Phone

It’s amazing how some slogans perfectly fit the product or service they’re attached to.

I’m on a sim only deal with my phone and pay £20 a month for 20 gigabytes of data. I only use 6 gigabytes. My current contract is coming to an end so I called and asked for a deal with a lower limit.

The only deals they have, range from 5GB (too small) to 18 GB (too large) and even if I switched to 18GB I would only save £1 a month.

I told the person on the phone that after 10 years with this company, I was going to shop around and see what other providers could offer. I was amazed when he said, “OK” and did NOTHING to try to make me stay.

This mobile phone provider has a new slogan. It is, “The future is exciting. Ready?”

I am excited because I know I’ll find a better deal somewhere else and yes, I AM ready!

Craic on!

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The King And I

25Aug18

Hand

When you get to a certain level of wealth and power you must think you can control everything and everyone around you.

I was driving along the King’s Road, Chelsea the other day. A bloke holding a shopping bag was stood on the painted broken line in the middle of the road. As I got closer to him, he took half a step forward into my lane and held his hand up with his palm facing me as if he was a policeman ordering me to stop. He wanted to finish crossing the road.

There was no one behind me, all he had to do was wait till I went by. I gave him a wide berth but there was no way I was going to stop for him.

After I went past him, I noticed in my rear-view mirror that he did cross the road and walked to a parked Rolls Royce on the other side of the road. A chauffeur wearing a cap had got out and was holding the back door open for him.

It was at that moment that I didn’t feel so bad about driving past him a moment earlier, especially as I’d given him a hand signal of my own.

Craic on!

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Nothing Is Real

19Aug18

Everything is not as it seems.

You get to do some interesting stuff when you’re the Program Director of Fix Radio, the Commercial Radio Station in London for builders. Saturday morning, I was invited to the filming of a commercial for one of our advertisers Hitachi, who make power tools, as they are changing their name to HiKOKE.

Five professional dancers where hired and dressed as builders. It was really interesting watching as they learned their moves for various choreographed routines.

The shoot took place on a building site in Battersea. Three apartment blocks are going up. Some people have already moved into one of the blocks, so right now they live on the building site.

I feel sorry for one bleary-eyed resident who had clearly just woken up. When they opened the curtains, they saw a team of men in hard hats and hi-viz jackets dancing in unison.

They must have thought, what are they putting in the builder’s tea?

Craic on!

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Radio newsreaders are rubbish when it comes to reporting about Space.

Yesterday I heard a news presenter on a commercial station say, “It’s back to the drawing board for Nasa”. Immediately I thought that something catastrophic had happened to the rocket that was due to carry the Parker Solar Probe into space. It turned out the launch was cancelled due to a glitch. It eventually lifted off on its mission to the sun less than 24 hours later, hardly “back to the drawing board”. It’s no different than any vehicle that doesn’t leave on time, it just leaves at a different time. When a train is cancelled, Thameslink don’t get a team of engineers in to redesign the train from scratch!

It’s not the first time I’ve heard a confusing news report on the radio about a launch. A few months ago I heard that a rocket had lifted off from “The Kennedy Centre”. I thought that’s odd, I didn’t know that they fired rockets into space from The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Why would NASA move it’s launch site 866 miles to a theatre complex in Washington DC from their usual launch facility at Cape Canaveral in Florida, (The Kennedy Space Centre)?

Another time, I heard a BBC radio newsreader explain that Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic was going to “blast space tourists into orbit”. A quick check on Wikipedia and she would have found out that Virgin Galactic, “aims to provide SUBORBITAL flights to space tourists”.

I was once told by a senior news person at the BBC that the reason why science is reported so badly in the media is that most people who go into journalism are arts graduates.

I just hope that the news presenter I heard reporting on the launch of the probe to the sun realises that it will still make it, even though it was launched at night.

Craic on!

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Carmageddon

28Jul18

No Parking

My brain has a strange way of embellishing things to make me feel better.

Up until recently I’ve been spending most of my weekends on the road. After a week of doing Breakfast Shows on BOBfm in Hertfordshire, I’ve been getting up at 3am on Sundays, driving up the M1, M6 and M62 to present Sunday mornings at BBC Radio Merseyside in Liverpool, then at noon I’d drive south again and get home at about 6pm. It’s a round trip of almost 400 miles.

A couple of Sundays ago, I made it home after my epic journey but couldn’t park because someone was in my allocated parking space outside our block of flats.

Just as I was about to start pushing the intercom of every flat, a bloke came out of the front door. I said to him, “You wouldn’t happen to know whose car that is, would you?” He said, “Yes, it belongs to my mother, I’ll call her”. Then he left in his car.

About ten minutes later, nothing had happened and another bloke come out of the front door. I asked him if he knew anything about the car in my space and it turned out he was the brother of the first fella and said his mother would be down in half an hour. I said, “Half an hour? Tell her to move it right now, she’s in my space, which according to the deeds to the flat, I own!”

He went back inside, another ten minutes went by, so I parked my car right in front of the car that was in my space, so she wouldn’t be able to get out. I left a note under the windscreen wiper with my mobile number on it.

I went upstairs to our flat and started work on a shelf Julie and I were putting up. About twenty minutes later, my phone went. It was the bloke from downstairs asking me to move my car. I said, “I’ll be down in half an hour” and hung up.

He rang straight back. He said, “If you don’t move your car right now, I’m going to call the police”. I carried on fitting the shelf but Julie had had enough, grabbed her keys and went down to move the car.

When she got down there, the bloke WAS on the phone to the police. Julie moved the car and he ranted about me being passive aggressive (trust me, I may have been calm but there was nothing passive about it).

Last night, I had a really weird dream about the whole thing. In the dream, a policeman actually showed up and made me move my car.

I was really annoyed that the cop was having a go at me and didn’t have the guts to arrest the lady for trespassing on my property. So I made him say out loud, what I wanted to say to him. I said, “Excuse me officer, how do I get a ticket to the next Policeman’s Ball?” and he said, “I’m sorry, the police don’t have any balls”.

Craic on!

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Radio Geek

Radio people who are interested in what other radio stations and other presenters have done call themselves, “geeks”, why is that?

Singers who study other artists don’t call themselves geeks. Guitarists who are inspired by other great players don’t call themselves geeks. Comedians who study the comedy of other great comics never refer to themselves as geeks, it’s only radio people.

True geeks are people that study an industry from the outside. A bloke who works in a library but knows every detail of the running of a railway is a geek, not the bloke who drives the train.

Someone who goes out of their way to learn more about the business they’re in and gets inspired by what other people have done isn’t a geek, they’re a professional and an asset to their employer.

What’s weird is that people outside of radio don’t call radio people geeks, radio people call THEMSELVES geeks. Some non-radio people actually think we’re cool!

Maybe people outside of radio, understand something that the self-identified geeks don’t, that this is show business and we are performers.

It’s been said that all performers are insecure. Maybe radio performers are the most insecure of all because they don’t even want to be seen.

Maybe they don’t want to be seen because they see themselves as geeks.

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London Calling

22Jul18

London Calling

In the latest episode of my show for America, Kim Wilde and Jeff Wayne talk about the space aliens that inspired their musical work. For Kim it was a close encounter and for Jeff it was H.G. Wells, The War Of The Worlds. They both chat about their amazing lives and careers on both sides of the Atlantic.

Listen to London Calling, Episode 68, here;
http://www.talkers.com/talkersradio/london-calling/london-calling-with-graham-mack-episode-68-kim-wilde-and-jeff-wayne/

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Stop And Rob

Our new flat is in a great location. The block is right next door to a convenience store. I call that kind of shop a “Stop and Rob”. I’ve mentioned it on the radio a couple of times.

I went in there today, picked up a few things, said hello to the bloke behind the counter and asked if they sell non-alcoholic beer. He said, “No, we don’t get much call for it, don’t you drink at all then?” We got into a conversation about how I gave up drinking years ago because I did breakfast radio and when you get up before 4am and have to be at your best as early as you can, drinking the night before doesn’t help.

That’s when he stopped, looked me straight in the eyes and said, “Wait, are you that geezer that’s been calling this place a Stop and Rob?” I sheepishly admitted that it was me and told him that if it bothered him, I wouldn’t call it that anymore.

I can’t face going back in there again so now I’ll have to find a new convenience store. Shame it won’t be as convenient.

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Mack Nuggets

14Jul18

Here’s what I’ve been up to on BOBfm lately, including:

Harry Kane; Stormy Daniels; Disaster at Titanic the Musical; A stuck story; The ultimate protest song; Miscommunication; What was on the roof of the car?; The gender bender; Why you should pee on your tomatoes; Andy Summers from The Police; Skiving; Neighbour from hell; Siri doesn’t work; A school trip story; A left behind story; The talking whale; The truth about the childhood obesity crisis; The lady shaving her legs in a public pool; The workplace toboggan team; Israel wins the Eurovision song contest; Why Britain is the greatest country on earth; Minimum pricing for booze in Scotland; Wolf whistling banned in France; The Ikea wardrobe disaster; Saying, “I love you” to a customer; the sinister truth about lego; A special birthday request; The vomit comet; The nickname misunderstanding; Expensive photographs; The truth about World Cup pundits; The camel beauty contest.

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London Calling

20Jun18

download

In the latest episode of my show for America;
A communication breakdown with Jane, why British kids are so fat, cheerless pop songs, stuff learned on a train, the cheap watch, the stupidity of the clean air day, the bike and neighbourhood disputes.

Listen to Episode 67 of London Calling here;
http://www.talkers.com/talkersradio/london-calling/london-calling-with-graham-mack-episode-67/

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Atom

I heard a couple of powerful things on a train this week. Both of them relate to radio.

The first was a lady I overheard talking to her friend. She said, “I’m reading a book about the people who first split the atom. It’s getting boring now, it’s all about the science, not the people”.

I thought, wow, if only all radio programmers could hear that. I settled back into my seat, put my earbuds in and started listening to the excellent Brandwidth On Demand podcast by David Martin and Kipper McGee. They were paying tribute to Nick Michaels, the voice actor, writer, producer and narrator who passed away recently.

They played a clip from an interview they’d done with him. They asked, what separates a great radio station from a mediocre one? His answer was, “One word, humanity. How human is it?” He went on to point out that radio is rushing in the other direction, trying to automate and take every human out of the equation. Nick said, “It’s only the humanity of a radio station that makes people stick to it”.

Nick was right, great radio stations are programmed using a combination of art, craft and science. Why do so many radio stations sound like they’re programmed using science alone? The science of broadcasting is important but once you become totally obsessed with quarter hour maintenance, horizontal promotion, positioning and music research, you take all of the humanity out. I’ve worked for program directors whose approach is so clinical they should be wearing white coats.

Apart from talk stations, how many commercial music stations have callers on the air for anything other than contests? Where’s the interaction, the banter?

Just like the lady on the train said, if it’s all about the science not the people, it’s getting boring.

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London Calling

06Jun18

Magnus

In the latest episode of my show for America; Part two of my chat with Magnus Walker, the Urban Outlaw talks about his Porsches, his book and how to get into the fashion industry.

As well as that, should men fight back against a ban on wolf whistling? No more cheap booze in Scotland and lost cars.

Listen to Episode 66 of London Calling, here;
http://www.talkers.com/talkersradio/london-calling/london-calling-with-graham-mack-episode-66-magnus-walker-part-2/

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On the 40th anniversary of the double album, War Of The Worlds, Jeff Wayne talks about how the project came about, his life, moving from the USA to the UK, working with David Essex and Richard Burton and how Paul Rodgers missed out on being on the original recording. He also talks about the new live show.

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Blame Storming

02Jun18

Fat kid

Why are your kids so fat?

Before I reveal the answer, let me just put your mind at rest, it’s not YOUR fault because this is Britain. Britain is the greatest country on earth because when you live here, NOTHING is your fault.

If you can’t find a job, it’s because of immigration, if you can’t give up smoking it’s because the National Health Service stop smoking services is rubbish and if you’re fat, well you’re spoilt for choice there.

According to the media, you’re fat for lots of reasons including, two-for-one offers at the supermarket, junk food commercial, labels on food and my favourite, you’re fat because your doctor is fat.

Don’t worry, it’s got nothing to do with you eating too much and not getting enough exercise. This is Britain remember, where NOTHING is YOUR fault.

This week, we were told why your kids are so fat. It’s got nothing to do with you feeding them too much fatty food and sugary drinks and driving them everywhere. No, they’re fat because of Tony the Tiger, the Milky Bar Kid and the Honey Monster.

The health and social care select committee has called for a ban on “brand-generated characters or licensed TV and film characters” in attempt the tackle childhood obesity.

The TV chef, Jamie Oliver, told the committee that cartoons and superheroes should not be used to “peddle rubbish” and warned Theresa May to act now as “the future of the NHS is at stake”.

Now just wait a minute Jamie! Why are you so keen to blame cartoon characters?

I grew up with the Milky Bar Kid, Tony The Tiger and the Honey Monster and when I was a kid, we were all skinny. There were two reasons for this. First of all, none of our mothers knew how to cook. We ate brown chips, fried in oil that had been re-used in the same pan for years. We changed the oil in the cortina more often than we changed the oil in the chip pan. These chips would be served up with something as unappetising as cold corned beef. It was cold because it had come out of a tin days earlier and had been stored between two plates in the fridge.

The second reason we were all skinny was school meals. We were served liver that looked like it was made by Dunlop, peas that could have been used as ammunition followed by a desert of frogspawn.

When the food you’re given is almost inedible you don’t tend to eat much.

Around twenty years ago, along came Jamie Oliver. With his TV show and books, he’s taught young mums how to cook meals that are actually tasty. And he didn’t stop there, he went on to campaign for better school meals.

Now, according to official figures, school meals are so good that a third of children are overweight or obese by the time they leave primary school!

Jamie Oliver is the reason your kids are so fat!

Craic on!

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Mack Nuggets

01Jun18

Here’s what I’ve been up to on BOBfm lately, including:

Fat shaming.
The lady filmed shaving her legs in a public swimming pool.
Diversity in the NHS.
Boris Johnson gets pranked.
Israel wins Eurovision.
Disgruntled tourists knock Britain.
No more cheap booze in Scotland.
Should wolf whistling be banned?
Unleaded food and drink.
The Ikea disaster.

Craic on!

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London Calling

23May18

London Calling

In the latest episode of my show for America:

Is the world getting worse?
Stuff we can’t live without but never use.
The Ikea closet catastrophe.
Etiquette on planes.
The breast cancer IT debacle.
A school trip to New York.
Militant cyclists.
Frustration in the supermarket.
Sharks prefer jazz, Steve’s dog likes blues.
The Bank of England and Britain’s has a ‘menopausal economy’.
Jim from Philadelphia checks in to talk about good songs with bad lyrics.

Listen to London Calling, Episode 65, here;
http://www.talkers.com/talkersradio/london-calling/london-calling-with-graham-mack-episode-65/

Craic on!

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Booze Ruse

22May18

 

Booze

Scotland has just brought in a silly law.

You can’t buy cheap booze north of the border anymore. It’s because of the new minimum pricing legislation. The cost of drinks now depends on how many units of alcohol they have. A two-litre bottle of cider that was £2.50 now costs at least £7.50.

The Scottish government says it will cut consumption and save lives. The Scottish government are idiots.

This new law won’t affect rich people, they’ll just pay the extra. This is a law aimed at stopping poor people from drinking too much, but that won’t work either.

Alcoholics are addicts, the true cost of addiction is everything you have. You can end up losing your income, your home, your partner, your friends, your family, even your life. The price of addiction couldn’t be any higher and still addicts continue to use. Do you really think putting an extra fiver on a bottle of Diamond White will make any difference?

This law will reduce the time it takes for problem drinkers to get to a point where they can’t pay their bills. Addicts turn to crime to feed their habit. It’ll start with shoplifting at places that sell booze and could lead to more serious offences.

Because it’s not a tax, extra money from higher prices goes to the retailers. None of the extra revenue will go to organisations that actually help people with drink problems. It will make things a lot worse for people whose lives are ruined because they spend too much on booze.

How did the Scots come up with such a dumb idea, had they been drinking?

Craic on!

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London Calling

15May18

IMG_5492In the latest episode of my show for America; A chat in a London pub with Magnus Walker, the British fashion designer and car collector. He moved to the United States in 1986 aged 19 and established the Serious Clothing Brand in Los Angeles.

As well as that there’s reaction to the latest Royal baby, why the demise of newspapers is a wonderful thing, Marxists running British schools are closet capitalists, running away stories, why there’s no problem with kids being glued to their phones while surrounded by natural beauty, a nuisance phone call, noisy neighbours, the great indoors and the scandal at the London Marathon.

Listen to Episode 64 of London Calling here;
http://www.talkers.com/talkersradio/london-calling/london-calling-with-graham-mack-episode-64-magnus-walker-urban-outlaw/

Craic on!

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Ikea

Pride is more important than money.

We’re moving to a new flat, it’s smaller than the one we’re in, so storage is a major issue. We decided a floor to ceiling wardrobe in the bedroom was the way to go, so we took our measurements to Ikea. We chose what we wanted from the various pick and mix combinations and arranged for it to be delivered.

We spent our Friday night last week, in the new flat, opened all of the the flat packed boxes and began construction. At a certain point, we tried to stand up our work in progress. That’s when we realised we’d made a huge mistake.

The wardrobe was supposed to be 10mm shorter than the ceiling height, only the ceiling wasn’t high enough to stand up what we had.

The flat is a new-build and Julie had made the floor to ceiling measurement before the carpet was fitted. Now the wardrobe was about 20mm higher than the ceiling.

We contemplated having a rectangle of carpet taken out so it would fit or even having the sides of the wardrobe cut to size. In the end we decided the easiest solution was a shorter wardrobe.

The next day, I made the call to Ikea and told them how stupid we’d been. I asked if we could package up the bits they’d sent, return them and order a shorter version. The lady on the phone was lovely, said it wouldn’t be a problem and even told me when they deliver the new wardrobe and take away the original one, we’ll get a refund of over £200.

Usually saving a lot of money like that would make me happy but it just doesn’t take away the shame.

Craic on!

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Tom Jones

Most people think the world is getting worse. If you read or watch the news, you might think the world is falling to pieces. Trends like terrorism, climate change, and a growing population straining the planet’s resources can make you think our world is in crisis.

We do have major issues that need attention but what you’ve got to realise is that the “news” is just a collection of UNUSUAL stories, things that don’t normally happen. People don’t usually get stabbed on the streets of London. More than 8 million people get on aircraft every day and all of those aircraft land safely. 2017 was the safest year in history for commercial airlines, with no passenger plane crashes anywhere in the world.

To find out what’s happening, we go to the news but what we get is a list of things that hardly ever happen. They’re presented as if they happen all of the time, making us think that the unusual is the usual.

The truth is we’re actually living in the most peaceful, abundant time in history. We’re actually seeing a massive drop in poverty, fewer deaths from violent crime and preventable diseases. On top of that, we’re the most educated people to ever walk the planet.

In the last hundred years, we’ve seen the average human life expectancy nearly double, the global GDP per capita rise and childhood mortality drop.

Last week, it was announced that some of the world’s biggest companies have signed up to reduce plastic pollution. Forty-two businesses including Coca Cola, Pepsi co, Proctor and Gamble, Unilever, Birdseye and Nestle have promised to reduce packaging and increase recycling. They’ve set a target for 100% of plastic packaging to be reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025.

So now that you know the world isn’t so bad after all, here’s another thing to think about: it can get even better, very soon.

In their book Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think, Steven Kotler and Peter Diamandis say that it might be possible for us to meet and even exceed the basic needs of all the people living on the planet today.

“In the hands of smart and driven innovators, science and technology take things which were once scarce and make them abundant and accessible to all.”

Look at what computers and the internet have done for us in the last 30 years. They’ve given us easy access to the world’s information, the ability to share knowledge with anyone, anywhere for free. We can buy and sell goods and services globally. Less than twenty years ago, you’d have to spend thousands on the best stereos, cameras, TVs and entertainment systems. Today, it’s all on your phone.

Solar power is now cheaper than fossil fuels. Self-driving cars are already on the roads. Most accidents are caused by driver error. 1.3 million people are killed on the world’s roads every year, more than in all of the wars. Just think of how many lives self-driving cars will save.

Two things haven’t changed:
1. Things keep getting better.
2. People keep saying things are getting worse.

That’s not unusual.

Craic on!

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