Thursday, 30 September 2010

Apparently, there's this bloke called Anton...

This time tomorrow I can absolutely guarantee what I will be doing. I will be sitting on the sofa in a state of extreme excitement watching Strictly Come Dancing.

I effing LOVE this show! I literally can't remember ever loving a TV show more, apart from maybe Gladiators when I was seven and completely in love with Hunter. But I digress. There is nothing I don't love about Strictly. I love the costumes, I love Brucie, I love the music, I love the band, I love the way they always open with an inexplicable close up of a timbale, I love the way conductor Dave Arch is so awkward when he tries to smile at the camera, but most of all I love the dancing and most of most of all I love the dancers.

Not the celebrity ones mind, not that I don't end up getting totally into their 'journeys', but for me it's all about the pros. I can't dance for toffee so I love watching people who really can do it well. I'm a bit of a ballroom fanatic (mostly for the astonishingly good music and gracefulness involved) - I adore the quickstep and get very upset when someone murders it. The foxtrot and American smooth are favourites too and from the Latin I like the paso doble and the jive. I can take or leave the salsa, samba, cha cha cha and friends but I love to watch them when they're done well.

The pro dancers are universally exceptionally talented and gorgeous. I would give my right arm for any of the girls bodies and would certainly not kick any of the boys out of bed on a cold night. However, I do have a bit of a thing about Anton du Beke.

Actually that last sentence is a huge lie. I don't have 'a bit of a thing' for Anton. No, I completely and absolutely love him! I don't know what it was but in series 5 (The Garraway Massacre) I suddenly became completely obsessive about him. I've always watched Strictly and I have no clue what it was about that series that turned my head. But something did. I've been hopelessly, and occasionally embarrassingly, obsessed ever since.

I have the t shirt, the pen, the key rings, the signed photos, the tour programmes, the book and the DVDs. I've met him three times and am off to Dublin in February to see him and his pro partner Erin Boag on tour for the third year in a row. I. Love. That. Man.

Which brings me to the often painful subject of his celebrity partners. Let's face it they've all been a bit rubbish. When your best partners are the terminally mediocre Lesley Garrett and Laila Rouass then you know you've got problems. And Anton doesn't help himself in some ways. He is unapologetic about the fact he doesn't like Latin dances. Which is all well and good, I sympathize, but to win Strictly you have to do both. Which is why I think, and I can't believe I'm going to say this, Ann Widdecombe may be the perfect partner for him.

If you're not going to win the series then you may as well not win with style and humour - qualities that Anton has in buckets. Ann will be awful (have you seen their training video?!) but she'll be feisty and he'll play up to this completely. Look at all the media coverage Team AnnTon have already got. It's in a different league to the rest of the contestants. They are going to be the stars of the show, if not for the dancing. Anton is a complete natural when it comes to just being an entertainer - he's going to milk this series for all it's worth.

And I for one can't wait to see it.


So a few people have commented on the inclusion of WWE in the list of topics for this blog. Well, I say 'commented on'. Perhaps 'screamed WTF? at' is more accurate! Seriously, of all the comments, texts, tweets etc I've had about the blog the vast majority have been: 'you like WWE? Really? But... why?' So I'm going to tell you why.

I've always liked soaps. I grew up watching Home and Away and Neighbours with my mum, graduated to Eastenders and Holby City when I was in school, then Hollyoaks and back to Neighbours when I was a student. I don't watch them so much anymore - generally I lack the time and concentration span on weekday, post-work, evenings - but the contrived and ridiculous storylines and characterisation have always appealed to my love of trashy yet addictive TV. As my love of Strictly demonstrates, I also love watching things that are physically impressive and well choreographed.

I first remember WWE back in the day when it was called WWF, I was seven and everyone in my school was obsessed with Bret 'The Hitman' Hart. Fast forward 15 years and my night owl flatmate Chris (whose average bedtime is somewhere between midnight and 4am) started casually watching WWE in its graveyard slot on Sky Sports. I'm not sure why. I guess there's very little else on at that time of night. As tends to happen when you live in a flat that's not overly endowed with space, because Chris got into it I started to watch it too.

I have to admit I initially thought it was incredibly puerile and stupid. However, once I'd watched a couple of episodes I started to get into the storylines. Despite myself, I actually cared whether John Morrison (of whom more later) got the Intercontinental Title off Rey Mysterio. I got really annoyed when, having won said title, he lost it to the interminably dull and angry Drew McIntrye. And from then on I was kind of hooked.

The feuding, storylines and characters in WWE are ridiculous. But, probably because of this, they are also stupidly addictive. How can you not get behind all round nice guy John Cena against the bullying and deeply humourless Nexus? It's typical American family entertainment: 100% good v 100% bad, simple, no shades of grey. I like that, especially after a long days work. Of course it helps that all round nice guy John Cena is also a serious hottie.

Which brings me nicely on to my final point. The wrestlers in WWE are HOT. I mean seriously, cold-shower, lie-down-in-a-darkened-room hot. Why do I like WWE so much? Here are a few reasons: John Morrison, John Cena, Randy Orton, Justin Gabriel, Alberto del Rio, Dolph Ziggler, Kofi Kingston... You get the extremely attractive picture!

And to end on a specific point Caron made would I like to see Anton doing this sort of stuff? Not especially - his impressive chest rug and unbelievably svelte dancer's body doesn't lend itself to WWE-chic. But I wouldn't mind checking out some of the WWE guys on Strictly! John Morrison's rumba? Yes please!  

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

I can haz blog

So hello and welcome to my first blog. Ok that's a lie. I think this is actually my third blog. But the other two were rubbish. And I've forgotten the log in details anyway. *cough* But this is my new, shiny, permanent blog. I've decided to commit to it, to the extent I believe in such things.

I'm guessing that if you're reading this you've probably come via Twitter. You probably think you have a good idea what this blog is going to be about. If you're thinking politics, you'll be disappointed. Politics is my job. It takes over many of my weekends. It's a big part of who I am, but not as big as lots of people think. I might write about politics occasionally but it's not what this blog is about. If you're thinking Anton du Beke, keep reading! :)

Really I want this blog to be about the odd variety of stuff that forms my interests. You can expect my thoughts on fashion and shopping, TV, films and theatre, Strictly Come Dancing (and yes LOTS of Anton), places I've been, hotels, bars and restaurants I love, cricket, WWE (yes, really), hair and beauty products, books, men who catch my eye, a touch of politics and anything else that takes my fancy.

So I hope you enjoy. It will get a bit mad because, well, I am a bit mad. But wouldn't life be boring otherwise?!