Saturday, December 31, 2005

Time Is The Fire...

..In Which We Burn

So it’s New Year’s Eve.

I don’t like it.

I just don’t get it.

The thing is, time doesn’t exist – it’s merely a concept invented by our puny human brains to help us better understand the universe. Some of us are slaves to the clock. We set appointments and meetings and fear for our lives if we’re late. Some say its down right rude to be late.

I dunno I just think it’s a bit daft spending a whole night watching a clock counting down to a time which is only significant because someone says so. It’s normally an anti-climax anyway.

There’s one aspect to time that I like on New Years Eve – I get double it. As NYE mean’s nothing to me I’m happy to work it and be paid lots more for the privilege!

Oh well to those of you that do celebrate, Happy New Year. To others like me happy next pay cheque!

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Top Score

I just scored a 204 at Tenpin Bowling! I’m very happy with that. I left two frames open and even got a five-bagger. My previous record was a four-bagger and 165! Record smashed!

P.S. How good was David Tennant as Who? The Christmas Invasion was pure excellence with Tennant a better Doctor in twenty minutes that Ecclestone managed in the whole first series. Bring on series two!

Monday, December 26, 2005

My Favourite Christmas Present

Thanks babe, a total suprise.

P.S. Sorry if you got annoyed by the cries of 'exterminate'...all afternoon...


Sunday, December 25, 2005

It's Midnight... Merry Christmas everyone!

Saturday, December 24, 2005

So Here It Is...

Well last night was my final Chrimbo gig. Once again December has been the busiest month of the year and once again Christmas Eve bringing on a feeling of tranquillity and a return to normality. Last year it was the come down from Hereford Local Radio, this year it’s the come down from my best series of gigs ever. I don’t know what I’ve being doing differently but the last few weeks have seen some amazing nights. Admittedly this week were probably the worst, but then again they have followed some of my best… so even average seems lacklustre.

Thursday the dance floor didn’t ignite as well as Xmas so far, until for the first time ever, in 7 years of jocking I tried a ‘swing set’. Me & My Shadow, Have You Met Miss Jones, I Get A Kick Out Of You. Stuff I like but would never dream of using for a gig suddenly had the dance floor thriving!

Last night again, not the spectacular that the first few weeks offered but it did see a bizarre spate of requests. Grown men, 30-40 year olds asking for Agadoo, Hokey Cokey & The Fast Food Song. Tracks I have never played. I was very, very hesitant decided what the hell. It worked.

So to anyone who came to one of my Xmas gigs this year, thanks for making it a such good season. My blog of worry at the start was unfounded and I’m glad to say that this year I can quite happily put Wham on without my ears bleeding.

Anyway, I’m off for a few festive beers let the holidays commence!

Monday, December 19, 2005

Spaced Out

So Space Cadets finished on Friday. I really enjoyed the set up and premise of the series however it has to be said that the last two shows were kind of disappointing. Instead of opting for a big shock reveal in the style of Beadles About the cadets were brought back down to Earth gently. Over the last 48hours inside the capsule the producers started sowing seeds of doubt. By the close of the final day the Cadets were pretty much guessing it was all a hoax.

Logically this was the only way the show could end. The whole set up and been so detailed and immersive that to do a shock reveal would, no doubt, have been quite psychologically damaging. I guess the producers had to do things that way to protect the Cadets mental health. For the viewer though the show lacked the big pay off expected. How funny would it have been to stage a problem with the shuttle? To have a UFO flyby? Or do simulate a docking with the ISS only to have Johnny Vaughan walk through the airlock?

In the days of sensationalism on TV you have to admit the producers did take the braver and more moral approach. You have to salute them for that. Still it was an enjoyable show and a shame that it didn’t become the talked about event Channel 4 were hoping for.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

My Simplest Pleasures

Breaking the seal on a new jar of coffee.
Bubble Wrap.
The smell of wet tarmac when it hasn’t rained for weeks.
An email from a friend.
The moment of anticipation just before you’re released from the lift hill on a rollercoaster.
A favourite record on the radio.
Cuddles with Miss Smeg in the morning.
The smell of coffee.
The cold side of the pillow.
Making someone else laugh.
94% of my work colleagues

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Fulfilling Fantasies

No not those kind of fantasies you dirty minded individual… you know who you are. I’m on about childhood fantasies. Ones burning in your soul since you were single-figured. I’m lucky in that I’ve achieved most of mine. There is one, however, that lies unquenched. It did lie dormant until very recently when it was re-ignited in a pang of jealousy. It was ignited by a friend showing me his Blue Peter Badge.

I wanted one. I scratched my head many a time in my youth. What could I write to BP in order for them to separate with one of their priceless pieces of plastic? How could I amaze Mark Curry, Yvette Fielding or the late Karen Keating? Sadly a subject never came to pass and as I got older I became far more interested in Star Trek communicators than Blue Peter badges.

Still seeing that badge the other week got me thinking. I could, of course, bid for one of the horrendously overpriced badges on ebay but that would be cheating. I wanted to obtain a badge in the genuine way – a feat of achievement that could only be eclipsed by obtaining a Jim’ll Fix it medal or Bullseye Bendy Bully.

So today, as I showered, a spark of inspiration hit me. I now have two subjects I could write letters to BP about. Two letters which would both stand a good chance of getting a badge. But herein lies the problem. How do I go about it? Do I;

A: Write in, shamelessly admitting my age in the hope that the producers will find it amusing and award me some badgeness.
B: Write in under the guise of a 10 year old, using my wrong hand and weak grasp of grammar in the hope producers will see this as a genuine plea for the prize.
C: Stop being silly and grow up, I’m 25 for Christ’s sake.

I can see this is going to be a tough decision…

Saturday, December 10, 2005

2 Things

There are two things that I’m really enjoying at the moment.

A: Space Cadets.

There’s a lot of speculation that this is all one big hoax designed to fool the British TV public. So what if it is, I’m really enjoying the ride. Nine people fooled into thinking they’re in Russia and are about to go into Space. It’s also good to see Johnny Vaughan back on the box. One of the funniest thing I’ve seen on TV for ages – especially the lectures. Wonder if they will voyage to the ‘Honey Nut Cluster’.

B: The JCB song.
It shouldn’t be good, but, it’s delicious. In a time where the charts are full of dull, monotone, samey hip hop songs or worse bland middle-of-the-road male solo artists, or even worse glorified kareoke singing X-Factor winners it’s so refreshing to have a a really nice song. The lyrics stir positive memories in my child-of-the-80s mind but also give a real uplifting nice fuzzy feeling. The best candidate we’ve had for Xmas Number one in years.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Radio Ga Ga

Today marks the first anniversary of my inaugural appearance on radio. Since then I have hosted a daily morning show on Local radio for three weeks and done a weekly show on hospital radio for the last six months. It was something I’d been interested in doing since I was young, so what have I learnt?

Well I’ve only done about 80 hours on air so I’d be arrogant to say I can teach you how to be a radio DJ, however perhaps I can pass on some tips new comers might be interested in.

Firstly most of your creativity is stifled from the word go. Thanks to various laws and regulations you have to be careful about what you talk about. Then you have the radio stations identity to live up to - i.e. you can only run features they want you to run and only play records they want you to play. It is a limiting problem but sounding original under these conditions is what makes the best jocks shine.

Forget glamour. Most radio studios, especially local level are nothing more than portacabins or single grubby rooms in an office block. They will either be freezing cold or stuffy and hot and at times you will be left on your own with a full bladder and no one to talk to.

Forget morals. It is an industry centred on backstabbing and slagging people off - well that’s if you want to get anywhere. You also seem to have to shag around to make friends and get jobs. Slagging off and shagging around are two things that aren’t me so I’m resigned to not getting anywhere in radio but to be honest with these two things being your main credentials I’m not bothered.

That said when a station works - it works well. In just three weeks the local RSL I was involved in built up a very strong sense of being in a team - if it was full time we would have made a great station.

To this day people are shocked when they learn I’m not bothered about pursuing radio – despite having in interest for quite a while. About 9 months ago one jock thought I was out right lying and refused to believe me. She’s one person that is slowly making progress in the industry and I’m happy for her but to be honest I’ve found my niche in hospital radio. In the studios are a group of people that are genuinely doing radio shows for the love and passion of it. There’s no pay & no fame thus no egos and certainly no falseness.

That said my main tip is that content is key. I find it far easier to do a show when I arrive up with pages and pages of news stories, trivia and observations. Failing that if you’ve nothing to say then don’t. After all apart from the likes of Chris Moyles or Scott Mills the majority of people listen to radio to hear the music – not you. That’s one lesson a lot of jocks could learn.

P.S. Happy birthday mum!

Monday, December 05, 2005

Dance To The Music

So how did the Chrimbo parties go this weekend? Well it has to be said it’s kind of depressing. Friday night went really well. From 10pm –12am, following a sumptuous 4-course meal for our guests, I had the dance floor packed. Then, suddenly, without warning the atmosphere fell flat and people left. This is better than previous years. Usually straightaway at 10pm crowds would leave and head out to the night-clubs. Of course the new drinking laws seem to be working in our favour with people staying until later thanks to later admittance into the clubs.

Then, however, came Saturday.

Oh my God.

Possibly the best Xmas party night I have ever done at this residency. I always look back at the University Of Gloucestershire’s 2000 Xmas Ball as one of my best gigs. This was up there. The atmosphere was electric and the dance floor was teeming all night. The best part was I got away with different music to normal on Xmas parties. Usually it’s Motown and Disco to keep the post-40 something happy. Nothing wrong with that it’s great music but when you’re using it at all your weddings and Xmas dos it gets a bit tiresome. Itching to play something different while a lady on table 3 insists you play Dancing In The Street for the 5th time that week. However Saturday I slipped in the likes of Reef: Place Your Hands, House Of Pain: Jump Around and I even fearlessly laid down Ant & Dec: Let’s Get Ready To Rhumble. I never dear play such cheese but it worked perfectly. The crowd were screaming, jumping, singing. I counter balanced these more unusual Xmas Party choices with a few classics, Summer Of 69, Livin’ On A Prayer, Brown Sugar and it led to a great night.

So why have I said it’s depressing? Well for the night to be so, so good I’m aware that none of the forthcoming gigs over the next few weeks will match it.

Still, there’s always next year.

Friday, December 02, 2005

And So It Begins

Tonight is my first Xmas gig of the year. For me this is when the countdown starts and Christmas seems just days away. Admittedly it now means I will slowly get sick of Wham!, Dexy’s Midnight Runners & Jeff Beck but hey it’s still fun. Lately I’ve had a good run of gigs. No stand out bad ones and one fantastic night where I couldn’t stop the crowd dancing if I tried however the Xmas gigs are harder. Mainly because they are comprised of groups of people that don’t know each other – different companies booking a table here & there meaning the guests don’t seem to relax quite as much as if it were a birthday party (by far the easiest night to do.)

Every year one song becomes stand out – a song that is requested every night without fail. Over the past few years Crazy In Love by Beyonce, Cheeky Girls & Where Is The Love by Black Eyed Peas have been the big ones. Last year it was Band Aid 20. This year I’m anticipating The Pussycat Dolls to be heavily requested along with Madonna & Hung Up.

The hardest part of the night is where to put the Xmas songs? Obviously at a Xmas party you want Slade, The Pogues and Wizzard but past experience has taught me just dropping them in to the set clears the dance floor. If you don’t play them people start moaning – “You haven’t done the Xmas songs yet, come on it’s our Xmas party” but then if you save them until the end of the night it seems to little to late. In almost seven years of Djing I’ve never quite sussed this one. This year I have a plan – we’ll wait and see if it works…