Wednesday, 31 December 2008

3BT: Resolutions, Knighthoods, New Year Greetings

1.The usual diet, although I‘m pleased to say I haven‘t strayed too far this Christmas. 2. To learn how to use Facebook properly (Brad’s going to help me in exchange for driving lessons). 3. To make sure I do my homework in a timely fashion (only ten weeks left) and then use the course-less time to actually write stuff and, more importantly, send it off to someone! And to keep up with the Daily Scatter as much as possible - it may have to become the Weekly Scatter, if I’m serious about the scripts.

Congratulations to Sir Terry Pratchett, now an even more officially recognised genius and my total, favourite author of all time; Sir Chris Hoy, awesome displays this year, as ever - more to come? Commiserations to Brucie: Stop worrying everyone, he’ll get it when he retires from Strictly.

Have a fantastic night tonight; I hope all your dreams come true in the New Year.

Jaye xx

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

3BT: A Winter’s Tale

We took a stroll through the local country park and were amazed to find the lake frozen over; never seen that before. The seagulls didn’t mind but the ducks were all herded together up the one end where the ice had been broken. After traipsing along various paths we reached the ski centre - but the toboggan run was closed! Possibly because the brakes were frozen or, bizarrely, the track was too slippery! We didn’t hang around for long, the sun was already dipping below the tree line.

Spotted on our travels apart from the ducks, seagulls and sundry squirrels were a greenfinch, a robin, a hedge sparrow and a titchy little browney-orangey bird we couldn’t identify.

Back at the lake, we tried breaking the ice with various stones and half a branch Matt had dragged back with him. Then we broke ice near the sides and skimmed the pieces across - some of them went a hundred yards at least. And despite numerous warnings about staying away from the edge just in case, guess who ended up with a wet foot. Yep. Me.

Monday, 29 December 2008

3bt: foreshadowing, quickest, lookalikes

Watching the new dramatisation of ‘The 39 Steps’ last night and an example of foreshadowing: When Victoria remembers exactly where they vacated the car, illustrating her photographic memory, which leads to Richard believing she was the traitor, before realising it was hereditary on her father’s side, thus leading to Uncle George!

I got Heart FM’s Time Tunnel this morning within the first bar of the first song, which was Shalamar, 1982.
I didn’t hear the end, but it says it here, along with the two I remember most with it. The Clash and The Steve Miller Band No relation to David.

Driving home along the high street and there are two miniature Zammos bowling along, hands in pockets!

Sunday, 28 December 2008

Music Choices

I had great fun with the lovely like minded people on the SCD forum, under the thread of the same name and I’m going to carry on with anything I hear throughout my day: George Michael’s latest I think would make a wonderful foxtrot. Or waltz, maybe Viennese Waltz. I hope Foxy or Ale turn up to confirm! :) They might be able to come up with something for this Manhattan Transfer song. I heard it for the first time in ages and had forgotten how much I loved it. All I can think of is a bamba (ballroom samba) 1983? Could have been yesterday!
And I still can't stop watching Tom and Camilla's showdance! This is the fixed camera angle from the SCD website - listen out for a very excited man towards the end! I've heard it's been likened to Torvill and Dean's Barnum and I can't argue - what a compliment! It's all in the timing and musicality, something T&D excelled at. Mack and Mabel was probably my favourite, specially the 'train' bit. Stunning. I could watch them all day. In fact, that's what I seem to be doing right now!

Saturday, 27 December 2008

101 Uses for Party Poppers #57

Our old game, when the mother-in-law used to criss-cross decorations across the living room, consisted of us taking aim and popping the small poppers as far as we could over them, all from the comfort of our armchairs. With the advent of the huge spring loaded poppers, she very sensibly stopped criss-crossing anything. But boys will be boys (all aged over 40!) and they resorted to reloading the springs, firing chocolates across the room into each others mouths.

We’re hoping she doesn’t notice the smudge marks on the wall. And the ceiling. And the TV…

Friday, 26 December 2008

The Morning After …

And the best dances for me were Tom and Camilla’s foxtrot show dance, followed by Suzanne and Matt, then Zaraah and Fred, with Kyran and Melanie in close attendance. Craig pointed out any mistakes. Or was it Jason? He did too, quite rightly, in the face of overmarking. But at least the judges on Dancing on Ice stated quite clearly they overlooked any mistakes because it was Christmas! The SCD judges marked Tom and Camilla down because it wasn‘t a foxtrot as such, although it was perfectly OK for illegal lifts in other dances. I’ll say no more! Alesha and Matthew’s VW was eagerly awaited, but unfortunately the vocal arrangement spoilt the magic. I love Tommy and Lance, whichever it was, but it just didn’t suit a VW, they should have stuck to the Bing Crosby version. Lisa and Brendan tried to inject a bit of TomCam stylee into their quickstep, but they lacked the panache to carry it off and it was a very messy affair. I was expecting Great Things from Jill and Darren but again, very bitty, frantic - I was disappointed, expecting something a lot classier. Again the arrangement of Favourite Things was too much - for listening to, not for dancing an AS to (the original would have been better). So far, I’m not blown away. Rachel and Vincent did the rumba again, but the dress seemed more suited to a cha cha. And I wondered if everyone else knew they were allowed lifts. Kelly and Brian take the floor and I’m thinking, that’s a big dress for a jive - there’s going to be a Bucks Fizz moment. More illegal lifts and again, I found it too bitty and also Brian way out danced Kelly. Love the bloke, but he needs to learn from Camilla on how to show off your partner, like she totally did again with Tom. They knew no matter what they did, they weren’t going to top score with the judges in this and why should they care? So they served us up another treat in the shape of a fun, entertaining and humorous routine that had me smiling involuntarily all the way through and the audience clapping along. Although, to be fair, they clapped along with everything.

So there’s a four way tie at the top of the leader board - M&A, J+D, R&V and K&B with T&C in fifth, L&B in sixth. After deliberation the judges ranked them in that order for the scoreboard and the audience vote pitted Jill and Darren against Kelly and Brian with the glitter star going to Jill and Darren. Now call me old fashioned - the judges and producers must have known this would be a tight one - so why not leave it to the studio audience to vote for their favourite of the night? Kelly clearly must have been top or second to leap frog over Rachel and Alesha. And it would have been interesting to see whether Tom would have beaten the girls.

Dancing on Ice starts 11th January, a much less stressful affair of course, since we don’t get to know the celebrities like we do on Strictly. And I’m strangely in agreement most of the time with most of the judges, even Jason. Probably because I can see for myself who’s better on the ice (on account of the wobbling, falling over and panic stricken faces!) but no doubt there’ll still be less technically perfect performances I enjoy regardless. And I've yet to get the feeling that the judges are in any way biased for or against any of the contestants. I thought they put on a terrific show tonight - splitting them into boy/girl teams, five judges scoring so they all spaced out well, with the audience then voting for their individual favourite couple. Very close and what d'you know - Mrs Joe Public does it again, I thought Team Torvill would take it and I'm right! SCD, are you paying attention!

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Tracking Santa

We're on the NORAD Google Earth site at the moment and Matt has now firmly started believing again - we've never got him off to bed so easily; he can actually see how close Santa's getting and didn't want to take any chances!

Have a Merry Christmas everyone and thank you for taking the time to read both blogs this year.


Jaye xx

Short Story Challenge "Cinnamon"

She picked up her mug of hot chocolate and shuffled through into her cosy lounge, where the fairy lights on the tree cast a multi-coloured glow over her plain magnolia walls.

Pulling the tattered Swiss Chocolate box towards her, she lifted the pretty pictured lid with the red silk ribbon bonded to the front. Her heart leapt as his crinkly eyes stared up at her from inside, the first snap she’d ever taken of him. Her dedicated unofficial memento featuring him, just him. In a chocolate box. It couldn’t be more perfect. She gazed dreamily at the thick dark hair, with just a hint of a curl at one temple and then at the broad, open smile she could never resist.

If only he could be with her now. Sometimes, life conspired against you. Why had she suddenly thought to bring this box out from it’s hiding place; the pictures were ancient, the box even more so. The waft of her cinnamon scented hot chocolate reminded her: The first time they met. The village pub, bedecked with all the trappings of a traditional Christmas, it’s roaring, welcoming fire and bunches of cinnamon sticks hanging above on the mantelpiece. She’d never felt so giddy or so girly as she did then, completely smitten with this charming, wonderful, man. She’d known immediately; she would feel this way for ever.

Christmas wouldn’t be the same, alone. There was normally so much joy and laughter in the cottage. Now, all was quiet, apart from her favourite, Bing Crosby, singing ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’ - she smiled wryly, it couldn’t be less apt at this time.

The shrill ring of the telephone gate-crashed her daydreams; it made her jump, then she calmed herself and reached for the receiver.

His voice was like a river of molten gold to her.

“Ellie, you’ll never believe it! I was able to get the morning flight after all! I’ll be home before the Queen’s Speech …”

She slid contentedly back onto the sofa, his lilting tone warming her more than any fire ever could, with the cinnamon smelling memories of forty years of Christmases together.

Stocking up on the important stuff

And I did most of it today ...

After Eights
Turkish Delight (the proper stuff covered in chocolate mind, not that dusted rose flavoured stuff)
Terry's Chocolate Orange (it ain't his any more)

Oh, and some other foodie type stuff too!

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Strictly Come Dancing -The Final

Not so much a running commentary since I was far too engrossed to write anything - what a night! All three couples did their foxtrots and all would have scored top marks had Tom not had a little stumble. But we weren’t going to punish him for that were we? On to the Latin round where Rachel and Vincent’s rumba scored same as before but Lisa improved her Cha cha apparently for the judges to score it perfect - better than Alesha’s? I’ll leave that for you to decide. Tom’s and Camilla's salsa was blistering, my heart was pounding - in my mouth - and still they couldn’t give him top score. Thankfully, the scoring system meant Tom and Camilla only had to win the public vote. Again. Well, they won it last week so I hit the redial button along with all the other Tom fans and he and Camilla made it through to the second stage. At that point I was told off for screaming. Rachel and Vincent also went through - and the final stage is public vote only, so it seems like a foregone conclusion BUT - many voters decide following the show dance.

Lisa and Brendan did their show dance to Meat Loaf, a bit of a slow number and I remember some rolling around the floor. A lot of clambering around each other and not particularly elegant. They should have stuck with something a bit livelier, I’ve enjoyed her ballroom dances, something like a glorified American Smooth may have had more appeal, but it’s immaterial anyway.

Previous champions Darren, Alesha, Jill and Mark with their professional partners gave us the second biggest treat of the night, with all four taking to the floor to ‘Let Me Entertain You’, showcasing bits of their best dances and it was awesome. And we were treated to Brian and Kristina and then James and Ola, dancing a cha cha.

Rachel and Vincent’s show dance was a Latin medley with lifts to ‘What a Feeling’ from Flashdance and it was Rachel’s turn to have a little stumble. Again, no-one is going to punish the dancers at this stage in the competition, the judges all praised her - Craig pointed out the mistake, as is his wont.

So it just remained for Tom and Camilla to pull out all the stops and give us what we’d been hoping for - and be under no illusion, after the tap dance in the quickstep, T&C fans wanted to see a proper Hollywood showbiz number - and boy, did they give us it! If My Friends Could See Me Now’ from the musical ‘Sweet Charity’ - must credit the band and the singer, who were awesome, as were T&C - the best show dance I’ve ever seen in any SCD final IMO ( I’ve seen them all). Absolutely brilliant and a deserving winner, following a series where Tom and Camilla were never out of the top three in fourteen weeks of competition, bar one week (4th) but still weren’t in the dance off and would only have been there when the judges made it impossible for them not to be - not the spirit of the show, and hopefully the Beeb will now realise it (it’s not like we didn’t all tell them last year).

A brilliant and rightful end to a controversial series. I hope they now drop the dance off when it gets to the final six couples - so the public can actually choose who they want to see in the final instead of having finalists foisted upon them by four judges. And next year, hand the judges a dictionary open at ‘unbiased’, ‘consistent’ and ‘polite' and make sure they read and understand what they mean!

Friday, 19 December 2008

British World Champions you may not have heard of

I found them when browsing through the books in Smiths. When I say I found them, I saw a sports review book and had a thoroughly good read in the shop, and that was the title of page 158 or thereabouts. Congratulations and all the best for 2009.

Kirsty Jones - Kitesurfing
Alex Marshall - Indoor Bowls
Bruce Goldsmith - Paragliding
Women‘s Canoe Polo

Chris Clarke - Croquet
Colin Jeff - F2 Power Boating
Charlotte Cornwallis - Real Tennis

Daryl Peach - Nine Ball Pool
Nicole Arthur - Slalom Water Ski-ing

I remember Alex Marshall got a mention on the BBC Sports Review, don’t recall any of the others though!

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Too late or too early?

All I know is, I should be sleeping soundly snuggled up in a cosy bed, but OH is snoring. And when I say snoring I mean SNORING.

It's like sleeping next to an elephant with a tuba strapped to his trunk. I'm not trying to get rid of my eldest son, but I can't wait till he leaves home so I can have my own room. Bliss.

I'll give it another few minutes - I can just stick my head out of the lounge; even with the bedroom door shut, I'll be able to hear him :(

I haven't even got any Christmas chocolate in the house yet ...except on the tree!!! They won't miss one, maybe two. G'night.

Monday, 15 December 2008

Voting, voting - is there no end to it?

SPOTY08 - what a great show last night, they kept it moving thankfully, they have been known to pad it out a bit sometimes. Too much to celebrate this year though. Rebecca Adlington should be given another award frankly, for making it down that ramp in those heels. I needed more tissues following the Helen Rollason and Unsung Heroes awards, but that’s nothing new. Didn’t I say cycling would be the National Sport by 2012? Team of the Year, Coach of the Year and the main award for Chris Hoy.

Call me Sybil, even though I don’t live at Delphi but I predicted the final three in the right order. In fact, I do quite often predict the winner: My choice for Xfaxtor was Alexandra (won). My choices for the first three series of Strictly that I watched were Jill, Darren and Ramps (all won). My choices in Dancing on Ice were Gaynor, Kyran and Suzanne (all won). Just call me Mrs Joe Public. So my choice for Strictly last year was Gethin (although with Alesha in the final and happy whoever won) and Tom/Austin this year. Now, hands up who can tell me the difference between those first few and the last two? Hm? Anyone? I’m sure you can work it out. Clue: Six letters, begins with a ‘J’ and ends in ‘S’.

The SCD director was as clear as mud tonight on ITT. My understanding is either: The scores and the votes are carried over, so the leader board stands at 75 apiece for the girls and 67 for Tom and the phone votes will be added to next weeks phone votes. Then they dance their two dances and these scores are added to the previous scores to make up the final leader board, which could look like this: Girl 1: 3 points; Girl 2: 3 points; Tom: 1 pt. Which is fine because the public vote will hopefully go: Tom 3 pts, Girls whatever and Tom would be tied with one of the girls on 4 points and will proceed to the next stage as the public vote carries more weight.

OR - Mr. SCD Man made it sound like the OTHER points would be carried over, in which Tom is already 2 points down! Then, bearing in mind the judges could do the same again, the girls would both be on 6 points and Tom on only 2pts. So, since Tom can only get a maximum of 5 pts after the public vote - THEY’RE MAKING THE SAME MISTAKE AGAIN!!!!!!!!! Jesus H.Christ Almighty - I’m a dumbarse when it comes to Maths but even I can work it out! Unless they’re adding the public votes to the judges votes before they start on Saturday? Which would hopefully make it Girl 1:5 pts; Girl 2:4 pts; Tom: 4 pts. So if the judges do the same again and the girls get a maximum 3 pts each - are you still awake, come on, keep up - they would be on 8/7 pts before the viewer vote, after which Tom could only get a maximum of 8 pts, which can only equal one of the girls. So we have to tactically vote? What if, like me and my friend Trish, you didn’t vote for Tom on Saturday because you knew it was pointless? How many other Tom fans didn’t vote because it was pointless. If he wasn’t top with the public this week, he's not even going to be on 7pts is he?

Don’t blame me for making it confusing. I’m emailing It Takes Two. This dance off business has been more trouble than it’s worth - just to keep the judges favourites safe. Why should they choose the finalists over the hundreds of thousands of us that vote?

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Running Commentary SCD: Week Thirteen - Semi Final

Lisa and Brendan - great music, good interpretation. I felt Lisa actually led it more than Brendan though, but passionate. Len: I loved the start, into character, intensity; Bruno: Lisa’s legs reaching to the outer limits; Craig: Like the spiky nature , the passion. (Something) could have been led more by Brendan; Arlene: Those legs were made for wrapping. Judges: 35. Quickstep: I preferred their earlier one, this didn’t have the same pizazz, lovely though it was. Len: Maintained the movement, produced two fantastic dances tonight; Bruno: Moved with the radiance of a shooting star; Craig: Velcroed together. Fab-U-Lous; Arlene: Mastered the Quickstep, you‘ve come a long way baby. Judges 40. 75 combined.

Tom and Camilla -jiving to ‘Waterloo’ - an inspired choice I feel, what with the Mamma Mia film being the soundtrack of the year! I loved it, full of bounce, energy and FUN! Craig: More energy, improved sharpness; Arlene: More exciting than the Woolies sale (Well, you’d hope so!); Len: Fun, energy, loved the Miami special (the knee thing)Brilliant!; Bruno: Could this be your Waterloo! Judges: 33?? Scores don’t seem to match the comments - that’s what he got before. AT: Complete connection, much more with the feeling and less of the flicky bits. Bruno: You went for performance; Craig: Loved the routine, believable; Arlene: A lot of story…moving through mercury; Len: Chemistry and passion, brilliant. Judges: 34 Again,
better comments than the score suggests. Combo 67. In trouble. It’s them I’d rather see in the final though - Tom’s a natural dancer, you get the heart and soul in what he does.

Rachel and Vincent and a very technical AT, which lacked soul - maybe some traditional music would have helped? Arlene: Burning a hole in the floor; Len: Technical Tour de Force, could have done with a bit more drama; Bruno: Couldn’t see where Rachel started and Vincent started; Craig: You did that absolutely brilliantly (maintained upper body stillness) Judges: 39. Their chemistry is no better than anyone else’s - nowhere near Ramps and Karen’s AT. American Smooth to Barry Manilow - Mandy. I’m sorry but she’s just going through the motions, there’s no engagement with me at all. Where was the pizazz - they just seemed to wander around. It's not like me to be cruel, but they may as well have danced to this . Arlene: Return to the Hollywood movies with Rachel as Ginger Rogers; Len: Wasn’t a foxtrot, just wandering around (now he’s nicking my lines) Bruno: Quality of a beautiful dream (you forget it as soon as you wake up?) Craig: Gorgeous. I loved it. Judges: 36 Combo 75.

Well, that’s it then. The girls are tied at the top - there’s no way Tom can escape the dance off, even if the 10 million viewers in their entirety vote for him. Tess says it’s up to us - no, it isn‘t. There’s nothing we can do and no point in voting for Tom. Shut up Tess - we can’t save him. After losing Austin last week, we’ll now have a final with two of the least popular dancers in the competition, who between them will have been in six dance offs this series.

Results Show

Tom and Cam putting on brave faces. The one who goes through will be the one who wins - which is why a three couple dance off is so ridiculous. What? They’re freezing the vote as one couple would always have gone into the dance off? Well it wasn’t bloody rocket science was it? Oh, of course - the lawyers have been on to them - asking people to vote to save Tom when it was impossible constitutes obtaining money by deception! I hadn’t thought of that! Obviously plenty of other people had though and no doubt the complaints are already rolling in! Now will they accept that the dance off is a bad thing and scrap it? Quote from Bruno: “Both my girls did me proud” *Ahem * no bias there then! A show dance which was more rhythmic gymnastics - impressive but not dancing. So not interested. Bored now. The pro dancers group jive - that’s more like it: Karen and Matt; James and Ola; Darren and Lilia. Great value as ever. Tess talking to Austin, he’s still gutted: “The sun didn’t come up, birds didn’t sing, phone calls to the Samaritans, I’m never dancing again.” LOL Johnny Vegas just behind - now that would be fun. And Austin still rooting for Tom, Yay! The cast of ‘Chicago’ ’All That Jazz’ with some of our Pros - Matthew and Flavia, Ola/James, Hayley/Ian.

The Moment of Truth: They’re all through!!! Votes carried over to next week - thank God, a three couple final, back on track. They had to - all the people who don’t realise how the scoring works (and you’d be surprised how many there are - just take a look around the forum) were wasting their money voting for Tom and the Beeb cannot afford another phone scandal. It was the only thing they could do. Of course, a look around the forum will tell you that Lisa and Rachel fans aren’t happy of course - but the neutrals (and Tom fans) are! And I read on a news website that 200 viewers had complained but it didn’t say what about exactly - considering there are ten million viewers - Pffft!!

Thursday, 11 December 2008

3BT: Shopping, career, cold

Did a little bit of Christmas shopping - cards, mainly - couldn’t face Woolies! And I’d forgotten to bring back the coat I’d bought there Tuesday for Matt. I wonder if they can refuse to exchange now? Ah, well - he’ll just have to grow into it!

Coffee morning and the writing talk turned to careers, or lack thereof. If I only knew then what I know now! My careers interview consisted of the following recommendation by the teacher:
“You’re tall - be a policewoman. Next!”

We’re all wrapped up since it’s normally chilly in this cafe, but they’ve found out they do actually have heating - so now we’ve all got headaches. I know - any excuse not to write.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

The things they say ...

Matt, circa 7.30pm, wearing his sunglasses around the house.

"I see great darkness coming."

Yes, dear - that would be bedtime!

Monday, 8 December 2008

Parents' Evening

Don’t you just love them? The Daily Scatter story today is based on my experience last week. And I’m also thinking of using it for the five minute assessment piece on my course. (Thinks: Events, inciting incident, characters, conflict, crisis, more conflict, conclusion, and oh, some more conflict, just for luck.) It’s perfectly true that they hadn’t stated which school it was in and that the poor cleaner was being interrupted constantly (but was very nice and didn’t abuse anyone really) and that they’d put half the teachers in some other hall, out of sight from the main one with no signs. And whilst there weren’t really any fisticuffs, I was mightily tempted!

Picture, if you will, a table, in a corner of the hall, with the Head of Sixth Form sat behind it. A couple are sitting with her, I follow another couple across the hall, who stand in the space just behind, to wait. Other teachers are either side of her, each with their own queues. I await my moment and as the seen couple get up to leave and are replaced, I, along with Matt, glide smoothly into the empty space. No one else is nearby. Ten minutes pass.

So far, so good. There’s movement to my left. A couple I noticed follow me over have moseyed on in next to me; she, by my side; he slides behind the teacher, opposite. I gird my loins, ready for action. The seen couple stand up - and blow me down if that bloke opposite didn’t just dive straight into my seat!

Me: Er - excuse me?

Him: We were here first.

Me: I think not, actually.

Him: We were over there (Points); you walked straight past us.

Me: Did I? Into this empty gap here, you mean.

Him: We were before you but we were just over there.

Me: Behind those people waiting for that teacher over there? (points)

Sixth Form Head (diffusing situation): I know them, we’ll be very quick, I promise.

Matt: I need the toilet! (mum rolls eyes)

Me: Right, I’m taking him to the loo - don’t you dare start talking to anyone else. (Wags finger)

Matt and I arrive back to our empty space and …some other woman starts creeping her way forward.

Me: You do know I’m next, right?

Her: Well, actually, I’ve been here since 5pm (Pan camera to show clockface set at 6pm)

Me: Not here you weren’t. Because I’m here. Before them, in fact.

Six more women edge forward: We were here first.

Me: Where? Not here, it was empty - I followed the previous couple to them over here.

Woman 1: I’ve been sat there since 5pm

Me: You want to pay attention then, loads of people have gone in front of you.

Woman 2: I’ve been queuing there since 5pm.

Me: Should’ve tried queuing in the right place then.

Woman 3: We were all sat over there, queuing.

Me: So where’s the signpost?

Woman 4: But that’s where we were queuing.

Me: What am I, psychic? I’ve been here fifteen minutes and you’ve only just noticed.

Woman 5: But we were all here before you.

Me: Over there, in front of that teacher. I.e. in the wrong place - your tough luck I’m afraid. I’m going next, I’ve got him (indicates child) to get home and give tea to.

Happily, they backed off. Bloody cheek. I was furious, probably not helped from the lack of organisation and because I was stressing over the car, which had begun to play up on the way - I was pretty convinced I was going to break down halfway home. It made it and is booked back into the garage again on Wednesday morning. They really did see me coming.

If there is anyone reading this, feedback on the dialogue would be gratefully received! This is the first draft, though - be gentle :)

Sunday, 7 December 2008

The Results Show SCD: Week Twelve

Am I the only one who‘s glad the old Brendan is back - it’s just been too quiet :D. Have to say that is Tess’ best style; stunning. Ooh, a disco dance from the 70’s - now we’re cooking! Bring it on! LOL. The Hustle (check out 1 minute in, me and my mates at our local club that is) must have been one of the first singles I ever bought. Brian and Kristina giving it some welly to Boogie Wonderland, though I’m guessing this may have been put together quite quickly. Group Viennese Waltz - twirly twirly gorgeous twirly. The Argentine Tango - er, isn’t the girl on girl action on the table a little bit too, well, you know - at this time of night? It’s dramatic and all that but I prefer a nice big swing or fast Latin number. What else will they do next week - surely not just the AT? Barry Manilow sings ‘Copacabana’ without moving his lips - and he’s not miming ;) Cam and Ian, Lilia and Darren whip it up. Cheesy it might be, almighty fun it surely is.

The Moment of Truth
Safe: Rachel and Vincent; Tom and Camilla. Doesn’t reveal anything we didn’t already know about how the voting might go. Austin and Erin, first dance off - go for it. I don’t think the judges can deny Lisa and Brendan’s waltz though but I’m still not comfortable with the fact that the publics’ possibly 1st or 2nd favourite can be voted off. It’s unanimous - but under the old rules I’m sure Austin and Erin would have gone through. Craig is gutted, you can see; he was governed by the dance off rules so fair play to the bloke. Standing ovation. Oh, for goodness sake - am I destined to end every results show in tears?

Running Commentary SCD: Week Twelve

And Tess nearly took a tumble then! Fancy having a train on the dress, how daft! Ha ha at Bruce - I certainly didn’t know about the Killers!

Austin and Erin up first for their American Smooth, which I’m sure will knock us out. If ever you needed points, the AS is a surefire thing, always entertaining Hollywood style with lifts. Matt Dawson in training passing on a few tips. Top Bloke! The Best is Yet To Come, they promise and spectacular lifts do follow, although the transitions weren’t too smooth. A quiet performance actually, not a lot of pizazz. Len: A great job, fantastic (in hold); Bruno: Light and airy quality; Craig: Very smooth, lot of control, safe, slightly bored (that’s a turn up!); Arlene: Come out and dance for England. (Seems the judges are a little bit under whelmed with that.) Judges: 34 - normally a good score but low compared to recent efforts. Salsa and WOW - what an entrance! Ok, upper body not so fluid but he lets himself go, really enjoyable, lots of fun elements. Should bring him back in touch. Len: Come back stronger, more vibrant. Great; Bruno: Pushed the entertainment value, sold it; Craig: Very entertaining, some of it a bit awkward; Arlene: Electric, masterful (when with Erin) Be fearless (on own). Judges: 36 excellent score, the others will have to be on top of their own Latin. Combined: 70

Lisa and Brendan take to the floor for a beautiful waltz in the most gorgeous dress (Lisa, not Brendan). The song and whole feel is magical (a word I later hear a lot)Bruno: The ballroom dream continues, exquisite; Craig: The genius of the dance was its simplicity; Arlene: Every breath you took matched the flow of the dance and the footwork; Len: Beautiful, majestic, a true delight - commend Hayley Sanderson, the singer. (Nice one, Len). Judges score: 39 Deserved again I think. Jive: Brilliant song choice - Crocodile Rock, one of mine on the Song Choices thread. The training looks good but judges unconvinced. She tried her best - I‘ve seen worse, but again, she’s enjoying herself and that engages me more than technical perfection. Bruno: Why was I worried - you did it!; Craig: A brave endeavour, a fine job; Arlene: You tackle everything , you go for it; Len: Acted the dance, legs quite good, bit loose. Judges: 33 - not as good as Brendan was hoping, he’s taken a hike. Aw, bless Tom - he stepped in to give Lisa a cuddle. What a sweetie pie :) Combined: 72

Tom and Camilla - Here they Come Again, for a foxtrot. Not a song I’d have thought of but it’s completely and utterly beautiful, magical choreography and so emotional. The end sequence was simply divine. What a peach - their best to date - and that’s a tough choice for me. They surely won’t deny him top marks for that? Craig: Swing and sway, in complete control; Arlene: Dancing your way into the final; Len: You absolute beauty! Knocked my socks off!; Bruno: The golden couple - aimed high and hit the spot. Judges: 39 Wooohooo!! Only Craig with a 9,but, well, that’s Craig! They’re like a couple of spaniels given their Xmas dog stockings early! Brendan and Austin can’t stop grinning at them - hope it had the same effect on the voters! Rumba time - Arlene “I’ll show him how to do a rumba!” Watch yourself Tom! Rumba not my favourite of dances, but he did a credible job there - let anyone dare say they lack connection, I certainly felt it. Craig: There is sign of improvement, fell in love with it, it was great; Arlene: Not a lot of content but I found my heart beating faster; Len: far too hectic, too many lines; Bruno: A hard dance to nail. Judges: 34 - I’d been very hopeful after Craig’s comments - not usually him outscoring Len! If he hasn’t been feeling the Latin till now though he’s a bloody good actor, because I’ve been convinced since the week 1 Cha cha. Combined: 73 - doesn’t sound huge but it puts him second on the leader board, a great result - if he has the public support I think he has.

Rachel and Vincent - I swear they just replayed her interview from her first dance off. Vincent likes his Eurythmic songs for the Tango, excellent choreography, I didn’t see any mistakes but the dress is long again! Competent as ever. Arlene: Most erotic tango I’ve ever seen; Len: Light and shade, wish I had an eleven; Bruno: A performance that sends a chill down my spine; Craig: Commend choreography, displaced balance, kick ball changes slightly ahead. (Nice to see Craig is actually unbiased - I have been a bit concerned this series) Judges: 39. Cha cha. Well executed, unexciting, nice song. Arlene: Sparkled like the shine in your dress; Len: Two fantastic dances tonight; Bruno: One thing is plain to see, you are a great dancer; Craig: Compact, tight. Judges: 37

Austin in trouble - If he gets top score with the public though and Rachel bottom, and Lisa 2nd from bottom with public, he'll escape the dance - off. It's feasible.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Sports Day

It’s all a bit quiet on the sporting front - apart from these and, of course, the BBC Sports Personality of the Year. There are ten nominees listed, six are on my list. Personally, it’s got to be Hoy, Adlington and Hamilton for the top three. Andy Murray has had a great season apparently - but until he wins a grand slam event, I fail to see how he can live with the company on that list, frankly.

Cyclists still on top form
More cycling!
Paralympic Swimmers set world bests.
Bowls success

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Apparently, 'HP and the PS' is in the English 'A' Level now ...

I lent a friend my ‘The End of Harry Potter’ book by 'Hugo' Award winning author David Langford, but got it back when I realised how useful it would be for examples of plot structure in the essay, since it points out devices used by JK Rowling. And the first page I open it to illustrates foreshadowing. Perfect!

If only the 'A' Level purely featured Harry Potter, I might be tempted.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

The things they say …

Matt’s in the kitchen, helping himself to ham. “Mum, mum - we’re running out of soil, you need to get some more.”


“Yeah, you know - the silver soil you use to wrap the ham …”

Sunday, 30 November 2008

Running Commentary SCD: Week 11

And I’m watching the show at Sparkling Champagne’s house - head girl and founder member of the legendary GGs! Let me say right here, right now - I did not get lost, I knew exactly where I was in relation to her house. I just can’t explain why it took three hours for a 60 mile journey (many thanks to the security guard at Tescos in Uckfield - you’re a star!) or why I only just arrived before our Irish contingent from Dublin. Anyway, a fun evening was had by all thanks to our lovely hostess. Recipe of the Night: One bottle of Asti Spumante, add cointreu and cranberry juice to taste. Yum.

Rachel and Vincent up first. She’s not what you call excitable is she? Four tens last week; anyone else would be jumping for joy. Training tears *yawn*. That dress is too long - how’re they supposed to see her feet? Another understated but probably faultless performance that bored me to tears. Len agreed re the dress but is assuming her feet were perfect. Bruno: Look like an angel, dance like an angel; Craig: Shaping through the hands exquisite but choreography stopped and started (I agree) Oh here they go again *sticks fingers in ears while they argue* Arlene: Truly one of the most soul tingling waltzes ever seen. Er, no! Nowhere near the charisma of Alesha, (the epitome of bubbly) and Gethin. Judges: 39 What a surprise. Paso Doble: According to one of the GGs, Vincent looks like Dandini LOL! Hm, this looks a bit stampy to me, rather than strong and she’s walking around like she’s modelling and isn’t actually doing very much. But it’s Rachel and she must be protected so… Bruno: Can have any bull you want …not as steady as it could have been; Craig: Like the flameco hand shaping - a brilliant attempt; Arlene: Dramatic but not through the face; Len: Wasn’t enough content, too much
messing about. Judges: 32 If Len wasn‘t so inconsistent I’d probably agree with him most of the time. Combined: 71.

Lisa and Brendan. Stop crying woman! Get on with it! I’ve warmed to her a lot because she’s a superfan and I really enjoyed her quickstep, but stop with the snivelling. Fingers crossed. Love the
song and musicality, a smashing foxtrot full of pizazz. Bruno: Style and elegance, fantastic choreography; Craig: A-may-zing! Arlene: Cinderella …went to the ball; Len: A buffet of gorgeous dancing; your best dance. Some more 10’s coming I think, deservedly so. Judges: 39 Cha Cha: I love the fringy frocks and this was easily the best cha cha since Tom’s way back in week one. Thought the song a bit slow but the timing again was great. Bit worried the dress might ping off. Craig: Strutted your stuff, really fantastic; Arlene: Delivering the best cha cha this series; Len: No messing, Brendan showed off Lisa’s talent; Bruno: Doubts about Latin blown away. Be proud. Judges: 37 You could see Bruno’s grin forming before he gave the ten! Combined: 76

Christine and Matt have Felicity Kendall helping them out. Needs to be strong here. Have to say I really don’t like Addicted to Love as a Tango song. Good ending and she looks fantastic, but not strong or sharp enough unfortunately. Craig: Not sharp enough; Arlene: You weren’t centred, no core strength, need to tighten; Len: A bit of drama; Bruno: You have the faces, moves …but limp. Judges: 28 Keep fighting and smiling. Salsa so much better, the smile is back but a bit stop/start in places. Len: Really attacked. Well done; Bruno: Dance suits you; Craig: Stompy???( he does worry me at times) Energy fantastic. Judges: 30. Unless Austin and Tom really cock up their Latin, she’ll be bottom. Combined: 58

Austin and Erin. I’m watching his feet on this - Ian and James midweek report and Len’s master class have told me what to look for. Nice opening, I'm seeing lots of toes and not heels. But since I don’t really care about those I’m just loving the
dance. Arlene: One foxy guy, magical; Bruno: Performance right up there, amazing; Len: Performance fantastic. Well done; Craig: If you’re a viewer and you don’t know what to look for…sickle feet, more sway needed. Judges: 36 But they seem to be marking less on technical and more on performance with some than others. *Note to BBC: Hand the judges a dictionary open at ‘Consistency’* What’s a plome? Plome, anyone? Northern for plum? Anyone? Oh - aplomb! Paso Doble - fantastic start, a buzz went through the audience. Immense piece of music, a lot of shouting and I want Austin to go through but *whispers* he didn’t seem to do an awful lot. No doubting an exciting performance though. A standing ovation from the audience. Len doesn’t look happy: Very, very disappointed. All performance, no content; Bruno: Lorrrrrd of the Paso! Powerful delivery; Craig: Arrogant, full of attitude, I loved it; Arlene: You little devil. That’s what Strictly’s all about. Judges: 38 Tens from all except Len - 8 This is why it shouldn‘t be up to the judges. Combined: 74 Knocks Rachel down to third. I’ll say it - she’ll be in the dance off.

Tom and Cam and a beautiful romantic waltz to one of my favourite
songs . I loved it, so did the audience. Let’s hope there’s no buts …Len: Fantastic; Bruno: Romantic lead you are, beautiful it was (He suddenly became Yoda); Craig: Loved the rise and fall; Arlene: Charisma, control, beautiful. But the problem was the butt, apparently. Not that I noticed. Judges: 35 - 7 from Craig - ridiculous, 10 from Len. T&C well ‘made up’ was the phrase I heard Tom use. More happiness from them over the one ten than anyone else over their multiple tens. Tom’s samba shirt has a life of its own! Wonderful party song and the most fluid samba we’ve seen - those backward walky things that usually look awful, even when done by Alesha, were brilliant - the filthy hips are back in town! It made me smile - it’s him I want to see dancing in the final. Bruno: Camper than a row of tents - an explosion of fun; Craig: Amazing energy; Arlene: Mardi Gras, entertaining; Len: Bit repetitious but whole flavour of the dance was brilliant. Judges: 35. Combined 70. Just one more point and I’d have been a lot more confident about them avoiding the dance off.

I may need to sacrifice Christine to see Tom through. And we’ll find out if Tom does have the public vote. Rachel will be saved whoever she’s in the dance off with.

The Results Show
They’re really trying to sustain interest in the show - the best five couples ever? Geth/Cam, Zoe/Ian; Jill/Darren, Alesha/Matthew; Erin/Colin. That’s five off the top of my head right there. Was there a dip in the ratings this week that they need to big it up? The voting is closed otherwise Christine’s score would have gone through the roof following Arlene’s negative comments. Nice one Tom, some verbal support for Christine. Darren and Lilia’s samba to Volare, over far too quickly. The quickstep, Flavia/Anton, James/Ola, Lilia/Darren, Karen/Brian fast and furious and great fun. Estelle the special guest, singing 'American Boy' and we have Karen, Brian, James, Ola and Flavia with a cha cha. Where’s Kristina? She’s not been on it since John went.

The Moment of Truth: Safe - Tom and Cam! Yippee! LOL at their reaction. (And now we know he has public support) Austin and Erin, a salute between the two boys - Yes! Lisa and Brendan through too. No surprises then really. And the dance off a foregone conclusion. Rachel looks confident, Christine resigned. . I bet she’d have gone through under the old system. It must be galling for Rachel to know she’ll only make the final because of the judges.
Your smile will be missed Christine - loving the impromptu Irish dancing with Matthew! I’m a bit sniffly cos she’s welling up, so I’m going now.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

If money were no object …

I’d pay to have parking bays marked out in the church car park next to the school - so the pathetically terminally incompetents can park properly. There was room for another dozen cars if the idiots hadn't left three foot gaps between each other.

Luckily, the matiz, being tiny as it is and having the turning circle of a school compass, allowed me to sweep, well, inch, into one of said gaps. I had to exit via the boot mind, but I did it. The other drivers faces were a picture - and I made them wait. I hope they got the message.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Medway Blogger

This weeks issue, it's me again. Surprisingly, it’s all about Strictly …remind me to get a life sometime …some of it you'll already know! You know the drill - click on the page numbers at the top and enter 13.

Monday, 24 November 2008


This week - Three easy steps to perfect fried eggs

1. Ensure a plentiful supply of kitchen towel

2. Ensure a plentiful supply of eggs

3. Wait till The Simpsons start, make your excuses and leave mum to clear up and start again.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Results Show SCD: Week 10

Ok, so the producers want the judges to argue - or why show it again? I give up. Two dances next week. The Milonga - the forerunner of the Argentine Tango; Vincent and Flavia show us - they surely don’t expect the celebs to do that. It was fantastic. The group dance Saturday Night Fever. Brilliant fun. Superb, Tom’s timing stood out for me. John Barrowman ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You’ with Brian and Darren together with Lilia, Hayley, Ola and Flavia for a Latin fest. Wonderful as ever.

The Moment of Truth: Safe - Rachel and Vincent; Christine and Matthew; Tom and Camilla; Austin and Erin. Lisa again - and Jodie. Christine must have been at least 3rd favourite with the public to put Lisa down there, who may have escaped had Austin been below her. It’s bye bye Jodie and Ian.

Running Commentary SCD: Week Ten

Before we start, a word re The John Sargeant Issue. For me, first and foremost, SCD is an entertainment show, not a serious dance competition. That was called Come Dancing and it was canned eventually because it didn’t pull in enough viewers. This was designed to involve the public and celebrities but some people seem to have forgotten that. Therefore, John had a place in the competition along with everyone else and if the public wanted to support him, they had every right to do so. I voted for him the first week. As time went on, I preferred to vote for the one couple that thrilled me most, seeing as how close the competition is. And I firmly believe John would have gone out before the semi-final. Now we’re faced with the prospect of a two couple final, with the judges effectively choosing the winner in the semi final again, which I’m pretty sure they’re delighted about. I’m not. And I don’t blame John.

Spotted Zara Phillips and Felicity Kendal in the audience - they’d make brilliant contestants …but since I’m in a cynical mood I’d have to say the judges would be completely sycophantic to Zara and Felicity would be Cherie Mark 2. So why put them through it? Camilla’s dress is amazing.

Lisa and Brendan, an excellent quickstep routine, a leaf taken from Tom - loved the freestyle jumps. Her most confident performance, very stylish. The judges look mightily pleased. Len: Managed beautifully, great movement around the floor; Bruno: Delivered a top vintage quickstep. Classic, elegant; Craig: Had the potential of being perfect; Arlene: Full of fancy footwork. Score: 35

Christine and Matt Cha cha cha to a fab song but it seemed a bit slow. Christine bubbly as usual but her legs let her down again. It didn’t thrill me like her jive. Bruno: Didn’t engage me as much as I’d like you to; Craig: Disappointing, wooden, sticky, needs to be more dynamic; Arlene: need to feel the rhythm, flat footed; Len: Neat, precise, clean, sell it more. See - I actually agree with the judges on this - they told her what she did wrong and how to put it right. Except Len, who caused an almighty argument again, calling their opinions piffle and telling her to whip her knickers off and throw them in the air. *Rolls eyes* Like Craig said - very constructive. Not. Score: 27 In trouble. This whole series has been so bad tempered, some message boarders followed the judges lead and I don’t know that I can be bothered any more.

Jodie and Ian’s jive to ‘Great Balls of Fire’, excellent choice. Jodie lacked bounce but a fun routine, better than I thought it’d be, considering her lack of training. Energy and enjoyment shone through as always. Craig: Pleasantly surprised, confident and tight; Arlene: Performed like a great actress; Len: Did those kicks beautifully, fun element; Bruno: You were sharp and on time. You should be proud. Score: 30. Fingers crossed.

Tom and Camilla, whose music I have again failed to find on Youtube and ooh, I actually blushed watching him in action there with Amanda Mealing. Tangotastic! It’s not normally a favourite dance of mine, but I felt a tingle in that. Sharp and dynamic, musicality again Tom’s strong point. I’ve seen 10s for less. Arlene: Drive, passion, stalked the floor, gripping - but not perfect; Len: Agree, fantastic - but not perfect; Bruno: Disdainful, whiplash, intensity - but not perfect; Craig: I wouldn’t mind coming to your hospital for a bit of slapping. Loved it. But not perfect. Score: 36. What’s the bloke got to do - none of the dances given 10s have been perfect.

Rachel and Vincent foxtrot to ‘Close To You’ - which I put on the Music Choices thread just this week!
Very nice performance as usual, at least I thought so when I woke up and watched it again. The Management are in. Len: Knocked my socks off; Bruno: Close to heaven, bliss; Craig: Fab-U-Lous; Arlene: Close to perfect, strictly something special. Score: 40. Goodbye Rachel, hello Emma. Once day maybe she’ll knock my socks off. Seriously overmarked to keep her safe. Arlene/Bruno - how can ’close to perfect’ and ‘close to heaven’ then be worth a ten? I’m getting quite annoyed now.

Austin and Erin cha cha to ‘It’s Raining Men’ LOL - it couldn’t be camper than if they pitched a tent in the middle of the dance floor! But they had a lot of fun out there, great chemistry and Austin singing his heart out all the way through. It wasn’t very fluid though and the early choreography really didn’t suit the music. The public will love it and rightly so, but he’ll be fourth on the leader board with that - always a danger area at this point. Bruno: Squeezed every drop of entertainment value out of that; Craig: Cheekiest cha cha I’ve ever seen, square of hip though; Arlene: Interplay, naughty but timid arms; Len: I enjoyed it very much. Score 35!!!!!!! What! As good as Lisa’s quickstep? No way, sorry - severely overmarked. So now the judges are giving marks for entertainment instead of technical ability. They’ve given the top four a cushion over the bottom two. So it’s Austin and Rachel in the final then.

I have to say it - once again, in comparison with other dances, Tom has been under marked. One point more than Austin’s cha cha? Give me strength.

John and Kristina. Biggest cheer of the night. Most beautiful dress of the night. If the judges stand I’m going to throw my tea at the telly. They didn’t but everyone else did. Yes Len, you may well look to heavens, not that you’ll find any comfort. That after John thanked the judges for whipping up so much support for him! The results show could be very interesting. I’m finding it hard to care.

Friday, 21 November 2008

The Coffee is Gone!

You see - in some places the public vote counts for something: The coffee flavour Revel is history! (For a short while anyway). I'm sure I wasn't the only one who voted against it. Likewise I'm sure there were people out there who loved it - unfortunately for them, the judges agreed with the majority. Fancy that, eh? Whatever next. I heard they called the coffee revel a disarster and it was outstanding at being a bad flavour, so they're glad it's gone. Even though, during the press conference they tried to say they were sad to see it go, they quite clearly hated it with a vengeance. Apparently, to soothe its feelings, they booked it on a cruise.

Strangely though, I'm not impressed with the replacement. It was a very insipid strawberry or raspberry flavour (see, I'm not even sure) and I was rather hoping for an exotic coconut or icy mint. At least you knew when you'd had a coffee one. I actually feel quite nostalgic for it now.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008


Boxing: Luke Campbell becomes England's first European amateur boxing champion for 47 years and Joe Calzaghe maintained his unbeaten record when he outpointed US legend Roy Jones Jr in New York.

Athletics: British Olympian Mara Yamauchi clocked a new personal best as she finished third in the International Women's Marathon.

Re-arrange the following well known phrase or saying. Team GB of Loads Again Cycling Gold Win

Darts Phil Taylor wins again.

Scriptwriting Log

I found out this week they do actually want a 1500 word log for assessment! I only started it as I did one on a previous course and thought it would be fun to keep a record this time round. But I’m supposed to be reading a lot more than I currently am - so I can use various texts as examples. Sounds a bit like ‘O’Levels to me! *eek* Still, they don’t have to all be on the reading list luckily, so for the ’Plant’ and the ’Foreshadowing’ I can use Harry Potter! *Phew*

Loads more homework again - does the tutor not know we're in the middle of Strictly? I'm sure I mentioned it ...

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Results Show: SCD Week Nine

Good grief - did Tess have a boob job overnight? GETHIN!!! Woohoo! More Gethin! Happy days indeed! And ‘Yay’ for Robert Powell - thought Tom was worth 4 tens! I’ve always liked him, thought he was marvellous as Jesus. Len: When you look back at all the series, who’s the best bloke at ballroom? He was talking about Austin - but we all know it was Gethin. The Pro Cha Cha. Kiss. Respect. Yep. Brucie and Anton perform ‘Me and My Shadow’ and Bruce tells Anton early: Not so close - I’m the star! LOL, so entertaining, proper old fashioned style. Work experience for Anton? Tom Jones - new single. We can hear him, show us Ian, Cam, Lilia and Darren - where have they gone - oh, they’re back. What a brilliant song - he hasn’t lost it, has he?

The Moment of Truth: Safe: Rachel and Vincent, called out first. What a surprise. Why am I so cynical lately? Austin and Erin; Tom and Camilla; John and Kristina *the Tin Hat salesmen all rub their hands in glee* Christine’s praying; Jodie and Ian; perm any one from Christine, Lisa, Cherie. It's Christine and Matthew - Matt now has a perforated eardrum. Lisa V Cherie - Lisa attacked, Cherie put a foot wrong, nervous. Craig and Arlene - Lisa; Bruno - Cherie. Len with the casting vote and Lisa’s through.

Two of the top three last week in the dance off this week - the ones left standing surely have to be those who can do both Latin and ballroom to a high standard. But frankly, anything could happen. I take heart for Tom in that my mum voted for him last night. She’s completely neutral, no favourites, doesn’t watch ITT, no message boarding - just votes for the one she enjoys most on the night. My very own straw poll!

Running Commentary: SCD Week Nine

Proper halfway - eight couples left and I have to wonder how Rachel’s feeling - her best dance (for me) last week and she ends up in the dance off?! But the rumba training looks hot! Austin meanwhile, bless him, thinks one mistake or fall and you’re out. No, not quite - if you’re popular with the public you’re in! (You are, Austin so don’t fret - we know that because of last week) Tess is wearing a curtain pole to hold up the pink curtain this week. Celeb spotting, Gary Lineker and Teddy Sheringham - next year maybe? Gethin was there - and I missed him!!! It must have been a pretty fleeting glimpse.

We’re off to a flying start with Jodie and Ian - she looks amazing and they’re so good together. A couple of footwork issues but Ian’s quicksteps are always entertaining with fantastic songs.
Enjoyable. Len: Excellent posture…skipping across hot coals. Great job; Bruno: You relish and enjoy what you do; Craig: So much better than last week … like lightning, brilliant; Arlene: You whipped round that floor. Judges score: 33. Now she’s the most improved dancer.

Lisa and Brendan samba, the party dance. A nice start (gypsy turns?) but I fear the music (Rock the Boat) is letting it down - it’s very quiet and incidental. She performed it nicely but no wow factor and I’ve pretty much forgotten it already. Sometimes lacked bounce and the first rolls were more like jam mini ones than samba ones. Craig: Liked spot voltas and running promenades …overall very good; Arlene: There’s a moment of tension; Len: You’ve really really impressed (she’s tall; it’s Latin *rolls eyes*); Bruno: The rolls were good …overall a good job. Judges score: 30 - inc. a 9 from Len?!

Christine and Matt. Much expectation for the waltz after Matt’s effort with Alesha. It was lovely and she pulled it all together, however (Craig impression - if it’s good enough for Brucie, it’s good enough for me!) much as I love both them and that song, it didn’t engage me like a more ethereal song (eg. A Time for This, If I Were a Painting, or see my list on the left down there) I’ve got ‘See the Day’ as an AT. I was probably expecting too much. Arlene: Big song, big dance, your best yet; Len: I agree with Arlene - thought it was great; Bruno: Polished … refined…fluid performance; Craig: Top and bottom working in unison. Judges score: 34 - their best to date.

Cherie and James Char char char (Brucie’s still at it, hee hee). Fantastic song choice
and she nailed the moves, but not quite as down and dirty (or wild) as it should be, still very ladylike. Fun though, easily her best Latin (I think her jive could be her best) Bruno: What a pair of pins - a breakthrough, I loved it; Craig: A little bit more punctuation needed, however, magnificent to watch; Arlene: Very neat, accurate; Len: Like that song … neat, precise, little bit more wild needed. Judges score: 32.

Austin and Erin with a smashing traditional tango to Libertango
. I love Erin’s dress and it’s hard to concentrate on Austin - not a good thing. It looked and felt right but I just had a sense of Austin concentrating very hard - and I thought his posture wasn’t as upright as it should be or his head movements as sharp. Proper attitude though, very strong overall. I’m being picky I think, because they’re all so good and I want to be wowed. Craig: Aggressive, passionate, driven, rugbylicious; Arlene: Tingling with torrid passion; Len: Go on my son, moody start, loved it; Bruno: Rampaging beast. Watch out Daniel Craig. Judges score: 38 (10’s from Len and Bruno)

Rachel and Vincent finally find her raunchy side for the rumba. This is her comfort zone, but although I’m sure it was technically good and the song was very sexy
and Rachel wouldn’t look out of place in a strip club, why did I not find it amazingly sensual? I only felt the longing from Vincent - Rachel barely looked at him when they were in close hold, her eyes were gazing downwards or sideways but not into his eyes to really give that connection. Len: If you’re in the bottom two, I’ll dance the next Masterclass naked *scrabbles for phone*; Bruno: Needing a bucket of ice, could revive the dead. Fantastic; Craig: Lewd, lustful, almost indecent …I loved it; Arlene: First time this series I had goosebumps. Judges score: 39 Hm, I don’t know - 3 tens? Didn’t I say early on she might be the Emma Bunton?

And here they come, John and Kristina. American Smooth. Two lifts. True Love Ways. You see, the trouble is - they’re charming! This was a huge improvement and much as Rachel was stunning - it’s John’s I’m smiling through. What can you do? Entertainment versus dance competition - it’s both and I’m entertained by dancing that makes me smile. Since I don’t know my toe leads from my toe loops I don’t always agree with the judges. Here we go. LOL - they walked away from the judges. Bruno: Surprisingly appealing; Craig: Lacked energy and drive …your timing is very good…splits moment a wow factor (Kristina, not John!); Arlene: I get what other people see in you, quite endearing. Hollywood feel, work on posture; Len: Brilliant (compared to Terry Wogan) You’re best performance to date. Judges score 25. Finally the judges have cottoned on about sympathy votes. Way too late but there you go.

Tom and Camilla - is it just me or has anyone else noticed they always seem to be first or last up? And do any of the celebs understand how the scoring works - Tom, darlin’ - you were three points clear of Rachel last week! You see, now this is what fully engages me and why he consistently gets my vote. He loves to dance and he can dance - ie. move fluidly in time to the music (another triumph)
He feels the music and responds to it and that works for me every time. Camilla is nailing the choreography and music again this year - the arms were fantastic, almost a blur and didn’t miss a beat. Arlene: Saucy, steamy, sexy, sensuous; Len: Rhythym, overall fantastic; Bruno: The Spice Boy has risen to the challenge again; Craig: Loved the choreography /armography, boundless energy (then went on about Tom dancing for himself - he’s not the choreographer Craig! Strangest comment I‘ve ever heard, hope Claudia takes him to task) Len called him a Born-again Plonker! Judges: 35

So there we are, not long to go for another Gate! Based on my values, the leader board would look like this: Tom, Austin, Jodie, Christine, Rachel, Cherie, Lisa, John. I'd really like to not say goodbye to anyone in my top four.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

London Jazz Week 2008

It's upon us - 14th to 23rd November in association with BBC3. Appearing amongst others will be Herbie Hancock, Courtney Pine and Melody Gardot and it's taking place in venues all over the capital, including Ronnie Scott's and the Royal Albert Hall.

Check out the details here: London Jazz Week 2008

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

3BT: Musical interlude and surprise, surprise - chocolate!

A friend of mine designs these gorgeous little music models . As a fellow football mum, we’ve never really had time to chat until last Saturday night at a birthday party, when I found out she teaches music teachers to teach music to children! And these little models are a wonderful sideline, so if you’re looking for the perfect gift for the musician in your family, check out the web shop.

Talking of Twist and Shout, John and Kristina’s cha cha song, I used to work at an insurance company who managed to put their own band together from the staff. A terrific night was had by all at a local hotel, the highlight a rendition of said Beatles song - with more of us on the stage than off it.

Matthew dropping his twix in the bin - no, really - even I draw a line there. I’m not saying it wasn‘t tempting and let’s face it, I’m still thinking about it now. I can almost hear it calling out to me …

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Just your average weekend away with the GG's ...

I am going to be in so much trouble ... :D - and I do hope that little blond boy was OK, bless him.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Running Commentary: SCD Week Eight

No one fell down the stairs on intro so it’s straight into couple number one - Tom and Camilla and the dance I know I’ve been waiting for since seeing the you tube Tap Dance routine. A big groan at Bruce’s joke - donny501’s from the forum was better. *whistles through teeth* that fall into the wall was naaaasty. And oh, I so do not want to hear that it could be a disaster! Thank God it wasn’t - the quickstep was amazing, not perfect, but a real WOW factor - caught the essence of Billy Elliott totally; the opening and closing solo tap segments were brilliant - different and exciting - will the judges think so too? Len: Character …charm …light and fluffy - I thought you did a great job; Bruno: Jumping Jack Flash …lightning bolt …timing unbelievable; Craig: *holds breath* Camilla …showcasing all of Tom’s strengths…Fab-U-Lous; Arlene: Fast feet footed - you were jumping over giant stones all the way to the final. (They did - except Len didn’t like the shoes! So that’s the topic for the Tom haters on the forums who can hardly credibly slate his dancing!) Happy, excited Cam at Craig’s 9! Judges score: 36.

Jodie and Ian next up for their samba to Tom Jones wasn't sure about that but remember
Lilia and Aled’s? It can work. Jodie said if the judges like it she’ll eat her shoe and unfortunately she was in no danger of having to do that. I thought she did alright actually - she’s so much more relaxed now and maybe it lacked content but it was like an adorable puppy, gentle and soft. Bruno: You’re like the stock market, up and down …tried to get into the spirit; Craig: Crucified that samba. Sorry (way too harsh again Craig); Arlene: it wasn’t that bad - you’ve got a nice softness in the legs; Len: You moved nicely, just didn’t suit you. Judges Score :23 - a 3 from Craig, 7’s from Len and Bruno - I reckon a fair score would have been all sixes, so overall about right.

Heather and Brian take to the floor certainly looking the part for their Tango, all fiery red. Love Heather’s mum’s advice: “Work it girl!” And she did, I thought. Good song choice got the audience on side and I’m bobbing along too. Fab musicality - enjoyable. Craig: Marked improvement, dance suits you. Well done; Arlene: You do get stronger week by week; Len: I thought drama and passion in it. A very good job; Bruno: Great improvement on last week …combine everything and get higher scores. Judges score: 27

Austin and Erin have the notoriously difficult rumba and there’s the chance Austin could catch a cold here. I hope not, he’s fun and it’s a great partnership and he is one of the better dancers. His emotional side is his back side LOL. Sexy start, beautifully choreographed for him but he needs to be more pliable. Competent though. Arlene: Brave…feet caress the floor; Len: You weren’t comfortable doing this dance, the elements you mastered; Bruno: You should have gone for “throbbing hunk and give her a good go” (steady on!LOL); Craig: Clever choreography …stiff. Judges score: 29. A five from Craig - I think he was allowing for the others over marking with their eights as the score is about right.

A welcome return to elegant Cherie and James this week with a waltz. I love a bit of saxophone
so I’m already engaged and it was gorgeous. Len: Every element of that dance was fantastic - except the heel leads!; Bruno: The English Rose is back in full bloom; Craig: Clean, confidant and hugely enchanting. Arlene: The chemistry is back (there was a bit before that but I can’t read my own writing. Doh!) Judges: 36

Christine and Matthew will be jiving but not before a bit of ballet - lovely to see Matt doing it too. Loving the dress, loving the song
and is it just me or did anyone else notice (sorry, couldn’t resist) they’ve cloned Christine into Alesha for this?! Best dance so far for these two, I loved it. All bouncy and lively and fun. She’s still jumping at the end - it is Alesha! Bruno: Sharp, tight, excellent; Craig: A very good job; Arlene: Thrilled, ballet made a difference (Craig admits he was wrong about ballet) well done, phenomenal improvement; Len: Bright and lively jive, so good, very nice. Judges: 31

Rachel and Vincent have the American Smooth and training looks good. Some help on the lifts from the Dirty Dancing man - I wonder if he does private lessons? *Ahem* Great solo from Vincent and an inspired song choice.
Nice lift sequence, although the middle bit ended up a bit clumsy, the start and end were very well done. Lovely choreography again BUT you can see the difference in how Christine delights in the dance and Rachel doesn’t ‘release’ - is the technical term I think. A shame too about the end stumble, but a very enjoyable dance. Craig: Loved they used the quickstep, completely animated. Wonderful; Arlene: Bright and lively …tricky footwork; Len: A gem of a performance; Bruno: Rrrrrrachel and VincentFred and Ginger for me tonight. Judges: 35

John and Kristina. Cha cha. The audience is laughing already - which means they know it’ll be awful but they’re going to enjoy it anyway. Fantastic song
cheeky, like John. Kristina is to blame for John still being here, as well as people like my Dad (see last week). He is the worst and it will be unfair if someone else goes instead of him. I wasn’t charmed with the start - buying time - and I’m trying to find something positive but this week I’m failing. Sorry John - grab some earphones on the way to the firing squad. And blindfolds for the rest of us. Arlene: Outstanding at dancing badly; Len: Phoning his mates to vote for him …terrible; Bruno: Charming personality …dancing stinks; Craig: Disarster. Judges: 12. Should go but …

Last dance - the Viennese Waltz for Lisa and Brendan and it looks like Karen’s VW dress has been recycled - lucky Lisa. It didn’t knock me out but it was very nice, her most assured performance to date. Len: The most improved dancer in this series; Bruno: Took the simplicity of VW and transformed it into ballroom magic; Craig: I could kiss you Brendan - fantastic job with this lady; Arlene: Endless love story. Judges: 36 Quote of the week from Lisa, in response to Tess’ Brendan’s smiling” “It’s cos Craig wants him now!” Big LOL.

You’ll note I’ve not said who’s safe - if the public save John again we could see a major shock - the top three probably have the cushion they need but anywhere from 4th downwards and it’ll be very close. Straight on with the results then, seeing as I'm late again today.

The Results Show

Tess is wearing a samba dress - is that a clue to what she’s dancing with Anton on Friday, I wonder! I laughed at The Joke: Bruce: Songs of Praise is on tonight -we’ve got singing; And Little Dorrit - we’ve got drama; Antique Roadshow - Tess cuts in: We’ve got Bruce! Bruno agrees with me re Craig’s harshness towards Jodie. Christine is definitely Aleshabot this week, look, she’s still jiggling around now! And so are Tom and Camilla. Michael and Joanne - World No.1. Latin dancers, showing how a char char char should be done, dahling. They’re so fast. Even when they’re going slow. Wow, humbling when I think of my pathetic little fan down the hallway. Hello, Anton! *Waves* So it’s Tess and Anton V Terry Wogan and Flavia (Please give him a waltz!) And we see some of Tess’ training - American Smooth by the look of it. The pro dancers tribute to the war years. Wot, no uniforms! Ah, it’s a ballroom, they’re all resplendent in tails. I’m running out of superlatives, I could watch them all night. Beyonce guesting - with Kristina and Brian - who made the most of probably the worst song I’ve ever heard Beyonce sing, although the rumba worked. Er, can anyone tell me how Brian lifted Kristina by her foot then? *winces*.

The Moment of Truth: Safe - John and Kristina!!! OMG - someone open the Gate! Bruce said it: Dear oh dear - not particularly professional but I’m all for saying what you think. They’re all worried now. Tom and Camilla *Phew* Because NO-ONE is safe! Lisa and Brendan; Cherie and James; Christine and Matthew; Austin and Erin:And finally, Jodie and Ian. Poor Heather, this is it - Rachel is the better dancer. So we now know that John, Jodie, Austin, and Christine are all more popular than Rachel. But where do Tom, Cherie and Lisa slot in? Brian looked so proud at the end, again Heather performed better the second time. No surprise here though - Rachel through unanimously but she’s an emotional wreck and setting me off again. I totally respect and agree with the judges comments.

What did I just say? Good grief - someone get me some chocolate, I must be in shock.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Looking back in mild trepidation ...

The short writing course at Canterbury is finished, a good thing actually because the Tuesday course requires a lot of reading as well as occasional writing! I’ve eight pages of handouts to work through and I never did get round to watching Taxi Driver.

Since we’re studying stage plays at the moment, I decided to finish the one we’d taken a look at in class - John Osborne’s ‘Look Back in Anger’. Well written but really not my thing, to be honest. However, it did give an insight into what is meant by the ‘beats’. The trouble with both courses of course, is that I now can’t watch anything without breaking down the scene and watching for transitions! A friend did an art class once - said she could never just look at a picture again and think: That’s nice. No, it’s more: I wonder why the artist decided on that colour? and: Goodness, the use of light and shade in that corner is amazing! I know what she meant now.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

A week long celebration

It started on Saturday night, we did ours last night and you just know there's more to come! It’s a funny thing to celebrate too, don’t you think? The attempted blowing up of a Parliament. Who thought of bonfires and fireworks - it was a struggle to feed your family in those days wasn’t it, without the kids banging on about next door having got sparklers and where’s ours? You’d think they’d have been happy to just hang, draw and quarter the perpetrators.

I remember my brother taking me over the Mudchute, a marvellous few acres of derelict waste ground behind our maisonettes. A fantastic place for building dens and dog walking, sliding down muddy hills and newt catching - and fireworks. All the space you could want and no roofs or trees to spoil the view. And if you were scared there were plenty of old concrete pill boxes dotted around to shelter in; the Mudchute was right next door to one of the Luftwaffe’s favourite targets from 30 years earlier: Canary Wharf.

Banana boats were still unloading then, they were the East End’s very own ‘Big Ben’ on New Year’s Eve. I remember that because one night, I saw a shadow on my bedroom wall, crawling upwards in the moonlight, just inside my curtain. It was a huge black spider with a furry coaster of a body and pipe cleaners for legs. I yelled for my dad: He approached with a sheet of kitchen towel.

“You’re gonna need a bigger bit!” I shouted, bravely, from the furthest part of the house. “Or a box. In fact, fetch the dog’s collar and lead! And it’s probably not a good idea to flush it!”
I never asked how he caught it or where he put it; I just made him sign a blood oath that it was definitely not in my bedroom anymore.

Back on the Mudchute, more people would gradually wend their way out to their own favourite spot. It soon became one large, public display. The neighbourhood’s big brothers co-ordinated their rockets and bangers - although one or two of them (the bangers, not the brothers) might find themselves attached to a newt’s tail, if it was stupid enough to stick it’s head out of the stream.

Know Your Place! (In the warm, with chocolate.)

My friend Chris suffered the misfortune of a flat tyre on her way to work; I said I’d take a look, which I did. And told her to call the RAC. This is one of those times I revert to being a week and feeble woman: It’s cold, it’s raining - I pay for breakdown cover, I’m not changing it! One time, there were three of us struggling to get the wheel off, a van pulled up and a one-armed man got out, gently moved us aside and had it done within a few minutes. What a star!

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Lewis Hamilton - World Champion. Sounds good, doesn't it?

Except of course, to the F1 Powers-That-Be who did everything in their power to scupper his chances this year!

I spent the last ten laps doing anything and everything but sitting and watching - I can't take the tension. I was outside, fingers in my ears, trying not listen for any sudden shouts of YES! NO! OH MY GOD! Could it have been any closer? At that last moment when the rest of them in the living room were going mad, I felt just like poor C3PO when Luke and the others were laughing and cheering, trapped in the garbage shoot**: They're dying R2; curse my metal bones, I wasn't fast enough. It's ok, we're alive, he's done it!

No pressure now - a good bet for back to back titles I'd say!

** but without the metal bones or the comm link.

The Results Show: SCD Week Seh-VEN

Stoic John; Brian Conley just said what I already said earlier. Apparently the ‘rave step’ is Andrew’s signature move, according to his daughters. Bruno’s leg. Say no more! (I’m jealous - couldn’t even do that as a supple 10 year old) Michelle Collins - ex-Eastender getting a look in - next years offering? Mark said Tom did what he couldn’t do - master the Paso. And that’s quite possibly the worst frock I’ve ever seen Erin in, I didn’t look properly last night obviously. Judges/words of wisdom - a contradiction in terms?

The pro dance is a jive, featuring girls alone to begin with - Cam, Karen, Flavia, Kristina and Lilia in a fun little number, but they’re soon joined by Brian, Darren and Ian. This is my favourite part of the Sunday show and the only real excuse to keep it going. Love the cutback to the celebs out back all copying the shimmy thingy - all looked in good time to me! I may need to see it again though since my eye was drawn by Tom. Tess is talking to Jodie - still on 31 - was hoping it had increased somehow overnight. Gabby Logan is doing the half term round up, ably assisted by Matt Dawson and Kenny and very good it was too - a lesson to the judges in how to be positive in the face of something lacking. Anton and Flavia take to the floor to ‘Let’s Face the Music and Dance’. They’re spoiling us tonight, especially as they’re joined by Erin and Vincent and a bit of partner swapping takes place. Full of fun, although they’ve done something similar before; I‘m not complaining. Austin will be doing a rumba next week; Cherie a waltz, so we could see the leader board change again. Craig said he hopes the public will start to take notice of the judges - dream on! Kelly from the Stereophonics is singing now and we’re treated to Hayley and Brendan, Lilia and Darren making it all look so effortless.
Moment of truth: Cherie and James; Austin and Erin; Jodie and Ian; Rachel and Vincent; Tom and Camilla (they’re doing Quickstep next week - excellent news!) Lisa and Brendan; Christine and Matthew; John and Kristina - never in doubt.

Andrew v Heather then - no surprises, no Gabbygate - that’ll be next week. Heather improved enormously, her timing was much better. Craig, Arlene and Bruno keep the responsibility off Len again - but he agreed: Andrew’s gone - lovely speech, the judges are standing and I’ve welled up again. They should have 12 dancers, keep ‘em all in every week so they do every dance and then jettison the bottom 9 with all the combined scores before the final. No-one gets left out then! I’m such a softie. I wonder if they’re going to hoist the next woman who leaves up on to their shoulders?