Saturday, March 14, 2009

Walk The Walk

Only a few friends have seen my impressions of people’s ways of walking. I don’t do them all the time, just if someone has a particular style about them that is recognisable or unique. There are various styles of walking: as a ballet dancer, pigeon-toed, knock-kneed and bandy-legged. There are also people who walk on the balls of their feet and have a slight spring to their gait. There are people who swagger, saunter, walk fast/slow, in a straight line/all over the footpath, sway their hips, shuffle, don’t move their arms or look where they are going.

Models are the easiest of all to imitate. They slouch their shoulders and stick out their groins to give them that relaxed look and then depending on the speed of their walk, move their legs appropriately – which I will now explain.

The Saunter

This is a slow, leisurely pace. The scene is moody so there will be lots of pouting lips and indifference written on faces. Beige, fawn, sand and taupe coloured basic sets with maybe some billowing ivory curtains for the lingerie section. Perhaps this is a standard fashion show where it’s all prĂȘt a porter. Oh how common!

Step 1: Slouch shoulders, head down, eyes up and push your groin forward. Do not smile.
Step 2: Start walking with an exaggerated knee lift pointing the toes as you raise your feet off the ground
Step 3: Add the hip swing. When you lift your left knee, swing your hips to the left and vice versa for the right
Step 4: Continue these movements and move your head in rounded movements in slow motion as you throw bored looks to your audience. If you catch someone’s eye, without words tell them you are too good for them

The Mission

Changing scenes we are heading into the corporate world. Suits, pencil skirts, high waisted pants with flared legs, waistcoats and ties. Black, grey, the new black and more black.

Step 1: Posture slightly stiff, shoulders down and back but not slouching. This will elongate your neck. Head up, eyes straight ahead, serious almost angry face, groin slightly forward
Step 2: This time you don’t want to exaggerate your knee lift too much but you do need to do so to assist with the hip swaying.
Step 3: With one hand on your hip and the other holding a black leather folder, imagine you are late for a very important meeting that you are in charge of. Your shoulders will take the lead. Under no circumstances are you to make eye contact with anyone. If another model gets in your way then just push right through him/her. That’s it, create some tension out there baby!

The Skip and Twirl

Let’s lighten the mood and head to the fun park. Lots of colour, balloons, candy striped sets and token animals (stuffed toys as you are socially aware that live animals should not be used for entertainment). The clothing is tutus, leggings, shorty shorts and tank tops with lots of accessories.

Step 1: Relax your whole body with a shake from head to toe. Smile, yes you can do it. Now laugh with sound and throw your hair around. You are now ready.
Step 2: With a skip in your step I want you to really go for it when you exaggerate those knee lifts so much so that you almost knee yourself in the chin. The skip really helps and your arms will naturally fly in all directions as you twirl and whirl down the catwalk. On top of all that you are getting a terrific workout. Bonus!
Step 3: Add some gestures to the audience such as “hello waves” and “blowing kisses”. As hard as it is to smile in regular shows, you will find this is something you now can’t control.
Step 4: Lap up the attention and euphoria you have created in the room. All the other models are laughing and you are communicating with each and every person in the audience with your happiness. Backstage your stiletto heel accidently on purpose pierces the skin of your rival's foot, the one who smacked you in the face on the runway with her carousel arms.

The Improv

We are putting the bizarre into fashion now with the fantasy section. Clothing that is not made for everyday occasions and not practical to wear. This walk will test your skills at making it work and is the grand finale of your training. Extreme set design with mirror balls, neon lights, bold colours and dresses with headwear that could hide the rabbit and the white dove.

Step 1: Become the outfit. You may need to slouch, be upright or use your body in new ways such as crawling on your hands and knees. This is character work and a brief intro to your acting gigs on the sideline.
Step 2: Take extra care with your platform shoes as they will be your undoing if something is to go wrong. If you happen to trip and fall down that’s okay, people love to see that you are human and while they show concern on their face, inside they are laughing their asses off. Don’t worry if your skirt falls down, step out of it, pick it up and laugh it off. You’ve got legs that are the envy of all women and the desire of all men so show ‘em what you got!

I hope you all took part in this interactive training session and had as much fun learning and practicing as I did teaching. If you would like a private assessment of your new skills, feel free to contact me.

Congratulations, you are now on your way to becoming your household’s next top model!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Service With A Snarl

Oh JB, you've done it again!

I don’t remember a time when I have received good customer service when at the counter of JB HiFi. When shopping around for electric or electronic equipment I think JB is one of the best places to go to. These guys know their stuff. They have specialists in each department and most of the time will be forthcoming with information and provide answers to the questions you never remember to ask. It’s a different story when it’s time to head towards the payment counter. There is usually a queue to wait in and at sale times this is not a shop you want to enter.

The staff look like misplaced musos and artistes with their messy hair, 5 day growth, multiple piercings and 2nd hand clothes (not that there is anything wrong with that). They will not make eye contact with you or say hello, just challenge you with their knowledgeable attitude to put your CD’s on the counter and show them what your taste in music is. If you ask a question you will be met with a response that offers no openings for any further verbal contact. Something resembling a mumbled “thank you” is all that you will get. It is best you just take your purchase and leave.

My Store!

Myer staff are a friendly, chatty bunch aren’t they? Amongst themselves that is.
Myer is a great place for leisurely browsing and shopping in general but the staff is their biggest letdown and they have a reputation that is almost unchallengeable. Never mind about the constant renovations which see you entering what you thought was Ladieswear, only to find yourself in Electrical. Whenever there is a discussion on customer service Myer staff always get a mention as they are up there with the best of the worst.

When ready to make your purchase or simply ask for directions and so on, staff can be found in small groups at the register least likely to be used. Some gossip will be passing between them and you are not to interrupt until they have finished. If you do happen to make a faux pas and say “excuse me” or “hello”, don’t expect a reply. Susan needs to know what happened to Jenny (who nobody likes) when she left the club and if John from Menswear picked her up. The first words that are spoken to you are, “do you have Flybuys or Myer One?” The transaction will be finalised, you will be thanked and if you are lucky you will get a smile before they return to continue with the story that you so rudely stumbled upon.

You may even be luckier to strike a staff member who responds to your question, “oh, I don’t actually work here.” It’s then that you see the “Visitor” sticker. These people are most likely to be standing, staring with vacant eyes in the perfume department.

Nova the Independent!

The home of Melbourne’s favourite independent cinema is the purple decorated Nova. It is also the home to some of Melbourne’s most surly and ignorant staff I have ever come across on a regular basis. Like JB, you will be met by skinny, grungy artist types who have no interest in you whatsoever. Don’t dare ask a question as a curt reply and slight snarl will offend.

It’s not really good enough for them to have the best choc tops in town and the best selection of current films and then spoil it with the patronising attitude of the staff. I think the only person who has ever said hello to me is someone I know at the box office. The worst ones are the ticket checkers at the entrance. No eye contact, no greeting, no smile, no cares. They are also guilty of not pausing their conversation for you.

Don't Call Me Babe!

As customers we can be hard to please and I am definitely one of those who will ark up and gladly relay my experience to others. I will probably return the surly look I received and mumble something as I walk off. I can’t stand it when 18 year old girls greet me at the clothing rack with a joyous “hi darls, how are you today? On your lunchbreak are you? How’s your day going? I will just be over here if you need anything hon(ey). We have 20% off everything today!!!” I will say hello, try to smile and quickly avert my eyes so as to not invite a conversation about how I came to be in the shop in the first place. Equally I can’t stand it when I want some attention and don’t get a small acknowledgement for being in the store as this is generally when I want some help.

No one is allowed to call me babe, no one! Ever!