So as regular readers may know I’m a bit of a creature of habit. And one of the regular features in my life is the early morning routine. Carol and I are early risers and usually downstairs by 6.30am or so. It’s usually a cuppa for Carol then at one minute to 7am it’s Converse sneakers on and I pop out and over to the little Co-op store in the market square to be first through the door to go and pick up my morning paper, the i. And occasionally some milk. Continue reading
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
Well you can tell it’s autumn because the weather’s turned crap whilst the TV broadcasters have rolled out their blockbuster reality shows. We don’t watch many but we do tune into Strictly. To me it remains one of the campest things on the box but I got castigated for my views on it before so let’s just agree it’s decent Saturday/Sunday night entertainment. Continue reading
I’ve mentioned Drew Pritchard before. He’s TV’s Salvage Hunter – a dealer who finds items in country houses, old factories, antique stores etc, then renovates them where necessary and sells them on for a profit. He is extremely good at his job, knowledgeable, has a fantastic eye and claims to be a great negotiator. And he’s a first rate twathead. He’s a complete self-regarder, full of his own self-worth and ability and annoyingly condescending to anyone and everyone beneath his station in life as head of a major trading conglomerate. Or successful rag and bone man. If you were looking for the definition of a diminutive Welsh businessman full of his own self-importance, then Drew’s your little boyo.
Well it’s ages since I did a posting on a really laughable tv ad but I’ve found one for you dear readers. It’s for Renault’s new electric car range, specifically the Renault Zoe. Now it’s a very nicely produced ad and the background music is spot on, whilst the characters are believable and the creative idea of showing things which ought to be electric being powered by little combustion engines puffing out exhaust smoke, is simply brilliant. So what’s my problem with the ad? Well it’s the female voice-over and she has just about the most ridiculous French accent I’ve ever heard. Like a refugee from ‘Allo ‘Allo. Have a listen (or as we say in Franglais avoir une ecoute)….
See what I mean? It’s the best laugh I’ve had since scouser Joey Barton started speaking English with a faux French accent whilst playing for Marseille and that Yorkshire dipshtick Shteve McLaren adopted a Dutch accent in hish tv interviewsch whilst managing Twente. As they say in Peckham, Bonnet de douche my old son…
I’ve travelled down this path before, it’s called Tosspots-on-TV Lane. Or people I see on the box who drive me fu**ing crazy. I could fill two pages with names but I might be repeating myself from earlier postings so I’ll try to keep it fresh….
Here’s a little sequence of coincidences. One of the delights I get when over in Italy is going through our box set of the Sopranos. I love the programme but usually just watch it by myself first thing in the morning or later at night. Believe it or not it is 20 years since it first aired and it remains a great example of intriguing plot lines and brilliant acting. The series ended in 2007 and I’ve re-watched all the episodes several times since then but I never get bored with it. During our recent visit I managed to get through series 1 and 2 and most of series 3 – the early days when Livia was such a major psychological influence in the life of her son Tony, played superbly and with constant brooding menace by James Gandolfini…
So here’s the thing. We’ve been watching the BBC’s Springwatch programme from the Sherbourne estate in the Cotswolds. We love its capturing of the nature scene at this most fertile time of the year. The features on the birdlife are especially captivating. But this posting isn’t about the nature; it’s about the bloody BBCness that pervades the programme. It’s like watching a Corbynista nature park. Let me explain…