Tiffany Beau’s Blog

Posted by Tiffany on Sep 26, 2010 | Subscribe
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Monday 27th January 2014

It’s Only Forever, Not Long At All…

I’m impressed, it’s only been two months since I last blogged! Happy New Year! A quick pat on the back…now get on with it.

The past two months have been busy busy and this is the first opportunity I’ve had to sit down, pretty much. A slight exaggeration (Moi?!)  but it really has been non stop. I’ve been working on two of the busiest and heaviest shows I’ve known since I moved to London, missed days off, Christmas, travelling and completing the project I am blogging to tell you about.

When my friend Candee Handful announced there would a Jim Henson themed Dr Sketchy’s in Birmingham it was the perfect excuse for me. I not only thought “I have to do this one” but “I could do THE dress.”

I have been getting together a re-creation of an outfit. THE outfit. The prettiest, most magical, perfect outfit of all time. From my favourite scene ever in a film.

Sarah’s dress from the masquerade ball in Labyrinth.

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Since it’s so huge, fabric not cheap and me, not an expert costume designer or maker, the most logical place to start was a wedding dress. An 80’s wedding dress. With a view to customising and converting it. I had a little look on ebay and was hopeful I’d be able to get something that would work. I also asked friends and family to keep an eye out.

“I’ve got an 80’s wedding dress.” My friend Vicky revealed when I asked my colleagues at work one day.

“Pardon?”

“I’ve got an 80’s wedding dress, you can have it if you like…”

What an unbelievable blessing.

Vicky brought the dress to work, and we tried it on…

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You can see by my face how excited we were! Not a bad place to start, not bad at all.

Pippa liked it too…

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The dress was a little small, and we set about making it fit. Another colleague, Caroline, was integral to this part of the process and practically did it for me, putting sections either side of the zip and helping me thread elastic around the neckline to make it sit snuggly across my bust and shoulders.

The next step was fabric. I was unsure what colours to go for, if you watch the scene, the dress looks very white, and indeed most of the other copies, wedding dresses, or cosplay outfits are white. But looking closer and at the photos from shoots that were taken at the time, the dress has a grey or silver ‘lustre’ to it. It looks textured and worked. But I still wanted that wonderful 80’s iridescent sheen that used to mesmerise me when I was little.

I was determined to get as closer a feel to the original as I could. I would have done anything for an audience with Jennifer Connolly herself, or the people who made the dress and headdress whilst I was putting this together! So many questions!

So whilst on an afternoon tea and cake meeting with my friend Louise in London, I dragged her to Berwick Street with me on the off chance we would find something. Borovick’s didn’t disappoint us. I found some lovely grey organza and the gentleman in the shop showed me some dazzling white, iridescent organza. The idea was to do a layer of the white, and overlay it with the grey, muting it, but still letting the shine through. Sold. It was perfect. 16 metres and £100 later…

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Wardrobe Deputy at the Lyttleton, and the Wardrobe mistress I toured with, Ruth, helped me start to construct the skirt for the dress.

Notice I’m saying ‘helped’ for every stage? By trade, I am a dresser and wardrobe assistant. I can sew, and have dressmaking experience. But that’s it. If someone can instruct me, I can do it. But my brain cannot ‘build’ outfits from scratch, I really wish it could. I’m also rubbish at maths. Dress making is all maths. Start me off and I can carry on, but faced with a huge task like this frock, and 16 metres of fabric, I freeze.

Ruth took me through how to build the skirt; I went home with a page of working out and cut and sewed the sections for the skirt.

Pan helped. Well I say ‘helped’…Pan hid ready to pounce whilst I measured the fabric and lay it out ready to cut. She would then run straight across it, taking it with her and skitting around the room with it stuck to her claws. Some help…

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Next I learnt to gather fabric, time consuming but worth it. A room full of dressers sat mesmerised at the shiny fabric being waved around, until show time came and it was time for a cue!

We then made some bias binding (a process I was familiar with after doing it with Saffron for my Moneybox corset a few years ago) that Ruth attached for me whilst I had a day off! I then finished it and attached it to the dress. What was frustrating at this point was that the dress lived at work, it had to, we don’t have space for it in the flat and there was no way I was dragging that dress backwards and forwards on the train and the bus, through London. No way. Too big, too heavy.

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One thing I could, and did complete at home was the necklace. It had been impossible to get the right one. And I did the leg work, ebay, the internet, the rag market, explaining to many Asian gentlemen what I was after, only for them to try to talk me into buying things that were completely inappropriate. They didn’t get it. Anyway it became very clear very quickly that I was going to have to make one. Having already taken myself to Beadworks in London, for beads for the bodice, (Nearly£40) and sourced a beautiful vintage brooch on ebay (£10 with a discount from the lovely seller) I was becoming very aware of what I had spent on this outfit already, the earrings had also been way over what I wanted to spend, I didn’t want to have to spend much more on beads. (In my defence, as I’ve said many times before, I don’t smoke, I don’t drink, I don’t take drugs, if my one addiction is massive costumes and sparkly things…who am I hurting? Anyway…)

Next I went to visit the font of all knowledge at the National. Costume propmaker, Reuben. He’s brilliant.

He encouraged me to “throw every bead you can at it” to make the necklace, and showed me a very easy technique to use. This one had to be ebay. I bought wire and got 300g of bargain beads, clear and yellow/orange to work with. I really enjoyed making it and loved the result.

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Pan enjoyed helping again too…

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Time was now beginning to run out and I was starting to panic. We had spent nearly three weeks getting the lower part of the dress together and I still had mutton sleeves, lower arm ‘gloves’ and the bodice to do, and I didn’t know how!

So now, I messaged Saff for help and Lucy stepped in. Lucy is a colleague and has proper training, the type that can make a pattern. So between Lucy’s skill and Saff’s instructions we managed to make a pattern for a mutton sleeve. Properly measured and worked out. Pencils, paper and cutting out and everything. It was like Blue Peter. I pinned them and cut them whilst on my break on a two show day and we were a little further along…

It was around this time I called on my hair and make up friend Fi to help me with hair extensions. Something I had no experience of, buying or wearing. But Jennifer Connolly had lots of hair when she played Sarah and the hair is such an important part of the look. Even though I have lots of hair, I still thought I should seek some extra to help me. It was the 80’s after all! Fi and I took a trip to Finsbury park for quality hair, it was something so unfamiliar to me. Fi’s experience shone through and I was the proud new owner of a couple of metres of 16” long real human hair that was a perfect match to the colour of my own.

So now it was ‘holiday’ time already. I had two full days to get this frock off the ground.

After arriving home at 1am, by 10am the next morning I was already sewing, with my new recruit. Mama Beau.

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We started to built the bodice, measuring and pinning, me in and out of the frock, I hand sewed it around the edge. My sewing machine has seen better days and it is increasingly unreliable. So hand sewing was now taking precedence.

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That night we went to the Panto in Birmingham. It was a great show and a welcome break from sewing! But again, early the next morning I was back to it whilst Mom went to work…

Sleeves were next, fiddly and unpredictable. I gathered the top of the sleeves and positioned them…I was proud of this bit, no one showed me, or helped me, I did it! Maybe all the instruction was paying off! The evening before the event was very stressful, the dress wasn’t finished, we still needed to finish the sleeves, make the ‘gloves’, bead the bodice, make the headdress, measure hair extensions and sew clips to them. I needed to set my hair, paint my nails, collect everything together, sort make up, and pack it.

We ploughed through it. Tempers fraying more than the organza at times (and that’s some fraying fabric!) Mom was sewing sleeves on backwards, and I was swearing at beads and invisible thread in the poor evening light. I was happy with the headdress in the end, though it didn’t find it’s way into any of the photos on the day, maybe I’ll fit one in here…

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I stopped sewing at midnight, showered, set my hair, and sewed the clips on to the extensions that Ma had measured earlier from a diagram that Fi had very kindly sent me. I painted my nails in bed and went very quickly to sleep.

The next morning felt a little calmer. I beaded a little more while Mom hemmed my sleeves. Then she was done and in the car…

The one thing I haven’t talked about so far is shoes. That dress is so big, you never see Jennifer Connolly’s feet in the film. Neither in any of the photo shoots. And I looked… so really then it doesn’t matter what you wear on your feet. I wouldn’t have blamed her if she’d have had her trainers on under there the amount of dancing she must have had to do. And then I found it;

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It’s not perfect, but it’s the only thing we have to go on. Jennifer Connolly wore silver character shoes/New Yorkers under her ball gown! I haven’t got any of those, so I wore my white satin Edwardian lady boots. And why not. As some people know they are a blog in their own right!

(And later…an even better one!)

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I arrived at the Victoria had hugs and kisses from J and Candee and then got down to the make up. I hadn’t had time to practice make up or hair, as I would’ve liked. But I did spend an awful lot of time researching and thinking about how I would do it. And it all came together really well. I took my rollers out, brushed, backcombed and sprayed. Even the extensions went in without a fight. I added the headdress, necklace and earrings.

There she was.

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So, after a lot of money, time, temper, work and aches and pains, the five year old inside finally got her wish, she was dressed as Sarah.

The reaction from everyone has been phenomenal. Both on the day and since on Facebook and other social media. This outfit really grabs imaginations. It means as much to other people as is does to me, and you really get out what you put in. You really can live your dreams, even if it is just a bit of Organza and a few beads.

 xxx

Tuesday 26th November 2013

“In a London Year”

Like “A New York Minute” get it?

I should re-name my blog “Tiff’s yearly update.” But life moves at a different pace now, and this year has just flown. Really. I feel like my feet haven’t touched the floor. (I also like to have lots to tell you when I do blog.)

New years resolution; make more time for Tiff.

It’s been a great year non-the-less, since performing in March I visited Paris with my family.

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My Brother Peter with Girlfriend Katie.

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My parents with ‘The Kiss’

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Me and Mona Lisa

I’ve seen Pink and Depeche Mode in concert.

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At Pink with Anna

Been on some Burly girl road trips and nights out.

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Hyde Park with Lou

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Off to Madam Jojo’s with Luna

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Night out with Lou

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Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

We welcomed a new heir to the throne. And a new heir to the Hodgson-Smith name…

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Off course I was at work!

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Little Eryn

I’ve dressed some fabulous and lovely people on some fabulous and lovely shows…

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With Anne-Marie

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Danny Kelly

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“Dear old Charlie”

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With Brigit in Plymouth

and most recently toured the country with the new Alan Bennett play ‘People.’

 

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It was during this tour that I devised, rehearsed and performed Tiffany Beau’s latest routine “The Swan.”

I’ve wanted to choreograph and perform a classic fan dance for a number of years now, the idea has been through many incarnations, and songs, but sometimes to have to give up control and just go with what opportunities come to you.

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Sally Rand, Fan Dancing Pioneer.

We spent three weeks at the newly refurbished Birmingham Rep with ‘People’. During this time I spotted an assortment of unattended props in a box in the dock of the theatre. Among them were a number of ostrich feather fans. In various states of use and repair. After a few enquiries to the resident stage manager and £20, I excitedly chose a pair to keep for practice fans. I enjoyed posing and playing with them in the big dressing room we were using as a wardrobe room covered in mirrors. The cast and crew would walk past and get very excited about the fans and ask questions about Tiff.

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Them, “You should perform for everybody one night on the tour.”

Me, “Ahem, yea sure…’

I was assigned to dress Brigit Forsyth. A wonderful actress who starred in the Likely Lads in the 70s.  She has been not only a friend but an inspiration to me during the time we worked together, something that I pray will continue.

Brigit plays the cello. Beautifully.

At the suggestion of the wigs mistress, Fi, we decided to get a piece together to perform. we settled on The swan from the Carnival of the Animals. A challenging piece for Brigit to perform and for me to dance to!

Then of course the demanding tour schedule took over (my confidence plummeted) and it looked doubtful that it would happen.  We managed to turn it around and I choreographed my routine in an afternoon in Milton Keynes. Coz what else is there to do, right?

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“Fan dancing is hard…”

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I was very nervous as I started to work out how to use the classical music, having researched my favourite Burlesque dancers fan dancing so beautifully and feeling very amateur in comparison.

I showed Brigit and Fi what I had put together that evening. Brigit cried. We made a few small changes and we had our first run through together. We all went in to that evenings show very excited.

More than one person in the cast stopped me in the corridors to comment on how happy and shiny I looked.

I set about getting a costume together (shopping with Fi, sewing in my breaks and flashing landlords through windows) and Brigit and I rehearsed together whenever we got the chance.

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Rehearsing in the Wardrobe room in Leeds…

By this time, it had been decided that the cast and crew of ‘people’ would put on a small cabaret show as the end of run party and we started looking for a venue and appealing for acts.

Danny Burns and Ieuan Rhys did an amazing job organising a wonderful night. (Even if the venue didn’t ‘do’ gluten free food. They did actually, Doritoes!)

With much encouragement from the cast I had decided to take (We’re in the) Moneybox along aswell to show that Tiff has a cheeky side too.

It was a really lovely evening, after being so nervous for the days running up to the show I felt surprisingly calm getting ready in the Ladies of the (Very nice) Western Quay bar on the waterfront. Fi was amazing, she spent her free time doing my hair and helping me getting dressed and keeping me supplied with prosecco! (*Burp*)

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I enjoyed the performances so much. Especially the live accompaniment provided by Brigit. I’d never performed with live music before, and its true that it adds a certain something you just don’t get with a recording (even if it is Jacqueline Du Pre!)

Unfortunately The Swan is so short there is very little in the way of film or photos. Which is sad. It was magical. Lovely Robin Bowerham did take a very short video…

Moneybox went with only small hitches and everyone seemed to really enjoy it. On my way back to my ‘dressing room’ I bumped straight in to a barman. Wearing only gold frilly knickers and piggy bank pasties. I think it made his year!

We all had a lovely dance and made very merry.

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With Ellie

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With Titch

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With Brigit

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Wardrobe Mistress Ruth

It felt good to get Tiff back on stage again.

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It sounds a bit cheesy but I learnt such a lot too. I learnt that there are 24 hours in a day and if I can get a new routine up and running whilst working 60 hour weeks, I can do it more ‘in real life’ in London. I learnt that Burlesque makes me happy, music calms me and creating something beautiful makes me feel…worth while…

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XXX

Tuesday 5th March 2013

“I’ll Be Your Clown…”

It seems like such a long time since Christmas. It came and went so quickly! So it’s onwards and upwards for the new year!

Lovely Suzie Sequin booked me for her Looking Glass show at the Island Bar in Birmingham back in November. The theme being ‘All the Fun of the Fair’ I knew it was the perfect opportunity to get an idea I had had more than two years ago off the ground.

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The inspiration for Beau Beau came from a mixture of sources. The main one being a photo shoot I did with Lichfield photographer Paul Jones. The costume had been put together for a circus themed show I did a long time ago, it was so nice I had to make more use of it. Paul and I came away with some quite dark and thought provoking images…

 

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It put me in mind of an evening at work on the Opera in 2005, I was dressing a lovely baritone called Jason Howard, who serenaded me with Frank Sinatra’s ‘Laura’ every time I walked in the dressing room!

Jason Howard

Jason Howard

“Looking through my new pictures. I was reminded of a wonderful moment at work a few years ago that I shared with an Opera singer I once dressed. We were doing Puccini’s Pagliacci, I had to go to the stage left wing with him at one point to help him with a jacket. The performer on stage – who I seem to remember – was called Dennis, started singing ‘Vesti La Giubba’ a very famous, beautiful and sad aria. The character, Pagliacci, who is a clown, has just found out that his wife is having an affair, but he still has to put his make-up on, hold it together and go out and make people laugh. I remember standing there, and as Dennis sang, Jason translated sections of the lyrics for me. I was inspired by the obvious passion he has for his art, the beauty of the lyrics and the fact that he was taking the time to pass it all on to me!

So, let’s do a Burlesque routine to an Opera Aria! Maybe even a ‘reverse strip’ for a sad, broken hearted clown who HAS to paint her face to hide the pain.”

I wrote that two and a half years ago, and Beau Beau has finally made her debut on a stage, all be it a small one. But she has marked a new adventure for me. As a lot of you will already know, my performance style is very bouncy, cheeky and smiley. I wanted to take a different direction with Beau Beau and call on my acting and storytelling skills a little more. To say I’m pleased with how she’s turned out is an understatement, and she can only get better with time.

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Beau-Beau in rehearsal.

The Looking Glass show itself was a pleasure to be a part of. Having put so much time and energy in to Beau-Beau, I think poor old ‘Lollipop’ got a bit neglected, and even though 50% of my finale casually floated from it’s anchor at the very beginning of the dance, it was great fun and went down really well. The audience were engaged and loud and there were even a few friends in the audience, which isn’t usual for me! There were some fantastic performances from a lovely bunch of people. I especially loved Jacques Bruxelles’ rendition of ‘Nellie the Elephant,’ Paige Turner’s Suffragette routine and Tallulah Blue’s Serpentine act.  I look forward to seeing and posting some new live photos!

So then all too soon it was time to pack the little yellow car up and head back to the big smoke. A bit of a wrench this time. It just felt too quick.

There’s lots in the pipeline for Tiff in 2013, including shoots with amazing photographers and a new sci-fi themed routine. Watch this sparkly space!

xxx

Saturday 22nd December 2012

Back with a bang! (or a pop!)

It has been a shameful, shameful amount of time since my last blog. *Hangs head* I am ashamed. But, onwards and upwards, I’ll fill you in now!

I’ve been very busy over the last year settling in to my new job and my new life in That London. It has been incredibly exciting meeting so many new people, dressing film stars and working on some very exciting shows. Things you only dream of…

With 'Dressee' Helen. The Last of the Haussmans.

With ‘Dressee’ Helen. The Last of the Haussmans.

I met my childhood (nay, life) idol. Nik Kerhsaw. Genius, ‘nuff said.

Looking tired and scruffy after a long day at work...I meet someone who has inspired me since childhood.

Looking tired and scruffy after a long day at work…I meet someone who has inspired me since childhood.

It was amazing to be in London over the Diamond jubilee and the Olympics, there was so much going on and London looked gorgeous. And the world saw!

With Mama and Papa Beau at the National Theatre's Jubilee BBQ

With Mama and Papa Beau at the National Theatre’s Jubilee BBQ

 

With my colleague Nikki on Waterloo Bridge.

With my colleague Nikki on Waterloo Bridge.

I stage managed four Dr Sketchy shows in Birmingham. its very important to me to come home and spend time with my Sketchy family a(and my actual family of course!) and be involved in such a great event.

It was all belly dancing and Turkish Delight at ‘Eastern Promise’…

With Parma Violet at Dr Sketchy's 'Eastern Promise.'

With Parma Violet at Dr Sketchy’s ‘Eastern Promise’

“Capow” and Cosplay at ‘Comic Book Capers.’

Tiff as Silk Sprectre.

Tiff as Silk Spectre. Photo by Candee Photography

Blooming lovely at a sticky spring do…

'Spring has Sprung"

‘Spring has Sprung’ Candee Photography.

And…I loved the Tim Burton theme, it was right up my street!

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I was a Mad Hatter for a day…

 

Steve Pledger and Suzie Sequin as Jack and Sally.

Steve Pledger and Suzie Sequin as Jack and Sally.

 

We have kisses...

We have kisses…

 

and sketches...

and sketches…

 

and cake.

and cake.
(Photos by Candee Piccies)

I’ve also spent my first year with a cat as a pet. Something I’ve always wanted, and thanks to my new housemates, this has become a reality. Im definitely getting a cat when I grow up! She is a constant source of comfort and merriment, this is Pan…

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Yawning.

 

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In her carrier.

 

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Plastic fetish. Asleep on a bin bag.

 

I’ve also had some lovely visits in London from friends and family…

With bestie Anna on My 31st Birthday.

With bestie Anna on My 31st Birthday.

 

With Burly Girls Roxi Kixx and Bettie Blush at Ed's Diner.

With Burly Girls Roxi Kixx and Bettie Blush at Ed’s Diner.

 

With Dan at Kettners.

With Dan at Kettners.

 

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With Amy at work.

 

With more burly girls at Green Park. Von Vamp and Luna Delovely.

With more burly girls at Green Park. Von Vamp and Luna Delovely.

 

A surprise visit from some Shearers, a Gare and a Shearer-Gare!

A surprise visit from some Shearers, a Gare and a Shearer-Gare!

 

With Nikki and Thea at The Fire Garden at The National.

With Nikki and Thea at The Fire Garden at The National.

 

With lovely Tom and Amy, Doctor's Dilemma meal, Covent Garden.

With lovely Tom and Amy, Doctor’s Dilemma meal, Covent Garden.

I went to see Darren Hayes. I swear he has a CCTV on me as inspiration for his work. He writes my life in his songs and sings them like an angel.

Darren Hayes concert, O2. September. I love him.

Darren Hayes concert, O2. September. I love him.

 

With Chris at Taboo, Brixton. What a couple of Freaks!

With Chris at Taboo, Brixton. What a couple of Freaks!

 

Lydia and Tansy, Trafalgar Square.

Lydia and Tansy, Trafalgar Square.

 

With Ric and Michael, Seven Dials.

With Ric and Michael, Seven Dials.

So, on to more recent things,. Back in September the beautiful Darkteaser contacted me and asked me to perform at her ‘Garter Lounge’ event.

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After not performing all year, and more, of course I was dubious. I now live in two places! My belongings are spread across the country! So a lot of forward planning is needed to make sure I have everything I need to rehearse. My London home has an added extra in the shape of my flatmate Jessica. Who was a professional ballet dancer for more than 10 years, we have fun shimmying and shaking every now and again, and I’m very grateful for her input with tweaking my choreography and adding to my storytelling.

Jessica

Jessica

It is a new thing to me to be rehearsing for a show and working at the same time. I know many many performers do this as a way of life, but I had always had the luxury of doing one or the other, just because that’s how it worked.  It s a bit of a juggle, but I’ll get there!

When the time came to ‘break up’ from work for Christmas, I found myself very much looking forward to getting back to Tiffany and being myself a bit more than I might have been in the past year. This is also why Dr Sketchy’s is so important to me. I feel I need and want to keep at least one foot in the Burly world every now and again.

I was very nervous for The Garter Lounge for obvious reasons. Im always nervous, but somehow the length of time in between performances seems to impact on my confidence.

July 2011 Photo by Martin Boston.

July 2011 Photo by Martin Boston.

The show itself was so much fun, there was quite a few of us on the bill and the dressing room (Yes, dressing room, mirrors and everything! Sounds odd, but a luxury for a burlesque show) soon filled up. Old friends and new.

Aurora Toxique, Doe Demure, Anna Lou, Tiff, Cherry Stone, Luli Blue, Snappy O'Shea, Darkteaser, Dave the Bear and MC Mister Meredith.

Aurora Toxique, Doe Demure, Anna Lou, Tiff, Cherry Stone, Luli Blue, Snappy O’Shea, Darkteaser, Dave the Bear and MC Mister Meredith.

Unfortunately I didn’t get to watch many of the acts on offer, nerves, costume needs etc…excuses excuses. But the audience made lots of noise, and seemed to really enjoy the variety on offer. There was belly dancing, fan dances, hoola hoops, classic strips, boylesque and my own cheeky cheesecake. My acts thankfully went very well. I think. I’ll let you know when I’ve watched the videos! I really enjoyed myself anyway. Tiff’s back!

And now…Christmas…

Merry Christmas everyone!

 

Monday 26th September 2011

“Don’t Dream It, Be it!”

It’s been stupid long since my last post. How time flies! I’ve had a wonderful summer, working, playing and spending time with friends. I’ve visited some cool out of this world places, like the planets ‘Maul’ and ‘Transsexual Transylvania’ and normal earth cities like Brighton and Birmingham!

My friend Richard and I in Brighton

Working!

The Planet ‘Maul’ is really a fictional post apocalyptical planet where the Queen musical ‘We Will Rock You’ is set! I spent six weeks over the summer working on my second run of this fabulous show! Yes, I got paid to listen to live Queen music, and got to meet rock god Brian May…again. The fact that that happened once in my life was amazing, but twice?!

Me and Brian!

Another very important occurrence over the summer is that I have a new ‘day’ job. I will very soon be moving to London and working at The National Theatre. This has happened very quickly, and has taken over my life for the past month or so! It’s going to be a massive step for me, moving out of home and leaving the place where I’ve spent my entire working life. I’m sure it’ll take some adjusting, but I’ve already had amazing support from friends up here, and down there. You all know who you are, thank you.

Back to reporting on Burlesque fun! This weekend saw the Dr Sketchy’s family back together and celebrating Rocky Horror style! It was my third time stage managing for Sketchy’s Queen Candee, and it ‘maid’ (Ha Ha Boom Boom!) me realise how much I’ve missed my burly family, and how much will miss them when I move.

Tiff and Parma

As I said we were in Rocky Horror mode, and loving it! Sketchy family member Parma Violet is an official UK Rocky Horror Fan Club rep, part time Columbia and lifelong fan. If there had been a program for this event she would have been listed under ‘Costume maker, supplier and Rocky Horror consultant.’ Being cast as Usherette/Magenta, I was receiving text messages from Parma saying things like; “Make sure you part your hair in the middle.” and “Red nails please!” Now I love Rocky Horror, but when Parma and performer Suzie Sequin got together, even to me, they sounded like they were talking a different language!

Our Columbias!

Parma’s pose for the day was Space Magenta, making for a great photo opportunity for us! She then slipped in to Columbia’s familiar pyjamas and Mickey Mouse ears! I started the event as The Usherette handing out popcorn from my tray, and then quick changed in to Maid Magenta to perform my stage management duties. This made me very happy, because when the show is performed, that is how it works. The same actress will play The Usherette and sing the two versions of ‘Science Fiction, Double Feature’ at the beginning and end of the show, and portray Magenta, the alien maid, in the middle!

Space Magenta

 

Maid and Space Magenta

 

Maid Magenta

Suzie Sequin was our sparkly Columbia for the day, and performed a fabulous tap dancing, show stopping, cheeky strip to the live version of ‘The Time Warp’ actually recorded in Birmingham thirteen years ago. Suzie has great facial expressions, and dance moves and really captures Little Nell’s essence throughout her routine. Suzie and I also posed together for our artists; we managed to keep still even though I got an attack of the hiccups!

Suzie Sequin as Columbia

Later Suzie and I not only got to ‘unwrap’ Steve ‘Rocky’ Pledger from his bandages, but also Time Warped on stage with our wonderful Narrator and ‘Commere’ Liberty Pink. I enjoyed the bit where she fell to my feet, caressed my leg and looked up my skirt, but that’s just me!

Liberty as always treated us to some lovely singing, getting soaked with a water pistol by our friend Crimson Skye as she sang ‘Over at The Frankenstein Place’ and soaking herself with the same water pistol as she sang ‘I’m Going Home’ creating a look reminiscent of the post pool scenes in the film.

Liberty as Frank and Steve as Rocky

We also had a fabulous medley of Rocky songs from Brian O’Bratwurst and his Rocky Horror Piano show. He belted the songs out, taking on each role (and key!) that came along! Very entertaining! His piano and lit candelabra made a real atmospheric addition to the stage!

Jacob as Riff Raff

As ever there was some great artwork created during the afternoon, and the winners all happily sported their prize feather boas as they left. So, again, we say thank you to the artists, performers, posers, techies, hosts and our leader Candee for another great Sketchy’s event. Never say “Goodbye” say “See you Soon.”

“And crawling on the planet’s face, some insects called the human race, lost in time and lost in space, and meaning…”

(Thanks to Candee for additional photos!)

 

Monday 20th June 2011

Breaking News!

Receiving the News!

So much for Tiff hanging her eyelashes up! There’s so much happening I thought I had to do a wee blog post to let you all know!

I’m currently down to the final 20 to become the ‘Face of Lady K’s. A Burlesque website that sells corsets and costumes, and holds events around the country. I’d be so excited to get down to the top 10 and attend the final event in Bedford! Voting starts very soon, so I’ll be blogging again to let you all know how to vote!

I’ve also been able to schedule a little sneaky performance on July 1st. At Darkteaser’s Showcase, at the Victoria in Coalville. It’s a bit of a treat because I didn’t think I’d be able to perform for a while, so this will be Tiff’s last outing until the autumn.  So I’ll be there with Darkteaser, Luli Blue, Kitty Liquor, Velvet von Black, my good Twitter chum Luna DeLovely, Lilly Laudanum and Dee Dee Dela Rouge. I’m really looking forward to it, should be great fun! Details can be found here:

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=155346791197307

I also received news this morning that I am in the running to be the face of Bow and Crossbones. A rockabilly jewellery company based near by in Birmingham. My entry photos, plus the other entrants can be seen at:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/retrophotouk/sets/72157626829779461/

Go have a look, and let them know what you think!

So meanwhile, I’ll be busy plotting and planning and building the empire! I’d love to add some photo shoots of my new routines to the planner, so I can really get them out there. They’re great costumes, and they need to be seen and enjoyed!

xxx

 

Sunday 5th June 2011

The Children of the Revolution…

So, after Kiss Kiss Bang Bang it was back to costuming, sewing knickers and sorting props.

Steve likes to help…

‘My Name is Steve and I love you.”

Before we knew it, it was time for another Dr. Sketchy’s! ‘Fantastical Creatures’ was a great theme too.

There were Unicorns…

‘You’re never gonna see no Unicorn…”

And birds of paradise…

Kitten Von Mew

And lovely fairies!

Parma Violet

Kitten Von Mew delighted us with her pretty ‘Bird of paradise act, and treated us to a couple of songs.  Parma Violet finally got to perform her ‘Fairy Godmother’ act, which has been in the pipeline for a while now, but was halted by illness earlier in the year, and I finally got to see Emerald Ace do her gorgeous, haunting ‘Jackalope’ act. Pure fantasy. Loved it. It was a lovely mix of acts; classy, funny, and beautiful. Liberty Pink did a beautiful job of Comereing, as always and there were some fabulous works of art created.

Emerald Ace’s ‘Jackalope’

My outfit for the day got a bit lost. I had planned to wear most of my ‘Black Fairy’ outfit that I had used for a shoot with Candee. But it just didn’t happen! I did however wear my fabulous Paper eyelashes! The event was very well attended, and Mama Beau herself even came along and brought some girls from her art class, to practice her life drawing and very much enjoyed her first Burly experience.  Which makes me happy!

Mama Beau and the Girls.

Then followed a great evening, which started with a meal with Parma (we were starving!) and ended with dancing back at The Victoria to celebrate Lisa ‘Cherry Bomb Photography’ Williams’ birthday. It’s a while since I’ve been dancing, but I enjoyed shaking it to ‘Pencil Full of Lead’ and laughing very much at Al Elvising his way through the night!

Saff and Al

Next was getting down to ‘Moneybox’ business! I hesitated a little to choreograph the routine, because when it all starts to come together I get really nervous that I might mess it up, and maybe it won’t be as good as it could be. But after some deliberation, I did some final research and got off my bum and just did it. And then endeavored to run through it at least once a day. Of course all of this is happening whilst we’re still trying to finish the costume and props! The huge coins I dance with at the start of ‘Moneybox’ were only made 24 hours before I debuted the act.

The idea for ‘Bohemia; An Evening of Entertainment’ was first told to me at work about 9 months ago. Some friends from work study Stage Management at BSA, and were staring to plan their 3rd year project. It was pitched to me as a major project that would take a blank space, and convert it in to a fabulous cabaret venue and would house a ‘Moulin Rouge’ style variety event. My friend Jordan Goff, the project manager asked me to perform at the event a few months back, and of course it was an excuse for me to get my new routine up and running. I knew ‘Moneybox’ would suit it perfectly.

I was amazed when I walked in to the old A E Harris building in the Jewelry Quarter. It was like an art installation. The students had built not only a stage, lighting rig, and auditorium with cabaret style tables, but also a lovely bar area, box office, and backstage ‘green room’. Beautifully styled with fabrics, birdcages and ribbons.

The Stage

 

The Bar

 

Jordan told me that the key word for the event was ‘Immersion.’ As soon as you walked through the huge heart-shaped doorway, and emerged from the glittering gold streamers, you were in another world. Completely transported.

For me it was a very different experience to your normal burlesque night. For a start it was 98% boys backstage! Only two of us on the first show to chat whilst applying make-up!  Another major difference was that was LOTS of room!  Almost too much, I found myself walking backwards and forwards trying to get ready with my stuff spread out all over the place! That’s another thing normal people need to know, Burlesque takes up ROOM! More room than you could ever imagine! Costumes, hats, fans, shoes and props are bigger than you think, multiply that by however many girls are performing, and you’re full! We had no problems on the space front this time though.

I seem to be learning to control my nerves a bit more. I’ve spoken before about the ‘frozen’ feeling get, where my muscles all lock and I’m scared to even move. That seems to have past and I’m far more chatty, and maneuverable, and myself before a performance these days.

My lovely friend Dr. Agamemnon When was compere-ing the evening, and surprised me with his loud, commanding voice and strong posture when he stepped out on stage.  So different from the quieter, gentler Simon I have come to know very well!

Tiff and Dr. When

First was a great fire act, that the audience really enjoyed, and they were followed by Steven Hades, magician. Then the only other Burly Girl Dahlia Duroe took to the stage with her hoola hooping. I’ve always wanted to be able to do that! Then a comedian took to the stage, best known for her appearance on Michael McIntyre’s comedy Roadshow, least known for her amiable backstage manner!

My slot was first up in the second act, a nice slot to have, you don’t have to follow anyone, it’s not too long to wait ‘til you’re on, and you get the punters fresh from the bar!

The performance went really well. I confused my choreography early on, but it went swimmingly from there. The audience was nice and loud, and that always boosts a burlesque dancers performance! I didn’t even notice that the chocolate coins I had concealed in my corset had melted rather badly in the heat.

“Chocolate coins, and a warm bra don’t mix do they?” You gotta love the Dr!

Then there was Dan Sands, a young comedian, who got a good reaction telling jokes about my pasties ‘nearly having his eye out’ the bloody cheek of it! And ‘Hansel and Gretal’, a three-piece ‘Lion Taming’ act that the audience simply loved, it sounded hilarious!

It was over so soon, I dropped in to see Parma and Lula on the way home, to show them the video and chat about how it had all gone…but we had another one to do the next day! It felt like the second day at a new school.

“Wait, you want me to do it again? Was it not good enough the first time?!”

I had a major hair malfunction the next morning, and had to abort at the last minute. Washing my hair, drying and setting it in sponge rollers again! Which thankfully worked very well! I’ve learnt I don’t have to spend as long in rollers as I thought!

Pre-show was much shorter at the second show, and we had a couple of different acts happening. Raven was doing a mind Reading act and the lovely Liberty Pink was MC-ing this show as the Dr. was unavailable. We had a lovely chat while we got ready catching up, because we hadn’t seen each other in an entire week! I was less nervous again, but more determined to get my performance spot on.

Liberty and Tiffany

Which I did, my prayer to the angel of dancing paid off!

The audience was quieter, as there were a few less of them, and it was earlier in the day after-all. Which can be disconcerting when you’re removing pieces of clothing, but you smile and get on with it!

Then, the post show comedown started. It was a great project to be involved in, a show that will never happen again; a one off.  My heartfelt congratulations go to Jordan and everybody who was involved in the show; they should all be very proud.

When I left, the get-out was already underway. Sad. A feeling we’re all too familiar with when a show you don’t want to leave starts getting ripped out and moved on.

Tiff might be forced to hang up her eyelashes for a little while now. Laura has to go back to work. She’ll be craving the burly glitter as ever, and she will be back sooner than you think!

XXX

Sunday 5th June 2011

“Burlesque is Hard!”

Wow has it been a busy few weeks! I’m looking forward to going back to work for a rest!

Since I last Blogged my feet haven’t touched the floor! Mainly because I was working on getting my new routine ‘(We’re in the) Moneybox’ ready for show in Birmingham, which I will come back to later!

I had been lucky enough to be invited to an old school friend’s 30th birthday party in Brum, Felix Silk has an incredibly glamorous job, and personality, and so threw a major do! There was food, and balloons, three bands, and an amazing show by my very good friends from ‘Kiss Kiss Bang Bang’ in Lichfield.

Stage Door Johnny did a great job MCing to a predominantly non-burly audience, and the girls did a great job. I was excited to see Carrie-Ann O’Dell perform for the first time, with her gorgeous feathers and amazing full size Martini glass! It was lovely to see Velma Von Bon Bon swatting bees in her gorgeous green flowery shoes, and Scarlet Daggers popping many scarlet balloons! And as ever Sherry Trifle was amazing in her fur coat (and no knickers!) and ‘Judderman’ was fabulous, and seemed to be even more glittery than ever! (If that’s possible!)

The Birthday Boy and Me!

 

Scarlet Daggers.

 

Carrie-Ann O’Dell

 

Sherry Trifle ‘Judders’

Stage Door Johnny even thought to bake Felix a cake, live on stage to Richard Harris’ ‘MacArthur Park’ (The cake being left out in the rain song!) Which of course ended in disaster, but a very entertaining one!

SDJ Bakes!

So, after the fun, it was all hands on deck to start getting Moneybox ready. Which I’ve been helped with by the fabulously talented Parma Violet, as ever.

Fellow performers will of course understand, but general Joe Public often has no idea how much work (and Money) go in to putting a routine like Moneybox together.

For instance, let’s look at my gold frilly knickers, as I’m sure you would all love to!

You can’t buy gold filly knickers, or at least not the type I wanted. I scoured the Internet, burlesque sites, eBay, and lingerie sites, nothing suitable. (I had previously bought a pair of bottle green frillies from a site, they arrived and were too small, surely when a size Large doesn’t fit a size 12 lady, there’s something wrong somewhere…anyway, they had to go back.) I then scoured eBay again and found some nice gold dance shorts. And then nearly fell off my chair when I realised how much lace I would need to make a pair of frilly knickers. I worked it out at 15 metres, but ended up using closer to 17. So, I searched again, this time for the right type of gold lace. As ever, MaCullock and Wallace came up with the goods. For a price of course! I was lucky that the lace I wanted was cut in price, but was still £1.70 a metre. 1.70 x 15 + P&P = more than £30 on gold lace.  Plus the knickers themselves, plus thread and ribbon…my gold filly knickers cost me more than £40. And I still had to make them.

And that’s just one garment!

I first had the idea for this routine when a friend told me (last August!) that Eliza Doolittle’s music very much suited my act. I love her anyway, so I started looking in to her music in more depth. As soon as I heard ‘Moneybox’ it put pictures in head of gold and green, and showgirls! I had also always very much like the idea of doing a proper ‘showgirl’ act, and was put in mind of the golden girls that appear dancing with Leo Bloom in the stage show of The Producers. (They’re different in the film sadly)

Lee Evans as Leo Bloom, and the Golden Girls.

I did some research and also came across the scene from the film ‘Gold Diggers’ where Ginger Rogers sings ‘We’re in the money.’ The main look for the costume is a cross between these two ideas.

Dancing Girls in ‘Gold Diggers of 1933’

Then of course you have the difficult job of designing the costume, props, head gear and pasties (I’m very lucky to have a lovely sponsor in Anna Hall from Tassels and Trinkets who designed and made my fascinator and pasties for me!). Making them, or ordering them, paying for them. Designing hair and make-up. Sourcing your music, getting it edited if that’s how you want it. Burning it on to disc. Choreographing your routine.  Learning and rehearsing your routine. Transporting everything you need to perform the routine, getting yourself to the venue. Getting yourself ready and finally…performing. All in all, Moneybox has been 11 months in the making…and it’s still not finished!

So, before I bore you all too much belly aching over the price of lace, back to the Burly social life!

Amazingly, just a week after Felix’s birthday do, it was time for KKBB proper! This time ‘Space Oddity’ was the theme. I decided I wanted to go as Rachael from Bladerunner. I love her look, and her character, and it didn’t seem like it would be too difficult to do. I managed to get a great black jacket on eBay for just over a tenner, and went about customising it! I made little black squares and triangles with square petrol coloured stones, and glue and tweezers. I got a headache after every ‘session’ but they looked cool, and my ‘floating’ necklace had everyone confused! The hair was easy enough, and I even kidnapped a friend’s daughter’s cuddly owl! Parma went as Jane Jetson, and Simon and Sally didn’t let the side down either!

Rachel and Jane (and Owly!)

 

Sally and Simon.

The show was great; Lady Wildflower amazed us with 3 acts. A gorgeous pink fan dance, a ‘Borg-lesque’ robot routine, and a sparkly dragon with Isis wings and firey silk fans. Lambchop Magoo provided us with the new catchphrase; “Burlesque is HARD!” and Scarlet Martini came all the way from Italy to cover us in Spaghetti! The best act of the night, for me, had nothing to do with burlesque at all. ‘Puppetual Motion’ really appealed to my ridiculous, childish sense of humour and had me in stitches! We couldn’t breath. Graham Thompson the Geordie monkey was my favourite!

Another great night at another KKBB!

XXX

Saturday 7th May 2011

Girls, Glitter and Broken Glass…

It’s been a good few days! I’ve received some pics from my Bluebell shoot with Phil Homer and his friends…

And also some from David Rann from a shoot I did in March…

And, I had a great time last night performing at Darkteaser’s Showcase in Coalville. I managed to keep the nerves more at bay this time, and actually have some fun before the show! Much of this, I think, has to do with the fact that I had travelled and performed there before. I’m such a scardey cat!

I could have done with doing more rehearsing; my muscles were (and still are) aching quite a bit from lack of use! My balance isn’t that good at the moment either!

Anyway, Lady Tiff need some little tweaks to get her ready, just some hand sewing on her jacket sleeves, some poppers on the ‘bib’ and ribbons on the bra to make it sturdier.  They do have to keep my girls on the coach after all! Even my Tiffany Diamond boxes needed some TLC this time, they are getting on a bit, at 14 months old!

So, hair and make-up done more than I have ever before I go to a gig, and after some Sat Nav issues, I left for Coalville. Once there I enjoyed a drink and a chat with Constance Peach, Daisy Stays and Bettie Wishes and her man in the bar, before we moved through to start getting ready. We were joined by Miss Von Vamp, Cherry Stone, Kitty Liquor, Riding the Valkyrie, our lovely hostess Darkteaser and our wonderful Commere (female equivalent of Compere, don’t you know!) The Wonderful D.

Who, by the way made the very complicated and difficult job of whipping the audience up, remembering everyone’s name and being generally wonderful look very very easy!

Tiff and The Wonderful D!

I was sad that I didn’t get to see any of the acts who were on before me, I was 5th on, but after not being ready on time the last time I did Lady Tiff I wanted to make sure I was ready in plenty of time. Which really just served to make me very hot and very nervous! But at least I was ready! The Wonderful D then launched in to a long ‘Smear Test’ anecdote just before introducing me! What are you trying to say D?!

Lady Tiff was very well received. Even though she dropped her hat! Bits that hadn’t gone so well last time, went better this time, so we’re heading in the right direction! I can’t wait to see some pics! The infamous boots also got their first outing, and they are much easier to dance in than my Diamonds shoes! I think they put the cherry on Lady Tiff’s cake!

I could then relax and watch ‘Riding the Valkyrie’ walking on glass, lying on glass, kneeling on glass, jumping on glass, and doing headstands on glass…like you do! There was also melon for everyone after a big yellow one was sliced in half with a sword on a girls’ tummy! Von Vamp and myself held each other for comfort! It was like car crash variety! Very Derren Bown, I loved it!

So then it was time to pack Lady Tiff away as best I could and get ready for Tiffany Diamonds. I was much more relaxed for act two, so I was able to watch some more acts. The very foxy Cherry Stone covered herself in green glitter from head to toe during her ‘Green Fairy’ act. Daisy Stays had us all in stitches with her Tribute to the Royal Wedding. Piss. Funny. Kitty Liquor showed us her slinky moves and Von Vamp treated us to a traditional fan dance. Unfortunately I had to miss both of Constance Peach’s routines, because I was on directly after her in each act. Von Vamp very kindly helped me into my Tiffany Boxes clad only in her pasties and knickers! Now there’s a photo I know a lot of you would like to see! Sadly the moment has gone! My second routine went really well, despite my little balance issues! Everyone always loves the glitter, confetti and…polystyrene, you can’t forget the polystyrene!

So again, I got to relax, and watch Riding the Valkyrie, this act was Dentist themed and there was real blood involved! I swiftly moved all of my white bits of costume and shoes! Bless him!

Darkteaser finished us off with her gorgeous brand of classic Burlesque. Lovely vintage music, graceful movement and the biggest fluffiest fans I’ve ever seen!  (“He’s so fluffy I’m gonna die!”) We had a lovely curtain call (which it may surprise you to know, that we don’t always get at the plethora of events that we perform at. But always at DT’s night!) and that was it, home time. But, of course, only after hugs and kisses from old friends and new!

Tiff and Von Vamp!

 

Kitty Liquor and Cherry Stone.

 

Me with Bettie Wishes and Luna Delovely!

 

Constance and Daisy.

I love the feeling I always get driving home from a gig. It’s always really quiet, I’m normally alone, there is no rush, the nerves are gone and bed beckons! Although I always find it more difficult to sleep after I’ve been on stage and end up doing stupid things like taking pictures of my Pyjamas!

Beau PJs!

 

Saturday 30th April 2011

“Young At Heart”

It’s been a whole month since my last blog. I’ve been so busy, I’ve had no time to keep you up to date with what’s going on in Tiff’s world! But you know I do like to write rather epic blogs!

The first part of April was taken up with creating my new routine ‘Lady Tiffany Beaufort-Smithe.” Who has been nearly a year in the making! I wanted to get her just right. And I couldn’t have done it without my lovely friend Parma Violet, who made some rather important elements of the costume! Namely the gorgeous Edwardian style skirt and jacket. So the first half of the month was spent choreographing, making, sewing and rehearsing ready for Lady Tiff’s debut in Lancaster on April 14th.

The Lancaster gig was an emotional one for me. It was the first time I had performed in my university town since my third year show back in 2002.  I slept little the night before I braved the M6. Long journeys always make me nervous. Never mind the taking your clothes off in public that usually follows them! My best friend Anna was my support for the gig and the emotional content of the visit. It wouldn’t have been the same without her. The gig itself was great, my routines got a really good reaction from the audience and the local football team seemed to enjoy my performances from behind the glass door! I met some lovely people, learnt that Lady Tiff takes longer to get in to than any of my other costumes , and was able to collect my new pasties and fascinator for my next new routine from my wonderful sponsor. Anna Hall of Tassels and Trinkets did a lovely job of designing and making my Money themed accessories!

After the gig Anna and I went on a trip down memory lane, through the centre of Lancaster. Yes, I did have a little blub, but it was a very strange moment. We recounted so many anecdotes and memories of friends, and the really fun times that we had while we were there.

After a good night’s sleep, we continued our nostalgia trail, and went to see our uni, and two of the houses where I had lived when I was a student. We have mixed memories, but found ourselves laughing as we looked up at the rooms where so much happened and remembered funny stuff that went on.

So then after depositing Anna at the train station, I drove home.

I then came down with a cold, and got a bit sad. I laid low for a week or so.

Meanwhile I was gathering fabric, beads, ribbon and lots of other materials for my next new routine “(We’re in the) Moneybox” which I was hoping to get up and running this week. Unfortunately, time has beaten me. But it will be ready for June!

So before I knew it, it was time for my 30th birthday. 30, I ask you! I had a lovely day, with lots of prezzys, messages and cards. Saff made me an AMAZING Tiffany box cake, which I LOVED! I was surrounded by friends and family for a lovely afternoon tea in our garden, the sun even came out for us too!

CAKE!

The day after my birthday was Royal Wedding Day. How amazing. I loved it. Flags, bunting and smiley faces everywhere. And wasn’t it all just gorgeous? So lovely to have the worlds eyes on us for something wonderful for a change. Good for them, and good for us! (I knew it wouldn’t rain.)

We marked the Royal Wedding with a party at my lovely friend Simon’s house. Well I say house. He lives in a lovely cottage, attached to a water mill, in 3 acres of land. Jealous much?

We had a lovely time with food, lots of laughing, and a band. I was so tired when we got home I couldn’t speak.

Anna and I at Simon’s lovely Mill.

We were up early again today because I had my first shoot of the month! I met the lovely Phil Homer when we did the Comic Relief shoot last month. Phil wanted to do some shots in a Bluebell wood close to where he lives. And I was lucky enough to be able to wear some beautiful crowns and headbands made by Crown and Glory for the shoot. They have a real flower fairy feel about them that I knew would really suit the location. We had a lovely afternoon shooting in the dappled sunlight of the woods. I felt like a mischievous woodland nymph! Anna was PA and reflector monitor for the day, we all had lots of fun (and Hayfever!)

Again, I deposited Anna on some public transport and went home for a take-away!

 

 

Me and the Bluebells.

Wednesday 30th March 2011

You Got A Friend In Me

We had such a lovely day at Dr Sketchy’s Toy Story on Saturday. As we always do at Dr. Sketchy’s! As my Dolly outfit was still hot from my shoot with Kezia, I thought it’d be cruel to leave her at home. So dolly Tiffany had another day out. MASSIVE hair included! It’s always so nice to have an excuse to wear a Vivien Holloway dress too. They always make you feel so glam.

So, as usual, I went to pick up Parma Violet on the way, Parma was posing as Jessie from Toy Story, and she’d lost one of her Jessie cuffs! We scanned the house, but nothing (it still hasn’t turned up!)  We arrived, greeted by our Sketchy family and had something to eat! Listening to Liberty Pink rehearsing brought some memories back for Parma and I, a few of the songs she performed were very theatrical, but the one with all the memories seemed to be “Doll on a Music box” from ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.’ We spent three months working on Chitty when it was at the Hippodrome (Gulp!) five years ago. Parma was pregnant at the time, and every show we would stand in the wing and watch Marissa Dunlop perform the song, and Lula would dance in Parma’s belly.  Fond memories.

Me talking to Lula backstage on Chitty.

The show started with Liberty Pink singing ‘You got a friend in me’ from Toy story. She looked so cute in her little red sparkly Cons and her hair in bunches, her poor dolly fell to bits while she was singing!

Cherryfox then posed as a Wonder Woman doll, and a prize went to the best box. (Now you’re making your own jokes up!)

Marnie Scarlett then treated us to a new routine. Her ‘Toy Soldier’ is an instant winner for me, not only because it’s performed to ‘Army Dreamers’ by Kate Bush, but also because the costume and movement are also stunning. I’m such a fan of Marnie, she looks and moves like no one else. Parma described her as “A walking work of art” and she really is. She distorts your perceptions and challenges your brain to see what she is creating. Fabulous.

Next up was Fanny Divine with her gorgeous ‘Jack in a Box’ act.  After emerging from her box (stop it!) her Jack is floppy and tentative at first, but then gains confidence, and winks and giggles her way to the end of the song. I was concentrating a little too much on filming the routine for Fanny, but loved what I saw.

Liberty Pink was then able to fulfil one of her lifelong dreams. She wore a Tutu on stage! She sang ‘Doll on a Music box’ and danced for the duration, beautifully. Morphing in to Natalie Portman’s Black Swan halfway through.

Parma was up next posing as Jessie to sounds of Doris Day, another winner was picked, and we were nearly done.

Well I say nearly! Liberty Pink finished with what can only been described as a fast paced dressing up performance marathon! She started quietly with ‘Two Little Boys” and crashed through pop, rap and show tunes, “Barbie Girl,” “Knights of the Round Table,” and “Rawhide” amongst them. Switching between costumes, and songs with – ahem effortless ease! You couldn’t see the joins Liberty! Very funny indeed!

Well dones go to all of the posers and performers, Candee and Jacob (you work so hard!) Fleur Du Mal who stage managed, Max and Steve – supportive partners to Marnie and Liberty respectively, and the lovely talented artistic audience.

We finished, changed, kissed our alternative family goodbye, and headed for the pub.

Parma: “Let’s get pissed!”

Tiffany: “Yea, I’m driving and you don’t drink! Partay ON!”

So, still with massive hair, and people staring at my frock hanging on a picture in the pub, we relaxed. But soon thought turned to food! Being the upmarket, poised people we are, we headed for the Mailbox. Pizza Express it is then! We were seated, and so was my dress, ending up with a chair to itself!

Our lovely friend Simon joined us. It was turning in to a great night, great food, great company, and great frocks!

After dinner, I did something that I honestly can say I thought I’d never do.

I went to see a Japanese spoof/slasher/cosplay film called “Mutant Girl Squad.” It was so out of character for me it was funny. Parma and I watched what was the most bizarre two hours of my life through parted fingers, but weirdly, maybe, enjoyed it a little?! I wish I could describe a little for you, but my grasp of the English – and Japanese – language just isn’t good enough!

After reflecting on the evening, and dropping my lovely friends home I headed home to bed, praying that my dreams would be head on cake, chainsaw out of ass, and octopus nurse free. (They were thank goodness!)

Sunday was lazy, but still had its’ surprises!

What a lovely surprise! Lisa Harper must have sketched me to warm up, and get her eye in, and what a warm up! How gorgeous! Drawing is the one thing I wish I could do. No, I really can’t.  I’m always in awe of the talent I see at Sketchy’s every time. I love to see the results that people achieve. To give them a subject, I think, is the closest I can get to creating anything like this.

For some more amazing talent, including Candee’s gorgeous photos, have a look here:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/candeehandful/5573940694/

Monday saw Tiff’s return to the photo studio. I had an evening shoot booked with Jann Wassell, a new photographer who contacted me wanting to expand her portfolio. Having never had My ‘Tiffany Diamonds’ act photographed in a studio, we thought it was about time!

Ariane is a great studio in Tamorth, really close to where I live! I’m learning so much with my new ventures! We had lots of sets, props and lights to play with!

We did some shots loosely based on the routine in a vintage turquoise dress, threw some glitter and confetti about and then ran the routine a couple of times, with some variations of costume and poses. I think we got some nice shots. I’ll share as soon as I receive!  But, never one to waste a good hair do I took this:

I spent yesterday with my gorgeous friend Parma Violet, having manicures, eating KFC’s (“Don’t judge us!”) and act developing. I really want to get Lady Tiffany up and running very soon, and aim to get her out of her massive hatbox at a charity event in Lancaster next month.

I better get on with it then! Until next time, keep sparkling!

xxx

Friday 25th March 2011

Click, Click, Click, Flash!

Another Tuesday, another shoot! Getting up early is never easy for me; I went in to show business for a reason!

The preparation for my ‘Dolly’ shoot with Kezia Rai was a little more emotional than I’d bargained for. Of course I did the usual, ironing of dresses, finding stockings, shoes and jewelry and packing them, planning hair and make up. But for this shoot, I had to call on some very old friends. And my love for Disney/Pixar films made this all the more difficult! I had to venture in to our loft, ‘When She Loved Me’ from Toy Story 2 ringing in me ears the whole time. I went to find my rag dolls that my Auntie made for me when I was little. Jemima (of course named after the doll on ‘Play School’) is quite a big round-faced rag doll, with long yellow wool hair. I cried when I found her. Little Sally was a little bit more elusive, and I finally found her in a box somewhere at the back. It really took me back as I brushed their hair and tidied their clothes to make them look presentable. I used to spend hours brushing and styling their hair and changing their clothes.

I wasn’t really sure what make up I was going to do; I sort of made it up, put my rollers in and went! Driving with rollers still in is definitely the way to go. You’re hair’s out of the way, and you’re not worried about it flopping, and it saves you having to get up insanely early! The drive to Leamington was easier than I expected, M42, M40, bosh, Leamington! Kezia met me at my car, so I didn’t scare the students on the way to the studio!

So once there, Kezia and I chatted about combinations of frocks, and stockings, bows and shoes. I finished my make up, (which had already started sliding!) removed my rollers and pinned my hair into big messy bunches.  Add some huge eyelashes, finish with a pink bow, and you have one cute dolly!

Kezia had set up a gorgeous little scene, with a patchwork quilt, pretty chair and loads of dolls and teddies. Jemima and Sally were introduced to their new friends, Get Well Bear, and Hello Kitty amongst others, and we got shooting.

We did some shots with the toys, some of me lying down surrounded by them looking like ET when he hides in the wardrobe, some dolly poses, some bubble shots and some sleepier, cuter photos.

We seemed to get a lot of shots in a very short amount of time! The shoot only took about two and a half hours, and we got some great photos!

Kezia is on a ND Art and Design course, her Final Major Project is Fetish. This shoot is based on anaclitism and pedophilia. Which basically means child’s play and dolls. Ahh, that’s making you look at the photos in a different light huh?!

I managed to ignore my KFC cravings left over from Saturday as I drove past two OPEN drive throughs!

So there I was minding my own business, enjoying a relaxing evening after our shoot, bit of surfing the Internet, and I see a casting call for a model in Birmingham the next day. So I sent a reply that simply said “Local, and free!” and I got a message back that said, “Grab your outfits, you’re hired!”

David Rann is a photographer, he also runs various workshops and teaches photography too.  He was after a model to take part in a two hour workshop, teaching some of his students some portrait and lighting techniques.

It was a little bit of a panic, hand washing dresses and searching for belts at 10pm, but it was a chance for me to be Laura for shoot, as opposed to being Tiffany all the time. As much as I love her, her hair and make-up take longer, and her clothes can be quite uncomfortable!

So, again, I got up reasonably early (for me remember!) I did hair and make-up, easier this time, and jumped in my little yellow car heading for sunny Brum. I got parked, in the end, and easily found Fotofilia.

I met David, and his lovely lady students, finished hair and make-up and we got shooting. It really was a learning curve for me, because for once, I didn’t have any big brightly coloured props, or costumes to hide behind. It was just me, in a simple plain black dress.

It was interesting shooting with four different photographers, separately, but together. You have to switch between their own personal styles, whilst being a little bit more patient with the students who are learning and perfecting new skills. We shot some very simple portrait shots, some on a black background, then some against a white wall. We then added a (fake) fur coat to my outfit, and ventured outside! It was such a lovely day, that it was pleasure to be shooting in the sun!

I love the Jewelry quarter; it’s a real up and coming area that has loads of old factory warehouse buildings contrasted with new build flats. The best of both worlds, and really nice for shoots. Just around the corner from David’s studio is old boarded up warehouse, complete with old flakey doors and faded signs. So, I did some posing in various doorways, and against an old wall, and holding on to a lamppost! It was great to watch the passers by stare to see what was going on, and who this girl was with four different photographers taking pictures of her at the same time! I’m not sure whether they were looking to see if they knew who it was, or to remember my face incase I’m on the next series of X Factor or something! (Not gonna happen by the way!) Either way, I find the attention very amusing!

I’m really looking forward to receiving some of the images, so I can share them with you!

So after a great shoot, I drove home in the sunshine for my lunch!

That evening I got a message from a lovely lady photographer wanting to do a shoot with me, it’s local, and a chance for me to actually get Tiffany Diamonds photographed after all this time!  So, that will be our brief, to capture the fun, faces and fluttering glitter that is Tiffany Diamonds, and some related outfits and ideas. Go Tiff! Really excited about this one!

To finish, things I’m looking forward to: Dr. Sketchy’s ‘Toy Story’ in Brum tomorrow, my ‘Tiffany Diamonds’ photo shoot, more costume making and act development, and who knows what else! More Blog action coming soon!

XXX

 

Sunday 20th March 2011

Tiffany, Trifles and Tiptop Photos!

Well, it’s been really busy since my last blog! I went back to work for a little bit, and my time has been filled with sewing, preparations, shoots and performances.

I had a bit of a rubbish start to the week when I had a performance cancelled.  A complete pain in the bum given that I had given up two shifts at work. Lesson learned, don’t do that again. But, it happens, rough with the smooth.

So, instead I decided to attend a Burly workshop that Sherry Trifle put on in Lichfield. When it’s only ten minutes away from your house, you already know where you’re going, and it’s a chance to do something you love, you really have no excuse! We had a great afternoon, strutting, shimmying, and learning how to take our clothes off! Oh and the cake, you can’t forget the cake! It was great to meet new people and have a right laugh covering a room in feathers!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I then spent a couple of days sewing Lady Tiffany’s HUGE hat for my new act. I’m loving it so far! I wanted to make it look like someone had piped icing on it, like a cake. So, I’ve sewn ruffles of white tulle around the brim, and made pink Liberty and pearl flowers to surround the crown, now I just have to add the feathers, and with the massive bow that will tie under my chin, I think it’s going to be a bit of a showstopper!

Never a dull moment in Tiff’s world. The next day I received THREE CD’s of images from my shoot with Graven Image. That’s a lot of images! I’m still going through them choosing which ones are best to use for Facebook, my Tiff page, the website, and modelling portfolio. I think the photos have marked a progression in my modelling, I’m really learning what looks good, how to craft outfits, hair and make up for shoots. It’s not as easy as it seems! I especially like the pink and white themed photos we did, not only because it’s Lady Tiffany’s colour scheme, but also, I normally go for dark outfits, thinking I’m too curvy for lighter colours, and they’re some of my favourite shots I’ve ever done! We also got some great old fashioned, and very sultry shots of me lying on a sheepskin rug. Bit sexy if you ask me!

Around this time, I was very lucky to be taken to see Ed Byrne, the comedian. It was a different experience for me, as I don’t usually go to see stand-up.  In fact this was only my second ever stand-up gig, and the first ‘professional’ one I’ve ever been to. The main thing that hit me was the lack of effort ‘outfit’ wise on the part of the blokes on stage. Jeans and a T-shirt does not a show make! Where were the feathers and glitter? Not even a nice hat to be seen! Having said all of that, they were very very funny and had us all in stitches. And that’s all that they aim for. I especially enjoyed Ed’s “I love pussy like a fat girl loves cake” T-shirt on a 13 year old objections! Very clever, and very funny!

At this point in the week, I did a little bit of rehearsing and preparing for the BCB show in Wolverhampton. And also took a very exciting booking for June! I can’t say too much at this point, but you lot might want to dust off your can-can skirts and filly knickers for the summer!

Next on the calendar was a massive group shoot at Tiptop Photography in Birmingham, to raise money for Comic Relief.  Debbie asked me to prep a version of my Balloon ‘Lolli’ Pop act, and bring one other outfit. As it was for Red Nose Day, I figured you can’t go wrong with red, and as I’m a Burly girl I also figured you can’t go wrong with a Vivien of Holloway frock! It was a great morning, full of photographers, models, cake and tea! Each of the models had an area to work in and the photographers all moved round in groups. It was a bit like speed dating, and Deb and Steve did a great job organising so many people! I spent the morning posing in a red nose, using the ever-fabulous Viv frock, and torturing myself with a gorgeous little white and red iced cupcake! (Which I did eventually eat!) I loved doing my balloon popping; I had so many photographers around me I felt like I was on a red carpet!

It was so great to meet so many new people, but above all, I felt proud to have been part of something (if only in a small way) that raised so much money for such a good cause.

The films that were shown on Comic Relief this year were harrowing.  Every body commented on it. For me, it was seeing Lenny Henry completely break down that broke me. Knowing that he’s been doing this work for more than 20 years, but it was the family that were being cared for by a 16 year old living in a slum, that he said was the worst he’s ever seen.

He bought them a house.

~

Then it was time to get in to performance mode again. Or should I say, the really stupid nervous mode? I hate being nervous. It makes me cold, and grumpy and simply not myself. After a brief de-tour I found The Varsity in Wolverhampton, and ‘moved in’! I was embarrassingly nervous, and didn’t fit through the door on the way to stage wearing my Tiffany Boxes! I made silly mistakes in my routines, that I’ve never made before, but they were the sort of small mistakes that no one would have known, but you still berate yourself for them. Tiff wasn’t really on it. But the audience seemed to enjoy my routines and made lots of noise!

I didn’t get to see much of the show this time, but I did get to watch Celeste Chiffon’s new ‘Blue Moon’ act, very sexy, and funny! My lovely friend WildVixen, who I not only share a Burly birthday with, but an actual birthday, raised everybody’s pulse rate, by performing her ever-foxy ‘Dirty Diana’ act. Much foxy-ness! Faith Le Vey headlined the night with a classic sultry number evoking feelings of old smoky bars and days gone by. Beautiful.

The less said about the after-show Car Park fiasco the better, but I’m so grateful to WildVixen for being there for me, thanks to her, I was able to drive home in own little yellow car! I craved KFC as I drove, I hadn’t had any tea, and to be honest was of the opinion that I deserved one. I saw a couple of drive throughs but didn’t see one open. Damn you Colonel! You missed a sale there!

I was happy to be home, and to be able to recoup for a couple of days!

Stay tuned for more coming soon! xxx

 

Saturday 26th February 2011

Tiffany Beau A Go-Go!

This week has been the busiest I have ever been since I became Tiffany Beau!

The week started with preparations for a shoot with the wonderful Graven Image. As it was the first ‘general’ shoot I’ve done, that is, not for a routine, or a particular outfit; I found it difficult to whittle the corsets, frilly knickers, shoes, hats, fascinators etc down to just a few. With the help of my good old Mom, I chose four complete sets of clothes to take with me, elements of which were interchangeable with each other. It’s the most I’ve ever taken to a shoot, and I think the choice fired the creativity!

On the morning of the shoot I set my hair in heated rollers and teased it in to Victory Rolls. A skill I have only recently honed, (thanks to the help of a lovely wigs and make-up man on a recent show at work!) and headed for Tip Top’s Photography studio in the Jewellery Quarter.

After a brief chat and a cup of tea with J and Sue, I got changed in to my first ensemble, and J got shooting! J and Sue were great; they made me feel really relaxed and had loads of ideas. I haven’t seen any of the results properly yet, but I think we’ve got some really nice images. We did some classic cheesecake shots with flowers and parasols, some more sultry boudoir shots with a mask and Fan and some with a darker showgirl type feel with my new huge Ostrich feather fans. All of which I’m sure will exceed my expectations. And all accomplished by me envisaging Johnny Depp dressed as a fireman!

I want to quickly thank Tip Top for letting me loose in their amazing studio! It’s a great place, there’s plenty of room, lovely furniture and lots of different props and costumes to play with! I loved it! I can’t wait to see what we’ve got!

It was difficult to go home and start rehearsing! I was only booked to perform at Volupte ten days before the show date, which is the quickest I’ve ever had to get ready for a show! And after quite a long break from performing for the busy work time at Christmas, it was nerve-wracking for me to bite the bullet and just do it. So after my shoot with J and Sue, I had to get straight in to performance mode.

Wednesday started with another set of Victory Rolls – I’m keen to practice my new skill! I was also incredibly nervous! Performing in London is a great privilege, just that fact seems to pile on the pressure, but not only that, the gorgeous Catherine D’Lish was billed to headline the evening.

Catherine is not only a beautiful international performer in her own right, but she also mentored and clothed Dita Von Tease. So yes, I was nervous. (Understatement of the decade!) Funnily enough, it wasn’t necessarily the performances that were bothering me  (although of course I get nervous) it was the mega journey down to London, meeting new people, a new place, travelling on the tube on my own that sort of thing. So in short, in my brain, getting on stage dressed as a present, then unwrapping myself is easy compared to getting on a train? Where’s the logic!?

My friends were amazing as ever and gave me lots of support as they always do (I couldn’t do it without you!) Another great comfort to me was that the lovely Roxanne Von Noir was performing too. As most of you will know I travelled down to London in October last year to perform at Roxanne’s own Burlesque night at The Cavendish Arms. (BRING BACK VVV!) So after being very nervous together on Facebook chat, I was really looking forward to seeing Roxy and her boyfriend Robin.

Tiff and Roxy!

The less said about my journey to London the better; it was rainy and dull, riddled with delays and rather stressful. But I made it to Volupte in the end, and that’s where the story really starts.

Volupte is a bit of a labyrinth backstage and it takes a few trips to get your bearings. But you feel right at home as soon as you walk down the stairs adorned with the signatures of every Burly great you could wish for. I spotted lots of names I knew, and a few I’ve been lucky enough to see perform, meet and work with.  And so the ritual of make-up application started. I really like this bit, because it’s while you’re doing this that you start to get to know the girls (and sometimes boys!) that you’re performing with and this was a really lovely bunch of people.

Lily L’Amour, Christian and Blue Belle.

I had a really good slot in the line-up just before the interval. But of course that meant that I had to wait a while! We were treated to a glass of wine, which if you know me; you’ll know I’m normally not that interested in! But on this particular occasion I thought it might be a good idea even though I’d had very little to eat, (a sandwich in the car in a traffic jam!) this was for medicinal purposes only you understand!

Hearing the show start on the little baby monitor that acted as a show relay was scary, but we all had a good sing as Roxanne Von Noir took to the stage with her new Little Mermaid act.

Unfortunately, I was unable to watch Sugar and Fags’ cabaret, Blue Belle and Lily L’Amour’s French maid act, or Aurora Galore’s Lady Gaga routine, as they were all on before me. But from what I heard they were all fab and went down a storm!

I don’t remember much about my first performance of Tiffany Diamonds! But that always seems to happen, I remember being very nervous obviously, and I remember the compare getting my name wrong! Even so, it went really well, and the audience seemed to enjoy it. I was then able to watch the rest of the show. Michal, a gorgeous girl from Israel did a beautiful pole dance that I realized later and told her, changed my ideas about pole dancing. Her routine wasn’t about stripping, or being over sexual, or getting tips. It was about showing her strength, grace and skill. Showing pole dancing as an art that stands on its’ own.

If you didn’t already know that this was Bettie Blush’s first performance, you wouldn’t have been able to tell. Her act was great, and her movements and facial expressions were gorgeous. And she had stripy legs to boot!

Leonie Soprano amazed us all with her beautiful voice that she mixed very cleverly with a bit of burly! Madam Butterfly and Carmen have never been so sexy and sparkly!

Roxanne Von Noir, Bettie Blush, Michal and Leonie Soprano.

Then there was the main event. Catherine D’Lish was simply beautiful. She oozed a kind of old world glamour that is so rare and so difficult to capture. Her costumes were beautiful and very cleverly constructed; she removed them with such ease and grace. We were all in awe. When I met her later backstage all I could say was; “Beautiful, just beautiful.”

We then had a little time to relax. It was a lovely surprise to meet the fabulous Lola Labelle and Tempest Rose, and therefore there maybe something Burlesque Idol-like in the not so distant future for Tiffany Beau! (Fingers crossed!) We were fed and most of the girls disappeared for cigarettes or drinks, whilst Michal and I had some much needed quiet time!

Blue, Tiff and Cecilia.

Before we knew it, it was time to go again, but not before I’d told Christian, the compare what my actual name was! This time I was able to watch Roxy’s act, which of course was just gorgeous. Dinglehopper and all. She had fins, and then she had legs! Then she had shells! Lovely Ariel!

I can honestly say I really enjoyed my second performance. I felt a lot more confident and in character, and noticed my friend Ed right in the front row! I think I threw more confetti and glitter around than I ever have and had a really good time! Then it was done and I could really relax, watch the second half of the show and catch up with Ed. So after thanks, hugs and kisses goodbye. Ed travelled with me on the tube to pass me on to Dan, who I was staying with. Dan lives ridiculously central in London, so it wasn’t far to go! We nattered ‘til late in to the night, well ‘til Dan past out and started shouting, “Mind the wet paint!” in his sleep!

The next day, after a nice lie-in and Dan waking me up by poking me in the face, (with his finger, he’s gay people!) we went for a lovely stroll in the sun over to the British Museum. We saw amongst other things, part of the sphinx’s beard; the Rosetta Stone and a gorgeous little exhibit of photographs. Old family photographs, with a handwritten notes underneath every one written by the person who had submitted it. I adore photographs, especially old ones. Snap shots of time in front of you, and a story to go with each one.

Dan and I in the sun outside the British Museum.

I treated Dan to lunch and cake for having me over to stay, and then all too soon it was time for me to head back to my little yellow car, which I’d abandoned at Stanmore the day before!

The journey back was so much more relaxed and a lot easier than the day before, still a few delays, but I was home for tea!

But, still, no time to relax! Whilst I was on London, Candee Handful, Parma Violet, and myself were putting plans together for our shoot at the Botanical Gardens in Birmingham. So it was time for me to get myself together for that. Last month Saffron (Parma Violet) was performing at Kiss Kiss Bang Bang Presents…Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf? and I was giving her a hand putting together a new Fairy Godmother act. I had been planning, buying and sewing a Black Fairy outfit for the event for months. To cut a long story (very) short we both became ill with a sickness, (and other things bug) that was doing the rounds. So we were both unable to use our fabulous new costumes. It made sense that we got them together and made a shoot out of them.

Saffron merged her burly life and her ‘Mommy’ life and organized it so that her daughter Lula and a couple her lil’ friends and their Mom’s, came to the Gardens too, so we were all in for a lovely day out!

Hair and make-up was early and a little rushed, but I was happy I didn’t have much stuff to take, there was only one costume and I didn’t have too far to go!! I texted Saff ‘I’m on my way.” as I always do, and got, “I’ve just fallen down the stairs.” back. Oh no!

Poor Parma was unable to take part in the shoot as a result; she had hurt her left arm, but insisted that Candee and I had our shoot. So we all trundled over to the Botanical Gardens.

(Isn’t that where Duran Duran did they’re first ever gig?)

Anyway, it’s always interesting slowly turning yourself in to an evil fairy, whilst families have tea and cake, and young children stare at you because you have black lips and really big hair! Candee helped me change in the toilets in the café, one of those giggly “What are we doing!?” moments! So there I was, wrapped in Candee’s coat that covered my corset and very short little Tutu, stripy legs sticking out of the bottom and my trainers! We made our way out of the café and in to the wilderness!

There are so many gorgeous little gazebos; ponds, nooks and crannies at the Botanical Gardens, that we were spoilt for choice and had so much fun finding settings for Evil Fairy Tiffany to play in!  As we got more and more in to it, Candee let me peek at some of the shots we’d got and I realized that I was living one of childhood dreams. I simply adore Fantasy Films; Labyrinth, Legend, The Dark Chrystal…and looking at those shots, they seemed to have a real mystical feel to them, I looked like I could be dancing through the woods like Princess Lily does before Darkness comes to spoil her fun.

We had such a laugh, Candee is so easy to work with and is so talented that it’s just a joy! She has photographed everyone in the Burly world, been published on the internet and various publications and magazines and I’m so excited to be joining her long list of subjects!

Back at the gardens, the occasional passer by had a good look (and sometimes an eyeful – ooops!) but everyone just seemed genuinely interested in what we were doing. A little girl even gave me a big smile and waved as I posed by one of the ponds.

Again, all too soon we were done.  We decided it would be a good idea to take Saff to A and E just to double check everything was ok; she was still in some pain with her arm. Lula was whisked away for tea with her friends, and Mommy and I tried to find where to park at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. It was a bit like being on the Kyrpton Factor! If we tried for one minute, we tried for twenty, if I did one three-point turn, I did five! What a nightmare! It’s a good job Saff wasn’t bleeding to death, but let’s face it some people who go there will be! Scary stuff. So Saff signed in (I was her in-case of emergency person!) went to the toilet and got called immediately. No, no, don’t get excited, the woman who had called her simply turned round and walked away. We didn’t see her again for at least half an hour. After an initial ‘chat’ we were told it would be an hour. We went for a cuppa and bought some sarnies and chocolate. (We needed it by then!) when we returned FOURTY minutes later (me still with slightly more make-up on than I was comfortable with, and my hair looking a lot like Kylie Minogue’s does in her ‘I Should Be So Lucky’ video – FINALLY, after all these years!) we were told that Saffron had been called three times and would have to register again. (!!!)  In the end we saw a lovely lady doctor who checked Saff’s arm and concluded that it was just soft tissue damage, and gave her some advice on how best to look after it over the next few days. All in all, we were there for about three and a half hours. We collected Lula, bought Pizza and went home to Lula’s new ‘Despicable Me’ DVD. Which was just what we both needed after such a strange day!

Me and Saff in A and E!

To summarize: This is the busiest Tiffany Beau has ever been, I travelled three hundred and thirty two miles in four days. I am loving dressing up and getting modeling experience. I get scared before gigs, but love them and love meeting new people, I enjoy throwing glitter around, and sunny days with friends in London. I am an evil fairy, who is at one with nature, and children. If a friend means enough to me, I will not only enter a hospital for them, I will enter a hospital with massive hair, wearing far too much make-up!

Mad Hair

Saturday 29th January 2011

Rococo Was Rockin’!

Yesterday marked Tiff’s return to the burly world after a busy work season, and her first ‘outing’ of 2011!  And what better way to mark both of those things, than with a good Sketchy’s sesh!

Even though I’ve been looking forward to it since before I went away for Panto, the day seemed to creep up really fast and took me rather unawares! I’d been planning my outfit for months, but the corset I wanted didn’t arrive. But thanks to my wonderful friend Saffron, I ended up with something much better! She actually managed to turn a white under bust corset into a patterned over bust corset, with ribboned straps! Don’t ask me, I don’t know how she did it, but she did. It was fabulous.

Big respect, blud!

We also decided on the way to the venue, to put my hair in rags. (I had visions of Sherrie Hewson as Palatine in ‘The Slipper and the Rose” – one of my favourite films, and jumped at the chance!) Another inspired idea from Saffron!  We stopped off at the Rag Market (Oh how I missed you over Christmas!) and bought many metres of ribbon, and Saff very kindly put them in for me.

So in a sprint to the tape, I threw my outfit on, including home made shoe clips, and started to get my head around the task in hand.

As stage manager it was my job to make sure everyone knows what’s happening, make sure the stage is set, and cleared of props/garments etc when needs be. I also time the poses, and sometimes let the sketchers know how much time they have left. (I’m not very good at it, my voice is only little!) The main task of the day however, was making my way around my new iphone, to time poses and take pictures. There was nothing that would make it match the outfit though!

The wonderful Liberty Pink was our host, and set the scene with a wonderful performance of Falco’s ‘Amadeus’, followed by a pose. The amazing Marnie Scarlet then treated us to her ‘Unforgiven’ fan dance. I love watching Marnie perform, she is so different from everyone else. Both in the way she looks, and the way she moves.  ‘Unforgiven’ is jerky and angry, not your average use of Ostrich feather fans!

The Queen of Dr. Sketchy’s Candee Handful, then posed beautifully in her full-length Rococo frock and mahoosive wig! Gorgeous.  We had a break and Candee let everyone eat cake (!) No really, we had sparkly fairy cakes!

The gorgeous Kitten Von Mew then gave a very cheeky performance, in a beautiful costume that included fairy lights in her wig and panniers, a long peacock tail ‘train’ and a strategically placed heart shaped hole in her bloomers! Very clever, and pretty.

This Sketchy’s gave me another first in my burly career. I got to pose! Liberty and I did a fabulous corset lacing tablot that was later named by the winning artist as “Lace me up bitch!” There were some truly fabulous sketches; it was so hard to pick a winner.

And so, after an impromptu ‘Prince Charming’ dance off, Liberty fulfilled a lifetime ambition and performed ‘Stand and Deliver’ and everyone joined in! I loved the New Romantic and New Wave music theme that Jacob and Candee had chosen for the day. It fitted so well, and it’s my kinda stuff!

After the show, I was also given a lovely gift. Some of you may have seen the fabulous drawing that Astro did of Tiff a few weeks ago. He was kind enough to bring it with him to give to me, he also presented Saff with a sketch he did at the last event we did in October. I (eventually) caught up with him to sign them for us on the stairs of the pub, so the rest of The Victoria got a flash of Tiffany’s undergarments!

So, after a quick change, saying goodbye to everybody and walking through Birmingham City Centre on a Saturday night with my hair in rags, it was home time! I dropped Saff off, said goodnight to Lula and Al, and went home for me tea!

Tiff ready for bed.

Sunday 16th January 2011

I Can’t Think Of A Better Way To Spend A Sunday Afternoon…

I simply have to blog about my lovely day. Today I went to the beautiful Netherstowe House in Lichfield, a hotel, restaurant and all round gorgeous little oasis not 10 minutes away from my house. The fabulous Sherry Trifle and Candee had planned a location shoot at the house and Candee very sweetly invited me along. I couldn’t resist the opportunity to have a very posh afternoon tea, and couldn’t believe the delights we were offered. It was also really nice to get back in touch with my burly family; I’ve missed it all so much!

Firstly, a lady with an umbrella met me at my car! (It was raining!) It was a lovely surprise! The house is beautifully restored and decorated, with original features, antique furniture and gorgeous vintage pieces; right down to the parasols and gloves lying a hall table. It makes you feel like the owners have just popped out for an evening walk and will be returning momentarily. A beautiful time warp, I would like to move in as soon as possible please!  The food and drink is also gorgeous, the staff very pleasant and there are real towels in the bathroom. What more could you ask for?

We were very lucky to be given a free run of the place and had great fun exploring its’ old staircases and many rooms. Including the old cellar, which has been transformed in to a vintage English bistro if that makes any sense! It’s very difficult to describe, but it has lots of atmosphere and so much to look at!  You can almost see an old man sitting in the corner wearing a battered cap, with an old roll-up  (that has long since gone out) stuck to his lip, nursing a glass of whisky. Lots of character. It would be really nice to see it all in the summer, I bet the gardens are lovely.

It was good to get a feel for Candee’s style too, as I’ll be having my own shoot with her myself in February.  She is obviously a very talented lady and I’m very excited to be collaborating with her! The atmosphere was very relaxed, and we all had a good laugh. I was very happy jumping in and out arranging things on the tables, and draping Sherry’s dresses so they looked as nice as possible. But Sherry is so naturally glamorous that she doesn’t need much help in that department! So I was really just a gatecrasher getting in the way, but I had a great time!

Today has made me even more eager to continue my burly ‘work’ (although it never really seems like work!) The people and scene are so lovely, and the product, be it a routine, a photo, a drawing, or even just an outfit is always so creative and beautiful. I find it all so inspiring, and love spending my time striving to get better and better at its’ many different facets. I have so much to learn, and can’t wait to learn it!

 

Tuesday 4th January 2011

‘Tis the season to be…well really bloody busy!

Hi guys! I know it’s been a long time, but I’ve been a busy girl!

Firstly I hope you all had a great Christmas and I hope 2011 holds all the sparkle you wish for!

I know it’s been quiet on the Tiffany Beau front, ‘tis the season when a wardrobe lady’s feet don’t touch the floor! I’ve been based in High Wycombe over Christmas and New Year working on Peter Pan at the Swan Theatre. I’ve been pastie deep in Crocodiles, Indians and Pirates for a month now. It’s hard work doing 12 shows a week, (and like being a Mother of 30) but great fun, and really rewarding when you see the kids in the audience having fun! We’ve only got 5 days left now and I’m really looking forward to getting home and back with my friends and family. That very much includes my Burly family!

I can’t wait to get my teeth in to some new routines, costumes and photo shoots. A few I’ve been planning for a while, and maybe some new ones!

It’ll all kick off when I get home and start work on my ‘Pretty in Pink’ Edwardian Lady act. The fabulous Parma Violet will be helping me bring Lady Tiffany Beaufort-Smyth to life, when I say helping, I mean I simply couldn’t do it without her amazing talents! The list includes (We’re in the) Moneybox, and Beau Beau the clown too.

I will also be Stage Manager, maid, stage kitten and general all round Poser at Dr. Sketchy’s ‘Rococo Rocks’ on January 29th, at the Victoria in Brum. So I’m busy planning my outfit and getting excited! It’ll be great to see Candee, Liberty Pink and Marnie Scarlet again, and get to meet Kitten Von Mew too!

Also coming up soon is more Kiss Kiss Bang Bang in Lichfield, where my fab burly girls Sherry Trifle and Parma Violet will be performing fairytale routines. Can’t wait! Outfit currently being planned in my head for that too!

I also have a photo-shoot planned with Candee, which I’m very excited about. She’s an amazing lady and has photographed EVERYONE in the burlesque world! I’m not sure what outfit or theme we’ll go for yet, but I’d love her to photograph one of my new acts!

Well, I must get back to Neverland! But not for long!

xxx

Sunday 17th October 2010

Not so Sketchy!

Yesterday was such a lovely day.

After getting up and saying the usual prayers to the hair and make-up angel. I got my stuff together, located a pair of long black gloves at the last minute (thanks Paul!) and made my way over to the Parma and Palooka household. I was met by a slightly flustered Parma Violet still throwing things in bags, and checking she had everything.

I was very glad Al was kind enough to give us a lift to Think Tank, as I really didn’t know where it was. But I do now! Fabulous for future reference!

The Sketchy group slowly came together, and was met by my lovely ex-colleague Andy Baker. We used to work in Front of House and Box Office together at the Hippodrome years ago. It’s always lovely to see him. We were shown to a boardroom with windows on two sides. Our dressing room.  As many of you performers, and even girls, will know. We need, lots of room, mirrors, plug sockets, mirrors next to plug sockets even better and a lil bit of privacy for sticking things to ourselves (or each other!) So many blinds were drawn, and a big display thing pulled in front of the glass doors!

We all set about applying make-up, back-combing hair and sticking afore mentioned things to ourselves! Whilst chatting it became apparent that my planned outfit was the same character as the act the Crimson Skye had planned.

Bum.

I should have checked. But when you think how many comic book and cosplay characters there are, it wasn’t actually very likely that we would choose the same costume. However, we did! Crimson was very gracious indeed (and I was able to help her do her hair, after-all I had created the needed style once already that day!) and as she was on first I was able to add my yellow dressy bit, to the rest of the outfit after Crimson had performed (brilliantly!) and posed. Thanks Crimson! I’m sorry!

Next was my lovely friend Parma Violet with an idea she has wanted to do for a long time.  A routine telling the story of a character very close to her heart, Dr Harleen Frances Quinzel and her alter ego, Harley Quinn.  Parma chose ‘Psycho’ by Imelda May as her song (also a character very close to her heart!) that suited the act really well. A very clever routine, I loved it.

At this point in my blog, I’d like to thank the lovely Liberty Pink. Who looked amazing as Jessica Rabbit, and is not only a fab Commere (the correct name for a female compere, or MC!) and performer, but also totally abused her authority and made me bend over from the hip to pick a pen up on stage in front of a full audience! Thanks for that Liberty! It was great fun, and I think the punters enjoyed it! At least I hope they did, I didn’t hear anything about a total eclipse on the news!

After Cherryfox had posed as Wonder Woman, and Parma also posed as Harley. The gorgeous Sherry Trifle performed her wonderful ‘Cheetara’ routine. I have been fortunate enough to see this routine before at Kiss Kiss Bang Bang in Lichfield, and really enjoyed it then, and this time it was even better! Sherry also posed and must have biceps of steel today, after holding her stick so high for so long! Simply the best Thundercat!

I loved meeting and working with the gorgeous Marnie Scarlet, I have been admiring her costumes and make-up in photos for a while now and was really excited to actually see her perform. We all loved her amazing emerald green ‘Poison Ivy’ costume, and flower shaped balloons filled with loads of green glitter! I swear the floor was an inch thick with it by the end of the show, and I have at least one balloon full in my bag! After Marnie had posed we were all done, Liberty invited everyone out for a bow, and we were joined by Candee the queen of Dr Sketchy’s Birmingham. Who looked after us all so well. Mwah Candee, thank you!

After the show Sherry alerted me to the fact that we had left her chair in the theatre. Thankfully it was all still unlocked. But it was pitch, pitch black in there! We found one light switch in the entrance bit, and I had visions of all sorts of alarms going off if I pressed it, but it was indeed a light switch, thankfully! Only for the entrance though, not the main auditorium! So, holding hands and WETTING ourselves laughing, we felt our way blindly through the dark to where we thought the chair was. Luckily it was where I’d last seen it and we grabbed it no problem. Now at least we know how Yvette Fielding feels!

So, sadly unable to attend the after-show party, we retreated to Parma’s house for a gorgeous pasta dinner cooked by Al, a very hyper Lula, and a bit of reflection on a fabulous day!

Friday 15th October 2010

Tiffany Beau ~ Boudoir Model!

Wow, what a busy few days! I went to work on Monday blissfully unaware that I would be running around shortly after buying fabric, thread and Velcro and bombing it to Parma Violet’s house so that we (she!) could put together a fab costume for me for Dr. Sketchy’s on Saturday! It’s gonna be cool!

Tuesday was a bit of a slobby day, washing and ironing clothes and packing for my two modeling expeditions over the next couple of days…

I was up reasonably early on Wednesday to finish packing and drive to the lovely Suzie Sequin’s house! There were the normal ‘White Van Man’ incidents on the motorways, but we all expect those don’t we? So, my car is little and yellow, and I can go faster than you. GET OVER IT. It also won’t grow any bigger, get over that too.

So! I arrived at Suzie’s and true to her word (something that’s become a novelty in my life recently!) there was much tea and cake!  Followed by a little hair and make-up, but that wasn’t as important as the tea, cake, lovely cats and chats about feathers, and glitter and all things burly! With The Rat Pack providing a fitting soundtrack! Fabulous. I really didn’t want to leave; it meant more of those road and motorway things and possibly more white vans, boooo!

After braving the quite scary, but beautiful ‘Snake’ road that runs between Manchester and Sheffield I was in Sheffland and awaiting my best mate’s return from work! We had curry (don’t mention the rice!) and ice cream and much chatting and breaking of Macs (BOB!) which apparently be fixed, so it’s ok! I was very brave and set my hair in foam rollers wet, and prayed that they would be dry by morning. Not the most comfortable way to spend a night, but if you wanna look good, it either hurts or you have to look stupid for ages. In this case, it’s both.

It took me a little while to get going yesterday, it’s lucky I had lots of time. I tried to keep my make-up fairly light (which can be hard when you’re used to slapping it on for stage!) and after quite a lot of brushing out and fiddling (it was dry!) I was very happy with what happened to my hair! You never really know when you put rollers in!

So after more driving, a bit more than I would have liked too (the photographer Anna gave me the wrong postcode!) I arrived in Parkgate, for my Boudoir shoot with Anna. Beautiful house, beautiful view, beautiful studio. And from what I saw beautiful photos too! Anna was great at directing me to get what she wanted. I’ve not been doing this very long, so it was great to be directed, and even shown ways to pose and look to make ‘things’ look as good as possible. It was really good fun!

Then more driving! I got stuck on the M6 this time too. A truly wonderful way to spend a Thursday evening! And so endeth my two days of being a jetsetting model! I have neglected to mention thus far, that throughout all of this (well, the past week) my bottom right wisdom tooth did not let up KILLING me, even with pain killers, salt water washes and only eating on one side of my mouth. But I was determined to keep my appointments and get on with it while I was away. But after four hours on the road, I arrived at home nearly in tears and gave up. The prescription the dentist gave me the other day was cashed in. It’s feeling a little better already.

So all in all, a very productive and worthwhile couple of days. Keep an eye out for the photos coming soon!

Sunday 8th October 2010

No Longer a Variety Virgin!

Phew! Tiff’s feet have not touched the floor these past few days. There were a couple of VERY full and busy days in the ‘day’ job. I then braved the scary journey down to Landan Taaan, to perform at the wonderful Roxanne Von Noir’s Vivacious Variety Virgins at the gorgeous Cavendish Arms in Stockwell. This was the first time I’ve ever driven in London, something I never thought I would do. But it was fabulous driving along the river next to the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben.

The journey down was problem free, which is always good when you look like a travelling circus with your little yellow car full of balloons! Sean the Sat Nav helped me every step of the way! Although driving is not my most favourite way of spending 3 hours, it was as easy as it could have been. And Tris the barman was very friendly and welcoming on my arrival. I met Roxi, and we went upstairs to the flat she shares with her boyfriend Robin (which is very conveniently above the pub!) to put our make up on and do our hair, with Ziggy Sawdust the hamster in the background. It was the most comfortable and warm I’ve been yet getting ready for show!

The Cavendish is a really lovely venue. A gorgeous lil pub with candles and leather sofas. Then you walk through a door, and suddenly you’re in a fabulous intimate theatre space that Sally Bowles would have loved! Just gorgeous. It made me very excited! It was clear from the outset that Roxi and Robin work very hard to make the show run smoothly and make sure that there’s a full room for their performers to play to. It was a fabulous audience too.

We had a great atmosphere backstage, Lolita, Roxanne and I in various states of undress whilst comedians, compares, and AMAZING music duo Lipstick and Denial milled around us relatively unfazed. Much laughter and banter was undertaken!

I spotted my friend Ed in the audience at the back of the room half way through my first routine, ‘Tiffany Diamonds.’ I didn’t know he was coming, and it was such a surprise to see him I nearly forgot my routine! It went really well, no slipping on glitter, or falling over my heels! I was then able to watch the other girls do their routines, which of course, were fabulous! Lolita did a sassy, sultry strip, and Roxanne gorged on Cherry Pie, and applied whipped cream!

Lollipop was going very well, until my right pastie balloon casually floated off and landed on the stage next to me. I thought at first that I’d popped it by mistake, but there was no confetti, I then checked that the pastie itself was still stuck on (the Burly girls’ nightmare!) thankfully it was. I always thought that this might happen so I just carried on and finished with one confettied pop instead of two! Then ran over to the escapee and popped that too! Bad balloon! Bad, bad balloon!

I then had chance to have a drink, catch up with Ed and mingle with new people before my friend Dan and his mate Mel, came to meet me. The drive back to Dan’s was peppered with drunk people, arguing, hair pulling couples, and a girl asleep at the wheel. I kid you not.

We went in search of food, but were unsuccessful. So we made do with orange squash and Dan’s cheesey balls. Sorry.

I finally went to sleep, and was up again at 8am to get up and drive home. A fleeting but very enjoyable visit. Thank you to everyone who made it so fabulous!

Thursday 30th September 2010

Just a Quickie!

Wow, what a busy week. As well as working full time, I have been scheduling more shoots and performances and I have been putting the finishing touches to my website. Which launches tomorrow! I’m very excited! I’m also happy to tell you that I’ll be performing at Roxanne Von Noir’s Vivacious Variety Virgins in Stockwell, London on the 7th October. Please come along if you can and support me and the other girls.

Sorry it’s a quickie tonight, I’m a tired Tiffany!

Loadsa Love. xXx

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Somethings gone weird with a link I posted the other day. It’s such a nice blog mention, I want to post it here instead! Boo Facebook, BOOOO!

Saturday 18th September –

I must say I had a fabulous time with Miss. Tiffany Beau and Miss. Cherry Stone I’d like to thank them for two fabulous performances, Tiffany’s Tiffany Box routine was comical and glamorous; it was a treat to watch. I was pleased that my balloon pop went so well, and Cherry topped off the night with her brand new Noir routine which couldn’t have been more perfect!
I’d also like to thank Celeste Chiffon for being a wonderful maid for the night! As ever she did a lovely job.

www.vonvamp.weebly.com/burly-blog.html

There we go!

Mwah!

Tx