Friday, 15 July 2011

Winning the Euromillions (and my attempt to write something clever...)

I’m not usually one to play the lottery. I’m usually too fixed upon the thought of “it won’t happen to me, I’m happy with my life as it is”. I also usually (ok, all the time) forget to play the lottery. It just doesn’t bother me. However, whenever the media is going crazy reporting on the hundreds of millions of pound rollovers, I can’t help it but get drawn in on the mental world of playing the lottery.

As the world knows – unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past fortnight – recently, there was a Euromillions rollover of £161 million. Pure mentality! I decided to give it a go. I walked to the shop and put on a lucky dip. A dip that I was hoping to be lucky. I had my life planned out; where I was going to invest in property, who was getting their hands on my money, what charities I was going to help out, and what new clothes I wanted to put into the wardrobes in mentioned properties. The dip wasn’t lucky. But then again, neither was anyone else’s in the rest of Europe... It was another rollover.

So, my days came and passed and the media was buzzing with the news of the Euromillions. A single winning ticket would make you instantly richer than half of Hollywood’s royalty; they’d make a gazillion pounds a year with interest; and they’d be extremely happy.

It came to Euromillions day and my head was preoccupied with more important priorities. I was walking through the city and I glanced down at my watch... 7.25pm. Wait. Is it Euromillions day? What time is the cut off? Can I still play? I whip out my phone and start to Google... I had five minutes left to buy what could be the most important ticket of my life. I run into a newsagent and grab a pen. It had run out! My heart stopped. The Euromillions site on my phone said I had four minutes left. The man in the queue before me handed me a pen as more people hurried into the store to play the game. It seemed like the whole of Birmingham had forgot to put their lucky dip on. I put my numbers down. Three minutes to go. I run over to the counter where there was an old lady having issues with payment... My heart is pounding, my hands are sweating, and my phone is counting down. I get to the front of the queue as more people rush into the store to play tphe game. Two minutes... My ticket is printed just in the nick of time. I relax; I pay and get out the store. As I get out a taxi had just pulled up. My luck was in: it’s not every day I walk out a store a taxi has just pulled up. Surely luck was on my side... Tonight was my night to win my fortune.

I spend all night refreshing my phone waiting for the numbers to be published online.

I didn’t win the jackpot. However, I did win £2.90 with two matching numbers... Erm, great. I made a profit of 90p. Wow.

The next morning I find myself desperately thirsty. I look in my pocket and find my winnings. I felt a sense of achievement. All that hard work and panic the night before seemed like it paid off. I go and get my extra hot grande skinny vanilla latte and sit looking out the Starbucks window, waiting for a friend. Relaxation. Heaven.

So, when you find yourself with five minutes left to win millions of pounds, just think of the happiness £2.90 could bring you the next day in the form of a hot Italian beverage. It’s life’s simple things...

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Dirty Dancing First Ever National Tour (coming to the Birmingham Hippodrome Summer 2012)

The kind people at the Birmingham Hippodrome invited me along to an exclusive press launch for the first ever national tour of “Dirty Dancing” today. First of all, I’m not going to lie; I’ve never seen the movie or the stage show – I’ve been living under a rock...The event was held at Aston Villa Football Ground and included a tour of the ground, drinks reception, lunch, exclusive performances from cast members and a Q&A / photo session.

Upon arrival we were greeted nicely and offered drinks before being shown a stadium tour. The tour included seeing the conference rooms, the pitch and (my favourite part) seeing the home team’s dressing room. I was amazed by the rooms – who knew there were hidden safes behind the team’s shirts? (I’m gonna guess anyone who loves football already knew this...)

Checking out the Villa's dressing room... Click for a bigger version.

After bumping into same familiar faces from other Hippodrome events fellow blogger Alex and I made our way to the main event...

Sitting at one of the press tables, chit chat and socialising was at the top of the agenda - I need to get used to these events and remember that when someone asks “where are you from?” they don’t mean my area, they’re in fact asking me what newspaper, company, ticket agent or TV / radio station I’m from. Following on from a lovely lunch provided by the Hippodrome / Villa Ground, the event began.

Dirty Dancing preview... Click for a bigger version.

James Leece and Charlotte Gooch burst onto stage performing the “Mambo” number: a hot Latin sequence with lifts galore. Karl Sydow (producer of the production) then took to stage to give the audience a general talk about the film, the show and the new tour. Chris Holland and Shonagh Daly then gave us an amazing performance of the song “Do You Love Me?" before all five of the Dirty Dancers held an open question and answer session.

Some interesting questions from the crowd revealed that the tour will include all the famous scenes from the movie (including the water scene, the log scene and of course the infamous lift) and that the production will follow closely to that of the recently closed West End show. However, the original set has been slightly adapted for touring venues (like every other big West End tour). The cast also told some quirky anecdotes about the “lift” going wrong in performances. Who knows? Maybe you’re there the night when Baby’s family have to stop her from face-planting the stage. Before going, the cast gave an extraordinary performance of the famous song “Time of My Life”.

James Leece and Charlotte Gooch perform for the press... Click for a bigger version.

The Hippodrome also revealed today that Dirty Dancing will be the last production to be performed on the current stage. On the 12th August 2012 the theatre will close its doors to undergo a million pound redevelopment of the main stage: a deck that has been there for decades and has seen some of entertainment’s most famous faces perform on it.

After a photo call it was time to leave; my train was full of other audience members discussing how excited they are to see the show (most of them have booked tickets over a year in advance).

Recently closed at the Aldwych Theatre, Dirty Dancing opened in the West End in 2006, breaking all box office records with advance ticket sales of over £15 million, which made it the fastest-selling show in West End history. It has since played to over 1 million people, receiving nightly standing ovations and continuing to enthral and delight. The show is sure to sell out at the Hippodrome soon so booking early is advisable.

Dirty Dancing will appear at Birmingham Hippodrome from Wednesday 4 July to Saturday 25 August 2012.

Ticket Prices: £20-£55 (Concessions available)

Book online or telephone 844 338 5000.

For more information on the show visit

Friday, 8 July 2011

Birmingham Hippodrome Presents Six Summer Saturdays

“Six Summer Saturdays is back – bigger and better!” Well, that’s what the Hippodrome is saying in their press releases and after attending a fun filled Press Launch, I can verify that they are truly living up to their promises. Over the summer, the Birmingham Hippodrome is bringing outdoor theatre to the streets of the city from the 9th July to the 13th August. What’s best? It’s all for FREE!

The Six Summer Saturday’s allow the Hippodrome take theatre off the main stage and make live performances accessible to new audiences. Over an estimated 100,000 attended last year’s events.

Today we were given an exclusive preview of some of the events going on across the city... The Pressure Company gave us a preview of songs on some of the weirdest and unusual instruments ever to be played in Chamberlain Square, whilst inflatable lobsters caused havoc in Victoria Square stopping to pose for pictures with innocent passersby. (I also had a chance to try out an interactive game on the BBC’s Big Screen in Victoria Square; I don’t know who had more fun, me or the little kids...)

Make sure you keep an eye out all over the city for snowball fights, interactive games on the BBC’s Big Screen in Victoria Square, inflatable lobsters parading the streets, six foot paintings, aerial theatre and much much more!

There’s something for everyone over the summer, whether you’re looking to make a day out of it, or just happen to get caught up in the wild excitement as you pass through the city. I’ll be going through the city with interactive glasses capturing all the fun on film for the theatre.

More information on the events, performances, dates and times (and the locations) can be found on

Hippodrome Rocked Out By Brian May and the Cast of “We Will Rock You”

Theatre goers and Queen fans were united on Thursday at the Birmingham Hippodrome for the Press Night of the national tour of “We Will Rock You”. The title certainly fits the electrifying musical from the moment the auditorium is filled with smoke, strobe lights and the sound of the band striking up. The music (conducted by Jim Henson) rose deafening heights as the auditorium began to shake with the excitement of 26 of Queen’s hit songs. The popular songs fitted nicely with the storyline about two rebel outcasts in a technological future where real music has been replaced by auto tuned pop songs: it is there mission to save rock and bring back individuality to the Planet Mall and override the Killer Queen and the robotic GaGa kids.

The cast features a lot of well known faces: X Factor’s Rhydian, Hear’Say’s Noel Sullivan, Leon Lopez (Brookside), Jenny Douglas (BBC’s Over the Rainbow) and Ashley J Russell (BBC’s I’d Do Anything) supported by a high energy, slick, and good looking ensemble with dozens of West End credits between them, including the London and international casts of We Will Rock You. There’s not a sign of celebrity stunt casting in sight as each member of the company gives a solid five star performance.

The audience lapped up the vocals from the cast and the interval was full of “aren’t the vocals amazing?” comments. Tiffany Graves (as the Killer Queen) gave us riffs galore during her number “A Kind of Magic” whilst leading lady Amanda Coutts (as Scaramouche) sends shivers through the audience in her opening song “Somebody to Love”. Musical theatre people singing rock songs? Works a treat if you ask me, and just goes to show the versatility of these trained performers.

Full of modern references – characters called Britney Spears and Meat Loaf, numerous Facebook jokes, and cheeky digs at Simon Cowell and his X Factor empire – Ben Elton gives us a script that keeps the audience chuckling along nicely. Arlene Phillip’s original choreography is performed to perfection during the opening number “Radio GaGa” and is heightened by four LCD screens providing us the backdrop of a futuristic world.

The Press Night audience were even treated to a special performance from Queen band member Brian May, playing a exhilarating guitar solo in an encore of “Bohemian Rhapsody”.

Winner of the 2011 Olivier Audience Award, it is clear to see how the show has been selling out across the world since 2002. Even though this tour features a smaller scaled set from the original production it is still a visual feast and will continue to amaze audiences at the Birmingham Hippodrome for another five weeks. Get tickets now or you will be GaGa to miss it.

Visit the Birmingham Hippodrome site HERE for tickets.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

DKNY PR Girl Blog

Everyone's favourite New York PR twitterer recently launched a tumblr blog, for "when 140 characters isn't enough..."

Check out DKNY PR Girl's blog for all the chic gossip from Donna Karan and DKNY.

DKNY PR Girl's Blog

DKNY PR Girl's Twitter

Monday, 4 July 2011

Images Photography

This morning I went to get some new headshots taken by one of the Midlands tops photographers.

Images Photography have services for everyone, from weddings, to portraits, location shoots, family, gift packages etc.

Visit their website for more information:

Images Photography Website