Plane ‘Lands’ At Local School

March 31, 2009

Today was my last newsday as a level 2 student. I was working as a cameraman today and was sent out on the story of a local school. Although I do not appear in the package (thats the job of my colleague Waqas Ali) I did all the filming for it and a lot of the editing. I feel it’s a great story and great bit of television and so I share with you now, the story of a plane and a school!

Song Of The Week – 29/03/2009

March 29, 2009

For anyone who knows me, you’ll know that it was only a matter of time until a Muse song was my song of the week. For me no other band compares to the incredible sound of the boys from Devon and with news of an Autumn tour spreading across the internet, I feel it’s time I featured them. And so I give you this week’s, Song Of The Week…

Muse – Citizen Erased

I’ve chosen this track as many people wont know it. Muse really sprung into the limelight with ‘Absolution’ and more recently ‘Black Holes And Revelations’. This is from their earlier album ‘Origin Of Symmetry’.

It’s a song which took me a long time to get into but one that I now absolutely love. It’s a very dark song at times with a heavy rock sound and Bellamy literally screaming out the words. However it ends very calmly, a complete contrast which is something Muse are brilliant at pulling off. As always Bellamy’s lyrics are extremely emotive and at times don’t make an awful lot of sense. But that’s the brilliance of a great Muse song.

Citizen Erased is a bit of an epic experience at 7.19 in length, but it’s enjoyable for every second. That’s why I’ve made it my Song Of The Week!

Muse - Hullabaloo Soundtrack - Citizen Erased (Live) (This links to a live version of the track from Hullabaloo which I believe to be the best version)

F1 2009: What A Weekend!

March 29, 2009

Never before have I seen a sport so rejuvenated in such a short amount of time than I witnessed this weekend. The 2009 Australian Grand Prix has set a new high standard for a motorsport that was becomming very dull and tiring.

The plans for the 2009 season started late last year. Many tech specs and aerodynamic systems were thrown out of the window. Slick tyres were re introduced for the first time in many years. And a new KERS system introduced to provide a ‘boost’ system for drivers. All were introduced to shift focus away from how good the cars are and back to the skill of the drivers.

But there was one more thing that was about to mix everything up… Brawn GP. Forged out of the remains of the failed Honda F1 team, Ross Brawn (former Ferrari technical director) created his own F1 team. It was all organised literally 2 weeks before the season. At the time I thought it was great we were getting an extra team, but lets face it, they weren’t going to get anywhere.

How wrong I was. I honestly couldn’t believe what I was seeing when Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello took the front row. And the highest Ferrari? 6th. And the highest McLaren? 12th. Am I watching Formula One?

It was all set for a fantastic first race and it truly was. The first few laps were unmissable. The amount of overtaking was incredible. It reminded me of why I actually watch this sport. Suddenly we were back in the 90’s when this sport was spectacular! We also had a few incidents with Barrichello managing to knock everyone out but himself!

Later on Nakajima became the first big crash victim of the season when he lost it on a high speed bend. What happened next for me was very disorganised and confusing. The safety car should have been deployed immediately. I’m not sure why Charlie Whiteing and co (nice to see them by the way) took so long to make the decision, but it was ridiculous and something they need to look into.

As the safety car was finally deployed, Giancarlo Fisichella made a most unusual mistake, missing his pit box. Not quite sue how he managed that, but it kept the entertainment up.

After this segment, I felt the race calmed down a little, which wasn’t bad at all. I like it when the race ‘calms down’ because things are still happening. It wasn’t a dull period, just a time to take stock which was great.

The race started speeding towards its climax and became clear that both Kubica and Vettel provided quite a threat to Button’s lead. They were about a second away from the Brawn GP car. But the one thing they didn’t account for was each other!

Inevitably, they crashed into each other, quite spectacularly actually! They were obviously determined that if they were going out, they were gonna do it in style! In my opinion, the accident was purely that, a racing incident. Vettel was being ambitious on the inside and Kubica was being harsh on the outside. It was a shame that it did end in incident as it would’ve been interesting to see what would have happened with Button.

But this incident gifted Brawn GP the race, Button a well deserved victory and Barrichello a long overdue 2nd place. Something that I don’t think anyone would’ve believed. It’s fantastic that this sport has become so open again that anyone can genuinely win a race, its the way any sport should always be. Hamilton (somehow!) made it up to third place after Trulli was disqualified for overtaking under the safety car.

This was a brilliant race and it proved that the new ideas worked. The reduction of aerodynamic aids has stumped some teams and drivers (especially Raikkonen who made a dramatic error into the wall!). The reintroduction of slick tyres seems to be helping cars follow whilst also becoming unpredictable. And KERS looks like a great idea (although I do think everyone should carry it, not just some.

Another shout has to go to the BBC this weekend who’s coverage I feel has been great. For the first time ever we’ve had all three practices on TV, theres been extra chat programmes on the red button and re-runs of the race continuing now (I’m watching it as I write this!). Jonathon Legard seems to be a good commentator, Brundle is of course great, jake Humphrey looks promising and heck, even Ted Kravitz doesn’t seem annoying anymore. So well done BBC, heres to more great F1 coverage this year.

This has been the best start to a season I can remember and I’m traditionally a Ferrari fan! I feel even if you didn’t like the result, you can’t deny how entertaining this grand prix was. The whole of the 2008 season was rolled into one race and it gives me hope that this could be a great year for formula one. Lets hope it all continues next week in Malaysia!

Song Of The Week – 22/03/2009

March 22, 2009

After a week off, here’s the triumphant return of ‘Song Of The Week’!

This week I’ve gone for a track from the latest Killers album. It’s one that I feel is severely underrated and doesn’t get mentioned enough. This week’s song of the week is…

A Dustland Fairytale

This song is in a word, amazing! It starts off so quietly and has one of the most powerful endings I’ve ever heard in a song. It’s also quite different to other Killers songs. Yes it still has the same ‘bridge’ section seen in every Killers track. But this one is a bit different, the build up from the start to finish is incredible. Brandon Flowers also puts in a brilliant performance, positively screaming the lyrics in the last verse, there’s a lot of emotion in this song!

Some may hate it, but I personally think it’s one of the Killers best works. ‘A Dustland Fairytale’, this week’s Song of the Week!

The Killers - Day & Age - A Dustland Fairytale

Saw – The Ride Opens At Thorpe Park

March 14, 2009

It’s a very exciting day for UK theme park fans today. Thorpe Park officially re-opens for its 2009 season and with it, one of the most anticipated rides ever, Saw – The Ride.


But why am I so excited? Well it could well be the best ride in the country.

On the outset it looks like a simple Eurofighter (vertical lift and drop). But what makes Saw so special is the theming. As it’s a movie franchise ride, Thorpe have injected millions into the atmosphere of the ride. There’s barbed wire, a run down shack (as jigsaw’s lair), sound effects, dead bodies, traps, cameras. It just looks like you’ve walked into a Saw movie.

This may not seem massively important to all of you out there, but for me, the atmosphere created by themeing, can make or break a ride. This one looks fantastic, up to the standard of Disney and Universal in the US.

The ride should hopefully pave the way for another massive coaster project at Alton Towers next year. They were granted permission for their ‘worlds first’ rollercoaster, SW6 yesterday. It should be a good year for coaster fans!


Go On! Do Something Funny For Money!

March 12, 2009

It’s that time of year again, Comic Relief is here.


So it’s a little cheesey and not the funniest thing, but Comic Relief is ALWAYS for a good cause. It’s something I always support and something that I am glad still exists in this day and age!

There’s some great Comic Relief TV on this evening. BBC is howing the Kilimanjaro climb and the first part of Celeb apprentice from 8pm tonight. Bound to be a few laughs there.

So go on, spare a bit of money to donate or get yourself sponsored and do something outrageous! Whatever you do have a good Red Nose Day this Friday and remember, you’re helping those less fortunate than yourself, just by having fun!

New Venue For Local Bands

March 9, 2009

Another newsday piece for you now, this one about bands in my local area of Stoke-On-Trent.

A Pub in Stoke is hoping to keep live and local music alive. The Norfolk Inn based in Shelton is putting on band nights to encourage up-and-coming groups to perform to a wider audience. The move follows the closure of The Glebe in Stoke, which had been popular with bands. Chris Heath went to find out more.

Snow Patrol Rock Manchester

March 9, 2009

Thousands of people flocked to the MEN arena in Manchester on Saturday to see one of Britain’s biggest bands, Snow Patrol.


The night kicked off with two support acts, Cashier number 9 and White Lies. Both put in a good performance. White Lies (who had a recent no 1 album) acted as a great warm-up and got the crowd ready for the main event.

Just after 9pm, Snow Patrol came on stage and opened with ‘If There’s A Rocket, Tie Me To It’. This was a slow start and didn’t really involve the audience. However, that all changed when the band went straight into ‘Chocolate’. This brought everyone to their feet, even high up in the aisles.

The band then treated us to a selection of their classic hits, ‘Hands Open’, ‘Spitting Games’ and ‘How To Be Dead’. It was a very powerful opening which the crowd greatly appreciated.

After this, the pace slowed. Gary Lightbody ventured into the crowd to serenade a lucky audience member with an acoustic version of ‘Run’. Personally I don’t think this worked. ‘Run’ works best as a strong song with plenty of backing. Lightbody also had to pause mid-song many times after being mobbed by the crowd. It was entertaining and different, but didn’t really work.

Lightbody soon returned to the stage and performed a beautiful rendition of ‘The Planets Bend Between Us’. The vocals, music and on-screen imagery was perfect for this. ‘Shut Your Eyes’ soon followed with an attempt at audience participation. This was good, but went on for far too long!


The crowd erupted soon after when the opening notes of ‘Chasing Cars’ echoed around the arena. This was played very quietly and almost intimately at first, allowing the crowd to chant the lyrics loud and clear. When it came to the final chorus, the guitars kicked in and provided an overwhelming end to the song.

The main set was rounded off with some more tracks from the latest album. ‘Crack the Shutters’ was clearly a fan-favourite. ‘Take Back the City’ was also received well, even if Lightbody forgot some of the words!

Snow Patrol soon returned for the encore of ‘The Lightning Strike’. It’s clear that the band see this as the crowning achievement of their latest album. The 16 minute song was represented on massive screens with origami images stars and planets swirling. They performed the song faultlessly

The show was rounded off with another rock song, ‘You’re All I Have’.

Snow Patrol provided a great night of entertainment for all. Some songs like ‘Run’ weren’t as good as they could be. I was also upset at the lack of ‘Please Just Take These Photo’s From My Hands’ and ‘Signal Fire’. But the majority of performances on the night were impeccable!

The band are returning to the Midlands two more times during this tour, Birmingham on 11th March and Nottingham on the 12th March. For full tour dates, click here.

More Photo’s from the event.

To buy Snow Patrol music, Click here> Snow Patrol

Song Of The Week – 08/03/09

March 8, 2009

As promised, this weeks song is another Snow Patrol track.

You may remember that I was off to see the band in Manchester yesterday. Now I’m returned and it’s time for me to pick a stand-out song from the show for this weeks song. I’ve gone for something a bit different and really quite special.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you…

The Lightning Strike

Part One – What If This Storm Ends

Part Two – The Sunlight Through The Flags

Part Three – Daybreak

You can tell Snow Patrol treat this song like a crowning achievement. It’s a 16 minute spectacular made up of three distinct sections. The band supposedly penned the song during a harsh electrical storm last year. I really love how in this day and age, Snow Patrol have still dared to do this. Lets face it, there aren’t many bands that would release a track of this length.

The track has a little bit of everything that makes this band great. There’s plenty of rock at the beginning, with dramatic chords and string guitars. There’s calm in the middle. There’s high and low points and a very strong and slightly emotional ending!

Seeing it live was something quite special. There was also a lot of effort put into the live performance, with screens rolling in and out of sight and vast visions of an ‘origami space world’ projected on stage.

So there you have it, ‘The Lightning Strike’, this week’s Song Of The Week.

Snow Patrol - A Hundred Million Suns - The Lightning Strike

Obviously, the full Snow Patrol show was fantastic and I’ll fully review it for you tomorrow 😉

Fun Things To Do On The Web #2: Broken Picture Telephone

March 5, 2009

Ok, so this was actually supposed to be the first of my ‘fun things to do on the web’ features.

However, when I came to add it last week, Broken Picture Telephone was undergoing some maintanance and was down.


I’m now pleased to announce this fantastically fun site is now back up. The concept is very simple. One person writes a situation such as ‘man sitting on chair’. The next person then has to draw that situation. Then another person has to write what they think the previous picture means, WITHOUT seeing the original meaning.

As the game goes on, the situations get weirder and weirder until you finish with a completely different thing conveyed! It’s basically an online version of Chinese Whispers.

The site is good for a bit of timewasting and provides sometimes hillarious results. I certainly recommend it for a laugh if you have a spare moment. My only quarrel is the site can be slow loading, but it’s worth the wait!

Broken Picture Telephone