Cowell Wants Election To Be Like ‘X Factor’

November 29, 2009

Now this is just plain silly… X Factor supremo Simon Cowell has voiced his opinion to make next years general election more like a reality show.

The music mogul reckons the proposed televised debate between Gordon Brown and David Cameron should be hyped up more like the ‘X Factor’ itself. He’s told GQ magazine he wants it to be “like the presidential debates in America. I’d like to produce that here. I would! Just for the hell of it! Make it a bit more fun.” He went on to add; “Like we have on The X Factor. Down the steps, and some music and loads of spotlights.”

The question is, would this make the election more fun, or just a complete sham. Do we really need the (legendary) announcer Peter Dickson shouting out ‘DAVID CAAAAAAMEROOOOOON’ after seeing a disturbingly epic montage of clips from David’s campaign so far. I think not.

Sure, this may well get younger people interested in the election, but at what cost. The last think I want to see is politics made into a reality TV show. In my opinion this will just make a mockery of the whole thing and introduce ‘entertainment’ in place of actual policies.

By all means have a televised debate, but please, don’t X Factor it up!

What do you think of this idea? Post your comments below.

Source: Digital Spy

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Staffordshire Hoard beer is launched

November 20, 2009

And the second of my news stories this week – which helped me to get the covetered new role of ‘Alcohol Correspondent’! Enjoy!

(This article was co-written with my colleague Gary Kirk).

A local brewery has created a new beer to celebrate the haul of Anglo-Saxon gold discovered in a Staffordshire field.

The Backyard Brewhouse decided to brew The Hoard Ale to mark the discovery of the treasure in July.

Head Brewer Austen Morgan told StaffsLive the brewery was just a few hundred yards from where the gold was found buried by a man doing metal detecting this summer.

Click below to listen to the full interview with Mr Morgan:


Stoke-on-Trent residents criticise cheap drink nights

November 20, 2009

Here’s the first of two newsday packages which I was working on today – both of which were relating to alcohol!

Stoke-on-Trent residents have criticised cheap drink promotions in the area.

Offers such as ‘pound a pint’ nights and ‘buy one get one free’ have been blamed for encouraging binge drinking.

And people in Stoke-on-Trent say the promotions send out the wrong message to customers.

The debate was sparked earlier this week when a nightclub in Darlington was condemned for selling drinks at 69p. Police in Durham described the offer as “‘irresponsible”.

Police currently have no powers to control the pricing of alcohol. The government does have plans to tackle speed drinking and ‘all you can drink’ promotions, but there is still nothing firm on a minimum price.

Shane Bishop, landlord of The Graduate in Stoke, says pub promotions aren’t the problem.

He explained: “If students wanted to drink and binge drink, there’s nothing stopping them from going to an off-license and buying the bottles at the same price or cheaper.”

Listen to our audio report below for more views on the issue…


Negative Reaction To Uni Results Change

November 17, 2009

Here’s the first of many newsday packages I will create this year. This one focuses around proposals to change the university grading system, meaning the end of 1sts and 2.1’s, introducing a new ‘American style’ report card. See what students in Stoke had to say, below!


Channel 4 Enters The Third Dimension

November 14, 2009

We’ve had 3D movies for ages now, it’s been dated back to the 1800’s! But despite this, it still seems to be very939c488d-d29b-49b0-a17c-8211a69aecaf_625x352rarely used. Enter Channel 4! In an attempt to be innovative and edgy (well that was the original point of the channel), they’re broadcasting a selection of programmes in 3D next week.

3D week runs from 16th – 22nd of November and will feature old clips, new shows and user created content all in three dimensions. It’s the first time in British TV that a whole week has been dedicated to 3D film. You’ll be able to watch the shows with the help of colourcode glasses available at Sainsbury’s stores (although from experience they’re not brilliantly easy to find!)

But what can you actually watch? The week will start at 5 with Paul O’ Grady going 3d at select points during his show. At 9 on the same night you’ll be able to watch The Queen In 3D including such events as the coronation. Derren Brown will be presenting the magic spectacular just after in what promises to be a very entertaining show. Wednesday and Friday are set to scare you with ‘Flesh For Frankenstein’ and ‘Friday The Thirteenth Part III’ both jumping out at you. The week ends with The Greatest 3D moments (well it is Channel 4) as well as Hannah Montana and T4 in 3D.

Certainly an interesting selection of programming. I’m really looking forward to Derren’s magical meddling and not so much to the thought of 3D JLS on T4, but I think it’s safe to say Channel 4 have found something for everyone.

So is this the start of a new 3D revolution? Interest is definitely picking up again with YouTube experimenting in the third dimension. Not seen any? Simply type the tag ‘yt3d:enable=true’ into the search bar and you’ll see loads of users are experimenting with the tech. And you don’t even need glasses for it, you can choose to view cross-eyed and still get a similar effect.

Channel 4 have jumped on this interest and are asking anyone with a spare moment to make a 3D video for them. They’ve even made a video explaining how it’s done. A selection of these clips will also be shown during the week.

But will this actually mean 3D TV will become reality.

Personally I still think it’s too early for that. We’re not in a nation that want to put on red and blue glasses to watch the box. But as time goes on, the technology is getting better and better (anyone who’s seen a disney 3D film will know they’ve got a brilliant system that does away with the red/blue tinge) and I do think that one day 3D TV could become the norm.

But for now it’s just a very interesting gimmick.

3D week begins this coming Monday.


Muse – The Resistance Tour

November 6, 2009

I rate Muse as pretty much one of (if not the) best music act to have ever graced our planet. So you can imagine the excitement I had as I built up to Wednesday 4th November in Sheffield, Muse’s first 2009 UK tour date!

This was only the second time I had seen Muse (the first being the almighty Wembley Stadium gigs in 2007) andP1050702 expectations were pretty high. I have to say at first, they didn’t quite deliver.

The first thing to take into account is that the stage is quite small. Obviously this is not the end of the world, but it did seem a little bit of a let down compared to the massive structure I witnessed at Wembley. But none of this mattered at 8.40 when the lights dimmed and the music started to play.

After a short introduction, three curtains fell and Muse were in front of us playing their hit single ‘Uprising’. Now I absolutely adore this song, been playing it on a loop for weeks, buts something about it live just didn’t click. And to this moment I’m not sure what. Perhaps it was the fact no-one around me was standing (I was seated and fairly near the back), perhaps it was the average lighting for this song. Maybe even it was the strange ‘Kanye West’ style glasses Bellamy was wearing! But something underwhelmed me about it… and it continued into ‘Resistance’, another song I love.

I was starting to worry that Muse had lost it live… until. ‘New Born’.

With this massive track from their earlier days, Muse turned the whole gig around. The pillars they were stood upon lowered and the amazing green lasers beamed across the arena. It  was quite a spectacle. This also (finally) got the crowd to their feet. I felt the atmosphere really changed with this song, both for the crowd and for the band onstage. Matt Bellamy really got into the song and Chris Wolstenholme headbanged like there was no tomorrow. It really was a stunning performance, the only criticism being that maybe the band had peaked too soon.

There were a couple more fast songs (‘Map Of The Problematique’ and ‘Supermassive Blackhole’) which were P1050795again true crowdpleasers, before we moved on to ‘Guiding Light’. There was nothing really wrong with the performance here, the lights were good and the sound impressive, but I still feel the song itself is a bit weak and a little bit of a slowdown after the last few songs.

Hysteria followed, which was again a flawless performance, before we moved into ‘United States Of Eurasia’. The screens lit up with oh so familiar shots of Muse’s online Eurasia game which took place in the run up to ‘The Resistance’s release. The finale of this was also fun with mass screams of ‘SIA’ from the crowd!

The next song annoyed me… ‘Feeling Good’. Now I have no real problem with the song, but why play it live when it’s a cover. Muse have so many other great songs, please please please play them instead!

After an old song (Unintended) and a new song (Undiscosed Desires – the lasers were again incredible during this) we moved on to ‘Starlight’. Now I know a lot of Muse fans are still against this song, but you certainly wouldn’t know that on the night as a mass cheer erupted during those first few notes!

This flew into my personal highlight of the night, ‘Plug-In Baby’. This song is so old now, but really still is one of their best and the atmosphere, even at the back of the arena, was immense. The lighting, the sound, Bellamy’s over-the-top performance and of course the collection of giant balls bounced around the crowd made this absolutely fantastic.

The set finished with ‘Time Is Running Out’ and ‘Unnatural Selection’.

Muse chose the encore to showcase one of their more unusual sounds, part one of the Exogenesis symphony. IP1050808was very pleased to hear it as I think the track is a masterpiece, but I still think it’s a shame that we only got part one. Now I know a 14 minute symphony is a bit weird for a rock concert, but Muse are no ordinary band and this was no ordinary concert. I think it could have been spectacular if they had done so.

We raved through ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ before Chris got out his harmonica to begin part one of ‘Knight Of Cydonia’… the finale. And what a finale it was. The crowd were really into it by now and this just made for an amazing ending. Lights and smoke evrywhere, people jumping like mad, it was like complete chaos! – the perfect way to end such an amazing gig.

This was easily one of the best performances I have ever seen and may even have topped Wembley. However I did notice something quite strange. Much as I love ‘The Resistance’ I found that all of the songs of this album seemed to lack something, whereas the older stuff was amazing. Perhaps the band just have to perfect this newer stuff still!

If you ever get the chance to see Muse live, take it… you wont regret it as they really are one of the best musical acts… in the world!

To see pictures from the event visit the gallery!

For video visit the media section or watch New Born below!

 


Muse Media From Last Night

November 5, 2009

As you may or may not know, last night I saw the recently voted ‘Best Act In The World’ – Muse.

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And now in the gallery there’s a collection of photographs from the event! They were taken from the back of the arena (which is unfortunately where I was situated) but they should give you a good idea of the amazing show they guys put on. To view them click here.

There are also YouTube videos on the way (the first of which can be seen below), and the rest of them will be placed on the media page when they’re done. Also by this time tomorrow I’ll  have a review of the gig ready for you… I really am too good to you all.

So sit back, relax and enjoy the mighty Muse!