Naked flame

Simon Ratzker aka Twisthead Si, 27, London

I’ve been fire performing for years, so semi-clothed the shoot would have been a breeze, but without pants it was a challenge!

How was the shoot?

What, being out in a graveyard naked in the middle of the night throwing around flames and hot metal, trying to look good while not actually burning anything sensitive? Weird. Yeah. Really bizarre. I’ve been fire performing for years, so semi-clothed the shoot would have been a breeze, but without pants it was a challenge! It was also great fun and exhilarating.

You perform at a lot of festivals. What’s the coolest thing that’s happened to you at a festival?

I think my favourite was an evening at Antiworld Festival 2007. I kazzooed my heart out to funky blues tunes in a little cafe, like some sort of budget trumpet soloist. I played with bubbles as the sun rose on a perfectly blue summer’s morning, and a lone gent played guitar. As the sun rose higher and everyone disappeared, I set out a deckchair and sang to myself as I played my ukulele and enjoyed the warmth of the sun on my skin. As the climax to the festival, it was perfect.

Why did you start fire spinning and why do you do it?

Originally I thought that I would never do fire, thinking that it was asking for trouble. Then I saw fire poi performed up close: the texture of the flame, the heat, that roar: I was going to get some of that! At the time I was too shy to dance at a club, and yet I had no problem getting up to spin fire. It gave me a medium to act through and permission to relax and be myself. Picking up poi was a catalyst for a lot of self-development: I am learning and changing and surrounding myself with people I love, and that makes me happy.

I was too shy to dance at a club, and yet I had no problem getting up to spin fire. It gave me a medium to act through and permission to relax and be myself.

What advice would you give to someone who was learning fire?

Remember to move: learn how to do your tricks every which way, so you are free to move as freely as possible. Even the most technical tricks will just look like circles if you keep your feet planted. Be inspired by dance, martial arts and cool bits in movies. Enjoy yourself.

What qualities do you look for in a lady?

Sense of humour. Personality. Shared views. Having passion and dreams. Someone who will challenge me. Someone who considers make-up an option rather than a necessity. Speaks her mind. Honesty. A sense of play. Oh, and a hula hoop if that’s not too much to ask!

What is the meaning of life?

To be truly happy without harming yourself or anyone else. To aim to become more like yourself each day. Be awesome. Because when you look at it, you can choose to be awesome, or not which would you rather be? The key is recognising your choices when they appear and then being able to take them.

Photography David Davis
Art direction Suraya Sidhu Singh
Hair and make-up Max Thompson
Model Simon Ratzker

Si is also now part of UK-based all-male burlesque performers, The Badlands Burlesque.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *