A Fabulous Grindstone

What a week it’s been, and it’s only going to get busier!  Work this past week has been like a box of Pic & Mix, crazy, fun, and each experience totally different!
It started with a bit of filming at home, featuring me and my “best friend”… our dog Polly!  It was an experimental film about celebrity dog owners, and the relationship that they have, so of course I jumped (Polly literally…) at the chance.  I though the fact that Polly is not only ridiculously untrained, but also clearly in a world of her own, would make for rather hilarious viewing.  In fact (and I’m sure just to show me up) she was as well behaved as can be, sitting, following, and generally obeying all orders perfectly.  Dogs hey!
Then it was off to the other side of town (London Bridge to be exact) to film a short interview about my dear and long time friend Michael Crawford. It was wonderful talking about my memories of all the projects we’ve worked on together, from the Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber tour where we flew around the world, his magic extravaganza EFX in Las Vegas, to the Wizard of Oz right here at the London Palladium.  All that from our first meeting teaching him to dance at his home in South London in the early 70’s!

I had a very nerve wracking day filming my first cinema campaign for the RNIB, that basically involved me, in extreme close up, wearing virtually no makeup! Eeek! Honestly it was one of the most terrifying things I have ever done, feeling so exposed and at my age… It all went great though, and I can’t wait for you to see it.

Over the weekend I had a wonderful lunch at the Delaunay to celebrate my CBE (again!) with all the people close to me I have to thank for my career.  The food was perfection, with everyone barely being able to walk out the door after three courses and petit fours! It was a real walk down memory lane, and really did make me well up at one point thinking about everything my family sacrificed so I could dance, to the many people who helped me along the way. It was however a truly joyous occasion, and something I know will last in my heart for a long time.

A&A

Me and my Alana at lunch!
Monday came around again, and it was back to the grindstone, although a fabulous and theatrical one! I got to talk all about my dear Andrew Lloyd Webber, and our experiences of Starlight Express for a special show being made about him, which I filmed at the Apollo Victoria, the very theatre Starlight opened in back in 1984.  I also did some filming over at We Will Rock you for the Time Out audience award at this year’s Oliviers, so if you haven’t already voted you can do so online! Continuing in the theatrical vein I also popped in to see my show Midnight Tango, with the divine Vincent and Flavia, and the enigmatic Russell Grant. It was as breathtaking as ever, and as always wonderful to see everyone.
AP & Russell Grant
With my darling Russell Grant
I went to a lovely gathering at the home of a very old friend, John Reid, and spent much of the evening in conversation with Michael Cashman, one of the founders of Stonewall.  It was so fascinating hearing all about how and why he set it up, and I was really touched by the story.
I had a wonderful breakfast at the Ivy club, hosted by my fabulous agency, for me and some of their other clients, including the Olympian Peter Wilson, who let me wear his gold medal! It was great  for everyone to meet up, swap numbers, gossip and experiences!  It was such a lovely morning, and I really felt part of the ROAR family, and I’m so excited to be working with them.  Another great meeting I had was afternoon tea at the Ivy Club with Katie Taylor, one of the heads of entertainment at the BBC. It was again non stop gossip, and much fun and cake was had by all.
Medal!
Olympic Double Trip Champion Peter Wilson, and medal!
A minor gripe next, but Apple you are in my bad books! I can’t even tell you how many times my computer has been in and out of “Apple Hospital” and each time it returns with a promise it’s all better, and lo and behold it’s sick again! Grrrrr
Finally, please do check out this very exciting dance announcement http://danceamatic.com/announcement-3/ where you can enter a very special competition for which I am one of the judges
Until next week then…
Love Arlene x

Up till Midnight Tango

Hello again all!
I left you last week with my return from Barbados and the sunshine (which I am fully pining for…) and the crazy week ahead of me.  It continued in the same vein with meetings galore in London, one with the very fabulous Russell Grant, who is becoming a permanent fixture in my life these days – and who is about to appear in the amazing new production of Midnight Tango with Vincent and Flavia, providing his sprained ankle heals up quick! http://www.midnighttango.co.uk/?gclid=CL-VpPOnjbUCFfHJtAodExMAfg
 A weekend is never a proper “weekend” as there’s always something to do, and last Saturday was my appearance on Gaby Roslin’s Saturday Show, on Radio 1. It was lovely to spend the morning gossiping away, and seeing as I was in town anyway, it would definitely have been rude not to hit the shops for a bit afterwards! A relaxing afternoon and then Sunday followed, and before I knew it, it was Monday and the start of my ‘Workshop Week”.
Although I can’t say anything at the moment, I’m working on a very exciting new musical project, and I spent all of last week surrounded by the most wonderful and creative people, all bouncing ideas off each other, dancing and singing, and generally having a wonderful time.  I feel so lucky to be able to say how much I love what I do, and sometimes it’s easy to loose sight of that when you’re tired or having a bad day, and it’s week’s like this that really remind me how fortunate I am to have a career that I love so much.
Although I was busy dancing around all day every day this week, I managed to fit in a few extra things as well. Meetings with Producer Supreme David Ian, lunch with my Barbados cohort Nigel Wright, and then my dear friend Louanne arrived from Fabulous Las Vegas to stay for the night while she was working here. We stayed up chatting long and late, as its not often we get to see each other, and then before I knew it she was off to travel round Europe on the next leg of her work trip. I know I’ve mentioned her many times before, but incase you’ve forgotten, Louanne and I go way back many years, having worked together on a huge range of productions in the US and Germany, and I consider her to be one of my nearest and dearest.
Friday was a crazy dash from the end of the workshop to Channel 5 news, where I was talking about being an ‘older mum’. Having had my girls at 36 and 47 which was quite rare 20 odd years ago, new statistics show that almost half of new mothers are now aged 30+.  What you do think about this? I’d love to hear your views, so tweet me @arlenephillips, or leave a comment on the blog!
A couple of things to keep a look out for are articles I’ve written for the Observer, and Good Housekeeping magazine, both of which I shall keep you up to date with when they’re published…
So it’s a busy few days catch up in the office with Coco this week, who I’m glad to say is feeling much better after her awful bout of norovirus last week, which left her in bed, and Alana in the office fielding calls and emails, whilst running between her makeup jobs, and Abi dealing with all my online enquiries – it was hectic to say the least! Coco what would I do without you…
I’m off to a very exclusive and currently top secret party this year, and all wil be revealed next week about that and what else I get up to this week, so make sure you check in…
Until then
Much love, Arlene x

Short and Sweet and Searching for Summer

So another couple of weeks have flown past, and what have I been up to? Well here it is. I have been Mrs Domestic, tidying, cleaning, sorting and giving. Yes, many clothes are now with friends and charities. As for work well here is some of it.

I did an article for the Times Body and Soul as part of my BUPA campaign I’m working on to highlight Alzheimer’s and Dementia, and I’d love to hear your thoughts if you’ve read it. Here’s another piece I did in the Express, it has some helpful points on how to cope with Dementia.

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I’ve been meeting up with my fabulous new friend Russell Grant on a regular basis, no, we’re not baking, but we’re certainly cooking up something and it’s going to be big!  

Part of the reason I realised the weeks have flown by is that I was mainly stuck to the sofa, glued to the fabulous Louis Smith and co for the breathtaking Olympic gymnastics.  I didn’t want to miss a second so there I was, glued to the TV, screaming and shouting at the stunning performances before me.  What surprised me  most was how much I got into so many other event i wouldn’t usually have looked twice at thanks to the incredible efforts of Team GB, drawing me in with their passion and determination to go for gold.  And gold it was!  As for the Olympic Ceremonies, the opening was an epic performance piece, with several very moving elements to it, and I thoroughly Loved it.  The closing however, all I will say is that it was a bit like marmite… However I adored the spectacular lighting created by my good friend Patrick Woodroffe, the calmest man I know when faced with huge challenges.  Speaking of ceremonies, I had lunch the other day with my dearest friend Julie Brooks who was visiting from Australia and we reminisced about the time we worked together on the Commonwealth Games in Manchester in 2002.  Now that was a ceremony, and a story for another time…

This week I have been raving about Aveda.  I was very kindly sent a beautiful bag of goodies, some heavenly smelling shampoos and face products, and I have been glowing from top to toe.  Click on the link to see their gorgeous things here… http://www.aveda.co.uk/

One thing I am most definitely not raving about, and am in fact fuming about, is the uselessness of Addison Lee. And more so, their failure to accept their uselessness!  They have epically let down me, both my daughters and a few friends, and let me tell you, we are not impressed.  Ok rant over *deep breath out*

On a happier note, I managed to fit in a couple of trips to see family in Cheshire and Leeds, and as soon I feel myself leaving london and heading for the north, I breathe a sigh of relief, and my manchester tones start to creep back in, that my daughters find most amusing on my return home.

One thing I would love you all to do is join me and @savechildrenuk in the #raceagainsthunger. Let’s make sure #london2012 leaves a legacy, so PLEASE SIGN THIS PETITION http://bit.ly/SGqUZ7

Big kiss and farewell for now.

Arlene

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