A Driving Instructor's Blog

Movies & TV

Someone found the blog on that search term. Well, I’ve already written about the Weight Watchers ad from around Christmas, but there are definitely some others that make me turn off the sound or switch channels.

Jarring Notes and MusicI detest whispering and whistling, and people humming or singing repetitively (especially when they can’t sing or don’t know the words or the whole song).

There’s one ad at the moment – actually, it’s been around for some months – where there is this woman going into hotels, spas, and things, and she whispers at the camera for the whole time. It drives me crazy and I mute or change channels the second it comes on. I can’t remember what it’s advertising (I don’t think I ever waited to find out – that’s how good the advertising agencies are), but I’ll edit this when I do.

EDIT: It’s for Secret Escapes. God, it’s annoying. And the blog is getting a lot of hits now I’ve mentioned the name – Secret Escapes is doing itself no favours here. All the hits are based on “annoying woman whispering” or variations on that theme!

EDIT: As of late 2014/early 2015 Secret Escapes has embarked on a new advertising drive. I must say that the woman is beginning to look a bit past it now.

Whistling seems to be the current favourite advertising ploy used by the agencies – Volkswagen had one on the radio recently that was played incessantly, and involved some tuneless idiot whistling a Beach Boys song. Fortunately, it was cut down dramatically for its short-lived TV run (although now they’ve got one with humming in it).

I’ll keep my eye out for others to keep this thread going (it seems to be quite popular, because anything that annoys me seems to annoy others judging from the hits I get).

EDIT: There’s an update to this topic here.


Snakes & Arrows - RushI was watching a show about rock music on Sky Arts HD last night, and saw that on Monday at 10pm they’re showing Rush in Rotterdam – part of the Snakes & Arrows tour.

You know, I’ve seen Rush in the mainstream media more times the last 12 months than I have done over the last 40 years together. At this rate, tickets on the next tour – whenever it is – will be hard to get!

The article has some online video previews.

Update: Just watching it tonight brings back some great memories. Hard to believe it was way back in 2007.

I also note that the imminent release of Clockwork Angels will be accompanied by “a full North American Tour”. I have to be honest and admit that I couldn’t see them coming back so soon after last year’s Time Machine Tour, but disappointing nonetheless. I may have to start counting the pennies to see if I can justify an American trip.

Edit: Note that Rush feature in episode 11 of Metal Evolution – and this is on again on Sky Arts 1 on Monday, 15 September 2014.


ScammerTop Gear – the BBC programme about cars, hosted by chimpanzees, and avidly watched by pond life (my opinion, of course) – has had its fair share of rows about whether some of its stunts are real or not.

The latest one comes after the producers admitted that they set up a traffic jam and used driving instructors posing as learners.

The instructors pretended to be practising reverse parking in close proximity to each other, while James May was held up in his Ferrari California Spider (worth £5.6m).

Personally, I don’t really care if Top Gear fakes its stuff or not. Real or pretend, it conveys the wrong image to people of limited intelligence in the first place.

But I’m surprised – well, not that surprised – at driving instructors prepared to push the image of learners being a nuisance in order to appear on the show. I guess that we shouldn’t forget that there are plenty of driving instructors out there whose only interest in life is cars, and the announcement of a new series of Top Gear is enough to cause them to wet themselves.

Appearing on it would be like having sex for them (albeit, without any other organic  life form being involved). I wonder if they got paid?


Bit of advice to the BBC for the next series of Masterchef… stop trying to create a bloody romantic drama out of it!

We can do without the stupid tinkly music and fade-outs of people who get booted off. Just get rid of them – don’t take ten minutes over it.

And stop recruiting people who cry when they lose, and cry when they win! Especially blokes.

It’s about food. Stick to that.


I expect you’ve seen that advert with Vinnie Jones, advertising “hands-only CPR” for the British Heart Foundation. It’s quite amusing. HeartBut the thing that caught my attention is that – yet again – first aid procedures are being changed.

This used to happen regularly when I was in the rat race, and I’m convinced it was a ploy to make sure that anyone who’d received first aid training (at significant expense) would have to do it again for his or her skills to remain valid in a legal sense.

Any large company with first aid staff who don’t have up-to-date training may well as just burn all their money and shut up shop right now. And by “up-to-date”, that means “the latest fads”.

The “compression-only” variant appears to be of American origin, where (according to Wikipedia):

It is recommended as the method of choice for the untrained rescuer or those who are not proficient as it is easier to perform and instructions are easier to give over the phone.

Obviously, you need some scientific backing for such dumbing down, so it adds:

In adults with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, compression-only CPR by the lay public has a higher success rate than standard CPR.

My first thought would be “why”. But, it does appear to be quite specific. But then it adds more:

The exceptions are cases of drownings, drug overdose, and arrest in children. Children who receive compression only CPR have the same outcomes as those who received no CPR. The method of delivering chest compressions remains the same, as does the rate (at least 100 per minute). It is hoped that the use of compression only delivery will increase the chances of the lay public delivering CPR. As per the American Heart Association, the beat of the Bee Gees’ song Stayin’ Alive provides an ideal amount of beats-per-minute to use for hands-only CPR. For those with non cardiac arrest and people less than 20 years of age standard CPR is superior to compression only CPR.

That last sentence interests me. Those “under 20” appear to be “children” as far as this account is concerned. The UK is simplifying the whole affair by advising “hands-only” for everyone!

And we have to face facts, here. The fact that traditional CPR frequently involves mouth-to-mouth resuscitation (where the lips of one stranger have to meet those of another) definitely has something to do with this. If nothing else, people resuscitating when the casualty is actually already breathing may have a part to play – not to mention the simple physical contact involved.

It looks like the evidence (clearly based on statistics) that “hands-only” CPR is better is a lot more confused than they’d have you believe. In the meantime, company execs in the UK will need to start shovelling money into wheelbarrows to take round to the local First Aid Training groups. Again.


I think we might have the annual winner here. It’s only 1 January 2012, and already there is an advert that has to rate as the most annoying in the universe – and that’s likely to be against some pretty stiff competition.

Weight Loss Programme CartoonI’d read about it a couple of weeks ago, but didn’t give it much thought at the time. However, having just been snared by an ad break on ITV 4, they ran the damned thing.

The frequency and duration of ad breaks has been ramped up recently, and let me assure you that at over three minutes, this one is bloody long.

It’s by Weight Watchers. I didn’t realise I’d been snagged until my brain started asking “hey, what’s that annoying crap you’re listening to?” At that point I turned around and started to watch it to find out what it was. And I watched. And I watched. Then I wondered if I’d flipped channels by mistake. Then I watched some more, considered ripping the TV off the wall, then watched still more. It wasn’t until right at the end that I found out what  was going on and remembered reading about it.

It’s a straight rip-off of Jessie J in style (it’s being released as a song), except that it’s even more crap!

Fortunately – and I hope I’m right, after re-reading the Daily Mail article – they’re only playing it once, and that’s between 6.30pm and 7pm today. So I’ve already had my dose, in much the same way that I had a cold for a few days over Christmas.

However, in the next ad break there was another Weight Watchers one with interviews and behind-the-scenes shots, and that bloody song playing in the background.  So it’s more like a lingering disease than a cold.

EDIT: You can watch it here.


I saw this on the TV just now. Some things just make you laugh – and this worked on me!

Keyboard Cat isn’t original, but it’s still funny. Somehow, these bizarre mash-up advertising ideas work. Mind you, I wish pistachios really did come apart that easily. If I’ve been on the pistachios, my thumbnail feels like it’s going to drop off for a week afterwards!


The latest Strongbow ad is driving me mad. It didn’t, until I noticed something… and now it does.

Take a look at the end bit (about 50 seconds in).

To start with, they’ve been doing the heaviest job imaginable, and they’re desperate for a drink of cold, refreshing Strongbow. So the weasly little guy takes a tiny, girly sip – it probably evaporated faster than he drank it – and makes a growling “Aaaaaaaahhhhhhh!” sound, as though he’s just swallowed a sink full of the stuff.

I mean, you just don’t go “Aaaaahhhhhhhh!” when you’ve taken such a small drink, and it certainly wouldn’t quench any thirst you might have acquired from humping a sofa up 20 floors of a tower block where the lifts are broken.

I’ve gotten a taste for Stella Artois Cidre when the fancy takes me, and if I’m thirsty I can knock back a whole bottle of the stuff in 15 seconds flat. THAT’S how to quench a thirst, and justify going “Aaaaaahhhhhhhhh!”


Well, although the programme is definitely entertaining, you’ve got to come to the conclusion that it is totally unrealistic and highly staged. Two shows in and a pattern is developing in Channel 5’s Dangerous Drivers’ School.

First of all, you have “Steph”. Her father is a driving instructor (yes, you read that right – and she’s appearing on TV being “trained” by AA instructors). If he can’t fix her serious attitude problem, what chance does a third party have in a single session? And it comes as no surprise to see that she fancies herself like all get out, and her dream car is an Audi that can do 0-60mph in just over 4 seconds. She’s typical Audi material, and chav through and through. Big surprise that the single session “fixed” her.

Like Lewis last week, Harry is a complete tosser. He is filmed driving at speed for long distances eating McDonalds without his hands on the steering wheel, and using the phone (at the same time as all that). Even on his first session with the instructor, he is eating crisps and taking his hands off the wheel (just for the record, I would have stopped that before it happened – no one is getting food grease on MY steering wheel!).

Pat is the regulation realistic (almost) one – though someone who can’t drive properly and wants to appear on TV about it is obviously going to be carrying just that little bit of extra baggage.

With the way Harry the Prat was driving (and “Steph”, come to that), Channel 5 should have informed the police instead of trying to cash in on something that puts the lives of others at such great risk. It’s an absolute joke that Channel 5 should aid and abet such criminal behaviour – and since they can’t be, then the whole thing has just got to be a put on show.

Increasingly, the programme is looking like a stage for people who didn’t get on Big Brother. If anyone does drive like that in real life they deserve to have their licences revoked because of past behaviour.

If anyone is genuinely like Pat, all they have to do is call an instructor and get some refresher lessons. No need to join Equity to do it.


Channel 5’s new series, Dangerous Drivers’ School, is attracting a lot of traffic. Even local rags are using it to get publicity – like The Citizen.

It reports that John Thompson from Oswaldtwistle (it’s near Accrington in Lancashire) is to appear on the show. Let me just correct The Citizen for a moment – Thompson has ALREADY appeared on the show, it just hasn’t been aired yet. If he’s learnt anything, he should be demonstrating it now.

Thompson, who is 35, is described as “speed-loving” with a need to “grow up”. It was his wife’s idea – not his – that he appear on the show.

Thompson boasts:

It was the wife’s decision really. I was speeding quite a lot – on the motorway, I would go up to 90 or 110mph…

…I’m a courier driver and I had gotten into some bad habits…

Mmmmm. You don’t need to appear on a TV show to miraculously learn the law. The article quotes the AA instructor who was involved, but it doesn’t say anything about Thompson having changed his attitude.

It’s ironic really that that last blog story was about some idiot trying to complete a 70-mile journey in less than an hour, and this one involves a courier driver who has to get things from one place to another as quickly as possible (I see courier vans most of the day so I know exactly what goes on).

Worth reading the comments at the end of the report, too. Seems like a few people out there have the true measure of it.