[Ben Reeve Lewis is going on the telly on Wednesday …...]
I’ve been plagued with faceboko messages and texts this week by friends and associates commenting (usually with variations on ‘Your ugly mug’) about the Channel 5 advert dogging the evening schedules for the upcoming 6 part documentary featuring yours truly.
It starts on Wednesday at 9pm.
Spending Council tax payers money
What is worrying me already is that even though I speak for about half a second in the advert they have had to bleep out my bad language. Doesn’t bode well for six one hour documentaries if they have already had to resort to that.
This observational documentary (or ‘Obs Doc’ as they trendily refer to them in the business we call ‘Show’) follows environmental health in Peterborough plying their trade, Paul Shamplina from Landlord Action dealing with nightmare tenants and Lewisham Council dealing with crappy properties and rogue landlord behaviour.
So Newsround readers will actually be able to see what I have been doing these past few years with local council tax payer’s money, which if the bits and bobs I’ve seen of the obs doc are anything to go by, will essentially be me, swearing a lot and being sarcastic.
Celebs in the Foxtons case
Staying with my new show biz colleagues I read with interest that TV presenters John Stapleton and Lynn Faulds-Wood are actually disgruntled Foxtons landlords adding some interesting weight behind solicitor Leigh-Day’s proposed class action that I mentioned last week.
Speaking to the Mail on Sunday Faulds-Wood said her and granite jawed hubby felt “Cheated” by the revelations that Foxtons are ‘Allegedely’ creating spurious charges.
The article also reports on the content of some emails sent by the couple to Foxtons that mirror the experiences of the business competition professor who kicked the whole thing off:
“As you know our man resolved this problem for less than £400. Your recommended plumbers were proposing a charge of more than four times that and that didn’t include re-decoration. – [It] has merely confirmed my belief that there is something worrying about the relationship between Foxtons and their favoured contractors.”
If there are two more perfect people on the planet to really get this to go viral then two presenters of BBC’s flagship “Watchdog” programme must surely be them.
Definitely a story to watch unfold……..with a bucket of popcorn.
Not fair for landlords
The RLA’s Alan Ward has been climbing out of his pram sporting boxing gloves this week accusing government of discriminating against landlords by creating a Universal Credit helpline for social housing folk with tenants in difficulty that isn’t available to PRS landlords.
Alan hopefully offers:
“We are calling on the government to recognise the damage they may be doing to the choices available to tenants on benefit and end the discrimination against the private rented sector.”
Choices? I have a client getting £73 per week, out of which he has to pay bills and buy food. Let’s not play into government language that Universal Credit promotes choice.
The RLA’s push on this lacks the potential of becoming an interesting fire storm in the way that Foxton’s Schadenfreude-fest looks set to be.
Give it up Alan, you have better things to do with your time I’m sure.
Well deserved honours?
Its honours time again folks. Great to hear Van Morrison is to be ‘Sir Van Morrison’ of mumbling grump land and even happier to hear that Eric Pickles is also to be knighted for services to……well what exactly?….oh I know, Being Cameron’s feckless crony. He certainly ain’t deserving of it for his role in the housing crisis.
A fact ably picked up by Hannah Fearn in the Guardian who lists his ‘Achievements’.
“The former communities secretary has been involved in the rewriting of planning policy, the guidelines of which are so scant that housebuilders can sidestep their responsibilities to build social housing or contribute from their profits to help councils or housing associations”
“Almost10,000 new homes went unbuilt in the run up to the general election thanks to this one man alone.”
“Pickles protected the green belt at all costs, with little consideration for the human and environmental impact of allowing so many of the population to remain badly housed.”
While Cameron said of his chum:
“You have helped lay the ground for us to continue with these reforms in the years to come, helping more people onto the housing ladder with the security that home ownership brings.”
As usual knighthoods are a hypocritical comedy festival, while truly worthy people get OBEs for charity work, cigar chomping, champagne swilling tosspots get the big one.
An accommodation opportunity
Thanks to my mate Ruby Soho for pointing me in the direction of this ‘Sign o’ the times’ little gem titled “London rental opportunity of the week: Sleep on a single bed in someone’s kitchen”
Yes, it’s the good folk of Vice.com reporting on an advert from the flatshare section of Spareroom.com where just such a salubrious des res was genuinely advertised for £400 a month.
Spare room has taken the ad down now (either that or somebody took up the bloody offer) but the details were:
“PLEASE notice is not a room,”
“Is a single bed in shared kitchen, you can use your own entrance from the garden, if you wish.”
I’m writing this having just spent the day raiding 4 properties where we found in total nearly 40 people in residence, 3 or 4 to a room so the ad doesn’t surprise me, just increases my resolve to leave this insane, overpriced city of my birth sometime next year.
A slur on Jessica?
Storm in a teacup award of the week goes to UK-Eurosport for trying to fan the flames of a non event, whereby the Jessica Ennis stand at Bramall Lane, home of Sheffield Utd and Jessica’s home town has been re-named the Redbrik Estate Agency stand.
The story is floated as if it is a slur on the name of the well known Olympian while Jessica herself says of it:
“I completely understand the need for Sheffield United to recognise the valuable contributions of its sponsors and want to wish the club and the team all the best for the forthcoming season”.
So whats the point?
I can remember when Hammersmith Odeon was just that. Before it became “Hammersmith Labaats Apollo” or whatever the hell it is now. Everything has a sponsor these days, including Ms Ennis-Hill who had “Sainsbury” written on her top when she won the gold medal. Probably why she was so phlegmatic about it.
I used to play right back for a local pub team in Deptford. We bought a strip that had been used for an episode of the old ‘Comic strip Presents’ programmes with the name “Knob Wear” written on the front. I was the only member of the team who didn’t pick his off and proudly wheezed up the wing of a Sunday morning honouring my sponsor.
What made me smile this week
Walking our mental cocker spaniel in Nunhead cemetery while a conservation guide was explaining to a small group about the importance of the fenced in pond which was breeding some endangered newts only to have Hector find a gap in the fence and dive in, creating merry hell among plants and fish while the horrified group looked on open mouthed.
Cringingly embarrassing at first but once I was out of sight it took me 20 minutes to stop laughing, while the pondweed encrusted cocker couldn’t see what the fuss was about.
See ya next week