Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Last minute

A lovely reminder from that it isn't too late for me to do my last minute Christmas shopping with them. They suggest I might like to buy:
  • A retro wallet
  • A total body epilator (yikes)
  • A hiking shoe (singular)
  • A Winnie the Pooh magic rattle
  • A Winmau Blade 4 Bristle Dartboard
So. Much. Choice. Wracked with indecision as I have been since the e-mail arrived, I have finally decided to take up only one of these kind suggestions. It has to be the magic rattle, just in case it's, you know, actual magic. Because that would be brilliant.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Oh dear

I've just booked to see Glee live at the O2 next summer. Have I reached rock bottom?

Friday, 12 November 2010

Strictly Come Catch-Up

I've been away on holiday. Did you miss me? I tell you what I missed - Strictly. I literally missed it for three weeks but I've now well and truly caught up. I have a lot of thoughts. Here they are, when you have a couple of hours to spare:

1. The Booted Couples

Shilts and Erin. Poor Erin. They should have just sacked her like they wanted to at the end of the last series. The only old dancer allowed on the show is Anton because they've decided he's funny (sigh) and Erin is just tagging along now. Shilts was a hospital pass from the start and Erin knew it. Her face during that launch show was a picture.
Tina and Jared. Who cares? No really - who cares? She got an extra week due to chicken pox sympathy, but frankly it was ill-deserved. If he's back next year it is only due to possible showmance (though shurely this is made up?) although obviously that didn't save Brian.

Jimi and Flavia. Oh it's such a SHOCK, oh it's so SAD etc etc. To me? Not a shock and not at all sad. One more week of Jimi's relentless mugging for the camera and I was going to boot his face in. I though that quickstep was overly careful and a bit dull. Maybe they went a week or two early, but no more than that, so STOP BLEATING about it. Nobody likes a bad loser *cough* James Jordan *cough*.
2. Ann and Anton

OK. I have two things to say here and to some people's minds they might be contradictory, but I trust you to understand. Firstly, they have to leave this competition. I know, I know, it's an entertainment show, blah blah, but why they hell would I want to be entertained by Anton's mugging and Widdy's hopeless dancing and oh-so-funny battles with the judges when I could be entertained by some lovely dancing? I think what makes me feel worst about it is that I feel like I am watching Anton's Ghost of Christmas Future the whole time - his destiny is to cart ancient old bags around a dancefloor to earn pennies for gin. However, secondly, I think the world should SHUT UP about whether or not she should quit the show. No, she shouldn't. She might be awful, but the idiot public are voting for her, so why should she quit just to make them feel better about themselves? No. But please God, let her time have run out.
3. The Also-Rans

Michelle & Brendan. I have no feelings about them whatsoever. They're just making up the numbers at this point and will probably be next week's boot. It was lovely to see Ian Waite back though, even just for one week. Love him.

Felicity and Vincent. I fast-forwarded all their dances. If they went instead of Michelle and Brendan I wouldn't give too hoots. I am not sure they could be any more dull.

Patsy and Robin. That guy is so weird-looking. I honestly feel like he was built in a factory where they make the World's Strongest Man contestants, then accidentally made a bit camp with a passion for dance. The results make me very uncomfortable.
4. Sort of Also-Rans but sort of Not

Pamela and James. Once genuine contenders, now very obviously not due to a) the Latin factor b) the Jordan factor and c) the Pamela Shtick factor. The salsa was obviously a total one-off in terms of Pamela's Latinability. Jordan seemed likeable for two minutes and now is obviously unutterably awful again. Plus - how cheesy was that foxtrot? The lookback to camera at the end actually made me feel physically sick. And finally the shtick. We get it, Pam. You're a bit old! You're funny! You're married to Billy Connolly! Now shut up!

Gavin and Katya. I mean, look, yes, they're also-rans. Of course they are. But I sort of love them. Henson is such a self-obsessed dolt, I can't take my eyes off him.
5. Contenders

Kara and Artem. She's the best dancer on the show, basically. But she won't win, because she's an attractive woman who's not afraid of the fact that she's attractive. I predict a semi-final booting.

Scott and Natalie. I have always thought Scott was a bit ape-like, but he has been getting away with it so far because Natalie is amazing and can choreograph around it. But you can't choreograph a rumba for an ape. The question is, has this dodgy week ruined his chances? I think a lot rests for him on this next dance, because he doesn't quite have the likeability factor that saved Hollins every week if he stuffs it up again. Also, Len did him no favours with that nine, the pratt.

Matt and Aliona. My prediction, it seems, has come true. Matt is terrific, but Aliona's hopeless choreography with its endless over-complication is a) making him make mistakes and b) making him stressed and therefore a bit unlikeable. I think it's quite hard to maintain a chirpy Blue Peter demeanour if you're constantly under pressure from a crazy Russian. If she made the dances even a tiny bit simpler, he'd get tens all round. Madness.
6. The Professionals

Here is my take on who should stay, who should go, and who should never have gone etc.

Anton and Erin. It's time. But in fact they'll boot Erin and keep Anton and I will cry and cry.
Jared. He's about 12 years old. He can dance, but he can't choreograph, and he looks out of his depth.
Robin. I can't look at his face.
Aliona. If she doesn't win this year, surely a certain booting. I don't like her.
Jordan. Hate.
Christina. To quote Craig, cha-cha-chavvy.
The Pro-Dance Troupe. Everything they have done has been awful. They look like they rehearse for five minutes before going on, which I think perhaps is true. The pro dances that are done by the current competing professionals are just so much better - last week's foxtrot was gorgeous.

Katya. She's hilarious. If she'd been paired with Matt they would have been sure-fire winners.
Natalie. She's crazy, but her choreography is amazing.
Brendan. I know he needs to shut up, but when he really gets the chance to dance, he's terrific.
Vince and Flav. Obviously.
Ola. Can we keep her if we boot her awful husband? Is that allowed?

Bring them back
Ian Waite. Love him. Although he was awful in that rock 'n'roll dance. But then, who wasn't?
Lilia. I miss her. But I don't miss Darren, so WHAT DO I DO?
Cutler. Oh Cutler, how do I miss thee, let me count the ways... But on the subject of Cutler, how camp was that pro paso he choregraphed? It was the campest thing I've ever seen on SCD, and that is seriously saying something.

It is just possible that I overthink Strictly. A bit. Maybe.

Monday, 18 October 2010

What could get me blogging again?

Chaps - there have been so many things I could have blogged about over the last few months. All the lovely theatre I've seen. My two-day whirlwind trip to Edinburgh. My new obsession with NFL due to my participation in NFL Fantasy Football (courtesy of Mr Plenty More Fish). But I think you knew what would get me back on here. And you were right. It's that Strictly time again.

No full recaps from me - if you want those, try this guy, who writes awesome epic recaps with screencaps and everything. But here are some thoughts about this week's show:

1. Is Matt Baker a bit humourless? Maybe he is. Or maybe Aliona is ruining him because her choreography is useless. Gimmicky rubbish. She is letting him down, I feel.

2. It doesn't matter what happens, I still hate the rumba.

3. Pamela Stephenson has done what I had thought to be impossible and has made me like James Jordan. DAMN YOU BBC.

4. Felicity Kendal is just blah for me. I barely even remember she is there.

5. Michelle Williams should be toast. She can barely stand up on those sticks, never mind dance, and her sense of humour which was evident in the launch show has gone walkabout, so she ought to get booted for lack of likeability, regardless of dance failings. BUT Brendan has gone back to NZ because his dad sadly died at the weekend, so Williams gets IAN WAITE HURRAH HURRAH for a week to do the tango. Can he rescue her from near certain booting through his sheer magnificence? Maybe.

6. I love a bit of Vince and Flav, but that tango was effing mental. Alice rightly described Flavia as a turquoise worm, while Rhona thought of it as the bondage dance. I felt it was a combo of the two - a turquoise worm doing a dirty bondage dance with four men. But I did like the bit when the giant new boy Robin threw Flavia over his head. That was cool.

7. Paul Daniels just had to go and be gross about Ola at the end, didn't he? He couldn't just leave it. I hate the way this show makes it ok for the old men to be dirty old men. No. Just stop it.

8. Tess Daly is a joy vacuum.

9. I miss the dance-off. Controversial.

10. When this show booted a load of pros in the summer I was a bit upset, because they were (mainly) pros that I liked. BUT what I have noticed so far is that they didn't just lose lovely dancers - in Cutler, Ian Waite and Lilia, they also lost three of their absolute best choreographers, and it really really shows. The best choreographer at the moment is Natalie by a country mile - and Erin in the ballroom. Everything else just looks super-lame by comparison. Silly silly BBC. BRING THEM BACK.

Monday, 28 June 2010

Greg Rusedski...

... would like us to know that the first two or three games of the set are where Murray is susceptible to an early break. Whereas what I would actually like to know is who thought Rusedski was worth a commentating spot.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

I see you a Nice...

...and I raise you a Stafford. Yeah, ok, no Rafa, no Monte Carlo, no trip to the Cours Saleya market, no Kir Royale. But instead:

- a walk on Cannock Chase
- a day trip to Lichfield (super cathedral! three spires!)
- a day trip to Little Moreton Hall (it's Tudor! it does a lovely lunch and a less good cup of tea!)
- a cinema trip (to The Ghost! it's not as good as they're making out!)
- a pint and a half of Tribute at the Spittal Brook (I chose to drink real ale! how did that happen?!)

Basically, who needs Nice? Viva the road trip! Viva The National Trust!

Thursday, 15 April 2010


Here's a snippet from the Easyjet website.


How do I request a refund for my cancelled flight?

Answers others found helpful:

Can I book a seat for a wedding cake?

So much for that then

Flights are grounded thus so am I. Ah Rafa. So close.

Volcanic Ash? Really?

I am sitting in my sitting room (that's what you do in a sitting room) obsessively hitting refresh on the Easyjet website, watching closely as a rash of cancellations races down the board. A volcano erupting in Iceland last night seems likely to prevent me watching tennis (in Monte Carlo! I know!) tomorrow and I am having problems coming to terms with it. Please let the flight still go, please let the flight still go, please let the flight still go...

Friday, 9 April 2010

And another thing...

Have I ever told you how much I love Foyle's War? Surely I have. Surely. It's practically all I talk about.

Anyway, it's back this Sunday at 8pm. I only just found out. I'm beyond excited.


From a review of "The Infidel" by Peter Bradshaw:

"[Omid Djalili] has a great double act with Richard Schiff, whose comic timing and delivery is a marvel, and a revelation to those who know him only from The West Wing."

Question: Has Peter Bradshaw ever actually watched The West Wing?

Saturday, 3 April 2010

A rockin' Saturday night

This evening I have:
  • done some work (but not enough)
  • cooked and eaten a frozen pizza (pepperoni - average)
  • had a glass of wine (red - very nice)
  • watched Doctor Who (full report to follow, but enjoyed Matt Smith - a relief)
  • watched the Dorothy show (I know I should disapprove, but I just don't)
  • online shopped at Ocado (I had a voucher if I exceeded £90 - I didn't think I would - how could one woman be so wrong?)
That, my friends, has been my Saturday night.

Question: Do I need to get out more?

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Spring Storm - The Cottesloe

Look, look! It's another theatre review! Once I've done this one, I'll be up-to-date. Well, except for the eight plays I saw before the whole blog review resolution thing, and the one I saw on Sunday. But other than that - UP. TO. DATE.

So, anyway. Spring Storm. It's an early play by Tennessee Williams and it's about a lot of things, but basically boils down to a girl deciding between a respectable, rich suitor and a wilder, brutish boy who has (unknown to everyone else) already been her lover for a year and more. It's a production brought to the National from the Royal & Derngate in Northampton and is apparently a European premiere of the play.

There is a great deal to enjoy, particularly in the performances of Liz White as Heavenly Critchfield (never short of excellent names, old Tennessee) once she'd recovered from her accent wobbles in the opening scene and Jacqueline King as her mother (also Donna's mother in Doctor Who, fact fans). It's also fascinating to see proto-versions of later Williams characters - the dialogue and characterisation is good here, but I imagine it would have even greater resonance if the play was in rep with Streetcar.

All that being said, I enjoyed the play less than most reviewers seem to have - the Northampton production picked up four stars from most critics. For me... Not so much. The first half meandered and pootled along. It wasn't until the second half, when the plot starts to move with some urgency, that I felt any real engagement. When it's good, though, it's very, very good and the second half contains a couple of scenes with recognisable Williams themes (suppressed female sexuality, the clash between past and present, courtliness and brutality) that pack a real punch.

All in all, if you're offered a ticket, I'd take it. But I wouldn't necessarily kick down doors to get one.

Verdict: Je dis, "Comme ci, comme ca."

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

The White Guard

So, I go to the theatre a lot. Like, a lot. It costs me a small fortune. To date, I have not blogged about any of the plays/shows I have been to see. Tonight, people, that changes.

(I bet you're super-excited.)

First up - The White Guard, currently previewing at the Lyttelton at the National. It's by Mikhail Bulgakov and it's all about 1918 Kiev and a family that sees itself as Ukrainian, Russian and Tsarist, with all the terrifying complications that brought with it. An excellent fact about this show is that Stalin loved it, even though its heroes were the White Army - the reason why becomes painfully clear in the final act.

Basically, you should go to see this play. It's dark and funny and satirical and brutal. The cast has no weak links (particular mention for Anthony Calf's perfect cameo and Pip Carter, who looks probably fresh out of RADA and who I have seen in three plays at the National in each of which he has been perfect) and the sets... Well, I'm not one to get excited about sets, or I never used to be though what with going to all these plays now I notice them more, but the design of this show is spectacular.

This is the third Andrew Upton-translated Russian play I have seen at the National in the last few years. If I hear he's translating any more, I'll be first in the queue. Seriously - go and see it.

Verdict: Je dis oui, oui.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

The Olympics and how I love it so

My love of the Summer Olympics is well-documented (well, it's documented), but I have been more coy about my love for the Winter ones. Mainly because I love them a bit less. But it really is only a little bit less. I know very little about any of the sports involved, so I have to turn myself into a semi-knowledgeable fan very quickly if I am going to enjoy them properly. Fortunately, I have the commitment to do so - real life goes on hold until the Olympics is over. Well, except my job - I still have to do that.

Anyway, my new grand passion as of last night and for at least the next two days until I get over the excitement is... Snowboard Cross. I watched the men's downhill ski-ing which was super and very exciting, mainly because of the crap snow and the terrible weather, and then I had my dinner and watched University Challenge (natch). And then, oh, then I discovered Snowboard Cross on BBC Three. It is one of the most mental sports I have ever seen - like the BMX racing at the Beijing Games, but crazier, faster, and on ice. I watched it all, and then I turned over to BBC2 and watched it again. It's so good I didn't care about the crap commentary, or about the fact that every time the commentator called it "Boarder Cross" my mind went straight to this song (which doesn't even have the words "border" or "cross" in it, so who the hell knows), I just watched and watched and watched.

Seriously. Watch the highlights. It's bloody brilliant.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Another reason to stay in the house

Dancing on Ice is just starting. I could fight it, but I am too weak.

Did anyone else watch So You Think You Can Dance last night? I rather enjoyed it. I mean, for a start they can all actually dance, which is nice. I'll keep watching. Here are my thoughts for those of you who might be interested.

1. The lack of "celeb" recognition factor was not in any way a problem for me until the judges' recap at the end. "I loved Blah and Blah, but Blah and Blah could be in trouble tonight," etc. It's going to take me a few weeks to know who's who and even longer to care, I suspect.

2. Having said that, I am developing a low-level crush on Alastair. He grew up on a farm and also does ballet. It's all terribly Billy Elliot.

Alastair Postlethwaite

3. Nigel Lythgoe actually speaks sense. Can we have him on Strictly? Instead of Len? I hate Len.

4. Cat Deeley can host whatever she likes. Her and Schofield. I love Schofield. Let's sack Tess and Bruce and Len and get Cat and Schofield and Nigel. Lovely.

5. All of Strictly's mad camera swoops seem to have made it in tact to this show, which is very disappointing, because this show actually has some dancing that we might like to see. Also, all routines are choreographed for a proper stage rather than a ballroom floor, so the camera swoops are unnecessary and distracting - we don't need to see this dance from the back, you fools. Sort it out, please, BBC.

6. Here is the boy who went out last night:

Chris Piper

I think he looks like the progeny of Freddie Prinze Jr and Ray Quinn.

I am quite glad he has gone home.

Friday, 8 January 2010


Where have I been? Lazing around, that's where I have been. I've also been watching a lot of TV, which I'll fill you in on later. In the meantime, here's a snippet I enjoyed from the So You Think You Can Dance website:

"He left school before completing his A-Levels after being offered the opportunity to understudy the role of Mr Mistoffelees in Cats in Germany – his dream job."

Dream big, my friend. Dream big.