November Musings

I am writing this sitting next to a roaring fire with a crisp apple juice on the go and thinking over last weeks happenings at A1 VOX.

As always, it has been a mixed, and joyful bag of delights.

Phase one of ‘refurb-gate’ is now complete – HUZZAH!

We can plunge forward into the cool part of deciding chairs, tables, and décor, to go with the funky, streamlined rooms. Exciting times at A1 VOX, and it sure is a wonderful  thing to be working in a fresh environment.

Plenty of people have trodden a path through the A1 door this week but perhaps the biggest challenge of all was welcoming English actor, writer, and director, Mr Steven Berkoff.

Steven has a reputation for being utterly careless about conventional, conversational decorum, so it was with some trepidation that Chris and I geared up for the early morning session.

Steven arrived and was a little gruff to begin with but Chris and I turned on the A1 charm….not under, or overdoing it you understand….and the three of us seemed to find a common ground.

In fact, once settled, he only really proffered (through the use of fairly strong vocabulary), his thoughts on our building, parts of Soho, and the fact that he thought there was some sort of mess in the hallway, (which actually turned out not to be a health and safety hazard as decreed, but a piece of harmless fluff!). That aside I think we got off lightly!

We were on tender hooks as we connected with the client in South Africa and had fingers, toes, and microphone wires crossed that all would go well. As is always the case, (but especially with foreign voice sessions), we had carried out a line test ahead of the booking.  This is to make sure that both studios have the correct settings marked down to alleviate any technical error on the day.

This booking was no different, and Chris and our friends in South Africa had everything sorted meaning we could breathe a collective sigh of relief once the session had commenced successfully.

Steven is best known for his performances in villainous roles, such as Lt.Col Podovsky in Rambo: Fist Blood Part II, General Orlov in Octopussy, Victor Maitland in Beverly Hills Cop, and Adolph Hitler in the epic mini-series War and Remembrance.

He studied Drama in London and Paris and among the many adaptations he has created for the stage, directed, and toured, are Kafka’s Metamorphosis, The Trial, Agamemnon and Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher.

Steven employs a style of heightened physical theatre known as “total theatre”. Drama critic Aerks Sierz describes Berkoff’s dramatic style as “in-yer-face theatre”:

“The language is usually filthy, characters talk about unmentionable subjects, take their clothes off, have sex, humiliate each other, experience unpleasant emotions, become suddenly violent. At best, this kind of theatre s so powerful, so visceral, that it forces audiences to react: either they feel like fleeing the building or they are suddenly convinced that it is the best thing they have ever seen, and want all their friends to see it too. It is the kind of theatre that inspires us to use superlatives, whether in praise or condemnation”.

However the man himself is perceived, there is no denying that he is immensely talented and has done a huge amount for theatre. In his own words:

“There is something about theatre that draws people together because it’s something connected with the human soul. All over the UK, the performing arts link people with a shared humanity as a way to open the doors to the mysteries of life. We should never underestimate the power of the theatre. It educates, informs, enlightens and humanises us all”.

In fact Steven has stated that he takes Hollywood roles only in order to subsidise his theatre work. He regards many of the films he has appeared in as lacking artistic merit. So put that in your artistic pipe and smoke it Angelina Jolie, Johnny Depp, and Daniel Craig, to name but a few of the big names that Steven has worked alongside in film. – EEK!

We also entertained the boyish good looks and cheesy smile of lovable Ben Shephard this week.

Ben famously fronted GMTV for a decade but left before its overhaul to become Daybreak.

It seems that Ben has no regrets about quitting the early morning show:

“Every now and again I did five days and it was brutal. Towards the end of the week I was so tired I felt jet-lagged and my skin looked transparent – it’s tough”.

I remember when Charles was doing his ‘earlies’ on Radio 2. He would come straight into A1 VOX from the beeb carrying his lunch and proceed to eat it at his desk by 10.30 in the morning. Of course he had been up since 3am so for him it was actually way past lunch time and he would be blooming ravenous – a very odd life to lead indeed!

Ben wasn’t short of work after his early rituals came to an end and even got to feel, ( aforementioned A1 visitor), Julie Walters boobs! 

He was doing a behind the scenes ITV special on the set of Harry Potter and she was dressed as Mrs Weasley, explaining about the padding she had to wear:

“As we were stood in the Great Hall of all places, she invited me to have a feel.. and I did.

She quipped ‘I think you’ve touched the real thing there Ben!’ It was hilarious!”.

Ben has now joined Sky Sports to co-present Goals on Sunday with Chris Kamara as well as selected UEFA Champions League matches. Being a West Ham fan (come on you irons!), and a self confessed sports enthusiast, he is more than a little excited about his new role:

“The chance to indulge my passion for football and to work on what is without doubt, the most technically cutting-edge channel on TV, is something I’ve aspired to for a long time”.

Ben was suited and booted on his arrival at A1 VOX and looking every inch the TV presenter. He had his trademark smile plastered on his face and a cheeky grin for everyone. He was a pleasure to work with and I bet his wife and boys are very happy to have him back.

That concludes our round up for this week – next week I will be celebrating one year of wedded bliss! Can you Adam and Eve it!? So please tune in, in two weeks time, to check out the comings and goings of your friendly, technically sound studio overlooking the Soho Savannah.