21 December 2011

Two earholes per ear


After attending a football match at the weekend, I dropped into a branch of Subway for some sustenance prior to catching my train.

The young chap behind the counter was welcoming and helpful and everything you want from someone serving you in an eaterie. I found it hard, however, not to stare at him just a bit.

Clearly, this fellow had chosen to make a major cosmetic alteration to his appearance, but had gone beyond tattoos. He had decided to not just have his ears pierced, but his ears punctured.

I've seen a lot of people lately, almost always men, with these coloured discs pushed into their earlobes. I can't imagine either the frame of mind of someone who chooses these mutiliative decorations, or the pain barrier they must have gone through to have holes the size of ten pence pieces made in their ears and then a disc shoved into each.

Thing is, however, Subway clearly have a uniform policy, based on either appearance or safety, that disallows any member of staff from wearing this stuff on duty. So the reason why I had trouble tearing my eyes away from this kindly chap wasn't because he had the discs in, but because he hadn't the discs in. He was behind the counter with two enormous holes in his ears.

I thought you were meant to put sticking plasters over them in the event of taking these items out, to avoid infection. Evidently not. They make me wince each time I see them; they remind me of the Amazonian chief with whom Sting was in cahoots in the late 1980s as he banged on about deforestation. I'm not sure what Subway policy is on lip plates, but I suspect it's roughly similar to how they view ear enhancements.

20 December 2011

"Nancy's in a five-star hotel; Robbie's in a golf and country club; and Russell's camping..."


Bit irked about the Strictly Come Dancing final, to be honest. Jason Donovan, though the obvious outsider of the three prior to the curtain going up, didn't deserve to be ousted by the public after the first two dances. The judges' scores, though only a guide, proved that.

But all in all it was a tremendous watch and Harry Judd was, on a technical and clinical level, a worthy winner. I enjoyed the way he skilfully avoided Sir Bruce Forsyth's observation that he now had a career as a dancer ahead of him if he wanted it. If you're the drummer in a pop band of heart-throbs still having hits, you're not going to give that up for eight hours a day of jiving and foxtrotting. Not yet, anyway.

I liked Chelsee Heeley's partner, Pasha Kovalev, the only male pro dancer on the show without any evidence of ego or showbiz-seeking. The singing and musicianship was, as always, tremendous. Bruno Tonioli and Craig Revel Horwood remain the worthiest of the four judges. Zoe Ball was superb on It Takes Two. Contestants who came across well included Russell Grant, Anita Dobson, Robbie Savage and even Audley Harrison.

But there are gripes. Sir Bruce continued to cock up the autocue and Tess Daly is actually starting to grate now. She can do live telly but she isn't a reactive person to the often chaotic stuff around her; indeed, Alex Jones showed when removed from the constraints of autocue just how much sparkle and charisma she actually has. When you look at the combination of Sir Bruce and Tess, it's opposites working together - the old man can't read properly but can still show and improvise; the youthful sidekick can read properly but has no real awareness of what to do when the script has to be thrown away.

Len Goodman, meanwhile, has become a miserable, curmudgeonly, picky, lazy, soundbitten old get.