Thursday, 11 February 2010

8 days in a week

Finally a moment to reflect after 8 long days on the Strictly tour. We started with 2 days at Wembley arena. A nice enough venue, although like most places we visit there are no dedicated wardrobe rooms or facilities. So hand-washing of the delicate costumes is done in a sink in the toilet and wardrobe take over a chorus dressing room for the duration. We had a fairly easy load in as most of the costumes had gone to Upstage theatrical dry cleaners. They expertly cleaned 65 items of heavily stoned costumes of all traces of fake tan and make up in a day and a half. Upstage have been dry cleaning theatrical costumes for decades, they really are the best.

So Wembley came and went rather quickly and we found ourselves at the O2. I like this venue for the backstage layout. We have a large room to spread out in and the house washing machine is huge. The only downside is lack of phone reception. There is one part of the corridor just outside the band's dressing room where i can get reception. I'm not sure what the musicians think of me lurking there constantly but as i am always on the phone to shoe, tights and haberdashery suppliers needs must.
A very busy 4 days was ahead of us at the O2. We loaded in on Thursday and did our first show there. On Friday i had another early start as 2 members of staff from DSI came in to do a days stoning. DSI are one of the companies that make most of our costumes. They are also the people i call for extra trimmings, bra cups and stones. Pretty much anything i need is just a phone call to DSI away. So Vicky and Ash spent a day bent over costumes applying stones where they had fallen off during previous shows. We do a lot of this work ourselves too but it is hard to keep on top of it and with the DVD shoot coming up we wanted to be extra sparkly.
Saturday was a 2 show day as normal but with the added filming of a sport relief segment. Tess Daly and a couple of dragons from the den came to dance with Natalie Lowe and Lilya Kopylova. I am not allowed to give the result away but i can say it was quite amusing. This was only supposed to lengthen the show by 10 minutes but television being what it is, it took rather longer. The audience were very patient though and entered into the spirit of things.

Then it was Sunday DVD day, we were sufficiently sparkly and the only person to have a costume malfunction was one of the singers so it all went well. Our costume designer Su Judd was in and said she was very happy with how things looked. As her opinion is the one i care about most i was very relieved. When all that was over we loaded out of the O2, showered at the venue and got on our sleeper buses to Nottingham. A very tired crew loaded into Nottingham for 2 days that went in a blur. Then we were back on the bus finally heading for a day off.

We did have another incident during this mayhem that turned me into the incredible hulk for a day. with a big company like this, practical jokes are inevitable. When they affect the costumes and cause more work for me and my team i don't see the funny side. During one show some mens shoes were filled with shaving foam and then later chocolate cake. I stormed into the quick change area and shouted my piece. Later on we received a very sincere apology from one of the celebrities, i am still waiting for the other one to be a man !!!

There are 4 sleeper buses to carry the crew so in the morning we staggered checking into the hotel. I was in my lovely room by 10.30 am . I love Glasgow and have spent much of my free time here exploring the vintage shops. Not sure if my suitcase will be closing on Sunday.