Thursday, 21 April 2011

Deary me it seems an age since I last put pen to paper or brain to blog.

I trust you all had very Happy Easters and celebrated the Royal wedding with much pomp and patriotism or just celebrated the fact that we all had an extra day off work!

Before Easter we had another pleasant run in with the Cake Fairy.

Yes, Jill spoilt us once more and this time it was with delicious chocolate brownies that were so scrummy that the whole lot was scoffed within two days. Send out for the chocolate police, I think I may have eaten more than my fair share!

Two other people who wanted to express their heartfelt delight at our Easter treats were In-House Voices Mark Straker, pictured here manically shoving a piece of brownie in his usually professional tool otherwise known as ‘the gob’...........

......and Eleanor Howell who is doing her best ‘Dartford Tunnel eating brownie’ impression.

Thanks again Jill – you may come and sprinkle your luscious cake dust at VOX Towers whenever the fancy takes you.

So we had our Easter Chocs but what of bunnies , chicks and other such festive connotations?

Sadly we don’t get many bunnies or fluffy baby chicks hopping around Soho but what we do have in abundance are the scurvy of the London skyline, the plague of the city pavements, the half witted grey winged beasts of the bins – Pigeons!

A while back I posted a picture of two little eggs sat neatly outside our building on the ventilation roof. Unfortunately we aren't sure what actually happened to those particular new beginnings but fear they may have become Eggs Benedict for a predator pigeon who was sick of eating Macdonald’s and fancied some haute cuisine (and who can blame him!).

It looks like the canny mother to be may have had a second bash as recently Charles discovered that if you poked your head outside the bottom floor window and turned a sharp right you can see two little furry beings staring at you with beady eyes from a cleverly positioned nest.

The landlord has even put roof building repairs on hold until the birds have literally flown the nest – and who says city folk don’t have a heart for nature!

So there you have it - the current pets of A1 VOX – may they turn out to be respected pillars of the community, and if they have any sense, migrate further afield to the suburbs where the rich pickings are to be had and all pigeons are adorned with shiny coats.

James Buckley of The Inbetweeners and Rock and Chips fame returned to the fourth floor last week looking slightly worse for wear it has to be said. I believe he may have been out partying the night before following the announcement that he had been nominated for a Bafta for his role as Jay Cartwright in The Inbetweeners.

Still he soldiered on and recorded his lines with consummate professionalism. I do not know, neither do I care to find out, if he did in fact hurl following completion of said session.

James is currently filming for the The Inbetweeners movie out in Malia, Crete and the release date for the funny extravaganza is set for August of this year. So get all your Bus W***** signs at the ready as the boys hit the red carpet this summer. I can’t blooming wait.

The week before 'the wedding' we had the honour of welcoming in none other than ‘gravelly voice extraordinaire’ herself.....Mariella Frostrup.

Mariella is a Norwegian-born journalist and television presenter, well known on British TV and radio, mainly for arts programmes. Research to find 'the perfect voice' has indicated that Frostrup's voice is one of the best and also deemed one of the sexiest. Her voice is often used on TV commercials.

She writes for The Guardian, The Observer, The Mail on Sunday, Harpers & Queen and the New Statesman. She is also an art critic and has been on the judging panels for the Man Booker Prize, the Orange Prize for Fiction and the Evening Standard British Film Awards.

She also chaired a question-and-answer session in 2007 with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, at the Labour Party Conference in Bournemouth, Dorset.

This is one quick thinking dame. Sharp yet Sexy – me likey!

However Mariella can also poke fun at herself as her roles in Absolutely Fabulous and Coupling clearly show.

On arriving at VOX Towers Mariella apologised profusely for having turned up in her gym gear and arriving all hot and sweaty after cycling straight from the gym to see us.

She kept asking if there would be any clients attending the session. On being told that it would only be us simple folk at A1 VOX seeing her Lycra clad wares, she visibly relaxed and chatted freely about escaping the Royal Wedding madness in London and heading off to the sanctity of Scotland. Uch Aye the No Wedding Noo!

I therefore didn't think it appropriate to ask her to pose for the blog, but what I did get for you lucky, lucky people out there is the lipstick stained coffee cup that Mariella was drinking from.

Aren't I good to you!

So we have had a few names put forward for the office plant.

Iain from Real Radio Scotland would like us to name the plant after a fellow green leafed friend that once adorned and oxygenated his office but went the way of the bin once the baby bio stopped working and there was nothing anyone could do – so Flemming may yet live on vicariously through one of the new A1 VOX plants. Thank you Iain and I hope this goes some way to healing the gaping hole in your soiled heart.

So endeth another round up of comings and goings at A1 VOX.

Tune in next week to see why Will Mellor's shorts are jangling (!) and get hot off the press updates on Pigeon-Gate.

Ta Ra for now.....Ta Ra!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Ello, ello to all you Foxy Voxingtons out there.

They say that 3 of the most stressful things in life are changing jobs, having a baby and moving.

Well, I definitely agree on the last point!

As the sun blazed down on Soho last Saturday, myself, Chris, Charles and Jess were busy shifting, pulling apart and re-building A1 VOX.

It is now rising like a phoenix out of the ashes – or it will be once we are done - but at least the first phase of moving the office is now complete.

I am now the proud owner of a brand spanking new swivel chair, keyboard and mouse, and have more room than I know what to do with.

Next week we will buying an office plant and will be asking all you folk out there to name it for us. That’s right people, a little piece of A1 could be named by you, or indeed after you.....oh the kudos!

The stationery cupboard was a particularly tricky customer to move. With stainless steel innards and rolling doors, this was one heavy duty customer.

Chris and I managed to transport the desks and filing cabinets down with a little bit of ‘from me to you’ but this cupboard had us beat. By the end of Friday Chris and I wanted to push it down the stairs, probably taking out the whole staircase in the process and maybe one of us too! So we waited until Saturday when the brawn and tenacity of Chris coupled with the brains and strategic thinking of Mr Nove came into perfect play.

It was like watching an episode of the crystal maze where you had to work out how to unassemble and then reassemble said cupboard within the ticking of sand. However, there was no bald crazy man with a stopwatch and the only prize at the end of it was a sweaty and relieved Chris and Charles and a happy clapping Jess and Sarah.

Chris actually ended up lying in the cupboard at one point to get the door runners in place and as you can see from this picture, Charles nearly succumbed to madness by emanating Jack Nicholson in The Shining!

So A1 VOX is about to get a re-vamp and don’t worry cause all you loyal supporters out there will be the first to hear of our re-launch as and when it happens.

So everything has been a bit crazzzy to say the least this week with new systems in place and me being a whole floor down from my usual spot.

We still played host to a number of familiar faces including Redd Pepper, Andrew Scott, Simon Lowe and Jayne Sharpe.

Another familiar face that we haven’t seen at A1 for a little while was Shelley Longworth.

Shelley is a British comedy actress and voiceover artist. More recently appearing in ITV's hit romcom Benidorm, she has appeared in the comedy sketch shows Tittybangbang on BBC Three and Angelo's on Five, voiced characters in the children's TV show Fimbles and filmed her own comedy series with her brother Adam Longworth, It's Adam and Shelley, which was broadcast on BBC Three in 2007. Seems this is a lady of many talents.

Shelley has been coming to A1 VOX for many a year so we were absolutely delighted to hear she had landed the role of Sam in Benidorm.

Her character is from up North, near Doncaster. Most people would probably identify with seeing someone like Sam on the street. But Benidorm being Benidorm Shelley had to wear some pretty risqué costumes. Think see-through tops, lacy bras and hideous swimming costumes:

“I had to get over all my body hang-ups and just say, 'I am this character and I'm pretty damn hot right now'. My boyfriend actually asked if I could keep one of the swimming costumes!"

So it seems the mental compliments to ones self paid off Miss Longworth.

“She’s got it...yeah baby she’s got it.....I’m your Venus...I’m your fire...your desire”

So can you guess who Shelley met whilst filming in sunny Benidorm..................

Only Blooming Bop-tastic - Bananarama!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am too jealous for words.

I remember sitting cross legged in front of the telly with my finger poised on the ‘record’ button as the big hairy cornflake (Dave Lee Travis) introduced them.... and then out they came, big hair and attitude flying with enough Elnett hairspray to kill a field of wheat, wearing teeny tiny crop tops that just about covered their upper lady parts. Pure Pop Genius.

But enough of my jaunts down memory lane, let’s get back to our featured artist Shelley.

So you met Bananarama – tell us all......

“Yes! We did a scene together in Neptunes and then we went out for a meal together. They were great together those girls. Unfortunately I didn't meet Cilla Black, but everyone else said that she was a treat and really up for it. She wasn't worried about the script or anything like that. And Denise Welch as well, I did a scene with her and went out for a few drinks as well. She was great fun."

So it seems this is one hot gig if you pardon the pun. Learning lines on the beach with your fellow cast mates, singing karaoke in the evenings and wining and dining with all the other celebrities coming on to cameo for the show. Well done Shelley, it seems you have your flip flops firmly in the sand with this one.

London News:

So you may have heard about a certain wedding that takes place in London this year?

Yes mine is coming up as is Mr Nick Chambers, Mr Mark Strakers and Eleanor Howell who's planning her nuptials for this time next year.

But as much as all four of us are planning our perfect days, none of us will be having the marching band of the Ministry of Defence playing as we arrive at the church, large screens in Hyde Park and Trafalgar Square will not be showing every moment of our big day from Auntie Sue ripping her tights (whilst being a little OTT on welcome drinkies) to tragic dad dancing of the male variety, and we certainly will not have the likes the Archbishop of Canterbury marrying any one of us!

I am sure that by the time August comes round we will all be sick of the sight of bunting and the colours red, white and blue but until then let’s engross ourselves in British Patriotism as we become part of something that is sure to have the whole world looking to London.

Go get em Wills and Kate. May you have much fun, friendship and flipping good times!

So please don’t forget any plant names will be kindly received and if you aren’t lucky in naming our oxygen giving friend then maybe we could erect a placard on a drawer of the filing cabinet in your honour instead.

So this week has been a case of Blood, Sweat and Tears, but not a leg warmer I sight – till next time ladies and gentleman.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

I am sooooo sorry people. It seems I didn’t post my Blog last week – what a doofus! You will now have to put up with a quick fire round of the last two weeks in one hit – can you handle it!?

The ball of fire that shoots down Vitamin D disappeared last week and I felt I had spoken too soon about Spring being...well...sprung!

It also seemed that those nasty ruddy bugs were still doing the rounds too as Miranda Hart, who was due at our studio, had to call in sick. So no sun, and no fun – what a depressing way to begin the week.

Ah well, things can only get better right?!

You can always rely on Mr Stephen Critchlow to put smiles back on faces.

I received an e-mail from him announcing the opening of his show (as featured in the Blog a couple of weeks ago) at The Salisbury Playhouse – The Game of Love and Chance, last Thursday.

Quick Overview of the Play:

Silvia’s father, Mr Prowde, is keen to marry her off – and has invited an eligible young bachelor to the family home for the weekend. However, Dorant, the beau in question, has decided that he’d like to take a look at his intended in disguise – and so swaps places with his manservant. Unbeknownst to him, though, Silvia has had a similar idea – and exchanges clothes with her maid.

And so begins a Sixties house party where nothing – and no-one – is to be taken at face value.

Critch tells me that it’s been fun rehearsing with lots of chases. Plus he is doing a dance curtain call where he looks like Frankenstein trying to dance....why?....quite simply because he’s rubbish at it. So if you fancy a giggle with Critch, and at his expense, check out the link below for info on ticket purchases.

Last week we had another of Charles’ Radio 2 chums in at A1.

Richard Allinson is passionate about radio. His first broadcasts were at university, the perfect distraction from his Honours degree in Law. After establishing himself at Capital Radio Richard could also be heard overseas on BBC World Service and BFBS and actually seen on VH-1.

Radio 2 then invited him along for the Sony Award-winning Late Show and the record-breaking Saturday afternoon sequence. Richard’s new Saturday and Sunday shows for Radio 2 alongside ‘Allinson’s Albums’ for BBC regional radio ensures he now enjoys very short weekends.

Richard also went down a storm when he covered Chris Evans’ breakfast show.

One listener said: 'Richard Allinson's show was quite superb this morning. No shouting, no gimmicks, just great music selection and light chat and banter. The guy breezes in and delivers a show that makes the slot sound like his own.'

Another added: 'It is a great way to start the day - gentle wake up instead of the discordant rousting’.

Well, well – it seems Mr Allinson caused quite the scandal!

Mr Keith Barron was the next likely lad up the stairs at VOX towers. In an uncanny coincidence he is godfather to our very own Joan Walkers other half, Ben! Small showbiz world eh!

Keith couldn’t be more Yorkshire if he tried – thank goodness we had the full strength Yorkshire tea on hand to dish out to him on his arrival.

Keith has played leads and supporting leads in a number of British films and television shows. He got his start on the stage after honing his craft at the Sheffield Playhouse.

His major breakthrough was as Nigel Barton, an avatar of the writer Dennis Potter in his plays Stand Up, Nigel Barton and Vote, Vote, Vote for Nigel Barton in BBC1’s The Wednesday Play anthology series. He made many one-off television appearances, from Redcap and Z Cars in the mid 60s, to Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased), The New Avengers and The Professionals.

On the big screen, he appeared in Baby Love (1968) and the David Puttnam film Melody (1971) as Mr Latimer. One of his best-loved and best-remembered roles was in the 1980s sitcom Duty Free.

Well we can see why Ben turned out to be a keeper Joan. If Keith had anything to do with his growing up then he would have had a good, solid, no nonsense role model to look up to – by ‘eck they don’t make em like they used to!

This week we must give a big shout out and huge CONGRATULATIONS to one of A1 VOX’s firm friends and guest voice artists - Mr David McFetridge. David has become a dad for the first time.

Is it a boy? or is it a girl?’s only one of each - the greedy so and so! Ah, the luck of the Irish.

Molly and Finn were bought into the world in February and for all those doubting the good powers of the mother in law...think again,...especially if conceiving twins, as David says they would be more than a little stuffed without his good wife’s mother on hand to feed and bottom wipe. Move over Supernanny we’ve got Supergran on the case. I get the distinct impression that David is never going to let her leave!

We had another visitor this week in the form of the Cake Fairy.

No I haven’t gone completely bonkers. Jill, friend of A1 VOX, regular reader of our blog, and herself from renowned London institution The Royal Society, dropped on by proffering cakes from a meeting where, shock, horror, baked goods had been left over.

Not ones to leave a destitute welsh cake to a probable destiny of black bin liners and stale coffee, we offered to help put them in a good home. A lovely ‘end of day’ treat Jill. You know where we are if you ever need to re-house any other golden fluffies!

So as we end this weeks blog the sun is starting to get friendly with us all again and new exciting times are afoot at A1 as we expand our VOX-tastic Empire and take hold of the third floor.

This weekend will see us heaving and cajoling furniture, so look out for more details and photographic evidence in next week’s Blog as we aim to take over the vocal world. MWAH MWAH MWAH.


Ghost, the tragic love story starring Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore, tugged at a million tear ducts when it appeared on the big screen 21 years ago....that's right folks...21 years ago!

Now it has become the latest cinema hit to be recreated on stage. But can it recapture the magic?

It is one of Hollywood's classic weepies - a young couple are in the full flush of love and start a life together, with a raunchy pottery-making session along the way. Arts and Crafts never looked so good!

Then he is killed, becomes a ghost and has to find a way to communicate with his beloved from the other side. This is where Whoopi Goldberg’s character comes in to play as the hapless psychic begrudgingly helping the couple bring justice for Sam's murder.

The stage version of Sam and Molly's story received its world premiere in Manchester last Monday, where it will be seen before transferring to London's West End in June.

Bruce Joel Rubin has adapted his script for the theatre, while Eurythmics star Dave Stewart has co-written the songs.

Stewart admits he was "a bit put off" by the glossy Hollywood production when the film came out. But he has since been won over by the story's emotional strength.

"I've seen it a few times and every time I see it, everybody cries. Everybody," the musician says. "I haven't seen one person not cry when they've seen it. Well, we make that 10 times worse on the stage."

‘Oh....... my darling...I’ve hungered for.... your touch’...I’m welling up already!

Bruce Joel Rubin says:

“Most musicals that I've seen recently don't work for me - they don't seem to require the music”

Adapting films for the stage is far from a novelty. The Lion King and Billy Elliot are among those that have hit a winning formula, while a long list of others - from Dirty Dancing and Legally Blonde to Shrek and The Wedding Singer - have entertained fans. But many more have struggled to make the leap.

Rubin, used Billy Elliot as a template when translating Ghost for the stage, and cites Hairspray and Wicked as examples of shows that did not work so well.

"Not everything needs to be sung," he says. "Most musicals that I've seen recently don't work for me. They don't seem to require the music. There is music, but why bother?

"But when somebody can't speak the words, or the emotion is so profound that words don't do it justice, song and melody become the only way to get it out."

I for one have to admit that I bloody loved this film and am more than a little intrigued to see how the stage version is received.

Ghost opens at Manchester Opera House before moving to the Piccadilly Theatre in London on 22 June.

So there we have it gang – babies, Frankenstein, a ghost and fairy cakes. Another magical whirlwind of A1 VOX sparkly dust.

Join us next week when we will probably be up to our eyeballs in actual dust after the big move – so wish us well and join us next week.