Monday, January 14, 2008


Friday 11 January 2008

No bus problems to report this morning - only a slight delay after getting over the bridge due to a nice little five-car pile-up.

Last night I went up to Carnegie College to get details of an 8-week Dreamweaver course. The Jock ‘n’ Roll website is made using Dreamweaver 8 (after an interesting phase as a Blue Peter-esque Microsoft Publisher project!!) but I only really know enough to do the basics. I’d love to be able to do more.

The only TV I watched last night was “Never Mind The Buzzcocks, which featured the ravishingly lovely Lauren Laverne. I could listen to her to read the obituaries.

This week’s Dunfermline (De)Press contains the usual misery. The front-page headline story is about a 9-stone man who was attacked and thrown against a wall by a 21-stone man. The victim now has “cognitive problems” and the judge’s sentence was 300 hours of community service. Judge Lord Brodie also said, and this kind of statement makes me so angry, that the victim should not receive any compensation because Miller would not be able to afford to pay the appropriate figure!! Un-bloody-believable.

They didn’t bother printed my story about the continuing problems of overflowing post boxes. Maybe it’ll take a theft for something to be done about it.

There’s also a great letter on the Letters page (best place for a letter methinks) about West Fife being "the most dismal place in the world". The (De)Press are obviously trying to provoke a reaction from locals by making the headline in a very big font of sensationalist proportions. "West Fife's a virtual monoculture; middle class is a filthy term; having as little as a Barratt house gets you branded a "snob"", says the writer. Couldn't agree more although if the poor locals had the misfortune to stay in a Barratt house like me they'd return to their local housing association list quicker than you can say '20 B and H and a bottle of Buckie'.

My expenses cheque came through from Brainbox Challenge. I must say that of all the shows I’ve done they pre- and post-show care has been excellent. Some other production companies could learn a lot from them.

I got an e-mail this morning from the Institute of Sales Promotions, which confirmed that I was right to tell Forth One that their running of their “Just The Job” competition in November/December was unfair. To recap, this was my original query to the ISP:

“Two players are up against each other. Each is asked, in turn, a (different) question and assuming they are both right (or both wrong) the quiz then goes into “sudden death”. According to the rules of the station concerned, if Player A gets his next question wrong then Player B is automatically deemed to be the winner without answering another question. I think that this is unfair on Player A. For example, in a football penalty shoot out that goes to “sudden death”, even if Team A misses their kick Team B still has to score to win it.

What are you views on the fairness or otherwise of this quiz/competition? I’ve argued with the station that the quiz is unfair on the Player A. They even admit themselves that Player B has a “slight advantage”. By the way, I am only involved in this as a listener and not as a contestant.”

I am glad that I’m been proved right because one particular individual at Forth One was particularly dismissive of my concerns. They seem to have forgotten that it wasn’t just television that was involved in the scandals of 2007. I'll e-mail them on Monday...


Monday 14 January 2008

…but not enough to shoot all my colleagues…

I had Saturday to myself as the girls headed off to the ballet of “Sleeping Beauty”. I did some quality ‘pottering’. Went into Dunfermline to get a haircut and a new watch until I realised I had no money, or at least not enough. My neighbour informed me that person or persons unknown had keyed his car between Christmas and New Year and it wasn’t just one scrape, it was several. Bastards.

The replacement Tigger arrived from Ravensburger and it worked perfectly. I must thank them for their prompt response and good customer service. I may be the first to complain about poor service but I’m always the first to thank people for good service too – as it should be. I’m still awaiting responses from DFS, about their advert, and Channel 4 about their “Fingers on Buzzers" game, which we’ve already returned to Amazon.

As a keen quizzer, I watched the Beeb's Lotto show “In It To Win It” and it is the closest I’ve got to forcing my foot through the television in a long time. The dumbing down of the BBC is complete with the thickest set of contestants I’ve ever had the misfortune to witness. One contestant, let’s call him “Daz”, didn’t know that “Sun Coast” was a translation of “Costa del Sol” or that “The Joshua Tree” and “Rattle and Hum” were albums by U2. All the more remarkable when you consider that Daz is some sort of “entertainments officer”.

Daz eventually got bumped back to the start and at the end, when the balls had to choose between him and David, who’d waited patiently for his turn, they threw up a pink ball and Daz was back. I really felt for David, especially as Daz was jumping about rather disrespectfully in front of him. Not to worry as Daz and another male got their questions wrong and £45k was split between two women. They don’t get off Scot-free though because one was thicker than a thick thing with a degree in thickness from the university of thick (she didn’t know that Hibernian played at Easter Road and she couldn’t even pronounce Kilmarnock) and the other one was a bit of a hustler as she hammed it up just a little bit too much at the end as she got an easy question right to collect her £22,500. Also, Dale’s “old queen” routine is getting rather tiresome.

Contrast “In It To Win It” with the “Celebrity Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” where Patrick McGuinness and Peter Kay did all they could to undermine the format (e.g. distracting Chris Tarrant whilst pulling out a mobile phone). Unfortunately too many wasted lifelines and they blew a chance of £20k to fall back to £1000. Even having Egghead Kevin Ashman as their Phone A Friend couldn’t prevent their meltdown. However, it was funny and will no doubt be one of the TV highlights of 2008 come December.

I’ve been engrossed in Sid Waddell’s book about darts, “Bellies and Bullseyes - The Outrageous True Story of Darts”, and I haven’t read a book so avidly since Andrew Collins’ “That’s Me In The Corner”. (The book has just been nominated in the biography section of the British Sports Book Awards). Unlike all those films that are fraudulently advertised as “laugh-out loud funny” this book is the real deal. You don’t even have to be a darts fan. As a kid growing up with a dartboard in my room, I was always a big fan and the book brought back memories of names I’d thought I’d forgotten: Ceri Morgan, Alan Glazier, Paul Lim, Allan Evans and man-mountain Cliff Lazarenko. Did you know that Sid Waddell was actually “voice of the balls” for the National Lottery in 1999? He lasted one show. He believes he was sacked for being “too Geordie”!

Sunday morning was spent doing the comps and crosswords, as usual, and by the time I finished them all and posted them at the Sorting Office there were 14 envelopes.

Sunday night found us watching “Kingdom” (ITV) and then “Damages” (BBC1). As most of ITV’s Sunday night input tends to be a variation of Where The Heartbeat Royal Is, “Kingdom” is a refreshing change and, as far as I’m concerned, anything with Stephen Fry in it will always be watchable. “Damages” is an American legal show starring Glenn Close and it has so much going on that I daren’t missed an episode. There are a lot of flashbacks and flash-forwards, which are easy enough to follow.

This week I’ve been listening to three Eels albums that I’d almost forgotten I had. A dip into the Es in the CD shelves usually means Even As We Speak or Echo and the Bunnymen. As a result I’m keen to get the new Eels releases, one a Greatest Hits and the other a B-sides and rarities compilation. I told you, I’m so far behind the times. Next week, I’ll start getting into that new Liverpool band The Beatles!!

The other 4 CDs on the 5-CD changer have been The Wedding Present’s “Hit Parade 2”, Matthew Sweet’s “In Reverse”, The Raveonettes“Chain Gang of Love” and “1 x20 (red)”, an “indie” compilation from back in the day.

Following on from the e-mail from the Institute of Sales Promotions, I passed on their findings to Forth One this morning and again, rather cheekily, offered my services to help out on quizzes and competitions. I suspect they won’t entertain me but if you don’t ask, you don’t get. I trust this time I won’t just get a “noted” response, which irked me somewhat last time.

This week's favourite tunes:

1. Wedding Present - Go Go Dancer
2. Eels - It's A Motherfucker
3. Close Lobsters - I'm Going To Heaven To See If It Rains
4. Matthew Sweet - Write Your Own Song
5. The Raveonettes - Little Animal

One word...magic darts!

1 comment:

JC said...

I've just rattled through Andrew Collins' latest tome.

I didn't like it, although I adored 'Where Did It All Go Right' and 'Heaven Knows...' I reckon it's down to the fact that I had empathy with how he grew up and his life as a student(i.e. - been there, bought the t-shirt, wish I'd written the books etc), I felt totally removed from his life in work. It came across as a bit too smug in places.

He's still a great writer mind you - he's written a great intro to a Morrissey feature in the current edition of The Word.