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…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… 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.