Tuesday, 11 December 2012

December Swan song

Ho Ho Ho and a ‘vocalicious’ welcome to the A1, festive blog.

I am sad to say that this will be my final insight to the happy goings on at Soho’s friendliest studio as I will be leaving A1 VOX next Friday.

I would like to take this opportunity to say a mahoosive thanks to you all for following the blog, and for being such great friends of A1 VOX.  This will be the last blog of 2012, and my last ever (sniff, sniff), but A1 VOX is going nowhere so watch this space.

We have the lovely Cass joining the team in the New Year, and boy wonders, Jamie and Tom, will be running the show until Christmas, so never fear people you are in good hands.  

So whilst temperatures drop and winter tightens its grip on Britain, A1 VOX’s Lucy Scott, (aka Petrie), has been at it again.  By ‘at it’ I mean bracing herself with fellow swimmers as they brake the ice over a frozen pond and take a morning dip – as you do!?

If you happened to be in the Farnham, Surrey area last week you may have stumbled across the mad members of Lucy’s self made group the Frensham Aquatic Recreational Team.   These crazy dudes brave sub-zero temperatures and wade out into the chilled waters of Frensham Great Pond in Surrey several times a week – whatever the weather.

So as they all submerged themselves into the icy depths of nature Lucy explained:

‘It makes you feel euphoric for the day, although it takes several hours for your core temperature to warm up’

Mulled wine after a brisk winter walk makes me euphoric, so I think I will be sticking with that if it’s all the same to you Lucy.  Brave, brave lady!

Lucy and her group even made it into the metro with their chill-tastic antics.  Check out their photo:

Chris has been busy in the studio as we have just acquired Source Connect. 

Source Connect enables audio professionals to work with clients and talent from all over the world in real time.  Studios can affordably record, collaborate, or monitor sessions anywhere in the globe using Windows and Mac.

We also have our Skype line in place for anyone who prefers to link into a session that way.  We recently had an Italian and an American client who both chose this method and were very happy with the end result. 

 It means that there is no additional cost for calling in on a phone patch, the artist and client can see, as well as hear one another, and this creates a splendid interactive environment in which to work.

A1 VOX - Technically Sound – we may be small but we are pride ourselves on keeping abreast of the latest ‘this and that’.

Part One of the refurb has now been completed and I for one cannot wait to drop in at A1 VOX and see the continued jazzing up at 20 Old Compton Street.   

Plans are afoot for the second studio in 2013, so plenty of positive changes to A1 VOX come the New Year.

It has been nice seeing some of my favourite guest voice artists in my final weeks at the studio.  Jayne Sharpe has been in.  She always brings a smile to my face…and often wet socks for us to dry (don’t ask)…..Redd Pepper always entertains with his deep voice, and diet advice, and I am glad that I got to hear him in action one more time before leaving.

Being in this job you get to meet such a range of people and celebrity, and the day to day variation is phenomenal.  I will never have a job like this again and will cherish all the memories of the last five years. 

Working with so many lovely people – many of them reading this blog right now – has been the best part of all.  It is a truly lovely industry to work in and I have this blog to look back on whenever I feel A1 homesick.

A big mention has to go to Charles for employing me in the first place and for being a great boss man and all round top bloke!  I will miss my daily musings with both him and Chris, and of course all the shenanigans of the wonderful A1 VOX Team.

So all I have left to say is cheerio to one and all – it has been an absolute BLAST........DIVE!!!!!!!!!

Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year.

Sarah and all the team at A1 VOX.

Monday, 5 November 2012

November Musings

I am writing this sitting next to a roaring fire with a crisp apple juice on the go and thinking over last weeks happenings at A1 VOX.

As always, it has been a mixed, and joyful bag of delights.

Phase one of 'refurb-gate' is now complete – HUZZAH!

We can plunge forward into the cool part of deciding chairs, tables, and décor, to go with the funky, streamlined rooms. Exciting times at A1 VOX, and it sure is a wonderful  thing to be working in a fresh environment.

Plenty of people have trodden a path through the A1 door this week but perhaps the biggest challenge of all was welcoming English actor, writer, and director, Mr Steven Berkoff.

Steven has a reputation for being utterly careless about conventional, conversational decorum, so it was with some trepidation that Chris and I geared up for the early morning session.

Steven arrived and was a little gruff to begin with but Chris and I turned on the A1 charm....not under, or overdoing it you understand….and the three of us seemed to find a common ground.

In fact, once settled, he only really proffered (through the use of fairly strong vocabulary), his thoughts on our building, parts of Soho, and the fact that he thought there was some sort of mess in the hallway, (which actually turned out not to be a health and safety hazard as decreed, but a piece of harmless fluff!). That aside I think we got off lightly!

We were on tender hooks as we connected with the client in South Africa and had fingers, toes, and microphone wires crossed that all would go well. As is always the case, (but especially with foreign voice sessions), we had carried out a line test ahead of the booking.  This is to make sure that both studios have the correct settings marked down to alleviate any technical error on the day.

This booking was no different, and Chris and our friends in South Africa had everything sorted meaning we could breathe a collective sigh of relief once the session had commenced successfully.

Steven is best known for his performances in villainous roles, such as Lt.Col Podovsky in Rambo: Fist Blood Part II, General Orlov in Octopussy, Victor Maitland in Beverly Hills Cop, and Adolph Hitler in the epic mini-series War and Remembrance.

He studied Drama in London and Paris and among the many adaptations he has created for the stage, directed, and toured, are Kafka’s Metamorphosis, The Trial, Agamemnon and Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher.

Steven employs a style of heightened physical theatre known as “total theatre”. Drama critic Aerks Sierz describes Berkoff’s dramatic style as “in-yer-face theatre”:

“The language is usually filthy, characters talk about unmentionable subjects, take their clothes off, have sex, humiliate each other, experience unpleasant emotions, become suddenly violent. At best, this kind of theatre s so powerful, so visceral, that it forces audiences to react: either they feel like fleeing the building or they are suddenly convinced that it is the best thing they have ever seen, and want all their friends to see it too. It is the kind of theatre that inspires us to use superlatives, whether in praise or condemnation”.

However the man himself is perceived, there is no denying that he is immensely talented and has done a huge amount for theatre. In his own words:

“There is something about theatre that draws people together because it’s something connected with the human soul. All over the UK, the performing arts link people with a shared humanity as a way to open the doors to the mysteries of life. We should never underestimate the power of the theatre. It educates, informs, enlightens and humanises us all”.

In fact Steven has stated that he takes Hollywood roles only in order to subsidise his theatre work. He regards many of the films he has appeared in as lacking artistic merit. So put that in your artistic pipe and smoke it Angelina Jolie, Johnny Depp, and Daniel Craig, to name but a few of the big names that Steven has worked alongside in film. – EEK!

We also entertained the boyish good looks and cheesy smile of lovable Ben Shephard this week.

Ben famously fronted GMTV for a decade but left before its overhaul to become Daybreak.

It seems that Ben has no regrets about quitting the early morning show:

“Every now and again I did five days and it was brutal. Towards the end of the week I was so tired I felt jet-lagged and my skin looked transparent – it’s tough”.

I remember when Charles was doing his ‘earlies’ on Radio 2. He would come straight into A1 VOX from the beeb carrying his lunch and proceed to eat it at his desk by 10.30 in the morning. Of course he had been up since 3am so for him it was actually way past lunch time and he would be blooming ravenous – a very odd life to lead indeed!

Ben wasn’t short of work after his early rituals came to an end and even got to feel, ( aforementioned A1 visitor), Julie Walters boobs! 

He was doing a behind the scenes ITV special on the set of Harry Potter and she was dressed as Mrs Weasley, explaining about the padding she had to wear:

"As we were stood in the Great Hall of all places, she invited me to have a feel.. and I did.

She quipped ‘I think you’ve touched the real thing there Ben!’ It was hilarious!”.

Ben has now joined Sky Sports to co-present Goals on Sunday with Chris Kamara as well as selected UEFA Champions League matches. Being a West Ham fan (come on you irons!), and a self confessed sports enthusiast, he is more than a little excited about his new role:

“The chance to indulge my passion for football and to work on what is without doubt, the most technically cutting-edge channel on TV, is something I’ve aspired to for a long time”.

Ben was suited and booted on his arrival at A1 VOX and looking every inch the TV presenter. He had his trademark smile plastered on his face and a cheeky grin for everyone. He was a pleasure to work with and I bet his wife and boys are very happy to have him back.

That concludes our round up for this week – next week I will be celebrating one year of wedded bliss! Can you Adam and Eve it!? So please tune in, in two weeks time, to check out the comings and goings of your friendly, technically sound studio overlooking the Soho Savannah.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Chilly Warblings from A1

Last week was a busy old week at A1 VOX and I am happy to report that this week has also seen the studio jam packed, and full of vocal activity too!

Actor Hugo Speer joined us for his regular spot for tabloid TV ads. After his session he was off to the Groucho Club to meet a friend – oh so Soho! He said we would be welcome to join him – unfortunately there was the small obstacle of a studio to run so we couldn’t partake in Groucho afternoon delights…mores the pity!

We also had actress Kate Hardie in. She was never in doubt as to the life she wanted to lead. At the tender age of fourteen she secured her first film role in Runners, but only told her parents once she had actually got the part. Savvy young lady.

In fact one of the parents in question is none other than comedian turned naturalist Bill Oddie. Kate garnered her stage name from both parents (Jean Hart and Oddie = Hardie). Make sense?

The A1 team has also been hard at work. Charlie Norfolk, Felicity Duncan and Andrew Loudon all took part in a session for Vodaphone, whilst Mark Straker and Felicity dug deep to find their cartoon character voices for another booking.

Phil Tufnell and John Sergeant made appearances for their usual The One Show Comm Records, with Phil sporting a rather fetching tuxedo. Nice of you to dress up for us Phil.

Elsewhere our team have been gadding about the UK doing this and that.

One such, A1 Man-with –a –Voice-On-The-Move, Mr Charles Nove, has been continuing his regular weekend air slot on BBC Oxford but went back in radio time to join forces with Sir Terry Wogan and Alan Dedicoat, for the TOGs annual convention.

The event was held at the University of Leicester and sees the TOGs gather in support and celebration of their highly successful Children in Need charity fund raising activities.

The ‘Togmeister’ himself paid a visit to the University for a very different reason in 2010 when he received an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree. Saying:

‘I would have liked to have been a student here – it looks like a really nice campus. I am deeply honoured to have been offered an Honorary Doctor of Laws. I will, of course, now demand a certain amount of respect’.

Well it sure looks like Charles and Sir Terry were enjoying themselves at this particular event, and why not – the event is supposed to be a celebration of all the marvellous work the TOGs achieve during the year and just goes to show that you can do good in this world whilst having a lot of fun in the process.

Nick Chambers has also been busy away from A1.

Last weekend saw him starring in the world premiere of The Incredible Dr Guttman.

Determined producer Karen Simpson risked everything to tell the true story of how Guttman created the Paralympics whilst working at Stoke Mandeville Hospital.

‘I knew it would be a fascinating story. A lot of people at the early stages didn’t know who I was talking about. But I felt it was worth talking about. I kept beavering away’.

Indeed she did as the project was shelved 3 years ago by the Oxfordshire Theatre Company because of arts cuts, however, Karen finally got the money in April thanks to the support of Aylesbury Vale District Council, Bucks County Council and Arts Council.

‘The play opens some of the echoes of the past and it give s a full picture of Guttman, what drove him, and why he was so driven’ Karen says.

The play charts Guttman’s life as a Jewish refugee, as a doctor who once operated on a senior member of the Nazi party, and his efforts to stop Jews being murdered during Kristallnacht.

‘These experiences explain why he was prepared to fight the establishment’ Karen continues.

So to our very own Nicholas Chambers– what does he make of this multi diemsional character he is playing?

‘Everybody has a different view of him. The people that worked with him say he was a tyrant, but the patients loved him and the most important thing to me is to get both sides across.

Not to play him as a good guy or a bad guy. Trying to capture his personality, he was a tour-de-force, an eccentric personality who spoke his mind’.

Well it sure seems Nick has done his homework and though he is one of ours I have to say, hand on heart, that he is a truly amazing talent and we wish him all the best for a successful tour.

If you would like to support Nick then please visit www.karensimpsonproductions.co.uk for more details.

And last but by no means we have A1 VOX’s birthday boy – Mr Trevor Nichols! 39 again – but who’s counting. As a special birthday tribute to our dear uncle Trev I have added the below link so you can all watch him in his new TV ad….which funnily enough is promoting….TV advertising!


Doesn’t he look dapper.

Guerillascope is encouraging people to consider using TV advertising to promote businesses. So if you would like to find out about the cost of advertising on TV, or the targeted opportunities available to your business, give them a call.


and remember where to come if you need voice talent or audio recordings for said advert! Shameless plug but hey…we are all in it to win it! TOP DRAWER performance Trevor and Happy belated Birthday.

So that concludes business for this week. Wish us luck as the Green Room enters Phase 1 of ‘revamp-gate’ and we will be back next week to bring vocal cheer to the masses.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Vocal Building

There are exciting times afoot at A1 VOX as the next stage of our refurb looms on the horizon.

The Green Room is getting a make over!!!!!!

Tommy Walsh was in today so we asked him for some building tips – unfortunately he is busy for the next few weeks otherwise he would gladly have come back in and lent a hand – nice fellow.

He recorded his session and afterwards Chris provided liquid refreshments to all in the Green Room.  Naturally he offered Tommy a brew, which he duly accepted. An hour later he was still chatting merrily away and when offered a second cuppa he said 'don't mind if I do' and settled in for another chat.

You see us folk at A1 aren’t just here for your session, but here for as long as you fancy hanging around. We enjoy the banter, and so it seems does Tommy Walsh. Shame he couldn’t make a start on the building work whilst chewing the vocal cud, but we will let him off.

So in a month’s time we will be welcoming all clients and guest vocalists into our newly decorated room. It will make the climb to the top of Vox Towers even sweeter.

Once we are moved, and grooved, I will post some photos so you can all have a quick squizz at the new pad.

Whilst I have been chatting to friendly builder types, Chris has been getting on with studio business.

This week we welcomed Fly on the Wall theatre group to A1 VOX. They needed vocals laid over pre-recorded tracks that would be featured in their staged version of Bram Stoker’s chilling classic, Dracula. Chris set about finding the right sound effects to go with the Halloween theme production.

So if anyone happened to pass 20 Old Compton Street last week and heard steam train noises, and ghoulish screams it wasn’t me having a mare over the accounts but Chris tinkering away in Studio A.

If you want to check out Chris’ handy work, and get in the Halloween spirit of things, then dig out your best black cloak, don your feistiest fangs, and get yourself to the famous St Giles In The Fields Church – Soho between 31st October - 3rd November. Tickets can be purchased from www.ticketweb.co.uk

On the celeb front we had the great pleasure of meeting Julie Walters!!!!!

I am a huge Walters fan and think she is a bona fide talent with an infectious spirit and self-deprecating sense of humour. I dig her, and have to say I was a little awe struck on meeting her.

She was extremely nice and when I presented her with her very own bottle of water for the session, she seemed bowled over. It’s the little things don’t you know.

She was also happy to pose for a photo.

Julie made her London stage debut in the comedy Funny Peculiar in 1975. She befriended aspiring writer/comedienne Victoria Wood and a couple of their works, Talent and Nearly a Happy Ending, transferred to TV accompanied by rave reviews. Eventually they were handed their own series Wood and Walters.

In 1980 Julie scored a huge solo success in Willy Russell’s Educating Rita. She conquered film too when Educating Rita moved to the movie screen and she starred opposite Michael Caine.

Following her success as Rita she rolled out sterling performances in Personal Service, Buster, Stepping Out and Prick Up Your Ears. However the role for which she has most recently become synonymous was playing the abrasively stern, yet encouraging dance teacher in Billy Elliot.

Since that role, and second Oscar nod, she went on to play quirky character parts on Calendar Girls and the Harry Potter series.

They say that behind every great man there is a great woman yet the reverse was true in Julie’s case.

A former boyfriend noticed her acting ability and encouraged her to pursue a thespian career. He later proposed marriage to her but she turned him down, having finally discovered her vocation in life and realising that marriage at that point would have held her back. Poor chap! Should have kept his mouth shut.

One of my favourite Julie Quotes is ‘I don’t like the future sewn up. I like an open book – the feeling that anything can happen’.

You get the feeling that with this particular lady anything still can... and will.


Two tit bits of news for you this week.

The light that is Eleanor Howell has been missing from A1 VOX of late as she has taken off to Wales with her husband. Before you all get indignant that Mr Meo, (the cheeky whelp), has kidnapped our Ellie and taken her back to his motherland, fear not - she has in fact gone of her own free will.

The newly weds are both treading the boards together at Clwyd Theatr, Wales in Terry Hands’ production of Boeing Boeing.

“Fiancees! You have all the advantages of married life with none of the drawbacks. Fiancees are much more friendly than wives. And you don’t need all that many. I do very well with three”

Bernard is a successful architect with three fiancées who know nothing of each other. All are air stewardesses flying different routes for different airlines on different schedules.

But when the schedules change – unexpectedly…..

If you fancy catching our El in this comedic tour de force it will be running from 11th October – 10th November. T. 0845 330 3565 E. box-office@clwyd-theatr-cymru.co.uk

Go on..... get yourselves to Mold – Tidy!

We recently brought you news of The 39 Steps West End Eurovision entry and their promotional video with an Olympic twist, all in aid of The Make a Difference Trust.

Well they are at again!

This time Stephen Cricthlow, along with two of his other sporting fellow thespians, have dared to bare!!!!!!

Yes folks if you want to see our Critch in all his erm..glory!…then you will need to purchase the A3 full-colour calendar featuring exclusive images of 12 Top West End Shows in the literal flesh.

But if you simply can't wait to get your dose of high end/west end, soft porn, then you are in for a treat as I have managed to get my hands (not in the literal sense I hasten to add) on Critch and his 39 steps pals.

Each month has been photographed by a specially selected photographer and include: Top Hat, 39 Steps, Chariots of Fire, Ghost, The Mousetrap, Les Miserables, Cabaret, Singin’ in the Rain, Mamma Mia, Wicked, We will Rock You and Rock of Ages.

See your favourite shows as you’ve never seen them before.


That’s all for now my candid followers. Till next week keep it tantalisingly tongue tastic. Ta-Ra.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Radio Delights

Hello to all you A1 pop pickers out there!

We have been taken over by radio presenters this week and seeing as A1 VOX originated from the one and only Mr Charles Nove, this seems immensely fitting.

 Chris was approached last week to create an ad from start to finish promoting a bespoke Van Morrison event.

 In a glorious come back, the Radio 2 dream team, Terry Wogan and Charles Nove, got to combine vocal efforts to promote said occasion.

 Chris was given 3 songs to mix and edit to, and created a very clever tie in with Terry’s words and a Van track at the end. Chris being a bit of a muso himself really loves sinking his teeth into projects such as this, and as always, he pulled it out of the bag.

 But don’t take my word for it - check out the Sacremento website and scroll down to listen to the radio ad for yourself.


Van the Man has added two intimate black tie dinner shows at The Grosvenor House, on Park Lane, London, in October. This intimate gig includes a drinks reception, a three course dinner, and an exclusive live performance from Van Morrison and his band.

 So if you would like to sit on the bright side of the road and get a piece of this sweet thing, call Sacramento Events ticket hotline on 01371 876509 – Give me a G!

 Next up on the radio tip we have Mr Pete Drummond.

 In the late 1960’s Pete was the DJ regarded as closest in style and musical interests to John Peel. He joined Radio London in September 1966 and became an established member of the Big L DJ team (rejoicing in the nickname ‘Dum Dum’).

 Drummond and Peel co-presented the first Radio One Top Gear in October 1967. Peel was eventually chosen to be the sole presenter in 1968 but Pete continued his Radio One career deputising for Peel and hosting a weekend show. He then became one of the presenters for The Sounds of the Seventies programme.

 This was a highly influential series playing adventurous, contemporary sounds, from such artists as Yes, Pink Floyd, David Bowie, Simon and Garfunkel, Nazareth, Thin Lizzy and Santana.

 From October 1971 it moved to a 10pm slot as a two-hour show with the added benefit of improved sound quality of the Radio 2 VHF frequency.

 Check out a blast from Pete’s past, as he was then: 


 Pete trained as an actor and has most recently been very active in commercial voice-over work, hence his visit to A1 VOX. It was an absolute pleasure to meet another chap from the radio archives.

Radio One History

 Have a squizz at the original line up!

 BACK ROW (L-R) Tony Blackburn, Jimmy Young, Kenny Everett, Duncan Johnson, Robin Scott, David Ryder, Dave Cash, Pete Brady, David Symonds

 MIDDLE ROW (L-R) Bob Holness, Terry Wogan, Barry Alldis, Mike Lennox, Keith Skues, Chris Denning, Johnny Moran, Pete Myers

 FRONT ROW (L-R) Pete Murray, Ed Stewart, Pete Drummond, Mike Raven, Mike Ahern, John Peel

So from DJ legends of yesteryear to the new wave generation.

 Vic Galloway joined us for a session and chatted animatedly to everyone in the Green Room. It turns out he has plenty of friends in common with A1’s Andy Stanson. Small world people.

 Vic broadcasts on BBC Radio Scotland and BBC Radio 1 checking out all the cutting edge music from Scotland and beyond!

 He has presented two series of Mouthing Off and Vic and Bryan’s Big Scottish Adventure, various documentary series including Indie-pendent Scotland and The Banned History of Rock’n’ Roll and outside broadcasts from T in the ParkSXSWIndian Summer and Live 8.

 It all started for Vic having witnessed Adam and The Ants on Top of the Pops and his first live concert by The Damned. Cue music obsession, record collecting and riotous image based creations. Ah the 80’s punk era – I remember it well....sort of.

Vic is also often invited to host, and MC, events and also gets asked to lend his voice to various bits and pieces along the way.  This is where we come in and I can report that he is a very happy, friendly, chap.

He hung out in the Green Room after his session talking shop with the two Andy’s and opening my eyes to some very strange sounding bands!

In fact the buck doesn’t just stop there for Vic as he is currently writing, performing and producing music with progressive-pop experimentalists Deaf Mutes.


‘If you had breath for no more than 99 words, what would they be?'

An extraordinarily thought provoking question.

If, like me, you are intrigued by this concept then maybe you can join A1’s Joan Walker this coming Thursday as she contributes to this very special evening.

Renowned broadcaster Fergal Keane, Turkey’s most widely read novelist Elif Shafak, human rights activist Helen Bamber and performance poet Inua Ellams all gather on the eve of `Peace Day’ to reflect on this question.

Hear their answers and more - or bring along your own - to 99 Words For Peace held at The Mosaic Rooms, London.

Good luck Joan – we know you will smash it!

September 20th, 7pm – 9pm. Doors open 6.30pm
Tickets £10 Concessions £8. Ticket price includes glass of wine. All proceeds go to Peace Direct.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Go Team GB!  Well what an Olympics.  I hope everyone’s voices at A1 VOX have finally recovered after screaming at the TV for the last two weeks. 

It all seems a very long time ago already so lets get down to A1 VOX business.

Some of the producers that call in regularly may have had the pleasure to speak with Miss Nicola Noakes.  Nicola has been doing a spot of work experience with us as part of her radio production university course. 

If you are undertaking the radio route of things then our very own Mr Nove - the big A1 cheese, and BBC guru - is a pretty good teacher to have. 

Nicola took on various tasks throughout her stint both in the office with myself, and in the studio with Chris.  She even got to edit an actual session, under the watchful eye of Charles.  Yes Nicola was ‘spinning the platters that matter’ and doing a fine job of it – so well done Nicola and thank you for your help over the summer.


Whilst I may not have secured a place competing in the Olympics Gyles Brandreth made sure that I kept myself trim by running up and down the stairs.

All very bizarre but Gyles bought his wife along to the studio as they were leaving for their holiday after the session.  They were both looking forward to their impending break and were full of joie de vivre.

So it came as no surprise that ten minutes later Gyles called to say that his wife had left her jacket in their taxi, and as he was now officially on holiday, would I mind collecting it from said taxi and keeping it safe at A1 VOX.

Well who am I to deny a celeb, especially one that dines with the Queen, so naturally I said I would pick up the jacket/gauntlet and save the day.

Down the stairs I went clutching the piece of paper with the car registration Gyles had dictated.

On entering pavement level there was no sign of the taxi and running up and down Old Compton Street deemed fruitless too.

So back up the stairs I went –phones ringing off the hook – I answer…it’s Gyles.  The taxi couldn’t stop so it’s taking the jacket to the depot instead, terribly sorry and the such.

Phone goes again.  BBC client (who had booked Gyles)….taxi is now on its way back round so would I mind going downstairs again.

Of course not – said through a bit of huffing and puffing by now.

Back down the stairs I go.

And so this jolly game of cat and mouse continued until I finally saw the silver grey taxi turn the corner into Old Compton Street – and more importantly……he saw me!!.  We were like star crossed lovers……

He wound down his window – I ran towards him with my arms open - he flings the jacket from the saloon – I catch it with a whoop of joy – he signals a successful drop off with the obligatory thumbs up – I too give him the thumbs up – many people on Old Compton Street are a little confused as to what they have just observed.

I run back upstairs – phones still ringing off the hook – I answer…it’s Gyles – I have made his day and he then tells me how jolly marvellous I am.  So I guess it was all worth it.

So you see being an Operations Manager of a voice recording studio rarely sees two days being the same…..thank god!

We had plenty more to celebrate at A1 VOX this week as we found ourselves in the presence of golden actress – Greta Scacchi.

For all those that didn’t study Italian, her surname means ‘chess’.

Greta has had a prolific international career, having made European, American and Australian films.

She has also starred alongside many a fancy fellow/fellow’ess:

Harrison Ford, in crime thriller Presumed Innocent, Tim Robbins, in Hollywood satire The Player, opposite Alan Rickman’s mad monk in Rasputin and with Gywneth Paltrow in Emma.

One of the best well known facts about Greta is that she turned down the role of Catherine Trammell in Basic Instinct.  Yes..that role that propelled Sharon Stone into the big time.  Who would have thought that crossing your legs instead of uncrossing them could gain such notoriety!? 

However Greta’s talent of speaking four different languages (English, French, German and Italian) has made her a popular choice for European casting directors so maybe it is a case of ‘checkmate’ from Greta who really didn’t need to swivel seductively with all her wares on show to land prestigious roles.

She was very gracious on arrival to the studio and was quite taken with Chris who was ever the gentleman and looked after her exceptionally well.  Our client wrote to me the following week and passed on how highly Greta had spoken of the running of the session, which is high praise indeed, so well done team VOX!

 Next in the A1 VOX spotlight is James Cosmo.  James has been mentioned on the blog before but in case you missed that instalment (shame on you if you did!), he is probably best known for his role as the grizzled warrior, Campbell, in Braveheart.  He was also the brainchild of a major film project about Scottish poet Robert Burns.  He chose Edinburgh as the setting, got Scottish writer Alan Sharp to pen the script and Scottish composer Derek William Dick to write the overture.  It seems James is as patriotic as they come! 

In the critically acclaimed Trainspotting, he played the father of an Edinburgh heroin addict and funnily enough James also played alongside Gwyneth Paltrow in Emma. Had he been in at the same time as Greta we could have set up a discussion group - subject: Jane Austen.

Most recently, for all those self confessed Game of Thrones geeks out there (I can safely say that as myself and Chris are addicted to the books!), James is playing Jeor Mormont, the Old Bear.  He appears in the HBO series and voices the same character in the computer game.  Double whammy.

I was on holiday when he came in so I didn’t get to quiz him on being part of this ‘of the moment’ medieval fantasy fiction world.  More’s the pity for me…..but probably a lucky escape for James!

So that is it for now.  I do believe that the sun is getting its arms and legs out this weekend so let’s do the same – HURRAH!  It’s Friday afternoon and nearly Pimms O’Clock so enjoy folks!

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Just like Marmite I guess you are either loving or hating all things Olympic.

I would like to say that Charles is categorically indifferent…..but that would be an outright lie.  His bus journey into town took a lot longer than usual this week and on arriving at A1 he pronounced (without a hint of sarcasm, cough, cough), “London traffic is heaving – is there something going on?”

So I guess it is a case of ‘brace, brace’ as we enter the new Olympic age here in London. 

I myself journey through Stratford every day so apologies now to all our clients and producers if I have the odd late morning, or seem a little crabby.  Other than journeying I intend to fling myself wholeheartedly into the spirit of things and hope that with the Olympics will come bright sunshine to keep us all smiling.

Our very own Andrew Stanson vowed to keep out of the Olympics….. until he landed a job there as a Media Manager!.  He will now be right in the thick of it as he co-ordinates International film crews around the Olympic Park.  Good Luck Andy, it will be a hard slog but very rewarding we’re sure.  Gold to the man with the blonde locks.

Stephen Critchlow has also been jumping on the Olympic bandwagon.  You may remember a few blogs back that we shared a snippet of his role at the Dominion Theatre where the cast of The 39 Steps performed Smetterlingers 1978 Eurovision entry Boom Boomerang.  Well in keeping with the Olympic theme I thought I would show you their entry for the same competition to win Best Video Ident.  Ladies and Gentleman – hold onto your girdles - cause here is the 39 Steps Olympics:

So whilst some of us may experience trouble getting in and around London over the next few weeks one of our clients has already had trouble getting into the studio and was consequently late for his session. 

This isn’t such a sensational thing I know, but the irony is that the client works for one of the major rail companies and was late due to disruptions on his own line! 

Everyone, including said client, managed to see the funny side and the session itself was completed on time.  Here at A1 VOX we know a thing or two on how to get things ..er…back on track. Groan.

Brian Blessed made another visit into A1 VOX this week and delighted me with a tale of Walt Disney and Pirates.

Brian recently featured in Aardman’s latest animated movie The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists.

Hugh Grant takes on the lead role of Pirate Captain, who enters the Pirate of the Year competition in a bid to defeat his rival Black Bellamy (Jeremy Piven).

Brian lends his booming vocals to the Pirate King character, host of the annual ceremony.

"When I read the Pirate King I thought, 'This is me'," said Blessed. "He's totally, utterly larger than life. He's the most larger-than-life character in the whole story. He's about eight or ten feet tall and will knock anybody into the middle of next week."

Well larger than life = Brian Blessed, and this A-List role just goes to show how Brian really is at the top of the Voice Over game.

After telling me about how much he enjoyed doing Pirates, Brian went on to tell me that he has been privy to seeing Walt Disney’s frozen body, which is rumoured to be in cryogenic suspension.  This is a persistent urban legend in Hollywood so Brian was probably yanking my chain, but either way he offered to put me in a cryogenic state if I liked……think I am happy as I am thanks.. if it’s all the same to you of course Brian.  DIVE!

Tony Hirst came into the studio this week.  You may know him for playing Mike Barnes in Hollyoaks, or in his current role as Paul Kershaw in Coronation Street, as love interest of Eileen Grimshaw.

He looked the picture of health in his T-Shirt and jeans combo.

Tony is no stranger to the voice over world.  He currently narrates programme trailers on FX and Channel 4 as well as being the voice of Daz detergent ads.  He is also the voice of the UK version of Rowe’s Dirty Jobs, Neighbours from Hell, and record ratings show, How It’s Made, on Discovery channels.


It is a sad day for the Soho food scene as celebrity chef Aldo Zilli has bowed out of London’s restaurant trade after three decades. 

He is blaming ‘greedy’ landlords and the chains he says are making Soho ‘like Dubai’, and killing its ‘village atmosphere’.

Zilli says:

‘I don’t want to work for landlords any more.  You end up working 13 hours a day to pay them.  Chains have more choice but it’s changing the character of Soho.  I survived 3 recessions, but rents have doubled in the past five years and the rates are 90 grand a year.  How can a small business survive?’

Zilli recalled some of the celebs who had dined at his restaurants including Sir Paul McCartney, for whom he cooked spinach and ravioli.

Freddie Mercury set fire to the kitchen when he tried to cook himself chips at 4am without putting oil in the fryer. 

Then I locked Prince Edward in the restaurant by mistake.  I closed up one night and he was in the lavatory, it was only when I went back in to get my pass that we found him’

So it is with a heavy heart that we bid a fond farewell to another chapter in Soho's history.  We hope that the stories and legacy of Zilli’s will live on, along with all the other Soho ghosts!

Ok folks well that is us done for a couple of weeks.  May you all be winners in whatever you are doing over the summer.  Remember – ‘if you’re not first, you’re last’ – just kidding guys – I have been watching way too much Will Ferrell again.  Till next time………………

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Hey folks and welcome to the first of our summer blogs -  (I know, I know..what ruddy summer!) 

It has been a while and believe it or not a lot has happened!

Our blushing bride Eleanor…..now......Mrs Meo…. is back from her honeymoon and has sent us a couple of choice photos from her very special day at the Great Tythe Barn in Tetbury.

Ellie looked absolutely stunning and it has to be said that Steve cut quite the dashing figure as they said their I Do's on the May bank holiday.  God was shining down on them as Tetbury was literally the only place in the country that didn't get any rain that day.

Rays of sunshine for our little ray of voicing delight!!!!

And here she is with her super glam bevvy of beauties.


What a gorgeous couple they are and her clever hubby, (and guest voice artist of A1 VOX), Steve Meo,  has just finished filming the most recent Heineken (The Switch) advert – check it out here people, it will give you a thirst for the golden nectar!:

Mark Straker has seen baby part deux welcomed into the world so we would like to say a massive "Congratulations", and rousing vocal hello, to little baby Cosmo.

Nick Chambers is now back with us after his successful stint in The Great Gatsby, as is Tracy Wiles, who makes a welcome return to the A1 fold after finishing her much loved turn in radio rep.

Big news of the week is that the captain of our merry ship also made a come back.  The breaking story is that.... the leg brace is off!!!!!!!  Charles, it is good to see you standing, and walking, though the talking side of things never left this voicing professional!

Yes - Charles has been back riding those airwaves for a while now, and this week he was involved in a big awards show for the pharmaceuticals industry.  Cue lots of complicated medical and medicinal pronunciations to challenge even the most seasoned of voice-over artists.

Jimmy Carr was hosting on stage, and according to Charles he opened with this hum dinger:

“I’ve had a great couple of weeks………if you believe that there’s no such thing as bad publicity!”

Oh Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy.

Chris took a much deserved holiday and the tall man, and pro in the know, Mr Ross Burman took the studio mantel once again.

It was a busy old couple of weeks yet Ross took it all in his size 12 stride, (he is really is a very tall man!).

He even ventured over to Christie’s main HQ in St James' Street for an outside record.  This is something that we at A1 VOX are doing more and more, so if anyone cannot get to the studio, or needs us to ‘hike the mic’ to their business, just give us a call.

We understand how hard life is to juggle these days, and people can’t often find the time in their busy schedules to break free of the office and attend a recording at the studio.  We aim to please and make life that little bit easier, so just like a mobile disco, we bring the vocal music machine wherever it is needed - though far more technically sound, sans cheesy lights, and not an Agadoo in sight!

On this particular occasion Ross was escorted into a private room to set up for the session.  The room was completely bare save for one tiny framed picture on the wall.  Half way through the recording Ross had to push the pause button as a small troupe of people made their way into the room.

After much cooing over the drawing, the arty throng left the room and the curator turned to Ross and said ' I guess it isn't every day that you get to share your space with a Rembrandt!'

So whilst it may take a few such sessions for A1 VOX to make the sort of money that the Rembrandt fetched, it is still very nice to be able to record in such salubrious surroundings.  I wonder where we will record next?  It just goes to show how technology can make anything possible.

We have been priviledged with many a celebrity over these stormy summer months and I will be bringing you snippets of each visit in the next few weeks.  Brian Blessed made an appearance regaling us with his mountaineering exploits and space travel plans…yes really!.......and told me how much he likes coming into A1 because everyone is so friendly and we are always smiling.   So it seems our mantra of Soho’s friendliest Studio rings true.

Lynda Bellingham came to visit looking, (and smelling), as great as ever.   She is extremely personable and once in the Green Room she was chatty and friendly to everyone there.  She told us all about her day thus far and seemed to fit right in with the A1 gang.  I don’t know what it is about our Green Room but most people, (just as with Mr Blessed), seem to come in with a smile on their face, and if they don't they usually leave with one.

Lynda has had a successful TV and stage career (Calendar Girls, All Creatures Great and Small, panellist in Loose Women), but I (and many besides) will always remember Lynda as Britains fav mum in the infamous OXO aderts.

For 16 years the ads were one of British TV’s most successful soap operas. After a series of 42 advertisements the campaign ended in 1999 though the company decided to create a 21st-century version of the clan whose lives were transformed so magically by a simple stock cube.  Remember this?

Gloria Hunniford joined us for a session last week and just like Lynda she swept in all grins, teeth, and good grace.

Gloria comes from the old school of radio presenting having pretty much started off on her own daily radio show on BBC Radio 2.

She has appeared in numerous programmes including Gloria Live, Wogan, Holiday, Songs of Praise and Open House with Gloria Hunniford.  She has won awards including Personality of the Year and Best Dressed Female – I can personally vouch that the lady has style!

Sadly Gloria is often also remembered for the death of her celebrity daughter, Caron Keating, who died of breast cancer in 2004. 

Gloria tells of a white feather falling at her feet during Caron’s funeral, when there was no evidence of where it came from.  She claims to often find white feathers in unusual places such as studios, which she believes are a message card from her daughter, informing her that she is in a good place.

Gloria is currently on the box in Rip Off Britain, and along with Julia Somerville and Angela Rippon, she tackles the nation’s consumer nightmares.  You go girls!

So there ends the round up of all news from VOX Towers.  Fingers crossed that this time next week we will all be basking in some much needed sunshine – if not ….ah well we will just have to soldier on British stylee – stiff upper lip, best foot forward, and of course - carry on talking.