Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Big Sister

For the past few years I’ve bemoaned Big Brother. Series 1 & 2 and to a lesser extent 3 were, for me, fantastic and thoroughly enjoyable. However since 5 onwards the show has been a total freakshow – put in place solely for Big Brother to torment. Not as good fun as the interaction and paranoia of the earlier series where BB tended to let the house mates get on with it without all those annoying ‘twists.’

I loved the race row in Celeb BB. Finally it was the show it was meant to be 7 years ago. Real people, real issues. Sadly the Whitehouse brigade disagreed and Big Brother has had to change to survive. They had two options really. Go back to the early series with a more ‘normal’ cross section of society and just observe or do something totally different.

They’ve done both.

The something totally different is that the house is all female. And while this seems odd look beneath this twist and actually the characters all seem far more grounded. More like the people you’d meet in the street than the caricatures that populated Big Brothers 5,6 and 7.

This has filled me with hope, hope that finally, after 3 years there may be a Big Brother that’s watchable. Of course it won’t last. The producers haven’t the guts to stick to an all female cast. The men will be along sooner than later and, I fear, that’s when I’ll switch off.

Monday, May 21, 2007

What A Coincidence?

Don’t you love ‘em? You know, coincidences. Those little moments in life where universes collide. The stranger on the bus revealing that they share the same birthday or that new employee at work living just a few doors down.

The most common coincidence in my life revolves around doing exactly what I’m doing now – writing. I almost always have the radio on while I’m online or writing and more often than not the DJ will say the same word or phrase exactly as I happen to read/write it on screen. It’s moments like that when you want to have the ‘Twilight Zone’ theme tune to hand.

This morning I did a bit of work for my local radio station. I went in to twiddle some knobs and enable the studio to link to the sister one in the next county. The shows guest was discussing whether the elderly should be forced to retake their driving test. She was a lovely woman, slightly nervous, almost horrified when she realised we’d be live. Not to worry she relaxed into the interview and came across wonderfully. She was sympathetic to the elderly noting that each generation has bad drivers and that we should encourage them to relearn their skills rather than ‘force’ them into tests.

So interview concluded I headed home, across one of the cities major roads only to find a crash just metres from my home. And yes fate fans, it was an elderly driver bumping into a younger driver!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

By Royal Appointment

Its not everywork place that gets an unannounced royal visit - so it was quite cool to look out the office window and see the royal train awaiting departure. No sign of any of the family though.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Tuning In

I’ve long been a fan of radio. I can remember sneakily listening to my Crown Walkman, the size of a small family car and covered in Ghostbusters stickers, under my duvet when I should have been asleep. I was captivated by Phil Kennedy on The Superstaion (the nightly national service all local radio used to link up to in the 80s). He had a section where he encouraged listeners to flash their lights to cause surges in the national grid. Before it was bought out by GWR (now Gcap) and went shit I used to listen to Wyvern FM. Ed Douglas, Sammy Southall & Sheldon James used to enthral me.

Then I moved to Radio 1. Largely encouraged by Chris Evans Breakfast show. But now Scott Mills & Chris Moyles are daily listens. Failing that I’ll tune into Radio 2 or talkSPORT. Ian Collins is still a legend.

My radio habits have changed drastically lately. I mainly listen via the BBC’s listen again. Though, despite my broadband I tire of it stalling and occasionally sounding like its being broadcast down a long echoey metal pipe. I have to have music on when I’m working or on the PC. But other than listen again my only option was iTunes or a portable battery powered radio. (The HiFI is downstairs.)

So I’ve finally taken the plunge and today purchased my first DAB radio. For years I’ve dreamed of owning the PURE evoke II. A work of art that many enthusiasts constantly big up. Sadly I couldn’t justify the £120 + on just a radio – Especially when Herefordshire only has around 15 DAB stations.

Today I bought a Tesco own brand radio. £40. Don’t laugh, it’s actually a surprisingly good quality build. Nice and heavy and gorgeous finish. It’s certainly evoking the Evoke. The sound is superb. Slightly lacking in bass but it does have a line out so I could always get some external speakers to cure that. Instantly I’ve fallen in love with 6music. BBC Radio 7’s repeats of 'Dead Ringers' & 'On The Hour' are a must and, of course, I can finally listen to Virgin & Talksport without the old AM hiss.
OK, I haven’t got the ability to record & pause radio like more expensive models – but Listen Again provides that service perfectly. So, about 5 years over due I’m finally all Dabbed up – and couldn’t be happier!