Monday, February 27, 2006

A Dear Diary moment

I just made a mistake on my UK DVD Review podcast, I've put it up with last week's date. But in trying to fix it, I've stumbled across the fact that two people have reviewed me on the iTunes Music Store.

One gives me five stars, the other four. Isn't that just fantastic?

The five-star one has nailed me completely: as well as the praise, there's a funny crack about my Battlestar Galactica obsession.

Do you know, I think I feel taller. If the reviewers should read this, thanks very much.


Saturday, February 25, 2006

Grandeur, real and deluded

So I was back at the library today. I found something else for On This Day that I can't use.

Last time it was because I'd just missed the date (it was an item for late February or early March, I've forgotten now, and this coming Monday morning I'll deliver On This Day for the fortnight up to March 24). This time because the thing I found was just too long.

Do you know of Peggy Ramsay? Literary agent? Not many agents get portrayed on screen by Vanessa Redgrave (in Prick Up Your Ears) and on stage by Maureen Lipman (in Peggy For You) but there generally aren't many agents like this one. I never met her but I know Alan Plater who was one of her clients.

I found an Arena episode from March 17, 1989 which was devoted to her and the billing went into great detail about her most famous clients - yet it didn't mention Alan. Something wrong here, I was thinking, as I turned to the feature on page 11.

Only to find the feature was written by Alan. And here's my problem. Normally I can spot what's known as a pull-quote really easily and since On This Day is about 90 words long, I have to find these nuggets, I can't quote long passages from anything.

But this time I just can't see where I can lift a line from. It's not just that it's all good, that usually means I've got plenty to cherry-pick from, but this feature was quite tight, quite woven. It was one feature rather than a set of staccato paragraphs and though this is what you would strive for when writing it, it's a bugger when you're trying to steal. Tune in on March 17, 2006 to see how I coped.

And as this is all about the On This Day feature in Radio Times magazine, may I correct an impression I might have given you the other day about RT mag? I just noticed that in mentioning how the magazine and the RT website are having a gallery of Hustle pictures that I've come across as thinking I was important in the selection of the shots we used. Nope.

The mag's picture desk staff did everything. I ended up with, I don't know, a couple of dozen shots they weren't using and I chose six. Just wanted to put that right.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Take two blogs into the shower?

Just to update something: will now definitely have a photo gallery online with some gorgeous shots from Planet Earth, the new documentary series starting shortly.

It's complicated but I wasn't sure it would all happen in time and I got the call this afternoon to say it would.

By the way, I spent most of this afternoon at the Birmingham Central Library - you'll never guess where that is - researching my On This Day column for Radio Times. Maddeningly, I stumbled across something too late to use. Can I tell you about it instead?

Radio Times 4-10 March 1978. The letters page includes an angry letter from a reader who claims to have been horrified when tuning in to Grandstand to find the commentator on a football match was a woman. Lots of blustery how-dare-you bits follow but the thrust of it is that football is a man's world. And the person who wrote the letter? It was a woman. 

If I'm still doing On This Day next year (which I truly hope I am) and if I spot the note to myself in my rinkydinky FileMaker Pro database, you'll see more details in Radio Times next year.


It's good here, isn't it?

Not sure where everything is yet but I've found the kitchen and the whole place is just more comfy than my old blog page. If I've not met you before, hello. How are you?

This was all meant to be a simple What's New for my site site which is the home to the UK DVD Review podcast that you can also get through iTunes.

But I think it's become something more, I'm not entirely sure what, and if I'm right that it's developed then it's because of you. Wow, did you freak me out when I discovered how to do a counter and saw how many people were flying by. Ta for that, it was a shock but a great one.

Now, I've been away quite ill - just man-flu, but it seemed bad at the time - and some things have happened. Previously on this blog, or its ancestor anyway, I've boasted that I got a gig presenting DVD reviews on BBC Hereford & Worcester local radio. Their Friday breakfast show focuses on the weekend, it's still a news show but it's got an entertainment side and dotted throughout the show are four DVD reviews. Each is one-minute long, I present them.

And if you just glazed because I've said this before, there is one teeny detail I always left out and it's this: the gig at Hereford & Worcester was a trial.

Whereas what's new is that the trial is over and the station's asked to extend my contract for a further few months.

You know what's supposed to happen, don't you? They ask, I haggle, I play it cool, I haggle some more. But nope, I emailed back instantly saying "Yes, please". I love doing this, though you'd be surprised how much work it is. The total running time is four minutes, four entire whole minutes but the average time it takes me to do is a bit over three hours, not including watching the films.

Also, I used to do the picture editing for the website and though someone else has taken that over - and she's markedly better and faster than me, incidentally, so I doubt I'll be getting that gig back - I am now working on the site's photo galleries. It ought to be astonishingly easy: Radio Times magazine has a great picture desk team, the shots they take or get in are truly tremendous, all I have to do is pop them onto the website.

So that's what I do. Just one is up and about now, a selection of photos from RT's famous covers party:

We're hoping to add something to that next week, but I'll tell you what if it works out. Also RT gave the cast of Hustle a compact flash digital camera and I've been looking over the shots they took. The best are going to be in the next issue of Radio Times and should be online shortly.

Otherwise, a script of mine won me a place on a mentoring scheme where a professional full-time script writer. I had a meeting about that right in the middle of my cold; I drove the hour to it with a hot-water bottle up my jumper.


How've you been?