Sound decision


I’ve just missed out on a speaking job for a bizarre reason.

It was to compere the end of season dinner for a well known English football club.
(Not West Ham, but not one of our rivals, so stop looking at me like that, it was a paid gig!)

They contacted me. I gave them a quote and they gave the job to someone else.

I never mind missing out because someone has undercut me on price. But that wasn’t the reason.

It turns out the chap who got the gig, has his own sound system. He turns up with microphone, amplifier and speakers.

It’s always disappointing not to get a job, but I’ve no plans to become a roadie just yet. I used to be the face of football on Channel 5 you know, till my hair fell out. So I won’t be buying a transit van just yet.

Now where’s that box set of Saxondale?

Picture courtesy of Dianna Bonner

The man with his head on upside down

It’s been raining a lot lately, so it must be time for the cricket season to get underway.  In fact it’s the earliest ever start to a county championship season.

I filmed at Derbyshire this week. The county have performed a huge about turn. After years of playing with the sun in their eyes, someone had the bright idea of rotating the pitch ninety degrees.  So now at the end of the day, when the sun is setting low in the western sky, it doesn’t matter, because they’re playing north/south.

Why on earth didn’t someone think of that earlier. Well to be fair, it’s only a problem late in the day.  In the old days they would have stopped before the sun was dazzling the batsmen.  Since the innovation of day night games, which start in the afternoon and finish under floodlights, there’s been problems. 

Cameraman Neil films as they move the floodlights

I met former Derbyshire president, TV presenter Nick Owen at the ground. I was surprised. I knew he was chairman of Luton Town, but I didn’t know of the link with Derbyshire. He told me he’d been a fan all his life, and his mum used to be the scorer at Buxton cricket club.  He’s definitely not a glory hunter, Derbyshire haven’t won anything in seventeen years, and can boast only four honours in their history.

Nick told me it had been embarrassing when ‘sun stopped play’ during live games on Sky. So he was delighted the pitch had been moved round.

Not sure what Neil is doing here, but he’s keen, so I let him get on with it.

At Trent Bridge I met the man with the most distinctive beard in test cricket. Hashim Amla is a South African batsmen who’s come to play for Nottinghamshire. You’ll recognise him as the man who looks like he has his head on upside down. He sports a magnificent WG Grace beard, but with a shaven head.

Me and WG

He gave me a cracking interview for TV. His beard is part of his strong muslim faith, which also means he refuses to wear alcohol sponsorship logos on his kit. Up till now, his wishes have been observed, and it won’t be a problem at Notts who don’t have any beers splashed across their shirts. Well not till after the game anyway.

With Hashim’s beard and Ryan Sidebottom’s trademark curly locks, it looks like being a hairy season for Nottinghamshire.

Jem  – Nottingham  9th April 2010