Did you know that one in four of the adult population of the UK has been diagnosed as sub-clinically depressed? That’s about 14 million people causing huge strain on the NHS when really, there’s not much happening. We’re talking bad day at work, being sacked, share price falling, footy team losing, girlfriend leaving, husband being unfaithful twice, once with the Arsenal Ladies football team and the other time with the Brighouse and Rastrick Brass Band. That sort of thing. Maybe even the odd sign off by the doc to free someone from signing on at the hellhole that is the Job Centre Plus. Plus what? Another attack on the self-esteem?
Yup, it’s true, get yersen some pills, all will be right. Sleep better. Tomorrow’s another day.
Last week Will Young left Strictly citing ‘anxiety’ and personal reasons. It is well documented that he has had a tuff time with his conscious mind, even being admitted to an institution in Oxfordshire four years ago, when he was supposedly diagnosed with PTSD – post traumatic stress disorder – and depersonalisation and derealisation. Given he has never been to a war zone this is an odd one. It is also reported that he has been addicted to porn, alcohol and love. Well, two out of three ain’t bad. Without prying or judgment he follows Jade Johnson, John Sergeant, Kelly Brook and Jimmy Tarbuck onto the list of the show’s casualties. Will’s discography include some apt titles: ‘Don’t Let Me Down’ and ‘Leave Right Now’ but perhaps the best suited is ‘Anything is Possible’, which, of course, it isn’t given now that he is holed up in a padded cell. No one will be asked back or added to the show. We are down to twelve.
Well, eleven actually now that Naga has joined the Breakfast TV list of struggling dance hopefuls who have briefly shared our stage – Fiona Phillips, Andrew Castle, Carol Kirkwood, Kate Garraway, Bill Turnbull and Dan Lobb. On that note don’t forget the exception, Susannah Reid, who glistened and shined.
Naga danced a Charleston to ‘Minnie the Mermaid’ and just by chance she played the part of a mermaid with turquoise hair aiming to make a splash with the judggies. Her eye make-up was the finest art seen since the film Cloud Atlas. The routine contained a huge clam shell, a trident (big fork) that she sat on, horizontal, not the sharp end, and Pasta playing the role of Poseidon wearing an outfit stolen from the wardrobe of Chariots of Fire. In fact he hogged the trident. Shellfish fella. There were swimming strokes, obviously, they were under water, and there was plenty of motion in the ocean even on the two lifts where it looked like she was being kidnapped. Quirky? Yes. Funn? Of course. Worthy of the drop? No. But 24 points, (her average was 23.75), meant she sank into the dance off with Anastacia, and thereafter into Davy Jones’ locker.
Lesley was filming in Malta this week, a Birds of a Feather special, so Antony Smith of Bristol had a little holiday courtesy of the licence payers, that’d be you and me then. In between work they practiced for the second Charleston of the night to ‘Won’t You Charleston with Me’ and lo and behold she was brilliant, amassing 31 points, her best score so far. Of course this would be no surprise, she was great at it when the dance first came out in the twenties. Wearing a frilly green Christmas tree she was the perfect foil to Antony in his gangster’s outfit, black and white shoes, pin striped kegs, black shirt and white waistcoat and tie. All he needed was a machine gun. As a performer Lesley delivers with aplomb, great timing, her stage craft shining like a beacon for others to follow. She knows it’s just an act.
It has taken four weeks for us to get there but at last we were treated to a Fox Trot and a Rumba, or rather we weren’t, dance mash ups and a cupple of boring efforts that made me want to join Will at the happy farm. I’m never sure why dances are destroyed or why they aren’t treated with respect, why steps are ignored, why the music bastardises the evening. After the glory of last week this was very much the muck cart following the Lord Mayor’s show.
Let’s take both Fox Trots, Cloudier, 30 points to ‘I Really Like You’ and Louise, 33, to ‘Tears Dry on their Own’. In the first they were in hold for 45 seconds (out of 90) and the dancing was lovely, great footwork, a Galaxian glide. The remainder was a blur of the unnecessary, AJ (Antoine Jack) hitting on Cloudier in the locker room, lockers that weren’t even in the order of the colour spectrum. Call me OCD but surely they should have been red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet? In the second they were in hold a second less as the routine descended into a Smooth, KFG dressed like a sofa salesman, Louise a bored housewife. Me too love. As a traditionalist there are certain things you expect and when they aren’t delivered you feel short-changed.
The Rumba is the dance of love, it is a courtship, it is the chase, the chemistry alight when the boy gets the girl. And did you know that there are actual steps in this dance not just wiggling, the pointing of legs and arms (lines), slow walking and lustful dips. Proper steps to proper timing. Not that you’d know this from one dance on Saturday.
Anastacia scored 27 to ‘The Way We Were’ in an understated dance when she walked and pivoted, pivoted and walked, and twisted in a slit thigh black dress that glistened like diamonds, all whilst wondering if her sick partner would make it through the routine. Poor lad had a chest infection (he is likely to be replaced by Gorka next week until he convalesces in full) which might account for a hop, a non-Rumba step, as he turned and tried to regain his balance, something that he didn’t do in the dance off. We were all wondering when the dance was going to start and before you knew it, it was all over, and dance off time for Anastacia, her time quickly running out.
When a song is really, really, really, fast it is best not to try and Rumba. Bring on ‘Careless Whisper’, Daisy and Ali-Ash, in a rush to get home, separate homes, obvious from the lack of lust in the routine. Plenty of raunch but no lust; there is a subtle difference. Raunch is a girl showing her wears, offering a taster menu, a maybe. Lust is a definite and that was what was missing. If you play the dance back on the iPlayer you will actually enjoy this more if you play it on ‘silent’. Daisy holds her poses beautifully, her shapes beguile, they tantalise, but for Ali-Ash, betrothed to another, that is where it stopped. A decent 31 in spite of the song.
Ed was dressed like a Knight, circa 1100 AD, the reign of King Richard l, the Lionheart, ready for a crusade, nothing to do with the Paso Doble at all. As ‘Holding out for a Hero’ began there was a dragon breathing fire and snorting smoke (so wanted to write coke there) and Ed’s job was to rescue the beautiful Katya who the dragon had somehow managed to tie up using three types of knot. As Ed ran to her aid he did so like the only gay in the village, camp, sprightly. The dragon was less terrified more laffing its head off. His mincing made Craig look butch for this was no knight in shining armour more a twit in tinfoil, Ed’s worst to date. Maybe next week the producer’s will give him something easier, say, the Argentine Tango?
Did you know that Rob is married and that the person who performed the civil ceremony was Benedict Cumberbatch? He qualified as a minister on the Internet. How I’ve often wished he was called Quentin and that he signed the wedding documents Q. Cumberbatch.
Anyhow, Rob showed up for his Viennese to ‘Boom Bang a Bang’, a Lulu number from her days on the Danube, wearing lederhosen, carrying two milk buckets, and heading for Oksana, Heidi, who was cuddling a cow, her hair in rigid plaits. You know what happened next don’t you? Yup, gawping, three sets of Viennese eights, just the three, (why bother with more?), a Fleckerl, a near trip, hamming it up, little charm, a standing turn done on the flattest of feet and a miraculous ovation. This was not good.
Greg struggled this week too dancing Salsa, 28 to ‘Wrapped Up’ by Olly Murs, a week when Greg injured his wrist and when Natalie had to adapt the routine and the lifts to suit his injury. In the training room there was one lift where she straddled him and she leant back, her head heading for the floor, but for a great core. This happened to my mate Beaky once in a nightclub in Gloucester but his partner nearly concussed herself in the middle of the song ‘Disco Inferno’.
Salsa is a dance best danced fluidly. Forget Havana where the dance is like a march, stomping and circular. Head for New York. It is slinky, continuous, where the body keeps moving on the four beat though the feet don’t. This fluidity makes it a dream of a dance for the lady, a journey, a great ride, if you pardon the expression. Greg didn’t do this for Natalie though he did give her a lift. He was jolty, heavy footed and a little untidy.
I’m not sure what the setting was. Natalie started in the Shimmy Shack (?), Greg had candy floss (?). We had a knee slide, Greg singing along, bad move, the ruffling of her frock hem as she travelled in front of him, Natalie all in pink channelling Olivia Newton John. And then Greg took his life in his own hands by shimmying his shoulders and his butt at the juddgies. Total courage. So too the final lift when he hoisted her onto his shoulders and then pressed her towards the sky to finish, last seen when Mark Ramprakash did the same to Karen Hardy. Spectacular. Thankfully Tommy Blaize sang the song better than Olly Murs.
The seventies produced an eclectic mix of music. You had proper musicians, sometimes, The Stones marched on, The Eagles launched, Fleetwood Mac ascended, Disco was born, there was the battle between The Osmonds and David Cassidy, Benny and Bjorn did their brilliant stuff, heavy metal rocked and there was the birth and the thankful death of punk. But the genre that dominated above all was Glam Rock. Slade, Wizzard, Mud, Marc Bolan, don’t mention Gary Glitter and the Glitter Band, and The Sweet. Little did the latter know that one of their hits would be transformed into a Quick Step. Not ‘Fox on the Run’. Nor ‘Teenage Rampage’, ‘Little Willy’, ‘Hellraiser’ or ‘Blockbuster’ (same intro as Bowie’s ‘The Jean Genie’), but, and now it seems so obvious, ‘Ballroom Blitz’.
Laura and Gigi got the honour dressed in beautiful pink and black outfits and they did blitz the dance floor for a minute or so, in hold, running to the stage to produce a superfast Charleston section. Everything was going so well, tens were beckoning, and then the acid kicked in, they went into hand to hand hold and started partying, an underarm turn, a bit of head banging and Laura looking as if to say ‘are we really getting away with this?’ No is the answer. They got 33, one nine, but this was like a batting collapse at cricket, at the start, 100 for 0, at the end all out for 108.
Danny Mac Pro also got to Quick Step, eventually, after faffing around for an age on the stage pretending to conduct the orchestra. More chance of him conducting the traffic. He looked beautifully attired, dress suit, white tie and matching carnation. In Germany they have an anniversary day when only white BMWs, Volvos, Minis and Porsches are allowed on the autobahn. A true white car nation. Ouch.
Once in hold they produced the classiest Quick Step ever seen in the show to ‘I Won’t Dance’, fast, sharp, a great jump, lightning fast, a dazzling display of accurate feet, sway and pizazz. He scored 36 points, those pesky juddgies holding back again. Have there ever been four better dances by one person in any series let alone just his first four? Or course he’s a pro but unless you kick him out you have to be objective in your subjectivity. On that note, don’t you think there’s a bit of Martin Kemp about him?
I had a call from Smyth’s toys this morning asking me if I knew who Ore‘s agent was and if he’d be interested in being the model for a new toy doll, the male version of Lea, Coney and Lala, baby’s that cry at will. In two consecutive weeks, after two great dances, the uber-confident, macho, muscled, super fit presenter has broken down in tears, happiness dripping down his cheeks, biting his thumb no antidote to his expression of joy.
Ore and JFG Jived and their effort to ‘Runaway Baby’ drew the highest Week Four score of all time, only one juddge mistaking his paddle and drawing a nine. 39 is fabulous but this needs to be put into context against Danny Mac Pro. Whilst Ore is an amateur, Danny isn’t and he could easily be sitting on 160 points from his efforts so far.
But don’t take anything away from the outstanding, lacrimal Ore for his dance sits proudly along those of Jay McGuinness and Jill Halfpenny, the speed, the accuracy, the tempo immense, the athleticism obvious and blinding. He covered the ground like a panther on hot coals, controlling every flick, and there were a lot, (if you’ve got it flaunt it), every turn, even performing flick ball changes on the stairs. The pace continued throughout, no hint a drop off and just when you thought he’d missed the finish by sliding towards his partner up he sprang and stood there as if to say, ‘Never give up on me folks. I’m the real deal.’
And indeed he is. In just Week Four the gloves are off. No time to catch a breath or to wipe away a tear.
October 17th 2016
Happy Birthday Dad.