Gazza 2. This time it’s with Greavsie.

As documented in this very blog, Gazza is no stranger to the UK’s original new town. One night, on a particularly low ebb he contemplated suicide on Platform 1 at Stevenage station.

Now he’s back, on the other side of Lytton Way (no bridge-jumping Paul!) appearing at the Gordon Craig theatre with Jimmy Greaves. Is Ian St John dead, does anyone know?

Together at last.

Now I love a good footie anecdote and these two will be regaling  the audience with some beauties, I have no doubt. After all, it really IS a funny old game.

My worry is 2 people with well-documented struggles with alcohol left to their own devices after the show in a strange town – and all the other towns on their extensive UK tour.

“Another Perrier Greavsie?”

“No thanks Gazza, I’m taking it easy tonight.”

I just hope Mrs Greavsie is in close attendance – and that she isn’t leading the charge…

And for the record, there is infinite love in my heart for Gazza. And that probably goes for the rest of the country too. Do a good show, guys.

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Barclaycard: When Amy Childs met Brian Blessed

Well they never actually met, but we did combine their talents in the same project.

You see, in between parking in Stevenage and returning in the evening, I go to work – I don’t just commute just so I can blog about it.

And at work, I make adverts – mostly the sort that go on the internet and generally get in the way of what you wanted to do in the first place. And now I can proudly reveal the latest thing-what-I-done for you here. It’s for Barclaycard. It’s to mark the release of their new mobile contactless technology. You see, now you can pay for stuff just by swiping your mobile phone – if you have the right phone and a Barclaycard account. Cool? Yes.

So, given that this is such a massive step-change in the way we pay for things, we thought that now might be a good time to take stock and take a look at how paying has evolved over the years, starting with cavemen, via Vikings, Romans and Georgians and ending up in the present day in Chiswick High Road.

If you like pigs, fur, dinosaur milk, shoes, The Only Way Is Essex, Brian Blessed, the bloke off the Sky TV ad, another bloke off the trainline.com ads, wigs, man-bags, Norse washing up liquid, guyliner, tridents and Horrible Histories (Dominic Brigstocke directs that and this), then this is for you. What’s not to like?

PS. This is the long version, featuring the ‘lost’ Viking scene. Kind of exclusive.

A paucity of posts.

It’s been pointed out to me and I’ve noticed it too: I can leave it a little long between posts. I don’t have an excuse but I do have 2 reasons:

– Angry Birds
– A shiny new netbook

I thought it was me and solitaire (Klondike™) on my iPod forever. When that game counter ticked passed 1000 (and it did) who’d have thought something new would come along to take its place?

Well, hats off to the Angry Birds crew. If ever there was a game that made you think ‘just one more go’ EVERY time you play it, this is it. And there’s just no escape. They keep updating it with seasonal specials and extra levels. And it’s all FREE! What’s not to love?

Angry Birds yesterday.

The new netbook? That’s for me to write my Oscar-winning screenplay on the train to and from work every day. Isn’t it? It turns out it’s very god at playing other people’s movies, so I end up watching those in 20-minute bursts between Stevenage and King’s Cross and Stevenage again.

The netbook. For films. And occasionally other stuff.

One day, eh – if I’m not updating this old thing with the latest happenings in my playground of car parks…

Like bingo AND fags?

Then BINGO! You’ll love Mecca in Stevenage. It’s like a… place that attracts pilgrims from all over.

But you know, when that close “House!” call has got to your nerves and you need a ciggie to calm yourself, the law says you can’t light up inside. Happily, Mecca have thought of everything: smoking cages!

The usual occupants remind me of the number 88 for some reason.

Fair play, Mecca don’t want chancers bunking in the back door, so a cage is the answer. You’re still just a step away from your dabber and card but you’re outside enough to enjoy a lungful of carcinogens – and the panaromic view of Daneshill car park through the bars. What a night!

Christmas in January.

Just how long can you drag Christmas out for? Our tree was out in the garden before the year was out – but it was dead on its feet, drooping alarmingly.

Not so at the Gordon Craig Theatre in Stevenage; Christmas is still in full swing. Their version of Snow White is running until January 23. Now I’ve been to see it and I heartily recommend it, so the good news is you’ve stll got time to get along and see the show. It stars Sue Holderness out of Boycie and Marlene out of ‘Green Green Grass’ out of ‘Only Fools and Horses’.

Katie Rowley Jones needs directions for the West End, apparently.

Anyway, it’s not unusual to have a panto run to the end of Jan. However, in the run-up to the show, the theatre played Christmas tunes in the adjoining walkway that leads to the station to get everyone in the mood and hopefully flog a few more tickets. So here’s the thing: they’re still playing these tunes now and it’s January 19.

"...in the lane, snow is glistenin'..."

It just seems like someone needs to say, “We’re halfway to Valentines Day now, let it go. Christmas will come round again next year (or later this year).”

I read somewhere they had to rename the dwarves (Dopey to Dippy, etc.) to avoid failing foul of Disney’s legal eagles. Boooo!

I always enjoy reading the programme to see what else the actors have been in. What did I learn? That you have to be a pretty rubbish dwarf not to have worked on Star Wars or Harry Potter. They’ve all done ’em. The theatre must have to decide on Snow White very early to make sure they can book all 7 dwarves – there must be a run on them at Christmas. No good getting 5 and making up the numbers with fully-grown Lanky and Lofty.

Saw a couple of ’em in Tesco the other day. Easy to spot if you’re near enough.

The Maria Sharapova bruise.

Every so often, life can take an unexpected turn. Suddenly you’re no longer sitting at your desk under harsh strip-lighting, you’re on a tennis court in LA waiting for Maria Sharapova to arrive so she can hit tennis balls at you – you know how it is.



How did this come to pass? One of our clients is Sony Ericsson. We’re very busy doing lots of lovely advertising for them and Maria is one of their ‘Brand Ambassadors’.

Some fashion shoot had been cancelled at the last minute and given that the whole tennis tour season kicks off very soon, this was Sony Ericsson’s last chance to make use of her time – 90 minutes of it to be exact.

So in very short order we were briefed and quickly narrowed down our best ideas to 3 we thought would be acceptable to Maria and ‘her people’ (they always have people – I don’t, maybe I’m doing something wrong).

That was quickly whittled down to the one idea that was sold in and in no time at all I was one of an elite team of admen sitting in Economy heading to LA.

What you see here is the result. Maria was a delight and extremely accommodating, signing my daughter’s tennis racket cover and giving me 2 kisses – probably out of guilt for the physical damage she’d caused me.

image

Exhibit A

An evening with psychic, Tony Stockwell.

Walking between the station and Swingate, one passes by the Gordon Craig Theatre and you tend to see posters advertising upcoming events. On October 4, Stevenage hosts  ‘An Evening with Tony Stockwell’. Do you think that’s his real name or just a stage name?

I like to think someone told the then Dave Stockwell that they’d seen a hypnotist called Tony Le Mesmer on Alan Partridge’s “Knowing Me, Knowing You,” suggesting he should try that name, but he went and changed the first name instead of the second.

Tony Stockwell. And he's looking at YOU!

I was in Stockwell last week. Didn’t strike me as a hotspot for psychics though.

But you knew I was going to say that, didn’t you.

The overpass of show tunes.

To get from Swingate, my default car park of choice, to Stevenage station, I must traverse an overpass that takes me through the Gordon Craig Theatre building and over the 6 lanes of Lytton Way.

For the bit where you’re in the enclosed overpass, Gordon Craig has noticed that he has a bit of a captive audience.

So why not use the 30 seconds or so it takes to get from one end to the other to advertise current and upcoming shows? Why not indeed. So now, if you haven’t got the iPod earphones wedged in your ears you’re treated to excerpts from Gordon’s shows.

However, late at night, it can become quite eerie. With no one else around, it evokes the spooky feeling of someone chancing upon an abandoned circus with a lone gramophone playing a crackly number from a West End show. Or a nursery rhyme in a minor key.

“Mack The Knife” was a bad choice.

I wonder if Gordon’s ever experienced this, because I reckon he might want to consider putting something more calming or reassuring on, like live police radio broadcasts or that frequency that scares teenagers away while the rest of us can’t hear it.

Dave Bloke, Wembley Legend.

It’s happened again; I’ve done another thing. Regular readers/colleagues will know that I work on the English FA’s advertising account (among others).

So, they have this 5-a-side competition called FA Umbros Fives (yes, with Umbro). It turns out this is the only 5-a-side competition with a Wembley final. So even if your dreams of playing regular Premiership football have faded, if you’re a bit good at 5-a-side there’s still a chance to walk out of that tunnel and onto the hallowed (and admittedly controversial) Wembley turf. In short, you, YES YOU, could become a Wembley Legend.

And don’t just take my word for it. Witness a man who was once mortal like us. Witness a man living the dream. Witness Dave Bloke, Wembley Legend.

And then sign your team up!

Bit of background: all shot at Wembley in a day. Yes, even the kitchen, bedroom, recording studio scenes. Judicious use of various props, changing rooms and meeting rooms in and around the stadium, we managed to re-create Bloke-mania in a few short hours.

Unfortunately I was away on holiday on the day of the shoot, so I missed the chance to meet Michael Owen and Tim Lovejoy. Michael was by all accounts a real gent and Tim smells very nice. I did float the idea of my flying back from holiday just for the day (under the guise of someone else’s stupid idea) but my wife called my bluff and agreed it was an incredibly stupid idea…

And the music? “Widths and Heights” by Magic Arm.

You’re dead to me, Blatter.

Swingate has spoken. Although some of the pubs are flying the flags still, now the FIFA World Cup is behind us (congrats Spain) my car park shows no evidence that it ever happened.

Two flags made it as far as Thursday. The Monday after the final: nothing.

Sepp, we’ve just moved on. See you in 4 years. Hopefully.

But in the meantime, Back The Bid!

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