Please actually dance for Comic Relief!

16 02 2013

Flash dance

I have just watched the latest instalment in the 2013 Lets Dance for Comic Relief Instalment. I love the concept of this show. It is light and fluffy Dance contest in which contestants re-enact their favourite iconic dance routine for charity and viewers have the chance to vote for their favourite act. There is usually with a good mix of serious contenders balanced with a bit of light relief from the more humorous dance acts.

But tonight’s show has left me feeling frustrated.

I loved watching Robert Webb in 2009 perform the iconic dance from Flash Dance. His witty video log was fantastic; in it he described the turmoil experienced by a young woman forced into a career of dancing when her lifelong passion was for welding. He had a humorous and creative interpretation of a classic film. But when he came out onto the dance floor he managed to achieve something that many of the other comedians fail to do, he actually danced!

He may have been wearing a leotard and a curly black wig but his performance worked because he was more than a simple drag act. It was not the pantomime performance and ‘prating around’ favoured by other stand ups desperate for column inches who forget it is a dancing competition. It takes very little skill to put on a funny costume and wig and get a laugh but to combine it with a real effort to deliver something of substance demonstrates real talent.

I am not suggesting that Robert Webb be enrolled with the Royal Ballet but that his talent runs much deeper than the superficial efforts we have seen from some of his peers. Check out the links to his superb performance on youtube if you missed it the first time round. .

A note to all British comics: please if you do participate in this show, do not pass off the efforts of the costume and make up department as evidence of your skill – to impress the viewers you need to actually put in the ground work yourself. It will either be amusing because you put in 100% effort but still fail spectacularly (but as a comic this should not be a cause for alarm – you are used to being the cause of our laughter) or alternatively we will be surprised by your level of skill and commitment and applaud your efforts and the juxtaposition between our expectation and the standard of the performance.

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Support your local Food Bank

21 01 2013

FoodBankFollowing my blog about my tendency to waste too much food I remembered a documentary I watched some time ago about how the rising cost of food has become a real source if anxiety for some families.

There are an estimated 4million people in the UK in food poverty. For me the most shocking aspect of this is that many of the families affected have two working parents (albeit on low incomes) who simply cannot cope with the rising costs. It is the impact of the recession on normal families that I find the most distressing.

It is horrifying to think that while some of us are throwing away about half of the food we buy others are going hungry.

I decided that I wanted to do something about this by making a contribution. I looked online and found my nearest food bank run by an organisation called the Trussell Trust. They accept donations of the following non perishable food items:

UHT Milk


Cartons of fruit juice


Pasta Sauces

Tinned tomatoes



Instant mash potato


Tinned meat/fish

Tinned fruit


Biscuits and snacks

I believe this is a worthy cause. Many of us have had experiences of struggling to stretch our funds so they last till the end of the month. The gradual increase in food, gas and electric and other esential household bills could result in our inability to cope.

This has also inspired me to look into Charities over the coming months and consider small ways in which I can give something back to my local community. No one can predict the future and no one ever wants to be forced into a position where they must accept charity but while I hope to never need the support of such services I am grateful that they are there for those in need of short term help while they get back on their feet.

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