Sunday, July 26, 2009

Hot SCD Gossip

So it is official. Arlene Phillips is being dropped from Strictly Come Dancing in favour of Aleisha Dixon. This raises several problems for me as a telly consumer, a woman, and a fan of SCD.

Ever since Aleisha Dixon started to do well on the show, even before she won, the BBC began pushing her, grooming her for something more. A core of telly types appear to think she is the British Beyonce. Bruce said it on many occasions, and I bet you anything he wasn't saying it off his own bat; he's a team player, is Bruce.

She got a new recording contract, her single was single of the week on BBC Radio, and presenters had to say they liked it, despite the fact that it sounded exactly like "Mambo No. 5," which nobody likes, not even the people who bought a copy. I'm not sure any of it really did any good, because I don't follow the charts, but it does seem to me that as soon as the song stopped being single of the week in its first week of release, I rarely heard it again. Contrast this with Lily Allen, who is on the radio every second of the day, seemingly.

And now the BBC is replacing Arlene Phillips with Aleisha Dixon on SCD. Why replace Arlene? Because, even on a dance show that is primarily watched by women, only one of the four judges can be a woman. And it's convenient to replace Arlene, because she's older and a bit grumpy. Of course, Len Goodman and Bruce Forsyth are also older and a bit grumpy, but you can't take all the older people off the show, because a lot of the show's audience is made up of older people.

So off Arlene goes. What the hell does she know about dance anyway? With her years of choreography experience and dance coaching to the stars behind her, what the hell makes her such an expert? No no, much better to get someone new and fluffy in who will be nice and who doesn't really know anything about dance.

If they're going to replace anyone on the show with Aleisha Dixon, why can't it be Tess Daly? If the producers want to groom Aleisha for anything, why not groom her to take over from Bruce when he eventually dessicates under the strain of trying to pretend that the Sunday night dance-off isn't recorded on Saturday? She's peppy and personable and can sing and dance, and according to the BBC, everyone loves her. So why not take the big chance instead of the easy option of booting the old boot?

Friday, July 24, 2009

Would you like to hear a story about dogs that starts off sad and gets happy?

You would? Okay.

Early in 2009, I got a call from Drogheda Animal Rescue (the organization I sometimes volunteer for) asking me if I would help out with fostering two little old Jack Russell ladies. Lucky, 14, and Princess, 17, had been brought by their owner to the vet to be put to sleep because the owner had got a new cocker spaniel and the Jack Russells, who lived exclusively in the back garden, didn't like it. There was nothing else wrong with these dogs, as far as we knew.

So the vet called DAR, and the dogs were put into a foster home near me. I used to go round most days at lunchtime and take them out for a walk. They were always excited to see me, always happy to go for their walk, and I always hated leaving them, because, to be honest, I didn't really think they were getting proper care there either. Lucky turned out to have a heart condition and was put on pills. She eventually had a seizure and the dogs had to be moved from that foster home to somewhere where they could be more closely monitored. I was sad to see them go, assuming I would never see them again. Yes, I did have a little cry.

Fortunately, a lovely couple turned up close to Drogheda who took these two ladies in and turned them into part-time outside dogs, part-time sofa dogs.

Unfortunately, Lucky died a while later, and Princess was left on her own.

Can you see where this is going?

Yes, on Wednesday I delivered our wee foster (who we were originally calling Little, but whose name was later changed to Bijou) round to the house of these nice people, to see if she would make a good companion for Princess.

Their house is so lovely! There are lovely dog beds in the kitchen, and lovely kennels outside! And the dogs get to sit on the sofa in the evening! And the lady goes to the beach in the evenings for walks, so Bijou will be able to go for walks! And Princess did not hate her, so maybe she will eventually like her!

The best thing is that Princess looks amazing. She's lost loads of weight and she's had some baths, and she is lively and happy and waggy in her tail. She's bright-eyed and happy to receive visitors. These people have done a great job.

I hope Bijou will be happy there.

But we do miss her very much. And yes, I had a little cry.

Dog fostering is hard, as I believe I may have pointed out before.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

More setbacks for pedigree dogs

Some time ago, a documentary maker called Jemima Harrison made a show called Pedigree Dogs Exposed, which basically scared the bejesus out of everyone who cares about dogs, because it pointed out how eugenics in the dog-breeding business have turned some of your favourite breeds into barely functional freaks that suffer from every health problem you can possibly imagine.

As a direct result of Jemima's work and the support she received from animal welfare groups, the BBC chose to stop showing Crufts, the world's biggest advertisement for this type of dog breeding.

But now More 4 have decided that they will start showing it instead. Bad news for dogs.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Little the dog

Last night some of the local kids (yes, the ones I'm always complaining about) brought a little dog to our door. They were accompanied by a parent this time, the first time I've ever met one of their parents.

They had found a little female jack russell wandering around the estate and she seemed lost and tired. Crucially, the kids didn't recognize her, and they know every dog in the neighbourhood. So Mammy had agreed that they could go around all the houses where they knew people with dogs lived and ask them if they knew the dog. But first they wanted to check with me that I would take her if they couldn't find anywhere for her to go by bedtime.

Nobody owned her, so now she's here. She's a sweet wee girl, and clearly very much a lap dog. She likes to be picked up and likes to sit next to people. We are very hopeful that someone in the estate owns her, or at least someone local. But if not, well, someone's going to get a lovely little dog soon.

I am calling her Little, for now. Because, you know, she's little.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

MJ's will has been filed

According to the BBC:

"As we work to carry out Michael's instructions to safeguard both the future of his children as well as the remarkable legacy he left us as an artist, we ask that all matters involving his estate be handled with the dignity and the respect that Michael and his family deserve."

So, none at all then.