Saturday, February 17, 2007

When I see reports from panicked reporters claiming that England is becoming a ‘nanny’ state I can’t help but think ‘where have these guys been for the last 15 years?’ Everyone is so damn scared about the rules and legislations now that some dare not sneeze in a public area for risk of a on the spot littering fine. Recently a motorist in my local town had three points put on their license for going 32mph on a 30mph road. If you consider the pace of 2mph is pretty much walking backwards then you get a sense of how ridiculous that is. England isn’t becoming a nanny state, it is one.
A perfect example occurred in front of my very eyes last week whilst I patiently waited for a train at the station. Having already discovered that the vending machine took exact change only and would consider no other alternative I found myself sitting hungry on a bench over hearing the conversation of some platform attendants which I’m sure you’ll have guessed is like an oral version of ‘the Sun’ newspaper . In fact I’m pretty sure these guys were editors in their spare time. One of them however was new to the world of platform managing and was swiftly trying to learn from his colleague before anything drastic happened resulting in the collapse of the entire station.
Innocently a man ran up to him and asked where the next train to Waterloo was departing. He responded by grunting and then declaring that if he was quick he could catch the one over on platform 4 which was just about to leave. Grateful the man ran into the distance over the bridge and away.
Once he was safely in the distance the new boy, who was grinning and obviously planning how he would tell such a heroic story to the wife was interrupted by his concerned looking colleague who tapped him on the shoulder and explained that that was the wrong thing to say. If the man slipped on his way to the train in his hurried state they could be sued for lots of the stations money. At this point I rose from my seat, took a running jump onto the tracks and bit the electrified metal in the hope that when I woke up I would have forgotten about that innocent and be in a place far away from a vending machine which demanded the exact change in order to cooperate (Incidentally I should point out that most of the items in the machine cost 75p, the amount I always perfectly carry on me, what an unlucky day)
The sad thing is, had that man actually slipped on the way to his train he most would have likely picked himself up, brushed himself down and headed for the nearest injury lawyers office to sue the bollocks out of the platform managers. And he most certainly would have won, and maybe got a TV performance on a cheaply made advert for it. This culture is the reason for our troubled nanny situation. People refuse to take the blame for anything. It always has to be somebody else’s fault. If a football team lose, it was the referee’s fault, if you miss the last bus, it’s the timetables fault, if you poke a lion in the eye and get mauled its David Attenborough’s fault for not making a documentary on lion poking warning you this sort of thing might happen.
If we want to stop being controlled then we have to take responsibility for our actions and not shift the blame elsewhere. For this to happen society needs to accept that mistakes will sometimes happen. Anyway its wet and slippery today and I’ve just mustered together 75p so I’m going to go to the station, buy a mars bar and wait for the inevitable hilarities to follow.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

FA cup weekend, although probably dull to some should inspire everyone if they really consider the concept of it. To give an example of its brilliance, recently Sir Geoff Hurst – Winner of the world cup, top of his game now high up in the football association and deserved winner of an MBE was in a studio panel discussing the football skills of Jo Bruce, a plasterer from Basingstoke who plays semi professionally in the conference south division (6 divisions and a good 200 teams off top spot) In what other profession would you ever get that? That is the equivalent of Bill Gates taking interest in a computer programmer working at the slough division of Hewlitt Packard part time.
The FA cup brings many good memories to my mind as a Wycombe Wanderers fan who is not used to success. In 2001 we reached the semi finals of the competition, a feat that at the start of that year was 1000-1 (for those of you who are interested I unfortunately didn’t take that bet..buggar) Travelling to tourist hotspots such as Grimsby and Millwall I endured many cold nights and crap pies before reaching the ultimate semi final against Liverpool where I felt like the king of football. For one game I had bragging rights and I milked it for all it was worth (including buying a Wycombe Wanderers bed spread for a mere £25.99) The pinnacle of the entire event was in the quarter finals when our injury list was as long as Pavorotti’s shopping list and we had to advertise for a striker. As any good future employee would do a chap called Roy Essandoh rather exaggerated his past achievements as a footballer and managed to blag his way into the squad. He claims to have ‘played most of his football in Finland’ when what he actually meant was ‘I live in Finland and own a football’ a simple typo that could have happened to anyone.
However in true FA cup style while Mr Essandoh appeared to be queuing for a cup of tea late on in the match, the ball, rather painfully I presume, struck him on the head and went flying into the net for the winner. Before he could say ‘what the &*^#? He was surrounded by ten screaming footballers jumping on him and hurting his already bruised head. In a spilt second he had become an FA cup legend.
My point is not to lie on your CV, although it clearly seems to help. My point is that Wycombe got where they did because they had a team of people willing to work tirelessly for each other. Didn’t matter how talented the opponents were they could not compete with the work ethic of the 11 men. With hard work anything is possible. So next time you flick over and see Middleofnowhwere United battling their socks off on BBC prime time just think how they got there, and picture Bill Gates giving you a motivational tap on the shoulder.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

So as another week comes to a close and with shopping day imminent I find myself playing the weekly student version of ready steady cook. This week the items I have left to concoct a master piece are:

A small plate of grated cheese
A nectarine
A half eaten, cold pizza slice
Pasta sauce

I’m not going to lie I have faced far bigger challenges and come out of the other side passing with flying colours (the week where I had a half a bottle of Jack Daniels and a banana was an all time classic) so I’m not particularly phased by the task at hand.

However, one of the ingredients today did get me thinking, quite a lot in fact. So much so that my thinking, like it often does, spiralled out of control until I was pondering over far more important issues than ready steady cook (No offence intended Ainsley Harriot.) I won’t leave you in suspense any longer, the ingredient in question was milk.

Now in my opinion, milk is up there with toast as the most under rated thing ever. It’s ridiculous how much we use it in fact with cereal, tea, and white Russians just a few examples of its importance. Where in gods name would we be without these things?! It must surely be one of the most commonly used things in the world. This leads me to my point, yes believe it or not I have one. Who discovered milk? Who had the balls to go over to their mates and admit ‘Hey lads, I was just playing with that cows udders over there and this weird shit came out, its pretty good.’ Now correct me if I’m wrong but in no point in history has it been acceptable to be participating in certain activities with a cow and I can not see any other way of making such a discovery.

So like a true professional I decided to do some research and delve deeper into the subject. Turns out, milk was found in the early fifteenth century in Turkey during a time that was named the ‘exploration period.’ It was in this time that Christopher Columbus was busy getting lost and stumbling upon new places with funny languages and foods setting up many of the world’s current trading routes and connections. Inspired by this our chirpy Turkish farmer probably fancied getting involved in the action of ‘exploration’ and thought he’d make the best out of what he had, rolling up his sleeves and heading towards his anxious looking cow.

I’m almost 100 percent sure that when he told people about his discovery he was either laughed at for the rest of his life or the rest of his life was short lived. This has been the pattern for many of our great discoveries and innovators such as Darwin and Newton who were famously criticised by spectacle people of their time. People are always scared of something different and life changing. These people became legends of history because they stuck with their idea and kept plugging away at it until people could no longer frown upon them. As a scriptwriter I feel I can take many lessons from this.

I’m a firm believer that everyone has at least one good idea or discovery in them and everyone has the potential to be creative. At some point in life you will strike upon something that will ultimately be your signature item. The hard part is sticking with it and believing in yourself enough to sell it to other people and keep throwing it in peoples faces until they can’t refuse it anymore.

I told you I had a point.

Oh crap the milks off, turns out I can’t use it in my concoction anyway. What might have been hey?

Friday, November 10, 2006

So here I am again wondering what I can do with myself in order to feel useful. Its amazing how often you can get this feeling as a student with the same question often cropping up, if University is the time of opportunities should I really be watching a repeat of Deal or No Deal whilst searching on the internet trying to find where Noel Edmunds gets his shirts from? Don’t get me wrong, I’m a very productive person and although I hate to brag here our the highlights from my list of accomplishments in this last week:

Built a large tower shaped object entirely out of Jaffa Cakes then as a finale ate the top one with out toppling the building.
Finally managed to sit through the whole of the film ‘The Deer Hunter’ without falling asleep.
Successfully sold ‘The Deer Hunter’ DVD to LES008 on ebay for a terrific price of £6.58.
Got a real six letter word on Countdown.
Realized that releasing a venomous snake into the flat to solve the rat problem has merely acted as a catalyst for a slightly bigger problem.

I’m sure you’ll agree that is quite a sterling list and many of you will be saying to yourselves ‘well where do you go from here? Can things get much better?’ The answer believe it or not is yes for I am an ambitious go getter who refuses to rest on my laurels. Instead, for the benefit of this blog I am setting myself new targets to achieve as soon as possible. Now I’m also a realist so some of these may seem quite easy but just remember I got a six letter word on countdown* so technically I should be putting my feet up on a SAGA holiday satisfied with my life right now:

New targets:
Win an Oscar within one year
Rig it so I’m sat next to Rachael Weiz at the award ceremony
Woo Rachael Weiz.
Record a Christmas number one.
Convince Television executives to bring back Gladiators.
Do something exciting on a shoe string budget.
Get a seven letter word on Countdown.

These targets are aided by the production company I have just created with two other pals called ‘Ten Pesos’ (The name stems from a long and embarrassing story regarding a hot waitress on a recent holiday) and the band/duo/guitar appreciation society I am in which I won’t advertise now because it would be rather desperate. So whatever you do, don’t go and look on and listen to the great music on offer.

Our production company is currently working on its first big piece at the moment and on Saturday we get to wake up bright and early at half six in the morning to go shoot a scene involving a crazy, drunk Scotsman and a crazy golf course which should be exciting. Everything on the project seems to be going well at the moment so with a bit of luck the Oscar may be in the bag sooner than planned and me and Rachael Weiz will be discussing wallpaper colours for the spare room before you know it.

As for the other targets, the Christmas number one will obviously be aided by the band who will also hopefully help the ‘do something exciting on a shoe string budget’ idea. My plan so far involves walking round England with nothing more than a back pack and guitar stopping where we feel like, playing where we feel like and just generally taking in England. It’s such a hippie idea I can almost see Jimmy Hendrix winking at me from above. My plan then is to get as many people to walk with us as possible, getting us media attention which means we can make a live demand to bring back Gladiators which will obviously turn the wheels in motion.

As for seven words in Countdown. That’s nothing more than a pipe dream really.

*The six letter word was ‘sorted’