Who needs GOD?

Well, let me begin my blog with an apology, I have no wish to upset anyone with faith, I really don’t want to do that but I’m am writing this as someone who was brought up to consider faith, religion and all that comes with having a GOD. It is fair to say that my parents would point out the negatives more than the positive’s of a religion, I like to think that I have now made my own mind up. (coughs)
My mind is split, 70/40 against there being a GOD. Where is this god? why does it allow man made issues to kill thousands, why does this GOD not intervene? It’s far too easy to say, he watches and we are to blame for the world’s woe. What sort of GOD is that? if you were GOD, wouldn’t you stop people suffering, children being burnt alive in warfare? would you not at least have a poke at the world you created? Of course you would and no doubt sort out a lot more besides. If God allows cruelty, he is not much of a GOD.

I am increasingly of the opinion that when we die, it’s the end, there is no afterlife other than the love those we leave behind, keep alive. the memories, the laughter and hopefully, a life well spent. That doesn’t scare me.

God is clearly a crutch then ? it’s something to turn to when we have nothing better, therefore GOD is good and handy to those that need him/it. Let’s not blame people for being scared, their faith is strong and who are we outside their world to point and laugh.

What if they are right? I remain a struggling agnostic, I know that many religious people do good, They do it because they are driven by faith and knowing what is right, I don’t laugh at people that go to church, I respect them for their belief, I just don’t understand it. I feel sure people are good with or without GOD.

I feel sure that we all know what is right, what is the best thing for fellow man, I don’t believe that having a GOD in your life makes that easier, as an agnostic, I know what is right….I’m not a poorer person for not having faith, I am well rounded and consider more than just myself.

So, With no GOD, I’m left with a very simplistic set of principals and approach to life.

My aims:

To live life as fully as possible, to care for those that you love, not cause harm to others, respect people with differing views and embrace the concept that I might be wrong in my beliefs and actions.

Those are my aims, I am human and being human does me we can fail, sometimes.

Love conquers everything, I have no GOD, I am happy with myself. I am not at war with my inner self. Is that a religion? I don’t need GOD. Maybe I was created by GOD to challenge faith, maybe he wanted confused people around to brighten the lives or darken the lives of others…. Maybe I am here to live, laugh, love and die.

I’m a 70/40 % Agnostic. my name is Nicholas, that much I know.

Broken TV?

What happened to the Telly?

With the recent spate of high-profile deaths, Terry Wogan, Victoria Wood, Ronnie Corbett, I stop typing as the list for 2016 is depressing, to put it mildly! I have now found myself wondering #WhoNext.
One selfish positive from the passing of a much-loved individual is that TV broadcasts some golden nuggets from its vaults.

Like millions of people, when Sir Terry died in January, I felt grief for someone that I didn’t know, so good was he at the job, we seemed to truly believe we knew him and the outpouring of love for Terry was genuine.

I have been lucky to work with a few famous people in my career, I could list a few, I guess, but you might think I was bombastic or the like. This is about the lost talent not who I may have briefly shared a lift with.
I met Terry Wogan at a radio event and he was charming, utterly charming, friendly, witty, It felt like my own private version of his radio show. I should love to say that I made him laugh, I should like to say I said something that made any sense, I fear I may have just gulped and let out some dribble.
I was starstruck. I would have been quite happy to just stand there and smile and nod at everything he said. I was always a bit in love with Terry and I think at times tried to be like him on the radio. He was marvelous at making me feel that he was really interested in me. Maybe he was, maybe part of his talent was that he was interested in people or just maybe, he was used to people like me just grinning and nodding. He exuded a warmth of humanity that I bought into 100%


Anyhow, after he passed, there were some lovely tributes on TV – His friend, Father Brian D’Arcy spoke of the great man and I had tears rolling down my face as he spoke of his friend.

TV had clips of Terry and his chat show, I laughed and felt a warmth for TV past, when Victoria Wood died in April, again we fans were treated to some classic TV. Macaroons and Women’s Weekly references were everywhere.

Ronnie Corbett had made generations of new comics laugh and yet again, TV was full with some amazing moments of television. I could watch him tell a story for hours.

So, these reminders of TV past, don’t half show up how lacking TV is these days. A sure sign you have become your parents “TV was so much better in the old days” I hate saying it, but it was. Generation Game on a Saturday night, The Two Ronnies, This Week, Boquet of Barbed Wire – and yes I’m showing my age but TV was good.
Of course, the breakup of TV regions has done little for Great TV – Anglia TV in Norwich was one of many powerhouses across the UK. that managed to make TV that the ITV network loved and was sold around the world. It saved money, people lost their jobs and TV lost viewers.

Scores of regional accents and local talent busily making popular TV.
BBC TV centre will soon be some rather smart flats and a hotel.
Saturday morning TV is now a lazy susan of chefs with a drizzle of people that I have try and Wok out – who the hell they are.

Dad’s Army is on a constant loop on BBC2 – I watched House of Cards the first time round and it was brilliant.
We now have more channels than programmes to fill their schedules and I’m left wondering why TV has become so dull. It’s not me is it? Was I spoilt by TV past.
I do find some great TV moments in 2016 – but I’m not sure the variety is there. It all feels as if the butter is being spread a tad thin. How many more singers do we need? What about Lulu? she must be miffed.

But before you shout Poldark, The Night Manager and a few others, It seems many of us have given up on TV – viewing habits have changed of course, but I suggest those habits have evolved in part because many of us can’t find that much that excites us very much.

Imagine Victoria Wood on TV – Terry Wogan doing his thing, Ronnie Corbett discussing the BBC canteen and Weekend World nailing the politicians of the day.

Some drama on channel four that disgusts the Daily Mail and Danger Mouse for kids of all ages.

Don’t get me going on Kids TV. It’s now hidden on digital platforms that very few really watch. Where is the next John Noakes?

Yes. TV was better a few years ago and maybe just maybe I was one of the lucky ones – that could switch the TV on and with just four channels, find something that informed, entertained and educated.

Thanks for the memories, Terry, Ronnie and Victoria.

Suffolk Show 2015

When you work in radio in a place like Suffolk, you can find yourself working the year ahead in blocks.
For example, First part of the year was always a debrief on how well the Christmas lights switch on had gone, then we would look at the Spring events that were coming up and how we would staff them. To be honest, it was always the part of the job I disliked, the planning away of your year and waving goodbye to all those supposed days off.

Apart from when It came to planning for the Suffolk Show, Always have ensured that I knew the dates for this years show and made sure I was available.This event if you haven’t been in a while or you remain a county show virgin is brilliant. I have been going through work for years and before that as a child. The reasons that I love this quintessentially British event are simple, the sharing of a common love of the place we call home, it is a reminder of the diversity of a county that is too often described as being “sleepy old Suffolk”.A place where the very wealthy rub shoulders with the rest of us and a place where generations of people have done business. It opens eyes to what is going on in work and life on your home patch.

The sheep, cattle and horses all look beautiful, yes the cow shed smells but the cattle have their own in-house shower before they are presented to the public. How very #TOWIE. although I was born in Suffolk, I often don’t feel that connected to true country life, the battle that is far too real for people trying to make a living from it.

I understand that some feel that the Suffolk show with the men in their bowler hats is all rather twee or standoffish but the reality is that the volunteer stewards wear the hats to make it obvious who to ask if you need directions or some friendly advice.

The Suffolk show is the finest pick and mix of life today in the county, I know people who only go to see the horse jumping, the big kids who want to see the Army and an Apache. me, I go to soak up the atmosphere of my home county. to catch up with friends and reconnect with country life even if it is for a few hours a year. The education of what life in the country means to us all wherever we live. I’m guilty of buying from the supermarket and not considering the individuals within that chain of delivery. The Suffolk show is not about wagging fingers and a guilt trip but if you wanted to know more about that “daily bread” it is a good place to discover some answers or you can enjoy the Suffolk Show for the funfair and cute donkey’s – that diversity again.

The Suffolk agricultural association have done a clever job in keeping true to the very roots of this annual event and yet evolved to embrace what a family expects from a day out. It’s not a cheap day out but with children few days are, (Under 14’s get in for free as part of the family deal) check the weather, take your welly boots in the car, Take Gran or yourself to the Flower Tent, pick up a new outfit from the various fashion trade stands, say hello to the cows and the herdsmen that produced the daily pint for the cornflakes and connect with a county that is far from sleepy, a county that has a proud agricultural history, diversity in trade and delivers quality into the UK. food chain.

If you happen to spot me there, say hello.
Discover more on the show here: http://suffolkshow.co.uk/
May 27th – 28th 2015

Choosing a good voiceover voice?

Never really understood the appeal of a blog but recently I was asked “what makes a good voice” a voice that is heard on the radio or with a voiceover. The person asking wanted an idea of the sort of voice that would suit their brand. As often is the case, they were saying how much they can’t stand the sound of their own voice and therefore they needed to hire one to best represent their marketing needs.
Hence my first blog!

So what makes a great voice? a voice that people enjoy listening to, a voice that people warm to and trust. Is there more to it than that? You might think that after 20 years of using my voice professionally, I would have the answer by now and truth is whilst I have some views on what people like and don’t like, they are just views. I can’t be sure for certain, but having been in radio presenting for some time, it does mean you get some very honest feedback from the public on what they like and what drives them to the off button.

So have a look at what I feel makes a good voice.
That voiceover tone that will engage your audience.

Travel thirty miles and you hear the change in accents around the UK. My home county of Suffolk, has the Ipswich accent, the Lowestoft accent and the two vary greatly and that is between just two towns, but what links any voice is warmth, a willingness for the audience to listen to what the speaker has to say.

How much better is customer service on the phone when the speaker sounds engaged, natural and interested in you.
Voices that smile and have clarity, whatever the accent is, are far more likely to connect than a voice that sounds cold and bored.
Warmth is surely the key battle line, It is these that best work on radio and voiceover .

Say this out loud: The dog has eaten the tax return…
Now say it but imagine a broad smile as you do….
The dog has eaten the tax return…
Sounded better?
Suggesting that even the most annoying news can be delivered in a style that is at the very least engaging.

Warmth then and a genuine friendliness, inquisitive and with a tone that can seamlessly change gear from the light to the serious and back again without sounding as if the car is jumping on the road….leaving the passengers holding on for the next pitch dive.

So when choosing a voiceover ? ask, does it match your company or product?
Would that firm of solicitors really sound that happy?
Why are they so pleased with themselves?
Do I trust them with my divorce?
So many questions and good enough reason to trial a few voices before picking the voiceover that is right for you.
Knowing your audience will be one of the best guides as to the sounds and tones that will resonate with them.
For some help or advice on voiceovers – please get in touch via the contact page and I will be happy to try and answer any questions.

First blog posted, may have to keep this up.

17 year old cat.

I’m writing about my cat, that in itself sounds as mad as one of those loving cat owners who talk to their cats, buy them a Christmas present and no doubt feed some wafer thin ham to their beloved moggy on the feline’s birthday.

Yes, this is me.
I have enjoyed the company of a cat from the age 9, the first cat in my life was White and of course he was called ‘Snowy’ Then came Thunder, with Storm the rabbit making an appearance with high kicks and a lunge for escape.
The rabbit was a right dullard, just froze when you picked it up and made everything honk.
Cats, of course, do often make many things honk but for some unknown reason, we forgive.
So a blog tribute to my 17-year old cat, who is the nerviest cat you will never meet. for that reason alone, I shall refer to the ‘shy cat’ as 17!
He has been through a heck of a lot, a Labour landslide, Diana in that car crash and of course George Osbourne and the austerity tax on ‘Dreamies.’
’17’ has today become our longest living cat, A feat that does bring out the worst in we cat owners, talk of converting cat years into human years, getting it wrong and making out ’17’ is older than Bruce Forsyth.
He (bits were removed very early on) has to be the most annoying, messy and frankly thick cat we have ever had, no understanding of good toilet behaviour with the litter box, just drop and dash.
His breath has been a paint stripper for years, his legs are weak and he is missing a tooth or 2.

Above all this benighted talk, he is and has been the most faithful of friends, from disaster to merrier times.
He has been featured on radio when I have been short on material, ’17’ was sure to have done something that would gain a giggle from a listener to the breakfast show.
When I was on air at a radio station in Suffolk, I told the story of the time I bought a new wok, it was a great wok that held promise of great foods.
One day returning from work, we discovered the wok on the hob with what looked like olive oil, thin olive oil.
It was sadly not extra virgin but the after affect of ’17’ somehow straddling a wok and relieving himself in it.
To this day, I have no idea how he did it or why but the wok remained untouched by human hand again.

Through the bottles of bleach, air freshener and thoughts of murder, he has made us laugh and given us total love and devotion.
We know he has little time left and the day that I have to take him to the vet will be a sorry day filled with tears but we know he has also been spoilt and loved in return. life without a cat would be life with fewer laughs, a rather more dull life.
It has been an honour to share time with ’17’ and as he screams for his Birthday wafer-thin ham. I say Happy Birthday ’17’ and thank you.