And this is the legacy of the Charleston. The famous madcap swivel action forces you onto one foot, on tiptoe. My left foot is weaker than my right, like most people’s, and I am told there is a muscle with a very long name which proceeds from the calf to the sole via the ankle (peroneus brevis?). On Friday it went on strike. So at the weekend I danced my Charleston with the foot taped and dosed up on anti-inflammatories. Luckily the very spiky ache is starting to ease. Each dance wrecks a different muscle!
The joy of Twitter! A viewer (@JoBradleyPaint) sent me this painting of our dance. Actually I think I shall buy the original. I never thought you could paint the Charleston, and I really like this. However, even in this impressionistic take you can see how much better Karen’s hip action is than mine. Here is Jo’s website http://www.jobradleypaintings.co.uk/
A big part of Strictly is the non-dancing part — every Monday I see a crew (David on camera, and Yas taking the photo) and they ask me how I felt about the last show and all that accompanied it. You might detect that I am very slightly weary; that’s because we are already into our jive-prep. Here I am paying tribute to Anthony Ogogo for his bravery in dancing with only one working shoulder. Mind you, his foot movements made up for any lack of dexterity in the arms. It shouldn’t be a surprise, of course, because that’s what Mohammed Ali taught us: boxers can dance.
Looking for Karen. I know the gym is under the arches here somewhere. But when I take this photo, the guy on the left says, “I am going to shove that camera up your arse.” It strikes me that he may be suggesting a new dance move, but I think it’s better at this stage to retreat. Some people are good at fighting and some are not. I’m really not, so I want all the people who are good at fighting to fight each other. Perhaps if this gentleman really wants a fight, he can fight his friend.
Found it, without further incident! Today’s training room is the Soho Gym, so-called because it’s in … Waterloo. We have already been to about six different places. The key things we look for are, (a) privacy (Karen hates having spectators); (b) a sprung floor; (c) mirrors; (d) a coffee shop so we can have the occasional 20-minute break and gossip. Oh, and (e) a view of the London Eye (see photo).
I have brought conkers. We did an item on Radio 2 about the World Conker Championships today and a former world champion brought some freshly-laced conkers in. We had an interesting moment where, just for a second, I was able to teach Karen something. She has never played conkers or heard of conkers and, come to think of it, it is quite hard to explain what the point of this classic playground game is. Still, every other moment she is teaching me. For once I had something to say.
Haircut. After our session, on the way to the It Takes Two studio to appear on this evening’s Strictly-analysis programme, I work out I have time for a quick shearing. The barbershop is Valentino’s in Waterloo. I ask the hairdresser to give me exactly the same haircut he has. On second thoughts …
Now we are in make-up gearing up for ITT, as everyone calls the Strictly spin-off show. Strangely it is in the ITV tower. Karen and I have already done some mad training today, and after mad training, as every dancer knows, you are allowed to have CHOCOLATE. One of the things I notice about the pros is that they all have huge appetites (because of the exercise they do) but none appears to have an ounce of fat on them. I am starting to revise my view that weight is 80% diet and 20% exercise. The dancers seem to prove that, if you do enough with your body, you can have as much cake as you want.
It’s love, isn’t it? That’s his “I am about to drop you in a giant vat of melted butter” face. This is the closest I have ever been to Strictly’s strictest. He does make me laugh. One day I will make him smile. Just a little. Craig-Scores so far: 2 – 3 – 3.
Friends. I really bonded with Anthony in the short time we had. It started at Roehampton where the celebs all met and learnt some basic dances moves, and he and I both struggled alongside each other. With the Strictly show, you can be doing a great job of dancing and suddenly a routine falls short and you are in the dance-off and then the outcome is pretty random. Anthony had to dance against Ainsley and Ainsley’s routine was much sharper than the first time he danced it. So it was Mr Ogogo who had to go.
So we head for the ITT studio. Zoe on the left, and there on the right are Oti and Anthony. I hope he leaves the show with no bad feelings. He was interviewed about his exit and I know he feels some of the things he was quoted as saying (about other dancers’ training, ethnicity, etc) were spun in a way that took the light-hearted tone away. So if you read anything that made it seem like Anthony was complaining, rest assured he almost certainly wasn’t. Anyway, the key thing for him now is to get that shoulder better. His elimination is a reminder of what we are all dancing to avoid. Yikes — better get back to that training room for my jive.