Big Issue

Date : August 1997

 Leading pop star Louise was in Manchester last week, auditioning dancers for her new tour which begins in Sheffield on November 20. The ten winners were taken immediately to London for their auditions at Wembley Arena. Judging was performed by leading pop choreographer Jamie King, who has also worked with Michael Jackson, Madonna and Prince.

 Something strange is going on at Manchester's Apollo Theatre. Outside, people are quite literally dancing in the streets. Inside, music blares as the, lycra-clad bodies glide across the stage. A beefy American drill sergeant of a woman is barking orders, pausing only to blow snot-rockets onto the floor. A choreographer in designer nerd specs and outsize combat pants looks on disinterestedly, while a couple of granite torsoed security staff are openly bitching behind me. "This is pissing me off", one confides in the other. "Should have finished hours ago. I haven't even got any butties with me".

 We are here to honour Louise Nurding, sexy chanteuse of saccharine soaked pop, who is auditioning dancers for her forthcoming tour. The same five-second burst of her new album is being repeatedly played over the PA, as svelte young hopefuls leap, thrust and collide with The Big Breakfast camera man.

 "You and I", croons Louise ecstatically, "gonna capture all the love in the universe. And wrap our loving arms all around the world". Finally, the woman herself arrives, all smiles and I'm just so lucky to be doing what I love schmaltzy sentiment.

 She talks eagerly about the Spice Girls, chocolate and what a great turnout it's been and leaves after 10 minutes.

 Back in the auditorium, things are kicking right off. A gatecrasher wearing a fake security t-shirt is being chased across the stage by the two surly officials who were complaining earlier. The dancers, whittled down to a select 20, are at last awarded with a few choice words from the choreographer: "You guys, when you dance, there are like colours, you know? Dynamics. Things are like gooey and mooey. Just try to be aware of that". Everyone looks around, nonplussed.

 On the bus back home, a couple of rejected dancers are engaged in an objective deconstruction of the day's proceedings. "I can't believe that fu#!ing bimbo got picked", moans one, "she wasn't even following the right steps." "Still," she continues philosophically, "at least I got to speak to Louise. And I got two free cans of deodorant". That's showbusiness for you 1 per cent inspiration, 99 per cent anti-perspiration.