Monday, 26 December 2011

Mini Fun

On the back of their excellent video to encourage Americans to drive manuals, Mini have now produced this fun albeit very surreal little film... Thanks to for covering the story of a competition won by a Rutledge Wood look-a-like to sum up the perfect test drive in six words. Mini then made the video based on his entry of:

Stewardess, Salt Flats, Paratroopers, Sushi and Falconer

The amazing thing, though, is that it actually makes the pig-ugly Mini Coupe look really good. It must be a colour thing because all the ones used in the early reviews were white with a red roof and looked awful.

Incidentally, I'd have gone with:

Nigella, A483, Tranmere Rovers, Bacon and Marillion

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Why I've had it with the BBC and why ITV need to poach Murray Walker

Well, take a look at this for starters. In particular, check out the comments bit. All those "This comment has been referred for further consideration."s are a tribute to what the BBC thinks of its audience. That particular blog, by Mark Thompson about the Creative Diversity Network Awards would not have been of interest (and would have not received a single comment) had it not been found by F1 fans desperate for some answers to our ongoing questions stemming back to that fateful day in July when the BBC reneged on its promise (and signed and budgeted for contract) to televise F1 in full until the end of the 2013 Season. That Blog has only been read by F1 fans and a moderator called Heather Taylor - I bet the DG hasn't read it - I wonder if he actually even wrote it. Heather Taylor clearly has no interest in F1 and can't be bothered to find out what the fuss is about. In at comment 29 she wrote:

"Thank you for your continued comments. I am one of the editors of the About the BBC blog (which is why I commented earlier). I wanted to explain why some posts have been removed.

We have in place a set of House Rules: and if the comment is off topic, we remove it. This isn't to censor. It's so we can focus the conversation on the topic of the blog post.

We do have a team that handles feedback and complaints. If you would like to complain about F1 or any other item, you can complain to the BBC here:"

Except, as had already been pointed out to her, there has been no response from the literally (and yes, I am using that word correctly) tens of thousands of complaints and questions raised by this shady deal. And as for keeping the conversation on-topic, there was no converstation on-topic - nobody (and yes, I am using that word correctly) was interested in the CDN Awards. She even had the audacity to remove one of my comments - well here it is again:

"I think that, generally, The BBC does a good job, on screen at least, of displaying diversity. The three awards you have received seem to back this up. Of course, you must never get complacent and when opportunities arise to fill new gaps, care must be taken when filling them.

For example, now that Sky have raided your Formula 1 talent pool, albeit leaving you with a diverse Englishman, Irishman & Scotsman, this is a perfect opportunity to expand out and maybe get a Welshman.

On the subject of awards, I see your F1 coverage had earned you the FIA Broadcaster of The Year Award – congratulations - that makes you the best in the World. I believe that Ben Gallop flew out to Delhi and collected it for you. I suppose that is why he has been too busy to respond to the latest 750 or so comments added to his update on the F1 coverage in 2012. I presume that he is back now so will soon be able to answer those very valid questions therein. I admit that in my comment added to your BBC Annual Report & Accounts Blog, I did rather cheekily suggest in August that Colonel Gadaffi would be found before Ben Gallop – sorry about that, I’m sure Ben was busy working on his update – after all, the 8000 comments added to his initial blog were requiring careful consideration.

Anyway, good luck on the Diversity and FIA Awards next year, although you may need to give Sky the majority of any F1 award and keep the highlights for yourself. Channel 4 picked up two CDN awards, wouldn’t it have been nice to have some sort of collaboration with them?"

Me at my sarcastic best, I think you'll agree? And - I'd tried to be a bit on-topic as well!

Now, if you are wondering where the Hell this all stems from, why weren't you reading my Blog back in July when the BBC/Sky F1 Deal was announced by the BBC's head of F1, Ben Gallop? I posted thus. I treated it rather light-heartedly as I saw it as an inevitable bit of Sky TV's plan on taking over all sports broadcasting. Little did I realise just how dirty the deal was and just how much reaction there would be to it.

A week later, things had moved on apace and I posted again. Ben Gallop's announcement Blog had been closed for comment with 8145 angry comments therein and no sight of Ben himself. Ben's boss Barbara Slater also disappeared off the face of the Earth (but did allegedly briefly reappear to enjoy the hospitality at one sunny Grand Prix)

By the start of September, things had moved on again. I returned from my Summer holidays and posted this. Sky TV produced a "trailer" for the Belgian Grand Prix. I put "trailer" in quotes because it was an unashamed advert for Skybet encouraging people to bet on everything from the eventual winner to the time of the first crash - absolutely disgusting and nothing a public-service broadcaster like the BBC should be forcing their customers to watch. Tony Jardine was involved. I think he did F1 for Radio 5 and know is a Scouser. Being a Scouser should endear him to me but this advert was shameful in both content and quality and he seemed quite ignorant - making quite basic mistakes in F1 knowledge. Sky also unveiled Georgie Thompson (any relation to Mark?) - she had just been convicted of drink-driving after a bit of bad parking in her Porsche - so an excellent choice for a motorsports presenter then.

Things had seemed to swing a bit more in our favour though as a few MPs and one in particular (a Lib Dem of all people!) put on a bit of pressure to get some answers from the BBC and from Bernie Ecclestone. Not particularly successfully but at least someone reasonably high-up was listening to us. Thank you Don Foster MP - although I'm not sure "Don in Bath" is a good title for one of your Webpages.

Bernie, meanwhile started coming out with all sorts of random rubbish:

Oct 5 - Pubs could show F1 for free - No they'll continue to show Football
Nov 24 - Bahrain GP will go ahead - that's dodgy on so many fronts
Nov 30 - Europe is finished as far as F1 goes
Dec 12 - Hamilton is Star-struck
Dec 12 - Daughters Squandering Childrens' Inheritance - well, whose fault is that?

Then Ben Gallop reappeared! He added this update. More nonsense and no proper answers. The Blog was quickly hidden but has still currently managed 850 comments - my main one is at number 292.

Next came Sky stealing the BBC Talent including Martin Brundle who intimated that he might have stayed if they hadn't handled the whole announcement so badly. They've also nicked ITV's Steve Rider (but not for F1 presentation) so I don't know if he'll still be fronting the BTCC next year. The BBC then nicked Ben Edwards from ITV's BTCC coverage but I'm sure Tim Harvey (who's signature sits on a print of a drawing of two Volvo 850s in my hallway) will cope well with another partner in the commentary box.

Then came Mark's turn...

Jump to 2 hours and 7 minutes to see a bit (although nowhere near enough) of squirming as Mark Thompson struggles to justify not inviting Channel 4 to the table - lots of umms and errs. Shame that the questioner, John Whittingdale feels he has been forced into asking about it "just before we finish". If all you can see is a big white square then you are probably using Microsoft Internet Explorer - try Mozilla Firefox instead - it's much better.

So still no answers really, Ben's gone back into hiding and the BBC are still not listening.

I'll not be following F1 next year - I'll still be watching the BTCC, of course though - but who will be sitting in that seat next to Tim Harvey?

This is where ITV need to be smart and hire...

MURRAY WALKER!He's an old man now, so probably not up to jet-setting around the World but still more than up to a few hours work on assorted weekends around Britain. He's extremely knowledgeable - he makes a few howlers but they add to the fun - Tim would keep the facts straight. He's done BTCC Commentary before - he isn't under contract to the Beeb and he would draw in casual and commited fans alike.


And I Want you to too!

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Taiwan 't one

"I Want One!" Geddit?


Oh well, never mind, I don't really want one.I couldn't buy one even if I did want one anyway - it's going on sale in its home nation - Taiwan next year - I don't think it's even available in Australia, home of this article about the said car. It's called a Luxgen5 - the Company name is Luxgen so presumably its full title is a Luxgen Luxgen5.

After the Malaysians, Koreans and Chinese, do we now have yet another Eastern nation suddenly producing cars good enough to eat into Western markets? Possibly. The article does show a modern-looking vehicle with a luxury interior and, thanks to a tie-in with HTC (maker of some very smart Smartphones) some clever infotainment tech.

With a choice of 1.8 and 2 litre turbo petrol engines, it all looks like a very good package.

The article states that, "Luxgen is the only car company in Taiwan that wholly develops its own vehicles." OK, but it does look very familiar - even down to the wheels:

Monday, 5 December 2011

Ferrari Dayto-forget

I heard this story out of Japan on Radio 2 this morning but it wasn't on the BBC Website (probably will be by the time you read this) but Bloomberg had it. Nobody badly hurt though. It was caused by a sixty-year-old who lost control on a wet motorway. He's now under threat of prison.

Maybe it'll make this bimbo from this story in July feel a bit better though. No, it's not Patsy Kensit, it's some anonymous French woman who drove a Bentley into four other prestigious cars in Monaco. And because she was trapped inside the car and it was a convertible, she was soon surrounded by tourists with cameras and camera-phones. There are hundreds of photos all over the Web.

Like this one...