Books Magazine

In the Spotlight.

By Ashleylister @ashleylister
Did someone switch on a spotlight?  Well just point me in the right direction. Some of my happiest memories have been made bang smack in the middle of a dance floor as I danced my heart out in the spotlight. In began in 1968 with an ecstatic run onto the floor of the Royal Albert Hall to a fanfare as my partner and I took our place in the final of the International Championships, Juvenile Ballroom competition and I have been hooked ever since. I was only ten years old then. I am 60 now but I still love to hit the middle of the floor and dance.
Recently I was flattered by the organisers to help muster people onto the dance floor at The Winter Gardens Film Festival opening night party. Well ladies and gentlemen - you only need to ask me once.  Happy to oblige. However, I wouldn't want to live my whole life under a spotlight. I don't envy celebrities and public figures whose lives are constantly under scrutiny.  I really am quite a private person. Being famous has many pitfalls. The press are relentless in their search for human frailty in the private lives of our best loved stars.
This week has seen the fall of a much loved TV presenter, Ant McPartlin of Ant and Dec fame. His regular appearances on ITV's Saturday night programming have been cancelled while he books in to a clinic to battle his addiction to alcohol and prescription medication. We have witnessed the demise of many stars in recent years and it seems that many turned to substance abuse to cope with the pressure of being constantly in the spotlight.
The short, tragic life of Amy Winehouse was self-documented in her song lyrics as she tried to battle drug addiction. The beautiful and incredibly talented Whitney Houston fell into addiction and died far too young. If I wrote a list of all those for whom invasive press and the constant glare of the spotlight brought about their demise, I am sure that Diana, Princess of Wales would be at the top. I know that they all courted publicity in their professional life but didn't they deserve a chance to live their private lives in private?
Anyway, I want to wish Ant all the best for a speedy recovery with a poem.
In the spotlight.
Dec without Ant
What is going happen? Will life ever be the same
for the millions of ITV viewers
who switch on the box every Saturday night
expecting to hear your name?
What will your little mate Declan do without your funny quips?
How can joke at the side of the stage
on Britain’s GotTalent
if you’re not at his hip?
I’m a Celebrity, Get me out of Here
just won’t be the same without you.
Our Saturday nights will be terrible if there’s only one and not two.
Like Morecambe and Wise,
the Two Ronnies,
like Laurel and Hardy before,
a comedy duo like Ant and Dec
are the ones that the Nation adores.
So hurry up Ant and get better, have less booze with your takeway,
Your country needs you in the spotlight
every Saturday!
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