Saturday, 31 October 2015

Halloween II: The Wrath of Khan.

Tonight, for the second year running, I went to a screening of the stabby Shatner-mask-wearing horror classic Halloween, at the Prince Charles Cinema. 

‎The couple next to me consisted of a man who was clearly a huge fan of the franchise and his girlfriend, who'd never seen the film before. I would have liked to ask her what she thought of it afterwards, but they ran off before I got the chance; presumably to get a head start on any boiler-suited psychopaths in the Leicester Square vicinity. It would have been hard to spot them tonight, what with all the people in fancy dress. You couldn't move for slutty cats (the go-to outfit option for a Essex hen do). I saw one woman dressed as a sexy Mario from Super Mario Bros; a look that was as unsuitable for Halloween as it was confusing.  

As with last year, it was great to see it on the big screen. I didn't get to watch it first time around, unfortunately, on account of being minus three. It's an excellent example of a tension building screamer; everything its 1981 sequel isn't. It's no wonder that every teenager outside of Jamie Lee Curtis (1) gets knocked off, and (2) made little impact on the acting fraternity, on account of them being universally irritating. As my wife said while we watched it, "The one with the dark hair's so annoying I'd have killed her myself".

(I'm not even going to mention the guy in the big glasses, who looks like an early-Eighties Cliff Richard - except I just did.) 

I'm surprised I like the film so much, when I'm usually such a wuss. I guess it's because of my secret coping strategy: every time it got too scary, I reminded myself that Myers was sporting a William Shatner mask and it didn't seem so bad. You can't be frightened of Bill, after all. ‎

Play the Pipes of Peace.


For the past few days, I’ve been enjoying listening to one of Paul McCartney’s least well-regarded albums, Pipes of Peace.

To give you an idea of how little it’s liked, even the majority of fans on his official forum - who you'd think would have a more red-rose-speedway-tinted view toward his work - find it hard to say a good thing about it. When it was announced that it would be remastered and re-released as the next instalment of his current reissue series (alongside the critically acclaimed Tug of War), the news was met with derision on the Macca Message Board (though you should never listen to people on the Internet. Especially bloggers; they’re the worst). Even I, a full-time ‘McCadvocate’, pulled a face when I heard about it - and questioned why he’d choose it over everything else.

Not that I haven’t given the album a fair chance in the past. Every so often, I return to the oft-neglected or derided parts of his back catalogue (in a loose sense, I'm referring to the 1980s) to see if there’s anything I’ve missed, or misunderstood. I’ll occasionally see a song or two in a new light, but in the case of Pipes and Peace and the gated-snare-tastic '86 album Press to Play, I’d usually find myself turning the light off, removing the bulb (using a tea towel to absorb the heat) and chucking it in the bin.

(A clunky metaphor but my point still stands.)

I’m not sure what’s caused my slight change of heart. Either I've become more open-minded and mellow with age or I've completely lost my judgement. These days, I tend listen to music when I’m in the bath, and for some reason, Pipes of Peace has been on my ablutive playlist for the past week. Don’t get me wrong: I still think it peters out towards the end and has its fair share of cringe-worthy lyrics, but somehow McCartney’s relentless enthusiasm for music and melody still shines through the dross; even when he’s not at his best, he’s still got more to offer than most.

McCartney fans tend to fall into two categories: those who like him when he’s considered and serious (à la Tug of War and Chaos and Creation in the Backyard) and those who like it when he’s off-the-wall and wacky (McCartney II and Pipes of Peace). I fall somewhere between the two, slightly favouring the former. I just wish he’d pay more regard to his solo work when he’s gigging, rather than falling so heavily on The Beatles. I also wish he’s stop attempting to hit the high notes in Maybe I’m Amazed and turn his attention to something recent. 

One person I never expected to sing Pipes of Peace's praises was Manic Street Preachers front man James Dean Bradfield. His passion for it almost makes me forgive the atrocious If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next; almost, but not quite.

Friday, 30 October 2015

"What's All This, Then?"


Today, I had a run-in with The Fuzz.

It’s not every day you interact with filth; in fact, I’ve seldom smelt bacon round my parts (which is not a euphemism). I can count the times the scum have knocked on my door twice, which is representative of the amount of occasions they’ve visited and not my counting ability. Thankfully, the Old Bill rarely darken my doorstep, as narks have more important things to do with their day.

(I’ll abandon the cop slang now, as these vernacular references to The Man are getting tedious.)

The police - ‘the law’ and not the rock group, hence the lack of capitalisation - came by on my invitation. When I left home this morning, I noticed the front window of the flat opposite had been smashed. I didn’t have time to explore, as (1) I was on my way to a chiropractor appointment, and (2) I’m not adept at wrestling burglars, but I didn’t want it on my conscience if something untoward had taken place - so I phoned the boys and girls in blue on my way, to report it.

By the time a policeman came by, I was back from having my bones clicked into place and meeting my mum for coffee (unrelated). He thanked me for calling, but from what he could gather it wasn’t a break-in. This didn’t stop me climbing through the jagged hole in the glass when he'd gone, to root around in my neighbour’s flat and help myself to his best belongings. I couldn’t turn down the opportunity. If anyone asks, you ain’t seen me, right?

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Spinning Administrative Plates.


Today's been a day of juggling admin (as in ‘switching jobs’, not ‘stocking up on balls’).

First thing's first, I sent off my application for next year’s Brighton Fringe Festival. I’d been feeling edgy about this since registration opened on Monday, which is ridiculous, considering how late I got in this year, but I didn’t want a repeat of my recent Leicester Debacle, which meant I won't be taking part in their festival next February. It's a relief to get my form in early, as it's good to chalk another task off the list. All I've got left now is the small matter of writing the show, but there’s nothing like a deadline to focus the mind.

(Not that I’ve been accepted yet. Word may have spread.)

I also continued emailing acts in an attempt to pull together some equally exciting line-ups for Mostly in the New Year as those we’ve been having of late. This is no mean feat, in and of itself, as the standard has been high (Paul Daniels, Stewart Lee and John Thomson, for goodness’ sake), but at least the role call is such that it should entice people in. We’re moving to a new venue in January (news we haven't officially dropped yet, but who reads this?), which will give us more room for manoeuvre (literally). We’ll be paying someone to set up the tech for us, plus the venue will do a lot of the room set-up themselves, so there’ll be less for us to do on the day. I’m hoping this will free more time up for us to work on new material together, which will be a bonus (or what it should be about, as we didn’t set out to be promoters).

Finally, I contacted some venues in hope of securing a few more solo gigs. Oh, and I watered the office plant. That was the most important job of the lot.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Open My Spots.


I’m purposely keeping my approach to the open spot I’m doing in London tomorrow a little loose, as a social experiment.

This seemed to stand me in good stead for my short solo set at last Thursday’s Mostly Comedy. The fact it was such a tiny fraction of the evening, and Glyn and I had already been on to a good response, meant it wasn’t important; as a result, I did a better job. If I can sit back on the material a bit, as I do when I’m performing my hour-long show, I might enjoy it more and get a more enthusiastic response.

Ultimately, the point of me taking open spots is to try stuff out. It’s not about getting stage experience, other than in the sense that I’ve done less stand-up on my own. I may as well play with what I do, in hope of improvement. It’s better to take risks and fail, if it helps me find new ways to succeed.

(I sound like an internet meme.)

The strangest aspect to performing stand-up on my own, particularly when the gig isn’t run by me, is turning up to a venue alone and not working with a projector. I’m so used to being in a double act that I’ve not spent much time in comedy clubs without company. I know my place in a conversation with Glyn by my side, but less so without. Likewise, the combination of being on stage with him with slides to fall back on, gives me more time to think. We create more distraction together than we do apart. If it’s just me and a mic, without the clarity of pictures to reinforce my words, I’m forced to work harder.

I may as well use these opportunities when I’m under the radar, to experiment with newer, half thought-through ideas, to see what sticks. I did in my early days working with Glyn, after all. We debuted the Star Trek Porn Letter at the second ever Mostly Comedy, for example, not knowing whether it would work and it turned out right. We still perform it the same way to this day (to the disdain of any Mostly Comedy regulars).

Out on the Town (In a Low-Key Fashion).


I went out with my friend Stephen tonight, on one of our famous Old Man Pub Crawls.

It could be a sign of maturity that these days, little in the way of alcohol is imbibed. Actually, it’s more likely to do with the fact that Steve works in Hitchin but lives in Stevenage and has to drive home afterwards and I can no longer drink to excess (or INXS) without feeling sick in the night. I’m not sure what happened to me to bring about this change, but it’s probably for the best; no-one wants to see a rowdy inebriated Ephgrave roaming the streets.

You’d think that this many years into our relationship – around twenty-three - we would have covered just about every possible topic of conversation we could. In many ways, you’d be right. We long ago reached the stage where we’d prefigure each story with “I may have told you before, but…”. Yet tonight I learnt that he can’t solve Magic Eye pictures (if 'solve' is the right word) and I told him bizarre mental trick I used to use to counteract my shy bladder. Of the two anecdotes, he drew the short straw.

For two Kings of Social Awkwardness, we had a good evening. I felt less self-conscious than usual, which was surprising considering I hadn’t been out all day, save a trip to the shop over the road to buy some chocolate buttons. Any calories burnt on my journey were no doubt replaced as soon as I consumed them. That’s not to say that today was wasted, as I started booking acts for Mostly Comedy’s New Year dates. Plus I ate the buttons, which was time well spent. Tasty, tasty time well spent.

Monday, 26 October 2015

A Bit of Filler.


I don't know what to write about today.

There have been times when I’ve felt like this in the past, yet still forced something out (INSERT SCATOLOGICAL JOKE HERE). This can make me uptight and stressed. That may sound ridiculous to anyone on the outside looking in; after all, no-one’s forcing me to write daily, except myself. Yet for some ridiculous reason, I put greater mental emphasis on the handful of days I haven’t written something, than the hundreds of days - over two years' worth - I have.

My problem is, as I intimated in yesterday’s blog, that I have unfeasibly high expectations of myself. As a result, I disappoint myself frequently. The need to churn stuff out irrespective of how it makes me feel at the time can squeeze the joy out of it – and what’s the point in that?

That’s not to say that I don’t still love writing; the truth's very much the opposite. I’d also sooner keep going than stop and cease momentum – but I don't think I should try to compose something funny, or fully rounded, if I’m not in the mood. Sometimes it’s better to live your life. So, that’s the plan tonight. 

It’s ‘Quizzy Monday’ in my house. I'll watch University Challenge and Only Connect on BBC2, getting angry about the contestants' haircuts and my ignorance. I’ll also help my wife make shepherd’s pie, if she hasn’t already finished it. So, this is me signing off for the evening (except the odd haircut rant on Twitter). Have a good night, yeah.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Good Me / Bad Me.


I’m feeling a slight flush of confidence, having just watched a clip of me trying out some new material at last Thursday’s Mostly.

If you think that sounds arrogant, then you don’t know me well. In reality, I’m my own worst critic (however much Steve Bennett would like to steal my crown). Nothing I do is ever good enough. When something goes well, I still manage to find what I perceive to be the least successful aspect, and fixate on it. If I’m in a particularly destructive mood, I’ll sabotage my performance from the inside, by deciding it’s going awfully and making it known.

(“Give us a gig.”)

The irony is that no-one seems to notice. Even my most disparaging reviews tend to say I look confident. Maybe my lack of faith in my ability is normal and I’m just giving myself a hard time. I don’t know. Whatever it is, I wish I could take on board that I’m not always as bad as I think I am and that, maybe fleetingly, I might occasionally be good.

(Nearly giving myself a compliment has made me feel sick.)

I’m certainly happiest onstage when I’m working with Glyn. It’s like slipping on a comfy pair of shoes. We know how each other will respond to a situation and feel secure in each other’s company. That’s what a decade of being a double act does for you.

On my own, I’m still learning. I’ve always distracted away from myself in the past by playing the guitar, or by pointing at slides with Glyn (in a projected and not a playground sense). If I continue to work at it, I should eventually feel more content in my ability. Or maybe I won’t. Either way, I want to be better. I’d also like to not start writing blog posts so late in the day.

Strictly Come Tweeting (24.10.15)

I wasn't planning on tweeting along to tonight's Strictly Come Dancing, until I realised how many double entendres were taking place. It turned out that these were the tip of the iceberg, when Bruno accidentally dropped a bollock (or two) on live television. Suddenly, everything else seemed slight in comparison. It wasn't a heavy duty swear, of course, unless said with malice aforefort, which it certainly wasn't. Still, he should have known better, on a family show - though I seem to remember this wasn't the first time something of this ilk happened; Len Goodman, I'm looking at you.

Here are tonight's ramblings:


6:42pm: My "sausage is close to bursting point", Tess.

6:47pm: Did Darcy just say, "The clubbing seal"?

6:51pm: Pasha: "This dance never stops turning". CANCEL THE REST OF THE TV SCHEDULE.

6:52pm: (Del and Rodney, standing underneath the chandeliers.)

6:54pm: Bruno: "Your arms: just use them correctly". Excellent teaching.

6:56pm: Anton's come as 'The Eighties'.

6:58pm: My Dad would describe Gleb as "a tool".

7:00pm: Let's hear it for the circular rostrum.

7:06pm: Janette Manrararararararararararara (sic).

7:07pm: I like to see things back visually too. Like hearing things hearingly.

7:08pm: Janette's come as Princess Jasmine, Peter's come as...Peter Andre.

7:10pm: YOU have to be juicy at those ends.

7:18pm: YOU pulled it off big-time.

7:23pm: Ainsley had better use some bread rolls as props.

7:29pm: YOU'VE got to get up on your balls more.

7:41pm: In the week, David Cameron has custody of his hair. At the weekend, Anton du Beke gets it.

7:44pm: YOU'RE a little bit sticky in places.

7:50pm: .@theJeremyVine's an Elvis Costello fan. I like him even more.

7:53pm: Go on, Bruno. Fit some more nasty comments into your thirty seconds of feedback.

7:55pm: Jeremy's book was written fifty years ago. Bruno was in the I'm Still Standing video thirty years ago.

8:02pm: Jay McGuiness' resting face (right).


8:08pm: Bruno swears on live TV. The Daily Mail will be FURIOUS.

8:17pm: NEWSFLASH: due to swearing live on air, next week Bruno will be replaced by Toby Anstis

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Help Yourself.


Things sometimes play on my mind at unhelpful times.

This morning was a case in point. I woke up far earlier than I'd hoped, with a few niggles that I just couldn’t shake. Before long, I was wound up, both by what I was thinking about and when I was thinking about it; not that I’d made an active decision to mull things over, as my subconscious had made that decision for me.

I eventually realised that I wasn’t getting anywhere and I certainly wasn’t going to fall back asleep. There also wasn't a chance of resolving what was on my mind, as this would involve talking to people who weren’t in my bed, and even if they were, it would have been rude to wake them up. I did what I should have done sooner and got up to make some breakfast and say hello to the cat (which isn't a euphemism).

I also did something I got into the habit of doing when I was rehearsing my solo show earlier this year and wrote down what I felt needed resolving. This helps me shift from being overwhelmed by all the non-specific worries in my head to having a plan of action. It’s like having a mental shopping list (as in ‘a catalogue of what’s on the mind’ and not ‘a checklist of stupid things to buy in Sainsbury’s’). It doesn’t fix everything instantly, but the act of putting pen to paper makes the problems more tangible and a little easier to metaphorically tick off.

(There’s nothing worse than being ticked off metaphorically.)

This stems from my interest in meditation and my attempts to be more mindful. I tried to apply this to last Thursday’s Mostly Comedy, which is always a stressful day, with problems coming at you from every angle. Glyn and I describe it, perhaps crassly, as being ‘bummed by life’: only just being on top of your itinerary, while the high-speed train of what needs to be done pushes you along faster than you’d like. There were a couple of times when a member of staff asked me a question, when I was in the midst of something else. Rather than instantly dropping what I was doing, as I usually would, I politely asked them to wait a moment while I finished it. I’ve never done this before in this context and, by God, did it help.

They say men can’t multi-task (whoever ‘they’ are). This is rubbish. Having said that, there’s no harm in focusing on a thing at a time, if it makes you more productive and less stressed. I may write a self-help book. If I do, I'll give it the aggressive title ‘Help Yourself'.

Friday, 23 October 2015

Mostly Birthdays.


Tonight’s Mostly Comedy was great.

Like last month, we were in the lovely position of being sold out. This definitely contributed to the atmosphere. There’s something immensely satisfying about standing backstage, listening to the sound of a hundred and one people packed into a tight room, laughing uncontrollably; it’s not so good with a hundred in, but that extra one makes all the difference (particularly if it's Kriss Akabusi).

(Glyn and I get the odd laugh too, it’s just harder to get the audience to do it in unison.)

Tonight’s saw the club’s seventh anniversary, and my, how time has flown. It seems like only yesterday that we moved to The Market Theatre, when in reality we’ve been there for three years. While Mostly is still relatively young as an event, it’s incredible to see how much it’s grown in such a short space of time. We started it on a whim, as a vehicle to write more material together, not knowing what kind of beast we’d unleash on the North Hertfordshire area. If you’d told me at our first show, whose line-up essentially consisted of us and a collection of school and college friends, that in seven years time we’d be booking Paul Daniels, not to mention the ever-growing list of top-flight comedians, I would have laughed in your face (then charged you £3 please, as that was the price to get in. No wonder we couldn’t book anyone).

The special occasion didn’t go unmarked. We sang happy birthday to ourselves, as is only right. We also used it as a chance to roll out a favourite piece of material, the Beard Board (another way of saying we ran out of time to get together to write anything new). I tried out some new stuff on my own though, and was pleased with the response. All in all, it was a good night. I also got to tell Kevin Eldon how brilliant I thought he was as Bill Kerr in The Missing Hancocks without embarrassing myself. Well, I think I got away with it.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Buster on the Bus.


The man listening to Phil Collins on the bus today should invest in better headphones.

I’m not referring to their durability, as they looked like they were built to last. I’m talking about their insufficient soundproofing. If I can identify the artist I'm hearing from the other side of the aisle of a noisy bus then there’s something amiss; particularly when it’s the balding ex-drummer of Genesis.

The track in question was Collins’ cover of A Groovy Kind of Love, so I suppose it could have been worse. It was like being subjected to the middle-aged equivalent of a teenager listening to music on public transport using their phone as a loudspeaker. In complaining now, I sound like an old man myself; it’s the circle of life (which was Elton John and not Phil Collins, who did the soundtrack for Tarzan).

A Groovy Kind of Love brings back memories for me. It was one of the songs I sang to get into drama school. Years later, like everyone else at my college, I snuck into the office to have a look at my audition notes. Speaking of my quasi-Collins performance, the singing teacher said, “Nice voice. Zero stage presence”. I've tried to maintain this standard ever since.

If The Concrete Never Comes.


It’s not every day you get to see a Garth Brooks-themed industrial vehicle (unless you work for Doherty Concrete on a 24/7 basis, that is).

Garth Brooks-themed Doherty Concrete vehicle (near-side view)


When I spotted it on my way back from town this morning, I did a double take. I was so close to it initially that it took a while for the enormity of what I was passing to sink in. At first, the style of the artwork made me assume it was a fairground attraction, but no, it was something much more mundane than that; it was a way of transporting large quantities of sand, gravel and cement from A to B with the intention of mixing concrete, that happened to be decorated to a country and western motif. 

Garth Brooks-themed Doherty Concrete vehicle (off-side view)
 

…and why not? Let's face it: Garth Brooks and concrete are synonymous. They’re both the most successful in their idiom; I challenge you to name a bigger-selling C&W artist or a more widely used composite building material, and I dare you to say it to my face.

(I may mould a giant concrete Stetson in tribute.)

I won’t take the piss out of the people driving it, however, as they were kind enough to let me take pictures, after clearly staring the first time I walked past, then returning a few minutes later when I realised I couldn’t let the opportunity to document it pass me by. I lied a bit though, by saying my mum was a big fan; of Garth Brooks, not haulage.

Monday, 19 October 2015

Monday Musings.


I spent some time today gently tinkering with a little material that I might try at Thursday’s Mostly Comedy.

If I do it, it will be only be about five minutes' worth. It may even be less than that. It won’t be a full-blown set, just a few gags interspersed between one act and the next; provided Glyn doesn’t object, that is. In fact, if I chicken out and don’t do it, I'll use him as an excuse; my official story will be that he forbade it.

(Yes, I said "forbade".)

I need to get some momentum going again. I could do with working through my blogs to see what else - besides my ‘…and Ephgrave’ material - will work in a stand-up environment. That’s a pretty daunting task. When you write something every day, you soon lose track of what you’ve talked about. When I have a focus, such a topic for an episode of our radio show, it’s easier to sift out the stuff that’s of use; I just type the appropriate trigger words in the search bar and the odd bit of ready-made material will pop up. Sometimes, only a line or two is worth using, but that’s better nothing. If I don’t have a specific subject to work towards, it’s hard to know where to begin.

Our radio show is currently a frustration, in and of itself. We haven’t broadcast a new episode in two months, due to the station changing premises, and don't know when we’ll be back. This is a shame, as we were just getting into the swing of things when it stopped. I now fully understand the meaning of the term ‘radio silence’.

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Pooling Our Resources.


This afternoon, in a continuation of our newfound love unwittingly stumbled across while on holiday, I took my wife to a local pool hall for a game or two of…well…pool.

It took a while to relax in what for me was an unnatural environment (which implies my wife hangs around pool halls all the time). The place was designed to a sportsman’s motif, or so it seemed in my over-active little head. The Ireland Vs. Argentina Rugby World Cup game blared from flat-screen TVs surrounding me at every angle, while football kit-wearing men bought drinks. The bar staff looked like they’d been petrol-pumped full of testosterone (and that was just the women). I was worried everyone knew about my P.E.-shirking past; if Messrs Tomley, Rycroft and Smith walked in, I would have done something smelly in my jeans.

(They were my games teachers, by the way, and not solicitors.)

In reality, the atmosphere was nothing like the mental image I painted; as is often the case, it was my deep-set neuroses creeping in. A few shots into our first game, I started to enjoy myself. I may not be John Virgo (I don’t know the names of any pool players), but I’m also no Jim Davidson. I’m beginning to understand the mechanics of the game. You hit the mini Magic-8 Ball with the thick end of the stick, right?

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Strictly Come Tweeting (17.10.15)

See below for my tweets regarding tonight's episode of Strictly Come Dancing, all in one place, like. This evening saw a personal first, when I gave one of my three available online votes to Anton du Beke. 

It's official: I've changed.
 
6:32pm: First Gleb Sighting of the Weekend. #Gleb

6:33pm: Tess' chest is in mourning.

6:35pm: "News Anchor, Kirsty Gallacher". Don't forget the glottal stop.

6:36pm: Last week, Anita came as Ruth Madoc.

6:38pm: Gleb and Anita: if it's not one sliding on the floor, it's the other.

6:38pm: If Anita moved like that on Country File, John Craven would have a heart attack.

6:40pm: Gleb's head is a completely blank canvas, on which he draws a face every morning.

6:42pm: Gleb is an animatronic operated by a team of five.

6:43pm: Every night, Gleb goes home, shuts his curtains* and has sex with himself. 

*(not a reference to his hair, or anything else)

6:44pm: Doniel O'Dannell.

6:48pm: Anyone remember the BBC2 sitcom The High Life?

6:48pm: (I thought Daniel did quite well, actually.)

6:50pm: Bruno's feedback to Daniel O'Donnell, summarised: "What you need to be is more of a dancer".

6:54pm: A guitar with no handle? No HANDLE? (Neck, Claudia. NECK).

6:55pm: Still excited at the prospect of a guitar without a handle. TV first.

6:55pm: F**king U2. No need.

6:56pm: Kirsty's got a massive squirrel on her head.

6:58pm: A broomstick has a shape. It's broomstick-shaped.

6:59pm: Len likes his similes.

7:01pm: GET IN.


7:02pm: Darcey could feel it going down her back. Ooh-er.

7:03pm: THEY HAVE TRAMPOLINES ON THE WALL. I MUST FIND THIS PLACE.

7:04pm: Will Len give this an S Club "Seven"?

7:05pm: Only Tess could make "That was heavenly" sound emotionless.

7:07pm: Every time they cut to Giovanni, he gets sweatier.

7:09pm: When will Jeremy do the grapeVine?

7:12pm: Why do they keep giving Jeremy all the comedy dances?

7:14pm: ...but when Jeremy had moves to do, for the most part, he did them.

7:16pm: Tess' outfit channels a witch's net curtains.

7:18pm: Is this the guitar without a handle that we're hearing?

7:23pm: Every time they cut to Tess, the netted bit of her dress gets bigger.

7:26pm: It's the Grampa Simpson Love Machine!

7:27pm: I came into my own once. Don't want to talk about it.

7:27pm: Definitely her best dance with knobs on.

7:30pm: Gleb lives in a Hall of Mirrors.

7:30pm: To be fair to Tess, she just did a good double-take.

7:34pm: Not sure about the My Generation bass break.

7:36pm: Taking off like a gazelle mixed metaphor in mid-flight.

7:38pm: Remember to sing the Black Beauty theme in-between the judges' scores timpani beats. REMEMBER.

7:38pm: Close your curtains, Tess.

7:40pm: The first rule of flamenco club is 'you don't talk about flamenco club'.

7:40pm: Gleb would make good use of Pasha's mirror.

7:41pm: Surely the BBC budget could stretch to buying Pasha a bigger jacket.

7:43pm: ...just like Bruno did in that Elton John video.

7:44pm: "Gleb was shouting..." I am bloody beautiful.

7:45pm: Carol's a sweetie.

7:46pm: When Natalie winked at the camera, SHE WAS WINKING AT ME.

7:47pm: (Quite enjoying Ainsley's VT comedy business.)

7:48pm: Go Ainsley. He's nailing it.

7:51pm: Ainsley's a versatile performer. He also cooks a cracking omelette.

7:54pm: To get over Helen's fear of lifts, they went up in a lift. Just explaining the joke.

7:56pm: I remember watching this doctor / nurse routine once on Television X.

7:57pm: I'll earth your grind.

8:00pm: Barcey Dussell.

8:00pm: Gleb wants more screen time.

8:01pm: Jordan's changed.

8:04pm: Christ, Janette's fierce.

8:07pm: Why does Bruno give constructive criticism to the natural dancers and only bitch about the non-dancers?

8:09pm: Once again, Strictly proves that celebrities have kids.

8:10pm: BEST. SONG. EVER.

8:11pm: This Elvis song makes my hair stand on end. No hair product necessary.

8:13pm: Everything should end with If I Can Dream. EVERYTHING.

8:14pm: Anton pushed Katie hard...Katie pulled it off.

8:17pm: When Gleb looks at the leader board, he sees GLEB GLEB GLEB GLEB GLEB GLEB GLEB GLEB GLEB GLEB GLEB GLEB GLEB GLEB GLEB GLEB.