Britain’s Got Talent Auditions

THE REALITY

Having just been through the process of auditioning for Britain’s Got Talent I can tell you there is more to it than meets the eye. First things first the audition process you see on TV is not the first stage of the competition. I started off by sending in a video of my act in my bedroom, as well as filling out a load of information to send off to the company. Shortly after this I was contacted to go to a local audition. This is when I realised things were going to take a while and if you wish to read about the main event jump to the 6th paragraph.

Before heading down to the audition I was informed I had to bring my own amp, microphone or anything else I would need in my act, which I thought was strange considering their a big company and would have such items themselves. Once I arrived at the audition and was informed that I could skip the first stage as I had passed that section already from what I had sent in. it seemed I was fast tracked to the “producer round” in which I would be filmed and interviewed for the first time in a small hall.

After a long wait I was called in to the room. Behind the desk was a guy sat down next to him was a “boom box” looking stereo and to the side of him the camera man. They allowed me to setup and took a CD from me to play. This however did not work on the system but rest assured I had a backup on my phone which was fine. Before I knew it I was on camera being asked general questions about myself and the act. Then I set off playing my song. Once it was all over they thanked me and gave me a sheet of paper which informed me that if I didn’t hear anything by February I would have not got it.

Within a week I was called up to say I had been whittled down and had a potential spot. I had to give more details and go over what I put in my questionnaire. It was as if they were trying to catch me out to make sure what I had send off before was all true. I was told after that if it goes well I would be contacted again. Low and behold I got another phone call saying I had been shortlisted. I now had to send my songs off to the music researcher to make sure there were no copyright issues. After this point the emails and phone calls picked up and I was having to say what my act involves, how long it takes, what I will need etc. etc. Yet I was still being told I was on the shortlist even though I had been given a day and place in which to go to.

About 5 days before the date I was contacted one last time to say I had got in. Although it had taken a long time to get to this point they had been very helpful and kind up to it and I was keen to meet them in person.

I arrived in my full getup after I long journey to Birmingham in the van with my parents. We pulled up to the main entrance and the security went and asked inside what they would like me to do. I was told I had to go in and register and feel out yet another release form which I had done 3 times already. After this I was met by a member of the team who wanted to film my arrival in the van and get shots of me walking in. It was from this point on that my day started to become hectic.

Once we were ready a bunch of the crew rolled up and setup a car cam and put wireless mics on us all. The sound men then hopped into the back of the van and we were all told where to sit and what to talk about. It was quite obvious at this point that everything was going to be acted or scripted throughout the day. Once we set off my Mum kept mentioning everything she possibly can that she was told to talk about, all within the space of a minute, which to me seemed very unnatural. Anything we missed out we were told to just mention as we arrived. Once this was done they wanted to take a load of shots of us getting out the car and walking into the building as if we had just got there. I’d also point out we had to do all of this without our coats to make out it was being shot in the summer, which in February it most certainly was not warm at all.

Finally we got into the warm and I got to sit down, all be it for about 2 minutes before I was taken to the main stage to test my equipment and do a practice run a few times. This helped a lot as I got to see the auditorium and make sure my song sounded good before I was live. Once I was happy they took me back to the holding room.

After a few minutes I was swept up again and taken back stage to get ready for an interview with Ant and Dec. This again was made out to look like I was sat waiting to be called out and they just so happened to come and see me. However it is all pre-determined on what they will ask me and I was told where to sit and what to expect. The talk with them was a great. Within seconds I forgot that they were celebrities and just stared having a general conversation with them about myself and the act. They were very nice and supporting which helped me calm down. Once the interview was over I was whisked back to the holding room, but on the way there I was informed that Stephen Mulhern wanted to interview me for BG More Talent for ITV2.

I got a chance to sit down for about 5 minutes before going into the interview again it was all pre-setup and I was told about the format and where to stand. It all seemed all mu20150206_151504ch more laid back and there was a blasé attitude compared to ITV1, but I was told it was meant to be this way and I could say whatever I liked as it did not matter. I found this interview slightly obscure yet very funny. Stephen was a very upbeat character that kept cracking jokes or saying silly things. I did my best to bounce off of him with comebacks. I started to feel like I was with a friend that understood my sense of humor and we were bouncing off each other. The crew at times were trying to hold back laughing as we continued through the interview.

Next up I had to do a photo shoot with a few live action shots in front of a glittery background. I was told I was a natural in front of the camera and made the guy’s job easier. I said I was used to filming myself and I treated it as if I was doing a modelling shoot. Once many shots / me dancing about was taken I headed back to the holding room for my first sit down of the day.

Onc20150206_152335_001e in the holding room I was called up every now and then to do more cutaways such as miming my song into a mirror or putting my makeup on. After this I had to do many interviews which more or less asked the same questions about me and my life and my act. Once I answered them I was told how to rephrase my answer and say it the way they recommended. At certain points I was told to say things like “my keytar makes me sexier” not only that but people were told to sit behind me and pretend they don’t know what was going on. Both my mum and dad got a chance to be in these shots with other people. My dad in particular was told to talk to a lady about her performance as if they had just met however this was all being recorded and every now and t20150206_151449hen they were come over and say ask such and such.

Finally after many interviews in the holding room, which seemed to focus on how mad I was for the 80s and wanted it to be back and I was the man for the job, I was taken backstage to prepare for going out on stage. Whilst there I was told to talk to other contestants about what their doing and what they think about the judges and the buzzers. It seemed to me that everything you see on TV, aka where it looks like people are having a natural conversations, is all pre-determined and setup. Which to be honest is not much of a shock as they need to get the best and right things said to make a good show.

Finally my time had come. I was taken to the stage side where I met Ant and Dec again it was my time to perform. As I walked out the judges looked fed up this may be because they had been there since 3 and now it was about 9:30pm. However the audience were clapping and seemed upbeat. I knew that it was going to be hard to get them into the mood and was hoping my song could do it. I was greeted my Alesha Dixon who asked me the general questions for my introduction. One of which was “did you write and create all of your songs” to which I replied with a line from Little Britain. “I sing the theme tune I play the theme tune I right the theme tune” in which I got a few laughs. At this point Simon, with his snobbish attitude, butted in and said mark are you a comedian or a recording artist. I replied with “I am an entertainer, I do as much as I can”. He then said “no mark what are you here for” and repeated the question. I paused and said “well I am a comedian but today I am a recording artist”. He then said “ok lets here it”.

This is when the production team came back on and set me up ready to go once they left I did the classic thumbs up to Ant and Dec and was away singing my song. Everything seemed to be going well until I hit the first note on my keytar and Simon hit the buzzer, which to be honest I was anticipating from the start. After I finished playing keytar I looked up and noticed that Amanda and Alisha had also hit it. I questioned in my head if my keytar was set wrong as I know I did not hit the wrong keys. I looked to

My side and saw Dec dancing away and the audience were all clapping away having  a blast to. David was bobbing his head about and I was hoping I had won him over, however as soon as I started to play the Keytar again he went from dancing to just hitting the buzzer. The audience booed this decision but there was nothing more I could do.

I was expecting to be told my keytar sounded crap and  that it ruined it. However only Simon said “I don’t like that thing what is that monstrosity” David’s reason was that he was expecting a funny song and it was not. I’m not sure what Alisha said but I think it was its not her thing. Amanda said “just no” I then replied “no what? and why?” she said “well mark the 80’s should be left in the 80’s we don’t 20150206_205732_000need you to bring it back”. The audience booed again as if they were the bad guys at the panto. I felt as if all the question I had been asked in interview about the 80’s and how much I love it were told to  the judges and they were trying to provoke a response to make good TV. There was not one comment from them to subject my talent or skills were at fault. It was either they don’t like the instrument or they were not into the 80s style.To be honest how can this be a good enough reason to judge  me on as it is a talent show not a what’s there personal preference show.

I left the stage thanking them for their time and not giving an outrageous reaction slating there ludicrous points of view.Ant and Dec were bemused as they thought David was loving it. The rest of the production team said they had no idea and it’s out of their hands once I’m out on stage. One member of the team then came to take me out and as I was leaving Simon came through the doors and said sorry about that mark. I just said don’t worry it’s all showbiz and I can’t control your personal opinion. I thanked him for seeing me and left. Which I think left him feeling a bit bemused as he may have been expecting me to act a little more up tight.

I was taken back to film shots of a reunion with my parents, in which I was told to hug them and talk about my feelings. This was not the end of the day though as there were a few shots they never took earlier which they wanted now. I had to do a few walking about on stairs and then I had to pretend I had not been on stage yet and talk to my parents about what my feelings are and expectations which was very strange and it was just as well I was not in a mood otherwise it would have shown. Finally after a very long day they let me leave. I won’t know until April if anything will even be aired but I can say that from the entire day if anything I enjoyed the attention, the feeling like i’m a star and meeting people, different acts and celebrity’s. Overall it was an experience of a live recorded TV broadcast which was quite eye opening.

However now seeing the final edit it was clear i was set up to fall and they tried to make it look like the audience were not on board which was not the case at all. the entire thing is very contrived and it just opened my eyes to what you should believe on TV as they cut out so much just to suite them self’s whilst ridiculing someone in the process.

Advertisements

Bradley Stoke Radio


Bradley Stoke radio is a community radio station playing a wide range of songs and different types of shows including information and events within Bradley stoke.

I have been doing my own 80’s show for some time now and thought I would say a little about it and the goings on as a radio presenter. I have a slot of 2 hours every Saturday at 3 pm till 5 pm with a  show called flashback in which I play all of the top 80’s songs with a few late 70’s early

13243971_10153956588855589_4932721245067282259_o90’s now and then.  I’d like to think I have a following of people who remember the 80’s and people just finding 80’s music now and enjoying it. I like to keep to short talk between tracks where i ever say the next track or have some type of cheesy joke to make. My themes consist of Rock followed by Reggie or disco/funk and then 80s pop / synth pop and finally I slow things down at the end with some classic ballads.

To produce a show for the 2 hour period is not very difficult at all as I have a copy of the free program Zara, which is for play out, and I add my tracks to it at home for each hour separately until I have 55 mins per hour as the extra 5 mins are willed with talk, adverts zaraand news. Once my songs are ready I simply take the files to the studio and upload them into the database and set up the program their end ready to play out when I go live. I simply just add my start jingle and intermittent jingles between the tracks and go over to studio 1 where I can load the program from the server.

Some people prefer to use a cd collection which is done on a double cd track player in which you can switch between cd 1 and 2 depending on which is playing. Also if you wish to go old school there is a record player setup or alternately you can bring your own DJ deck in and hook it up on another line. Once in the hot seat playing out live is not very difficult at all. They have a mixer deck which connects to several mics and the music inputs. All this is controlled by the slides and depending on how much you use you may find it’s a case of just 1 slide for your mic and one for the music or if

Bradley stoke radio you have guests then the slides for other mics will need to be adjusted. If anyone were to become a member it’s not too hard to pick up and all the necessary training is given.

Aside from going in and playing your own show BSR do a lot of outside work as well. Help run events to outside broadcast or doing interview with schools or community. Each of which can be done or helped by the volunteers even if they don’t have their own show slot.  I myself have done a few live events where

my show has gone out live, although there’s been a few hiccups with the internet speeds and streaming back to studio, it’s still good fun and there always seems to be a work around.It’s good practice for anyone wanting to get used to live events.

Overall volunteering at the radio show is a fun experience in which I get to play my own music in my own quirky way and work alongside a friendly helpful team who keep the inner essence of the station running alongside the help of all the other volunteers. If you’re interested from reading this in helping out check out http://www.bradleystokeradio.com. Alternatively if you live good old 80’s music and are free of Saturdays then check out my show Flashback from 3 pm. on the site above or at 103.4

Goodbye to 80’s clubs in Bristol? and the demise of good music

Living in Bristol club life tends to be the normal mash-up of heavy base and ripping synthesizers with fast pace tempo. Other than that there are the odd rock themed clubs such as the beer Keller or upstairs in the 02. However good oldies are rare when it comes to 80’s music. There is currently only 1 80’s focused club called Reflex and aside from that Rewind in Walkabout upstairs or an expensive night in one of the rooms in Pryzm do play the classic song from time to time.

Being a big fan of the 80’s Reflex has been the best place to go to enjoy my favorite songs, however I have heard news that they are changing company and no longer going to be 80’s focused, which I can’t say I’m best pleased about. It’s like someone’s favorite football team disbanding or anything you may like no longer being there are prominent as you would like it to be.

The reasons for this change I can only assume are to try to move with “the times” but to be honest that’s a load of bull and kind of the point of having a place for the “non mainstream” where the good old classics are still played. that being said they did say that they will be playing all old cheese pop music so some 80’s may still be about but i cant see it being the same.

In my onion most new club songs have no style or even try to make a good beat or tune. Their sole aim is to thump out a fast pace noise that interacts with a drugged up or drunk mind to create some type of psychedelic effect. Some songs of which when played in a car or on a small stereo sound all tinny and what I can only describe as a cat being put through a vacuum cleaner.Now if there’s people out there that somehow like that sound or sounds like fire alarms going off or TV static with heavy base then fair enough but the fact that clubs focusing on older music are shutting down and trying to move on with the times is when it affects me.

The way I look at it is you have your noise in your clubs but when other companies like Reflex go I’m left with nowhere to enjoy. I could be wrong about their reasons but my point still stands that there’s far too many places playing the same drivel that I end up having to endure the sounds and come out with bleeding ears. Then when Reflex goes I will have to compromise and go to Rewind, but I question how long that will be about before they change to.

Please don’t come away from this if you like fast pace “Dub-step” or genera like that thinking that I’m having a personal pop at you. I’m just trying to say that it’s not my thing and the things that is what I like is being taken away.

Alien Isolation review

Alien Isolation aka Alien 1.1 placed is set in 2137, 15 years after the events of Alien and 42 years prior to Aliens, playing as Amanda Ripley in a journey to track her mother Ellen Ripley down,

                                                                                                                                      The game starts with her team heading to the Sevastopol but shit hits the fan from the get go and you’re left to wonder round the station and figure out what’s going on and remake contact with your team.

This game was what Colonial Marines should have been. In my opinion it is like another film that I have the privilege of playing through as

the main character. It has everything about an alien film such as face huggers, the androids and of course the daunting xenomorph, which can all be picked up on the  motion scanner as small dots moving about.

The fear and unnerving feelings throughout the game kept me on edge from start to finish. Even in sections of the game where the alien was not around I could just never tell as the music was always suspenseful and the sound effects of creaking or pipes hissing kept my nerves on edge and my senses high.

Some people may criticize it for just being a run and hide game mixed with opening doors but it is so much more than that. It has a good story, tension and the use of my brain. What I mean by that is there’s times in the game where you need to figure things out or solve puzzles to get to the next place or unlock an area to get a key card for a corridor, that was not accessible before, or to use a computer to access intercom. I would say it has a slight aspect of doom 95 about it, in regards to not always knowing where to go and having to find items to get into locked areas.

This is by no means a shoot ’em up game. In fact if you do fire off your gun then you will find the alien popping out and killing you shortly after and the fact that there is no auto save and only booths to save at  here and there most of the game is spent being quite, hiding or later in the game using the flame thrower to its best making you feel like Ellen Ripley when she toasts the next in the film.

There are times when you can get a bit gung-ho when faced with the other emery’s on the ship such as there freaky crazy androids or other people on the ship out to kill all others just to stay alive. But be aware ammo is sparse and it’s sometimes better to save up just in case. However you do get a few added extra treats that you can make from items found lying around such as pipe bombs or an EMP

Overall I loved this game and it made me go and buy the Blu-ray set of the Alien films. If you’re a fan and you like Alien films and you like games such as outlast mixed with dead space then combine an alien film with all that mixture and here you have it. An amazing jumpy suspense packed game and in my opinion the best alien game I’ve ever played.

Here’s a short clip of a few of my moments:

VIDEO CLICK ME

My Visit to Barrow Gurney Mental Hospital

Barrow gurney psychiatric hospital, once used to treat the mentality ill from 1940 till 2008 when they started to close it down. By 2004 only 3 residential wards remained open however the state of the site such as cigarette burns on floors, graffiti on walls, urine stains around a toilet and stains from bodily fluids on the bottom of a hoist chair. Also to mention the collapse of part of the ceiling onto the head of a patient meant that the last wards closed shortly after. Since then hospital has been a hot spot for explorers, graffiti and ghost hunting and had been decaying gradually overtime.

My visit to Barrow Gurney was part urban exploring and part “ghost hunting” over the past 2 years I had visited the site on many occasions to look into the apparently ghostly goings on and attempt to find a more logical explanation to anything I may have encountered. I kept an open mind to the possibly of such things and went looking for a good degree of evidence to subject 20690451_10155257750715589_6964096582660307664_oparanormal activity. My first few trips were quite freaky and unnerving, however that’s to be expected from an old cold rundown building with the possibility of security turning up or other people there to start trouble. With this in mind and the possibility of such ghosts every sound and creek kept me and the people I was with on edge. That being said nothing substantial ever happened to show a clear sign of activity.

A year went by and I had started to think barrow gurney was nothing more than an old building with a few ghost story’s to stir up fear and I was not intending to go back so soon. Then news came that the site was being demolished to make way for a new housing estate. This then re jolted my urge to go visit again and next thing I know a loads more people than I’d been with before wished to join me. On this occasions I packed every with the intent of doing a full search opposed to the 30min to an hour I had in the past.  Once everyone was ready we set off to investigate the site.

Upon arrival we were greeted by another paranormal group “Wiltshire Paranormal Investigators” who told us many stories about what they had found and heard in the site. They were all firm believers that something was there and said that the site security “Jake Hawkins” was on his way with a special device to help contact the resident ghost “Dave”. I found this quite funny and yet existing as I started to think what if something does actually happen this time.
My group went in to check out a supposed ghostly black orb in a unit that was apparently used for the more dangerous patients. We got there but nothing happened,10541893_10152632495455589_1456925404769431132_obesides the odd creek or howl of the wind, so we decided to re-join the group just as Jake was arriving and head into the Woodside building where the ghost Dave had moved to after the recent demolition of the mother and baby unit.
My group, the paranormal group and Jake and a few people he came with all set off into the building and went to the 2nd floor where there is an apparent shape shiftier and where Dave likes to reside. Once we were all ready Jake got out an app with a Geophone x y and z sensor that picks up types of motion, touching or vibrating around it depending on how its set up it can take quite a bit to make it go off. Jake began talking to Dave which I found hilarious and at this point was going up and down the corridors saying if there’s a shape shifter come out and such but was informed that if I was rude nothing would happen as I was not being respectful. I apologized and went along with then to see what may happen if I complied.
The geophone did make sound which seemed to respond to questions but at times went off by its self when no questions were being asked. This was apparently because Dave was being ignored. I can’t verify the device as full proof evidence as its been known to go off from low vibrations of traffic or low tones in the voice traveling through the floor. 10710408_10152697320080589_7930276307615464595_oThe responses would match up to questions as there is a slight delay between speaking and when it picks things up. That being said I hadn’t ruled out the possibility that Dave was there as some responses seemed very quick and precise. Once the night was over I was still not happy with the investigation and I felt there were too many people creating too much noise.

Within a few days me and my group went back on a sole mission to investigate with less interference. Once we arrived I started with my Ouija board in the back cell block area. At first nothing was happening but then it started to respond. I felt that this was someone 1617156_10152697320205589_4357126843020738279_o     pushing it or we were pushing it sub consciously, however after I asked a question something on the other side of the room fell or was thrown. This made me and everyone else jump as was unexpected. I quickly asked for it to happen again to verify possible activity, but nothing happened and the other people wanted to end the Ouija session and leave the block.

We decided to go to the units next to it which was used as medical sectaries unit. As we were walking over I thought I spotted a girl like figure stood in the window. As I moved my torch to look it seemed to then move to the left. I imminently had to go and check it out to rule out it being my light. Me and the other claimed into the building and I started asking for activity. Which then happened immediately by something crashing in the corner. Everybody bare me ran back out and at this point I started questioning my 10539149_10152612362360589_2295362295901896543_obeliefs and possibility of a ghost actually being there. I kept trying to clear my mind by thinking it was us causing the debris to fall as were disturbing the area. With this in mind we carried on to the other side.

Once we entered the long corridor it soon came clear that there was too much handing from the roofs to actually go in safely so we started asking question by the door. I attempted to enter the building and just as I stepped in above me within the roof space there was an almighty bang. I backed back out and asked for it to happen again but nothing responded.

One 10655245_10152612361200589_3135099082926386427_oof my team then said can you see a figure down the corridor. I started shinning my torch and was like nowhere there’s nothing down there. Just as I said this a brick came from one room and then into a wall. At this point everyone ran off and backed into an open area.

Now we were at a point where fear was rife and people’s minds started to sketch out and play tricks. I kept bringing the group back to normality by trying to subject it’s a
rundown building it could just be things falling apart and Coincidence. This however was not good enough to support going further and part of the group left.
With a few people down we decided to check out Woodside as it’s it was still in half good condition and not falling apart as much.
Upon entering within seconds we heard footsteps upstairs so went to check it out but yet again there was nothing there. At this point there were things being thrown down stairs and corridors left right and centre. It started to become quite far-fetched and I started to think there must be other people there. We all kept quiet and I could hear what sounded
like low mumbles within the how. I was sure security or another team were there so we did a full sweep, however found no one. Just before calling it a night we checked out one last room downstairs. Nothing was 10669178_10152697320200589_3191702553722043878_ohappening now and I was ready to go, but just as I turned to leave I saw what looked like glass come down the corridor at us. This was very unnerving and we promptly left the building. My mind was all over the place and did not know what to think anymore so we called it a night.

Some time went by before a few of my other mates said they would go. Once we arrived it was obvious that work had been commenced on Woodside as most of the roof was in 10682254_10152631734990589_5871531367439701477_obits and the left side torn down. I decided to go in the building alone and do a quick sweet to rule out others being in the building and or mass hysteria as I was much calmer now. Low and behold nothing happened at all and we went home.
I was ready to call it a day but was not happy with how quick I was on my last visit so I went back one last time with Jake and my team and into Woodside for another full investigation. We were expecting the entire place to go crazy like something from a horror film after the last visit we had as a group but there was nothing. It was just a cold, damp creaking building again with the odd sound from Jakes geophone. We left feeling a little calmer and said are goodbyes as this felt like closure and I was ready to let it go. This lead me to think that either there was others following us, quiescence, mass historian and mind going wild, us causing things to fall over or all of them put together.

 

Upon looking back at barrow gurney I had a fun interesting and yet quite scary time there. After thinking about things such as glass coming at me or footsteps and knocks it can be logically explained by things such as wind, expansion and de expansion, interference from us or another party. The glass may have been launched into the air by something else falling from the roof and then to us looked like it was coming towards. With a lack of light and the natural feeling of fear and hysteria it was all a recipe for un-rational thinking and the more we went on the worse it got. It goes to show that after calming down and re visiting nothing happened or fazed us. This leads me to think that logical Barrow Gunrey may not have been haunted after all, however some strong believers out there may say I’m making up random explanations to try to keep myself from the truth of the place. Honestly I can’t answer with 100% certainty either was I can only was it was an experience that I won’t be forgetting any time soon.

10648323_10152632495380589_3577688476242678936_o

10620249_10152632495370589_3101031197774427046_o