Notts TV … a first …

Last Friday Notts TV had a ‘first’. They had four people on the sofa for the 6.30pm show!


I was one of them. The 6.30 show is the Nottingham equivalent of the ‘One Show’. Topical, fast-moving and relatively light-hearted. I really enjoyed the experience. Becky Shearan was the presenter. We had a dad and son who collected Panini stickers – if only I could find my 1970 Mexico set – they are probably worth £5,000! Then there was a Michelle Obama lookalike – she really was a doppelgänger!

The time flew by – 30 minutes isn’t long!

I was fascinated by the whole process. I have done lots of radio in the past and have had my teeny bit of fame on the Six O’Clock news when the Mayoral debate was going on. But this was different – this was live TV in a new studio – based at Nottingham Trent University. The tech-toys are amazing!

I came away with a number of observations..

1. You need quite a bit of kit – the studio is filled with cameras. auto-cues, wiring and technology…
2. There are lots of people involved in a single show!
3. Presenting is not easy – I always found it hard when someone is talking in your ear! But there are visual cues too…Becky was cool under a lot of pressure!

I thought that the production really was professional and this is a great thing for Nottingham.

I don’t know the viewing figures – most of my friends remind me that I have a face for Radio – and that the figures would have dropped through the floor when I was on. They are just jealous…

Notts TV is on Channel 8 or Virgin 159 – in this neck of the woods.

Nottingham – city of rebels (still)

That cute little kid Macauly Culkin (remember him in Home Alone?) popped into our fair City at the weekend.


Actually it was him with his band, the Pizza Underground. He’s trying to forge a music career. The only problem is that Nottingham is now a serious hotbed of musical talent and we Nottingham folks have a high threshold on quality. Culkin clearly hadn’t been told. He ‘played’ our world famous Rock City. A hallowed turf where the likes of Bowie, Nirvana, Oasis and Blur have trodden the boards.

This new band are apparently pushing a comedy set – taking well known hits and replacing key words with pizza references. It does sound crap and he was found out very early. I’m not sure I would pay!

After wrecking Lou Reeds Perfect Day with ‘Perfect Pizza’. it went horribly wrong. The crowd evidently didn’t feel that booing him was enough – so soaked him in beer…

He lasted just 15 minutes.

People were ejected as the organisers would have to do. And the organisers made a statement about a few people ruining the set.

It seems that Nottingham retains its crown of City of Rebels…

(Obviously I do not condone the sort of behaviour witnessed)

The dawn of a new era in broadcasting – Notts TV is born…

I can remember being in a meeting at Antenna some time ago when Confetti Media Group were thinking about bidding for a Nottinghamshire based TV franchise. It all seemed really exciting.


Notts TV was then won, not once but twice, by Confetti in conjunction with NTU and the Nottingham Post. In the last 198 months a lot of hard work has gone into the planning of the new station. And today it launches on Channel 8.

This is brilliant opportunity for Nottingham. It gives us a local TV station which will be driven purely by local stories. Being independent it doesn’t have the shackles of the BBC. It also gives many young people the opportunity to work in TV – something that has traditionally been hard to achieve unless you can get into the mainstream broadcasters – and those opportunities are few and far between.

This TV franchise sits cleverly with the Nottingham Post (who gather news) and with the broadcasting course of NTU. In addition is is seated firmly in the heart of the Creative Quarter where Confetti’s headquarters are. Many young people will get an opportunity to work in a real life TV station.

I think this is brilliant and fits so many local agenda’s. Local stories and local talent will make this a success.

I’m off tonight to the launch party and can’t wait to see what the new station has in store for us…

The habit has been broken…

Last year as we wandered towards summer I was looking forward the my 10th Isle of Wight Festival. The Boomtown Rats were a highlight as you probably know if you hang out here. They were brilliant.


But this year my annual trip to the Island won’t be happening.

It’s all about the music. The line up is I think as weak as I’ve seen. This is a festival at which I’ve seen Bowie, The Rolling Stones, The Killers, The Police, The WHO, R.E.M, Paul McArtney, Neil Young (who was crap), Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen. Quality acts.

But this year – Biffy Clyro, Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Kings Of Leon are headline acts. I’ve seen them all. And whilst they are ‘ok’ I can’t say I would rush to see any of them.

The only band worth seeing are The Specials and The Selector (who are relegated to graveyard spot). I last saw both of them in 1979 at The Kimberley Leisure Centre as part of a bill with another small band from the time – Madness…

I’m going to miss the tent and the whole ‘not washing’ experience. But my back to nature expedition is on hold this year. I’m going to have to settle for Splendour at Wollaton Park. Good reasons for this – it’s a mile from home so the tent stays firmly down. Oh – and Geldof and the Boomtown Rats are coming. Result. Who needs the Isle of Wight?

The MIPIM 2014 round up….

MIPIM 2014 finished last week and I think it was one of the best shows yet. Nottingham City Council stepped back up the plate after three years of private sector sponsorship. We still sponsored the event; but the City put money in too.

If you follow the blog you will know that we elected for a theme about ‘talented Nottingham’ which has a number of levels. Firstly the amount of raw talent in the city and the growing Creative Quarter. But secondly that when people come to city to invest (possibly by opening an office) they look at the physical assets and the pool of talent in the workforce.

We wanted something to convey the talent – which set us apart from the crowd. We had three things – a 3D App, a CD of Notts music and a film. The film is below.

I think the film is brilliant – I wasn’t sure if the City would buy into it – but they did.

What do you think?

A sense of nostalgia

On Friday night last I stepped back into the studios of Nottingham Hospitals Radio for the first time in about 24 years! This was place I had spent 11 years of my life at. I, along with my wife (and some of our best friends) worked as volunteers at the station.


Those days are apparently regarded as the golden years by many people.

Although the Station was run on a voluntary basis the ‘output’ was far from amateur. In fact, some of the presenters from that era have gone on to make successful professional careers in both radio and TV. Not me obviously! But the discipline of radio didn’t do me any harm – and I can occasionally dig out the interview techniques.

This year Nottingham Hospitals Radio will celebrate it’s 40th Birthday. We are all getting together at the end of March at Wollaton Hall. People are digging out some amazing photographs and momento’s. I have found some cassettes of ‘log tapes’. I just need somewhere to play them!

So on Friday last I was invited to be a guest on Rajiv’s Friday show. This was as part of the celebrations. But it was a different invite as my son Jak flirted with the station for about a year, so there were two generations of Garratt on the radio.

I really enjoyed getting back in the studio – I had forgotten how much fun radio presenting is. We cantered through two hours talking all manner of things – music, travel, Nottingham and memories from those formative years. There was also a moment of self indulgence – being permitted three songs. That didn’t take long to choose – Bowie – Young Americans. Squeeze – Pulling Mussels and BareNakedLadies – Brian Wilson.

It was great fun, NHR still struggles to survive – especially I suspect against a backdrop of much more choice for people. But they do offer a great service to people in Nottingham.

By Tim Garratt Posted in Music, Nottingham Tagged 40th birthday, Jak Garratt, NHR, Nottingham Hospitals Radio, presenter, QMC, Tim Garratt

Bad news good news …

For reasons which will become apparent I attempted to switch our flight out of Toronto back to New York earlier in the week. However, the change was going to cost twice as much as I paid for a return ticket. The girl couldn’t explain it. I didn’t bother.


But then the weather took a turn for the worse and suddenly Air Canada were cancelling flights out of Toronto. In doing so they were offering anyone with a ticket the chance to change flights! As the forecast was for worsening weather we decided to change our 7.15pm flight to a lunchtime 12.15 one.

The bad news was that this gave us a lot less time in Toronto. Especially when the show overnight hit the 6″ mark! We dutifully set off for the airport. It was as bad weather as I have witnessed – but this is Canada and they are not about stop for some light flurries. They dug our plane out and we managed to get underway – nearly three hours late. We were de-iced so as not to crash.

So that was all of the bad news – apart from the re-defining of moderate turbulence by the Captain – I presume heavy turbulence is when the wings are ripped off! A girls was literally thrown off her feet.

The good news was we were back in NYC for another gig. And if you thought the post about Barenaked Ladies was bad – how do you explain to your mum that you have actually seen Pussy Riot. They were guest of honour at the Amnesty International “Human Rights Home” concert in Brooklyn. I should make it clear they didn’t play – but rather spoke out against the oppression in Putin’s Government. Feisty young ladies and a credit to all ‘frondeuse‘ on the planet.

But the concert was also peppered with celebrities – Madonna, Susan Sarandon, The Fray, Blondie, The Flaming Lips, Imagine Dragons and for the third time in less than 12 months Bob Geldof! Geldof played at the ‘Secret Policemans Other Ball’ concert in 1981 – singing “Mondays’ – he did the same last night.

Stars of the show? Imagine Dragons by a long chalk. So every cloud?

By Tim Garratt Posted in Music, Travel Tagged Amnesty International, Blondie, , Brooklyn, Concert, Imagine Dragons, Madonna, , Pussy Riot

Barenaked Ladies – live!

So this has very little to do with the Nottingham Business plan – although I have had some ‘adult’ comments that make me wonder whether some people have never heard of this Canadian super-group.


Although the band have had limited success commercially in the UK, they are still huge in Canada and North America. I have seen them quite a few times but not away from the UK. This week I saw them in Canada.

Rock City in Nottingham was the last time I saw them – that’s around 3,500 miles away from the General Motors Center at Oshawa – a small town 60km from Toronto and quite a drive for us – as we had been at Niagra Falls earlier in the day. In fact we spent 8 hours in the car and covered 365 miles…

But it was well worth it. This band are really multi-talented musicians. They have a back catalogue going back 25 years – and a new album. Like most bands they need to play some new stuff – I guess to keep them from being bored! So play some new stuff they did including the theme from The Big Bang Theory. But they are also the master of the ad-lib – making songs up on the fly! They are true entertainers.

But they also managed a three song ‘mini-set’ which sums them up – One Week, If I Had A Million Dollars and Brian Wilson. The latter makes number two in my top ten songs of all time.

A great band – superb live and a song which is just sublime. I’ll try and update the video of Brian Wilson when I get a decent internet connection!

By Tim Garratt Posted in Music, Nottingham Tagged Barenaked Ladies, Brian Wilson, Canada, Live, Oshawa, tour

Nottingham – the market insite

At this time of year my firm publish the review of the previous year and compare it going back over five years. I have had to get up early each morning – for some reason those who do PR think is amusing to see me like a bear with a sore head. I don’t do mornings. But I did this week. Thrice.


Nottingham’s event was at the brilliant Nottingham Conference Centre – and it was a full house!

Some of the headlines:

* The general market is picking up
* Nottingham Offices are down – probably as a result of the WPL and current traffic nightmare
* Investments are steaming ahead

David Frankish from the CBI East Midlands was one of the first guest speakers and pulled no punches. The East Midlands has done ok, but only ok. There is room for improvement. He accepted that London was a world powerhouse but our region had the ingredients for potential growth. We need to grasp it. We have low inflation, jobless numbers are falling and Gross Value Added is predicted to increase.

Ian Curryer, Chief Executive of Nottingham City Council was next and started with an apology. An acknowledgement that Nottingham had, in the past, missed opportunities. Also that the current £750m of infrastructure was causing short-term issues for moving around, but that the end result would be worth it. Ian was convinced that Nottingham was now ready to take things forward and was positive and optimistic about the future.

The general consensus in the room was one of positivity. Even Robert Hartley our MD suggested that “we never had it so good’ – although I am convinced there were a few gasps at that suggestion.

We perhaps have turned the corner. But I think we need to get a head of steam to push us through the election cycle that is going to hit us in just over one years time?

Nottingham – great stuff #3

Rock City. Period.


Although it isn’t the biggest venue on the planet – it still attracts some of the best live music in the UK. It seems that the artists from around the world see this as a must-do gig.

I saw Bowie there in 1997 – on his Earthing tour. But I have also seen some other favourites – Squeeze, Stranglers and last year The Boomtown Rats. The place isn’t intended to be a 4* hotel bar. It is grungy. The ceiling is stained with beer (or at least I assume it is beer). The carpets are ground into the floor boards. The music is embedded in the walls. Decorations are minimal.

The first band to play there were The Undertones, led by Feargal Sharkey, finishing the first ever Rock City gig with a rendition of Teenage Kicks – officially the best song ever according to the late John Peel. The lyrics are even on his gravestone!

It suited the punk revolution – it is slightly subversive and edgy.

I’m not sure what else it is that makes this place so important – perhaps it’s the intimacy. The stairs provide a slightly different view. The mixing desk is surrounded by fans – if you’re nice they may even drop you the setlist!It is loud – and hot. ‘Red Stripe‘ is the beverage of choice – in a tinny of course.

It is a key part of the Nottingham story and I guess fits at the end of the ‘creative’ element – the pinnacle of a career creating musical stuff can be found here.

Deserves a place in Nottingham’s collective heart!