Best of the West

Now I’m very conscious that I may have turned off my huge army of female readers with the last posting about 50 year old Yerkshire men in their trunks grappling with each other. So for something a little more contemporary and hopefully a touch more amusing and for all, I was just wondering if you’ve been watching the new programme on C4 A Very British Hotel Chain: Inside Best Western? This show is more fun than you’d expect, though maybe not in the ways intended. Here’s C4’s publicity image of the main characters…

 

Presumably Best Western thought a three-part series filmed in May last year would be a handy publicity boost for their 265 hotels, with its portraits of the wacky but lovable workforce. But thanks to the coronavirus it now looks more like a portal to a distant far-off time and a completely different business.

It did make me wonder fairly quickly what the point of this series was though. Cut to today and Britain’s largest chain has closed all but 60 or so of its hotels, presumably on a temporary basis, they must hope. And to be fair they are one of the few hotels staying open to give key workers in local authorities a welcome and convenient break from their work tackling the covid crisis. But sadly none of that comes through in this tv series which is very much played for giggles not serious business niggles.

So to the unintentional humour. It’s clear that a career in the leisure business demands a thick skin and eternal optimism and at Best Western’s HQ in York (back again – it could only be set in Yerkshire) they have tons of both. The new CEO Rob Paterson, an ex Aussie footballer, is just David Brent with an ozzie accent. He loves his slogans from the 1980’s with lots of exclamation marks like Beat Yesterday! Own It! Give a Shit! And his dopey staff  suck it up with gusto. Mark Stanley, head of hotel development, grins away and loves his staff to tell him how great he is. We saw him revelling in a sales, marketing and revenue conference, as staff were covered in pink gunk for charity. Brilliant! raved Mark, Best Western madness. Actually he might just have out-Brented his CEO.

Mark’s number 2 is ambitious Head of Acquisitions Terii (with two ‘i’s) whose job it is to sign up new hotels to the chain. We find her trying to get Marco White to allow his Rudloe Arms to join up. Marco teases her a little showing off his pixellated sexy artworks and larger than life images of himself to see what reaction he gets from her. But Terii’s (two i’s) made of stern stuff and won’t be put off. I love it, she replies, sniffing the scent of a deal being done.

Then there’s slightly camp and arch Alasdair, the wisecracking but ruthless hotel inspector who follows up on Terii’s (two i’s) new signings. He announced himself as if he were a righteous superhero: I am the hotel inspector. I cannot be bought. More sharply he mentioned that he likes to measure TV screens to see if they are as big as the new hotel claims. I pinched this out of my mother’s knitting box, he says, unfurling a measuring tape. She’s been dead for 20 years. Hard man eh. Then I noticed he’s quite the peacock, wearing wacky glasses and different brightly coloured socks. I wonder if you can spot him in the picture above.

There was also a lady whose name escapes me who’s a Marketing Manager at one of the bigger hotels and she just comes up with barmpot ideas for entertaining guests like creating a rocket ship cabin just off the foyer for people to experience. How it was relevant  I just couldn’t fathom. And it was totally crap. Unbelievable. And if you want to see how they magic-ed things up here’s what the whole marketing team supported by the CEO came up with for their Xmas promo campaign. If it makes sense to you, you might just need some therapy…

I was just shocked that they didn’t include the only funny line that exists about our four-legged friends – what do the donkeys on Blackpool beach get for lunch? About half an hour. Now Mark would piss himself at that one: BW donkey jossing, brilliant!

I’m tempted to ask what’s the difference between the BW senior management team and a donkey. They’re all asses but at least the donkey does something useful. Ouch

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Changing tack

Well it’s about 3pm and I’m looking forward to seeing whether or not Mr Hancock meets his testing target of 100,000 by today. If he does I’ll stand at the front door wearing lipstick and applaud him loudly tonight. I bet he’s not even presenting the daily briefing. Anyway I’ve had more than enough to say on the subject of politicians recently so I thought I’d talk about something else. Voiceovers.

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tv ads

Well I haven’t posted for a little while  – it’s been a busy spell with us looking after our beautiful youngest grandson and also having a visit from our good friend S over from the States. But there’s been lots happening to comment on; the wonderful Ryder Cup, Milliband’s abject performance at his party conference (and Cameron’s rather good one), the X Factor shambles and Strictly sans Bruce the goat, another war we’ve been dragged into in the Middle East, the dreadful disappearance of  young Alice Gross whose image has been on display all around his area and the seeming cack-handed slowness of the police response, George Clooney getting married quietly, Tesco’s decidedly dodgy accounting and the sad news that Lynda Bellingham who went through the same cancer problem and treatments at the same time as myself appears to be losing her battle with the bloody disease. Sigh. But let’s lighten the mood eh. Two tv ads have caught my eye this last week…

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nuts about Brazil

Watching Brazil beat Italy 4-2 tonight brought back some very happy memories for me. I was just 17 and it was the summer holidays. I’d been working for weeks at the bakery and had a little bit of money saved and John McCann, who was my best mate then, and I went for a lads few days away to Troutbeck up in the Lake District. Not only did John have a tent but he also possessed the coolest Mini in the area. He was also pretty good at footie and too good looking for his own good as my nan described him. Whatever nan thought, it still meant that meeting girls was a lot easier with John as wing man.

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Lancashire la la la lah

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have been accused of being a bit of a professional northern, wearing my up north cloak when it suits, then reverting to urbane London-lifer/Italian medallion man the rest of the time. Well isn’t that what we all do if truth be told ie fit in as seemlessly as possible into your surroundings? It’s not like I bang on about how wonderful life is in Barnsley like Michael Parkinson or talk faux scouse like Cilla Black whilst both have spent the last 40 years living in leafy Surrey. I’m the first person to sing the praises of a place but also to point out its idiosyncracies and downsides. Look at my last posting if you want proof!

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Simply Be….yond funny

Well I haven’t done an ad watch posting for ages. Last night I spotted an ad for the Simply Be clothing range for women with fuller figures. It’s a perfectly well-made ad and the ladies who feature in it all look great. In fact one girl with long dark hair looks very sultry, shimmying around doing her best catwalk model moves until it comes to the moment when she’s asked to demonstrate that the curvier girl can look great outdoors too. All she’s meant to do is throw a frisbee to one of her playful friends. But whilst she looks great frollicking around in her swishy dresses, she’s not what you’d call  a natural thrower. I’m sure she’s delightful but you wouldn’t pick her for your rounders team once you’ve seen her in action. Check the ad below 16 seconds in to see her little dance-cum-non-throw. Just chuck the frigging thing love! Because it’s delightfully awkward to watch, a chuckling  8 out of 10:

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The Redgraves acting dynasty

Now everyone knows about the incredible Redgrave family of accomplished actors; Sir Michael and his wife Rachel and children Corin, Vanessa and Lynne and grandchildren Natasha and Joely and their various partners and other kids. And now a significant new acting talent has emerged from the ranks….

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good with wuds

After a busyish sort of day I’ve had a couple of hours just to myself this afternoon, and I’ve done nothing other than sit here and just think about, well, unimportant things – blissful. Regular readers will recognise this tendency of mine to muse on life’s big issues and today I’ve been giving thought to the Co-op and more specifically to their strap-line ‘Good with food’.

It’s one of those snappy little brand phrases which is almost perfect. It sums up the essence of the supermarket and looks great written down because of the repetition of the ‘ood’ expression. It’s tempting to say ‘nice assonance’ but the English language is nothing if not contrary and wouldn’t you know it, the words good and food are pronounced slightly differently. Perfidious Albion eh. It’s the most powerful language on earth but it must drive new learners to absolute distraction. But that’s why I find it so utterly intriguing. To be truly perfect, food would need to be pronounced as fud but of course it isn’t. So the canny Co-op have employed the fine Scottish actor John Hannah, who has a distinctive S. Lanarkshire accent, to do the voice-over in their adverts. So that when you hear the line it sounds like ‘Guid with Fuid’.

Hats off; they nearly pull it off. But I still see one thing and yet I want to hear ‘good with fud’ which just makes me smile. Don’t you love it when things that are almost brilliant but slightly imperfect? As John Hannah might say ‘wuds are guid’. Typical Scots; English mashers!

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