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Archive for July, 2014

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This week I felt more proud to be a Rover than I have for quite a while. Blackburn Rovers released a video on YouTube to promote their new kit, that as well as showing that they are comprehending the modern media landscape produced a film that is brimming with wonderful self deprecating NE Lancashire humor. Its intelligently produced thriftily and celebrates a “local” and a local lifelong Rovers fan. It out Peter Kayes, Peter Kay. 

The ‪#‎BIRDYSDATE video is joyous, intelligent and a stroke of marketing genius. I’m proud that Rovers have adopted this light-hearted approach rather than the elitist and corporate attitude churned out by most high profile football clubs and their sponsors. The film went viral. 190,000 people viewed the video in less than 48 hours, a brilliant result and there is real potential value to be gleaned from this level of coverage. As is often the case, some people don’t get subtle humor and some just like to be negative, but its worrying that so many adults viewed the film as serious, rather than the spoof and comic gold that it certainly is. Anyone who views it as something else is daft. I can’t believe some of the comments online condemning this as an embarrassment for the club and I can’t believe how The Metro can employ such a thick journalist who wrote negatively about the film (obviously the Metro readers are not as stupid as the journalist as they rode to Rovers defense).

It could be a TV comedy show sketch, but the fact it’s a low budget, in-house production, using a season ticket holder as the star makes it all the more clever and humorous. This should be celebrated. Well done Rovers.

But then, my beloved Rovers you caved in, you took the video down and cowed down to to those who don’t get our humor and who don’t realise the value of intelligent, witty viral videos. Your brief foray into the modern world lasted 48 hours, you have, just temporarily I hope, lost your bottle. Just imagine if Channel 4 had pandered to all those southern critics who decried Peter Kay in his early days.

By Wayne Hemingway

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Renault Zoe 3

I bought a Toyota Prius back in 2003 when hybrids were still an experiment, and it’s been a great car (it’s still in the family and has done 200,000 as is still going strong).

A couple of weeks ago I took delivery of a fully electric Renault Zoe on trial, to support a campaign called Go Ultra Low. Its aim is quite simply to encourage people to think about whether an ultra low emission vehicle could benefit their lifestyle.

I was happy to find out.

We spend part of the week in London and part in West Sussex. When in London we don’t use a car, and have shied away from buying a fully electric car for our house in West Sussex because of the distances we drive from there to visit family or ferry our youngest son to sports matches. The early fully electric cars had a too limited mileage between charges and were limited in size / boot space to make it work for us.

The Zoe, though, has the proportions of a standard car and we can get about 80 miles between charge, which just about does the job for what we need. You can get the range between charges up to around 100 miles if you drive carefully (the on-board computer helps you see how careful you are being) and an “eco” button which limits you to a max speed of 60 mph helps you to edge the range up further. The challenge of increasing the range by developing good habits, like driving slower and accelerating more mildly, is satisfying and definitely encourages this driver to be safer and more considerate.

Driving a whole journey in a silent car, then coming home and simply attaching the special charging unit from the wall next to our front door and hearing the charge “kick in” does all feel rather modern, and you certainly know that you are doing your bit for the environment; low emissions and energy consumption.

My gut feeling is that if “ultra low “ is going to cross over to the mass market then the cars must fit in with modern cars and not stand out as being too different. The Zoe gets this just about right. The dashboard is nice and minimal, the on-board computer does what you want it do (filming behind the car as you reverse, syncing easily with your phone, helping you to conserve battery power etc). There are nice little streamlining touches to minimise air flow such as the concealed door handles and the overall styling allows it to blend in.

The thing that does feel like “the future” here and now, for someone who thrift is a lifestyle, is the cost of a full charge: £3 to do 80 to 100 miles. Now that is exciting and saves a fair amount of cash. Add to that 4 years of servicing for less than £300, and no road tax to pay (and no Congestion Charge if they are used in London) and it does feel rather good.

Naturally, you have to plan ahead as to where charge points are and wait 30 minutes or so to be “boosted”. Roll on the day when every fuel station has rapid charge points! The days of rapid charge points at every service station are not a million miles off: according to www.goultralow.com it’s within the next year or so. So, the future is here and it feels like I am part of it!

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Mum Maureen At Brubecks ,,Mum In Middle In White

I have been talking to my Mum Maureen about her memories of Morecambe’s history of cool music and dance. This is what she says,

“Brubeck’s Coffee Bar, just down the street from the Winter Gardens, was the place to be and be seen in the 1950s. Many parties were held there after the shows in the town. Brubeck’s invited the stars of the time, a very young and spotty Cliff Richard, Adam Faith and an equally young and spotty Lonnie Donegan. There was Alma Cogan, Tommy Steele, The Shadows, Screaming Lord Sutch, the (very young) Rolling Stones and many, many more.  The shows held every week at the Winter Gardens were top class shows and it was one of the most prestigious theatres in England outside London for the cool stars of the day to perform in. The annual Morecambe Music Festival was also held at the Winter Gardens which brought in many brass bands, pianists, soloists and choirs from many parts of UK as well as local talent.  The Floral Hall was the ‘in’ place to dance together with the Central Pier where bands like Chris Barber’s Jazz Band with Monty Sunshine often played.  At the Floral Hall you could go in the week and dance to records and no alcohol was served only pop and crisps!” If you wanted to meet a member of the opposite sex you would parade up and down the prom every Sunday and end up at Bruccianis”. 

My Nan, Ida Hemingway, would spend part of every fine day on West End Pier and had walk on part with her dogs in a shopping trolley in the film The Entertainer, made at the Alhambra with Laurence Olivier.

Nan Advertising Morecambe Fags On Pier

I personally have memories of appearing in The King and I and singing The Music Man’s ‘76 Trombones Led the Big Parade at the Winter Gardens and finishing runner up at Harry Graham’s Bandstand singing Congratulations and Celebrations!

Wayne Kid  (1)

In the post Brubeck’s era, Morecambe continued to host some of best music of a generation from the soul nights on the Central Pier to WOMAD and today the North Lancashire Soul Festival and the punk-focused Nice ‘n’ Sleazy.

Nan   Auntie Ev Dancing On Pier (2)

The British seaside has a history of hosting decade defining youth culture and music movements. Margate and Brighton still dine off their mod and rocker heritage and the soul, disco and funk scene that revolved around Blackpool’s Mecca ballroom is still celebrated.

This September we will continue the tradition of cool music events in Morecambe with ourVintage By The Sea Festival.

On September 6 The Warehouse at the Winter Gardens will bring the North’s distinctive dance culture and DJ history to the fore with Hacienda legends Mike Pickering and Dave Haslam evoking memories of Acid House era Manchester.

Nan   Wayne With Mohican Morecambe Pier

And the Soul Casino on September 7th at the Winter Gardens will create the sounds and style of the classic 70s soul club and 80s disco scenes. Add to that Let it Rock at The Platform and The Torch Club at The Midland and Morecambe will be alive with music this September.

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