Brian Plumridge - Winner, 2013 Award for Excellence & the Best Achievement in Radio & Online Journalism, Liverpool Hope University.
Runner Up, BBC Postgraduate Student Journalism Innovation Award 2012
Please visit my copywriting website www.plumridgecopy.co.uk
Monday, 7 April 2014
We all have our own idea who does it most too. Me? I confess. I have it in for Audi and BMW drivers. Having decided long ago that it is always them sitting on my bumper, always them using fear of imminent disaster to force me out of the way. And that Beemer or Audi, it's always black too. Always.
Monday, 14 October 2013
|Riding on a train - what it might cost you to get to Wembley|
"Once you add in travel costs, away fans shouldn't be expected to pay £50 and more to go to watch their team", said the FSF's Kevin Miles.
The cost of going to games has got out of control. The response? Clubs like Hull, Villa and Stoke offer their supporters free travel to games. Outrage over Manchester City fans being charged £62 for a ticket at Arsenal last season led to empty seats. In turn the Premier League fund is also being used to trim a few quid off the cost of away tickets
Now, that's all well and good if you are a Premier League club supporter.But what if you want to cheer on the national side? Last Friday England played Montenegro at Wembley. Ticket prices ranged from £10 and £20 in the family enclosure, to £35, £45, £55, and £65.
The majority of the nation has been turned into away supporters
Assuming that you don't have any kids, and you buy the cheapest ticket - £35 - is it possible to see England for under fifty quid, after adding in your other expenses? Well, it might be if you live in London, but the problem with supporting England these days is that the majority of the nation has been turned into away supporters.
I took a look at just how much it would have cost you to travel from the provinces to see your national side. Excluding local travel (buses, tubes, taxis etc...to get you to a main line station), the findings are horrific.
If you're a Geordie with a streak of patriotism and a soft spot for three lions, last Friday for the Montenegro game you were looking at a day off work and a £128 return train ticket.
£128 plus a £35 match ticket = £163....considerably more than the fifty quid that the FSF believes is reasonable for any away supporter to pay.
So what are the FA doing to make 'away' travel for Geordies, Scousers, Brummies etc cheaper when they decide to take the trip to London?
So your £163 up in Newcastle just became £200.50 to see England.
Does the FA have a subsidised travel scheme for people living outside London and the south east to see their country? Looking at the England Fans membership details, I couldn't see it. So, while attendance as an away fan is down at Premier League games by 10% - and demanding attention - a full house against Montenegro last Friday probably demands precisely no action at all. As long as there are bums on seats the FA is likely to do, well, sweet FA to put this obvious wrong right. Subsidising travel arrangements and cutting ticket prices for the great unwashed is only necessary if people stop going to games, and not really about fairness at all.
Should England only play in London?
Ignoring the cost of getting to Wembley, there is that age old debate amongst footy fans. Should England only play in London? Italy, Spain, Germany, Holland - every other major footballing nation in Europe takes the international show on the road, to the people.
But, the expense of building a new national stadium means that money needs to be recovered. Wembley Stadium is a private entity, and you can't blame them for demanding that England take up permanent residence. It guarantees that they'll recoup all the building expense...and I'm sure beyond that, a whole lot more.
All the same, I couldn't resist asking Wembley if they thought it was reasonable to monopolise England -
To be fair to Wembley there are many people who see a trip to the home of English football as a pilgrimage, and something special...just looking through Twitter after the Montenegro game briefly it wasn't long before I found evidence of that..
Having been to cup finals, internationals, and schoolboy internationals at the old Wembley I can still see the draw. But it saddens me. If you are prepared to make that trip from Newcastle to Wembley, you have to be wealthy enough to fork out over £200, not just willing to.
There will be people all over the country who'd quite like to see their national team, but the cost of the travel alone will leave their desire as unfulfilled as the ambitions of a team without a trophy in nearly fifty years.
Monday, 15 July 2013
|T-shirt at the ready....ladies and gentleman, The Rolling Stones|
I've seen The Stones on a previous seven occasions. I think. But not for ten years. This year I hadn't seriously considered going to see them again. Expensive tickets being high up on the list of reasons that stood in the way of me rekindling my Glimmer Twins romance. That and no real desire to go much further than 30 miles down the M62 for the pleasure. A day in a field fighting 30 degrees with nowhere to hide - that was a bit of a turn off too. I don't do heat.
So what changed my mind? What ever changes your mind? Your kids. In my case a 15 year daughter. My music kinda vaguely interests her. But vaguely with a capital 'V'. I've forced Led Zeppelin down her throat with limited success for years. I made her go and see Robert Plant with me on the basis of 'you'll thank me one day'. So, I had no reason to believe that she'd be gripped with enthusiasm for seeing The Stones. But I was wrong. Very wrong. 'If I can get tickets do you fancy seeing The Stones in Hyde Park?' was greeted with unparallelled enthusiasm. The mission was on. I now had to get tickets.
And you know what? I was excited. Excited about the trip - even if it did mean trekking from Liverpool to London. Even if it did mean sitting out in the blistering sunshine all day -wilting as I would in the searing heat. Why? Because Kate was so up for it. I was excited because she liked something I did. Excited because the generation gap was being breached. Excited because with every advancing year it's bloody exciting when your kids think something you grew up with is cool. And that thing is guys in their 60's and 70's. The realisation that old isn't uncool by definition was such a relief. That and yes, I selfishly wanted my (exquisite) taste and the things that make me tick to have some resonance with her. I don't just want to be dad. I want to be the ageing sage, fountain of wisdom type bloke who passes on the baton of knowledge. Not just the every day sensible advice like 'don't eat too much salt.' No. I want to be remembered as a cultural guru of epic proportions.
|The Stones in the park, 2013 style|
But just weeks before the gig, my chance of immortality was delivered a severe blow. 'The girl' - as Kate is known in a kind of pseudo Bart Simpson type way - went and broke her ankle. Not good. What if it rained? And remember this is England. We get a lot of the stuff. How would she stand all day? How would she be able to stand at all in a sea of mud? The problem was solved with the arrival of summer. Unbroken sunshine. Not two words that we use too often in this country. I can't believe that I was praying for sunshine. Lots of it. Scorching hot, not a cloud in the sky sunshine. It's what I wanted. It's what I got. That and a wheelchair. That's all I needed. You can always get what you want.
No sooner than the tickets were booked than the day arrived. Up early. Out early. On the motorway by not long after six, we ditched the car in Watford. Okay it was sensibly parked and not remotely ditched. But, give me a break. I'm trying to be all rock n roll here. Moving swiftly on, we hit Hyde Park by 12.30. Just in time to bake, fry, roast or any other synonym cum adjective you care to think of that describes being cooked alive. The wheelchair weaved it's magic. Otherwise distracted tourists got out the way. People offered to help. My faith in humanity was restored.
|Kate, me, mission accomplished|
Better than Glastonbury
The set was better than the previous week at Hyde Park, and better than Glastonbury. I know that's subjective, but look at the changes. Compared to the previous gig in the park out went Bitch, Before They Make Me Run, All Down The Line and Beast Of Burden. In came Ruby Tuesday, Street Fighting Man, Happy, and Emotional Rescue - with the latter really showing that Jagger can push the limits of his vocals, even now. It was a belting set. Yeah we were miles from the stage, but the crowd were loving it. And more importantly, so was Kate.
|Miles from the stage, but who cares? We didn't|
We'd had a magic moment. Kate's first huge outdoor gig. She'd seen The Stones for the first time. I think I may have seen them for the last. She might have too. As the last night of the '50 & Counting' tour there is a chance that this could have been the last ever Stones gig. Hard to imagine after all these years. So many tours have been labelled as perhaps their last. But things are different now. And you can listen to my take on that right here -
The Last Time? I reported on the gig for Dee 106.3 and Silk 106.9
Reading on your smartphone? Download the audio here
The trip to London I'd planned with Kate was meant to be more than just The Stones. If that's possible. The Stones was achieved against the odds and with a bit of luck. But the trip was going to be a 60's pilgrimage. Going to Abbey Road. Finding Jimi Hendrix's house. Standing on the steps of the only house The Beatles all called home.
Could any of that be achieved this weekend? With Kate plastered to her knee? Well, this weekend anything was possible......
|Jimi Hendrix's flat...in the bag|
|The only home shared by all The Beatles...57 Green Street....and our mini rock n roll landmark tour complete|
And since I wrote this article I've completed a mini video documentary to accompany this piece.
Monday, 25 February 2013
Last year I was introduced to the chaps at Everton in the Community. To cut it short they are working on a project with Mersey Care NHS Trust called 'Pass on the memories.' The project is examining ways of enriching the lives of dementia sufferers and stimulating memories.
My job would be to create a CD, linking together interviews with some of the blues greatest servants.
Tuesday, 5 February 2013
Thursday, 6 December 2012
|Elbow in Liverpool - distant cheap seat camera phone snap|
Laptops aren't. Not really. Not if you want to travel light. And from what I've seen tablets aren't really crying out to me to invest in one as a work tool. Less is more. Stick with your dog and bone.
Sunday, 2 December 2012
And that brings me to chemtrails - which are not to be confused with contrails. The difference between the two is that contrails are thin white stripes of condensed water and carbon dioxide you see every day trailing out of the back of aeroplanes flying at altitude. Chemtrails – if you believe in them – are broad, lingering trails from aeroplanes that can hang in the sky for hours. Wider than contrails the internet and social media are awash with people and organisations that say these chemtrails contain toxins that have been sprayed to reflect harmful rays from the sun, as government and it's agents search for a solution to global warming. More alarming is the suggestion that chemtrails are the tool of influential corporations.