103.2 Power FM

Most radio stations sound the same thesedays, to be honest that wasn’t really much different when I was a regular radio listener at the turn of the millennium but at least the studios were local and so were the hosts.

As I got into my teens, and therefore more interested in music, it was 103.2 Power FM that I tuned into. The music was the latest pop music. I’d generally have it on in the background while I went about whatever I was doing.

Better still I got to look around the studios when a friend arranged it. As well as getting to speak with the DJ if sister station Ocean FM in the studio in between links, thats the kind of memory that would excite anyone with even a passing interest in the media industry.

I was a regular listener for a good couple of years, even tuning in for the late evening show presented by a certain Jeremy Kyle, when he was known only as Jezza.

But as much as I was a regular listener at some stage I just stopped tuning in. I cant say for sure when that was but I reckon the advent of the internet and the ability to get music for free may have been connected to it.

Power FM today is gone, replaced by Capital Radio South Coast but other than the fact most of the shows are now beaming out of London little has changed in format. For me I have Spotify at my fingertips so a station playing the same songs on heavy rotation no longer appeals.

fTN

FTN which I want to say stood for the Flextech Television Network was an early Freeview Channel from back in the days when the platform was getting going after the collapse of ITV Digital.

The channel was made up mainly of programmes produxed for Flextech’s other channels (like Challenge, Bravo, Living) . In the early days the channel wasn’t really much cop and it only broadcast from 6pm until 6am.

Apart from Most Haunted which I confess I tuned into in the early days there wasn’t much great on the channel. At one point the channel started showing animations with series like Dilbert based on the comic strip and Bob and Margaret.

The later was originally a channel 4 series and was about the titular Bob and Margaret and their life, a British version of the Simpsons it wasn’t but the characters and the storyline were enough to draw me in.

Bob and Margaret don’t look happy to be on FTN

In the later years the channel started showing some of the more popular programmes (usually archive programmes) from Flextech’s channels with The Crystal Maze and the Krypton Factor standing out for me.

This was the point the channel improved. As I’d never had multi channels I’d not really had access to that kind of content and it was nice to relive programmes I hadn’t seen for many years.

As for FTN, Flextech became Virgin Media TV and so it was relaunched as Virgin 1 with a bit more of a budget and a sense of it being its own channel rather than a ‘shop window’. It was the same, but the world had moved on.

Belly’s gonna get you

The majority of my memories on here make me smile. Because who would want to reflect on the less pleasant memories anyway? Well today I am.

At the turn of the new millennium Rebok decided it would boost its sales with one of the most unpleasant adverts I have ever seen. The clue is in the title – Belly’s gonna get you.

Just some poor sod running as fast as he can away from a massive wobbling (and hairy) belly. Complete with belly button. The message is clear and as an advert I suppose it worked because I remember it and what it was advertising two decades on.

That doesn’t excuse its unpleasantness. At the time I was a teenager. Old enough not to be genuinely frightened by it but young enough to not really consider the belly getting me a massive issue.

I’m not a teenager anymore and I’d say that belly is creeping worryingly close to getting me – perhaps that’s why I find the advert so unsettling still, if not more so than I did twenty years ago.

The London bombings

It’s hard to think that it has been 15 years. 15 years ago I was going to London a lot. I had friends up there and was planning a move that way. On that day though I was closer to home.

I’d hope on a train for some shopping in Portsmouth and all seemed normal until I went past the shop window of Dixons and the breaking news was streaming on the screens.

I decided to hope back on a train home, which was just as well because for a while there were no trains anywhere. Once home I switched on the TV, hopped on the computer and watched the whole thing unfold before my eyes.

It was horrible to see and naturally my first thoughts were for friends and family in London who might be caught up but there was also a sense that this day was always going to come.

Ever since the terror attacks in New York we knew London would be on the radar but that didn’t stop it being any less tragic or shocking.

Almost immediately defiant images from all over London started to pop up stating ‘we are not afraid’ and I took that stance I was back in London a week later and on those same tube lines.

My first mobile phone

We all have phones in our pockets thesedays, I’m typing this into my phone right now. But we all have to start somewhere and my phone as you can see above, was a brick.

It was also splashed with Coca-Cola because it was a free giveaway when you collected 60 ring pulls or tokens. The thing is I wasn’t drinking that much coke back then so I’m not sure who was but either way it was my first phone

The shiny silver panel did look cook but you couldn’t really hide the fact that the phone was chunky. It did calls and it did texts and came with a one2one pay as you go phone sim.

Big box. Big phone.

At the time I didnt know that many people with a phone so it didn’t get used that much and in truth I probably didn’t really need a mobile phone at all.

The best feature was the Coca-Cola ringtone which matched the advertising of the time but typically for a phone of that time it soon got annoying

This weird series of Heineken adverts

I don’t think these adverts will be as well remembered as they should be. The first of the series featured Paul Daniels and Debbie McGee singing (terribly) the Carpenters song Close to You.

The idea of the adverts were that Heineken were putting out something deliberately terrible until sales of the lager went up.

The ads continued introducing other ‘celebrities’ like Vanessa Feltz, Peter Stringfellow and Jimmy Hill in various cringe inducing scenes. Sadly they also featured a different Jimmy…

Vanessa Feltz might possibly have been the least offensive appearance.

I’m not sure why these adverts stick in my mind so much possibly because they were terrible. Probably because there were a bunch of well known and seemingly random faces and as the series went on you didn’t know who you’d get next.

Look out Jimmy there’s a Lion behind you

The campaign concluded with ‘sales’ reaching a satisfactory number and Heineken letting the lions loose.

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