Monday, December 31, 2007

End of 2007, start of 2008

what can I say?????????

all of 2007 I have been working on a boat on the Nile as a bellydancer in Cairo. My dreams have come true!!!!

but then -no one is ever happy to stay where they are.... so of course I have yet more dreams and hopes for 2008- but they all involve me staying on here in Cairo-

so this '6 month' trip to Cairo- which will be 2 years after only 2 more months.. will extend yet again. Apologies to those of you in Scotland who miss me and were hoping to have me back soon- but thank you all for the support and encouragement you have given me which does really help!!!!!

Christmas was unusual! My first in Cairo and it was wonderful to have Clair, Cathrine and Michele here to stay and help me celebrate it! We had a long lie, and then opened pressies on the balcony in the sunshine. Then , after a quick stop in a the costume shop to order a couple of cossies, we had a felucca ride on the Nile at sunset with a couple of gin and tonics, a water edge cafe next for some sheesha and cuppa and then onto a friends house for the whole turkey dinner thing. A wonderful day.

The hardest thing about christmas here was missing my family. It was my 1st ever christmas away from them ever.... and I cried when my young cousin (5 years old) called me in tears to say she REALLY really missed me and wanted to dance with me!!!!!!!!!!!! and although I had her, and me, giggling by the end of the call, I would have prefered a cuddle! Ah well........ the price you pay for something you really want has got to be high I guess......

The weird thing about Christmas here was having to remind myself all day that it actually was christmas- I forced the girls to wear tinsel around their necks all afternoon to help remind me.... and we decorated the felucca beautifully! (photos to follow once Michele has downloaded them!!!!) Lovely having my friends here with me!!!

Talking about friends- I have one who moved to USA to follow his dreams too and now find he has even quoted me in his Blog!!!! check it out (esp if you are interested in writing and/or psychology!!!)

So Hogmany tonight and I will be dancing on the Nile Pharoah from 10.30pm- 1.30am..... so seeing in the New Year the way I hope it continues- ie with lots of work and dancing on the Nile. Its been a long year with lots of ups and downs......... but I feel things are really beginning to work out now.... so I am happy with that.

I hope your dreams come true in 2008 too............ and if you dont really know what your dreams are- then THINK ABOUT IT- how can they come true otherwise!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Audience reactions....

well- I have been working a lot the last week or so... and the audiences have been vey mixed. Lots of tourists, esp Americans and Japanese for some reason, plus some Arabs and the rest Egyptians, more or less...

a crowd is a funny thing..........

1) sometimes they are behind you before you even start- they just want a party (I love those nights, they are such fun!!!!!!!!). Weddings are often like this.

2) Sometimes they need warmed up but are with you at the end (thats when you feel you have really made a difference and those nights I feel most proud of myself and my dancing!)

3) and sometimes they are determined to pretend you don't exist (those of course are the nights that make you question the whole point of living never mind questioning your own dancing ability!!!!!). These are usually nights with lots of Arabs in the audience and business men who are out to impress collegues from abroad etc etc so dont want to be seen as frivilous!

Thankfully these nights seem to be more and more the 1 and 2 rather than 3 type of nights!

In fact- one night (a number 1 night), a had 2 tables full of Egyptians actually chanting my name 'Lorna Lorna Lorna' while I was dancing!!!!!!!!!!! their idea- not mine! I tell you- I was so suprised and chuffed I nearly tripped over my feet!

tonight I had a number 2 type of night- but I got some kids up to dance with me and won over those who were refusing to be won by my dance alone......... those kids were amazing! I love it.... really love it. I felt however my dancing wasn't what it could be or should have been- but maybe I am getting used to things too much cos my dresser peeked out for part of my opening dance and said she was blown away- that that was the best she had seen me dance! I suspect I am just my own worst critic!!!

last night was a number 3. well- I thought it was.... there was just no reaction from the crowd at all....I thought I had really flopped, but then at the end I got so many complainments from staff and customers and my band that I figured maybe I had just guaged it wrongly and that it was my mood that was low rather than their response.

oh- and the night before that was another chanting my name night (except this time i was already in the changing room and they were hoping for me to come out to dance again- THAT was very rewarding!- for me- not for them , since the boat had docked so I couldn't give them what they wanted!)

So each night i perform on the boat there are so so soooooooo many factors involved, as to whether it will be a good night or not. My mood, my health, the band (in fact each individual member of the band) whether I have my fanoon or not (the dancing boys for the Saaidi number),my dresser, my boy, the mood of the staff and mangement of the place (all those play their own part) and most importantly - the guests............... and of them all- if the audience is responsive.... then it can lift any bad mood any of the rest of us have and really make for a good night.

the moral of the story- If you are in an audience...............for anything- not just bellydance, let the performers know you are enjoying the show- they will enjoy doing it more and you in turn as a member of the audience will enjoy it more too!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

To be honest- I only dance for 2 things......... 'me' and for 'the applause'..........
(the money isn't worth talking about- so it sure as heck isn't for THAT!!!!!!!!)

Monday, December 17, 2007

Dancing through the festive season - Eid Mabrook!

well ... I am dancing through Eid (tomorrow) and through New Year, but have Christmas off (which is going to be nice since I have friends coming to stay!)

Nile Pharoah 18th, 29th, 30th and 31st Dec

Golden Pharoah 22nd and 23rd Dec.

Happy Eid everyone- Kollo sena wentu Tayyibeen.........

(its the Eid (festival) where they spill the blood of the largest animal they can afford to buy- I was woken by the sound of a cow mooing below my flat this morning- i am hoping to God I am not woken tomorrow morning by the sound of the same cow being killed!!!!)

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Music in culture

I had a very interesting conversation with a friend last night.... he is Egyptian and loves music, (although he is a Lawyer by occupation- ie so not personally involved in the music industry).

However he hates the numerous music channels we have here in Egypt- saying that they fill them with rubbishy pop, that is totally commercial and talent free. The fact that these channels exist actively, in his opinion, prevent talented artists from gaining the recognition they deserve. I think its the channels themselves he has the problem with- the idea behind music being made just to fill all these spaces on a channel... rather than because it is worth making. I could have the same conversation with many music lovers in the UK and the rest of the world. Indeed many people feel the same about programs like pop idols etc etc.

What stood out though was a comment he made.

'That the channel did not follow the mood of the Nation'

when pressed to explain he said that when 'we, the people' were sad the music being playing was still faceless, expression-free pop and when 'we, the people' were happy then the music really wasn't capturing it to the same degree. The music wasn't reflecting everyday life.

Think about that for a moment.

Have you ever heard of music being that important as a reflection of a Nation's feelings before? It overwhelmed me. That someone much the same age as me, could come out with a comment like that too made me realise how socially aware people, even young people here can understand the concept of 'the people' and 'the people's feelings' in a way that I have never even considered before!

This is exactly why artists like Mohammed Abdel Wahab, Om Kaltsoum and Abdel Halim Hafiz amoung others were so crucial to the history of Egypt- not just musically- but historicaly too- because they did exactly that- they represented and shaped, the political and emotional sentiments of 'the people' at the same time they were feeling them. There is so much more I could say about these artists and their role in reflecting and shaping the world around them that it deserves another blog entry in its own right- so watch this space!

I guess an equivelant would be something like punk in the UK when it 1st appreared, although that was more of a rebellion rather than a representaion of 'the peoples' feelings!

There are other issues re the 'pop' music today, for instance, it losing its identity which again need more time to discuss!!!!!!

a huge topic... so I'll come back to it another time!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007


wow. I just sat and looked through an entire website...... amazing. About a month ago I was interviewed by a freelance journalist (David Wroe) and photographed (Penny Bradfield) too. The pics of me are not yet on her website- but some truely beautiful and stunning photos of Cairo are! Worth a look!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Holiday in Cairo

Last night I tagged along with Kay's group (who are here on a dance holiday from UK) to go and see Rhanda. I wonder if there will ever be a moment when she will stop inspiring me? She creates in me a double edged feeling- that I should give up now... and that I am desperate to improve learn and be like her!

I was so jealous of the girls in Kays trip- today they had 2 hr workshops- one with Aida Nour and one with Rhanda. Tomorrow they have the same but with Nour and Leila. I recommend Kay's dance based holidays!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

They are shattered- but happy. I think 3 hours sleep the night before last, and maybe 6 if they were lucky last night!

People have asked me if I will organise another holiday......... and I am happy to if there is demand... now I have been here for so long (it'll be 2 years in march!) I know a lot more people places etc etc and could happily organise private classes etc too.......... so who knows- if you are interested in coming over... and Kay's holiday's don't suit.... let me know.

I am currently staying in a lovely flat with 2 spare bedrooms so can sleep 3 guests at a time (4 if two people want to share a double bed!!!) and am happy to organise small scale holidays if just you and a friend or two want to come over. I have 3 girls coming over for xmas and new year and am already excited and looking fwd to it!

Monday, December 03, 2007


I just caught the end of a bizarre program........ I can't ever imagine this happening in the UK. Its on the station Nile TV which is mostly in English, or Arabic programs with English subtitles which are very rarely a direct translation of the arabic- I am impressed with myself that I at least noticed that much!!!! .

anyway,..........A TV crew wanders the touristic places in Cairo and interviews tourists asking where they are from, why they chose to come to Cairo, how long they are here for and what they think of it!!!!! Then a message to their friends back home.

Thats it- that is the entire body of the program......

Pink and Orange Costume for sale!

Its second hand......... and not in totally perfect condition- but I love it and would still happily perform in it (and did during my last visit to UK and at the EED Halfa!) However... needs must and I now need to sell it on.

So if you are in Scotland and are interested- Khalid has in at Morocco restaurant for you to try on and the whole thing is only £175. For a full professional costume, with all the bits... its a fair price!

There are a few photos of me in it in the blog entry June 3rd 07. titled 'Lorna in Pink on the Pharoah'!!!


Here's a thought...........

In UK, a cloudless sky is a perfect day..............

In Cairo the opposite is true!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Electricity and Water cuts

Another downside of life in Cairo. Often (usually at 2/3am) my electric just goes down for no rhythm or reason. It only lasts 10-30mins max… but I hate it when I am up and in the house on my own!

Then, even more frustrating is when the water stops…. Unfortunately for between 1 and 3 hours at a time, and usually in the afternoon when I need to shower to get out to work! I have taken to filling a few water bottles from the tap when there is water to use in case of emergencies! It's no big deal in the greater scheme of things I know. And I know that there are many families, even in Cairo who don’t have a regular water supply so I really shouldn't complain, But it’s a matter of what you get used to isn't it!

There are 2 theories to these cuts. One is just inefficiency. Things break down all the time here, and often for no apparent reason. The other makes more sense (therefore it probably isn't true!)…. In order to same water, and save on electricity the government organise down time across certain areas for short periods of time in order to save on resources. I guess with the vast numbers of people living in each square meter of the city, it probably does save them quite a lot of money!


no- not yet a video of me- it will happen eventually - when I am less of a perfectionist and can bare to put something up of me here!!!! but in the meantime.... I decided the honour of the 1st video to be included on my blog should go to none other but ......... Rhanda Kamel !

As most of my students and blog followers know- this woman is one of my main inspirations when it come to power and style on stage and musical interpretation. A fantastic dancer- and a lovely person too! She is best live (as most dancers are!) but if you can't make it to Cairo and you are interested in seeing what all the fuss is about then you can check her out here………

St Andrews Day Ball

I am an idiot. I went to the St. Andrews Day Ball at the Nile Hilton here in Cairo last night.... the dance floor was carpet (???!!!!) and I kicked off my lovely, suede soled, orangey/gold salsa shoes to dance and then wandered home at the end of the night and just discovered I left them behind (yes I had other shoes with me- didn't wander off barefoot!) Really hope they turn up in lost property tomorrow- fingers crossed!!!!

The Ball itself was ok. The meal wasn't what I would have expected for the ticket price and I was really disappointed there wasn't either haggis, or a Burns recital of any kind. The speeches were not loud enough or interesting enough... and the ceilidh band was good- but the caller wasn't the best I have ever seen and a few people wandered off down to the salsa night downstairs in 'Jazz up' because they just weren't following the dances enough to enjoy them, because of him. It was a band all the way over from Edinburgh too.

However, there were liqueurs pre and post dinner and wine and whiskey on each of the tables (probably the reason I left my shoes behind!) and the atmosphere was nice- lots of very friendly people. I really miss the Scottish humour living here!

It was also great to see men in kilts again- it's been a while!!!

Only thing lacking was having a bellydancer from Scotland perform in a tartan bellydance costume- now THAT would have been memorable!!!! He he
Me and my beautiful friends all dressed up for the ball....................

Saturday, December 01, 2007

work rota 1st-15th Dec

Am very disappointed to be dancing so little on the boat... but thats what happens when there are too many dancers working in the same place! Not enough to pay the rent!!!!!!!!!!!!!

if you want to come see me dance in cairo over next 2 weeks- this is where I'll be........

Nile Pharoah- sat 8th, sun 9th, tues 11th and wed 12th

Golden Pharoah- mon 10th, thurs 13th, fri 14th and sat 15th.

Lets hope christmas brings more work!