Pickling walnuts

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Pickling walnuts

Post  TANGOLERO on Sun Oct 27, 2013 12:38 pm

A short article designed to ruffle a few feathers: Wink 

What exactly is Strictly all about? Seemingly, a bunch of folk from the upper echelons of the rich and famous (hereafter known as "celebs") are paid a handy bonus for learning to dance, taught by the dance world's leading professionals. This in itself begs a few selection questions: It seems the choosing criteria is if they are breathing and can make it up the studio steps, and providing of course they've appeared in Celebrity Hoovering on TV, won a sporting medal, or been shot, threatened or abused in a soap opera, or once crayoned a picture of an Easter egg on Blue Peter, they qualify. It matters not that some are lissome waif-like creatures who could imitate Peter Pan or Tinkerbell flying on wires, being matched against candidates for Rugby World Cup, Auntie Bessie Yorkshire pudding makers or octogenarian Miss Marples. Bring them on.

To the dance floor then. Here, some really staggering stuff begins. They learn a ninety second dance routine in a week that has to please an audience of some ten million, remember it all, get through it and stand dumbstruck while four professional judges rip their efforts to pieces with incantations of "gapping, upper body lines, core strength and flowing graceful hands", ie all the things bronze medal ballroom dance students have hammered into them to be like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. These two folk incidentally, just danced in the most natural way imaginable and probably and probably thought core-strength was in ships' cables and gapping was something one did on a sight-seeing tour of the British Isles.. .However..

Let's have a peek at "gapping". How does one judge this when comparing Sophie Ellis to Lisa Riley, or Ashley whatsit to Russell Grant, for example? Is it a criteria where comparison even applies? Does it even matter amongst two pro dancers who do things naturally that some eagle-eyed viewer in the upper Shetland Islands noticed a glimpse of reflected light between heaving bosom and fake-tanned chest when two contestants were dancing paso-doble? It's actually ludicrous to even think of professional terms or rules even amongst the best of talented lads and lasses who are just enjoying the hell out of the experience. "Spatula hands? buttocks not clenched tightly enough, hunched shoulder...etc,etc,etc. I really don't ever watch for any of these things. Are they dancing in time to the music and not making glaring errors? Are they making their bodies move as gracefully as nature will allow? Are they taking me with them round the floor? These are the things that matter. Some will always be better than others, it's the law of the jungle, some will fall by the wayside granted, but do they really need to make it "Mastermind with sequins " when it comes to learning to get around a dance floor for ninety seconds?

To Matadors and Sweaty Gauchos...

Dear, dear. What the xxxx are they on about? You won't see anything that actually resembles a traditional tango this side of South America. It has absolutely nothing to do with angry folk practising judo with neck-breaking head flicks whilst doing their best not to look at each other as they limbo dance around under a red spotlight to some pop tune. It's 2013 for Pete's sake and everything about the dance has originated in ballrooms for the last sixty years and not around a corned beef canning factory in Buenos Aires. The tango is, and always has been, all about frustrated yearning, passion and love that never quite happened. That never changes, yet the judges persist in preaching the gaucho legend. I love tradition, but what we see isn't the tango of tradition but that of ballroom indulgence and over-stretched imagination. Oh, and tango is a musical form incorporating voice ,instruments and lyrics that incorporate the mood. So why not use it instead of Little Richard singing Tutti-Frutti or Bee-bop a lula? It's an art form, not Top of the Pops. Evil or Very Mad 

Oh, and the paso-doble. Oh yes, the paso.

Oh xxxxxxxx le and all that. A bullfight, a man facing half a ton of angry pain-crazed wild bull and he adopts an angry posture? Angry...? Bravo, most of them are in reality pretty terrified if they have any brains. They try very hard to show a macho devil-may care arrogance whilst buttocks clench tightly against underpants, usually dark brown in colour for convenience. Such a mad creature as they face once charged a portable bullring where we were sitting. It actually rocked the whole ring but I didn't feel angry. I was too intent on hanging onto the stand and my wife for dear life. Try putting that to Motown if you will. Flamenco style arrangements are the only thing that work, and again the music chosen defies sanity. Fighting a bull to Madonna or One Direction or somesuch is about as realistic as a Spanish waiter in Manchester ( who's actually called Dave and works in the warehouse at Asda during the day) taking your order for Sangria and Paella with a rose between his teeth.

Ah, well, I feel better now. I do however, mean most of what I say. Treat the contestants with a little more humanity and make them feel they're achieving something. " A darnce disarster dahling" isn't the best way to do it. Have a nice day.lol! 

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Re: Pickling walnuts

Post  hatlady28 on Sun Oct 27, 2013 1:07 pm

Great post! Personally, I tend to see Strictly as a piece of theatre with dancing, rather than dancing with theatre. This allows for the tall ones, short ones, old ones, young ones, fat ones, thin ones etc. I don't even mind faffing provided it doesn't go on too long. I quite liked the table dance, because Deborah and Robin were dancing in time. Unfortunately most of the time the pros don't know how to use props........so it is boring. Costumes are important because all the celebs need help, and the total picture comes to life.
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Re: Pickling walnuts

Post  saxonsiren on Sun Oct 27, 2013 2:08 pm

I really thought this was a recipe post for pickling walnuts.Pickled walnuts in port one of my favourites.
Oh well onto SCD well it is supposed to be an all round family entertainment show.A few minor celebs a couple of ex sports people,soap stars showing they are real after all.One important soap BBC have overlooked is The Archers! Why have we not had a representative? Can they not escape the confines of the radio?
SCD is a show to escape in floaty silky dresses,fae tans,bare chested men with rippling muscles that Grandma,Mom & little Betsy can watch all in good fun.
We at home get to watch the Pantomine show at the end of each dance ie The Judges Comments! with a boo & a hiss or a hip hip hurrah.We suffer B.rucie's jokes & think his a legend! Not like these young loud whipper snappet presenters these days! We all become fascinated with Tess' wardrobe & become instant armchair critics! We play the how little can O.la/Kristina wear each week & will the hunk of the show get the big guns out!

Put all this together and its Strictly to me
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Re: Pickling walnuts

Post  TANGOLERO on Sun Oct 27, 2013 3:04 pm

Thing is Sax, I'm accepting Strictly in the sense it's supposed to be. I'm happy to do that. I gave up a long time ago getting mental images of MacDonald Hobley or Terry Wogan in tie and tails and watching perfect sequence performances a la Come Dancing. My point was that the contestants are being judged as if they were prize pupils of the Emily Twinkletoes Academy of Terpsichoral Magnificence instead of the ordinary non-dance folk they are. They're not after gold medal class foxtrottery where they'll fail if they have their heads one degree out of tilt, or stride an inch too long in a Viennese Waltz. If they get the basic right in time to the music, they can dance. None of them (well, maybe Tom Chambers apart) are after being the male lead in Pride and Prejudice, the musical and gavotting all over Meryton Assembley. The ladies aren't after re-creating Sandy's rear end dancing up a ladder ( mind you, that would be hard to do for some) in a new production of Silit Bang defeats Grease, or whatever. There is no need for our erstwhile dance professional judges to behave as if they're auditioning for a new version of Flying Down to Rio and marking accordingly. It is entertainment and the best dancers usually win in the end. Just don't treat the rest like they failed in something. That's the point.
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Re: Pickling walnuts

Post  hatlady28 on Sun Oct 27, 2013 4:04 pm

My impression is that the contestants rather enjoy getting very specific technical comments. It is part of the experience. No question that a positive comment from C.raig is worth more than from anyone else. No they can't reach that high standard, but I think they all like the feeling that they could.
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Re: Pickling walnuts

Post  saxonsiren on Sun Oct 27, 2013 4:07 pm

I do see your point Mr D & I feel SCD will not change its format to create a fair competition or the judges to stop knockong people's confidence & attempts at dancing.I in truth often wonder what damage could be done to a fragile celeb? Yes they know when they sign up for a lovely fee they will be strictly fied but do they really? All the negative comments & dreaded red light for the DO what effect it has on their families & friends?

We cannot in ten weeks of competition change a complete novice into a new E.rin or Brendan! We can thou help them develop a love of dance to understand its complexities & background history. I would love to see competition dancing not the street stuff but proper Latin & Ballroom dancing.I would love to see Come Dancing return to our screens to showcase new talent & to install a love of dancing in the nation.

I apologise if I sounded trivial before Mr D. My love of dancing outweighs my humour,
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Re: Pickling walnuts

Post  fiftynotout on Sun Oct 27, 2013 6:47 pm

Erm, call me a cynic but don't they get paid? Isn't it just another job? Entertaining yes. Career-resurrecting maybe. Certainly the publicity helps.

As for the dancing, the judges and the effect on their fragile egos; do me a favour! The fee and the publicity more than compensate.
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Re: Pickling walnuts

Post  hatlady28 on Sun Oct 27, 2013 6:56 pm

Performers want to please. When they don't succeed, they are often devastated. Many never read their reviews. Many actors don't watch the films they are in. I'm not sure that "fragile egos" is quite fair. Finding yourself face to face with your critics is no easy thing. Yes, it is a job, but that doesn't mean it isn't hard work.
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