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Month: January 2012

Can advertising make me want to try a Cadbury’s Creme Egg?

I don’t watch The Only Way Is Essex and I don’t plan to at any point in the near future. However one of the girls from the show is part of the new advertising campaign for Cadbury’s Creme Egg. The delight comes out but once a year and made it all the way into the quarter-finals of the World Cup of Chocolate defeating the old fashioned favourite Mars Bar en route to the quarter-finals where it lost out to eventual winner Twirl.

I’m not Creme Egg fan. I just don’t like the look of them and then I saw this publicity shot…

Lydia Bright TOWIE Creme Egg
Lydia Bright TOWIE Creme Egg

I know I shouldn’t but really that is extremely hot. Like really hot. So hot that in fact it might be enough for me to try a Creme Egg and they just look so foul. There is surely no way in the world that I’ll like them but that publicity photo…

We’ll see how it goes but on the scale of one to ten on how much of an effect an advert has on me. This scores an eight already and to rocketing towards a nine. On only a handful of occasions has an advertising campaign made me try a product. If this is successful it shows one of two things, either a) I’m shallow as hell or b) I like the idea of goo all over someone’s face.

In all honesty I’m not sure which makes me come off worse.

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Oh Southend Council what have you done? People used to trust you but soon there will be none.

In May as regular readers of this blog will know I will be running for Southend Council. I’ll be running as a Liberal Democrat candidate in the Westborough ward. We’ll see how that goes but over the weekend the aforementioned council managed to make it into national news in both the Daily Mirror and Daily Mail.

The story was about the council ensuring that councillors don’t get parking tickets for outstaying their alloted time in a pay & display bay. They are doing this by having all councillors cars number plates inserted into traffic wardens hand-held devices that will block them from giving out parking tickets to these vehicles in such a situation.

In the interests of fairness here are the reports in the Daily Mail, the Daily Mirror and lastly the local rag the Southend Echo.

First of all again in the interests of openness I don’t drive. So even if I was to win in May this would not effect me one jot. However I must say the perception absolutely stinks. The days of people trusting their elected officials are long gone. Now the electorate want to scrutinise all the expenses and perks elected officials claim and receive and lets be honest here there is nothing wrong with that whatsoever.

Councillors receive council car parking permits that allow them to park in council car parks and council car parking bays for free. They are instructed to leave them at home when not on council business and they are trusted to do that. Surely that is enough? I’m not saying any councillor does cheat the system or even would think of doing so but the problem with politics these days is the gap between perception and the reality is just so vast that going through with ideas like this just make people think less of elected officials.

I have little doubt that no-one abuses these privileges of being able to park for free when doing council work. I think most of the electorate would say that is fair enough. Councillors are elected to represent the people of their ward and do council business so they will need to be out and about in town meeting these people and working for them. However just having the perception that they could abuse the system and then the added issue of being unable to get a parking ticket for overstaying their stay in a car park or pay and display bay doesn’t sound good. It doesn’t sound good at all.

I often hear that politicians are ‘all crooks’ from people and this kind of action does not help disperse this argument. I really do think Southend Council have dropped a right clanger with this one. All it does to harden up the perception that politicians are just in it for whatever they can get and in all honesty in 99% of cases nothing could be further from the truth.

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Take Me Out Girls 2012

For the latest series photos and gossip then please follow the link for Take Me Out Girls Photos for Season Seven – 2015.

For pictures and details of all the new girls for the new series of Take Me Out starting Saturday 6 October 2012 on ITV1 click on the below link:

Take Me Out Girls 2012 on ITV1 – Series 4 Photos & Details

For details of the girls on the show on Season Five starting on January 5 2013 then please click the below link:

Take Me Out Girls 2013 Photos

Take Me Out is back on our screens and that means that for the next 12 weeks I will have 90 minutes of awesomely awful TV to watch each Saturday night. Once more Paddy is fronting the show in his own style and once more four men each week will come down that love lift to try and impress the flirty thirty to get a date on the love island of Fernando’s.

It was only episode one last week so it is hard for me to pick out my favourites yet as we don’t know much about their personalities. We all remember Daisy from series one who got a date on the final episode. She was just lovely. Also Welsh Aimee was a firm favourite. I was also very fond of Siobhan, loved Samantha and the tiny Emily was just wonderful. I must also say Karima, Josephine and Jo were all awesome too.

In series two the stars were Jo Jo and Lucy. I loved Jo Jo. She was amazing but there were plenty of others to root for. One of them being Dawn who is now engaged to the man she got a date with on the show which is all kinds of awesome. Others of note included Carol who seemed like a regular good lass and Luissa who was super smart and super attractive. A fairly good combination. Also I recall Kieney who was quite lovely and who could forget burlesque loving Samantha?

So on to series three and my early thoughts. In alphabetical order I am liking Carrie, Chloe, Ciara, Emma, Fleur, Grace, Hollie, Katy, Mimi, Sophia and Sophie. However they are just my early thoughts and no doubt over the next few weeks we’ll get to know a bit more about these girls and I know who to be rooting for to get a good date. Knowing me it is perfectly possible that i’ll change my mind as we get to see these girls personalities shine through.

Update: Ok after three shows now I have thought long and hard about my top three. Chloe is there without a shadow of a doubt. Hollie too. I thought long and hard about who else was up there and decided that Charlotte has grown on me a lot and Ciara is clearly lovely and Grace is just stunning but I’ll say Charlotte for now. All three I think just seem like downright nice and decent people. Of the new girls then Mollie is easily my favourite.

Update II: To see possibly the best ever Take Me Out moment then please follow the hyperlink to watch the video as Chelsea ‘wins’ a date with Damion…

To have a look at all the girls who started on the show with guy one on episode one please look below. Please feel free to comment on the blog about the girls and the show.

So without further ado and as Paddy says ‘Bring on the Girls’

Bainsey Take Me Out 2012
Bec Take Me Out 2012
Bianca Take Me Out 2012
Carrie Take Me Out 2012
Cate Take Me Out 2012
Charlotte Take Me Out 2012
Chelsea Take Me Out 2012
Chloe Take Me Out 2012
Ciara Take Me Out 2012
Emma Take Me Out 2012
Fleur Take Me Out 2012
Grace Take Me Out 2012
Gracie Take Me Out 2012
Holly Take Me Out 2012
Jade Take Me Out 2012
Joanna Take Me Out 2012
Katy Take Me Out 2012
Leah Take Me Out 2012
Lizzy Take Me Out 2012
Lucy Take Me Out 2012
Mimi Take Me Out 2012
Nicki Take Me Out 2012
Roxy Take Me Out 2012
Sarah Take Me Out 2012
Sophia Take Me Out 2012
Sophie Take Me Out 2012
Steph Take Me Out 2012
Toni Take Me Out 2012
Wen Take Me Out 2012

All photos copyright ITV and have been used for publicity purposes.

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Dawn Edwards & Dan Nash get engaged – a Take Me Out success story!

As you may or may not know I have a handful of TV shows that I truly love. Things like StormChasers and Deadliest Catch. Last year saw MasterChef Australia walk into my live but two winters ago it was ITV’s latest attempt at a dating show Take Me Out that got me glued to the screen.

If you haven’t seen it then the premise of the show is rather simple. 30 girls watch guys come down and try to impress them. If they want to go on a date with him then they keep their light on. If they don’t then they turn off their lights. No likey, No lighty. If at the end of three rounds more than two girls have their lights on then the guy picks who he wants to go on a date with. It’s trashy, it’s awful but at the same time it is fantastic Saturday night TV.

Anyway last year one of my favourites Dawn got a date with a seemingly nice guy. Well over a year later and Dawn and Dan are engaged and being the kind of sap that I am, I’m delighted. They just both seem like good people and compared to some of the obvious wannabes that inhabit the show it is great to see that something can work.

There have been a couple of other engagements but both of these involve people who didn’t choose each other on the show and met at after show parties etc. Dan still chose Dawn despite arguably the worst air guitar ever when he asked to see the final two girls’ best air guitar. Still it all worked out and hopefully they’ll make it down the aisle and live happily ever after.

If I recall correctly there were only ever two or three Blind Date weddings (but that might be wrong) so if this one works out Take Me Out will be on its way to bettering its Saturday night preprocessor. I wish them both all the best in the world. It is stories like this that keep us all hoping that the right person will wander into our lives and you never know where or when it’ll happen. It won’t happen for me on Take Me Out as there is no way I’d keep on any lights but still that isn’t the point.

We all like a successful love story don’t we?

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The World Cup of Chocolate (#wcoc) is underway. Who will win?

If you are on twitter and aren’t following Richard Osman (@richardosman) then you are missing out big time. Best known for being Alexander Armstrong’s ‘pointless friend’ on the BBC day-time quiz show Pointless, Armstrong is just one of those people who is just cool. Recently he came up with the idea for the World Cup of Chocolate and people on twitter are voting for who they think should be crowned the chocolate coupe de monde.

Here are how the groups stack up:









Groups E-H are voting now but we have winners from the first round of voting.

Group A saw a shock as Twix took down the favourite Wispa. The performance of Twix against Wispa makes me feel confident about how my Mars Bar and Galaxy picks will fare today. In Group B Dairy Milk was dumped out by the Twirl. Might be the biggest shocker so far. Kit Kat cruised in Group C but Group D was a right old ding-dong battle as it was a three-bar race but the non-bar Minstrels are in the hat for the Quarter-Finals.

My votes for Groups E-H were Mint Aero, Mars, Galaxy and Yorkie but they aren’t my tips. I think Snickers go through along with Mars and Galaxy with Group H being wide open but the nostalgic Toffee Crisp pick could come through. However it looks as though Mars products are in great shape to lift the title and upset NestlĂ© and Cadbury’s.

More on this as the voting unfolds…

Update: Shocks galore in the group stage as Double Decker, Creme Egg, Crunchie and Maltesers qualify for the quarter-finals. Just an absolute stunner.

Quarter-Final line-up as follows:


To take part put your answers in a tweet with the hashtag #wcoc by midnight tonight.

Update Two:

Semi-Finals and I’m in total shock now. The voters and people of twitter clearly needed a nice close jacket and padded walls but without much further ado…


Update Three:

Your finals and 3rd/4th place playoffs are set…

The Final is…


Meaning your 3rd/4th play playoff is between…


Twirl people of the UK. Are you freaking serious?

Update Four:

CRUNCHIE is your third placed chocolate bar but the winner despite no-one ever buying them is TWIRL. Insanity.

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Three years ago today I left the world of gainful employment

I realised this afternoon that it was three years to the day since my last day as an employed person. Three years and four days ago I quit my job as a Sports Editor to become a freelance contractor. Leaving a world with a safety net was kind of scary in all honesty but it was a move I had to do for my own sanity. I won’t knock my former company but we had different ideas for the future of my project and it got to a point where both sides wanted me to move on. The fact they thought I was defrauding them was probably the final straw. Luckily an offer came my way and I took it even though it was moving away from how I thought my life would go.

Those that know me well know that I’m a fairly cautious person. The big decisions I take a long time over but once the decision is made it is made. I was offered the new job in the autumn and yet it wasn’t until December 30 that I shook hands on it and instigated my new path. In general no-one at the company was sad to see me go. Very few thought I was even competent at my job and most disliked and dis-valued my project. If I’m being honest it was this that probably led to me leaving more than anything else. To get any help on any issue was like swimming upstream in a raging torrent and when you throw in the fact that I can’t swim too good (or write English too good neither so it would seem) I would sit there some days and think ‘what is the point?’

One day I sat there and seven project were working full-time on another project – one with 21 websites. This went on for months. People were specifically hired to get this project done. My project had 47 websites and it was just me. I was even stopped from using any of the freelance writing staff we had. How was I to get 47 different online communities going with just me? I remember the blog v forum debates. It was a no brainer. Blogging was the way forward to get the sites on the up with a forum coming later if needed. Alas it wasn’t to go down that way.

Building a blog would have taken mere days. A forum that it was decided would be integrated into another system would take the best part of a year. Then one day I got an IM from the boss stating ‘we need to write about x’ so I asked ‘where?’ and his response was ‘we need a blog on all the sites’. This was about a month before the forums went live. I sat there at my desk and my jaw smashed against the floor. Just under a year ago all I was faced with was ‘I don’t understand blogs or the point of them’ and now they wanted a blogging facility. It was like we had wasted the best part of a year. It was like I had wasted the best part of a year.

Things weren’t helped when my biggest ally left. She couldn’t deal with the ways things were run any more and that the job she was hired to do became a completely different one to the one she was being asked to do. After that the dynamic of our office changed dramatically. In our office there were seven people. Five of them all from the same family. I think it is fair to say I didn’t exactly fit in with their culture. So I would spend all day with my head down hardly saying a word. I’d overhear conversations that were so insane it was untrue. The things they would say about the developers were pretty disgraceful.

I nearly lost my job once when I overheard someone say what their salary was and commented on it. The bosses thought I had hacked into the computer with all that data on. The fact several other people heard the person say their salary wasn’t important. They didn’t believe me and did her and that was that. I was told the only reason I didn’t lose my job was because they couldn’t prove it. And people wonder why I never felt comfortable in my job. Also the fact the CCTV camera was moved to watch me and my screen perfectly was noted.

So yeah that was that. After 18 months or so I would be departing for pastures new. Somehow I seem to be doing ok. I’m not doing what I planned to do with the rest of my life but I’m only 28 so plenty of time to see where life takes me. I get to work from home which I do enjoy and gives me freedom to do other things as well. I’m now back in the radio studio and now also in a commentary box. I also am running for local government. These things didn’t seem in the works three years ago. In fact they weren’t even anywhere near my thought process.

It is probably fair to say I do at times wonder ‘what if?’ if only for a fleeting moment. My project was one that could have been fantastic but it was more frustrating than anything I’ve ever known. So life took me down a different path and here I type. Sometimes life takes you down paths that you didn’t see but that is all part of life itself. You can have everything planned out in your head and then something changes and the knock-on effect is that everything changes.

I am who I am today because of everything that I have been through. Had I not then I would be different. Would I be a better or worse person? I don’t know and I can never know. All I do know is looking at my past and where I am today then things haven’t worked out too terribly. I think I wish I could be different on certain things but I guess we all do.

Three years and four days ago I took a leap of faith into the unknown. Three years ago I walked into that unknown. It was scary but it worked out. I have one regret from my last few days there and a few of those reading this will know what it was. One thing ended far worse than it ever should have but I suppose that’s life. I do wish that had ended on a far different note. I truly do. However it is what it is and that is that. I don’t regret that leap into the unknown. That I know for sure. Whatever happens in the future I am more at peace with myself than at any point in my life and that decision is no small part of it.

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Things I think I think – V

After a long hiatus it is time to bring back some of my random thought processes that don’t really deserve their own blog. 2012 has been quite a year so far with several ups and seemingly one down. Overall you can’t argue with those statistics though. Anyway on with the blog.

*Just went into my local shop to buy batteries and the woman asks me, ‘hows you?’ and I reply ‘I’ve had better days’ and it completely flummoxed her. We are just so used to saying/hearing something along the lines of ‘yeah I’m ok how are you?’ that when someone deviates from the norm it throws us completely. So is asking ‘how are you?’ a genuinely question or just a pleasantry?

*I fell asleep last night at the two-minute warning in the Broncos v Steelers playoff game. Did I miss anything? *checks the internets* Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.

*Carrying on from the above. Surely God has more important things to do on a Sunday than influence an NFL game?

*StormChasers returns to our screen in early February on Discovery HD. I’m very excited.

*Also loving Deadliest Catch on Discovery at the moment.

*I left my employment at Fubra three years ago today. How time flies. This might be worth a bigger blog later tonight.

*I saw a spitting image of an ex housemate today working the tills at Southend Marks & Spencer. Unless she completely blanked me and of course has moved 500 odd miles to Southend then I doubt it was her.

*On the way back from the shop earlier there were three BT engineers doing something. One of them yelled at me not to fall down the hole. The one that was cordoned off. Do I really look that stupid?

*Accidentally left the heating on overnight. Loved the warmth that I woke up to. Probably won’t like it as much when the bill plops through the letterbox in due course.

*Completed my Self Assessment Tax form and paid Mr/Mrs Tax Man/Woman the money he/she believes I owe them. Sad times for my bank balance.

*Still unsure about the Bill O’Brien hire but the continued employment of Ron Vanderlinden and Larry Johnson Snr. make me less concerned.

*Take Me Out is back. I will blog more about it after a couple of weeks but so far my favourite is Chloe.

*As for what I missed after I fell asleep last night…

Insane. No-one saw that coming. And with that I’m out for a bit.

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Are the folk at Lib Dem Voice sexist pigs or is it just the whole Lib Dem Party who are?

Now that it a title and a half *sits back and dreams of a job being a tabloid sub editor and returns to the situation of sitting in his PJ bottoms with a half eaten galaxy caramel on his desk* oh well we can all have a bit of escapism. Obviously the title is way over the top. I like to do that every so often but there is a real question to be had – and one that has been mused by arguably everyone’s favourite blogger Caron Lindsay. Oh on a second the phones is going:

Caller: Hi Neil, it’s your editor speaking.

Neil: Oh hi Ed, what can I do for you?

Caller: Just reading the opening to the blog post you are writing and I think you made an erroneous error.

Neil: Oh, how so?

Caller: You put the word arguably in the previous sentence before you started typing out our fictional phone call.

Neil: Ah yes, how remiss of me. I shall re-write.

Caller: Good job. Keep me the blogging. Maybe someday a publication will finally call you but don’t hold you breath.

Neil: Cheers Ed. Always nice to know you have faith in my abilities.

So as I was saying, there is a real question to be had – and one that has been mused by everyone’s favourite blogger Caron Lindsay. Over on her post entitled Lib Dem Voice’s Liberal Voice of 2011 – Vote for Hillary Rodham Clinton she makes the point that only one of the shortlist for said award carries her reproductive organs on the inside of her body instead of dangling out and looking rather ugly (I think I’m paraphrasing but you should get the jist).

You can read the full list of candidates behind this link but there are seven men, one group of people and a woman on the shortlist.

One thing should be noted at this point which probably gets the good folk at Lib Dem Voice off the hook already regarding my sexist pig taunt and that is it wasn’t the editorial staff who chose the shortlist. It was indeed the members. Apparently there were 230 nominations and a person (or group of people) needed five nominations to make it to the public vote. So the rules for selection of the shortlist are quite clear and unless they secretly deleted a few nominations and cackled around their cauldrons then we can disspell the myth (that I created but others have been saying) that they are sexist pigs (again my terminology).

So that leaves us with the question as to whether it is in fact the Lib Dem Party members (either as a whole or as a group who took part in this survey) who are sexist pigs. Now I don’t know for sure just how many people took part in this survey. I haven’t approached LDV to ask for that information because. Well just because. However I am going to hypothesise that at least 25% of those who filled in the survey were women. I suspect it was in fact much nearer a 50/50 split but I think a 25% minimum would be accepted by all.

So 25% of nominations were from women and still only one women got the five votes needed to make the shortlist. This doesn’t bode well. Are women sexist too against their own kind in a strange case of hating themselves? It is a possibility but I suspect a rather long one. What is more likely is that people struggled to come up with candidates considering in a way what a bad year it was for liberals around the Globe.

Looking at the shortlist there are certainly one or two people (or groups) on there that don’t scream out either ‘liberal’ or ‘done a great job of being a public liberal’ this year but that is just my opinion. It is an opinion shared by many but it was an open vote. Isn’t that how we do things as a party? Isn’t being liberal about free speech and giving people the right to say and vote for who they want in situations like this? I didn’t see any small print when joining up to the party that promoted positive discrimination and that we had to hit certain quotas for things.

I have some sympathy with Caron as it is clear that some of the women she mentions are more deserving of making the shortlist. However the members who filled in that survey – and as far as I’m aware it was an open survey available to any member – didn’t nominate any women apart from the future President of the United States of America the required five times. Enough women voted in the survey and they didn’t believe that any other woman was deserving.

In the comments underneath her blog we discussed the piece and she made a point replying to my viewpoint on the lack of women in the BBC SPOTY shortlist, I said, ‘I know you had a similar PoV regarding BBC SPOTY and the male led short-list. I didn’t. Not because I’m a man but because no woman excelled in a sport or an event that captured the imagination of the public. How can you win Sports Personality of the Year award if most people haven’t heard of you? I’d heard of all the women you listed but that is because I’m a sports nut. However I wouldn’t recognise some of them if I bumped into them in the street. Now there is a debate to be had about whether women’s sports get enough exposure but that is a debate for another comment. This is already far longer than intended.’

Caron replied with, ‘Just look at any BBC panel discussion or sports personality list. And your comment on the latter is a bit chicken and egg. How are these sports going to capture the imagination of the public without coverage?’

A good question and one I will get into in another blog post in the near future. There are good reasons why that is the case but this piece is on the people at Lib Dem Voice and the sexism within our party.

The fact I put together a long blog post on this was due to this comment, ‘I do worry about our party sometimes. I’d love to see the gender balance of the survey participants to see if my theory that boys choose boys applies in this instance.’

Now we know the split between male and female members of the Lib Dems is fairly even at the last time I saw a public breakdown of the figures (I tried to find a link but I can’t – I did read this a few months ago – I think the figures were from 2009 though). So the potential people filling in this survey was fairly even. I know there are plenty of female Lib Dem bloggers and plenty who comment on Lib Dem Voice. So there was more than enough women to get more women on to this shortlist if indeed boys vote for boys and vice versa. Is it shortlist or short-list? Chrome doesn’t like the term ‘shortlist’. Anyway so her hypothesis that ‘boys chose boys’ is an interesting one but not one I can agree with. I’m pretty sure most (if not all) members voted for the people that sprung into their head first when faced with this question.

I don’t think many people who describe themselves as ‘liberal’ are sexist. I don’t think many who reply to these things consciously think ‘need to vote for men to keep down women’. I just don’t think that. I think in more likelihood more people (both men and women) nominated men because the women highlighted as potential nominees by Caron in her piece are not all known well to the liberal community. They are outstanding candidates for what they have done but how many people would think of them when asked ‘who is the liberal voice of the year?’ Not too many and that has been seen by how the public and open nominations went.

So we can do one of two things. Have a judging panel of respected people to put together the shortlist instead of an open nomination. We could do that but all the issues over the Blog of the Year Awards showed that some people don’t like that as there weren’t enough women nominated there either. So this time they went with an open nomination and not enough women were nominated there either. The poor folk at Lib Dem Voice just can’t win!

To summerise. The folk at Lib Dem Voice aren’t sexist pigs and the people that nominated in this process aren’t sexist either. Now if you want to ask the question as to whether the women mentioned had their stories covered in high enough detail by the media in this country and around the Globe then that is most certainly a fair and reasonable question to ask. However believing that ‘boys vote for boys’ and that there is an agenda at play. I think that is a bit of a stretch.

This blog has been brought to you by Galaxy Caramel and Asda’s White Grape and Peach Hi-Juice.

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Guess whose back, back again, James Allen’s back on F1 broadcasting, tell a friend…

My old friend Charles Sale is back and this time he is reporting that James Allen is back on F1 commentary taking over from David Croft as the voice of the sport on BBC Radio 5live. Also when James Allen is unavailable then Jonathan Legard will take his place. It should be noted here that Charles Sale has got a lot wrong regarding F1 coverage within the past few months so take his comments with a pinch of salt. I know I do. However for the sake of this blog post I’m assuming that it is accurate.

I was never a James Allen fan. I make no bones about it. I thought he was an excellent pit-lane reporter and was the best I had seen in that role until Ted Kravitz rode into town (or the pit-lane). He got the job of Murray Walker’s successor based on the strong recommendation of Murray himself. However as we all know it is the hardest job in any form of employment to follow a beloved and successful person. Whoever follows Sir Alex Ferguson will have a hard job on their hands. Look at how X Factor struggled without Simon Cowell. Success is hard but when you get it – you’ve got it. Following on though is an extremely difficult task.

James Allen clearly had (still has) a great F1 brain but that isn’t what you need first and foremost when being a commentator on a live sporting event. You are there to narrate what you are seeing for the audience. You aren’t there to provide technical analysis or insight into what is going on. Your co-commentator and pit-lane reporters are there to do that. Your job is to put everything into context and make the event easy and enjoyable to follow. This is something James didn’t have at the start of his stint in the F1 commentary box for ITV.

He did get better. Of that I think there is little doubt. However I will always think back to Jenson Button’s first win and how he acted and shudder:

When you compare that to Murray Walker’s great call as Damon Hill, a long-time friend and son of his long-time friend Graham Hill won the World Championship in 1996 you can tell the difference:

In commentary you are remembered for the big moments and if you nail them you’ll be ok. Whether James Allen is more suited for radio we’ll find out in due course if this report is true. In a way I hope it is as I do think he has something to give F1 broadcasting. He got a tough break following the voice of a sport and he did get better but once the boo birds were out his future was sealed when ITV pulled out of the sport. He said himself that he didn’t even apply for the same job with the BBC for the 2009 season.

So is James Allen returning to the commentary box, possibly splitting time with dumped BBC TV lead commentator Jonathan Legard? We’ll know in due course but if he does I think it will certainly be a good move to the Beeb. James Allen can repair his broadcasting reputation. His F1 website is one of the best and his qualities as a journalist are clear for all to see. I suppose it is all down to James himself to see if he still has the thirst for live broadcasting. I suspect he does as once you have it, it never leaves you…

Edit: James Allen has now been confirmed. Score one for Charlie Sale!

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The End of Year Livejournal 40 Question Meme…

For many years I have done the end of year meme on LiveJournal about how the past year went. This year that meme has been promoted to the blog as I slowly let me LJ wither and die. Here is my review of 2011 in the form of the same 40 questions I have answered year in, year out for the past decade or so.

1. What did you do in 2011 that you’d never done before?

I commentated on a live football match for radio. That has to be up there. I went and stayed in a hotel on my own for the first time too. Also y’know interviewed the Deputy Prime Minister. That was pretty cool.

2. Did you keep your New Years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I never do I’m afraid.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Nope. Several people who I used to go to school with from my old social group have got their partners pregnant but no-one close to me any more has given birth.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Happily not.

5. What countries did you visit?

I stayed in the UK for the whole of 2011.

6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?

Good question. As 2011 continued I became more content with how life was playing out. There are obvious things that don’t need pointing out here that would be good but things are good. Possibly some more travel and good times.

7. What date from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

I don’t think I have one. The two major moments of 2011 were the radio thing and Nick Clegg but I can’t recall the date of either of these events off hand. Early August and mid-September.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Surviving it? I suspect in all honesty my biggest achievement was being nominated for Blog Post and Blog of the Year by Lib Dem Voice.

9. What was your biggest failure?

I can’t think of anything I set out to do that I failed at. I suppose there are many small things but nothing major.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Apart from a cold and a quite nasty infection that has still left me with blurred vision is one eye then no. Although that is quite major.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

I don’t think I bought anything that amazing or life changing in the whole of 2011. I am a saver not a spender. If I buy something it is likely to be for need not want.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

Most people that I know?

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

People that aren’t encompassed by my previous answer?

14. Where did most of your money go?

Rent, Tax. Boo.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Football commentary and Nick Clegg interview. Yes I think that is a fair answer to many of these questions. I had (and I’m not joking) about eight hours sleep in the three days I was in Birmingham for Lib Dem Conference.

16. What song will always remind you of 2011?

Not sure there is one to be honest.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? Happier. Quite considerably so.
ii. thinner or fatter? Not sure. I’m fatter than I was in the summer. I suspect fatter.
iii. richer or poorer? Richer.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Believing in myself. Writing. Exploring more avenues for future happiness on both a professional and private front.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Opposite to the first answer above.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?

Alone. How I spend it every year.

21. How will you be spending New Year’s?

Alone. I actually was watching the Top Gear India Special when the calendar ticked over.

22. Did you fall in love in 2011?


23. How many one-night stands?


24. What was your favorite TV program(s)?

Two words. Masterchef. Australia. Boom.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

No. I don’t hate anyone.

26. What was the best book you read?

I think it was Buster Olney’s Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?

No-one from 2011 has really made a huge impression on me musically speaking.

28. What did you want and get?

Not sure anything really falls into this category.

29. What did you want and not get?

A lottery win. A book publishing deal. Neither of these were terribly likely anyway.

30. What was your favorite film of this year?

I suppose Senna although not seen many films this year. I saw the original version of The Unforgiven which was good.

31. What did you do on your birthday?

I was at my sister and brother-in-laws, she fed us well and we watched the British Grand Prix. Then I had a lovely three hour train ride home.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Having a more positive influence on those around me.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011?

Jogging bottoms and Jeans are locked in a long-time war for my affections. Jeans are slowly gaining the upper hand.

34. What kept you sane?

Who said I’m still sane? They only let me out of my straitjacket so I could write this. In all seriousness I keep myself sane. Not sure how but I do.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

In a huge upset Sophie Ellis Bextor will be named here. Zooey Deschanel is quite wonderful too. Scarlett Johansson has to be mentioned. So no real newcomers to the celebrity runners and riders here.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?

I have been caught up recently in my small voice media crusade but politically many issues stir me but few make my blood boil. My main gripe at the moment is how Labour are acting like they know better and won’t acknowledge or actively help the government. We are in a economic mess that needs to be cleaned up but they have very publicly washed their hands of it and are blaming everything on the government and the bankers. This I find pretty abhorrent.

37. Who did you miss?

I do miss certain people but life and people move on.

38. Who was the best new person you met?

I have met some interesting people in the past year. The term ‘best’ troubles me but I think it would be remiss of me not to mention Matthew Gibson, who I think is very interesting and may very well be a very able voice for the Lib Dems in the future. Also Nu…

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011:

Trust your instincts and don’t over-think everything.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:

Not sure there is one but ‘It’s my life, take it or leave it’ sums up my attitude towards the future.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please leave any comments or contact me directly via the E-Mail Me link on the Right Hand Nav. You can stay in touch with the blog following me on Twitter or by liking the blog on Facebook. Please share this content via the Social Media links below if you think anyone else would enjoy reading.