Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Health & Safety and Equality Considerations for Christmas Songs - by Crazy Dave!

The Fresh blog will continue after my last day at the station, but in the meantime I just loved this piece sent to me by Dave Anderson - the legendary Crazy Dave, one of our most loyal supporters:

The Rocking Song
Little Jesus, sweetly sleep, do not stir
We will lend a coat of fur,
We will rock you, rock you, rock you,
We will rock you, rock you, rock you:

Fur is no longer appropriate wear for small infants, both due to risk of allergy to animal fur, and for ethical reasons. Therefore faux fur, a nice cellular blanket or perhaps micro-fleece material should be considered a suitable alternative.

Please note, only persons who have been subject to a Criminal Records Bureau check and have enhanced clearance will be permitted to rock baby Jesus. Persons must carry their CRB disclosure with them at all times and be prepared to provide three forms of identification before rocking commences.

Jingle Bells
Dashing through the snow
In a one horse open sleigh
O'er the fields we go
Laughing all the way

A risk assessment must be submitted before an open sleigh is considered safe for members of the public to travel on. The risk assessment must also consider whether it is appropriate to use only one horse for such a venture, particularly if passengers are of larger proportions. Please note, permission must be gained from landowners before entering their fields. To avoid offending those not participating in celebrations, we would request that laughter is moderate only and not loud enough to be considered a noise nuisance.

While Shepherds Watched
While shepherds watched
Their flocks by night
All seated on the ground
The angel of the Lord came down
And glory shone around

The union of Shepherd's has complained that it breaches health and safety regulations to insist that shepherds watch their flocks without appropriate seating arrangements being provided, therefore benches, stools and orthopaedic chairs are now available. Shepherds have also requested that due to the inclement weather conditions at this time of year that they should watch their flocks via cctv cameras from centrally heated shepherd observation huts.
Please note, the angel of the lord is reminded that before shining his / her glory all around she / he must ascertain that all shepherds have been issued with glasses capable of filtering out the harmful effects of UVA, UVB and Glory.

Rudolph the red nosed reindeer
Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer
had a very shiny nose.
And if you ever saw him,
you would even say it glows.

You are advised that under the Equal Opportunities for All policy, it is inappropriate for persons to make comment with regard to the ruddiness of any part of Mr. R. Reindeer. Further to this, exclusion of Mr R Reindeer from the Reindeer Games will be considered discriminatory and disciplinary action will be taken against those found guilty of this offence. A full investigation will be implemented and sanctions - including suspension on full pay - will be considered whilst this investigation takes place.

Little Donkey
Little donkey, little donkey on the dusty road
Got to keep on plodding onwards with your precious load

The RSPCA have issued strict guidelines with regard to how heavy a load that a donkey of small stature is permitted to carry, also included in the guidelines is guidance regarding how often to feed the donkey and how many rest breaks are required over a four hour plodding period. Please note that due to the increased risk of pollution from the dusty road, Mary and Joseph are required to wear face masks to prevent inhalation of any airborne particles. The donkey has expressed his discomfort at being labelled 'little' and would prefer just to be simply referred to as Mr. Donkey. To comment upon his height or lack thereof may be considered an infringement of his equine rights.

We Three Kings
We three kings of Orient are
Bearing gifts we traverse afar
Field and fountain, moor and mountain
Following yonder star

Whilst the gift of gold is still considered acceptable - as it may be redeemed at a later date through such organisations as 'cash for gold' etc, gifts of frankincense and myrrh are not appropriate due to the potential risk of oils and fragrances causing allergic reactions. A suggested gift alternative would be to make a donation to a worthy cause in the recipients name or perhaps give a gift voucher.
We would not advise that the traversing kings rely on navigation by stars in order to reach their destinations and suggest the use of RAC routefinder or satellite navigation, which will provide the quickest route and advice regarding fuel consumption. Please note as per the guidelines from the RSPCA for Mr Donkey, the camels carrying the three kings of Orient will require regular food and rest breaks. Facemasks for the three kings are also advisable due to the likelihood of dust from the camels hooves.

Crazy Dave - you're a legend!

Friday, 16 December 2011

Fourteen years and counting . . . . .

I've been looking back over the last fourteen years at Fresh - formerly Yorkshire Dales Radio, then Fresh AM and now Fresh in anticipation of a long promised move to FM in our core area. Primarily it's a look back at some of the personalities I've interviewed or had as guests at the station. Obviously top of the pile from the point of view of who was probably best known was Prince Charles. He joined me in what was our Hawes studio for a quarter hour chat about the Dales. Whatever your perspective about the Royal family it was a huge honour - and I was the ONLY member of the media who was asked to talk publicly to the Prince of Wales during his official visit. I've worked with and interviewed TV chef Lesley Waters a couple of times, and she really is a lovely personality. It probably goes without saying that the same applies to the guys from Smokie, who I've interviewed on several occasions. My old buddy Andy Whelan, who has also been involved with the band in the past confessed that he was the one on the Smokie single who shouts "Alice, Alice, who the . . . " - don't really need to say too much more! I'm not really sure what it was that came over me when I was about to go live with an interview with the fabulous Jenny Agutter, when I said "Jenny, do you know I'd have swum the Atlantic just to drink your bathwater". That was the very first time I'd spoken to her, and when I talked to her recently she very vividly remembered the occasion! Listeners to Solid Gold Sunday will know that I've forged a friendship with Jeff Wayne, the composer and producer of the incredible War of the Worlds. The last time we met up he took me backstage at Sheffield Arena following a fabulous stage production of WOTW, and of course he appeared recently of Solid Gold Sunday to give us details of the 2012 tour of the show. As head of news I had the onerous task of covering the 2001 outbreak of foot and mouth which had a massive impact on our region. It was an odd title at the time, because I was on my own at the time, and had to cover the disaster single handedly. Subsequently my coverage has been mentioned during  a debate in the House of Commons. At the time of the outbreak I had to interview Margaret Beckett, who had been hastily installed as DEFRA minister, and unfortunately knew next to nothing about what was going on around her. Not too long ago I also interviewed David Cameron too - sadly I've now lost the audio where he gives assurances about the NHS! It's late, but there's much, much more to come - watch this space!

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Christmas is coming . . . .

The Intrepid Pie Tasters!

Well, my first ever expedition into the world of competition judging is over, and I have to confess I thoroughly enjoyed it. First off I was called upon to judge stand pies in the Great Yorkshire Pork Pie, Sausage and Products competition in Bradford. Now that was a daunting task, with 45 stand pies to taste and no sign of my former Breakfast Show sidekick and celebrated pie gourmet Julian Hotchkiss. The whole thing took over three hours, and I was absolutely pie'd out by the time we'd finished. I learnt a lot though, about pie construction, pastry making, gravy and meat fill and texture. My final task was to join with Ilkley butcher David Lishman - current president of the Confederation of. Yorkshire Butchers Councils - and a colleague, to judge the Supreme Champion Yorkshire Sausage and Pork Pie. In the end it was an easy decision on both counts, particularly with the sausage, made by a butcher from Kippax. It was quite extraordinary - utterly delicious!
Hard at work!
All my training was put to good use the following weekend, when I was invited yet again, this time to the Great Northern Pie Fest. This was a much more relaxed, low key affair, held at Skipton Auction Mart. I described it in a subsequent news bulletin as something of a re-enactment of the Wars of the Roses, with pies from both the White Rose and Red Rose counties entered. We didn't know which pies were whose, and by the end of the day Yorkshire beat Lancashire. But it was a close run thing, with pies from a butcher in Barnoldswick taking one of the top awards. I've been invited back again next year - you can guess what my response was!! (dribble, drool!)

Christmas is drawing ever nearer, and the Solid Gold Sunday crew are out this week for our Christmas meal. We're off to a favourite restaurant on Wednesday evening for a full Christmas Dinner, which we're all very much looking forward to. We never seem to be able to go to events with the rest of the Fresh team, as they're invariably arranged on a Friday night when we're working - I wonder if someone is trying to tell us something?? The old Breakfast Show crew did get out last week though, for an excellent meal at the Tempest Arms in Elslack. I managed to bag one of just two tables that had been available. Lovely meal, great atmosphere, can thoroughly recommend it!

Friday, 18 November 2011


The first of two exciting weekends ahead - I've finally reached the pinnacle of my career, having been invited to judge not just one, but two competitions involving food!  The first is the Great Yorkshire Pork Pie, Sausage & Products Competition at the Cedar Court Hotel, Bradford, on Sunday. Then next week it's a little closer to home, and Skipton Auction Mart plays host to the Great Northern Pork Pie Fest. It's a tough job, but someone's got to do it - now where's me bib?!!

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Richmond quiz night

What a fantastic night! A full house at Richmond Town Hall last night, with several new teams from previous years. Cash raised was for the North Country Theatre, and also in support of the local Fairtrade group. One lady came up to me and said "We listen to Fresh all day at work - Matt Cain's quiz isn't as tough as this!!"

Friday, 11 November 2011

Fairtrade quiz

It's a trip to Richmond for the quiz crew tomorrow night (Saturday) for a special quiz on behalf of Richmond's Fairtrade group. We've done it in the past for the Walking and Books festival, but now of course with Solid Gold Sunday we're not available that night. The quiz is being held in the Town Hall from 7pm, and there'll be a stall offering Fairtrade goods, including some truly excellent wine. Don't forget too, if you've got a deserving cause we can run a quiz for you. All you need to do is organise a venue, organise an audience, and organise an odd prize or two - we'll do the rest!

The blog is back - watch this space!

In Solid Gold Sunday this weekend (13 November 2011) our theme is Location, Location, Location - and already our regulars have come up with literally hundreds of song titles, some way out of the box too! You might expect songs like New York, New York, but what about Girls on Film? Good thinking! Solid Gold Sunday is on Fresh Radio from 7pm every Sunday evening. Find us on AM and FM around the Yorkshire Dales, or on line at - please share as our promos for the show at Fresh are down!