Friday, 31 October 2008

Otto the Octopus

I'm trying to make something up for The Daily Scatter, but frankly, I don't think I can better the truth!

Otto the Octopus Wreaks Havoc

The Pot Noodle Disaster

Matt prefers a Pot Noodle to a sandwich - if they’re good enough for my hero Roger Black, they’re good enough for the boy - and as he gets older he wants to do things for himself, which is understandable. So he’s put the kettle on, taken the sauce sachet out, fork at the ready and tells me he knows what he’s doing. I didn’t exactly leave him to it but by the time I wandered back in the kitchen after hearing the click of the kettle, he’d already filled up the pot. So far so good you’d think, but he suffered this strange affliction that befell my friend when we were on holiday one year - she was watching the bottom of the wine bottle rather than the top of the wine glass and her cup runneth over somewhat - all over the table and us; red wine too! Hence my kitchen worktop had Pot Noodle for lunch instead of Matt. This after he’d already knocked half of it into the cutlery drawer when pulling the lid off. I’m not sure who was more unhappy, me at all the clearing up or him because he had to settle for a marmite sarnie.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

And the beat goes on ...and on ...and on ...

The Whispers can be played five times driving home from the football club - and I know this, because it’s Matt’s current favourite song and as soon as we’re in the car it’s “put number seven on, mum, number seven , go on. ” And again. And again. When I finally clear my singles out of the loft, there’s a fair chance that particular one will find itself launched over the back fence. Note the big budget video - it really isn’t a home video filmed in the local school hall, honest.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Best Finalists Ever on X-Factor?

I have to watch the repeat on Sundays - although I’m not a religious follower of it, generally finding the finalists are never as good as their auditions promise - I was blown away with the strength of the girls’ performances this weekend.

No surprise to see two boys at the bottom - and I don’t think Scott should have gone - if his mentor had been a bit more positive he may have escaped: When Louis said Scott's song was too ‘old’ for him , why didn’t Simon come back with the fact that Buble and Cullum are making a very good living from singing these ‘old’ songs? Not that it matters - I can’t see any of the boys beating those five girls - best singers by far I’ve ever seen on this programme. Showed what they can do when given some decent songs.

Monday, 27 October 2008

The Things They Say

Matt was watching CBBC today, a kind of reality programme, where a teacher went to live on a pupil’s farm for the weekend. Undergoing various challenges, the final one would involve - so Matt tells me - something to do with Dr. Who or - sheep hurdling! Now that I’d pay to see.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Running Commentary: SCD Week Six

Paso Doble versus Viennese Waltz - couldn’t have two more contrasting dances. Love the style of Tess’ dress - just wish it wasn‘t grey. Almost another stair-rail moment - Tom nearly missed it! Didn’t recognise Cherie. And it’s not often I dislike something but Kristina’s dress is horrid. Like a design of mine when I was a kid and drawing princesses. The rest of the Paso dresses are fabulous.

Lisa and Brendan - I‘ve seen a group Pro Paso somewhere to Eye of the Tiger - can’t say I was keen then. Lovely choreography from Brendan, a good effort but missing something, power? Len: A great job; Bruno: Belonged more in Vogue than in a bullring; Craig: Arms sometimes lacked purpose; Arlene: Open the spine and work through the chest (I’ve been thinking that from the start - she’s trying to make herself smaller) Judges score: 29 That could put them quite low on the leader board tonight.

Andrew and Ola dancing the VW to Annie’s Song - one of the choices on the SCD Music choices thread I mentioned - bless, he’s got survivors guilt. They’re building a nice partnership; at least Andrew is living and breathing it. Needs to smile more - a slight stumble - well recovered - I’ve seen worse. Well done, definite improvement. Len: You have mastered ‘Bum-gate’, really good job; Bruno: Your stock is definitely rising; Craig; Faking swing …a good effort; Arlene: So sweet, a definite improvement. Judges score: 24 will be in the lower echelons but he’s had worse and got through.

Christine and Matt: Bruce puts us in the Spanish mood - she’s from the ‘Juan’ show! How will Christine stop from smiling all through? Another ’Music Choices’ song - Fighter. And Christine did need a bit more passion to be fair - great routine by Matt but a couple of stumbles. She didn’t smile though - I thought facially she got it spot on, but the rest of her was too gentle. Arlene: it did not work; Len: Dance didn’t suit your personality; Bruno: It was so floppy; Craig: Sometimes rag doll-ish, sometimes plank-ish (I didn’t think it was that bad) Judges score: 22 - a 3 from Craig ???? Way too harsh. Christine: How do I get angry? Just think of Craig, love, that should do it. Will be very close to, if not, bottom.

Austin and Erin in VW training and what’s with the lacky band? Gorgeous frock for Erin, gorgeous song too - Send in the Clowns. But I wasn’t enraptured - he didn’t smile and I thought he was a bit stiff so I was a little bit disappointed. Bruno: The Return of the King; Craig: All the character of a VW, Just wished you had smiled once… flat and cold (Thank you, Craig) Arlene: Sentimental, romantic: Len: You came back stronger … I loved it. Gorgeous. I think Bruno also said something about a connection between them - I didn’t see it and my mind wandered). Judges score: 34 top of the board so far.

Cherie and James - I am so looking forward to their Paso since hearing a clip of the music. Cherie looks amazing - what a shame about the opening stumble. Good but I was expecting to be blown away and I wasn’t - it lacked that power again. Think back to Letitia and Gethin last year and they way they attacked theirs - you’ll see what I mean. Craig: Fantastic shaping from the arms; Arlene: Wish you could do it all again with fire in your belly; Len: You’ll never dance badly…didn’t attack it. Still a very good performance; Bruno: Performance wasn‘t up to the standard of the actress (I have to agree - technically very good, but just lacking that drama, so were Lisa and Christine) Judges Score: 31 Should be safe …

Heather and Brian dancing a VW to Vision of Love - good choice. Come on Heather! A stunning vision in fuschia. A lovely start, great performance, smiley and relaxed - the midweek singing has made a huge difference. Great partnership - you go girl! Arlene: You’ve found your home, this dance suits you; Len: You maintained your posture …well done; Bruno: We do like a fighter …you were connected; Craig: Oh dear - pedestrian…jagged …flat footed (the others all shouted him down) Judges Score: 27 Middle of the board danger zone possibly, deserves to go straight through on that performance.

Mark and Hayley - Bruce is shimmying, somebody stop him - A brave attempt at a Paso for mild Mark - great start, looked the part but once they got moving he couldn’t carry it off. He gave it a go. The judges will crucify. Bruno: A painful shambles; Craig: A stick insect on acid; Arlene: You did one step in time; Len: The shapings were good. Judges score: 16 - really should be in the dance off tonight, worst so far by a mile.

Tom and Camilla - coming off a week of little training. Almost a wardrobe malfunction for Camilla - she cleared something off her foot just in time. 'I Can’t Help Falling in Love With You’ - no prizes for guessing who this is dedicated to. I think their was a footwork problem but it was a beautiful performance - Camilla is queen of the VW - and I loved loved loved the end sequence. Craig: You were stepping outside Camilla …gorgeous; Arlene: Beautiful, a whisper away from being perfect; Len: I didn’t like it too much …reverse turns all on your balls; Bruno: technical mistakes covered up by the assurance …I was charmed. Judges Score: 32 Should be ok, second on the board at the moment.

John and Kristina - Paso Doble - now this I can’t wait to see! No more Mr Nice Guy - LOL. Did he just swat a fly away? Got to hand it to Kristina, the right music, the audience eating out of their hands, and, whilst the stamping/marching was source of amusement, it actually seemed stronger than the others. Len: Demoted to private ; Bruno: Dad’s Army dance the Paso; Craig: Took marching to a whole new level; Arlene: Kept in time, kept head erect. Judges score: 21 Like it matters - we know he‘s safe!

Rachel and Vincent dancing the VW to ‘Everybody Hurts’ - yet another suggestion from the Music Choices lot. Loved Vincent’s choreography at the start and finish. Very sweet and romantic. Arlene: Wistful, charming; Len: Pretty …liked it but it was flat; Bruno: Graceful, elegant, simple but effective; Craig: (Vincent) choreographed a lovely waltz. Judges score: 32 joint second, should be safe.

Jodie and Ian, liking the look of their Paso training - if they get the music right… Woohoo! Oh yes - my favourite Paso of the night, even with a couple of wobbles, she gave it some of the fight that was missing from the others and it made it more exciting. Bruno: A Paso rougho! (what?) Craig: (some insults) …I found it quite exciting (thank you) Arlene: It didn’t really work for me; Len: It was competent not the best, not the worst for you (They’re never happy are they?) Judges score: 26 They’re all taking the mickey out of Len’s ‘Se-VEN) tonight. I hope they’re safe.

What? You expect me to predict after that lot? You’re on your own. I’ve been out so I couldn’t vote - I would have thrown one each to Tom, Heather and Jodie. I think the top four will be safe and so will John - but that’s about it!

Since the Results show has come and gone before I even began to think about typing this up, here they are:

No surprises in the backstage judges comments. Ooh - a Roger Black appearance, always appreciated; he liked Lisa and Brendan best (but I bet he voted for Camilla too!) Talking of Camilla - she doesn’t want remarks like that from Len again, so Tom will find The Honeymoon is definitely over! Have to agree with Len - the VW’s outdid the Paso’s tonight. The Jersey Boys sang ‘Oh, What a Night’ - can’t say I was struck with the vocals but the latin pro dance (James/Ola, Lilia/Darren, Karen/Matt, Kristina/Brian ) was brilliant. A quick chat with siblings - close your eyes and Lisa’s sisters could be her - and didn’t Rachel’s brothers used to be in Eastenders? Mambo Madness - Brian and Kristina, it was mad alright - so much going on - they’re great dancers but that seemed a little thrown together. Great song though - Michael Buble . Enrique Iglesias up next with Vincent and Flavia, Darren and Lilia dancing Rumba to ’Hero’ - thought I was watching the wrong show for a minute, looked like death spirals at the end!

Here we got then: Safety first! Heather and Brian - Yay! Rachel and Vincent - John and Kristina - Austin and Erin - Tom and Camilla - Christine and Jodie are convinced they’re in the dance off - Cherie and James - Lisa and Brendan - Christine and Jodie even more convinced now - but there they are, their lights are out. Andrew and Mark to fight it out. It’s bye bye Mark unless Andrew fouls it up. Good advice (and sporting analogies) from Len. A bit of a stumble from Andrew but he’s smiling and more relaxed. Mark and Hayley had a big moment - after the band had one or did I imagine it? They seemed to almost stop and then Mark lost it completely.

Craig: Andrew/Ola; Arlene: Andrew/Ola; Bruno:Andrew/Ola. No need for Len again - but he agreed this week. Bruce just called Hayley ‘Kristina’ and Tess told Mark he’d disappointed her - *covers face with embarrassment for them* uncovers eyes quickly as Mark strips his top off. Ooh, yes - lift him up so we get a good look, that’s right *Ahem*

Apparently there will be eight different dances on show next week - it’s going to be luck of the draw - John should be back to ballroom so will probably do well - I pity anyone with the jive, always tricky, never highly scored and I think it’ll be even closer.

Friday, 24 October 2008

Sportsnight and Scripting

Athletics: Shaunna Thompson followed up her 100m Gold with victory in the 200m in another championship record performance in the Commonwealth Youth Games.

Squash: Vicky Botwright was runner up in the World Open Squash Championship final in her last match before retirement.

Last night’s course saw us splitting into groups - to plot an episode of acclaimed U.S. sitcom ‘Friends’, no less. We decided on the first scene and the four of us in my group are each going to write a version - it’ll be interesting to see how similar - or not - we are. I did end up using ‘Friends’ (you’d think amongst all the dvd’s we've got as a family there’d be something else, wouldn't you?) as the homework set the previous week - to appraise an episode of a sitcom ie. how many scenes, plot strands, characters etc. It’s a measure of how funny it is, that even after watching it three times, I was still laughing out loud at every line - and it was almost every line. But then, they did have up to sixteen scriptwriters!

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

3BT: Rant, write, relax

I’m Medway Blogger again this week - and it’s a proper rant this time. Damn stupid walking people. Click on the page numbers at the top and enter 13.

Yesterday’s course went well - I slightly misunderstood the home work and gave away my whole plot, not once, but twice: My first re-writes! At least the course is continuing, did I tell you that? I remember telling you I didn’t like the journey home along the M2 from the other (Thursday night) course - there was an accident in the same spot the lorry nearly blew me into the road works, so I came back along the A2 all the way last week - much more civilised and only an extra ten minutes.

I’m having a lovely time on the Music Choices thread on the Beeb Strictly Forum - lots of lovely like minded people, introducing me to the delights of the Gotan Project
It’s great fun - we’ve given the band their whole repertoire for at least the next two series. :)

Sunday, 19 October 2008

The Results Show: SCD Week Five

Behind the scenes we go - but the best action is out front: Katherine Jenkins, Darcy Bussell, a bloke called Gary (sorry, didn’t catch the surname but he was very good!) Anton and Erin, Cam and Ian - ballroom ballet to opera - it was beautiful, absolutely gorgeous. Back to the celebs and another top quote from John: “If the British public don’t save us, I shall lose my faith in democracy.”

It’s Paso Doble (yippee, my fav) or Viennese Waltz next week so we’re treated to a powerful Paso from the pros (although, not a fan of dancing to rock music). Next up and it’s the effervescent Alesha and her new single - out come some of the pros jiving, then a small section with Alesha showing she’s still got it, ending up in Matthew’s arms.

The Moment of Truth: Safe - Lisa and Brendan; Cherie and James; Jodie and Ian; Rachel and Vincent; Tom and Camilla; Austin and Erin; John and Kristina; Mark and Hayley (did I say how much she reminded me of Christina Aguilera?) Christine and Matthew; Andrew and Ola.

So it’s poor Heather again in the dance off, this time with Don. They’ve both been there before so they know what they have to do. So glad not to be a judge - not much to choose between them. Craig - Heather and Brian; Arlene - Heather and Brian; Bruno - Heather and Brian; saves Len having to cast a decider again. Len, for the second week running, would’ve saved the other person - not Heather! I don’t think I’ve ever seen Lilia so upset, bless her.

Had to laugh at the CIN trailer afterwards - Anton, looking surprisingly good as a woman!

Running Commentary: SCD Week Five

They’re talking it up! Boys and girls together at last. Why don‘t they make the bodices of Tess’ dresses higher, looks like they’re forever needing to be hitched up. The rest of the ladies dresses look really pretty tonight. Bruce seems genuinely excited, he’s moving things along - were they having to pad the previous shows a bit?

Rachel and Vincent take to the floor for a samba to Hips Don’t Lie and bring the fun they were having in training. The first time I’ve got into one of Rachel’s dances - the music makes all the difference I guess. Good job, the only bit I didn’t like was that draggy bit across the floor and there could have been less standing and wiggling. Len: Came out and did a fantastic job; Bruno: Always clean and efficient, surprised at slip; Craig: Placement through the routine very good …under whelmed by performance; Arlene: I want to see you firing. (See, what do I know?) Judges score 30 - could be close in the middle of the pack tonight.

Lisa and Brendan - feeling the pressure in training - just as I was warming to her, the
waterworks start appearing. Lovely song for their AS and lovely musicality - what was she worried about? Strange second lift, understated, a couple of wobbles but pretty good I thought. Len: Fabulous performance … your best to date; Bruno: From goofy and gangly to glamorous …incredible; Craig: Couple of stumbles but absolutely fantastic; Arlene: You’ve found your dance. Judges score 35.

Heather and Brian - please, please have a good samba song - yes! No idea what it is but it sounds traditional. Tell me, why did they not put her in yellow to match Brian? The dress is nice but more cocktail than carnival and it’s distracting from a nice performance since you only notice Brian. Footwork needs attention but plenty of rhythm and bounce. Craig: Lifeless, lacklustre; Arlene: At different parties …wild and sassy at the end; Len: Thinking about the steps …think about the performance; Bruno: Took a little bit of time to get into it. Judges score 23. Think they were a bit harsh, actually. In danger again.

Cherie and James - can they maintain standards with the AS? Interesting song choice - what were they thinking? Great musicality but I was expecting 'Putting on the Ritz’ or some such, so I’m left feeling a bit disappointed. Awesome last lift - but I’d prefer more swing in an AS - I’m not overly keen on lifts, they interrupt the dancing. Swirls around a la Fred and Ginger, yes. Awkward stand stock still lifts, no. Arlene: You deliver on every level; Len: I loved it…fantastic…fabulous…beautiful; Bruno: Right on the money; Craig: Not dynamic enough (I have to agree with Craig on this one, much I love James and Cherie) Judges score 34, should be safe.

Mark and Hayley: See through shirt alert!!! See through shirt alert!!! John Barrowman on hand to help out, the wiggles look good in training. Come on Mark, spice up my life. He’s shimmying, he’s shimmying - still needs to stand up straight and bounce more, not technically too good but at least he’s enjoying himself. It’s actually some kind of string vest he’s wearing - LOL at Bruce: Where were you swimming when you got caught in that net? He’s on good form tonight Bruce, most of it’s been funny! Bruno: Released from the shackles of inhibition; Craig: Isolation …body popping was very good; Arlene: The performance was vital …forgot to dance; Len: When you’re tall, you’ve got to dance to your height. (I think I just agreed with Len!) Judges score 17 - bottom. Tess thanked Mark for wearing that top on behalf of women everywhere!

Don and Lilia dancing the AS to Barry Manilow’s ’Can’t Smile Without You’ which was my favourite … when I was little. Nice lift, it's another low key song though, very smooth but didn’t seem to be feeling it. Craig: An adequate job…a good job; Arlene: You must let the dance in; Len: I didn’t mind it at all, a very competent performance; Bruno: A bit off tonight unusually …shame. Judges score 25 Not a bad score but defo in the middle - the worst place to be at this stage of the competition, when the less technically proficient have a bigger fan base.

Austin and Erin samba - this’ll be interesting, Erin is a ballroom specialist and my main concern for Austin is that the latin dances may not be as strong. I’ve got a niece called Ellie-Mae - my little boy calls her LMA, after a play station game! Hark at Will Greenwood - LOL - I take
it he’ll dong the show next year then! Well choreographed by Erin but don’t think Austin was on the money technically tonight - what are those backward wiggly walky things called - he just didn’t do them at all. And not exactly a carnival song either - more night club. So the atmosphere was missing for me. Arlene: Muscles not helping tonight …hip movement fabulous; Len: Whole thing very very good; Bruno: You missed an opportunity tonight …stopped you delivering; Craig: Not strictly a samba but I loved it. Judges score 32. Great score, they’re relieved.

Andrew and Ola AS - nice first lift but wrong song choice again, although this has at least got a swing feel to it. Lift a bit awry at the end but not a bad effort overall, I didn’t think. Pleasant. Bruno: You got to get your bum together; Craig: Not enough showbiz; Arlene: Stand straight, pull up; Len: You had a gallant effort didn’t work. Judges score 17. Ola being very supportive, Andrew says “We’ll have another go later”

Christine and Matt sounding positive for their samba. Looking great and … ooh, Matthew Cutler, stop with those hips, goodness *fans face*. Couple of moments uncertainty for Christine but great musicality, a good effort. Worth 7’s I’d say. Len: You did a great job; Bruno: You have that (carefree joy) in spades; Craig: Recovery and finish excellent; Arlene: Your smile lights up the floor. Judges score 30. The middle of the board is looking tight and quite high scores at that.

Jodie and Ian. Fighting talk - I like it! Bit concerned about the side of her dress though and that floppy bit is going to be annoying. Spectacular start and gorgeous song choice - Witchcraft, proper song and feel, she looks so much more confident, I’m smiling all the way through, best so far. (The flappy bit fell off - didn’t I tell you it’d be trouble!) Craig: You completely held your own; Arlene: You are the dark horse of this comeptition; Len: Absolutely your best dance, beautiful hold; Bruno: That was a dream. Judges score 30 - hm, bit under marked and now lumped in with all those other ones in the middle.

John and Kristina, first latin dance and he’s loving the Brazilian troupe in training! Lacking technically, no bounce but he’ll be safe, I swear it. Arlene: Seen more fun at a party conference; Len: If I was at home, I’d be voting for you; Bruno: Carnival on valium; Craig: Absolutely dreadful …tip toe through the tulips???!!! Judges score 16. John: “I know the GBP will save us” Priceless. But it can only take him so far, already some peoples perception of how that sounded were not favourable.

My heart’s thudding and I’m all red faced as Tom and Camilla take to the floor - this leader board is up for grabs. And oh yes - proper Hollywood, Chicago the song, the attitude - even Tom’s hair and expression is pure Gene Kelly, loving the culottes dress Cam is wearing. Lovely first lift, last one a little bit unsteady - you can tell his mind is all over the place, to be fair, so all credit for putting on the stylish show he did. I loved it.
Bruno: Slick, stylish, sophisticated; Craig: Full of charm and confidence, I loved it; Arlene: Hallelujah …going into orbit, gorgeous; Len: Goal to beat Austin …done it tonight. Judges score 35 - joint top.

In case you’re unsure, I voted for Tom and Camilla! And my congratulations to Tom and fiance Claire, have a wonderful day today.

Friday, 17 October 2008

3BT: Something good, something bad, something rotten

Homework from last night’s course - to watch sitcoms! It’s a tough job but …I actually have loads of ‘Friends’ on dvd, but we’ll be watching one of those in class, so I will try to see something different if I can. Probably the best homework I’ve ever been given!

And probably a good tonic too, since I’m sitting here all sorry for myself with a cough and a cold and no voice! The doctor said it’s not laryngitis though or anything requiring anti-biotics, just plenty of rest. Er, ok - but I work in a call centre! I’ll tell them the good news on Monday. I’m sure they’ll find something for me to do.

My weekend plans are now in tatters - I have yet to break the news to the weekend party people :( ie. the GG's, having a Strictly night in round Claudiaforqueen's house ...:( :(

Me, talk too much? Never!

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

3bt: Sportsnight

Commonwealth Youth Games British successes to report: 100m gold for Shaunna Thompson, in a championship record of 11.46 seconds, whilst Curtis Griffith Parker also won gold and set a new games record with an incredible throw of 18.56m in the men’s shot put. Jade Ive won the women’s pole vault with a new games record of 4.05m, with England team-mate Abigail Haywood taking Bronze. Peter Smith won the men’s hammer with 68.38m. Benjamin Williams won Silver in the men’s triple jump - just one centimetre behind the winner! Sophie Hitchon won gold and broke the hammer record with 58.43m, while Curtis Griffith Parker won silver in the discus. Abigail Irozuru won Gold in the women’s long jump. Hannah Lewis claimed the first athletics silver for Northern Ireland. Bronze in the men’s 400m was won by Jordan McGrath.

Phil Taylor 8th world grand prix win.

Leaving the football club - where they held the cricket club presentation - Matt reminded me to 'miss the wall, mum'. Thank you, I will. He reminds me every time we leave, since the night I came out and forgot the wall was there (it was dark) and with it only being shin height and me holding stuff, I walked straight into it and fell flat on my face. I'd love to say that everyone rushed to help but no; they were all too busy laughing ...

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Sketches and visual humour

We touched on comedy in the Stage and Screen class today. Ironically, I wrote a funnier sketch in five minutes there, than I did in the week I had to write one for the comedy tv and radio scriptwriting course! So I might start leaving everything till the last minute and see if that works …

Had a laugh on the way home too - I pulled into the outside lane to overtake a car coming off the slip road - leaving him room, like you do - then indicated and pulled back in front of him - because you know, he can’t undertake can he? But no - he speeds up and then gives me a hand signal! So I gave him one back, like you do. Did he pull out and overtake? No, sat behind me all the way - so what’s your problem Mr Grey Renault Scenic man - inferiority complex because of a Daewoo Matiz? Consider your number plate noted. This week’s homework - a monologue - will be based on this!

Sunday, 12 October 2008

The Results Show: SCD Week Four

They don’t half concentrate on the negative comments in the recap. To paraphrase Len - it gets on my wick! Get in there, Heather’s partner! LOL at Denise Lewis - her quickstep with Ian is still my favourite. Nine time World Latin Champs Brian Watson (wasn’t he Karen’s jive partner?) and Carmen Vincelli - stunning samba to a proper samba tune . The Pro American Smooth, absolutely gorgeous, even with the game of ‘Hit the Hamster’ at the end (no offence to Top Gear presenters) I is joking! Simply sublime. John: I’m hoping for a samba …Kristina and I would like to recreate the steamy atmosphere of the carnival. The man is an absolute star! Simply Red performing ‘Something Got Me Started’ - that could be a Paso, I reckon. Still sounding good and looking …erm….Wow - Cam and Ian! What a show, fantastic. Cam in red - my mate munsterfeet will be both delighted and puddle like on the floor in front of the telly. Lisa being extraordinarily honest - very refreshing - I’m warming to her. Cherie also expressing her concerns but philosophically, no whining or pouting. Unlike Christine who will seriously start to annoy me if she carries on like that.

The Moment of Truth. Safe - Cherie and James; Lisa and Brendan; Jodie and Ian; Rachel and Vincent; Christine’s convinced herself she’s out - no she’s not! But the sulky look really doesn’t suit. Well, unless Heather trips over Christine’s bottom lip on the way to the floor it’s bye bye Jessie. Actually I think it’s bye bye Jessie even if Heather does trip. As she almost did - but I think her posture has improved, not that I’d know, but it looked ok to me. Think Jessie’s was much the same and her footwork still not great. Craig, Arlene and Bruno combine to save Heather - Len disagreed! But too late, Jessie's gone.

Running Commentary: SCD Week Four

Here come the girls again! I feel like this series still hasn’t properly started - roll on next week when they’re all together.

Tess is doing a Holly, almost! OMG - they’ve put Jessie in a bed sheet! Love Heather’s and Cherie’s dresses though.

Christine and Matthew - She’s so loverly - she so is! Thought the intro a tad too long, but loved the entrance onto the floor and I was smiling all the way through. When they were actually quickstepping, the musicality was terrific - as we know, songs can make all the difference and this one sent a very positive message. Len: Once you got cracking …overall, a very good job; Bruno: Captured the ebullience of a twenties flapper; Craig: Loved the opening …cheekiness and personality came through; Arlene: Just didn’t have the sparkle I was wanting. Judges score: 26. Now, don’t start with the disappointed whining, can’t be doing with that. But will be middle of the board I think, so I’ll throw a vote her way.

Jodie and Ian rumba to MJ’s ‘I Just Can’t Stop Loving You’ - a perfect song for a rumba IMO. I enjoyed it, they’ve obviously worked so hard. A little bit stilted, I think that’s what Bruno’s saying, only more unkindly: You keep stalling! Len: Your footwork was good; Craig: Off to a good start, slightly pornographic at the top; Arlene: At the beginning …you’ve controlled him. Judges score: 22. In trouble again.

Heather and Brian: How patient are those kids? When I tried to go to a dance class, I had to take my then 4 year old Matt with me - he wouldn’t sit and watch , or colour in. No - he insisted on joining in, which you’d think “Ah, how sweet!” But have you tried grapevining with a four year old clinging to your leg? Seemed a touch slow at first, didn’t really fire me up but pleasant enough overall. The timing at the end was excellent though. The judges are definitely being tougher this week. Len: Queen of the salsa abdicated …I liked your upper portions! Craig: Two minds … I loved the energy and watching you and the performance; Arlene: It was heavy, like champagne gone flat; Bruno: You were so tight …wild at the end. Judges score: 23 - Blimey, Craig more than Arlene, is that a first? Good answer Heather! Will need the public vote though - Brian’s become a favourite with many which will help.

Cherie and James, mmm, he’s looking good, she‘s a stunner! “Oh baby” “He’s my rock” - what a pair! So controlled, so classy. Wish I knew what the song was. Craig: Every single inch of you worked that dance; Arlene: Left me with a lump in my throat; Len: You did have emotion in that dance; Bruno: I’m revving up, I’m telling you! I like what I’ve seen. Judges score 35 Safe. You don’t often see Craig beating Len’s score! Highest score for a rumba - or not? Not ever in competition - Colin and Erin 36, not ever in a Xmas special - Matt and Flavia 39, not ever by a woman - Zoe and Ian 38 (Xmas special) but maybe at this stage of the competition by a woman! Do I really care? I loved it.

Did Bruce just call Jessie ‘Jelly’ again? When he was apologising for calling her it last time? He did, didn‘t he! LOL. There was a time I’d have said he was doing it on purpose, now though, I‘m not so sure. Like a springer spaniel, eh? No bad thing for a quickstep …but hang on, we can’t see her feet, let alone anything of her legs! ‘Help’ not a good message to send, as a song it’s too low key. Unusual for Darren. She ‘performed’ but the technique isn’t there. Dress did no favours - far too much of it - did they give her one of Jodie’s by mistake? Arlene: Not good. Feet …feet; Len: Lean back is a good way of saying it; Bruno: Casual, a bit rough looking; Craig: Not your finest hour, sadly.Judges score: 19 Bottom. Again.

Lisa and Brendan’s training does look good - but then so did everyone’s. She’s very nervous again, couple of stumbles. Suddenly a nice choice. Good performance, loved the spin on the word ‘suddenly’. Bruno: Oh, plenty of juice tonight! Craig: Congratulations Brendan, loved the choreography. Arlene: It was come to me, hold me, touch me …Yes, steady on Arlene! Len: Lovely footwork …creates a natural hip action. Judges score: 32 A contender.

Rachel - shaking like a leaflet according to Vincent, ha ha. Oh god, no, not the tears in training purl-ease. Like the stance to start but didn’t know the song. It was light, but didn’t grab my attention - there were no highlights, if you know what I mean. Rachel isn’t bubbly like Christine and just seems to go through the motions - perfectly, but …Craig: Light, tight, bright…very very good; Arlene: Fast, fleet footed; Len: Fantastic; Bruno: You’re flying high with effortless ease. Best QS tonight. Judges score: 33. Safe unless in dance off with Cherie - unlikely. Personally, I think Rachel is going to be this year’s Emma Bunton - the judges will keep telling us how fab she is - which she is, in the sense of putting herself in the right place - but this show is about a lot more than that.

The boys group dance - Rueda - The serious business of rehearsing …dressed as Fame! Don: There’s a lot of partner swapping - I hope it’s healthy; Lilia, cuddling John - I‘ve been waiting for this for so long; Kristina: My eyes are on Lil…(to John) don’t be naughty, come on! Tom: It feels a bit strange, changing partners. I kinda like it. Austin: If Tom messes around with Erin, I’ll break his arms; John: Hope they’ve paid extra for shimmying! Andrew: We’re going to re-invent the wheel; Mark: Ours is …what it is…; John: What’s it like have all the girls throw themselves at me? It’s hard work, but someone’s got to do it. The boys are cornering the cheeky personality stakes. Originally from Cuba, danced in a circle, partner swapping - it’s going to a be a blinder …or a major car crash! Woooohooo - it was great FUN! The song is going to drive me mad though, because I know it but can’t think of it (found it!) Craig: John stole my focus …peripheral vision working overtime; Arlene: Mark, great shimmy at the start; Len: Tom and Austin stood out …really concerned for the others. Good luck but don’t hold your breath.
Nice one Len. Not. It had all been going so well. Bruno: It was a wheel with a slow puncture.

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Harvest Festival Time ...

... and a time to empty out the cupboard and get rid of the Xmas hamper leftovers from last year (hubby always gets one from a customer!) Salmon mousse, whisky marmalade, various chunteys - all of which we’re determined to try each year but never quite get round to. Half goes in the donation bag to school, the out of date other half in the bin!

The Thursday scriptwriting class was fun - watching various sketches of 'Little Britian', 'The Two Ronnies' and 'Fry and Lawrie'. And am now supposed to be working on a one page monologue with jokes every 10-15 seconds???! I really don't like the drive home either - I'm a wuss at night time on motorways, let alone when there are road works and the lanes are narrow. And then they suddenly ditch the yellow lights that tell you where the temporary wall is and just leave the grey blank wall there, which does my head in. I hate it, it mesmerises me. Then some b*****d lorry went speeding past me and nearly blew me into it (I've only a titchy little matiz, remember.) I'm staying on the A2 next week. It'll only be an extra five minutes, I reckon.

Thursday, 9 October 2008


Cycling - Nicole Cooke has become the first woman in history to win both the Olympic and World Title Road Race in the same year.

Athletics - Shelley Woods finished a close 2nd in the Great North Run.

Archery - Nichola Simpson won silver at the FITA World Cup Grand Final .

Darts - Phil Taylor won his 2nd South African Masters Title.

And a tenuous link to health, see The Daily Scatter for ways to bust your stresses!

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Oh no it isn't! Oh, yes it is! Maybe.

The Tuesday course looks like it may be going ahead now! The tutor kicked up a big fuss, as myself and the other students had trouble booking in - it was only because we insisted the course was in the brochure that they found it - so how many people that called and asked if there were any creative writing courses were told no? I haven’t even looked at this week’s homework yet - find a news snippet and write a scene leading up to the event OR following on afterwards. And then do a few character profiles! Preferably before tomorrow night’s course. Best crash on …

Monday, 6 October 2008

Neighbours, everybody needs good neighbours ...

So I’m driving off to pick up Brad and as I drive round the corner, I spy something on the pavement out the corner of my eye and with a jolt, I realise it’s an old man. He looks like he’s staggered and is trying to stop himself falling to the floor, before sitting, then laying down flat. OMG, I think, he‘s having a heart attack or something. So I stop the car and ask if he’s OK.

“Yes, love,” he replies. “I’m p*ssed!” And stays lying on the ground, perfectly at peace with himself.

“Um, I’d help you up, but I’ve to get my son.”

He waved “Nice of you to stop.” Only a bit more slurred.

He was gone when we came back; I’d told Brad we’d have to help him but someone else got there first. It’s funny but I always swore blind I’d never stop and get out of my car for anyone, if alone, especially at night. Just goes to show, doesn‘t it. I'm not exactly sure what it goes to show but there you are.

Sunday, 5 October 2008

The Results Show SCD Week 3

I like Arlene’s hair like that. Judges precis: Andrew looked like a question mark; Don the surprise of the night. Pro Rumba - wonderful as ever but where were Cam/Ian, Anton/Erin and Brendan/Hayley? And is Jessie auditioning for Shirley Eaton’s role in Goldfinger? Showdance from Flavia and Vincent - ‘Endless Love’ - was there a hidden message there somewhere, for someone? They were very happy at the end. Fantastic musicality, although I thought they were going to sample the Rowing Boat song at one point.

Tess needs her roots doing; Anton’s in the house. They’re on the sofa together, an announcement! Tess and Anton dancing for Children in Need! Tess says to Anton: “Probably you’re greatest challenge yet!” “You’re probably right,” he says back. Ha ha.

Andrea Bocelli. Anton. Erin (that solves that mystery) Choir. Almost an orchestra. Class.

Reveal Time: Tom and Cam - first through. Woohoo! Andrew and Ola! Austin and Erin! Yes! John and Kristina. Yay! Don and Lilia - had to be! Although it would have been an easier choice if Don v one of the others. Will they give Mark the chance with an acting coach or Gary the chance at ballroom? Gary’s made far too many mistakes, it’s got to be Mark. Yes - unanimous. But you watch the goodbye song and Gary would probably have been all right with a rumba or waltz. We’ll never know.

Running Commentary: SCD Week Three

Men only - and what a great night for quotes!

Tess has gone for a Greek handmaiden look - very plain this year so far but less is more as they say! Bruce and/or his scriptwriter(s) have been reading the message board - John S/Jo Brand, yes, yes, we all knew weeks ago. The audience live in a different world, they never seem to get it. But why does he keep apologising? Makes it worse. Goodness - Austin looks fit - his top half and Tom’s hips make the prefect man!

Austin and Erin up first for their promising looking jive - and they don’t disappoint. Brilliant bit in front of the judges and I remembered the Hairspray song, which, much as I enjoyed the show, I didn’t leave the theatre humming. Very bouncy, my only criticism is that Austin was watching Erin all the way - but having missed two days training, that’s understandable, you wouldn’t have known. Tough to mark, quite probably worse to come. He’s only got size four feet! That’s dinky! Bruno: The syncopated section, that was so difficult. You did it like a Master! Len: I don’t like rugby players winking at me; Craig: Absolutely brilliant (apart form the arms) Arlene: Your feet can’t stop the beat! Set the standard for SD6. Austin, on being made to show his biceps. “I didn’t want to do that”. “Oh yes you did!” said John. Judges score 34. In no danger at all.

Mark and Hayley with the first Tango of the night - I so want him to do well, he’s such a nice bloke. He got into the part, but maybe not as sharp as it should be. Good music choice. Len: Overall, a good job; Bruno: Keep your focus all the way through; Arlene: Get this man to an acting coach and fast - he can do it; Craig: A vast improvement, wise music choice. Judges score: 24. Will be in the middle.

Gary and Karen elicit a cleverly written joke for Bruce re Gary’s fastidiousness. Jiving to a proper old fashioned rock’n’roll song and an immense improvement - a couple of moments I thought he’d lost it but grabbed it back. Arlene: Enthusiasm, YES. Feel the rhythm and dance; Len: Thought footwork was very very good, (the opening) a lovely starter; Bruno: Your jive had more holes than the surface of the moon! Craig: I was praying for you (Bruce: I didn’t see you on your knees; Bruno: Some people have!)… not a complete dance disaster. Judges score: 18 - only one point more than last time, which is surprising. Will be bottom again. Will one less man in the competition make a difference?

Lovely jubbly John and Kristina perform the sweetest, least arrogant Tango in history! Fantastic song, hard not to watch Kristina all the way through. After the first week, John said: If I go out, I’d have to write to the PM and there’d be repercussions! Bruno: Like a jolly Godfather after a couple of pints …made it work, charming; Craig: Way too nice for this dance. Too softly softly; Arlene: You started enjoying yourself too much; Len: Very good footwork, well done. Judges score: 22. John said: It had the characteristics associated with me - passion, rhythm and a raw kind of sexuality. LOL - quote of the night.

Don’t think I’ve seen Ola so passionate in training before, she and Andrew made a decent start, he got into character. Not sure about the headbangy bit, but the T-Rex song worked better than I thought it would. Craig: Promising start; Arlene: I’ve never seen head banging in a Tango before; Len: You came out and showed us a bit of drama and passion. Bruno? He Did Not Like It. I couldn’t be bothered to write it all down. Judges score 22. Tess mentioned Andrew had been practising at night, he said: She wasn’t supposed to wake up. I was practising all dance moves naked! Arlene said: Too much information! It made me laugh though.

Tom and Camilla - A Black and Gold jive - been looking forward to this all week, since I found out about the song. One of Cam’s favourites, she‘s been wanting to use it. Looking the part and I’m bobbing along. Yay - bouncy, fun, musical. Can’t ask for more than that! Arlene: Let the sparring begin! Len: You’re right up there with him (Austin). Those girls had better watch out! Bruno: Bright eyed, bushy tailed. Master of Spins! Craig: Fantastic personality and musicality. Judges score: 33 Unless both he and Austin are in the dance off, he’s safe.

Don and Lilia bring forth the best tango of the night. Proper attitude, Lilia’s choreography to the fore. Bruno: I could feel the menace …told the story with conviction; Craig; great. Great routine; Arlene: Masterful, very very exciting; Len: it was truly menacing …did a fabulous job. Judges score: 30. Deserves to go straight through.

A quick chat with the girls before showing their training. What was Matthew’s hand doing behind Karen to make her laugh so much? Proper swing dance coming up, looks a lot of fun. That was tons better than last time - they all look happy and confident - and Cherie proving that Latin will hold no fear for her. Len: best group dance ever (Hm - not sure about that) Bruno: All the girls like to swing (rated Christine) Craig: Jodie needs to think a bit more; Arlene: Jessie didn’t put a foot wrong and smiled throughout.

The judges have definitely been given happy pills this year - which is great, so much better than the nasty habits they’d fallen in to. Long may it continue.

Friday, 3 October 2008

It's All Go!

In case Tuesday’s course is cancelled - and it’s looking that way - I had a manic thumb through all the Uni of Kent and Adult Education brochures - and was just in time for a course that started last night! A bit of child care arranging and a few phone calls later and off I went to the Canterbury campus - a bit of a trek for me but it’s only five weeks and the course I just what I wanted - TV and radio scriptwriting. There were already nine people on it and will definitely go ahead with ten - so I was told. More homework *eek* still, there’s nothing like deadlines to get the adrenalin pumping and keep me focused.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

3bt: The Literary Review

I couldn’t resist a deal from The Folio Society - eight whopping great tomes for £14.90 including P&P society. The catch being I have to buy another four, circa £25 each, by March. So that’s the pressies from hubby and both kids for Xmas and my birthday. Easy Peasy! I’ll probably wrap them myself too!

Put my pound down in Smith’s for ‘The Tales of Beedle the Bard’ and got a free Penguin classic: ‘A Little Princess’ by Frances Hodgson-Burnett. I never read it as a kid, but I adored the TV series. Talking of JKR - did you notice on Saturday - Merlin is a parselmouth!!!

Matt’s spelling homework ‘scheming’ - his teacher didn’t believe he’d come up with the sentence: “When a young woman marries an old man for his money, she’s a scheming minx.” Perfectly respectable for an eight year old I thought! *saunters away whistling*