Last week FOM’s race edit of the Singapore Grand Prix was published.
It was interesting to see what FOM’s priorities were, following my post a couple of weeks ago criticising the media’s coverage of the Singapore Grand Prix. The focus was on the periphery of the event rather than the racing. It was all about the nice shots of the skyline lit up.
In FOM’s “race edit”, it takes 40 seconds for the first Formula 1 car to appear! That is a quarter of the length of the video!
People of the F1 media: please don’t forget the racing.
The Formula 1 world is bracing itself in anticipation of the unexpected when the travelling circus makes its next stop at Yeongam in Korea. The saga of the troubled construction of this new venue has been well documented. The latest setback came last week when newly published images appeared to show that a construction crane had toppled into the main grandstand.
After months of uncertainty, it now appears as though the Korean Grand Prix will go ahead, albeit in a facility that is not yet finished. The latest images seem to show that the circuit is finished, but the surroundings are far from perfect.
But as long as the circuit is there, a race can go ahead. The top layer of asphalt has only just gone down though, meaning that the F1 cars will have to cope with a very slippery circuit indeed next weekend. I can see it descending into farce, but it could be just the recipe for an exciting race weekend.
But what if there are still serious problems with the venue? It is unprecedented for F1 to head to a half-finished venue. You can think of Circuit de Catalunya, which held its first race in 1991 with its surroundings not looking in great nick — even though the circuit itself was perfectly usable.
The 1986 Hungarian Grand Prix also had a close shave. There are some incredible pictures of the warm-up races that clearly show the circuit still being worked on just weeks before the first Formula 1 grand prix was due to be held.
The problem is that the Korea International Circuit has not held anything in the way of proper racing yet. The circuit was “opened” on 4 September, with a demonstration run from Karun Chandhok in a Red Bull.
All of these deadlines have sailed past. An inspection due on 28 September was apparently cancelled by the FIA because there was nothing new to inspect.
Today, just ten days before F1 cars are due to go onto the track, the inspection is taking place. Now all indications are that the race will go ahead come what may. That seems to be because Bernie Ecclestone has decided it will do. To cancel the race now would be a disaster for everyone involved. It probably means cancelling next year’s race too, unless the FIA wants to overlook another of its rules.
I have no doubt that the FIA and Bernie Ecclestone know what they are doing. But surely all of those safety rules exist for a reason. Why have 90-day limits if, come crunch time, the money man decides a 10-day inspection will do the job?
What if something goes horribly wrong? I only ask because Bernie Ecclestone has gone on record during an interview with the BBC saying, “It’s quite dangerous what we’ve done, actually.”
It is true that this was Bernie Ecclestone’s way of giving the grand prix organisers the hurry-up in a public fashion. But to hear him describe “what we’ve done” as “dangerous” was surprising to me. It is a strong word that can be used against him and the FIA.
I know it says on the back of the ticket that motorsport is dangerous. But the FIA is supposed to ensure that dangers are eliminated wherever possible. It has apparently decided that this doesn’t matter in this instance. This is a precedent that surely shouldn’t be set.
For some reason, I always find myself paying attention to weather presenters. Perhaps it is the fact that I have had an interest in meteorology since I was a small child.
Or maybe it’s the break in style compared with the rest of the news bulletin. Weather forecasters have much more freedom to express their personality than news, sport or business presenters do. Whatever it is, some weather forecasters are among my favourite television personalities.
Tomasz Schafernaker has long counted among my favourites. Many will have seen him in the proper news following his gaffe where he accidentally gave the middle finger gesture while on the air.
It is by no means the first time Tomasz Schafernaker has been involved in on-air hilarity. There is, for instance, his reaction to being told about his “frozen ball”.
Most infamously of all, there was his slip-up when he talked about Glastonbury’s “muddy shite”.
Laura Tobin came into focus after this astonishing incident.
The initial gaffe is surreal and hilarious. Her reaction is adorable. But the way she copes with it is the most impressive. If you tuned in five seconds after the bulletin had started, you would never know anything had happened! What a professional.
Cool as a cucumber, Rob McElwee would announce the apocalypse with a shrug of the shoulders. He is often so laid back I suspect he has had quite a good lunch! Here he is talking about severe winter weather in his normal unruffled manner.
Rob McElwee may sometimes look like he has enjoyed his lunch, but Francis Wilson looks like he has been lunching all day long. He is not a great forecaster though. His tendency to just list a series of consecutive numbers instead of actually giving you a temperature leaves the viewer perplexed as to whether to wear a duffle coat or hot pants.
Still, you can’t fault his personality. Here is a rare clip of Rory Bremner being funny, impersonating Francis Wilson.
But the granddaddy of weather presenting personalities has to be Daniel Corbett. His enthusiasm for any kind of weather event is surely unrivalled, and his descriptions are without question the most entertaining around.
Even Tomasz Schafernaker seems to think Daniel Corbett’s style is the way to go, judging by the way he signed off from this bulletin.
I was sad to read that Frank Sidebottom — or Chris Sievey, his real name — died today. I have vague memories of him being on television when I was very young, and it was a joy to rediscover him when he made his comeback four or five years ago.
He never returned to the heights of his late 1980s zenith, so I have had to make do with YouTube for my fix of Frank Sidebottom. Although I did buy and enjoy ‘ABC&D’, his best of CD.
I had seen that he was diagnosed with cancer recently, and clearly he was in a very bad way. But it didn’t stop him performing and just last week he released a World Cup song, ‘Three Shirts on my Line‘ (“35 years of dirt, just washed out by me mum”).
His former keyboardist, Jon Ronson, wrote a great article about Frank Sidebottom’s career a few years ago. Fascinating reading, and quite sad too.
(If you look carefully in the credits, you’ll see that he is even credited as Frank Sidebottom, not Chris Sievey.)
A Twitter campaign to get Frank Sidebottom to number 1 is gathering steam — @MakeFrank1. I think it would be very apt. Because going by the reaction from people today, while Frank Sidebottom disappeared from view somewhat in recent years, it’s clear that many people loved him.
I do enjoy the Eurovision Song Contest. I can’t stand other Saturday night television extravaganzas, but there is something different about Eurovision. Probably the fact that it’s actually a contest. I like trying to work out what the countries are trying to achieve by entering the songs they enter — the strategic element is a big part of it for me. Of course, the voting is great fun too.
This year the voting all went Germany’s way. (So much for all that Balkan and Baltic bloc voting!) They romped away in a similar fashion to Norway last year. Germany’s strategy was to enter a Kate Nash look- and soundalike. Although it did bring perhaps the greatest mockney accent ever, I cannot stand the real Kate Nash, never mind someone who wants to be like her.
Incidentally I recently had the misfortune to watch Kate Nash performing (it wasn’t my idea, honest). She is an utter charisma vacuum.
As for my preferred option, I began to develop an unhealthy obsession with Russia’s entry, ‘Lost and Forgotten’ by Peter Nalitch and Friends, as the week progressed. I absolutely love that moment when Peter Nalitch is “looking at her photos”. Genius.
My other favourites included Ukraine (who always seem to enter good songs!), Bosnia & Herzegovina (which I disliked at first, but it really grew on me), Belgium (which seemed like an attempt to copy Norway from last week, but I liked it), Greece (OPA!) and Armenia (for which there were two very good reasons).
In fact, the highlight of the night for me was definitely Armenia, and all the absolutely hilarious comments everyone was posting on Twitter about Eva Rivas’s breasts.