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Archives for April 2010

No Don't Tell Me...I Know The Face.

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Jeff Zycinski | 21:46 UK time, Tuesday, 27 April 2010


PM-at-PQ.jpgOne of the occupational hazards of working at the BBC is that you are constantly saying hello to people you think you know, but only because you've seen them on the telly. I've lost count of the times I've given a hearty and over-familiar greeting to actors and presenters only to watch them stare back at you with expressions of confusion or fright. Then, a few minutes later, it dawns on you that you've been behaving like a celebrity stalker.

It happened to me again today, here at Pacific Quay.

I was queuing up at the ground floor tea-bar and was using most of my available brain power to decide between a chocolate or blueberry muffin. Then this bloke in a suit passed me and I knew the face but just couldn't think of his name.

"Hi, how you doin?" I mumbled in that semi-polite but offhand way that I do when prioritising snack choices.

Then it struck me. Not the muffin, the name.

Gordon Brown, no less, the actual Prime Minister. I turned around to see him and his entourage sweep out of the front door and take up a position in front of the Clyde where he was being interviewed for TV.

I should have realised sooner, because I'd been told he was coming into one of our radio studios for a live link-up with The World at One. I'd even commented on the presence of a mysterious suited figure who had arrived in advance of the PM to check that everything was in order.

"Is he from MI5?" I'd asked a colleague.

"Not quite," she told me, "He's the producer from Radio 4."

An easy mistake.

Well If You Want My Opinion...

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Jeff Zycinski | 14:33 UK time, Monday, 26 April 2010


Do you want to know how I'm going to vote? Do you want my opinion on the various party leaders? How about my thoughts on a hung parliament? Well, of course, my employer frowns on me telling you things like that but if you want to tease it out of me then all you have to do is call me at home. That's what the lady from ICM did yesterday.

"Would you be able to spare a few minutes to answer some questions...I'm not trying to sell you anything."

I wasn't convinced.

"Didn't you phone me ten minutes ago and ask about my gas central heating servicing plan?"

"No. That wasn't me. Honestly."

"Oh alright then. Ask away."

So she did. First I had to say whether on not I was likely to vote at all. Or unlikely, very unlikely, very likely or not sure. Then I had to tell her who I was going to vote for and who I voted for last time around... "if you can remember"... and then, on a scale of one to a hundred, I had to rate the four party leaders in Scotland and the three leaders at Westminster. I was still expecting her to sneak in a question about my boiler, but it never came.

I answered quickly and convincingly, like I knew my own mind. Trouble is, ten minutes after the call, I began to doubt some of my own answers. I wanted to phone her back with a few caveats and modifications, but the opinion poll system doesn't deal in that level of sophistication.

Anyway, you know how everyone says they don't know anyone who has ever taken part in one of those surveys? Well, now you do. And if you notice some strange findings in tomorrow's newspapers you can blame me.

I Telt You So

Jeff Zycinski | 08:55 UK time, Thursday, 22 April 2010


Terry-Butcher.JPGAnd so, as predicted, Inverness Caledonian Thistle have won the First Division championship and will return to what we like to call "top flight SPL football" next season.
The official confirmation came last night as Dundee went down one-nil to Raith Rovers. I, like so many Inverness fans, was listening to Richard Gordon's commentary on Sporstsound and got a real sense of those Raith players dying on their feet as the struggled through the last ten minutes of the game and then had to endure a decade or so of injury time.

Naturally I've been telling people that I never doubted Terry Butcher's ability to create a league-winning side and have been directing sceptics to the blog entries I wrote at the start of the season, including the pre-season friendly with Clach.

Only our Sport editor Tom Connor knows the truth. He recalls me calling him a few months ago with rumouirs that Butcher was for the axe...and that I was mumping about the possibility of ICT dropping into the second division.

But if anyone asks, I never made that call.

I've Been Underground

Jeff Zycinski | 19:04 UK time, Wednesday, 14 April 2010


bunker.jpgWow. Sorry about that. I didn't mean to take such a long leave of absence but I hada week's holiday in Fife and somehow I lost the blogging bug when I was away. But I hope you've been enjoying the new BBC Radio Scotland blog. Everyone here at the station seems to be very enthusiastic about contributing entries so please give it your support.

The East Neuk of Fife was lovely and that's despite the fact that we decided to rent a cottage there just as the snowstorms returned to Scotland. That gave us the perfect excuse to go underground at Scotland's Secret Bunker. Do you know it? It's the former nuclear hideout designed to house the Secretary of State for Scotland in the event that the Russians started dropping bombs. It became obsolete towards the end of the last century and is now a tourist attraction. You can sit in the situation room and experience the sound and vibrations of a simulated nuclear blast overhead. Chilling and bizarre.

There's also a BBC radio studio which was installed so that programmes of information and "soothing music" could be broadcast during the crisis. I saw a Tom Jones L.P. sitting on the rack. Imagine that. Scotland being wiped out to the sound of "it's not unusual".

But what music should we play when the world ends. Hmmm...sounds like a theme for Bryan Burnett and Get It On.

I'm told that today's nuclear bunkers are much deeper than the old Cold War designs and I have no idea if there are broadcast studios within them. At least, no one has briefed me about them.

It's thoughts like that which make you realise your occuply a very lowly place in the BBC pecking order.

But not low enough.

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