How bizarre to now be zipping my way on a French Autoroute
outside of Paris, having flown back from Kuwait this morning. My Mum wanted to
take her grandchildren to Euro-Disney, so they all caught the shuttle train
under the Channel, and I flew. Can’t wait to see my kids!
All in all, Kuwait was a somewhat strange experience, but
then again, I find it often is when I work in the Gulf. Not quite the glamorous
travel working experience I’m normally privy to, but it ended happily enough.
Day 3 was a little breezey. Thankfully, these days I have
equipment which works in any weather so it was no problem to make sure the
event was still filled with bubbles! The Bubble Nets came out and filled up the
venue beautifully! See them in action on the website at www.bubbleinc.co.uk and look for Bubble
Nets. They’re GREAT in the wind at large scale open air events and really
spread vast clouds of bubbles over a huge area.
I had been planning on performing my new Giant Bubble stage
show at the event, but nothing was in place in preparation for this performance
(it’s the first year he’s orgnaised it), so I ended up doing bubble walkabouts
instead. Perhaps this was just as well, as walkabouts allow a lot more
flexibility when it comes to outdoor events, especially ones in the Middle
Most bizarrely, my host, Yousef Aldaour, asked me to to
extend my stay when I went to bid my farewells. He he had forgotten I was
leaving in the morning, and was surprised to hear it. He invited me to extend
my contract with them to keep the bubbles flowing at the event.
I was honoured by his suggestion, and glad to hear he was
happy with my bubbles, but it was a little late to change my plans at that
point. What I found most strange is quite how unplanned his approach to the performances
at the P2BK event was!
There we go... perhaps it’s good to leave him wanting more,
and maybe we’ll do it all again next year. Inshallah!
Hope you’ve enjoyed this mini-series of blogs! Signing off
from Kuwait, and looking forward to seeing you all and the green hills of home.
Ps “Bubble” in Kuwaiti – “Fuq-ahr-art!” must add that to the list. Do you know any i don't??? - http://www.bubbleinc.co.uk/pages/bubble-words
Day 2 -
The Bubble Gods did smile!
In comparison to
yesterday, things went smoothly. The weather conditions bubble-wise were good,
and even our host, Yousef Al Daour, and me managed to meet on better ground.
There seems to be a recurring weather pattern going on out
here: windy in the morning, still in the afternoon progressively till 9ish at
which point the wind picks up dramatically. I’m all done by 9.30, so this suits
me down to the ground. It all closes by 10 at which point all the performers
sit and eat. With the wind firmly back in place the previously pristine site
begins to look a bit dishevelled, with the wind blowing the day’s rubbish
I’m sure i haven’t seen the best of it, but from the little I’ve
seen, Kuwait’s not the most beautiful city in the world. Where we are, it’s largely
a mixture of concrete and sand/desert scrub, and to make matters worse, the area
seems to be overshadowed by a HUGE McDonalds sign on top of a purpose built
pylon, visible for miles around. Believe it or not, I’m actually a bit of a fan
of pylons – I like their geometric good looks – but this one is more
reminiscent of the giant evil eye in the Lord of the Rings trilogy!
McDonalds is apparently very popular here, which I find surprising
considering they’re a very wealthy nation who like expensive status symbols….
Personally I think it’s cheap junk and I do not eat there (much to the surprise
of our host). They wanted to feed us lunch there but I insisted they they took
us to a Lebanese restaurant instead.
Generally, after the drama’s of yesterday, things seemed very
calm and straightforward today. I give
thanks that the bubbles worked well outside in that window of calm, and my
walkabout shows were a success. Everyone wanted to be put in a bubble, and as
it’s a very family friendly audience, the kids went wild for it.
The event too is a success – it’s a kind of Expo called P2BK
(Proud to be Kuwaiti – their website gives you an idea of what it looks like http://p2bk.com/6/index.php# - has been well attended, including by a
Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, the Kuwaiti Prime Minister.
Meanwhile, checking back in at the office through emails, i see we've had another enquiry in the UAE, (this time a 52 day festival in Abu Dhabi!), alongside a couple of live enquiries to go to Beijing for a fashion shoot and back to Indonesia to perform this summer, as well as a bunch of national kids birthday party enquiries. If you want to find out more about what we do for birthday party shows, have a look at
So strange only one more day to go. Some of these gigs go so
fast they’re over in a flash!
I'm here performing for an event which turns out to be a pr event/ swanky trade fair for some well financed small businesses. Young Kuwaiti individuals/companies from wealthy family backgrounds
with a vision of what they'd like to do with their life/business and the financial backing to promote it (and probably keep it afloat for some millenia!). The
organisers have built a custom made area from scratch (it was a desert
before!) with booths to show off their talents, and sell to the public
too. The area they've built is quite impressive with stages, a fake lake
(with fake boat!), young trendy food, and some large dome tents to
There are some local musicians, and Epico (Jamie and Michael, the dragon
guys), along with some sand sculptors who have built several incredible
structures and carved into them beautifully over the last 3 weeks. Tall
twirling towers representing the Royal Palace,... the Middle Eastern
equivalent of igloos, made complete with a couple of 'statue'
performers... and a jeep rolling over desert dunes all made from compacted sand. I thought i had a great job till i met these professional sand castl-ers! Incidentally, they were telling me that their
brief included a polite request that they do not make any representation
of human images, because to make any such art with human faces without a beating heart here in Kuwait is
considered against the wishes of Allah.
One of the great things about
travelling is finding out these kind of cultural
differences, and life is all the richer for it! Even at Heathrow, the Kuwaiti cultural fingers reached over the Oceans all the way to the duty free counter in Terminal 5 where i was informed that no alcohol is permitted in Kuwait whatsoever - it's completely banned.
i heard the best one yet speaking with Samir, a student volunteering on the event - He was telling me about his studies at school. Along with science and economics, one of
his subjects is "Democracy." I've never heard of Democracy
as a subject before although the thought of it's quite exciting...my mind Iimmediately started buzzing with how they might explore the subject... through open mindedness,... looking at the different nations of the world, and highlighting specific examples of when democracy has shone through...This all came crashing to the ground like a blimp when he innocently informed me the subject was complusory for all : )
There's other reasons I love travelling with my job - bringing bubbles to the 6 corners of the world is always exciting, and makes me feel proud to have achieved what i've achieved. Added to that, i'm always put up in fancy hotels, have an expenses account, and an artist liason to help with whatever i might need during my stay.
Unfortunately, this is not the case here and they've made a bit of a mess of it for me so far. They failed to come and pick me up from the airport for some hours (not
a good start) and once i arrived, it was clear to me that they hadn't read
my rider, and none of the things i requested had been put in place.
Some of the things on my rider are essentials such as supplying
distilled water for my bubble solution, carpet on the stage (to avoid
slip hazards) etc. They hadn't even organised me a hotel room! I
eventually got a room at about 11.30 last night.
To be honest, none
of this has ever happened before in a gig situation. I've gotten quite
used to being treated a whole lot better than this, and it doesn't warm
me to my 'host.' Still, at least i'm only here for 3 days - i'll do my
job and be done.
Although, this brings me to the other side of my current position - my job is made harder by the fact it's an outdoor event. This wasn't made clear to me when they booked it. The conditions in the UAE meteorlogically, are not prime for making the world's best bubbles! The temperature can be very high, humidity can be low, and the dust pops the bubbles (= bubble death!). Thankfully, if you're going to perform at any time of year in Kuwait with bubbles, this is the time to do it. It's almost chilly in the evenings, and humidity is resting currently around 30-40%... not ideal by any stretch of the imagination, but workable. I even felt a few drops of rain yesterday!
So little was in place last night that the host said for me not to start till tomorrow so no bubbles yet. I hope the Bubble Gods will be smiling on me today and bring me good weather (and an artist liason!). Wish me luck!
New #bubblemission! Bringing bubbles to Kuwait!
I leave on monday evening to perform a series of gigs promoting business and culture in the country. The Prime Minister of the country is attending at least one of the shows ( wednesday? ) which i'm excited about! I'm also one walkabout, and 2 shows/day on tuesday and thursday. It's outside unusually - i normally only perform walkabouts outside, as it can be pretty hard making square bubbles in the wind! Added to that Kuwait is in an arid dessert region, and you're talking loooooowww humidity, high heat and sand - NOT good for bubbles. Thankfully this time of year usually sees some rain, so i hope my show is not too affected.
English performers are very highly regarded throughout the Middle East, and we often get offered work there. They just don't really have a culture of performing as a career choice as i found out on a trip to Qatar a few years ago - the company who had bought me over requested a performance for a special needs centre they had a connection with.
It's often the most rewarding experience to go and perform for charities, especially when you're dealing with the Middle East which can seem at times quite focused on wealth ( Dubai in particular! I've seen people drive around in diamond covered Hummers!) My hosts politely informed me i'd also be performing with a couple of local performers, which intrigued me at first, but ended up being a couple of guys dressing up in some home-made Disney costumes and waving their hands about! It was funny to watch,... The kids all had a good time in any case and it goes without saying, they LOVED the bubbles! Bubbles are for everyone!
So this trip should be interesting,... i'll be hanging out with some other UK performers who claim to have the last dragon in existence! Check them out too they're called Epico. My flights have got a little messed up, and it seems i'm arriving at
about 7 in the morning local time, with my first walkabout at 11 - normally i try and arrive with a bit more time to prepare. It's also my
first performance with my NEW HAIRSTYLE... most of you don't know about
that yet! All i'll tell you for now is it's quite a change! Stay tuned for pictures.
Will endeavour to keep you all updated through this blog over the course of next week!
ps For more information about my bubbleshows or how to hire one of our other "Bubbleologists", have a look at
Happy new Year everyone!
So 2013 has begun and what an exciting way to start the new year - we've got a national tv commercial coming out for a big soap company (can't say who yet!) on THIS MONDAY 7th January! There's been a long hoo-ha about whether or not i would actually appear in it or be blacked out, but i'm happy to say that they ended out offering me what's known as a 'buy-out' fee to appear in it! This is kinda doubly good, because not only do i get paid for it, but i get the publicity too, AND i get the pleasure of seeing myself on telly too, doing what i love! Wahoo!
How about you? Have you seen it yet? There is a sneak prrreview released today on Facebook, but it's the blacked out version and i'm not saying where... Write and tell me what you think of it!
Next big thing up is the Toy Fair - we're going to be taking a bold step forward and exhibiting at the British Toy Fair later this month. It's the first time i've entered into that part of the toy Industry, and a new challenge for us. I hope it will mean the beginings of a Samsam Bubbleman range of bubble toys (coming to your local toy shop soon!?).
If you know me, then i'm sure you know that i'm only interested in selling truly amazing bubble toys and solutions, and like to turn everyone on to bubbles, no matter what age they are! Bubbles are amazing, and MAKING bubbles doubly so. The feeling you get when creating a giant bubble is something that feels so good to the soul... creating something of wonder and beauty out of practically thin air!
In the meantime, i've got sooooo much to do to prepare for this Toy Fair and the sense of challenge is most certainly upon me! Wish me luck!
Ah, a sweet end to the year! on my penultimate bubble hq day of the year, i just got two bits of great news!
Behind the scenes at Bubble Inc, the tv commercial i worked on
earlier this month (see earlier blog entry) has been in some debate -
they had promised to make me unrecogniseable as they weren't paying for
an appearance fee, but then couldn't actually manage to adhere to this
once the final edit was complete. The versions that they sent me were
clearly me in it. They kept adding shadows to my face till it looked a
bit ridiculous, so they've finally agreed to paying me what's called a
'buyout' fee so they can release it un-shadowed. This means i'll be
reaching your screens as from January 7th! Maybe other countries too! i
can't tell you who it's for yet, but when you see it, you'll know. Let
me know what you think of the film when it comes out - it's short at
only 20 seconds, but it's kinda zhujji!
Then, i just had word from the production team of the Guinness Record
internet tv show i filmed last week saying that they think it's the
best episode ever so far! I didn't tell you about it? Well, Guinness
Records are getting on the case with the internet and launching all
kinds of internet films. This one is like a tv show where they manage to
get people to tune in at a certain time of day ONLINE to watch the
latest release of their show. I had the feeling this kind of thing is
thew future and will probably end up eating up television as we know
They're young hip and cool presenters who are all "Youtubers" with
like 60,000 followers online presenting 5 minute shows about GWR
holders. My show is for something called "Slo-mo test lab" and was
presented by the uber cool Bing! Essentially they're doing cool things
with record holders in slow motion. You can see it by tuning in here on
the 23rd January 2013 at 2pm or after. www.youtube.com/gwromg or tune in now to get a flavour of the latest in youth tv!
Gots to go now...
Spent the afternoon learning how to update our BUBBLE WEBSITE! So amazingly happy to have a website i can update! If i can figure out how to work the remote control.... oops. That's for the telly.
No seriously folks, there's now all kinds of new bubble info going up on the site! I'm especially happy with the "BUBBLE SONGS" section which has the greatest songs about bubbles with links to hear all our favourite bubble tunes. Ever wondered what's on a bubbleologists Ipod?
AND, all new FLICKR galleries! There's one JUST for people INSIDE bubbles! And another one with great pictures of our award winning stall! It's starting to be a website i'm properly proud of!
How about you? What would you like to see on a bubble website?
Let us know through our facebook page.
Me? I'm off for a Dark & Stormy.
Autumn's generally our quieter time of year, but once it get's to November, Christmas season begins! We already went out to our first Christmas Fair at Olympia, and opened Harrods Xmas season by appearing in their parade. I like the Harrod gig... despite it being a bit early to start christmas, bubbles at a parade go down SOOOO well! We've done it every year for the last 6 years - filling the skies with bubbles at every Knightsbridge street corner! It starts at 8am, so we have to be there by 6.30 (we do this gig with a team of 4 Bubbleologists) and it's all over by 9am!
Meanwhile, back in Bubble Inc hq.. a new enquiry comes in for a tv commercial! Great gig to land - bringing bubbles to any kind of production is really exciting, and the film world has become a regular thing for us - this would be the 4th commercial we've been involved in this year.
So the good news.... the product and company are 'clean' (!), it's pretty straightforward (basically just a BIG bubble they want (i can use the Bubble Inc new Super-duper-loop - see http://www.bubbleinc.co.uk/collections/wind-powered), and it'll be shown in UK and Australia!
Money's ok, but this time they want me to appear in it, and it's a flat fee rather than an appearance fee (where you get paid each time it's shown). Sooo, the big question is whether i have them make me less recogniseable and do it icognito, or risk being left out of future commercial projects by doing it as myself.... on the other hand, doing it as myself would be good publicity in itself...
What would you do? (answers on a postcard please!).
Each week/month, we'll be telling you what we’re up to, where we’re performing and giving you loads of FREE tips, techniques, hints and stories from the bubbletastic world of Samsam and Bubble Inc! ...Stay tuned!