Tuesday, 8 December 2009

It's Christmas!

Those of you who know me will know that I love University Challenge. Love it. Like, the hate-going-out-on-Monday-nights kind of love it. And as of this week I have a new favourite contestant. He is on the Warwick team. His name is Christopher Christmas.

My previous favourite was Martin Heighway, on the Open University team. I loved him partly for his raffish gulp of water each and every time he successfully answered a starter for 10, but mainly because when he hit the buzzer first on said starter for 10, Voiceover Man would shout with delight, "Open Heighway!" It literally (for me) never got old.

Christopher has neither a raffish style of water-drinking nor a funny punny name. But, you guys? His name is Christopher Christmas.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Sunday morning thoughts

The title of this post was meant to lull you into thinking this post might be about many different things. It isn't. You know what it's about. I almost can't wait for 19th December so that my mind might turn to different things.

1. I voted for Chris and Ola again. I seriously think I might have lost my mind. In previous years I have been secure in the knowledge that I was supporting the best dancer, even when that dancer wasn't going to win. But this year something has changed. I have become one of the other sort, the sort that votes for the couple they like rather than the couple who can dance. Why? What's changed? Is it me? Is it the show? It's me, isn't it.

2. I think Bruce was on something last night. Possibly Pro Plus.

3. Can Bette Midler please learn another song? She's been popping up on these light entertainment shows for years and she always sings The Rose or the dreaded Wind Beneath My Wings? Why? Why does she do this? What is she selling? Is it in her contract that she never has to learn a new song ever again? If so, why? Why is it in her contract? Why do people keep agreeing to the contract? So. Many. Questions.

4. Tess needs to sort her wardrobe pronto. Part of the joy of Strictly has always been checking what horror Tess is in that week and wondering who in wardrobe she has pissed off, but we seem to have added a new element to all this - Boob Area Catastrophe (BAC). Last week, poor bra choice meant a couple of boobs too many. This week, poor bra choice and slightly too low a neckline demonstrated that gravity always wins. Somebody help her.

5. Why don't I like Ricky Whittle?

6. I once sent Rhona and Alice a long e-mail about how I felt about Anton and Laila doing Latin. Basically it makes me feel upset and dirty. Thank God they've finally gone home.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Strictly terrifying

I have been trying to figure out exactly why I find Natalie Lowe, new Strictly professional, so unsettling. I mean, she and Ricky Whittle can be a bit annoying, but they're pretty good and I forgive them many transgressions because their quickstep was awesome, but she just... freaks me out. Today I finally figured it out.

Here she is in Strictly:

And here she is in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines:

Natalie for the win! Don't hurt me, please don't hurt me!

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Le tennis, encore une fois

I did not cover myself in glory at the tennis on Friday night. In fact, what I covered myself in was beer - I spilled half an expensive pint over my own lap. I still don't know quite how it happened. I got in a grump and could not cope with the damp and the stale beer smell so in the end I left after a set and a half. Had it been the Fed, it's possible I would have got over it, but Davydenko vs Soderling? I just couldn't bring myself to care.

On the upside, the view even from the cheap seats was really jolly good, though vertigo sufferers would be advised to splash out on courtside seats. It's not for the faint-hearted up there.

It has been a busy weekend of culture and social engagements. I'll write about those when I have been fortified by Shepherd's Pie.

Friday, 27 November 2009

Anyone for tennis?

I am off to the O2 arena this evening for a spot of tennis-watching. I have never been to the O2 before and I have not been to see live tennis for a number of years so, as you can imagine, I have been rather excited. I have checked today's order of play. That's the order of play for the ATP World Finals, featuring the top male players in the world this year. What will I be watching?

Davydenko vs Soderling

That's right, team. Davydenko vs Soderling. In a championship featuring Federer, Nadal, Murray and Djokovic, the Friday night game is Davydenko vs Soderling.

Now, let me be very clear. I rather like Robin Soderling. I think he's got a nice line in self-deprecating humour and he beat Nadal at the French this year, which was the only way that Federer was ever going to win the title, and God knows I love Federer. Plus he's only in there because my adored Andy Roddick is injured, so underdog etc etc. Davydenko, though, is another matter. He is a player who seems to have been in the top 10 forever while not actually doing very much. I mean, obviously, he does rather a lot and must win a lot of matches, but did we enjoy any of them? Do we remember any of them? And is he, in fact, a bit dodgy?

My point is, I will have no difficulty finding someone to get behind and I will enjoy myself because it's live sport with a bunch of my friends. BUT it's the ATP finals, the end-of-year extravaganza and I'm watching Davydenko vs Soderling.

Not cool, ATP dudes. Not cool.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Modern day heroes

There are modern day heroes amongst my friends. They are called Sarah and Mike and they devoted their entire day today to moving me from El Syd to The Big Surb. This was above and beyond the call of duty and so far this is what they have had in return:

  • profuse thanks
  • some M&S sandwiches
  • a cup of tea
Obviously I will improve upon this in the days to come.

Strictly report to follow when I have perked up a bit. I'm having a cheeky glass of wine now, which is helping.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Calmer now

So yes. I own a flat. So far it is empty other than for the plant and the excellent sandwich/panini maker (which also makes quesadillas, according to the instruction booklet, which = aces) bought for me as a housewarming (literally) gift by Penny, RB, Sal, Sue and Zoe. I am immensely grateful for both gifts, but more so for the sandwich maker, because I am good at keeping electrical goods alive but in general less successful with plantlife.

Today I thought about going and buying some paint, seeing as the whole flat needs decorating. But then I got sidetracked by carpet, and then demoralised by how many different types of carpet there are, so in the end I just bought a kettle.

Plans for the rest of the day include watching England get beaten by the All Blacks and having a chat with my Dad, plus of course watching Strictly, which this week is being brought to me by the letter 'S' (Sue, Sian and El Syd). I have no doubt I will report back with my thoughts.

Friday, 20 November 2009


My solicitor has just called to confirm that I own a flat now. I imagine I will feel excited about that later on today when I get the keys and go in. At the moment, I feel a bit sick.

Monday, 16 November 2009

No-Brucie Bonus

OK, so this is lazy blogging, but I've had a busy day and weekend, so whatevs. Here are my Strictly thoughts as expressed less-than-succinctly to Alice and Rhona earlier.

1. Things are better without Bruce - no active screaming at the TV from me - but things were off-balance all night because Tess was extremely nervous and couldn't cope. Ronnie Corbett - WHY? Claudia, though, is a genius - I think she is like Davina minus all the gurning and plus some extra cleverness and empathy. So not really like Davina at all.

2. Stop overscoring Ricky Whittle. That jive was so out of time. Scoring celebrities on how difficult the routine was rather than, you know, how well they actually danced it is not how this bloody show works.

3. Who chooses the music? There is no way Brian picked that song for the cha cha, no way in the world. Mind you, Ali really has to stop looking so self-conscious during Latin or I am going to stop liking her. Fact.

4. I would have saved Tuffers. At least he adds some personality to the competition. What does Groves add? Miraculous weight loss and poor self-scripted gags. Send him home already.

5. Shut up Len.

6. I love Chris Hollins even more than before. I would laugh so hard if he won.

7. Jade and Ian - SOB. Bet they have to withdraw.

8. I hate Anton a little bit less now. BUT they would have been toast if she hadn't done her foot, so I am all bitter and have died a bit inside because Tuffers has gone instead.

Are you bored yet? ARE YOU??

9. They had better not introduce the Bolero as the new dance. Bad enough we have to sit through the rumba, but another slow Latin that is Hard For A Male Celebrity? I will go on strike. Can't we have the Charleston? Or swing? Or the lindyhop?

10. Why did they suddenly just introduce the couples by their first names? What happened to "Ricky Groves, star of Eastenders and his professional partner Erin Boag"? Too much for Tess to read out by herself? Get voiceover man to do it, then. As it was, she raced through it - nerves and fewer words - so the line-up was only five couples when they did the pan up and down the line. WRONG. YOU GOT IT WRONG.

11. Claudia is awesome and must switch to the Saturday show. Here is my recipe for future Strictly brilliance:

Presenters - Graham Norton (funny, a little bit bitchy but also sympathetic) and Claudia (genius)
Judges - Craig (who speaks the truth), Karen Hardy (Head Judge!), Shirley Ballas (dancing queen of mean) and another male judge who is neither Bruno (who looks seriously over this whole thing) or Len (who is stupid and awful and must be fired).
Roving reporter, both in and out of the studio - Alesha. She looks bored behind that desk. Strictly It Takes Two - Claudia (obv) and Chris Hollins when Claudia needs a rest day because she is now doing the Saturday show.
Celebrities - UP THE BUDGET!! These people are awful and unexciting (except Chris Hollins on whom I have a weird little crush). Next year - Robbie Williams for the win.

If they follow my plan, next year will be excellent.

I have more thoughts on this and on other things. Like Doctor Who. I love Doctor Who.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Fingerlickin' bad

I have had some red wine this evening which has made me more than usually intolerant. I know. Hard to believe.

Here is the thing that annoyed me this evening. The man sitting next to me on the train was reading the Evening Standard. Every time he wanted to turn the page, he licked his thumb. Every time. He held the paper in both hands, lifted it to his face and licked his left thumb. Every time he turned the page.


a) Is his thumb that slippery?
b) Is the Evening Standard that tough to get a grip of?
c) Didn't his thumb get newsprinty?
d) Didn't that make his thumb taste worse every time?

To him - normal. To me - impossible to cope with.

I moved.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

A week in summary

My resolution to write an entry on this every day lasted, let me see now... a day. However, in news that will delight me, the writer, and would I am sure delight all readers if I in fact had any, I have managed to spend the afternoon today writing for the first time in a very long time, so perhaps even that one blog entry has, you know, jogged something loose.

Here's what I have been doing this week:

1. Going to the theatre. I went to see Bedroom Farce at the Kingston Rose, a play I like by a playwright I like. Jane Asher and Nicholas Le Prevost were in it and were masterfully experienced and urbane and extremely funny. The younger folk in it? Not so much. I don't think it can be that young people cannot do Ayckbourn, I think it is more that they just managed to cast quite a lot of people who aren't funny. Funny is not the same as being good at acting. Also, it had not one, not two, but three sons/daughters of famous actors in it. I have views about this. I'll share them another time.

2. Going to the cinema. I saw An Education with Zoe T (she was with me, she wasn't in it). It was set in Twickenham, where I grew up, which made me oddly happy even though I didn't recognise any of the locations. It's very good, but I think the chat about Carey Mulligan being Oscar-worthy is OTT. She's lovely in it, but she's been lovely in everything I have seen her in, but the same sort of lovely every time. Possibly not her fault - clearly she is being cast as a certain type of character - but not ready for Oscar-chat yet, that's what I say.

3. Watching Strictly. I thought about doing a proper long blog about this, but others are doing it already and in a very funny way, so read them, not this. Maybe I'll do it another week. A few thoughts, though.

a) Dear Producers, you have leapt on the possibility of another showmance (Ricky and Natalie) with indecent haste. Let it lie. You too, Tess - no-one thinks you're funny.
b) There is a special place in hell for the person who decided the best use of BLACKPOOL WEEK was a bloody pro Viennese waltz, for God's sake.
c) Bruce singing is good for no-one, least of all Bruce. "What a rare this has been." What?
d) This was the first week that I voted. I voted for Jade and Ian. It's a losing cause, but I love them.

I think I'll try to blog again tomorrow. I bet you (by which I mean I) can't wait.

Monday, 2 November 2009

Let's see how we get on

Gosh, this is blue, isn't it?

I set up this blog ages ago thinking, for some reason, that I had all these, like, interesting things to say and stuff if only I could, like, find somewhere to say them and get them out of my brain so I could focus on new stuff (I dwell on things. If you know me, you already know this). It has turned out, however, that I am too lazy.

In an effort to strike a blow against lethargy and somehow trigger a renaissance in energy levels, writing levels and all other levels of everything, finally, here I am. I don't know what I'll be writing about, but I'd guess it will include:

  • Strictly (I love it and hate it. It's complicated.)
  • Sport (I love it but I'm curiously unengaged this autumn. Let's see how it goes.)
  • Commuter rage (I suffer from it daily)
  • The Olympics (it's separate from sport. I mean, I know it isn't, but for me it is because my love is so strong.)
Plus, you know, other stuff as the rage takes me. I tried to find a title for this blog that was about anger, rage, ranting etc, because that's a lot of what I do. But they were all taken. There's a lot of rage on the internet, people.