Thursday, 27 December 2007

Tate "post"-Modern?

Christmas Television has finally hit an all-time low with the "wonderful" Catherine Tate christmas special. Not only did Ms Tate manage to role out a host of top guest like George Michael (remember him) and Wynette Slob AKA Kathy Burke.

Tate went on to present her terrible range of characters with added Christmas CHEESE including the Belfast family coming to terms with their son's sexuality. Tate assumes it humerous to show Northern Irish people giving each other gifts including knuckle dusters and balaclavas.

This was one of the most insulting things i've ever seen. Will we, for example be seeing an Islamic family exchanging suicide belts or a west Indian family all smoking pot? This racist attitude towards Northern Irish people has to stop, has Tate ever visited our vibrant, cities or toured some of the worlds most beautiful scenery or met the wonderful people of this country.

Tate, we aren't "bothered"!

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Translink in festive mood

Northern Ireland's bus company celebrate Christmas in early november!

Friday, 12 October 2007

Indian Summer

So its almost closer to winter than summer now. Mid autumn. Last night I was driving around Belfast and the temperature for most of the time was 19c, on a dark October night!

So big question, is this an example of global warming ?

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Belfast Floats in the Clouds

This amazing photograph was taken this morning (Wednesday) by local digital artist Ken Lucas. The photo shows a blanket of fog engulf the city of Belfast with only the cranes of the shipyard appearing above the clouds.

Thursday, 4 October 2007

Grumpy old man

Ok, right, i've taken stock of my life, been a little bit too much fun over the summer, too much drinking, too much good food and the worst thing, i've started smoking again after working so hard at giving up.

Well i've decided to get things back on track, got a Nicotine patch on and haven't smoked for 48 hours, on a great healthy diet, taking more exercise and watching the Alcohol.

I also started taking stock of my life a little, i'm 28 years old but over the last while i'm really turning into a terrible cynical grumpy old man. So with the new lifestyle change i've decided to have a much more rose tinted view of the world, unfortunately this is the most difficult thing!

Yesterday someone told me about a "great" bar where the girls and guys danced in Bikini's and shorts on tables, usually even the thought of such an establishment would fill me with horror but I decided to put on a really silly grin and say, "Wow, that sounds FFFFFaaaantastic, must give it a try".

Smoking, Pah, Dieting, a Doddle, watching my Alcohol consumption, EASY-PEASY, Cutting out the Cynicism - AAAAAAAAHHHHH! Anyone thought of starting Cynics Anomomous?

Thursday, 27 September 2007

I just LOVE X Factor

This clip requires no introduction !

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Fighting nation

Today I read again another story of a "row" over planning, this time of a memorial to the 1998 Omagh bombing on BBC News online - Omagh Memorial in inscription row.

Has 30 years of bloody conflict and the following resolutions and peace movement not taught the people of Northern Ireland anything about solving arguements. Why the hell are we so terrible at planning ANYTHING in this country. We can't agree on the things like the Maze site, decommissioned police stations, and Giants Causeway visitors centre, which is a glorified gift shop and toilet block!

If this country wants to move on people MUST find a way to quickly and easily get over these agruements without it decending into a long drawn out legal or political debate.

Omagh Bomb Memorial Proposal - Constant Light

My personal option is not a very popular one. If we are going to move on to the future, we should drop plans for memorials to the past.

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Idiot Idol

I was watching Pop Idol at the weekend, definitely not something I make a habit of doing, but some of the auditions were Belfast. Simon Cowell announced during the recording that this was the worst batch of auditions that he’d ever seen, I can agree with him, the standard was TERRIBLE.

So many people with a HUGE opinion of their non-existent telents.

It got me thinking about people in Belfast and how high an opinion they actually have on themselves. People in this Northern Ireland ready do play to the local audience, they have no idea of how they are going to come across to people outside the country and most of them couldn’t care less. This sounds perhaps like an endearing quality but trust me it isn’t.

Belfast is full of pretentiousness these days, pretentious coffee shops, cafes, bars, hotels, shops, fashion fads, advertising houses, design agency’s and even the new modern architecture. Unfortunately our city has a terrible mixture of arrogance and stupidity, the arrogance to support pretentious, new fangled fads and the stupidity to hold them up like the emperors new clothes.

Get it sorted Belfast, we think we are wonderful but continue failing to deliver.

Friday, 31 August 2007

Remembering an Angel

Ten years ago a beautiful woman was taken from us. A woman who travelled the world, helping the poor, sick, orphaned and dying. A woman who never ever played on her "celebrity" status, a woman who was always honourable, kind, fair and just.

Many have said how she personally touched their lives, how she created miracles worldwide and to this day she is remembered as one of the greatest women of all time.

I refer of course to the wonderful Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Underground Party

Since 7 / 7 people using the London Underground have felt that they have to be friendlier to each other, i guess in a little way it helps reassure everyone around you. What better way than by staging a dinner party on the Tube?

Saturday, 25 August 2007

Ireland rugby fans in bizarre sun worship ceremony

A beautiful august evening at Ravenhill. Belfast people, unused to sunlight revere this celestial body as a God when it makes a rare appearance.

Thanks to Keith for the ticket, apparently they were gold dust!

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Bridging the gap

Possibly the worst thing about a holiday these days is the Irish sea ferries, especially from Belfast to Scotland. I just can't believe the type of people who travel on these vessels, where the hell do they come from, I never see these people at any other time but on ferry you can be sure to see them plunging their Giro cheques straight into the "fruits".

For a few extra quid you can "upgrade" to a club class traveling lounge, a necessity these days.

Imagine however piling into the car and driving ANYWHERE in the British isles, imagine maybe even driving down to Dover and popping your car on the Eurostar, direct to France and the potential of driving anywhere in Europe without having to set your wheels in the metal deck of a ferry boat.

Sounds a bit pie in the sky, doesn’t it, well maybe not. The Centre for Cross Border Studies has held a consultation about a plan to build a bridge or tunnel link across the North Channel from Antrim to Galloway, 21 miles away. The Centre believe that this ambitious plan could be put in place by 2030.

A similar bridge is to open in China linking Shanghai and Ningbo, the 22.5 mile bridge will carry six lanes of traffic at a speed of around 60 MPH.

No more sharing ferry cabins with shell-suit clad day trippers.

Thursday, 16 August 2007

Technological Dead End

Isn't technology wonderful, we were recording the latest edition of Hit the North - The Northern Irish Podcast last night and had a great stream of chat going, one of the best ever in my opinion. Then I lifted my eyes to our of our computer systems and found that the bugger had shut itself down so all that stuff we talked about was lost forever.

Oh well, listen to the rest of the recording now by clicking here (or right click and do that save target as... thingy)

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Big Fat Lie

Okay, you are Thomas Martel from Bonnie Brae, Colorado, you've waited absolutely ages to buy the new Apple iPhone. You can imagine Thomas's dismay when he found his big fat American thumbs were too large to use the phone.

The solutions (Reports the North Denver News) : A revolutionary new operation called "Thumb Whittling", a surgical operation to shave bone off Tom's Thumb to help him send his equally chubby pals a text message or order another Pizza.

North Denver News have later admitted that the story was a hoax (Editor's Note), stating that the piece was homor [sic], and not to be taken literally.

My solution, lets all go back to the house brick style of phone, it would go well with my camel hair coat.

Museum Of Hoaxes

Monday, 13 August 2007

Factory Founder Dies

Tony Wilson, founder of Factory records and media presenter has died (aged 57) at the weekend of a heart attack at Manchester's Christie Hospital.

Wilson developed the "Madchester" music scene and introduced acts like Joy Division, Happy Mondays and New Order. He was also responsible for the Haçienda nightclub in Manchester. He presented programmes on television for both Channel 4 and for Granada as well as presenting political radio programmes.

Wilson never made much money from either Factory records or the Haçienda as the 2002 film, 24 Hour Party People, which stars the comedian Steve Coogan demonstrates. Wilson didn't sign contracts with many of the top bands and relied on loyality, a factor that rival record labels exploited.

In 2003 Wilson helped to launch a campaign for the North West to be given a referendum on the creation of a regional assembly.

Wilson was always a controversal figure, attracting ridicule from music industry insiders for his strange ideas and working practices. He was such an influential figure on the british music and media scene that he will be greatly missed.

Thanks Tony, we'll miss you.

Full obituary available from Times Online

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Feile an Phobail - West Belfast 5th-12th August 2007

As featured in the podcast this week the Feile is a vibrant part of Ulster's cultural fabric. The idea behind this festival (Europe's largest) is to promote West Belfast to an international audience and celebrate the creativity of the local people.

The events bring great acts to Belfast and also promote local talent.
One of the Feiles great strengths is its diversity. From the "Trad Fest" which features sessions from Belfast's traditional Irish musicians to a celebratation of " 30 Years of Belfast Punk" at the Duke of York on August 7th the richness of Belfast's grass roots culture is highlighted.

For me one of the most interesting aspects of the Feile are the debates which take place in the heart of the community rather than the arid confines of the TV studio. On Wednesday 8th August "West Belfast talks back" will kick off at 7.30pm at St Louise's Comprehensive College. This year panellists range from the DUPs Edwin Poots to Catorina Ruane from Sinn Fein

While the Feile promises to be great craic, I think it also opens up a debate as to how people here celebrate their identity. Is the dream of a festival were Irish dancers and flute bands play together that bizarre? I would argue that instead of seeing ourselves as two tribes we should recognise that we are one people and that the "Orange" and "Green" traditions must come together if this country is to have a future.

But enough debate! This week whether your Irish, British, Ulster-Scots or "Norn-Iron" get yourself up the West and lets hope the sun stays out.
If you see me up there mines a Guinness!

By Leonard Johnston

"Bright Spark" loses job because of facebook

We keep hearing these days of people who lose their jobs because they criticise their employeers on social networking sites like Bebo, Facebook, etc. Also job seekers are now warned to watch what material they publish about themselves on these sites because human resource managers are now building profiles of potential candidates from these sites.

A case was in The Sun newspaper today of Tom Beech, 20 from Wokingham in Berkshire who was suspended from his £6.55 per hour job in Argos after saying "I Work At Argos And Can't Wait To Leave Because It's Sh**."

Young Tom is now appealing his dismisal however Argos confirmed that Tom was sacked after "placing inappropriate entries on Facebook."

When will people learn, the internet can be viewed by BILLIONS of people worldwide and once content is there, it can be difficult to remove. Watch what you say online at all times, employers are quite rightly getting savvy to networking sites in an attempt to monitor the suitability of workers or potential workers.

Goodnight Mr Tom!

THE SUN - Argos slur lad gets Faceboot

Saturday, 4 August 2007

Langham Verdict

Comedy actor Chris Langham was this week found guilt of viewing and downloading level 5 child pornographic images (the highest level and worst type). Langham is now in jail awaiting sentencing, however his defense is hopeful of a short sentence, saying that Langham was abused as a child and in some sick way used these images as a form of therapy.

Langham has suffered from his own personal demons throughout his rocky television career, he was sacked from television programme "not the nine o'clock news" for alcohol abuse, however recently has enjoyed success in series such as "people like us" and "Help" with Paul Whitehouse.

Throughout the trial Langham told the court that he downloaded the images while researching a television character for the new series of "help", a story which Whitehouse says he has no knowledge of.

Whatever the supposed reasons, whether for therapy or research, downloading this material perpetuates abuse and must never be tolerated. I enjoyed Langham's acting however I hope he gets a long prison sentence and also the help that he desparately needs.

News like this is so difficult to take, especially when the defendant is someone you respect.

During the trial Langham was found not guilty of sexually abusing an under age girl,

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

Sports ground hounds

I like nothing more, especially in the Summer months than getting up early and going to a local sports ground for a bit of a jog. I'm definitely no Linford Christie, I just do it to keep fit.

I get very angered however by the amount of dog owners who use the park. Dogs seem to love running directly at joggers, i suppose the animals feel it fair game, they possibly feel a little threatened. The owners do little or nothing to prevent the dogs jumping, barking, and occasionally biting.

Councils throughout the UK provide excellent facilities for people trying to keep fit, for example in my local area they cut the grass almost every day. The facilities are totally spoilt by "animal lovers".

I'm not totally opposed to someone walking their dog on a lead on these grounds but they should never be allowed to roam free and has anyone heard of a "pooper scooper"???

Backside pinch no laughing matter

This Youtube video shows Channel 4 News reporter Sue Turton reporting on the flooding in Oxford. Always the professional, Sue keeps her cool when a passer by pinches her bottom. The chap has been identified and cautioned by local police.

Tuesday, 31 July 2007

Army pull out of NI

British army operations in Northern Ireland will end officially at midnight tonight after 38 years. A total of 763 soldiers lost their lives in the long running and bloody war but a new dawn of peace arrives now in Northern Ireland.

The generation of people currently at school have no idea of the troubles or of how people in Northern Ireland lived. At the time when i was a kid it was totally normal for me to see troops on the streets and when i travelled on holidays it was very very strange not to see this activity.

British services are deployed in such diverse areas around the globe now and still face the death with a professional and highly trained attitude.

Ministry of Defence

Devil "in" the great blue sea

I was away at the weekend for the second Ribraid of 2007. This weekend long event attracts RIB boat owners of all abilities to cruise to Scotland and Back from Co Down.

After a pleasant afternoon in Portpatrick we returned on a luxury cruiser, however the Irish sea wasn't about to treat us to a luxurious journey home. The winds blew up and we spent a few hours travelling back to Bangor in very rough weather. Although forcasted, this weather quickly appeared from nowhere.

It really brought home the message of how dangerous the sea is and how we must always take safety precautions. The message was really hit home when a power boat travelling from Portpatrick to Co Down on the same evening had to call the RNLI after they got lost. The coastguard's message, understandably is how important it is that every boat on the sea carries the correct navigation and communication equipment.

BBC NEWS - Coastguard warns on sea equipment

Full information and photo gallery at

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

No Thrills Airlines

Here we go again, more low cost carriers have today announced that they will be operating out of Belfast's two airports. Irish carriers Ryanair will operate from the George Best Belfast City Airport and Aer Lingus will fly from Belfast International Airport.

Ryanair promise to sell the first 10,000 tickets for £10 including taxes and charges to encourage the punters onto their routes.

A huge array of low cost "no frills" carriers operate from Belfast airports now, making it impossible to book a normal airline, they just don't exist anymore.

So for average prices of around £60 return you can queue up like a bunch of kids at the school bus stop, get herded onto an uncomfortable and packed airliner without any complimentary drinks, meals or service, oh and don't forget the screaming kid in seat 24D. The staff mostly treat you like animals because lets face it, your ticket is cheaper than the cattle lorry. But the plus side, you find your self in a European destination you'd never dreamt of visiting.

These types of carrier operations are now taking travellers across the Atlantic with many transcontinental airlines now charging for drinks and meals. What happened to service, what happened to a bit of luxury, what happened to sparkling wine in little plastic wine glasses and smoked salmon.

Soon even first and business class seats will be eroded to make way for the great unwashed. Okay that's a controversial statement but lets face facts, people who would traditionally have taken a short break up the coast or down to Newcastle or Dublin are now travelling to all sorts of exotic destinations. They don't need to travel and who have had just the same experience closer to home, keeping their money inside the local economy and helping local business.

No one is addressing the fact that low cost airlines are probably the biggest growing provider of harmful Carbon gases. Something needs to be done to stop this, and FAST. Following 11th Sept when all aircraft were grounded for just one day the planet was 1c warmer in the day and 1c colder at night.

We will always need air travel but lets save it for that REALLY special occasion. We need more thrill rides like the return of a Concorde type aircraft, more ways to throw caution to the wind instead of pennies to Prague!

Sunday, 22 July 2007

Horse It Into Ya Cynthia.....

Cos you're the girl for me

Len and myself have jest spent a weekend broadcast on Fuse FM to the populus of Rathfriland. What a wonderful village, friendly people and amazing scenery.

We also discovered a previously unheard of Phenomenon, Conal Gallen's piece "Horse it into ya Cynthia". This recording apparently was made famous by Hugo Duncan on his Radio Ulster Programme. This song is absolutely huge with the locals down in Rathfriland.

The song tells the tale of a young Irish man's love for a country girl, and how he encourages her to drink more by "Horsing it into her", it really has to be heard to be believed. A "youtuber" has produced a fonejacker style video, ENJOY.....

We also have a video somewhere of a chap line-dancing to this record which we'll publish here ASAP.

Thursday, 19 July 2007

Call the Pop Master

Every weekday on Radio Two, Ken Bruce presents a wonderful little quiz called Pop Master. A terribly British concept as the prizes are always a bit rubbish (a CD wallet or wind up radio) but it isn't the winning but the taking part!

In the afternoon it's Steve Wright's turn to run the Big Quiz, however this week Mark Radcliffe stands in for Steve and replaces the contest with "Mark My Words" again a competition where really its the taking part and not the winning that matters.

All competitions have been suspended by the BBC after a fresh inquiry produced another batch of faked phone-ins were found including BBC Sports Relief, Comic Relief, Children in Need and the Liz Kershaw show on BBC 6 Music.

BBC's official line is there is "No Excuse" for faking these items and it is a fair enough point but where am I going to get some pop trivia at 10.30am anymore?

The BBC really have to stop beating themselves up about this and get on with what they do best, producing the worlds best television, radio and internet news, comedy and documentaries.

While I would never tolerate these kind of phone in abuses I know it does go on, and from when presenting a live programme it can be very tempting to fake something like this.

Cards on the table, some time ago after no-one phoned in to receive a goody bag on Ulster Hospital Radio we got a presenter to call in from his mobile phone and answer the question. It wasn't honest but it did keep the dynamic of the programme working correctly. OH, it feels good to finally admit it, maybe i'll a full nights sleep at last!!!!

BBC suspends phone competitions - BBC ONLINE

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

FUSE FM Hits Rathfriland

If you are in the Rathfriland area this week and next tune into 106FM to hear FUSE FM.

Fuse FM is funded by the Ulster Scots Agency and has been setup and run by Citybeat Presenter David Gordon.

Andy & Len will be presenting Fuse on weekends.

Saturday, 14 July 2007

Friday, 13 July 2007

I love the smell of Nesbitt in the morning

Local actor James Nesbitt recently appeared on BBC television programme Something For The Weekend. This programme is great, i never watch cookery stuff but Something For The Weekend is a wonderful magazine show and is definately better than Steve Wright's Sunday Love Songs!

Nesbitt was discussing his youth spend in a loyalist marching band and the new BBC show Jekyll while cooking Asian food from Vietnam.

During the conversation James was asked if he'd ever been to Vietnam, he replied no, but he had been to Larne and it was much the same!

This immediately sparked local outrage including local DUP MP Sammy Wilson who sold BBC Radio Ulster "He is one of many people who leave Northern Ireland, make good and then find that the only thing they can do is denigrate the country they came from."

Nesbitt answered the radio show by Text from LA stating that it was a joke.

Can people not lighten up a bit? Comments like this are only meant as jokes, they aren't meant to cause hurt or denigrate the town. Did John Betjeman receive the same treatment from the people of Slough after his poem?

Perhaps Mr Wilson and the residents should consider why these comments were made, I mean, have you ever tried to get a drink in the town?

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Bonfire in Belvoir

This image was taken this evening (11th July 2007) near Belvoir estate in South Belfast. In my last post I touched on the environmental impact of these events and while my feelings on that still stand I did get a feeling of community spirit while I toured the various fires throughout the city this evening.

Educating communities on their environmental responsibilities is what we need to do, it would be terrible to ban these sorts events but people can have just as much fun burning a couple of pallets.

Bonfire worries

The above photograph was taken from BBC News Online, it shows the alarming Bonfire in Ballycraigy estate in Antrim which will be set on fire tonight to mark the start of the twelfth of July celebrations in Loyalist areas of Northern Ireland.

While i respect peoples right to celebrate their community this type of thing just shouldn't be tolerated. The Bonefire in question is 25ft in height and is built from wood waste along with rubber tyres. The effects of these fires throughout Northern Ireland will have a devestating effect on the local environment and on the health of local residents.

A small bonfire is being built today behind my home by local children, though quite small i'm sure that this will have an impact to our local ecology, cause death to animals and cause unnecessary risk to property and lives.

Housing Stock Shock!

Prime Minister Brown is breaking with tradition by telling MPs his plans months ahead of the Queens speech. And guess what, education, health and housing are at the top of his "to do" list, have we heard this before, maybe around about the time the Spice Girls were first damaging our ear drums ?

One of Brown's top policies will be to make homes "more affordable", however this has brought stern critics from the Conservatives running for the hills with the fear that the green belt will again be eroded with new homes being built further and further away from town centres.

Brown stated that we should go back to building levels seen in the 1950s, houses that are now being knocked down.

I love exploring old buildings when I travel, there is a huge number of homes, shops and attractions built 400 or more years ago which have stood the test of time right into the 2000s. Why are buildings less than 50 years old being knocked down and replaced.

Sustainability is to encourage building builders and developers to build homes which will still be used far into the future. Homes where in 200 years the original features will be marvelled at on BBC Two.

We must at all costs protect the little bit of green space left in the UK, I flew over England at night not so long ago and found that London now starts on Merseyside!

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

7/7 Lucky for some?

I was a little bit shocked at the weekend when an American in-law told me Saturday was the luckiest day in the year. I honestly hadn't thought that the second anniversary of the London terrorist attacks could be deamed in anyway lucky.

It seems maybe i'm wrong, not only did Londonderry man Denis Doherty scoop £1.6m from the National Lottery ('Crying child scooped me £1.6m' - BBC NEWS ONLINE but I won £10 on my thunderball ticket !!!!

It just got me thinking about how relaxed we are in the UK about things like this. If i'd gone to the average American and opened a champagne bottle on September 11 this year i'd probably get a punch in the face, but us Brits have a little bit of a stiff upper lip and maybe just a bit of the old "don't let the Bastards grind us down" mentality.

1st Podcast party

The Northern Ireland podcast is 1/2 a year old (well sort of), and has attracted thousands of listeners from all around the world including USA, Canada, Australia and the middle east.

To celebrate our half year we thought the country had planned huge street parties, parades and even bonfires but sadly thats for something else.

The Hit the North crew will be recording a special one off podcast party this coming weekend. This special gift to all our loyal fans will be recorded under the influence of just a little alcohol so hopefully it should be rather funny.

Download all our podcasts by visiting or archive section at

Thursday, 5 July 2007

Alan finally freed

I woke to the amazing news yesterday morning that Alan Johnston has been released by his captors in the Gaza Strip.

Alan has always been a top rate journalist, demonstrating the plight of some of the most down trodden people in the world.

It has been suggested that Tony Blair may now become some sort of Middle Eastern envoy, working exclusively for peace in the region. Will anyone in the Middle East trust Blair following Iraq?

Alan is a much better candidate for the Job. A man who has a huge knowledge about all states in the middle east and a man who is quite willing to stick his neck out.

Great to see you released Alan!

BBC Alan Johnston page

Monday, 25 June 2007

Alan Johnston's latest video released

The latest video of captured BBC reporter Alan Johnston has been released. Mr Johnston is shown wearing what appears to be an explosive vest and talks openly about how his captors say they will not waste any time in detonating the vest should a rescue attempt be made.

Alan said "Captors tell me that very promising negotiations were ruined when the Hamas movement and the British government decided to press for a military solution to this kidnapping."

Last week leader of Hamas in Gaza Ismail Haniya, said Mr Johnston's captivity could not carry on, and have threatened to use any force necessary to secure Mr Johnston's release.

Please lets just take a step back and consider all actions before rushing into this situation with force. While image of Alan held captive are extremely distressing for his family it is better that he remains alive rather than the possibility of a bungled attempt to release him.

The British government in talks with Hamas must ensure that force that could endanger Alan's life is not taken.

You can watch this distressing video on the BBC website or sign the online petition here.

Len enjoys liquid refreshment at airshow.

Taken during the airshow in Newtownards last weekend. The photo was taken just before the seriously cool Eurofighter blew our eardrums away !

Saturday, 23 June 2007

Cultured night out in Newtownards

Andy and Len celebrate the launch of FUSE FM 106.2, Newtownards brand new radio station on Friday night.

Thursday, 21 June 2007

Ulster's bedbug infestation

Increases in foreign travel and hotter weather have contributed to a huge rise in cases of Bedbugs throughout Northern Ireland.

The blood sucking bugs can grow to 5mm long and can hibernate for 1 year between a "feast".

In warm weather the numbers of bugs can multiply at a huge rate, living in mattresses, bed frames, headboards and even electrical fittings.

Fuse FM 106.2

A brand new radio station is coming to Newtownards in Northern Ireland this week.

Fuse FM is funded by the Ulster Scots Agency and has been setup and run by Citybeat Presenter David Gordon.

The two week RSL radio licence has been given to the station to help promote the Ulster Scots language in North Down. As well as Ulster Scots Language programming the station will also carry content in English.

Tune in from Friday 22nd June on 106.2FM.

Plus, hear Andy Kane presenter the breakfast show every Sunday!

Monday, 4 June 2007

"Authorized" to access all areas?

Frankie Dettori riding the 4-5 favourite Authorized finally won the Derby at the weekend. This is the first time since the 80s that a favourite has won the race and the first Derby win for Frankie.

BBC 1 television showed the race live on Saturday afternoon. After the race of course they interviewed the trainer and Frankie, then the camera followed Dettori backstage to the dressing room area.

Frankie was overcome with joy and while talking to fellow jockeys backstage he swore three times on live saturday afternoon television, the camera also panned the dressing room and caught another Jockey totally naked !

Frankie can in no way be blamed for his language, the BBC shouldn't have allowed these backstage events to go out live without any editing.

Everything these days on television has to be "Reality", the punters no longer want to just see a sporting event, they want it from every angle and to hear every opinion, this really doesn't enhance our viewing at all and the extra cameras, equipment and staff add to the licence fee.

Saturday, 2 June 2007

Big Fat Donor Liar

Endemol, the Dutch inventors of the Big Brother format and announced that the Big Donor Show that they showed on Dutch TV this week was a hoax.

The show attracted huge condemnation, especially from organ Donor charities however Endemol claim that it was an attempt to highlight the issue of donor shortages.

TV presenters in Holland encouraged viewers to text in their vote to decide who should get the terminally ill patient's organs. I don't know if these texts were premium rate or not but if this happened in the UK we'd all want our money back, I think the true message of the show would be lost !!!

Friday, 1 June 2007

It was 80 years ago today...

....That Sergeant Pepper told the band to play.

One of the most wonderful and iconic albums ever made is 40 years old today. Listeners to my Wednesday night radio show will now just exactly how much I adore this piece of musical genius.

The Beatle's "Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" hit first place in Rolling Stone magazine's top 500, not bad for an album which cost £25,000 to record. The first rock album to win Grammy Awards it wasn't without controversy, especially for drug references (Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds), allegations that Lennon strongly denied.

Peter Blake designed the wonderful cover featuring a collage of cardboard cut-outs representing famous people throughout history. Both Hitler and Jesus were set to appear on the cover but were pulled at the last minute, a wonderful photo exists of the cutout's being held at the side of the studio during preparations of the photograph.

If you don't own it, buy it today!

Wednesday, 30 May 2007

Sleeping Policemen

Yet again the Road Service of Northern Ireland about a decade behind the rest of the UK, much like every other agency over here.

In East Belfast, Bangor and Newtownards the number of speed bumps is unbelievable with some roads designated as residential Rat-Runs loaded with humps, even in areas where it is physically impossible for motorists to go over 10mph (junctions, etc).

All taxi drivers in these areas complain that their vehicle suspension gets damaged quickly no matter how slow they go (you try driving a car full of people over bumps all night), people with medical complaints find speed humps distressing and Ambulance drivers find that it takes much longer to get to life threatening situations. I drive a motorcycle with very hard suspension and find these bumps awful, no matter how slow I go. Where I live means that I have to drive over an average of 20 humps a day to go about my normal business.

Councils all across England and Wales are re-thinking the idea of speed bumps (Council to scrap speed humps - BBC NEWS ONLINE) so why the hell are the Road Service in this country planting more and more of these damn things?

It won't save lives! It will frustrate the already heavily taxed motorist!

Ok, my solution if you want to reduce speeding, more speed cameras in residential areas, this way the speeders are punished, not everyone!

Friday, 25 May 2007

Who's 'at?

Has anyone noticed the telephone manner of people, especially in Northern Ireland these days is unbelievable?

Perhaps some sort of telephone etiquette classes are called for or maybe we should go back to the old days of answering by saying your phone number, alas gone are the days of three digit exchanges !

Monday, 21 May 2007

Sharks in Irish Sea

Last weekend saw first International Ribraid of 2007, this is an event which attracts powerboaters from all over Europe and with all abilities to cruise safely with other boaters.

A RIB or Rigid Inflatable Boat is a powerboat with large rubber tubes at the sides to allow for quick cornering and stability. RIBs are used throughout the world by military and law inforcement agencies, but are fastly becoming a very popular sport and pleasure boat as well. Some RIBs can travel over 70 Knots and carry 12 or more people.

Yesterday I travelled with the Ribraid to the Isle of Man and back. It was a bit of a rough trip but worth every second, especially after our encounter with Basking Sharks just off the Coast of the Isle of Man.

I've included a picture of these wonderful, huge and gentle creatures, taken yesterday.


Wednesday, 9 May 2007

Len at podcast recording

He's now called Ulster's voice of reason!

Len broadcasts weekly on the Northern Ireland Podcast along with Andy Kane

Virtual Student

A new "virtual" degree course has been launched by Essex University when students can attend virtual lectures without ever leaving home.

This is tying in with government plans to widen the access to university education throughout the UK, however I can't help thinking of something we are going to be talking about on this weeks Podcast.

The Universal Life Church allows any online punter to become a Priest, Minister, Rabbi or Pastor, all from the luxury of their living room.

We can attain just about every title or accolade now online in next to no time, i'm not saying that something like the Universal Life Church is going to affect religion to any great end but Virtual Degrees may allow extra attempts at cheating and will lower the status of people to attained their degrees the old fashioned way. Hmmmm, or is that what they said when the Open University came along ?

Monday, 7 May 2007

Mexico City Bares all for record photo

A staggering 18,000 naked mexicans lay down on the ground in the City's main plaza (Plaza of the Constitution) yesterday to be photographed by artist Spencer Tunick.

Tunick has shot many similar photographs around the world featuring mass nudity, he said, "What a great moment for the Mexican art scene". His previous record attempts include 7,000 nudes in Barcelona in 2003.

Local resident Lorena Torres, 24, said "This is an expression of pride, People want to be part of the modern art world."

Tunick has previously been arrested for staging similar events in the US.

Is this art ?? No, and at 7:20am it's far too early for that sort of behaviour !!

Saturday, 5 May 2007

Bobby Pickett Dies aged 69

Bobby "Boris" Pickett passed away at the end of last month of leukemia. Bobby's one hit wonder song the "Monster Mash" originally recorded in 1962 reached number 1 on the US Billboard charts three times and is a Hallowe'en favourite to this day.

Pickett's celebrity fans include Bob Dylan who said during his radio show last October "Our next artist is considered a one-hit wonder, but his one hit comes back year after year,".

Friday, 4 May 2007

Lost in Transmission

During Children in Need last year an Auction "that money can't buy" took place. The auction raised a huge amount of money for good causes with lots such as Connoisseur Cooking lessons with Raymond Blanc, Ultimate Combat of a RAF flight simulator and VIP tickets to a Cliff Richard Concert.

One of the key prizes was the Pudsey Voyage on the Queen Mary 2. The lucky winners donated £35,000 and have this week been enjoying their cruise in the company of Canon Roger Royle and BBC Radio 2 daytime presenter Ken Bruce.

Highlight of the cruise for listeners was the chance to hear Ken broadcast live from the luxury cruise ship as they sailed across the Atlantic. Thanks to amazing modern technology Mr Bruce is able to broadcast on board the ship, sending a satellite signal bouncing all the way to South America, then all the way to Sweden and over to the studio's in London. Music is still played from the studio in the UK to preserve quality.

Unfortunately it seemed like a great idea (although possibly a little bit of a waste of Licence payers money, but lets not mention that) however the signal has broken up numerous times during transmission. The works occasion saw the News Reader back in London having to ask finish off the Popmaster quiz.

Next time Ken, leave the Microphone at home, spoiling Popmaster is unforgivable !!

Bruce on board ship.

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

In Norn Iron its called "Feel Scundered!!!!!"

This is the funniest thing i've seen on daytime television for ages. Ricky Gervais is interviewed on the Richard and Judy show. Fast forward to about 3 minutes and watch the fun. A camera man has been making signs behind Richard's back all series, he thinks Richard hasn't seen but he has and Ricky breaks it all on air!

Watch the guy try not to cry!!! Priceless!

Friday, 27 April 2007

Its Official - Ferraris sound better than Snow Patrol

Snow Patrol's latest hit "Open your Eyes" features a film made by Claude Lelouch called C'etait un Rendezvous.

Lelouch, a film maker found that after filming in Paris he had some previous film left over. He strapped a film camera to the front of his Ferrari 275 and drove through the very early morning streets of Paris at break neck speeds.

The effect is amazing and Claude's Ferrari in my opinion definately sounds better than Snow Patrol!!!

Thursday, 26 April 2007

A rare glimpse of tranquility!

This photo was taken during a visit to the Copeland islands. Rarely can such quiet, still peace be experienced. A wonderful time capsule land.

OFT examines bank charges

A study by the Office of Fair Trading is to look into the charges that banks impose on their customers.

New measures could be introduced to stop banks charging high fees for unauthorised overdrafts or "bounced" cheques. Banks warn that a curb on charging fees for these offences could herald the end of free banking accounts and see the re-introduction of current account charges.

I, like many, many people have never bounced a cheque, missed a direct debit, taken an unauthorised overdraft or committed any of these banking "sins". Why should I and people like me be charged for the bad practices of others? Lets keep charges the way they are, if a ever break a rule i'll expect to pay for it!

Indian arrest warrant for Gere

BBC News online reports today that "An Indian court has issued an arrest warrant for Hollywood actor Richard Gere after he kissed Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty in public. "

Gere shocked and outraged many people by Kissing the Bollywood star many times during an Aids awareness event in Delhi earlier this month.

Richard Gere is the latest celeb after Jade Goodie to have effigies of himself burnt by protestors in Mumbai. He could face up to three months in prison as well as a fine.

Personally I hope they throw the book at him, too many westerners ignore local customs and traditions that many people hold dear. Our world would be a much better place if people respected cultural differences.

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

Myspace Addiction

For years i've been wondering what the hell this myspace thing is all about. I setup an account last week and i've been addicted ever since. My profile is Bingostar, Please feel free to join as a friend and send me annoying comments.

This is exactly what I was taking about last week with Web 2.0. It allows regular punters to communication with not only their friends but also their heroes!

Saturday, 21 April 2007

Web 2.0

The buzz phrase at the moment is User Based Content and the internet is just filling up with sites like Wikipedia, blogs, myspace, bebo, etc, etc, etc. This new internet revolution allows ordinary people being given the chance to have their own say.

The most important invention to mankind is disputiably the printing press, enabling a message to be spread through a community, the internet had the same sort of ethos but on a global scale.

Web 2.0 - User Based Content does give us an awful lot of crap but this is many even more amazing that the printing press or the internet combined. No completely ordinary people with no web design experience can take have an hour in an internet cafe, edit their blog or setup a MySpace account and instantly get their message to a HUGE global audience.

Is this the stuff of revolutions ??

Oh and if a podcast and blog isn't enough we've gone on Myspace now too, i'm sure this'll be worth a mention on next week's podcast.

Friday, 20 April 2007

Brian Ferry Nazi Gaffe

The fact that I'm posting this on Hitler's Birthday is purely a coincidence I can assure you.

Brian Ferry has ben blasted in the press this week following comments made in German Magazine Welt about the aesthetics of the Nazi machine, oh and his nickname for his studio, "the Führerbunker".

Ferry’s comments were :

My God, the Nazis knew how to put themselves in the limelight... Leni Riefenstahl's movies, Albert Speer's buildings, the mass parades and the flags - just amazing. Really beautiful .

While I feel Brian’s comments were misjudged I really can’t see similar comments made by more esoteric celebrities like Russell Brand having quite such a shock factor. Give Brian a break!

Thursday, 19 April 2007

Not thought it through, have they?

Latest Government plans are to "Tag" vulnerable and elderly people and allow satellites to monitor the behaviour of Dementia and Alzheimer sufferers.

Is this just another example of the Government announcing the first thing thats come into their rather thick heads? It just has the feeling of a plan not thought through.

Ultimately I guess the plan is to Microchip everyone and follow them with cameras creating a mixture of Channel 4 and George Orwell's versions of "Big Brother"!!!

Monday, 16 April 2007

A very small chopper!

Generation Gap can be bridged.... sometimes.

I just couldn't believe the most recent attempt of The Cumbria tourist board to try and attract younger visitors to one of the most beautiful areas of the UK using a rapping Squirrel.

"MC Nutts" uses a rap version of a 200 year old Wordsworth Poem to attempt to attract a younger group of visitors, classed by the tourist board as "The Youtube Generation". Needless to say it just looks and sounds awful. Check it out at

A really successful attempt to bridge the generation gap has been made by a group of Pensioners calling themselves "The Zimmers". These OAPs have covered The Who track "My Generation" with really brilliant results. The video was produced to highlight the plight of many elderly people in the UK who are forgotten by society.

THE ZIMMERS - My Generation

P.S. Who really wants "the youtube generation" cluttering up our nations beauty spots ????


Sunday, 15 April 2007

Call to raise drinking age to 21

Public Policy Research (PPR) today say that it's time to implement more severe drinking regulations in the UK, one measure it suggests is to raise the drinking age to 21. I believe, maybe i'm wrong, that the only two countries worldwide with a drinking age this high are USA and Malaysia.

Yet again the UK doggedly follow along behind America in introducing tighter policies that just make something more taboo and in the end more attractive to young people.

In recent years we've adopted so much rubbish from the US. For example

  • Popular Culture, "Gansta" Rap and Violent Youth Culture

  • Drugs

  • Aggressive foreign policy

  • etc, etc, etc

Is it time to start following our European neighbours?  Countries that still have drink, drug and violence problems but definately not on the scale of the UK, and with one golden rule RESPECT! Adopting a more social aspect to small amounts of Alcohol at special occasions and family meals might remove the many of the taboos that young people associate with drink.

BBC News | Health | Call to raise drinking age to 21

Saturday, 14 April 2007

The Grand National

Recently I was working in a field neighbouring a horse racing point to point event. Following weeks of rain and bad weather this event took place after the officials deamed the course good for racing.

Many horses fell and I had the extremely unfortunate experience of having to watch a beast shot because its injuries were so severe.

After that event I was very much turned off horse racing however today, like so many people in the UK and Ireland and across the world I placed a bet on one of horse racing biggest events "The Grand National". Needless to say I didn't win !

My point being, even though I fine horse racing a dangerous and cruel sport I still visited the bookies like all the other punters. Like some many others I was drawn along by the crowd. Maybe this is why we need elected members of parliment to take an open minded decision on crunch issues?!?!

I still feel that horse racing should be banned, but next year i'll still place my bet like everyone else. Sorry!

Reply :

Teachers vs

There is so much in the press at the present time, especially from the centre right about how organisations like, myspace, bebo, etc have to moderate their content to protect school teachers. One question. WHY ?

These types of forums were created with what I consider to be the greatest asset of the internet, freedom and just a little anarchy. Long before the commercial giants started using the web the internet was filled with quirky, obscure and just plain weird content.

If you don't like it, pull the plug or even better still, why not post a video response. Surely teachers aren't getting worried that they aren't as sarcastic as some their unruly charges? It is time teaching professionals realised that education is more than a job, its a vocation, it is never easy but maybe, if done right the rewards benefit all of society.

Reply :