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

Cook-a-long-a-Matt


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

Sportsnight

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 ...

video

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?

Running Commentary: SCD Week Seh…VEN!

Tess has gone for the simple but effective look of a blackout curtain tonight! The NTA Award was shown off - worth seeing the clip on the SCD site home page for Simon Cowell’s face. And Bruce is having a dig ha ha “We can lip read you know…never mind, next year, try harder.” Milk it Brucie, I would!

Austin and Erin - love the banter between these two. Good entry, ‘s’wonderful song choice. Erin is queen of the quickstep, a slight foot error there but otherwise a lovely performance - you can tell Austin was really into that, very enjoyable. Len: (after a rambling rugby analogy) Perfection! (that’ll be the 10 then). Bruno: Austin the majestic; Craig: Enjoyed very much …two timing issue (was that what I saw?) but did love it (Bruce: People have timing issues with you Craig - when you turn up! He’s on form tonight, Brucie!) Arlene: Dazzling execution. Judges Score: 36 - fair score overall, didn’t blow me away sufficiently for a ten. The only one I think I can say is definitely safe.

Heather and Brian doing a cha cha to American Boy great to see her happy in training. Did I understand a word Brian just said apart from syncopated? No. I’m hoping for a Wow dance from Heather tonight …unfortunately it’s not to be, damn - looks like the nerves got her again. Looks a bit laboured but I thought she performed some of the recognisable cha cha moves well - the New York thingy. Bruno: lacked so much bite; Craig: really need to raise your game plan; Arlene: Some good moments; Len: Bright and sparkly. Judges Score: 23 Looking likely for bottom two again.

Jodie and Ian promised their waltz would be the most romantic ever and they’re not wrong (Gethin’s excepted) Gorgeous, they really are so sweet together. Ethereal and radiant. Craig: Absolutely beautiful…too Mills and Boon (Well, YES! Doh!) Arlene: You charmed me; Len: It’s the perfect dance for you; Bruno: Soft, elegant, at ease with the dance. Judges score: 31 their best, deservedly so.

Andrew and Ola Samba to J Lo and the injury to Andrew’s knee is telling, lacking content as he’s restricted, but at least he’s in time and trying to inject some party spirit into it. Arlene: (mumbled on about food aisles or something!?) Unleash the beast and let it go; Len: Gotta be more like a bouncy castle; Bruno: Brazilian Grand Flop, it didn’t work; Craig: All very taut and tense for my liking. Best part was the rave step. (Rave step??) Judges score: 21 Bottom two again, unless the sympathy vote kicks in.

Lisa and Brendan - classic Tango song ‘La Cumpasita’ probably means I’ll like this more than I normally would a tango. That and the fact I like her dress verrrry much. Was she as sharp as she should be? Good performance, but still seemed a little soft for me, still a little bit of wobbly foot placement, but maybe you’re meant to do it like that; I don’t know! Len: I thought it was superb; Bruno: A tango of classic purity and beauty; Craig: That was fantastic; Arlene: Loved the phenomenal correction from last week. Judges score: 35 Pretty safe I’d say.

Cherie and James decamp to a salsa club and the training footage looked great - a real shame that it didn’t come off on the night. Probably the most sedate salsa ever, this looked promising but it all went horribly wrong. Some may blame the song, but it’s a traditional Latin - Oye Mi Canto though maybe played a little slower than usual. Bruno: Well the dress was red hot but the salsa was not; Craig: Too careful and placed; Arlene: exasperatingly underpowered; Len: It wasn’t your best dance. Judges score: 26 probably over marked considering the errors towards the end. But they’ll have a loyal following who’ll give her another chance.

John and Kristina: The man in the street is right - just the mention of his name and I’m smiling. My mum has to put a vote in for my dad for John every week. My dad hates Strictly but loves John, so he’s watching. Message boarders can bang on about the dance competition versus entertainment show all they like - the Beeb will always have a John in the show for exactly that reason - ratings. Kristina is a genius - Marilyn look and music, a feel good foxtrot, John not actually doing very much but who’s complaining. Oh - the judges: Craig: Kristina, as always , does all the work...frame was really poor; Arlene: It was lacking in fox all the way through; Len: He did them (the steps) all wrong; Bruno: The old fox running out of tricks; Judges score: 20. Still safe for at least another week. Actually, in a poll I’ve seen he was second only to Austin; on that basis he’ll make the final, as the public vote is the dancing equivalent of the away goals rule - worth 2 points in event of a draw.

Tom and Camilla bring us a fantastically choreographed powerful Paso - what a change from the wishy washy efforts last week! I was a bit sceptical about the song but it grew on me overnight and now I can’t get it out of my head. Tom was - and I’d posted this on the TCSC thread in the Bebb forum hours before: manly and haughty and arrogant and smouldering and imperious and proud and simmering and daring and resolute and strong and virile and bold and dashing and spirited and audacious and venturesome and purposeful. Biased? Moi? I actually can’t remember seeing Camilla - that’s how taken with it I was, as I love the Paso when it’s performed like that. The judges agreed then argued - but we’re used to that now! Arlene: I loved your cape; Len: twists and turns the best I’ve ever seen a man do …passion and drama; Bruno: The attack and determination of an action hero on a mission; Craig: Guaranteed strong shapes and storytelling …sharp …arrogance all the way through. Judges score:34 Calm down, calm down! Get in there Cam! Defend your Cape - we love it!


Christine and Matthew choose the most iconic of American Smooth songs in the world ever. Not quite as smooth as I’d expect, still a little bit of the Phillips stumble going on, but a lovely dance and she manages to sell it. Matt, of course, could sell leather jock straps to a leather jock strap manufacturer but let’s not go there…Len:Not quite as good; Bruno: Legs crying in a puddle; Craig: Upper body gorgeous, loved the series of lifts; Arlene: Top half Hollywood, down here, deadwood (way too harsh) Judges: 29 She’ll be worrying again and I don’t think she should - that performance was a viewer pleaser.

Rachel and Vincent and a jive to Sweet Soul Music great choreography but it’s lacking bounce and the kicks and flicks aren’t quite strong enough. Bruno: Firecracker…you ignited (mmm, no) Craig: Very good …sticky transitions though; Arlene: Sparkly as you are…push into the floor to get the bounce; Len: It was competent …but it didn’t wow me. Judges score: 32 Should be safe.

So we could have a predictable bottom two (Heather and Andrew) or we could have another Gabbygate! Oh, the suspense! I have to say I’m a bit bemused by some of the judges scoring - Cherie got the same score tonight as Heather’s salsa which was far superior and Len is only dishing out just one mark less to Andrew, for example, than Rachel and Tom, whose performances were much better. Still - I can’t do anything so I won’t worry about it, it’ll all come out in the wash along with the fake tan. On a good note - check out the music - weren’t they all fab tonight!