Social Icons

-

Thursday, October 29, 2009

I got all the bitches, baby

Dude, look at this picture of Claudia Winkleman. How hot is she? Has anyone else noticed that over the years Claudia has gotten more and more attractive? Remember when she was first hosting "It Takes Two" and looked a bit like Moaning Myrtle? OK, no, you don't. No one does. Because I am probably the only person not related to Claudia to pay that much attention to her. But I think she's awesome. I enjoy watching Claudia talk about "Strictly Come Dancing" as much as I enjoy watching the actual show.

The other day, Elisa and I had a wee Twitter exchange about the fact that female comics tend not to be very funny. Indeed, the only women I can think of who I think are funny are not comics. My friend, Heidi, for instance, is one of the funniest people I know, but, see, she's not a professional comic. She's an administrative type for a natural foods co-op. In terms of women that you, dear reader, are likely to actually see, Claudia Winkleman ranks near the top for me. One of my favourite examples of her humour is when Ricky Groves stated there would be "a few surprises" in his dance for that week and Claudia, without missing a beat, shouted: "Ooh! Will there be biscuits?"

And Claudia interacting with Marian Keyes is television gold. Seriously. I want the two of them to have their own show. Simply release the two into the world and follow them around with a camera. T'would be brilliant.

Although, I have to think that part of what I perceive as Claudia's wit is, in fact, a sign or her suffering some sort of low-level madness. What else could explain her being sad to see Jo Wood and Brendan Cole leave the show? Her "samba hell" scored a 14, the lowest score of the series. And you can't really feel bad for Jo. The woman is so dim, it's questionable whether she was aware that any of it had ever happened. I, of course, am delighted to see her go if not simply because it means watching less Brendan.
Less Brendan = Happy Chris

Craig Kelly and Flavia - Samba - 18
OK, I am fully behind Marian Keyes' "Get Craig to Blackpool" campaign, but, golly, this was hard to watch. Well, let me correct that; Craig was hard to watch. Flavia's wearing a bespangled dish cloth and flying about the dance floor was very easy to watch. If I were T.H. Parry-Williams, such a thing would inspire me to write pages and pages of wandering esoteric prose about motorcycles (a). But it was the whole Craig-being-there thing that was hard to watch. At several points in the dance he appears to be channelling Michael Flatley. That is never good. Ever.
On a side note. I seem to remember someone telling me that there was a show on TG4 a while back that involved celebrities learning rince (b). It hurts just to think about that. And I am surprised that S4C hasn't done something similar. They're presently broadcasting Fferm Factor, for fuck's sake, so clearly it's not an issue of them having any sort of standards.

Phil Tufnell and Katya - Samba - 25
Tuffers consistently makes me think of "The Love Boat" when he dances, which by extension always causes me to flash back to the time when Vegas legend Charo grabbed my head and shoved my face in between her breasts. That really did happen, by the way. The experience was equidistant between traumatic and awesome, and I've never really been able to decide how I feel about the whole thing. Similarly, I am at a loss when it comes to Phil's dancing. It's not good, but it's not awful and I like that Katya. Although, what was up with her dress this week? She looked like she was wearing a bath mat.

Laila Rouass and Anton - Samba - 28
Something about Anton makes me think of Sir Harry Paget Flashman. Not so much in his look or demeanour but in that he is a ridiculous version of some Britain of a bygone era. Anton belongs to a Britain that would declare war on those Brazilian savages rather than attempt to dance like them, what. And you can see the old chap hasn't quite mastered the trick of the thing. Len described the dance as "beige," and I think that's because Anton doesn't really possess the flair for wiggling his hips. You sense he's almost as uncomfortable with the dance as is Laila. Best return to the ballroom stuff, old boy.

Chris Hollins and Ola - American Smooth - 28
Meh. Ola was wearing clothes for this dance, so I didn't pay much attention.

Natalie Cassidy and Vincent - American Smooth - 29
Despite the fact that Natalie reminded me of Margaret Dumont, I think hers was the best American Smooth of the night. Other dances were flashier but she actually got the feel of the thing. If the idea is to make the dance look like those seen in Hollywood musicals, Natalie and Vincent came the closest. And the decision not to put in any lifts was, I think, the right way to go. As Natalie pointed out herself, Vincent is wee and his picking her up would have looked awkward.

Ricky Groves and Erin - American Smooth - 29
Speaking of awkward. I was kind of expecting some full-on awesomeness from Ricky this week because Erin had said on "It Takes Two" that she was having him channel Dick Van Dyke by dancing to "Chim-Chim Cheree". But perhaps my hopes were too high as a result. My dad can recite the whole of Mary Poppins from memory (you think I'm kidding, but I'm not), so I know me some Dick Van Dyke, bitches. And Ricky Groves, you're no Dick Van Dyke.
Ricky and Erin will be dancing the rumba next week. Prepare yourself for a whole lot of pain.

Ricky Whittle and Natalie - Samba - 32
Have you ever noticed that there there seems to be a correlation between a woman's boobs and her face? That is, the (naturally) larger her breasts, the less appealing her countenance. There are exceptions, of course, but on the whole it seems as if some sort of deal was struck at the point of creation in which God said: "Right, which do you want: massive bazooms or a pretty face?" Similarly, Ricky Whittle seems to have struck a deal in which he exchanged personality for killer abs. So, despite the fact that odds makers have him pegged to win the show, I think the downfall is nigh. As soon as the quality of dancing is about even (i.e., once the consistently low-scoring couples are gone), personality is going to be vitally important in scoring points with voters. Which means Ricky's in trouble.

Jade "The Lioness" Johnson and Ian - Samba - 32
I think the Lioness, on the other hand, has personality. But perhaps other people don't see it. I don't get how she ended up in the dance off. My guess as to how that happened is that all the women across the country were insanely jealous of how Jade looked in that dress, and all the men were too busy taking cold showers. So she was left with only the votes of gay guys who were taken with Ian's sparkly trousers and tight open shirt, and it just wasn't enough.

Zoe Lucker and James - American Smooth - 32
This was a quiet week for the Cougar, and I blame James. His two lifts seemed just sort of placed in there as if ticking off boxes rather than fitting with the feel of the music, and the whole thing felt just a bit plastic. Add to that the technical flubs and it arguably didn't deserve the high score it received. Indeed, the major highlight of their dance wasn't even in the dance itself. I have listened to it over and over again, and I am convinced that at 1:02 in the video the singer says: "I got all the bitches, baby, one man can ever claim."
I know it's supposed to be "riches" but go on, listen to it yourself. Dude says "bitches."

Ali Bastian and Brian - American Smooth - 37
I want to find the person who uploads videos onto YouTube for the BBC and hit them with a stick for claiming that "A Foggy Day" was made famous by Michael Bublé. The fuck? Ever heard of Frank Sinatra? Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald? Fuck that Michael Bublé noise, yo. Whoever made it famous, though, Ali and Monkey Face looked good dancing to it. Something about Ali is growing on me.
She has that sort of Englishness that is strangely appealing. Sexy, almost. If there were any Welsh people reading this, they will have abandoned me now, but there is a very certain kind of quality or essence in a very certain kind of Englishwoman that is attractive. They are tiny in their size and in their ways, like adorable door mice. More often than not they are fascinated by jam. Many moons ago, I dated a girl like that. She was no more intellectually stimulating than the tea mugs she would cradle with both hands, sipping slowly from them and capturing the tea's warmth in all ways, but I loved to look at her. I loved the shape of her and smell of her. She would twist herself up in my bedsheets and look at me through messed dirty-blonde curls and talk about the most inane things -- her favourite types of biscuit, brands of tea, jam and Dorset. And I would look at her and sigh inside and think: "You are so lovely, if only you understood any of the things I talk about."
But, anyway, Ali has that sort of quality and I find myself warming to her. I envy Brian and all the jam-related conversations that he must have each day.

And that was last week's show. Having Harry Connick Jr. as the musical guest was a definite high point. With a single exception, I'm pretty sure that every girl I've ever dated or attempted to date has had to suffer listening to Harry Connick Jr. in my presence. The very unlucky ones have had to suffer my singing along. Perhaps it's the musical equivalent of talking about jam, but I can't help it. I think the guy is cool.
-----

(a) There's a reference that I suspect only two people will get.

(b) Traditional Irish dance

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The one in which I issue a fatwa against Brendan Cole

Mr. Phin sat quiet on his couch for a long time, staring begrudgingly at his television. The alcohol was helping, but not quite enough. Sitting next to him, his lovely, beloved wife, Jenny. Disturbingly, she was taking an interest in the shining whirling mess on the screen. This was wrong. It was painful. It would have been less torturous to have her sit and talk about ex-loves than see her actually enjoying this televised idiot-vomit for the masses.

And beside her, the howling, cackling American who had brought this upon them. True, the American was going through rough times, and one must maintain the olde traditions of hospitality, but surely this was going too far. Having him over for dinner, a few pints, a walk in the countryside -- those were all fine things. But this? This? Allowing the American to bring this into his home? Where was the line? If the American wanted to start sodomising sheep in the living room, would they put up with that, too?

Staring at Chris Hollins -- a journalist whom he respects, or, at least used to respect -- festooned in sparkling tight clothing and taking criticism from a woman who doesn't know the difference between "were" and "was" ("You was really struttin' your stuff."), Mr. Phin muttered, almost in defeat: "Is this real life?"

It is.

It is Strictly Come Dancing.

And that was more or less the scene a fortnight ago when I was out visiting the Phins in historic Bath. With that show now lost to the memory hole, I won't bother to look back at it. Lynda Bellingham was dropped from the show that week, but the real drama and tension of the evening came in watching Amy Winehouse perform on live television.

Amy was there as a back-up singer to her god-daughter, whose name and performance I doubt anyone remembers because all of us were too busy staring at Amy and thinking: "Hold it together, love. Come on, you can do it. Just hold it together. Don't train wreck."

Amy managed to make it through the performance without collapsing or suddenly deciding to attack someone or going into a profanity-laden tirade or stripping off her clothes or any of the other things that she always seems only a second away from doing when you watch her perform live. Although, I think it's worth noting that she was sandwiched between her own two back-up singers, and one feels that staging was intentional -- they could both get an arm around her should she start to fade or try to get away.

Then, this last week I again got to test the bonds of friendship by forcing Nic and Philippa to watch the show when I was out visiting them in Pontgarreg. I'm pretty sure they will never again invite me back.

Joe Calzaghe and Kristina "I cry at everything" Rihanoff were the ones to get the boot Saturday after dancing a jive that held to what we'd come to expect from the Pride of Newbridge. We love Joe in this little corner of the world that is Wales, so perhaps we all collectively decided that it was time for him to come home and so did not vote for him. I'm pretty sure that deep in his heart, Joe is thankful to us for that.

Craig Kelly and Flavia - Jive - 20
It's not often enough that I get a chance to quote one of the great poets of our time, Robbie Williams, so I will do so now: "Dance like you just won the Special Olympics." And therein you have poor Craig's open-mouthed all-bits-akimbo dancing style on Saturday. Alesha described him as looking like someone's dad down the local disco, which was correct, I think. But the thing is, there's a part of you that loves him for it. I know he can't dance, but I don't care. Plus, the longer we have Craig in the competition the longer we have Flavia wearing those strange not-sexy sexy outfits that she seems so fond of. She looked a bit like Baby Huey this week.

Chris Hollins and Ola "Cockney Pole" Jordan - Jive - 22
Ola messes with my head when she speaks. She's got that Polish accent but it's all phrased in the Cockney way in which her husband, James, speaks. It's wild to listen to. Indeed, I am far more interested in listening to her speak and watching her prancing about in a tea towel than watching her celebrity dance partner sort of wander the dance floor. And what the fuck was up with that air guitar Hollins attempted? He was playing it with his thumb. Was that, in fact, air banjo?

Laila Rouass and Anton - Jive - 22
"If you keep us in, next week she'll wear the from back-to-front," Anton told the viewing audience shortly after he and Laila's jive. Well, actually, he said that after his jive, which he performed while Laila watched him. She reminded me a bit of one of my first rugby matches, when I saw an amazing try and was internally delighted at the fact that I had been in such a good position to see the ball get touched down. Then I realised that the reason I had such a good vantage point was that I was the one who was supposed to have stopped the try. Laila got the best seat in the house to watch Anton dance, but forgot that she was supposed to be joining him. Still, obviously Anton's promise was enough and the two didn't find themselves in the dance-off.

Jo "Flowers for Algernon" Wood and Brendan - Viennese Waltz - 23
Every week Strictly needs a controversy, and this week's came when Brendan stormed away like the insufferable cock that he is because Craig Revel Horwood said that Jo had danced like a bush kangaroo. Whereas he hadn't stormed off when Bruno said she danced like a squirrel. It's at times like these that I like to recall all that stuff we told ourselves immediately post-9/11 about how we would never again get wrapped up in trivial shit.
Trivial shit like a flamboyantly gay man telling a mindless washed-up rock groupie that she dances like a marsupial, and the response that such a comment elicits from a narcissistic cunny fuck with a weird mole on his face.
But the thing that annoyed me more than Brendan's incessant need to turn the focus of the show on himself, was Brucie's response as Brendan and Jo were walking off. Bruce decided to scold Craig, which then changed the atmosphere from Craig being a sort of pantomime villain that people boo for fun to his being someone that people in the audience were talking back to throughout the rest of the show. Thanks to Brucie's need to be on the "good" side, the whole thing became uncomfortable. I don't think the atmosphere improved for the rest of the show.

Ricky Groves and Erin - Jive -25
"Be still you cats. We gonna spread a lotta jam," Ricky said before starting the dance. Or, perhaps, a lot of cheese. But, hey, I dig it. I've said before that Ricky and Erin are redefining dance. Whatever they do cannot be judged according to the standards applied to everyone else, because the standards applied to everyone else don't include awesomeness. Technique, musicality, blah-blah-blah. Ricky is too awesome for that. If I were the sort of person who voted (I only vote once a series: in the final), I would be voting for Ricky each week not so much because I enjoyed the quality of his dancing but because I want to see what the hell he's going to do the next week. According to his It Takes Two appearance on Wednesday, this coming Saturday he will be dancing like Dick Van Dyke.
Thank you, Jesus, for letting me be alive at this point in history.

Natalie Cassidy and Vincent - Viennese Waltz - 27
Natalie's lip-syncing a part of the song made me realise something: EastEnders actors tend to get the spirit of Strictly better than anyone else. They seem to enjoy it more, or are better at conveying their enjoyment to the viewing public. There is something about them, moreso than with the other celebrities, that leaves you referring to them by their first names and as if they were people you actually knew: "Oh, did you see Natlaie's dance last night? Didn't she do well?"
She did. Unfortunately she is paired with Vincent and continues to suffer from the fact that he is about 2 feet tall and 3 stone. So she looks ginormous dancing with him. I keep waiting for her to just pick him up and swing him above her head like a Muppet.

Phil Tufnell and Katya - Viennese Waltz - 27
I'm not quite sure why Katya slid down Phil's leg right at the end of the dance. Perhaps she had a flashback to her pornography days. But I loved Phil's response to it. At first he looked slightly confused then he just flashed that ridiculous grin of his. I think we should all start doing that. When you don't know what's going on, or things have gone pear-shaped, just stand there in a superhero pose and flash an enormous grin. The world would be a better place, says I.

Ali Bastian and Brian - Jive - 29
New rule: In addition to shouting, any time your dance incorporates sitting on Rachel Steven's lap you get automatic points. Ali got lost, but I think the general lack of clothing on her part makes up for it.

Zöe Lucker and James - Jive - 30
Somehow the Cougar ended up in the dance-off this weekend, despite finishing in the top three. I find that to be shocking and I would just like to say, Zöe, if you are reading this, you've always got my shoulder to cry on. Feel free to drop by the house any time. And then have your way with me. No, really.
Please do that.
Please.

Jade Johnson and Ian - Viennese Waltz - 35
Related to the above, Jade, if you are reading this, please feel free to drop by the house any time and have your way with both myself and Zöe.
My fantasy of being dominated by an Olympic athlete aside (I'm looking at you, Phoebe Burns), however, I think this was actually the best dance of the evening. And it was definitely Jade's best so far. She said that she has clicked on the emotional side and I think that really showed through. Hers was the only dance that I found myself actually paying attention to, being drawn into. Every year the Great British Public fucks up the voting around this point and I fear that Jade will end up being affected because she isn't quite as cheeky/charming as other dancers.
I really like her, though (think back to her lip-syncing in her quick step), and I would imagine that the whole Strictly experience is immensely positive for her in emotional/personal terms. Elite athletes like her do nothing but train and pile pressure onto themselves and I would reckon there is very little time for Jade to goof around, to be a girly girl. Have you ever noticed that there is often a sort of underlying sadness to Olympic athletes? They do one thing over and over and over and over, and sometimes their bodies give out on them, or they just aren't as good as someone else, or some other tiny unidentifiable factor, and then what do they have? But all this glitter and silliness and cheese and interacting with a bunch of other people who aren't elite athletes probably helps Jade's state of mind. It probably helps her to feel a bit more human.

Ricky Whittle and Natalie - Viennese Waltz - 36
Meh. He only got more points than Jade because Alesha wants to shag him.

And that's pretty much it. Having Spandau Ballet as the musical guest was cool not because I had ever heard any of their songs before, but because their bassist is Steve Owen off EastEnders. Steve was always my favourite, yo. And then he died in that massive car explosion. The lesson to be learned: Don't attempt to answer your mobile phone whilst driving.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Are you crying, Rav? There's no crying in 'Strictly.' Well, actually, there is

The other night I had a dream that I met Len Goodman at the Mad Bishop & Bear, where he was waiting for a train to Heathrow to board a U.S.-bound flight and film for "Dancing With The Stars." This dream shows two things about me: 1) My subconscious has a strange habit of providing plausible scenarios, thus placing us at the correct London station to catch the express train to Heathrow; 2) I think about Strictly in my sleep.

Other men have sex with Beyonce in their dreams; whereas I ask Len how he deals with the jet-lag.

I felt a little vindicated in my obsession last week, though, when I spotted a poster at Ladbrokes listing the betting odds for this year's celebrities. For those of you playing along at home, Ladbrokes is a perhaps-appropriately -named (it's a place where lads go broke, you see) chain of betting shops in the UK and Ireland. Generally when you pass by one of their shops you will see the odds on upcoming football matches, horse races and the like, but Strictly is so important (or, at least, so important in Pontyclun, Wales) that it earns a spot in the front window.

I almost went in to place a bet on Zöe Lucker but decided against it because, uhm, I'm a man. And it's South Wales. Latent homophobia is one of the things that binds South Walian communities together. Just as racism and xenophobia help the people of North Wales to feel a certain commonality.

Also, the whole culture of betting is another one of those weird facets of British life in which you very much feel that if you aren't already a part of it, you probably shouldn't join in. Whether it be dog races, working-men's clubs, rugby clubs, Eisteddfod, attending football matches (a), playing bowls, drinking at a pub that isn't a chain, or going into Ladbrokes to place a bet on something, this island of rain is weighed down by institutions heavy with an air of disdain toward all those not already involved.

Maybe that's another reason I love Strictly Come Dancing. In as much as a television programme can be welcoming, that's what it is. You know that sort of feeling you get when you go to see a friend's band perform and some part of you wants to turn to the other people there and say: "I know these guys. I hang out with these people." Inexplicably, that's kind of what I feel when watching Strictly.

And by now you will have identified that I am a very sad and lonely person. At least I have Tess Daly. I love Tess, yo. She is my Jodie Foster; I would definitely shoot Ronald Reagan to prove my love for her (b).

One of my favourite things about Tess is that she is in constant model mode. Have you ever noticed that when she's not talking, she's holding three-second poses (c)? I love that. I wonder if she does it at home: she and Vernon are chatting about whatever it is that they chat about (how they're so fucking gorgeous, I would suspect) and as he's making a point she's just sitting there thinking: "One, two, three. Switch pose. One, two, three. Switch pose. One, two, three. Switch pose..."

She will not be posing for Rav "Strong Like Bull" Wilding anymore, because he and Aliona were voted out Saturday. That's fine with me, actually, because I wasn't a particularly big fan of Rav. OK, sure, I respect the whole being-in-the-Army-and-then-joining-a-police-force-to-chase-after-baddies thing. That's grand. What I didn't like was his silly I'm-one-of-the-blokes air. No, you're not Rav. I've met plenty of average blokes in my time and I don't think one of them waxed their chest.

Also, blokes don't cry when they have to leave celebrity dance shows, which is what Rav did after train-wrecking his quickstep in the dance off. The dance earned a 20, which I thought was respectable considering that Rav almost goes storming off stage at 0:52 in the video, and the music filled me with hot rage.

Joe Calzaghe and Kristina - Paso doble - 19
Joe and Kristina actually got a lower score than Rav and Aliona. But Joe has the whole of Wales supporting him, and Kristina has every heterosexual male supporting her. Or at least, wishing he could support her. Or perhaps balance her. On his lap. But that's out of the question now because apparently she and Joe are an item.
A sort of charming thing about Joe is that one of the main reasons he agreed to be on Strictly was for his mother. In all his years of fighting she couldn't stand to see her son get hurt and so never watched any of his fights. Now, finally, he is doing something for her. You will, note, meanwhile that Enzo is nowhere to be seen -- now Joe's dad is the one who can't stand to watch.
I wouldn't have blamed him last week. That glittery boxing belt thing made my soul weep. And remember what I said about people from South Wales? You can see that in the Fighting Pride of Newbridge. No matter how hard he tries, some deep-rooted part of Joe sits there and thinks: "Nah, this is just too gay. I have to not put too much into it so that everyone knows I'm joking." He doesn't appear able to allow himself to get properly into the dances.

Jo "Where Am I?" Wood and Brendan - Paso doble - 20
I hate you Brendan Cole. I hate your face and I hate your accent. I take joy in the fact that you've been paired with a woman who is only slightly more intelligent than a wet plank, because it means that you won't be around for long. Or, at least, it should mean that. Whoever is voting for her, please stop. When Jo dances it makes the baby Jesus cry.

Craig Kelly and Flavia - Quickstep - 21
I like our Craig. He seems like an alright chap, and something about him reminds me of Ewan McGregor's portrayal of Obi-Wan Kenobi. Unfortunately the Force wasn't with him this week and quite a lot went wrong. He ended up looking very much like a little boy making up his own dance moves, rather than someone who had spent a week training with a professional.

Chris Hollins and Ola - Quickstep - 23
Speaking of little-boy dancing, Chris went into a full-on ska-style skanking fit right at the end of his number, which I'm willing to bet wasn't in Ola's original choreography. He alluded to that immediately afterward and then shouted "Yes!" when he got a 5 from Craig, which pretty much sums it up. The dance wasn't particularly great and Chris knew it. At least he owned up to it. If he had been Brendan Cole he would have argued blindly that it had, in fact, been great.

Phil Tufnell and Katya - Quickstep - 24
I actually liked this dance. And the longer Katya stays on the show the longer she stays out of porn. Good for you girl; you're too good for felching.

Lynda Bellingham and Darren - Paso doble - 25
If I were a judge, you would automatically lose a point for dancing to Cliff Richard. And I totally agree with Craig Revel Horwood that Lynda looked like a "stunned mullet" throughout. She had this weird comedy-terrified look on her face that probably would have worked if she had been in a panto, or dancing with Santino Marella. That said, she did actually improve when she danced again in the dance-off, which made Rav's train wreck all the more painful. On a side note, please tell me I'm not alone in thinking that Darren looks like Jack McFarland.

Natalie Cassidy and Vincent - Paso doble - 28
One of the things that Karen Hardy has talked about in It Takes Two's "Choreography Corner" (Wow, this is what my life has become? Knowing dancers' names off the top of my head, watching shows about celebrity dancing shows, and using the phrase "Choreography Corner" without irony. Why couldn't I just be addicted to heroin or something?) is the importance of building dances that actually suit the celebrity's strengths. Equally, it would be a good idea not to build a dance that plays to your weakness. If you are a tiny little man, like, oh, say, Vincent Simone, it's probably not a good idea to try to throw around Natalie Cassidy, who is a woman with some curves on her -- because you aren't strong enough for that. The end result was that Natalie had to help Vincent out and she looked like she was taking a wrestling bump. As always, I wholeheartedly approve the merging of these two worlds, but it looked awkward.

Ricky Groves and Erin - Paso doble - 29
I've said before that if I were a judge, an automatic point would be awarded for shouting in a dance. You shout, you get a point -- it's that simple. So I loved Ricky's full-on scream right at the start of his Paso. That is exactly what I would do if I were a celebrity, going out there and sending the microphone levels into red. Genius. Also, Ricky gets a point for suggesting that the final phrase in Queen's "One Vision" should, in fact, be "Fried chicken!" Add to that the fact that Ricky looked a bit like Ming the Merciless and, quite frankly, he should have scored 10s straight across the board. Not to mention Erin's cleavage. I'd like to balance her on my lap.
Ricky and Erin are redefining dance, bitches.

Laila "Not a Paki" Rouass and Anton - Quickstep - 30
Our Anton got himself into a fair bit of trouble this week, which is too bad because I really like him. If past events are anything to go by, he will need to either be a member of the royal family or die of cancer in order to make amends. I always struggle when people here get upset over use of phrases like "Paki" because they are not racist terms that I grew up with. I grew up in the U.S. South, so there were plenty of racists, but "Paki" wasn't part of the lexicon. As such, I don't have the automatic, gut repulsion that I would toward some other word. Plus, as I say, I like Anton. I am sure that this week's show will contain an awkward and uncomfortable apology, but hopefully that'll be it. Oh, and Laila's dance was nice.

Jade "Dominatrix" Johnson and Ian - Quickstep - 31
Did you see that episode of It Takes Two last week when Jade was sitting there with her hand on Ian's thigh? And the way she looks at him as if he were a piece of meat? What's up with that, yo? You can see a bit of fear in poor Ian's eyes when he's near her. And with good reason; he can't handle that mountain. I imagine it would be like having sex with a charging bison. I assume. I don't actually know what that's like, obviously. The rangers at Custer State Park arrested me before I got a chance to find out.
As far as their dance is concerned, I dug the little bit where Jade and Ian lip-synched to the song. I'm hoping that they'll be in the show for quite a while, because I like them, but that may not be the case because Jade suffered some sort of horrific back injury early in the week. There's something amusing about an elite athlete suffering an injury whilst dancing. Like when Austin Healey threw out his back, or the time he dislocated a finger.

Zöe "The Cougar" Lucker and James - Paso doble - 31
I have decided that Zöe and James are my favourite couple. Of course, a lot of that has to do with how much I'd like to shag Zöe. In the words of Bruno: "From you I always expect a little more sex." Or perhaps, in my case, "want" is a better word to use than "expect." I want her to come to my house and make sweet, sweet love to me on a bed of Ola Jordan clones.
But I also just really like something about her -- her attitude, the way she dances, I'm not totally sure. But it's strong enough that I am able to overcome my usual dislike for James. I worry, though, that she has been lucky with slow dances that allow her to rely on her acting skill. I'm not sure she will be as impressive when she gets stuck performing a salsa or quickstep or the like.

Ali Bastian and Brian - Quickstep - 32
I'm not really one to read tabloids, so Len's making note of rumours to the effect of Brian and Ali being a couple came as quite a shock to me. Primarily it was a shock because I kind of reckoned that Brian didn't swing that way, if you catch my drift. His creepy wisp of a moustache always made me think that he was child predator. It's lovely that he is, in fact, focusing his attention on a lovely, albeit slightly dim Ali. Lovely. That is the word that comes to my mind when I think of Ali. The problem is that although she is lovely she is also utterly forgettable. I just finished watching her dance again but cannot at the moment picture her face. I remember that she is lovely, but nothing else.

Ricky Whittle and Natalie - Paso doble - 35
Whittle is fast setting himself out as That Bloke Who Can Actually Dance. There is always one in every series. Usually what happens is that bloke will either train wreck or somehow end up in a dance-off with someone who is equally as good but prettier, and he will leave the show sparking a mini mock scandal. Already I am looking forward to Craig Revel Horwood's lecturing drone as he sits on It Takes Two and backhandedly insults the viewing public for failing to vote according to the quality of the dancing, darling. I predict that he will do this on or around Guy Fawkes Day.

And that's last Saturday's show. It's a shame that Rachel has left the UK because she would have really loved seeing Andy Williams as the show's musical guest. She would be pretty much the only one to love that, though. Andy looks to have held up alright over the years, but his ability to carry a tune clearly hasn't. That hurt almost as much as watching Jo Wood dance.

This Saturday I'll be in Bath, watching the show with the Phins. Pity them.
-----

(a) That is to say, attending the matches of any team not in the top 10 of the Premiership.

(b) Admittedly, it's a lot easier to shoot him now. But it's the thought that counts.

(c) On an unrelated side note, I wish Christian and Edge would reunite and bring back the five-second pose.

Addas

There's something strangely appropriate about the fact that this was my 3,000th Twitter update. It sort of encapsulates the worth, or lack thereof, of both Twitter and my everyday life.