All entries for Tuesday 03 May 2005

May 03, 2005

I wish….

I wish that interests paid good money.

I have so much I want to do after my degree is over. Largely involving reading novels again (can't wait), making scrap books of various things, organising my CDs (and pondering which ones to buy first), making a new video thingy and editing loads of interiews and making loads of cool jingles out of them. Also I have loads of jobs that I could be applying for but applications are so time consuming (I'm a perfectionist, it's irritating).

That isn't the half of it either. Come on week 9, hurry up!


Hey you

Writing about hey! from Tilting At Windmills

Following Han's general rage at complete and uttery inconsiderate FUCKERS.

To those of you that feel the need to sit in the Learning Grid and use one of the limited number of computers alongside your laptop, the former of which keeps going on to the screensaver until someone glares angrily at you: fuck you, you fucks!

I mean seriously, when someone has no computer at all (I wandered good and hard for half an hour) do you really need to look things up on the Grid computer, then type notes on to your laptop?! Use fucking separate windows you evil evil people! Some of us don't HAVE a laptop to annoy people with.


Shall's musical delights

Keep an eye out for Vitalic – My Friend Dario being the most recent single. I like to call it Techno with a twist, they have an interesting perspective for all their songs. Also keep an eye out for Clor who have been supporting Tom Vek of late. I will say nothing more than GOOD.

Other things I am loving at the moment is the new song by Amerie, called 1 thing. Annoyingly catchy but also annoyingly long if you pay too much attention to it.

Also everyone HAS to hear Crabbuckit by K-Os. Horrendously overlooked a month or two ago both in clubs and chart wise. it samples Lovecats by The Cure, what more reason do you need?

Remember to keep an eye out for the new Caesars album which was out yesterday and awesome gigs on this week include Soulwax at the Colly this evening (I'm just going to keep going on about how I'm in the E-Talking video), Maximo Park on Thursday (Recent single is Apply Some Pressure) at Birmingham Academy and The Arcade Fire (also at Brum) on Friday, who's album Funeral is quite a hard listen in places but as soon as you get it to sit right with you, you'll love it.

Carling Live 24 are also doing another date in Manchester (I think on 24th May) and there's once again a lot of fantastic bands on. Word of advice: check trains in advance and get a hell of a lot of sleep before you go. If you care about music, watching even 6 of the bands is mentally and physically taxing.

Need I even mention to buy Best of You off iTunes?

P.S. I make no guarantees that my taste in music will suit everyone's.


Mr. Blair: catch up

Writing about web page http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio1/news/newsbeat/election/leaders.shtml

So it's only expected that I start my essaying with some healthy procrastination (then I feel too guilty to procrastinate for at least another two hours, as opposed to being all fidgety).

Last Monday (25th April…I really need to get a watch with the date on it again, so confused) I hot-footed it down to London to meet Tony Blair. That still sounds so surreal that I can't quite believe it happened.

When I say hot-footed it, I mean went to sleep the night before with a terminal dread that I wouldn't wake up to my alarm and in fact didn't, waking up at 5.40am for a 6.07am train, chucking clothes on, scrubbing my face, speed-cleaning my teeth and walking at alarming speed to the train station (none of this running business). Amazingly I had time to buy my ticket and stand around on the platform waiting for the train: just call me Super Shall (for that is my real name).

Arriving at Radio 1
It was fun finding my way to Radio 1. It was a stupid time of morning so London wasn't horrendously busy and I could amble along without fear of hundreds of people running in the opposite direction. I pretty much knew where I was going, being familiar with most of the W and WC postcode area of London and didn't get lost, in fact I got to Radio 1 a tad early. All I'd had in the way of breakfast was nasty Chiltern trains tea and a suspiciously cold bacon sandwich.

I met another two guys in reception who were also there to do the Tony Blair thing (ah, so casual about it am I) and chatted to them a bit. One of them was called Lyndsay and I think he was from up North somewhere and the other one I shamefully can't remember the name of and was from Basingstoke. As everyone else arrived (there was about 15 of us in total) we all did our introductions and bizzarely May, who was the year above me at school, also ambled into the Snug, as I like to call it. I imagine it's sort of the green room area of Radio 1. It's funny that it really is a small world, I've not seen May since she left school, which was about 4 years ago.

The news team for the day: Georgina Bowman, Rod McKenzie, Richard and John (don't know the surnames of the last two :S) went round us all so we could introduce ourselves and say what we thought of Tony Blair and what we wanted to ask him. They were genuinely interested in what we had to say and seemed keen to get us all involved as much as possible and make it a full on question and answer session.

Prepping for meeting the P.M.
After we'd all introduced ourselves, we went through the topics that we were going to discuss and it was made clear that noone should feel that they have to hold back. Obviously Tony Blair is a man with huge power and he kind of has that aura around him and it can be quite overwhelming, so we were warned! It was reassuring that even George had had difficulty sleeping the night before because she was so nervous, as this is a job she's been doing for years!

They gave a bit more structure to the topics, discussing when George would ask questions and making sure specific questions that people had were clear enough as we only had a limited time with the P.M. It was also discussed when to cut to messages left and sent in by Newsbeat listeners during the past week. We also discussed what the Prime Minister's reaction might be to things that we had to ask so that we could practice interrupting him!

Going to Labour Party HQ
In the middle of prepping we were informed that we had to leave to go to Labour Party HQ, which is where the whole campaign is being run from. We were all bundled into cars (or at least sleepily/nervously clambered into them) and went through the London rush to Victoria Street. When we arrived we had to wait to be let in the revolving doors and then scan all our stuff through the airport scanning type thing and walk through the archway (always get terrified that I'm going to bleep). We also had to have I.D. with us.

We were guided into the media room, there was lots of cameras and just people about. I'm not sure what all their jobs were, but they all looked very serious. There were some people that had come ahead to set up all the technical stuff and one poor girl that was responsible for pouring coffee and handing out biscuits (but hey, what a place to do it!).

We sat in a semi-circle and did another run-through, this time checking the mic levels were ok. (There were two mic runners, one was called Rajini and I couldn't see the name of the other one cos she was over the other side.) Also the playing of the recorded messages was rehearsed and we recorded some applause (just in case).

The arrival of the P.M.
All of a sudden, just as we finished prepping, I heard Tony Blair's voice coming up behind us as he chatted to one of his aides. This is when it all really hit home, and Labour Party coffee is extremely strong so I'm pretty sure I got the shakes! He walked through a gap we'd made in the semi-circle and sat himself down next to George. It's so bizzare, he was literally a couple of feet away. I tried not to gape: y'know, jaw wide open, dribbling, glassy eyed i.e. the kind of person to KEEP AWAY FROM IMPORTANT PEOPLE. This was particularly vital as I was sitting right opposite him.

Before we really got going, he put on his sticky label saying "Tony" on it and went round and shook all our hands. The man has a crushing handshake, but more about that later….

The Interview
For the next 45 minutes (even though we were only supposed to have 30) everyone got really stuck in. I found myself getting more fired up about politics and current affairs then I normally do and I did kind of get over the fact he was the Prime Minister and just say what I wanted to say. However, politics is a huge subject and you could talk and talk and talk. George did a great job of getting just enough out of him then moving the topics on (we didn't have all day!). There was quite a few times when I had stuff to say but obviously had to wait for him to finish talking and let others say their bit and sometimes we just had to move on.

When we moved on to finish with discussing his image, there was a small gasp from the people behind us (I only realised afterwards just how many of his 'people' were in there watching us.) I think the gasp can be attributed to the fact that he hadn't been given any specific questions but had been informed of general topics; Image not being one of them.

I was really pleased that firstly, although my question about Asylum didn't get on the final cut, and nor did my question about taxation get on there (even though he started his answer with, "well that's a very good question"...WOO! I asked the P.M. a very good question. yay me!), my question about his Image did. I said that the image he wanted to project when he first came into power and the image he wants to project now must be very different and what did he want the voters to see? It made him stumble slightly and made him think and it made a good ending to the final cut that was on the bulletin later that day. His basic opinion was that leave the Image to the Image-makers but he just wanted people to find something personal to them that mattered to them and that they believed in. Also on the final cut was my general opinion of him. The only thing I'm a tad peeved about that nowhere does it have me saying my name.

Something else very interesting that happened is that Tony Blair was saying that the full report from the Attorney General about the legality of the war against Iraq would never ever be released because it's never been the convention and it never will be the convention. Three days later Channel 4 news produced a summary of the document and the next day the document was released in full causing huge ripples in the political pond.

Tony leaves the building
After we finished official recording, he seemed to have perked up somewhat due to the Starbucks coffee thrust in his hand part way into the interview but also seemed quite exhilarated by the whole experience. He was happy to stay a bit longer, asking his adviser how long he had (bearing in mind he was due to do a short interview for 1 Xtra before his next commitment). His first comment after George thanked him for his time was "we didn't even get onto tuition fees". Then we all chatted a bit about whether he listens to Radio 1 and that his advisers had told him that morning what the current Number 1 was, just in case. He was also chatting to some of the others, one case being Vicki who runs a Children's Home in Somerset and said that the kids were really excited that she was going to meet him and would he come down and see them and he said that if he couldn't get down he would certainly send someone.

The image that I get of Tony Blair out of the media is someone a bit too smooth for my liking and someone who speaks in short staccato sentences. I think some people have been unfair on him because they target as areas of annoyance, things that just can't be changed. As I said on the final cut, I'm a sucker for a smile and he really did seem to want to listen and give us answers to go away with but some things he just couldn't answer and I don't know if it was just excuses or if it's one of those things where there just couldn't be a right answer. He frequently made the point throughout the discussion that you can't please everyone and that his job was to just try and pitch it somewhere in the middle. He also made the point that people seem to think that you stop being a normal person as soon as you become a politician. I guess at the end of the day, the voters just need to care enough to make their own decision.

He went round once more to shake hands before he left and as through the whole discussion, looked us all straight in the eye as he did so. This time when he shook my hand, I tried to get him back with the crushingness, but unfortunately my hand was just too small, weak and pathetic by comparison: especially matched against a hand that has crushed the hands of many world leaders! I also got caught off guard because he stopped (while crushing my hand) to ask me my name. I think he was probably confused by "Shall" on my name badge, probably thinking something along the lines of "What?! That's not a real name!". I said Shall was short for Shalinee, he said "Shalinee, right" and looked thoughtful.

Leaving Labour Party HQ for Radio 1
We stood around for a while…not entirely sure why, think we were waiting for the media room to be safe to re-enter again. This is when the recording of our overall impression was done and again the Radio 1 news journalists were keen to hear our genuine opinions and knew the right questions to ask: they really are awesome at their jobs.

We hopped back into cars and went back to Radio 1. While we were waiting for the cars, we saw Gordon Brown being bundled into the building, by which I mean hurried in through revolving doors by three people.

Back at Radio 1
We de-briefed some more and got our travel refunds. Also we got our fetching "One Vote 2005" t-shirts, which I'm sporting today if you happen to see me around the place. We also had a wander around and had a look at Sara Cox covering for Jo Whiley in the studios and went upstairs to 1 Xtra too.

Huge thanks to Julie-Anna Needham who seemed to have done a hell of a lot of the organising and the leg-work to make a success of all three sessions with the main party leaders.

At some point ten years from now, this'll probably all sink in and I'll think "HOLY SHIT".


And today I saw…

Or rather yesterday.

I went to see Hot Hot Heat supported by The Fever and The Departure. Followed by popping to Top B.

Once again, more to blog about later.

Oh yeah, and keep forgetting to mention that Mill and I saw the Welsh one off Coupling on the tube. By which I mean Mill spotted him and I refused to believe it was him until I saw him head on after we got off the tube. No wonder I never spot anyone on all my trips in London: I'm apparently blind to celebrity.


May 2005

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