Category: Blogging

Addictive Podcasts

Sometimes I am late to the party, very late, but this does give the added benefit of being able to ‘binge’ listen. On 14th May I came across an article on The Guardian website and was interested to find out more about the Serial podcast, so the next morning I downloaded all twelve episodes and read a little about the case. A potential miscarriage of justice and a teenager sent to prison for almost fifteen years potentially for a crime he did not commit. That was just the start, over the course of the next twelve days, there were going to be many more twists and turns in the narrative.

The man reason this show appealed to me was the age of Adnan Syed, he was less than a year older than me and I recall with great fondness memories from 1999 at college. Truly a coming of age period for me and my friends. It was the year I passed my driving test. Another aspect of the case which appealed to me from the start was having to account for our time. A mere twenty seven minutes in Adnan’s case but it did get me thinking of how difficult it can become to recall our movements from last week, let alone from several months ago.

The podcast is gripping, particularly as you get to hear from Adnan from prison via recorded conversations with the show’s narrator and main investigator Sarah Koenig. The production team do an excellent job in bringing us, the avid listener a little bite size chunk of information each week, as we slowly try to consider who is innocent and who is guilty. Of course the show is not perfect but it does cover a substantial amount of evidence over the course of twelve weeks and you have to consider the amount of time that went into researching a case which was closed over fourteen years ago. All the players have gone from young adults at high school, to fully grown adults with children and families of their own. It will be hard for people to listen to a single episode without wanting to switch over to the next one straight away. As I navigated my way through the final few episodes, there was great news online. Syed had won an appeal to have new witness evidence submitted as part of his appeal process. At the end of the listening experience, my thoughts turned to the unlikely event of ever finding myself in such a predicament. Pulled in the scene by circumstantial evidence which could convince some people you are guilty of a crime. Considering myself a law abiding citizen, I could never believe I would find myself on the wrong side of the law but this case proves how easy the tide can turn. I look forward to season two, which should be released later this year and I will be disciplined to listen once a week. I do not think my ears and mind could handle another binge listen.

Following a gap of a week or so I decided to download the Undisclosed Podcast and begin listening to events again from a different perspective. I was initially put off by the negative reviews of the first episode, comparing the audio quality unfavorably with Serial. Did I really want to invest more of my time in a podcast that just recovered the events from January 1999 once again but with pro Adnan stand point. Ultimately it was my thirst for more information that forced me to download the first episode and go from there. Thankfully quality improves greatly from home recording quality episode one to episode two, which appears to be a full fledged professional release.

Holiday Mode Shopping Music

H&M has become the perfect retail destination prior to any holiday. To be honest, before I met Michelle I never considered the clothes they produced, although it was and continues to be a regular haunt for three of my sisters. However this post is not about the good quality clothes produced by the retailer, instead I am focusing on their fantastic music policy in not just the UK but across Europe. Back in late September 2013 I had to use my memory to record song lyrics that I would then Google later to try and discover the name of the artist and song. I am sure you do this all the time and maybe like me you forget the lyrics or to actual remember to search for them when you are next at the computer screen. Please also note, that it has only been recently that I have had access to Shazam on my HTC One M8. I did have the app installed on my HTC Desire for a brief moment when storage capacity was not an issue. It was actually in early July 2010, almost five years ago that I was in H&M with Michelle in our second city, Birmingham that I heard a song that would stick with me, not just my two week holiday in India but for good. Charice would later even then have a guest spot of a few episodes on my favourite television show Glee.

Let me fast forward to the present, in mid March I was in Bucharest. Travelling light as I always tend to do, I needed to purchase a t-shirt and jumper and we headed to the mall opposite our hotel – The Europa Royale. Being a tourist, you always head for the familiar brands of home and I found myself in H&M, with Priyam and Minal mid afternoon on Friday 13th March and was browsing the Men’s section upstairs and trying to concentrate on the song that was being played. I was not a position to switch on my data plan and use Shazam, so instead noted down some of the lyrics in Google Keep to look up later or even when I go home. I only noted down the following words “Get me out of my mind spiralling”. Somehow, I was able to find out that song was Erica Gibson – Out Of My Mind.

How does this US retailer seem to always find songs that I like? Whether I am in their store in Windsor or further afield, they seem to be on the money with their song choices. Perhaps they have the research that by playing the right songs, the customers will be in the mood to spend even more money. Apart from the trip to H&M in September almost two years ago, on the other two occasion I was either on holiday or just about to go on holiday, so perhaps I was in the mood and mode, reflected so well in the songs.

Unwatched Television Shows

While you may believe I am a television addict and I would not disagree by any stretch of the imagination. The fact remains however that I am very selective on the television shows I do watch and generally tend not to watch the most popular shows. Such as the revelation that, I have never seen a full episode of Friends. Even with Channel 4 showing re-runs on an almost daily basis and even Comedy Central screening the show from the start, I have somehow managed to never catch more than a mere few minutes. Difficult even more so, when my youngest sister, Julie is such a big fan of the show. She would watch episodes back to back most evenings when I was back living at home. I recall house-mate Paul in my final year at University (2004) offering me the last ever episode and wondering why I was not keen to get my hands on the avi (pre HD file format times) he had downloaded. He was rather shocked when I responded that I did not watch the show and had no interest in the ending because I had never seen the beginning. While working with my friend Chris, a die hard fan who had the full DVD boxset at home and was eager to let me borrow and was rather miffed when I politely declined the offer.

Think of some of the most popular shows from the last five to eight years. I can probably guarantee that I have not seen them and at the very least perhaps indulged in one episode only to not be taken by the hype and dropped them like a hot potato. For example – we thought about giving Downton Abbey a chance. Michelle and I watched the first episode and at points it was difficult to understand was this supposed to be a serious drama or comedy. We lasted one episode and never to return. However Mr. Selfridge by the same team, we watched for one entire series, but do not watch any further because we got tired of the same structure to pretty much every episode.

Breaking Bad – probably the most popular television show of recent times (prior to the fantasy action set piece of Game of Thrones) and I have to confess to having not watch a single minute of either show. My friend Pav has tried multiple times to get me to watch BB. While I understand the plot might be compelling, it just has never appealed to me. Plus it appears a show which require more than one hundred percent concentration. I know many people whom have binged watched the show (which seems to be a recent trend in TV watching – even being used as the basis for a recent advert for BT). Watching a show in the modern world is difficult as you have the problem of spoilers being posted all over social media, sometimes unwittingly by your closest friends. This not only destroys your enjoyment of the show but also ruins any potential future viewing pleasure, should you wish to fly through the boxset over a wet Bank Holiday in England. While there is less of a delay between US and UK broadcasts, made easier with access to the internet, it is still difficult to avoid spoilers without perhaps going completely cold turkey but that would include not listening to the radio and avoiding certain colleagues in the office whom may inadvertently mention something during lunch.

There are plenty of shows on my long long list to be watch. Plenty downloaded, waiting to be seen but having only limited time each evening and at weekends, I tend to find myself weeks behind (sometimes even further). There is something special about watching a show as it is aired, as you get to enjoy the shared viewer experience, with complete strangers on Twitter. While this perhaps works best for “event” television, such as reality television finals, it is just as fun to watch a show and then look up the relevant hashtag on Twitter.

So this is my long list of shows I need to get around to watching, most have gone on beyond their first season. Almost Human (watched first episode, unfortunately cancelled after first season), Brooklyn 99 (award winning show into series two), Scorpion, Elementary (watched all of season one, never had the chance to watch further, into season three now and I believe better than BBC Sherlock.) Then we have the recent DC shows – The Flash, Arrow, Gotham. I have only seen the first episode of Gotham. From Marvel I have seen two episodes of DareDevil and according to my friends it is worth watching as it just gets better and better. That is just the tip of the US import iceberg. Other local television shows I have yet to see are Indian Summers from Channel 4 and Arthur & George from ITV. Feeling rather let down that I soldiered through series two of Broadchurch on ITV. Felt rather let down in the end and will not be investing a single second in series three.

Right, time to switch off the laptop and catch up on some television.

It’s All Glee To Me

Let me set the record straight once and for all. Glee has always been about the music. We have cared little for the characters and the outrageous plot lines or the person irritating cheerio coach and later principal Sue Sylvester in that particular week’s episode. Having just watched the two hour finale, to not just season six but the entire show, I feel in the right place to finally reflect on a great television show of the past few decades, but perhaps not quite the greatest.

My love affair with Glee started when Michelle’s dear friend Shabana, recommended I watch the show, primarily for the Show Choir tutor – Mr. William Michael Schuester. He had not just an amazing voice but was able to shake it on the dance floor. So in late 2009 and into early 2010 I was watching the first series to catch up with the output on E4. Most important to me was the fact the whole premise of the show was fun. It never took itself too seriously and even when plot lines went a little moody, there was always a quick segway into a usual comic music number. The stand out performances for me in that opening season were from Artie in the single episode Dream A Little Dream. They were Safety Dance and Dream A Little Dream. The Men In Hats number would remain my favourite until the start of season two.

I can appreciate the difficult job when the writers took up the reins of series two. How could they top the debut? The result was a slow start until the sixth episode. Many people may have given up at this point but I was keen to give the show the time it deserved. I knew better things would come along eventually. I was right, the introduction of The Dalton Warblers and in particular Blaine Anderson took Glee to new heights. They would remain at this peak for two good seasons. I tended to blog about Glee only when there was a performance worth highlighting or a particular plot point that deserved to be reviewed. However as I mentioned at the start of this post, music was key to anything. The characters were all larger than life, even Principal Figgins whom will always be a hero of mine!

Feeling a little underwhelmed having just watched the final eighty odd minutes of Glee. Although the ending was perfectly poignant, it felt rather rushed to get all the various strings of narrative tied together for a crowd pleasing finale. The cast and crew had plenty of fun in this sixth and final season, you could tell with some of the flamboyant song choices (even by Glee standards). My criticism of this limited run, will always be the desire to fill in too many stories into a definite amount of screen time. Never was any plot given the justice it so badly craved. Instead it felt like a brainstorm session gone into overdrive with nobody willing to take the decisive decision, so all ideas got thrown into the melting plot, with no care for how they might end up in the end product on the small screen.

Having said all of that, there were still moments of sheer magic. In episode three, entitled Jagged Little Tapestry there was the mashup performance of King’s “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” and Morissette’s “Head over Feet”. Let me underline that I have never been a fan of the mashup, particularly on Glee. (Personally these types of songs should be left in the hands of the experts, such as music television channel Q) Jane Hayward’s beautiful voice complemented the tender tone of Mason McCarthy to create the perfect balance for a contemporary love song. The show reminded me what a ground breaking album Alanis had released way back in 1995, with so many hit songs. I had to download Head over Feet again to remember how elegantly written and sung the song is, with lyrics such as “You Ask Me How My Day Was…”

Finding it difficult to summarize a show which I have watched religiously for the past six years, but that never quite got under my skin like Greek or Fringe. (I could go into the reasons why, but they are actually scattered across this blog under the tag glee. Feel free to have a rummage around!) Forty three odd minutes spent (usually) on a Sunday morning to watching the latest happenings in a high school in Ohio, with larger than life academic staff and children with a multitude of issues for a multitude of reasons. Instead I am going to leave the final few words from articles I found online in the past few days. Firstly Daniel Martin in The Guardian, perhaps puts his finger directly on the button of what gave Glee it’s quintessential charm and why at times it was lost with moving the action to New York. Then from the eyes of a fan aged thirteen at the shows premiere, and still a teenager (just) as the show came to a close – Emily Zauzmer with her Ode To Glee from The Harvard Political Review.

Glee has added so extra spark to my life that the show in my eyes, will never be forgotten. Even if I am far from the demographic that should have registered any interest in the Fox show. Without Rachel Berry and Kurt Hummel, I would never have gone to watch Wicked in the West End for my 30th birthday. I would have discovered and re-discovered some awesome songs that may otherwise have been forgotten forever. The reality for me, as a fan of 1980s pop was watching Ryan Murphy and team re-work a classic and somehow get the song to fit into the plot. An easier job before they took the elementary option of themed weeks as if this was an episode of The X Factor. Perhaps that was the moment Glee lost some of it’s charm. For me, any show that can launch the career of beautiful Naya Rivera and multi talented Darren Criss (among many more) deserves all the accolades it achieved, even if only at the start. Now while many will put it down to a ‘fad’, I will forever associate the show with fun times I had, watching a comic book musical come to life each week on my television screen.

Sue v Will

Doctor Who

Surely this highly educated and experienced physician, whom by sheer coincidence happened to be at the Californian golf course, to be first at the scene of Han Solo’s plane crash deserved to be given his name by the BBC. For the record – Dr. Sanjay Khurana.

Doctor Who

Expert In The BBC

What do you think of when you hear those three letters? The BBC – The British Broadcasting Corporation. It does seem to conjure up images of the 1950s with men in their stiff suits and ties with a stuffy presence of the old boys club in charge of a public service broadcaster not only for the UK but around the globe. I have always been fond of the BBC. Something as British as cheese scones, strawberries at Wimbledon and Shakespeare. I do confess in my early teens, when I became a news junkie, I went through a phase of watching only Sky News. I hope I can be forgiven for my naivety at such a tender age, to not understand how news bias works. Sure the BBC can at times have a bias but it is more impartial than most. Plus I prefer the presenters journalists.

Been attempting to plan a trip to the BBC Tour of New Broadcasting House for many months. Initially it was an idea for my birthday late last year but tickets seem to sell out fast and you need to book almost two months in advance, particularly if you want a choice in time slots. For Clive’s birthday I booked the BBC Tour for 10:45am on Friday 20th February, as a belated gift. It was a special birthday – he had only revealed his true age to me about two months previously and I had attended a celebratory dinner at The Peacock in Henton on Saturday 7th February.

Due to personal circumstances, I was quite sure that Clive would cancel our meeting in Central London and I would need to find another person (sixty plus) to take instead. However from the outset, he text me to not cancel the tour. This was not an option in any case, as tickets were non transferable and non refundable. As the day came closer, it was going to be the highlight of my week and even weekend. However it was to surpass all my expectations.

Waking up at 7am on a day off is actually a lie in for me, as I am used to waking up before 6am on weekdays to get into the office bright and early. I got ready and then headed to the train station, purchased my One Day Travelcard from the ticket machine and got to platform one with a minute to spare before the 08:32 service arrived promptly, to whisk me to Central London. From Paddington I took the Hammersmith & City Line to St. Pancras – King’s Cross to await the arrival of Clive on his first class East Midland service originating from Sheffield. The train was scheduled to pull in at 10:06am. Having navigated myself around the station and being aware where the East Midland trains were schedule to arrive and depart (upstairs) I headed to Starbucks for a large cup of tea. I was disappointed the member of staff whom took my order did not ask for my name on the cup. Although by pure coincidence the person in front of me in the queue was called “Andrew” but as he was ordering coffee (like 90% of the people around me) it was unlikely for our orders to get mixed up. I then made my way back up to wait for Clive and kept regular contact via SMS, while he probably had his fifteenth cup of complimentary coffee.

East Midland Mainline Departure/Arrival Board

The train arrived early and I got off my seat to wait by the gates scanning all the commuters, looking for the 6 ft Mr. D. He arrived eventually and we acknowledged each others presence with a small salute. It was great to see Clive, for the first time since his birthday and the life changing news. I thought it best to clear the air and talk this through before moving on with our day. I had realised that I had not purchased a Zone 1 TravelCard for Clive, but thankfully had my Oyster Card which had plenty of credit for the few journeys we were going to make into the West End. The Tube Assistant app I had downloaded recently onto my HTC One M8 had a nifty feature to show which carriage is closed to the exit on your journey. Geoff will probably be annoyed but unsure if the Station Master app has finally arrived on Android. We made our way from St. Pancras to Oxford Circus which is just a five minute journey on the Victoria Line. We then had just a minute walk to be at the heart of the action. We were outside New Broadcasting House. Our tour was about to begin. First though we had to find the entrance. I asked a security guard in his high visibility jacket and was directed to the side entrance. We then had to go through an airport style security check of my coat and a full pat down with a magic wand by a security guard before we were given access to the building to join a long queue. We then had to check in and be given our BBC Tour lanyard. Our tour guides were Amita (also from Slough) and John. The group was a mixed bag with a handful of “adults” and then a teenage party who were all from a radio project at their secondary school but everybody was based in the UK. No language issues here.

While we waited, we could look into the bowel of the building. You will know this part of the building, you see if briefly at the start of every main news bulletin and on the hour on BBC News (formerly known as BBC News 24). This was perhaps the highlight for me, as I have always had a great admiration for everything the BBC does from a news perspective. Sure it is far from perfect but it is a news source, I and million others come to rely on a daily basis. Eventually our tour began and we were taken on a brief security briefing before being shown part of the live news from a big screen. Simon McCoy (he of paper ream fame) was presenting along side another presenter, whom I could not identify but will check the schedules. We were then taken to see The One Show studio, before being whisked across to the Radio Theatre to take part in a play. Clive volunteered to do the sound affects while a five of children took speaking roles. I recorded the video but hit the file limited, so will need to work some video editing magic to join the two clips together and upload to YouTube.

Broadcasting House

As we made our way through the 1930s art deco building, the former entrance to Old Broadcasting House, we were shown some memorabilia. One was the original microphone that would have been used by George VI for his “Kings Speech” during 1936. There was also the original speakers used by His Royal Highness to broadcast the first ever Christmas Message to the people of Great Britain and the Empire (now Commonwealth) in 1932. We were asked if anybody knew who had written the speech for the monarch – a member of the school group, a 16 year old boy responded with Rudyard Kipling – he was of course correct. We were amazed at his knowledge and when probed as to how he knew this information, he responded with the most confident line I have ever heard, “Well I’m an expert in the BBC”. Now just consider this for a moment. You are on a BBC Tour on BBC premises with staff with extensive knowledge of the history of the organisation and you come out with not just the answer to a question but the reason why you have this fountain of knowledge. I wish I had been as committed to the broadcaster at that age. The moment took me back, what was I passionate about now at the tender age of 33 – approximately 17 years senior to this intelligent young man. (Double the amount of time he has been alive). This is something to consider for another time.

Our tour ended with a brief interactive element – volunteers were requested, those whom had not taken part in the radio play. Two people to present the news from auto-cue and then after a brief training video from Carol Kirkwood on how to present the weather. Again I recorded elements of this and will upload to YouTube.

BBC Worldwide – the commercial arm of the organisation, never to miss a marketing opportunity had a small shop next to the cafe which is where the tour ends and we had a brief look at some of the merchandise before planning the rest of our afternoon. We had more than six hours to kill. Before leaving we decided to have a hot beverage at the Cafe Nero which lives opposite The One Show studio. The barriers had been erected now and there was a strong security precence, passes being checked. We opted to grab our drinks and sit outside to look out for any famous faces. Inside, Robert Peston was getting a drink and being on autopilot as I was but in a rather lower volume I said out “Robert Peston” to Clive but Robert noticed as he picked up his drink and turned around and smiled at me and then went back to his chair and his notebook. Sitting outside we spotted a number of people including Richard Osman from quiz show Pointless, Tim Willcox news correspondent (wearing peach trousers or jeans) and finally from BBC Radio 1 (a station I am now far too old to listen to) Greg James. Although I have to confess for Greg James I had to do some Google image searches to confirm he was indeed the person we saw walking out with his girlfriend to probably grab some lunch.

The original plan had been to head to the British Library so I carry out some research on my grandfather whom fought against the Japanese in the Burma Campaign of World War II. However on contacting the Asian and Oriental Studies department, no records of the Army Officer were found and I have been referred to India. The office in New Delhi have yet to respond to my e-mail but I am not expecting a reply. Particularly with a government department using GMail to host their e-mail account. We then went ahead with out follow up plan which was to explore St. Pancras Station and in particular the Grand Midland Hotel, now fully restored to it’s 1860s spender. Little did I know the exclusive afternoon we would have.

Do you remember the music video to Wannabe? Yes by the Spice Girls around 1996. The start of the video was shot here in the Victorian staircase of The Grand Midland Hotel. After walking around some of the corridors, we made our way down to The Chambers Club. Little did I know that this is where we would spend the rest of the having a late lunch, catching up with my good friend and mentor whom I have now known for over twenty years.

ClockGrand StaircaseClive

This blog post is dedicated to Diamond Geezer. Over the past thirteen years I have followed his daily posts covering various events and locations but predominately the things to see, hear and do in and around the capital. Of course he completed this tour back in May last year. His one image on FlickR is much better than my collection from my mobile and I have the utmost respect for somebody who has the ability to write a fresh post everyday and care to stay fully anonymous in our celebrity centric world.

Seemingly Non Stop January

The first month of any year does seem to last forever. Never been able to find the root cause, probably because we all try to start the new calendar year with a multitude of plans. Many people set themselves up for failure by trying to achieve too much, too soon and with little planning.

Trying to keep my goals attainable I want to focus on fitness and career as two distinct areas of my life. I had signed up for the Cancer Research UK Winter Run 10k with my colleague Rob to give me a target to focus for the near future. The race is tomorrow and I am disappointed to report that I have withdrawn forfeiting my entrance fee. Being hit by a chest infection which has kept me out of the gym for over two weeks, I was just not ready. Colleagues had made the case for just walking the course but that is not me! I wanted to run the full distance and give a good account of myself even smashing my 10k record from almost six years ago. My withdrawal while unfortunate has come after a great deal of reflection. Generally I always try to see my commitments through and I see this as a postponement rather a complete cancellation of my participation in runs in the future. Reviewing my gym workout card; I only made two sessions in January. The start to 2015 has not gone to plan at all but let us not lose sight of the bigger picture. Eleven months remain and while getting back on the wagon is difficult, the ultimate goal is consistency!
I must be one of those special human beings whom actually lost weight during the Christmas period. The main factor in this was just like the year before (2013) I had only the statutory days off. As my cousin Susan said so well many many years ago. Being in the office meant sticking to my healthy pack lunch rather stuffing my face with chocolates, sweets and snacks as would have been the case had I been home. Being a creature of habit does help! Last year I made the biggest change to my gym routine since I started taking training seriously (2008). I joined the Friday evening spin class and in doing brought my independent gym session count down from three to two. I had hit the 12 stone barrier and was finding it extremely hard to get below this mythical wall on my weighing scales. In January 2014 I had started to watch all my food intake with the assistance of MyFitnessPal with a weekly weigh-in on Friday mornings. While progress had been steady to begin with I had hit this plato point and needed to kick start the burn. While there are many lunchtime classes offered at my office gym, they do not suit my working schedule. Classes last forty five minutes and when you factor in the time in the changing room before and after, an hour plus. I opted for the Friday evening graveyard session starting at 5:45pm. While ever so tempting to leave the office with the majority my colleagues at 5pm, having to work a full sixty minute class at full pelt does make you feel you have truly “earnt” your weekend!

Keeping track of progress is much easier in our app centric world but not having access to the latest smartphone meant I just updated my stats over on DailyBurn (formerly Gyminee). However this can because quite the administraitve burden and towards the middle of last year I just stopped. I saw little point, particulary as the few friends using the service had also stopped, so the element of comradery and competition just stopped. Being a data person I am keen to get my hands on a fitness tracker to track as many dimensions to my workouts as possible. However the market is a moving target, with new devices released almost on a weekly basis. I have changed my mind on which device to purchase for the past year. Originally I had my heart set on the FitBit Force but it was withdrawn from the market place due to the strap causing skin rashes for some customers. The waiting game started for FitBit to release their next range of devices. My heart was set on the FitBit Surge which was only just announced for sale in UK in the past week or so. I have vouchers from my birthday for John Lewis to use up but the UK retailer has no information on when they expect to stock the device. I enquired in all available options – in person at both Reading and Oxford Street branches and via an e-mail to the Head of Customer Service. No wonder the High Street goliath is losing its way in the digital age. However after reading several in depth reviews I have opted to not make a purchase, even though the software and community were a big part of the decision making process. The product just will not fit in with my lifestyle. Plus I require the option to extend the capability of my device over time. Rather than having to wait to purchase the latest device eighteen month or twenty four months later. The final decision has been made. I am going to purchase the Garmin Vivoactive (plus the heart monitor) when it is released on 30th March. The device is a smartwatch with all the standard trackers but the real appeal is the Connect IQ API which will enable third party developers to write applications for the device. This will really open up the possibilities. All I have to do now, is wait. As you probably already know, with me, patience is never a problem.

The Arsenal Way

My last two visits to the Emirates have been through the good fortune of winning competitions. Most recently on Saturday 15th September 2012, thanks to the wonderful ArseBlog (which I still ready daily and listen to both ArseCast and ArseCast Extra on a weekly basis while in the gym). I decided to take my Dad to his first trip to Arsenal and probably only the second live football match of his life.

The time before this was, Christmas four years earlier for (at the time I would like to add) the top four clash against Liverpool. I have not been able to attend in recent years and although did try to get tickets for the Newcastle match in early December, the allocation reserved for Red Members sold out within minutes. I have made it my personal mission to get to the ground (for a match day) before the season is out.

My last trip to Islington was the day after we won the FA Cup in May. A gloriously sunny Sunday we watched the open bus parade through the streets of North London on the outskirts of the ground. We arrived a little too late to get to the prime spot in-front of the Armoury but caught glimpses of the team on the bus as it drove from the Town Hall back to the Emirates. While I taken my fully charged camera, inadvertedly it has been left in my sister’s Golf at Wycombe train station, so had to make do with a few images from my Samsung Galaxy SIII. While my photos on my work phone automatically back up via wireless internet connection to my Google+ account, it is only this evening I have found the time to upload them to a FlickR set.

FA Cup ParadeFA Cup Parade

To be honest, I did not have high expectations of a self guided audio tour. I went to the cash desk, handed over my voucher and was told to just head over to the entrance. Before doing so I entered my name into the touchscreen to ensure I had my personalised certificate as evidence of my attendance of the tour. I was then asked which language I would like. As you can expect, Hindi was not available, so I selected English. I was given some brand new earphones. They were to be my ‘proof’ of purchase for the tour and I would need them later. However as you can expect they were hardly of the highest quality and I perhaps would have been better off using my own Sony earphones.

Following the few other people also on the tour, I was in the car park and heading towards a lift but opted to actually take the stars and start taking the first of almost two hundred photos.

For the first time, in what feels like an age, I have uploaded all 184 photos into the cloud, sorted, organised and relabelled as a full set on FlickR which I have now made public for the world to see.

Emirates StadiumDirector's BoxEmirates Stadium

For full disclosure I should also mention that I won a Savile Rogue scarf from a competition on ArseBlog back in late November 2013. I enter a range of competitions set by the Irish blogger, not just exclusively to win tickets to matches, but merchandise, books, posters, you name it! I have to say I have been lucky to win two in quick succession. Perhaps I need to stop entering and let other people taste a little victory!

WordPress Themes