Monday, 15 November 2010

'When you dance on the edge...'

Damn. I have broken a promise to myself - yes, another one, less a habit and more of a way of life – which is to post at least one thing a week here that isn't Strictly related. Yet here we are again. Another Saturday night has come and gone, with nothing new here since the last one. I will do better.

It's entirely possible that people come here thinking it is only a blog about
Strictly Come Dancing, and technically, at this very moment, they are correct. Now I know how Soulwax felt when they started doing mash-ups and everyone forgot they had been a journeyman indie band for years.

I am the Soulwax of blogging, and it is my own fault.


This week we see a curious quasi-phenomenon that
Strictly has attempted to create all by itself - The Road To Blackpool. Next week, as at this stage of the competition last year, the programme will come live from the Tower Ballroom. Dancing at Blackpool, according to the makers of Strictly Come Dancing, is a physical and spiritual revelation akin to climbing to the top of Machu Picchu or something. For the professionals, this may be true. I'm sensing that the viewers can live without an extra 10 minutes of VT featuring James Jordan larking about on a minibus. Potentially, I suppose, there is the chance for some of our overseas Strictly friends – Michelle, Artem, etc – to discover the great British institution of the Travelodge.

Still, we must consider that if they removed the Strictly Goes To Blackpool element, we would be all spared the shame of Bruce Forsyth's exruciating northern accent.

A girl can dream.

Dancing first are Pamela and James, with a cha-cha-cha reflecting the economic downturn, as all good cha-cha-chas should. As James rips off Pamela's pin-striped trousers, we are reminded of the fall from grace of the bankers and… you're right, I don't really know where I'm going with this. It's a pretty good dance anyway, but Len says it was a bit careful. I'm not surprised. James must be suffering from chronic tartan blindness after his midweek visit to Pamela's stately homestead in Scotland. Pamela is probably accustomed to it by now, and just thinks that every surface comes in a chequered pattern, so damaged are her retinas.

If Michelle and Brendan do anything this week, they confirm Craig's suspicion that her improvement last week was due to Brendan holding her too tightly for her to mess up. It all goes a bit peculiar again this week though, and we are reminded that limb control is not high on Michelle's list of key skills. Being kooky, yes. Buying her own diamonds and buying her own rings/associated 'independent woman' characteristics, yes. Also, calling Len sir. She is excellent at that. It reminds me of
Marcie on Peanuts saying it to Peppermint Patty. Michelle and Marcie both have the same gruff little voice. Also, Michelle is wearing a crazy white lace dress, inspired by those postcards of Spanish ladies, where the skirt is a bit of real lace stuck on to the card.

Patsy looks amazing this evening. She seems to be looking younger each week, which is an unexpected side effect of knocking Botox on the head. She has fabulous 60s make-up and is dancing to
Anyonewhoever'adan'arrrrrt, as I like to write it – although not Cilla's version this time, but Dusty's. Her waltz gets a standing ovation, which gives Bruce the chance to break out his new catchphrase, 'LOOK AT THIS!' while gesturing wildly at the audience, like he's on a picnic with his lovely wife Wilnelia and he's swotting wasps away from his corned beef sandwich.

Now, perhaps you have been wondering what on earth Gavin and Katya could do next to mobilise the lady votes, following Gavin Topless and Gavin 'n' Katya Heavy Petting. Here is the answer. Gavin Snogging A Man. Well, I say snogging. It's a long peck. A long peck with Bruno. AND Gavin's kids visit him in the training room. Sexy? Tick! Sentimental? Tick! Votes? Tick! Tick! Their quickstep is a concept dance. The concept is that Katya is trying to teach Gavin to dance, but he is not very good and easily distracted. It is a colossal feat of creative imagination, clearly. For the first time, Gavin actually looks like he might be enjoying himself, rather than wishing he was anywhere else, eg having an intimate body wax. It's not a technical triumph, but Gavin (who has talked more in this week's allotted six minutes than I've heard him through the rest of the series put together) says that seeing his kids in the VT caused him to make some mistakes. "I miss em' a bit," he says. Oh, skillful laying on of sentiment, Gavin. You are not as dumb as you look. Unless that was actually genuine. Once again, Bruce brings out the 'LOOK AT THIS! ' Gavin and Katya get 9s from Alesha and Bruno, who conceivably are as dumb as they look.

Ann and Anton are doing the foxtrot to
You Make Me Feel So Young. This is the song that Ann hears playing in her head whenever Anton's around and, increasingly, when he's not. She hears it as she awakes in the morning with renewed joie de vivre, as she sprays on a new and rather daring bottle of cologne, as bluebirds sing on her bedroom window sill while she combs her hair. She and Anton are back to ballroom this week, actually attempting the steps of the foxtrot and everything. And while Ann's feet may be doing something in the vicinity of dancing, I'm not sure you could say that for the rest of her. When they go over for the judges' comments, Ann is a bit fighty. The best form of defence is always attack, as New Order may or may not have sung on World In Motion, but still, I could do with a bit more shut up from Ann about now.

I feel it is important note that Gavin and Katya are leading at this point.

Next there is a film about Blackpool. After expressing my indifference to Strictly Goes Blackpool, I now find that I would quite genuinely like to go. I have never been. I don't care about the ballroom, I just want the slots and the sand and the fish and chips. Who wants to come with me? That is a genuine question.

Next up, Kara and Artem dancing the Argentine tango. In her VT, Kara is excited to meet the Chuckle Brothers. Kara, you need to start learning to dream big. You will be in
Chicago in three months' time, where you may get to meet an ex-member of the Backstreet Boys, or even Claire Sweeney. Get used to it. Kara begins the routine wearing a trilby, which I believe to be one of the world's most ill-advised fashion items. Although if you were some kind of gangster, I would probably tell you it suited you to your face. They are brilliant and I feel they are undermarked when they get 2 9s and 2 10s. If they had switched the trilby for something more dramatic – a fez, say, or a fireman's helmet - who knows, we may have been seeing full marks. No regrets, though, Kara and Artem. Onwards and upwards. Keep working hard and one day you may achieve the same penetrating insight into costume and performance as me.

Felicity and Vincent are dancing the salsa. Vincent's shirt is brazenly untucked. This is enough to cause some of the more conservative members of the viewing public to take to their writing bureau and express their distaste. Felicity is wearing a poloneck, which seems a particularly un-salsa-y garment. Why not go the whole hog and slip a duffel on? The clothing is an appropriately bad omen, as the dance descends into a stumbly, bumpy tangle of arms and enthusiasm-turned-awkward. All they need is a trestle table to one side laden with half-eaten sausage rolls and screwed-up napkins to evoke that 1am wedding-reception feel. That is a prop Strictly Come Dancing should totally get.

Matt and Aliona seem to have gone off the boil in recent weeks. Or maybe they have stayed at a steady simmer. Perhaps Matt spunked his backflip too early (in week one, for Christ's sake. Powder dry, Matthew. Powder. Dry.). I cringe at the very idea of them doing a rumba, given how excruciating Scott's was last week, but I have to say, this is the most watchable rumba I've ever, like, watched – although the judges don't all agree. Again with the untucked shirt, though. There will be talk of hell. There will be talk of handcarts. I worry about Matt having to bury his face in Aliona's hair to such an extent. It must be pretty chemical in there. Luckily Matt's lungs are so full of wholesome fresh country air, he can withstand it. Matt needs a big week some time soon. Get him to an American Smooth asap, is what I say.

Never mind untucked shirts. Scott and Natalie's outfits do not match in any way at all. This is anarchy! There has been a lot of talk about weight-loss in tonight's show, but Scott is the most dramatic example of this. I don't think he looks very well. And his neck's gone a bit Deirdre Barlow. Lend him your poloneck, Felicity. Now, there's no other way to say it – Scott's jive is amazing. There is a story! There is a door! It is amazing! Scott is so compact and tidy and sharp and... muscular somehow. Also, Natalie is an excellent choreographer. Still, the mean part of me (I know you don't believe this actually exists, but I have difficult news for you) really hopes the door jams,
Auntie's Bloomers-style, just to see Natalie's reaction. Would she stay eerily calm while her eyes turned totally black, would she lie down on the floor and start screaming like a two-year-old in a supermarket, or would she just go straight for full body combustion? Whatever, it doesn't happen and the crowd go crazy. Len says 'When you dance on the edge...' which sounds like a brilliant line for the trailer of Strictly Come Dancing... The Movie, but then he concludes the sentence with ' can go wrong' which is hardly the same as the threat of violent death, and that's the kind of jeopardy we're all looking for at the cinema.

In the results show, Claudia betrays the fact that she an avid reader of this blog by more or less reiterating my point from last week that Michelle is living out the words to Destiny's Child's
Survivor. But not any more. Sorry, Michelle.

Next week, roll up your trouser legs, knot your handkerchief and brush up your cliches. It's Blackpool, baby!


Anonymous said...

Miss Jones,
I went to Blackpool twice in the 80s, principally because they had a Doctor Who exhibition there. How I marveled at remaindered Dalek props, a replica Tardis console, the Myrka sea creature (google if you dare), and Peter Davison's genuine trainers.
I fear that returning to Blackpool would never recapture that magic.
Also it was, and remains, bloody cold.
Mr T x

katetf said...

I just want you to know that while I was sitting at home last night watching the results show, I thought to myself, "Matt Baker really needs to get the American Smooth in Blackpool week."

This means two things:

1) I agree with you about everything; and
2) I have been bludgeoned by the BBC into thinking Blackpool week is meaningful. I hate myself a bit. (Though I still hate James Jordan more.)

Shrimptowers said...

Blimey, that was a long old post. If I'd known, I'd have packed a picnic for a pick-me-up half way through. Excellent blogging as ever, though, Miss Jones.

Anonymous said...

Firstly, excellent blog as always - think I am now watching the show simply as a warm-up to this blog.

Secondly, I said Felicity looked like a drunk aunt at a wedding too!!!!

Thirdly, no comment about Natalie getting sooo emotional behind the door...FOR A JIVE?!? I nearly self-combusted with anticipation of your comments when she shared that gem.

Miss Jones said...

Oh sorry, Anon. You are quite right, I totally forgot to mention the moment when Natalie said she started crying behind the door and then told herself to man up IN THE THIRD PERSON. Sometimes I worry I'm a bit mean about Natalie, and then she does something like this and I remember why.

InvisibleWoman said...

I found you through your Strictly blog and stayed, so an unadulterated Strictly season works for me. As a Yorkshire person, I had many daytrips to Blackpool in my youth. It looks better on TV. Don't ruin the dream by actually going there. The sea is brown. Always. Though it is infinitely preferable to Skegness.

Beccy said...

I can't believe you didn't comment last week about Patsy saying that she was probably going to look like a glittery sausage in her dress, but that it didn't matter because "Anyway, I like sausages"! I had so much girl love for her in that moment.

Pauline said...

I love your blog, Miss Jones. Thank you.

How I reached my advanced years without ever having been to Blackpool I don't know, except that it's 'oop north', but I went last year for the first time and again this year. It's cold, it's wet, it's windy and, basically, you feel under-dressed if you're not wearing a shocking pink tutu. But the drunken hen parties notwithstanding, there is a warmth and sense of fun there, which makes it worth a visit. Oh, and Doctor Who is still there, immortalised in the illuminations, although they were badly damaged in a recent storm. Did I mention it's a bit wet and windy there?

Seneska said...

You can get the Blackpool experience by, rather than visiting, watching Blackpool. It has David Tennant and David Morrissey. There is singing and dancing and chips and ice cream and gay, but you don't have to put up with the cold or the funny smell. I think that makes it a win.

katetf said...

Update. Matt Baker has the samba and not the American Smooth. Disappointing.

Miss Jones said...

Seneska, not only do I want to go to Blackpool, but I have wanted to watch it for ages as well. I missed it when it was on TV. But you have reminded me about it, and I have put it on my Christmas list. Thank you.

Beccy, I loved Patsy's glittery sausage comparison, but as Shrimptowers shrewdly points out, these Strictly posts are long enough as it is...

KateF, hmmm. Well, maybe it will work better for him to have the American Smooth further on in the competition. I thought his samba looked good in training. And by this I mean his hips look well swivelly.

Alison Cross said...

This blog post is the absolute pinnacle of my Strictly week and have been known to quote bits to my friends and have them in stitches. I of course don't tell them that it's not my original thought. They think I'm naturally brilliant. so thanks for that ;-)

In Scotland we DO have every conceivable surface upholstered in tartan. The redder and greener the better *sigh* that single film set VisitScotland back by about 100 years.

I too think that Scott is looking REALLY ill - do you think it's just cos they're all losing weight?

I would LOVE to go with you to Blackpool as it is, after all the spiritual home of Tarot and that's my bag these days.

It was in Blackpool that I found a shop that sold rock sweeties, sex toys and martial arts weapons *impressed face*

We should ALL go next year and book into The Big Blue Hotel - which is actually VERY nice.

*rubs hands together* can't wait for next week's submission!!!

Ali x