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Author: Vince Poynter Version m5.257 18 Feb 2019
The Government [Philip Hammond] announced an extension to the Regional Economic Areas Development scheme to include the Midlands Engine and suggested other regions are limited only by the government thinking up catchy titles. Has a committee been formed to look into this issue, I wonder…
Type: 2 and a half minute sketch with 7 differing voices, set in a meeting room.
Main Speaker: Alright, Alright. Settle down. Now, we've convened this meeting to discuss the new Regional Development areas. As you are aware the last coalition government started this whole thing with the formation of the Northern Powerhouse, in order to boost economic growth in the north. And last November the government announced a similar project for the Birmingham area called the Midlands Engine. Now we can’t possibly create other regions without first thinking up catchy names. So time for your input. Any ideas?
[Hampshire Accent]: Yes, we were expecting this. And we want the South to be thought of as just as important so we want our region to be called the Turbocharged South.
Main Speaker: The Turbocharged South. An excellent proposal. Just what we are looking for. Well done. And what about the others?
[Norfolk Accent]: What about for us we call it the Energised East?
Main Speaker: OK. Great call. People of the east will be able to rally round this. Any more?
[Scottish Accent]: Aye, in Scotland we could go with something strong like Scottish Might.
Main Speaker: That's the spirit Scotland. So can you match that Wales?
[Welsh Accent]: If they can have that we want The Weight Of Wales.
Main Speaker: The Weight of Wales. Super. Love your thinking. That's the idea. And you guys?
[Belfast Accent]: Maybe. Yes, I know. I thought along the lines of Force Northern Ireland.
Main Speaker: So, we have some great names for our regions. We have Northern Powerhouse, the Midlands Engine, Turbocharged South, The Energised East and The Weight of Wales. Plus Scottish Might and Force Northern Ireland. Just one area left it seems.
[Devon Accent]: [Feebly] We haven't really got a catchy title.
Main Speaker: Oh come on. You don’t want to be left behind.
[Devon Accent]: That’s OK. We’re well used to that.
Main Speaker: Is there anything at all you can think of? What about South West is Best?
[Devon Accent]: Well. That would be fine but it isn’t is it?
Main Speaker: Oh come on. What about Super South West?
[Devon Accent]: You haven’t been to Plymouth have you? … But, we do do great pasties.
Main Speaker: Pasties?
[Devon Accent]: And cream teas. We do really rather good cream teas, you know.
Main Speaker: So it’s to be the Northern Powerhouse, Midlands Engine, Turbocharged South, Energised East, The Weight of Wales, Scottish Might, Force Northern Ireland and Pastie & Cream Tea South West.
[Devon Accent]: And Tin. Don’t forget the tin.
Main Speaker: Tin?
[Devon Accent]: Well not so much now, but we have got Royal biscuits.
Main Speaker: Pasty & Cream Tea, used to do a bit of Tin but now it’s more Royal biscuits South West.
[Devon Accent]: Yes. That’s what we want.
Main Speaker: I give up. So for the record we will have Northern Powerhouse, Midlands Engine, the Turbocharged South, Energised East, The Weight of Wales, Scottish Might, Force Northern Ireland and … Also the South West?
You are welcome to use this sketch, on stage or video but credit and royalties must be given to Vince Poynter as the author. An invite to see it performed would also be welcomed, along with requests for more sketches, which can be scripted on any subject. Contact me for more information.
Author: Vince Poynter First published here, Version m5.257 18 Feb 2019
This sketch was first presented to the BBC as part of the Newsjack radio submission process on 13 Oct 2016 and again in early 2017 but was not selected for broadcast
The photograph is of the author leaping into a pool in Mallorca, Spain around 1990
Extracts from the episode of BBC's Big Break which featured Vince Poynter.
This was a broadcast pilot episode which ran as the third episode in series one and was watched by an estimated 16 million people.
The episode was planned to be the very first one shown in the BBC's new gameshow.
Rehearsals and setting up with the technical crew, host and contestants took place over about three days.
During this time the pocket colours were switched because the result of practice runs meant the contestants were 'winning' too much money.
The snooker guest stars were only introduced when the final filming took place so were not fully practiced in what to do and had to keep asking the contestants what they should be doing.
The episode was broadcast as the third one in the series due to a climatic, last second winning of the top prize. So the initial introduction to the series by Jim Davidson was swapped with another episode.
Keen viewers may notice that there are not many scenes of the audience during the show. This was because a sudden snowfall prevented the contestants families, friends and other audience members from getting to the studio and the show was filmed in front of only a couple of dozen people.
Originally filmed, edited and produced by the BBC with original BBC titles and soundtrack.
The editing of the footage was carried out by Vince Poynter in S-VHS with a Panasonic NV-HS1000 video player. With final post production editing and titles using the Apple OS iMovie application using a customised stock title sequence.
The video lasts 8 minutes and 5 seconds and was uploaded to YouTube, in the Entertainment category, on 30 December 2015 and to date has received just over 900 views.
A serious warning about this article. The subject matter may be considered uncomfortable for those of a weak disposition. It comprises a graphic description of a bout of food poisoning and I strongly suggest that you think carefully before fully opening and reading this piece.
It is not intended to be sensational and is written with thought and honesty but for reasons of descriptive accuracy does explain the processes and results of the illness.
Blogs are about real life experiences and not all are akin to fluffy bunnies ambling on a hillside in the sunshine. So proceed only if you are ready for some realism. No offence will be taken if you do not read this one of my articles. I would think carefully myself if you were to post something similar yourself.
It started on a Thursday. My wife, Lynda, and I eat out a lot and usually choose a pub offering a good meal deal. This particular one has been a recent favourite and we have had many reasonable meals there.
We understand that post Christmas January eating out is the rarest time of the year. It is why establishments make offers during the busy December month to entice punters back into the practice of eating out in the new year. However, we regulars need no such enticement as the process of eating out is a common habit.
In fact in the December run up to Christmas we share the same thoughts that alcoholics do about seasonal drinkers invading their space at festive times. With our annoyance focussed on some food based pubs taking away their usual offers in the run up.
All of which is just an explanation of why we had no concerns about visiting this unusually quiet pub on this evening for our main meal of the day.
We ordered a fairly normal menu choice, me the gammon with egg, Lynda with the chicken. We did comment to each other that it was delivered surprisingly quickly but we had said it was quiet that evening.
The food was as unremarkable as ever and expected for the price but I did note that the Jacket Potatoes were cold to the touch. Well perhaps not technically cold but certainly far from steaming hot. But it didn’t ring bells and we ate up and left as usual.
Later that evening I needed to use the toilet. Again, not normally remarkable but the beginning of a story this time. It was a standard episode but had to be repeated about an hour later. It was then that mild stomach cramps became evident.
The third visit in as many half hours included some diarrhoea and increasing tummy tightening. By the fourth time I was only jettisoning fluid and feeling a good throw up might bring things to a conclusion.
It was now well into the night, I was feeling increasingly weak and weary, freezing cold out of the bed and unable to lie comfortably in it, my torso demanding all my attention.
I announced to Lynda that this was serious and I had to abandon thoughts of working on the Friday. She wasn’t really convinced until I actually vomited. The drama of this act enough to convince the most skeptical wife that her husband wasn’t angling for a free pass. She agreed to make the necessary arrangements leaving me free to wallow in my misery.
Being violently sick is a strange phenomenon. For most of us a rare occurrence, frightening as a thought during build up but often strangely a sudden and fantastic release when over.
In this case thankfully it wasn’t accompanied by the often body shaking, full-on fast, sweaty, disablement that sees one writhing on the floor, virtually unable to lift oneself to a place of hygienic projection whilst feeling genuine thoughts of considered demise as a pathetic release from the perceived torture.
In my case I just suffered the intense torso trauma necessary for the body to do what it needed, which is to eject the foreign body as efficiently and fast as possible.
The reason for my coldness and feelings of weakness is explained by the total denial of any unnecessary energy allowed to the limbs and head. All blood circulation and glucose available being required for the central body area.
Then a fantastic and impressive contortion occurs. My stomach seized suddenly to a fraction of its normal size and caused a quickly repeating wave form heading up to the chest. Such was the intensity I felt my skin tighten over the hips and ribs.
This was accompanied by the enlargement and straitening of my whole mouth and throat all the way down to my stomach. It was as if you could put a whole arm down into my stomach without touching the sides.
My face contorted to maximise the final opening with my lips pulled back over the teeth as if I was reenacting the classic scene from An American Werewolf In London.
All of which pathetically resulted in just a tiny few specks of semi-digested food.
A second episode and this time all the drama with sadly none of the result. The earlier diarrhoea having stolen all the moisture from my system.
But finally a third and more intense session and I ejected partial evidence of the suspected interloping poison.
It is only when this finally occurs that the inbuilt detective in oneself can finally hone in on the suspect. I’ll save you from the more salacious details [surprisingly considering my attempts at detailing up to now] but I blame the gammon and suspect it had been stupidly reheated.
My misery didn’t finish there. The body cramps hadn’t finished, the diarrhoea continued the next couple of days and I was pretty well bed bound for 36 hours in a state of uncomfortableness.
A further trio of vomiting occurred the next day, Friday, and my unexpected dieting continued as I had no desire to add anything into the cauldron of gloop festering in my innards.
All I wanted was to sleep but this was distracted by my tummy pains and frequent visits to discharge the small remaining vestiges of fluid in my system. And flushing through an overheating anus is not ideal.
In fact it was the Saturday before I was persuaded by Lynda to allow anything other than water to pass my lips and I chose first to take on a sugary liquid.
She had kindly purchased a couple of litres of one of my favourite juices, Cranberry and Raspberry. I considered this quite innocuous so ventured a sip or three.
I attempted to properly rehydrate whilst giving me a sugary boost to aid the feelings of extreme tiredness. And I guess it worked.
During the day I felt better, less exhausted and only had the remaining tummy cramps to dispel, which I knew wouldn’t go until my body had satisfied itself that all badness was gone and once again offered feelings of hunger to replenish itself.
But it was an 18 hour period of living with just an empty shell filled only with a sticky juice. And a strange phenomenon started to occur.
It started when I closed my eyes to attempt rest. Normally on first closing eyes I see temporary visions of the intense light sources I had been seeing. Such as dark patches where lights had been on or more recently dark square patches where I had been looking at my phone. These recede over a short time to be replaced by the swirling out of focus cells and miniature hairs naturally floating across the eyeball. Distinct and highly contrasting, particularly evident when the room light source is lit or daylight as it was during this time.
However, now I was experiencing something new. Fuzzy grey, indistinct large patches with highly jagged and darker detailed edges.
These sights, through closed eyes, were the first different thing but soon my mind’s thoughts, unusually quiet during my previous sickness, had now turned quite crazy. Crazy in the sense of all over the place.
Song snippets, earworms, raced repeatedly around. Thoughts jumped from one subject to another at an unbelievable and frightening speed, perhaps six to ten a second and when I did finally ‘sleep’ for a few minutes vivid dreams featuring regressive situations coupled with modern characters in my life filled my imagination.
I concluded I was suffering the alleged fate of small children with underdeveloped minds reacting to what I understand as an excess of Tartrazine in their diet. In their case often accompanied by random, uncontrollable, disruptive actions.
Thankfully as I proceeded to rid myself of the sickness and tentatively returned to normal eating the effects wore off, the only permanent result being this scripted article penned in lieu of a good nights sleep.
I hope I haven’t laboured too much on the murky details in my story, having only included what I felt needed to get to the interesting aspects of violent sickness and my personal thoughts on ‘Tartrazine’. I am aware that the subject matter has been intense and appreciate any reader who has come this far with me.
I include this as blogging stories are nearly always about the good and positive in life and the more realistic aspects are usually less well documented.
Maybe someone someday might be interested in how food sometimes affected us in the early twenty first century.
In stating this I assume it is the year 2743 or something. By which time I shall have fully recovered.
A few final thoughts.
Firstly, I have no intention of naming or shaming the establishment which I believe caused my distress. I have eaten there on perhaps dozens of occasions and believe there was no ill intent or lack of hygiene practice to cause this problem on this occasion. It is part and parcel of regular eating out. If they made a mistake on this day then this is unfortunate.
I do not plan to ostracise the establishment and whilst won’t immediately rush back will probably be tempted back eventually by the enticing offers which lead us there in the first place.
I do not seek compensation as I have lost nothing really except an unscheduled holiday date.
The cost to me was temporary, the pain a fading memory save for this piece but we all got a blog from it, so some positive.
The anxiety and additional work imposed on Lynda was accepted unequivocally as one does for a lifetime partner. And she did get a virtually uninterrupted day of Netflix out of it.
I have not studied the phenomenon of Tartrazine, have no proof of this chemical in my drink and do not in any way cite myself as an expert in this field with only general circumstantial and hearsay stories leading me to the conclusions above. Further, I have no particular interest in pursuing knowledge in this field and do have access to Wikipedia should I change my thoughts on this.
I particularly have no interest in children with ‘behavioural difficulties’ and again my thoughts above are as far as I personally wish to explore such matters.
I know there are blogs out there that deal with much more severe trauma, sickness and even death. Probably with greater humanity, thought and compassion but please don’t assume I need a list of such places to view. I can use search myself if I wish to go down this route.
Any comments are welcome but if you wish to espouse views on diarrhoea, vomit or children please try to maintain an understanding that not everyone wants to know every tiny detail, particularly about the two most icky subjects. Obviously one of them being children.
Author: Vince Poynter Version m5.255 13 Feb 2019
Originally written but not published on 15 Jan 2018
A short Film by Vince, filmed on location around 1990 at the Dukes Keep tower block, Duke Street, Southampton, Hampshire on a day that my wife, Lynda, and I assisted in a camera team as part of the Southampton Camcorder Club filming participants in a sponsored abseiling activity.
The filming crew were asked if they wanted to have a go at the abseiling and we were the only ones who chose to participate.
The filming was carried out by other members of the Southampton Camcorder Club, mostly using VHS camcorders.
Sound captured direct by the camcorders.
The editing of the footage was carried out by me in S-VHS with a Panasonic NV-HS1000 video player. With final post production using the Apple OS iMovie application using customised stock title cards.
The video lasts 8 minutes and 29 seconds and was uploaded to YouTube, in the Sports category, on 30 December 2015 and to date has received just 13 views.
It’s that time of year again where there are a lot of people booking their annual holidays. And whilst many are booking online some still resolutely rely on the personal service you can get from a High Street store.
Type: 3-4 minute sketch with 2 main actors, plus another, set in a Travel Agents shop. An assistant sits behind the desk in front of which is a vacant chair.
When booking a holiday it is not always best to just jump right in
[FX: DOOR OPENS]
A customer enters.
Customer: "Hello, I'm looking to buy an Ice Cream."
Assistant: "Well, this is a Travel Agent. There are no ice creams in here."
Customer: "But outside your signs clearly show 99."
Assistant: "That's our price board."
Customer: "OK. Then can I buy a holiday?"
Assistant: "Good. Then you have come to the right place."
Customer: The customer sits opposite the assistant. "So what can you offer?"
Assistant: "We have many options, I reckon nearly 100."
Customer: "So 99 then."
Customer: "So can I have a 99?"
Assistant: "That's an ice cream. As I explained, this is a Travel Agency."
Customer: "Thank goodness for that because I want to book a holiday."
Assistant: "Have you tried online? You could find hundreds and thousands online."
Customer: "Are you talking about ice creams now?"
Assistant: "No online holiday booking."
Customer: "Online? Online! I don't like online. I'm a strict offline person. Computers are confusing and I don't trust the sites. I'm worried about viruses."
Assistant: "But I could have a cold."
Customer: "I’m not surprised what with you spending all your time with ice creams?"
Assistant: "We don't sell ice creams."
Customer: "So you keep saying. Apart from that online pricing structure is confusing."
Assistant: "Well it's much simpler in this shop. All holidays are just £99."
Customer: "That seems incredibly good value."
Assistant: "Plus extras."
Customer: "Of course. Sorry, did you say Extras?"
Assistant: "And transfers."
Assistant: "And Flight Supplements."
Customer: "Supplements for what?"
Assistant: "You do require a seat don't you?"
Customer: "It’s the best way to fly in my limited experience."
Customer: "My favourite place."
Assistant: "Then there's the other extras."
Customer: "Other extras?"
Assistant: "Taxes, onboard meals, insurances, ID cards."
Customer: "Well, that is a lot of extras."
Assistant: "However, we do do a deal for all the supplements."
Customer: "How much?"
Customer: "That figures."
Assistant: "Or for the same price you could have three weeks in Iceland."
Customer: "In Iceland?"
Assistant: "Or two weeks in Morrisons if you prefer."
Assistant: "Or I could offer you one of our package deals."
Customer: "That sounds better. Where can I go to?"
Assistant: "To Columbia."
Customer: "Only Columbia?"
Assistant: "That's where you pick up the package."
Customer: "But what if I don't go abroad? Would that be cheaper? Could I take a staycation in this country?"
Assistant: "Still 99."
Customer: "Are you sure you're not talking ice cream?"
Assistant: "Don't start that again. 99 pounds."
Customer: "That's a lot of ice cream."
Assistant: "99 pounds to purchase any holiday."
Assistant: "Plus extras."
Customer: "Of course. I'm not sure though."
Assistant: "Wait there is another option. A virtual holiday."
Customer: "How does that work?"
Assistant: "I'll show you. Sit down here, shut your eyes. Are you ready for take off?" The assistant stands and walks behind the customer's chair.
Customer: "Well, err..."
Assistant: "Take off..." The assistant tips the customer's chair.
Customer: "Whoa! Stop tipping my chair."
Assistant: "And now you land and you are at the seaside. Can you smell the seashore?" The assistant takes off his socks and places them under the customer's nose.
Customer: "That’s just your socks."
Assistant: "Feel the sea breeze." The assistant blows in the face of the customer.
Customer: "Stop blowing on me."
Assistant: "The splash of the waves." The assistant flicks water on the customer from a glass.
Customer: "You can't just throw your water on me."
Assistant: "And now a camel ride." The assistant wobbles the customer's seat violently.
Customer: "Stop wobbling my seat."
Assistant: "Next you go to local bar and pick up a lover for a night of passion. Brace yourself!" The assistant starts unbuckling their trousers.
Customer: "Whoa! Hold on! That's enough. I'm out of here."
[FX: DOOR SLAMS SHUT]
[FX: DOOR REOPENS]
Manager: "Hi, thanks for looking after the shop. Did anyone come in while I was out?"
Assistant: "Nope. No one."
Manager: "OK. Here, I got you an ice cream for helping out."
Manager: "Why? What's with the funny face?"
You are welcome to use this sketch, on stage or video but credit and royalties must be given to Vince Poynter as the author. An invite to see it performed would also be welcomed, along with requests for more sketches, which can be scripted on any subject. Contact me for more information. On sketches, not for online ice cream sales.
Author: Vince Poynter First published here, Version m5.252 4 Feb 2019
This sketch was first presented to the BBC as part of the Newsjack radio submission process on 12 Feb 2017 but was not selected for broadcast
The photograph is of the author leaping into a pool in Mallorca, Spain around 1990
A short video transfer of a film by Vince recording some activities during a Southampton Institute of Advanced Motorists Group manoeuvring event day in 1984.
The film features footage taken on the day interleved with some clips from contemporary TV adverts and programmes plus some footage taken of an IAM skid pan session at Goodwood in 1984. The video 'A Day At Goodwood Skid Pan' is no longer available.
The original footage was filmed on a Panasonic WVP200E camcorder and matching NV100 video cassette recorder.
It lasts 2 minutes and 42 seconds.
The sound is direct from the camera set up with background music an extract from Classical Gas composed and performed by Mason Williams with instrumental backing by members of the Wrecking Crew. Copyright to this music lies with Warner Bros.
The editing was carried out by me between the NV100 video cassette unit and a JVC HR-D725-U S-VHS video recorder with post production titles created in the iMovie application using customised stock title cards.
This film was uploaded to YouTube, in the Autos & Vehicles category, just over three years ago and at the time of this publication had received just 36 views.