Sleb Safari: Who wants a Stavros Flatley/Blackbird mash-up?
Thirteen years ago a father and son went buck-lepping across the Britain’s Got Talent stage and Stavros Flatley was born.
In homage to Michael Flatley, Demetrios Demetriou and his 12-year-old son Michalakis, known as Lagi, donned blond wigs and black headbands, removed their shirts and treated Simon, Amanda and Piers to a version of Lord Of The Dance. Lagi was 12 and his dad was not and there were a few more jelly rolls and a lot less body oil than in Michael’s dance troupe - and it was glorious.
Sleb Safari once saw Stavros Flatley in the car park at the Belfast entertainment venue formerly known as The Odyssey. They were performing, not parking, and it was memorable, but possibly less so for Demetrios and Lagi who had gigs around the world and plenty that weren’t in a car park.
Lagi is now 26 and a dad himself and he’s been reflecting on his career in The Times. “We’ve done 15-minute gigs for above £20,000. They are few and far between, but I’ve always said to my dad: there are thousands of singers, comedians and dancers, but there are only two people that are Stavros Flatley,” Lagi pointed out.
“We’ve danced in Monaco, on Onassis’s yacht. We’ve danced for princes. We were booked by a billionaire for his wedding reception at Downton Abbey. There were 100 guests, and we did a show with Leona Lewis and Michael McIntyre. We did a gig for someone who won massive at the races. He called us and said: ‘Can you get down here now?’ That was a proper weird one. He was in a private box with six of his friends and we just ran in and danced for them.
“Taking your top off and shaking your belly — it’s the most lucrative work there is.” Are you listening careers teachers? “We made people smile, because what’s better than two little fat guys, with wigs on, running around with their tops off? Then the agent rang us: ‘Your year’s full. You’ve got 300 gigs.’
“The next year it was 400 gigs. I spoke to my school and asked to take a year out… We went to Amsterdam, Germany, and China three times. We were special guests on China’s Got Talent, in an arena of 30,000 people, with a viewing audience of 930 million.”
Not a mention of the Belfast car park. The cheek.
Warming to the theme, Lagi says his debit card regularly took a hammering in a London clothing store where footballers shopped.
“I’d walk in, this little fat kid with his mum, and be like: ‘I’ll have four pairs of jeans, five hats, four shirts.’ These footballers would be like: ‘Who’s this kid, asking his mum for his card?’ I was working continuously — sometimes five shows a day, seven days a week — so when I had time off I lost the plot.”
Lagi and his dad have retired Stavros Flatley which is a shame, every which way you look at. Might they, for the right price, come out of retirement and give us their homage to Blackbird, Michael Flatley’s critically complained about film? Now that would be an encore.
Robbie Williams says fame sucks, parents
Don’t put your children on the stage, is the message from Robbie Williams. Robbie told The Sunday Times that celebrity - at best - damages everyone but at worst destroys them.
"Everybody is intoxicated with the thought of what fame is, even though the examples all around you are of people falling down, getting tripped up, becoming mentally ill, being deeply unhappy, resentful, agoraphobic, desperate, behaving in ways they normally wouldn’t.
"There are no opposite cases you can point to besides completely inauthentic stars from America who have managed to hide behind publicists; no examples where you can go, 'there’s a well-rounded person that’s thoroughly enjoying his lot'. He doesn’t exist."
And Robbie knows what he’s talking about.
Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen has no time for coffee tables
Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen has thoughts, so many thoughts, on other people’s homes. He has opinions on your furniture, the paint colour on your walls, the fabric on your sofa, your kitchen counters… everything really. When you think about it, he’s just like everyone you know.
LLB’s new book is called MORE MORE MORE and that is precisely how many opinions he has left to share. He’s already told you what he thinks about grey walls and chrome kitchens and now he’s coming for your coffee table.
Would it surprise you to find out that he isn’t a fan of these “shin shredders” that make a room “much smaller”. What you want is a side table, LLB says.
Sleb Safari very much enjoys Laurence’s Laurenceisms but would rather neck cod liver oil straight from the bottle daily than have him set foot inside Chez Sleb Safari. The stress would be off the charts.