here, the plateau of doom will end. However when it decides to pack its bags and fuck off back to the seventh circle of hell where it belongs I struggle to predict. At the moment, and as previously moaned about, I feel as though my concrete-esque flexibility levels are holding me back, and am hoping and praying to the pole deities that my at-home stretching sessions actually makes some form of difference and helps me to progress, otherwise I’ll be having an almighty sulk and bashing my hip flexors with a hammer.

Well shit, this one has turned into a bit of a miserable old rant, sorry about that. I suppose we all need a bit of a moan sometimes! If you’re currently sat in the midst of a fucker of a plateau and fancy a good rant, or alternatively if you have any cracking tips for hoisting yourself out said plateau of doom, please hit up the comments section!

Shit you’re guaranteed to hear when you tell people you’re a pole dancer

Pole Dance E Card

It’s always an interesting one breaking the news to someone for the first time that you’re a pole dancer. Due to the utterly badass nature of pole, it’s guaranteed to conjure up a greater variety of reactions to just telling someone that you do Yoga, Zumba etc. Not that Zumba and Yoga aren’t fucking awesome in their own right, because they are, but they do not have the same sense of taboo and mystery surrounding them that pole has.

In my three and half year pole adventure so far, I have been lucky enough not to encounter any real negativity from regular folk when I tell them I’m a pole dancer (thank fuck), however I have, like I’m sure you have too, been met with some cracking responses over the years when I’ve dropped the Pole bomb for the first time. Below are ten of the most common responses that you’re certain to hear when you tell someone you pole for the first time, and the ideal retort. If you have any common responses you get too that aren’t on this list, please drop them in the comments

Pole dancing?!”

Yes babe. Pole dancing. Not going round to old ladies houses and shitting like a camel all over their carpet. No need to act so shocked.

Are you a stripper?”

Look, Debbie from Accounts, if I was a stripper, do you really think I would be stood here, at 8:45am on a Monday, desperately chugging coffee down my gullet in an attempt to make your dreary conversation about your husband’s hemorrhoids  (that I give not one solitary fuck about) bearable? No. I wish I had the skills, patience and glamour to be a stripper, but alas I do not. In short Debbie, I am in my dreams

Do you not find it degrading?”

In what universe is a group of people, learning to love their bodies for the strength, skills and flexibility that it’s developing, building some of the most rewarding friendships they’ll ever have and gaining killer levels of confidence degrading Sharon? You condescending cock. Your attitude is degrading now shut up.

Oh wow you must be so fit and strong! Your core strength must be though the roof. I wouldn’t even be able to hold myself up.”

Why thank you! Yes I guess I am a bit of a super human I suppose. I’ve seen a few Cross Fit documentaries on the old Netflix now and I think I could absolutely smash that easy peasy. In fact, the other day I managed to open not one, but two jars of curry sauce for my mum, so I guess you can say things are getting pretty serious up in here.

Seriously though, no one is strong to start off with, that’s a skill you learn along the way. Pole is a wonderful sport/dance/art form that is for every body’s body, no matter your shape, size or strength. You don’t start off doing the mad shit you see on Instagram, like anything in life you start small, building up the fundamental skills then progressing on to the more complicated stuff. Honestly, you’ll be amazed at what you can achieve.

Coar that got a bit serious there! Sorry about that, back to banter.

Can you climb all the way to the top? Can you go upside down?”

I just told you Linda I’m a motherfucking super human. Never mind climbing all the way to the top and hanging upside down at my pole classes, that’s just the shit I get up to in my everyday life these days. I parkoured the entire 5 mile commute in this morning and I’m going to cartwheel it all the way home. Boo ya.

People think pole is all about stripping, but it’s not is it. It’s more like gymnastics?!”

Oh here we fucking go. There are many different styles of pole. Some are more gymnastic and circus based yes, but for the love of Felix PLEASE LET’S NOT DISTANCE POLE FROM IT’S STRIPPING ROOTS! I got into pole dance watching Metal and Hip Hop videos growing up, seeing sexy as fuck pole dancers in these videos and thinking it looked epic. Every dancer has a different tale to tell as to how they got into pole, but I love the Authentic/Classique and Stripper style the best. If someone ever watched me dance and thought I was a stripper, holy shitballs I would be dead chuffed about it for weeks. It would be the greatest compliment! So for me, yes, pole is a lot about stripping.

I bet you’re very flexible.”

Ha! I wish I fucking was mate. You have no idea the hours and hours of agonising stretching that goes into getting someone who isn’t naturally bendy like yours truly over here to move even a few inches lower to the ground in their splits. The majority of the time I’m as flexible as a piece of Weetabix.

Men do it too nowadays don’t they?”

Hell yeah do! Anyone of any gender can pole and will be welcomed in the pole community! Period.

You wear those shoes? I couldn’t even walk in them!”

This has taken years of practice! I started off in teeny heels and worked my way up to the sparkling, eight inch bad boys you see here. Also, my love of Pleasers has now overtaken my love for my fiancé, crisps, Game of Thrones and I have a moderate to severe addiction to them, I’m too far down the rabbit hole to not dance in heels and I’m 100% okay with it too.

My partner wouldn’t like me doing that!”

Your partner is a cunt Karen.

Foxen vs Flexibility round two

You may recall back in March 2017, I wrote the first edition of the Foxen vs Flexibility blog, detailing all about how I was going to wage war against my Tinman back, hip flexors of solid concrete and shoulders that I’m pretty sure have moderate levels of Rigor Mortis. Well, a solid 16 months later, I can finally provide you all with an update on how Foxen vs Flexibility went;

I fucked the whole thing.

Yep. No two ways about it. Since March 2017 I stretched for all of about ten minutes in October. To give old Tin woman over here some credit, the previously mentioned qualification of doom that I had been studying for in muggle life had literally taken up the entirety of my fucking free time. There was no way in hell I was going to miss out on pole classes because of the fucking thing, so tragically the plans to become a bendy wendy had to take a back seat.

Well not anymore! I’ve had enough of my fuckass shoulders, upper and lower back and hip flexors that have been delivered to me straight from the seventh circle of hell themselves holding me back and hampering my pole progression. My dickhead of a qualification is now complete and my free time is once again my own, and I intend to spend it (well, the majority of it at least, its summer and there’s going to be a few piss-ups and inevitable hangover days on the horizon) wisely. It’s about time I stopped just stalking my super flexible pole idols Bethany Finlay, Felix Cane and Maddie Sparkle (to name a few) and actually got my arse off the sofa and onto the Yoga mat.

In the past week, I have actually managed to fit in two 40 minute stretching sessions, which for me is virtually unheard of! So mini progress is already being made! Well, I say progress, this is the absolute state of my flexibility so far. Shit on the bloody thing, I think I’ll need more than two sessions a week to sort this mess out.

Pike stretchCrab

middle splitssplit

As you can see, I’ve got a LONG way to go before I could even stop referring to myself as inflexible. However, I once read one of those trite “inspirational” quotes on Instagram, which said something along the lines of “you don’t have to be great to start, but you do have to start to be great.” In all honesty, I do find facing my flexibility weakness quite daunting, as it’s my one main area of physical fitness which I suck at, but it’s time to pull up my big girl pants and conquer the bastard, you don’t defeat your demons by running away from them! This is (I think) the fourth time I have gone into battle with my stiff as fuck body, and this time I’m going to win.

As stated in Foxen vs Flexibility round one, the same rules still apply. I am solidly committing to stretching at least twice a week (ideally three times) for a minimum of 40 minutes a pop. I would love to stretch more, but life happens, and in my opinion, going from zero stretching sessions to even just two a week is already a solid improvement. I have seen plenty of awesome stretch classes, which I have heard nothing but positive reviews from my pole buddies who have attended them, taking place too, so I fully intend to dive into those head fucking first next month, which I am very excited for!

Also, despite it hurting like a motherfucker, I actually find I feel rather chilled and contented after stretching. My mental health has annoyingly been a bit of a cunt recently, so I’m hoping that up-ing my stretching regime will give that a bit of a boost too, which is never a bad thing.

So here goes, Foxen vs flexibility round two (lol, more like round four) has begun bitches. I am aiming to write a round three post around Halloween time, and will hopefully have a more positive and successful update for you all then, in the meantime, flexibility, LET’S BE HAVING YOU!

If you have been or are currently on a quest for flexibility, or have any useful stretching hints and tips, please drop them in the comments below!

Pole tricks that are bloody lovely

In the words of Arnold Schwarzenegger himself…I’M BACK! Apologies for the lack of posts since May, to keep it brief, I had some shitty old qualification that I desperately needed to get finished for my muggle job. However, now that bastard qualification is all done, dusted and submitted (hallelujah!) I am FINALLY able to get back on it and dedicate my free time two of the things that I love in this miserable world, pole dance and writing!

Because I’m in a jolly old mood today, I have decided to write a blog dedicated to all my favourite pole tricks. You know the ones. The tricks that feel like a warm hug every time you return to practise them, the ones that you’re more than happy to stick into a routine (it will be a cold day in hell before I choreograph a piece without a Cross Knee Release in I can tell you) and are just generally your go to collection of moves. Here are a few of my personal favourites, if you have any tricks that you love to perform that I have missed off the list, drop them in the comments!

The Cross Knee Release

Cross Knee closed

Now, I know in my previous post, I referred to laybacks as terrifying when you first learn them, which they legit are, but fuck me when you have mastered it, there’s nothing in pole, and possibly life, that can’t be solved by a tidy Cross Knee Release. This move is lovely and simple to get into (once you have broken through the pain barrier) and can be performed in so many different ways, it just never gets old. Whether you’re doing the standard version with a beautifully straightened leg, have your leg bent or are grabbing your back foot or the pole (as seen in the picture above) I think the good old Cross Knee always looks badass. It’s an instant crowd pleaser for non-pole folk in your audience too, as it has the whole “look mum no hands!” wow factor to it. I could seriously (and probably will at some point if I run out of ideas) write an entire blog post solely on this bad boy. Honestly, if this move had a dick I would give it a damn good rubbing.

Butterfly/Extended Butterfly

Extended Butterfly

Oh Butterflies, you beautiful, sturdy and (relatively) painless, bastards I love you. In my opinion, these tricks are so solid due to the amount of grip points you have on the pole that they’re an absolute treat to be in. You’ve got both your hands on firmly and either your knee or ankle, depending on which version you’re doing, has got your back higher up the pole too. There’s no heinous pinching or burning like you have with other dickhead tricks, you’re just upside down, looking pretty and loving life. You can also bust out the classic combo of Extended Butterfly/Butterfly-Flat line-Scorpio too if you’re feeling adventurous. You just can’t go wrong with reliable Butterfly!

Jasmine

360FB-68

This utter babe of a trick is also high up on my list of favourite moves. Similar to the Butterfly/Extended Butterfly above, I love them because you feel all secure and safe in the trick. I’m an Intermediate Level Pole dancer, and I sure as fuck am not going to be executing any death defying moves like Death Lays, Gargoyles or any other moves where you look as though you’re about to plummet to your doom at 90mph any time soon, I like to feel and look sturdy as fuck in a move and that’s that. Not only do you feel all solid and snug in a Jasmine, you also have the potential to create extended and sleek lines which in my opinion makes the trick look way more advanced than it is. The Jasmine gets a solid yes from me.

Gemini (Outside leg hang)

360fb-72

Again this is another winner of a move which I quite like to stick in routines/use at freestyle practices at any given opportunity. To the untrained eye, the Gemini looks mega impressive, as essentially the dancer is just hanging on with their outside knee (a guaranteed “oooooh!” will come from the audience once a tidy Gemini has been executed), however when you’re all set in your Gemini, you can quite happily hang out in it for ages. Like the Jasmine, there is the potential to once again create some stunning lines, and you can whip your extended leg round into both Hip and Thigh Holds from it too. Gemini, you versatile babe have helped me out no end when choreographing past (and probably future) routines!

Attitude and Reverse Attitude Spins

360FB-70

Okay, so the fact that I have been a pole dancer now for three and a half years and I am still putting beginners spins on my list of favourite moves may reveal that I need to strap on my big girl pants and actually train spins a bit more. Anyway, hard to swallow pills aside, I fucking love me a good Attitude/Reverse Attitude spin. You get a nice sweeping whizz of momentum going on, create a cracking shape and land in a jazzy little position on the floor ready to bust out some cracking floor fuckery. Can’t go wrong with a bit of attitude in life! Ba dum tssh.

The Stargazer

IMG_5642

Again it will be a cold day in hell before I whip up a routing without one of these old faithful fuckers in it. Basically I bloody love a Stargazer for a lot of the reasons mentioned above. However, not only with this one do you feel nice and locked in, this little number also looks awesome on spinny pole, as you’re not leaning to far out, you end up whizzing round at wharf speed and look like some sort of rocket firing up into the sky. Again it’s a simple shape, but I’m a bit of a simple lass, so that works fine with me! There’s plenty of variations you can derive from a Stargazer too depending on how bendy your back is. I’ve got a back like the pissing Tin man (hopefully that’s all about to change!) so I opt the the straight up Stargazer as pictured above.

Pole tricks that are utter, utter bastards

those-complete-and-utter-bastards

Arch-nemesis moves, we all have them. I don’t mean moves that take a couple of attempts to nail here, I’m talking about tricks that take months, if not long, painful years before you finally master the fuckers (hence the name arch-nemesis instead of just a regular nemesis). They’re your Kryptonite, the Joker to your Batman and the general shit stain on your otherwise (relatively) pristine pole adventure.

As someone who is about as flexible as a lamppost, the majority of my utter bastard nemesis moves involve a degree of flexibility that my poor old concrete body just doesn’t have (yet). Maybe one day I’ll hopefully nail these bastards, however in the meantime, I have chosen to rant about them below. Yes you have permission to laugh at me here, as some of these moves aren’t even technically classified as that difficult!

  • The painful as fuck Allegra

Now don’t get me wrong, the Allegra in all of its many varieties is a move that looks stunning. It’s fab for creating and showing off strong lines, flexibility, and generally making the audience go “oooooh!” when they see a perfectly executed one. However can your girl over here perfectly execute an Allegra? CAN I FUCK. Whenever I attempt even a basic, open Allegra, I fail spectacularly. I cannot for the life of me get the twisty action right, my ribs get all in the way and overall everything just ends up being a half open, pinching, and burning mess. As a result of my many Allegra fails over the years, this move has also been pushed to the bottom of my practice list, which means I haven’t actually got any better at it. Way to go Eilish that was a fucking smart idea wasn’t it?

  • The twisty bastard Stag

Again, this is another move that looks badass, just not when I attempt it. My Stag practicing ritual goes somewhat like this; watch a Stag be executed perfectly whilst gawping in amazement, attempt a Stag from the floor and sort of loosely assemble to correct position, get a wind of confidence from assembling said loosely correct position, attempt a Stag up the pole and fail miserably. DAMN IT I AGAIN JUST CAN’T MASTER THE TWIST ACTION! I have the shoulders of a ninety year old sedentary pensioner that feel like they’re about to pop out of their sockets whenever I attempt a Stag. In addition, my crusty old hip flexors don’t allow for my back leg to be lifted up very well if at all either. All in all my version of the Stag ought to be re-named the Mess.

  • Don’t even get me started on the fucking Superman

This tale has a slightly more positive start to it, as since my previous blog on this prick of a trick, I can actually execute one now if I really put my mind to it. However, I only have one solid method of getting into the Superman, which is a sort of backwards shuffle walk onto the pole, hooking my legs round, thrusting my pelvis down into the seventh circle of hell and hoping for the best. It works, and I can get into the trick, but it’s about as graceful as a poo. How people put Supermans (and his insane sibling the Dove, which due to my aforementioned pensioner shoulders I haven’t even attempted) into routines so elegantly and with a smile on their face amazes me! Witchcraft that’s what it is, bloody witchcraft

  • Frightening fucking laybacks

Now, I honestly don’t mind a layback, in fact I could go as far as to say that I’m quite partial to a good old Cross Knee and Cross Ankle Release on a more than regular basis, but holy shit I swear learning them was one of the most terrifying experiences known to the human race. Even when you first learnt the buggers and you were sat pretty low on the pole, that moment when you first lean back feels as though you’re suddenly 500 foot high and you’re convinced that you’re going to go hurtling down the pole at 80 mph and break your neck. Spoiler alert- you’re legit not, but Jesus those first few layback practices are scary!

  • Rotten reverse grabs

No no no no no no and no. I don’t care how awesome, fast and twizzely these bad boys look, whenever I attempt on I feel like I am going to go flying off the pole, crash into a heap on the floor and lose most of the skin on my top wrist. Great big, burny bitches I tell you! I am ninety percent certain the reverse grab spin was conjured up by Satan himself. Return back to the depths of hell reverse grab spin and stay firmly put there!

  • And last but by no means least, anything on my “other side”

I am a very naughty pole dancer who really doesn’t train their other side anywhere near as much as they should. That’s completely my fault and I deserve a firm slap for it. As a result of this terrible training habit, I have my dominant side, which can plod along okay the majority of the time and bust out a few tricks (obviously not the ones mentioned above) and then I have my other, stupid, defunct tit-wank of a side which can just about manage a step around at best. I have learned from my mistake and am now training both sides as much as possible in the hope that one day they’ll be at an equal level. That day will probably be 15th September 2035.

Do you have any nemesis motherfuckers that aren’t listed above that deserve a good, solid ranting about? If so drop them in the comments!

Pole Self Care 101: How to stop yourself having a burn out

Self Care Oprah

We all know how fabulous pole dancing is for us. It’s boosts our physical and mental strength, sends our confidence soaring and in all honesty, some days there’s nothing better than strapping on your best set of pole clothes, your favourite pair of Pleasers and dancing away all your frustrations. However sometimes, we can overdo it. If you have been training extra hard, say for a competition or showcase and upping your practice sessions, once it’s all over you can end up feeling like dropped kebab. When this happens. It’s time to self-care the living shit out of yourself.

“Self-care” seems to be one of those buzz words at the moment, much like how mindfulness (which ironically is a cracking method of self-care) was two years ago. I believe that when you’re in the process of upping your game with your poling, that self-care is an absolute must. Most of us amateur polers are fucking machines (I’m aware that sounds very big headed, but one does not give a shit), who juggle jobs, our home lives, social lives and pole lives all at once, and every once in a while machines need to a damn good oiling to keep them running smoothly! If you have been pole training like a beast, then it’s important to look after yourself properly, and maybe even take a break to stop yourself getting injured or burning out. Therefore I thought I would list my 4 personal favourite post pole training self-care tips below that help me feel properly rested and level headed after a rather strenuous period of training:

  1. Have a period of time doing fuck all

Seriously. Be it an evening, a day (if you’re lucky) or a week (if you’re very lucky) of total and utter laziness. Have a bath, don’t put on any make up if you usually wear it, pull on your favourite pair of jammies and indulge in some unadulterated slobbery. Become so embedded in your sofa/bed that you become some sort of glorious half human/half fabric relaxation hybrid from planet Chilled AF. Eat your favourite snacks, cook your best comfort food for dinner, or even order it in if cooking isn’t your thing. Overall just become fully committed to the chilled life. It will be like having a hangover day, only on no hangover, so come the following morning you will feel full of beans and refreshed instead of the semi human horror story that comes with a hangover.

2. Pamper yourself

Treat yo self

Your body can take a gnarly beating in the process of intense pole training. You’ll be bruised in body parts you didn’t even think you were using and have callouses resembling angry toads nesting in your palms. So once the competition or showcase that you’re training for has passed, treat your body that has served you well over the past few months to some overdue pampering. Personally, I don’t think anything beats soaking in a roasting hot bath with some fancy schmancy bath bomb in it and a face mask, topped off afterwards with some non-descript fruity body lotion (I’m an easily pleased girl). If you’re a more high maintenance pole dancer, and hell there ain’t nothing wrong with that, you could even go extra and treat yourself to a massage or a spa day to really unwind your body nicely.

3. Go easy on the exercise

Don’t commit to any strenuous exercise until your body is ready to again. I am a bit of a hypocrite here, as I did do a very muddy 10K obstacle course race the day after filming my latest competition routine, but please, as someone from experience who has done this, do give it a rest! Honestly the last thing you want to do is push yourself too far that you give yourself some sort of nasty-ass injury that puts you out of action for a while. Unless you want to end up missing weeks, maybe even months of our beloved pole, then do give yourself some well-deserved rest before you spring into action again.

4. Take the time to mentally pat yourself on the back

You did the thing! You competed in your first pole competition/performed in your first showcase/nailed a trick you have been trying hard to nail for ages, now give yourself a high five! We all know how physically and mentally demanding pole can be, especially when doing something fucking terrifying like performing in front of an audience or even scarier in front of judges, so take the time to let the full extent of how utterly badass you are for doing that sink in and digest. Be proud of your damn self. Don’t just glaze over your achievements and start planning the next feat of pole awesomeness that you have lined up (I am beyond guilty of doing this) take the time to take stock of how amazing you are for rising to the challenge and coming out the other side!

Self Care Kitty

Those are my best post-pole training, self-care tips that I like to do after a busy training schedule. If you have any favourites that aren’t on the list, drop them in the comments 🙂

What to know before you start pole dancing: Six unexpected things that happen

A couple of weeks back I was having a little reflective chatter with my pole sisters about how our pole journeys have gone so far and all that jazz. Personally, looking back at when I first began my pole quest, I realised that pretty much the entirety of my journey has involved a lot of unexpected shit going down. Awesome, confidence building, life changing sparkly shit, but still unexpected shit none the less. Therefore, I thought it might be a good idea to whip up a blog for those who are about to embark upon their pole journey, listing six things that are pretty much guaranteed to take place during it.

Please note that the list below consists of things that I genuinely did not expect to happen when taking up pole. Yes you have my permission to laugh at me for some of these!

Pole fucking hurts, deal with it.

Pole Faces

Back in 2015 when my knocking knees first set foot in a pole studio I honest to god did not expect it to hurt. What a tit. Like how on earth did I not expect gripping onto a metal pole with my thighs would not hurt? Had I abandoned science for the day? Anyway I digress.

For those of you who, like me, had not a clue what you were letting yourself in for yes, pole hurts. And not just the classic, satisfying case of the post exercise DOMS. You will feel intense, sharp pinching as your skin grips ground the pole which, if you don’t let out a yelp or at least a mild wince, you’re one hard motherfucker. You’ll be bruised like peach that’s been booted full pelt round the green grocer’s floor after a good practice session and those bruises will be all colours of the rainbow and come in a variety of shapes. As you practice a move repeatedly, I promise you that your body will condition itself to stop hurting (sooner than you think actually) but at first, new moves hurt like a cunt. Just gotta suck it up I’m afraid.

You won’t get moves straight away, but you will get them

shoulder mount

Christ almighty just look at all the professional polers out there and the mad shit they’re doing. Even moves that are not next level crazy (I still can’t do these however, just throwing that out there) such as Ayesha’s and Jade Splits, require pretty solid levels of strength and flexibility in order to execute them well. When starting pole completely from scratch, unless you have a strong gymnastics, dance or sporting background then you ain’t going to be able to bust out higher intermediate/advanced level moves in a couple of months. Let’s not live in Cloud Cuckoo Land. I was no gymnast before I started pole, so there was no way I was going to be able to execute moves which require great dexterity and skill after three weeks of classes.

However, after nearly three and a half years of pole dance, I can safely say that there has been some form of progress. I may not be able to bust out the pro tricks yet, but I can manage Extended Butterflies, Shoulder Mounts, Bow and Arrows and laybacks all in my heels (booya!). As much as your first few weeks, months or even year of classes will feel intimidating, I promise that with consistency and hard work you will progress from those first few pesky sits and fireman spins.

Situations will appear that will encourage you to leap out of your comfort zone, you must take them

IMG_5647

Well fuck me that sounds like something out of a fortune cookie. If you ignore the pure, Instagram quote cheese of that sentence, I assure you its accurate! At some point along the path of your pole journey, situations will present themselves that will up your pole game tenfold, but fuck me they will seem terrifying! It may be the opportunity to perform in a show case or even enter a competition. Getting a routine together for a show or competition is a stressful experience that involves a shit ton of hard work, sacrificing both your finances and spare time and will involve you popping your performance cherry, which is a whole new barrel of nerves in itself. What’s the point to all this stress I hear you ask? Well, not only will your pole skills exponentially improve due to all the extra hard work you’re putting in, you will also get a massive sense of pride and a huge self-esteem boost once you have faced your fear and performed/entered your competition. You’ll feel immensely proud and be ready to face the next challenge in your pole adventure, or even your life come to think of it. I’m convinced I passed my driving test on my third attempt because I kept telling myself “Foxen, if you can perform in a pole show in front of a sold out audience, you can do this!”

You may very well end up discovering your feminine side…

Make up face

I was categorically NOT a very girly girl before starting pole dancing. My life pre-pole consisted of running around in leggings and Nike’s, my makeup style was somewhere between a Panda and a racoon and my free time was spent necking pints at local death metal gigs and festivals. I’m not going to lie there’s 10/10 nothing wrong with that existence, but now I drink much less than I used to in order to make Sunday practice sessions at my studio, I have learned way more about make up (I’ve even branched into the realms of false eyelashes) and I spend an equal amount of time in my Bad Kitty sets and eight inch pleasers as a I do in my leggings and Nikes.

And your sexy side

Halloween topless

Learning stripper style pole dance for me was a gigantic jump into the deep end. As previously mentioned, I was a wee bit of a tomboy before pole, and the thought of doing some sensual floor and flow in my heels at the end of my first six weeks of lessons filled me with utter dread as I honestly felt about as sexy as a poo. Now it’s one of my favourite parts to pole dance! I don’t (yet) class floor work and flow as one of my personal strong points, but it’s something I love to both watch and perform and am determined to progress in. I can feel a summer of floorwork workshops coming on!

Finally, you’ll magically find a whole new bunch of besties

Pole Theatre

Those folk in your class now, who you have only known for the past week or two and you attempt to make awkward small talk with will in a few years time feel like fucking family to you. You’ll be taping each other into costumes, communicating via a series of sounds instead of sentences, having various pole related in jokes and be an inseparable gang before you know it. I’ll keep this last point short and sweet, as I’m pretty certain I’ve already written a blog about how awesome pole friends are, but yeah, they’re badass.

Well, those are the six things that happened to me on my pole adventures that I legit did not expect to. If any others happened to you, please drop them in the comments below!

PS- The eagle eyed readers among you would have noticed that I have recycled some old pictures for this post. This for one of the following reasons; They’re significant moments from my pole journey so far documented in photographic format and are thus relevant to the blog, or I am simply too lazy/down right terrified of the mammoth task that is sorting through three and a half years worth of pole photos to find relevant ones for blogging.

Chrome Chronicles meets Laqadaze Clothing!

Laqadaze hair flick

I don’t think I have met anyone in the pole realm who doesn’t lose their shit over pole wear. Even those of us who are not the most fashion conscious folk in real life can’t get enough of sexy, sassy pole gear. Which is exactly what Bristol based fashion brand Laqadaze whip up. Chrome Chronicles caught up with the one woman extraordinaire Laqadaze founder and creator Luci to discuss her pole journey so far, the latest Laqadaze collection and her savvy business tips.

1-How did your pole journey get started?
I came to Bristol for uni and wanted to get involved in a society, it was a toss-up between horse-riding and Pole and well, I already know how to horse-ride so I thought I’d give it a go!
My friend and I went to a taster class at Spin City, we managed (just about) to make it through a couple front hooks and fireman spins without giggling ourselves silly and I’ve loved it ever since.

2- Also please tell us all about the Laqadaze story! How did the brand get started?
Well, one night I was visited by the all-powerful unicorn of Lycra…just kidding, I wish it was that exciting!
I was in my third year of uni and officially hooked on wearing any so-called “crazy print” leggings, I should have really been focusing on my final project but I got side-tracked by some gorgeous printed Lycra and decided to make leggings to go on Etsy instead. Oops!
Everyone asks me how I came up with the name, but it’s really only as simple as wanting something very unique (if you google Laqadaze, nothing else will come up) and wanting a name that didn’t take itself too seriously – like me I guess. I loved the word “lackadaisical” and after a few combinations, Laqadaze was born.
If you’re wondering, I pronounce it “Lack-ah-days.”

3-How long have you been sewing for?
I remember enjoying hand-sewing a little felt Christmas tree decoration when I was in primary school and when I was about 10 we made slippers as a project – mine were fleecy with little ducks.
Projects got bigger and I learned how to use a sewing machine in my teens. My aunt had grown up making a lot of her own clothes we did a few projects together – learning how to sew from a ready-made pattern. I think sewing, clothes particularly, runs in the gene pool of my family. I had a great aunt who I used to love to visit because she made these beautiful outfits for dolls (like Barbies) and she had a whole room full of them. I found out a few years back that she’d made a couple of special occasion outfits for Prince William and Harry when they were very young. Sewing is always something I’ve enjoyed but it was surprisingly never something I “knew” I wanted to do as a career…funny how things pan out.

4-Do you have any favourite Laqadaze items?
Hmm, that’s a tough one because most of the prints and styles I make, I’ve chosen because I really like them and they suit me haha! I suppose I probably wear my highwaisted Peacock shorts and Opulence top the most and I’m permanently in leggings so I’m in a different pair everyday. I think my pink Shattered Glass Leggings are my favourite, mainly because I actually don’t own any pink clothing (I’m not really a fan of pink) so it surprised me that I liked them so much.
Saying that, obviously I’m enamored with my upcoming pieces and potentially have a new favourite in leggings for sure…

Laqadaze trio

5-What made you want to combine both your passions of pole and textiles?
Originally I had planned for the brand to be more “everyday” than pole-wear as I was obsessed, at the time, by Black Milk Clothing and I really wanted my brand to follow that trend. At the time I’d be doing pole for a couple years and made a few “Racer front” style crop tops to see what the girls from my studio thought. They loved them so I decided to make more and the focus on pole-wear snowballed from that.
Kate Edwards was still doing a lot with the Bristol Spin City at the time, I got to know her and met Bendy Kate as a result. I woke up one day to Bendy having posted on social media with photos of her new Shattered Glass outfit and next thing I know I’ve gained hundreds of new followers and orders started pouring in! It was crazy, I definitely have those two to thank for helping me take off and still now. Bendy with supporting my brand with her back warmers and Kate is a fountain of business knowledge – who very kindly puts up with me messaging her for advice haha.

6-Tell us all about the new Laqadaze collection. What is even more awesome about the new pieces and most importantly, when can we get our hands on it?
Oh my god, how do I even start? I am SO excited to get going with these new pieces, it’s small compared to the last collection of new things but I really hope it shows quality over quantity.
I really wanted something new and a bit different, things that were really focused on design. Obviously, everything I make is drafted from my own patterns, I don’t buy in ready-made designs, but it’s hard (from a non-seamstress) point of view to see that originality sometimes. These new pieces, I hope, will really show the time and effort I’ve put into designing and creating. I’ve made a bigger distinction as well between pieces that are definitely sporty-looking (I’d really love to bring in some more circus/gymnastic-type customers) and those that make you look in the mirror and go “dayuumm I look sexy in this.”
I’m hoping to have all the pieces up on the website in the last week of March. It’s a bit difficult balancing sewing

It’s a bit difficult balancing sewing pieces and admin, being a one-woman-band, but I’ll definitely be releasing a couple photos to get people excited about what’s coming.

7- What are your future plans for Laqadaze? Where do you want to take the brand?

I’m not too strict about making rigid plans for the future. I find most of the great things that happen to the business (and myself) tend to come to me by accident or chance so I like to leave the direction relatively open to steer itself. If any business owners are reading this now, they’ll probably be thinking they’d want to come shake me and yell “THAT’S NOT HOW GOOD BUSINESS WORKS” in my face haha! It works for me though, obviously I’m not completely complacent (otherwise I’d never make any money) I know I want to do more events (maybe a little pop-up tour could be in the cards) get a bigger studio, employ people to help out, collaborate more and get to know more people in the industry. I just don’t want to force the business too much into something that might not suit it (my initial idea of the brand being more everyday-wear is a great example) I’ll take it where my experiences and opportunities lead it – for now.

Laqadaze-Product-315.jpg

8- Similarly, what are your pole aspirations, both long and short term?

At the moment, pole has taken a bit of a backseat. Time and money is a massive factor obviously and at the moment I don’t have much of either to spare as I’m so focused on improving the business and my personal life. I suppose at the minute my short term goal would be to get back into training again! I’m really motivated by music and dance, I practice ideas in my head a lot and I really want to consistently be exploring movement – musicality makes my heart melt. If I get the chance to be practicing weekly and creating some choreography, then I’d love to take up some opportunities to perform…maybe.

9- What items of clothing do you like making the most?

At the moment, I’m a fan of making my highwaisted shorts. When you have to make so much, it becomes manufacturing, so favourites tend to be focused around what’s the “least faff” haha. I tend to find the highwaisted shorts the most consistently easy to make. Sewing machines can be extremely temperamental and sometimes even one small thing that’s not quite right with it can mean half an hour of unpicking, rethreading, testing and re-sewing. It’s genuinely a relief when you power through a batch with no hiccups.

10- Finally, what advice do you have for anyone wanting to branch out and set up their own pole related business?

I definitely won’t claim to be any guru for business knowledge but I think first and foremost, you need to REALLY ask yourself whether you’re willing to commit to working more hours than most other employed jobs. It’s not just the practical hours spent, it’s the admin as well, answering emails, planning, taxes etc. Sometimes I go weeks without having a full day off – I might work up to 80hrs in one week. Consider having a business partner to share the burden, so it’s not all on you if you’re unable to work. It doesn’t get talked about too much I suppose, but, while financial stability isn’t a total necessity, it will make your life a hell of a lot easier if you have something to fall back on. Not to mention, a certain degree of mental stability and tenacity, I say that because you bear the burdens of the business and also deal with customers who might not always be happy and full of praise. You have to remember to keep professional and not take everything to heart – which is super hard when the business is your baby! RESEARCH YOUR MARKET! What can you bring that’s new/different/filling a gap in the market? I’ve heard businesses say they don’t pay attention to other brands but it won’t work in your favour in the long run. It’s tempting to see what’s already selling well and create the same or similar variations but being creative and original will keep your brand exciting and people invested in your products.

Lucci Laqadaze.jpg

*Top three photographs by Suzi Bird Photography. Final one of Luci in heels is by Andre Pattenden.