17/11/2017

Older Workers Need Jobs Too

Nearly 4 in 10 unemployed older workers have not had a job for more than a year. It looks like evidence to suggest older workers find it hard to get a job once they are out of work.

That would be OK if it wasn't for the fact that on any other day the news will say we're heading towards a pension crisis and no one will ever get to retire. Prince Philip didn't get to retire till he was 96 and his missus is minted.

If our economy is only going to work if people keep working into their old age we need an economy where people who are in their old age can get a job.

The Centre for Ageing Better (sounds like a job title in W1A, I admit) say that 3.3 million older workers are not in work for one reason or another.

That's such a waste of capacity. OK, some jobs will be age dependent. If you're trapped in your house, call the emergency services and you see a mobility scooter turn up you might be miffed but there's a lot of skills going untapped.

And with some people saying Brexit means some low skilled jobs are struggling to attract applicants from the EU, and the fact there was a statistical link between age and the odds you'd vote for Brexit, put your money where your mouth is and pick some fruit next year.

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16/11/2017

Diners Get Discount For Not Using Their Phone

There is a chain of restaurants that are running a promotion where you get money off your meal if you lock up your mobile phone and don't use it all evening.

You put it in a sealed envelope and if you can resist it for the whole meal you get 10% off.

At first I thought, “How bad is this restaurant that they need to keep you away from TripAdvisor that much?”

And then I thought, “Good, it's nice that people engage with each other.” A manager said, “In today's society everyone is constantly on their phone so we want to get people talking again.”

Do you realise what you've done? You're forcing couples who have been together for years to have to talk. Are you sponsored by a divorce lawyer? People will work out that they have nothing to say.

It's a common theme these days they people say we spend too much time on our phones, and maybe some people do, but there's nothing wrong with checking Twitter while you're other half nips to the loo or posting a pic of the meal you're about to have.

And without a phone and conversation that includes, “What was the name of that actor from that film with the aliens?” can lead to a full-blown row that a simple Googling would have solved.

I think the “phones bad”, “nature good” trope is too simplistic. They won't be happy will we're all sat in a field doing nothing and not noticing that the GDP is crashing because we can't get news alerts.

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15/11/2017

Black Friday Starts Early

Some shops began their Black Friday sales already. It's something we imported from America, the idea of Black Friday sales. We had Black Wednesday in the UK before but that was only in 1992 when we crashed out of the ERM, the European Exchange Rate Mechanism – like a mini-Brexit if you will.

This year it's on November the 24th but already shops are starting the Black Friday sales. How can anything with word Friday in it be longer than a day. Is this a Robinson Crusoe thing?

While there's something about elongating the sales that bothers me, over the last few years there has been an interesting effect. Two years ago the sales were mainly on the day and people were arrested, people got punched in the queues, people waited up all night, all to get 50-quid off a telly. If you said me to me, “I want you to get no sleep and slap that granny, and I'll pay you £50 to do it.”

I'd say, “No way. I charge more than that.”

Last year the sales were spread out and there weren't as many people queuing, fighting and slapping OAPs.

The end game for this is an all year sale, when basically no one gets hurts and the price is just lowered and stays there. Nah, it'll never happen.

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[Newspaper Column] Humans V Dogs

Each week the Romford Recorder and Ilford Recorder have the Steve N Allen column. If you're around East London and West Essex you can buy the newspaper every Thursday/Friday, or follow @mrstevenallen to see the columns on Twitter. You can also read the archive of past ones, which can be found here.



You can click the image to zoom in on the paper, or read the column below.


I like to keep my eye across scientific breakthrough because I am sure it makes me fun to be near during dinner parties, even though the invites seem to have dried up.

The trouble is science often comes out with headlines that are totally obvious. The latest research I think we could have guessed showed that people have more sympathy to dogs than humans.

In the experiment the researchers made an advert saying, "Would you give £5 to save Harrison from a slow, painful death?"

You see that ad and say, "I don't think the last Star Wars film was that bad."

But look a little closer and in some ads Harrison was a human child and in others he was a puppy. We humans have gave more for the dog than the homo sapiens.

Surely no one is surprised by that. If there's a dog on a train everyone stops what they're doing to look and enjoy it trying to not fall over. If there's a child on public transport in go the earphones to block the annoying cries.

People go online to look at pictures of dogs. Meanwhile people change their Facebook settings to hide that they're online so they don't have to look at their friends photos of their newborns.

I've met dogs and I have met humans and more humans have been a disappointment.

OK, sometimes if feels like a dog is only with you for the free meals but I've had relationships like that too. At least the canine doesn't argue, and if it does it doesn't make everything about it.

But most of all, we trust dogs more because dogs would never make up an appeal about some fictional character called Harrison just so it could see how we react.

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Friday Night Promo

The SomeNews project has been running since 2011. Since then it's been a website to cover the news, an app, then came audio clips as part of the coverage.

A podcast was the next step, in its original form it ran for around three years. While that was happening the SomeNews live show was put on at a selection of comedy festivals across the UK and then it became a regular comedy night in London.

SomeNews then became a live radio show on FUBAR radio where each week we'd chat through the news stories with guest comedians.

The audio clips and podcast format was than used on BBC radio as sketches covering the days news. And the latest evolution of that has been the Friday night show where the week's news is wrapped up as we say goodbye to the week.

That show has now become a BBC podcast that you can get for free. Here's the promo that goes out on air...



Subscribe to the Steve N Allen podcast here and get the latest topical review of the news to listen to every week.

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Drivers Should Have Eye Tests

Experts are saying drivers should have eye tests every ten years.

This is one of those stories where it makes sense to most people who hear it but then most people wouldn't like it if they brought it in as a law. Most people are hypocrites. We have a strange attitude to driving, like it's a right.

I remember when I learned to drive, on the the walk from the test centre to the car the examiner said, “Can you read that car number plate?”

And I mustered every inch of strength in me not to say, “What car?!”

But it's hardly an exact test. If you are a fast walker and a slow talker by the time you answer the question you're ten feet nearer. And you could always memorise all the car number plates on your walk to the test centre. It's a bit Derren Browny, and the examiner might thinks it's weird that you mumble your way through your mind palace, “There's a pensioner on drugs... erm EE65... being very rude with that boy band... EE65 5BJ!”

You have to have a standard of vision to be able to fly and these days planes can fly on instruments. A car is all about you being able to see things and not hit them. And the plot twist is, if you hit something that you don't see, you might die too. You'd think that would be sufficient incentive to get your vision sorted.

It's not an issue of independence like we hear when we discuss the retesting of older drivers, this is a situation that can be solved with glasses. Would people rather risk their lives than wear glasses?

I say that as a man who this year had lasers burn away the front of my eyes so I didn't have to wear glasses any more.

See, I'm a hypocrite too.
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10/11/2017

Podcast: Tax & Nutella

New podcast alert!

The Friday night show on BBC Radio Kent that reviews the week's news is now a podcast too. Edited highlights are packaged up into pod-form for you listening pleasure and it's free.

In this week's episode there's coverage of the Paradise Papers tax scandal, the changes to Nutella and Twitter, the latest celebrity news and the truth about Judi Dench.

Subscribe to the podcast now to get it free every week.




Download the mp3.

     | Subscribe with iTunes | Subscribe via RSS feed |



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08/11/2017

Nutella's Changed

There has been a lot of shocking news lately. We heard that rich people aren't paying tax, the essential money used to fund parliament, which is where we keep our sleazes.

Twitter changed its limit to 280 characters which means war with North Korea just got twice as close.

In the face of all that news there is one story they got listeners to my afternoon show really angry. Nutella has changed its recipe.

Firstly, the word recipe seems a bit of a stretch. Surely it's a list of things that get mixed together. That's like me calling a bowl of Rice Krispies, UHT milk and apathy my recipe I try most nights.

For those who don't know Nutella is a chocolate and hazelnut spread. So which ingredients have changed? The powdered milk and sugar. They increased the amounts of those last items, which is surprising as I can't imagine anyone has ever tasted something and said, "Hmm, needs more powdered milk."

Some people are big Nutella fans, and if you eat a lot of Nutella it's not a shock that you're big. They may have noticed that by increasing the amounts of the two cheaper ingredients you're actually getting less of the expensive ones.

First came inflation where items got more expensive, then came shrinkflation where items got smaller for the same price so we didn't notice we were paying more. And now there's this, ingredientflation where the recipe changes to make it cheaper to make yet it sells for the same price.

You know that scene in Oliver where he asks for more gruel? If the gruel was put in an oversized box labelled new improved recipe gruel, that would be a prediction of what shopping will be like in ten years. Only Oliver was bright enough to ask for more.


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05/11/2017

Dogs v Humans

I like to keep my eye across scientific breakthrough because I am sure it makes me fun to be near during dinner parties, even though the invites seem to have dried up.

The trouble is science often comes out with headlines that are totally obvious. The latest research I think we could have guessed showed that people have more sympathy to dogs than humans.

In the experiment the researchers made an advert saying, "Would you give £5 to save Harrison from a slow, painful death?"

You see that ad and say, "I don't think the last Star Wars film was that bad."

But look a little closer and in some ads Harrison was a human child and in others he was a puppy. We humans have gave more for the dog than the homosapien.

Surely no one is surprised by that. If there's a dog on a train everyone stops what they're doing to look and enjoy it trying to not fall over. If there's a child on public transport in go the earphones to block the annoying cries.

People go online to look at pictures of dogs. Meanwhile people change their Facebook settings to hide that they're online so they don't have to look at their friends photos of their newborns.

I've met dogs and I have met humans and more humans have been a disappointment.

OK, sometimes if feels like a dog is only with you for the free meals but I've had relationships like that too. At least the canine doesn't argue, and if it does it doesn't make everything about it.

But most of all, we trust dogs more because dogs would never make up an appeal about some fictional character called Harrison just so it could see how we react.


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04/11/2017

The Right Burger Emoji

Google is a massive company so when its CEO promises to "drop everything" to address a problem you know it must be a serious issue.

They make the Chrome browser so one's mind goes to the doomsday scenario, "Can people see my Internet history?!"

It turns out the issue they are having to deal with is about an emoji.

If you don't know what an emoji is, it's a small image that you can text to send to someone to explain what you mean. In the recent batch of new emojis there is one for a burger. I don't know why you need that. If the person you're texting doesn't know what the word burger means I'm not sure they'll get the rest of your text.

Apple's burger emoji goes as follows, base bun, lettuce, burger, cheese, tomato and top bun. Google's emoji goes base bun, cheese, burger, tomato, lettuce and top bun.

I can't believe people care about such a small detail. Don't have better things to do with out time?

Having said that Google got it totally wrong. The cheese should always go on top of the burger so it melts over it.

But Apple puts the lettuce on the bottom bun. So all the fat from the burger doesn't seep into the bread it gets caught in the grooves of the lettuce so when you go to eat it the juices run right onto your shirt.

I put forward this solution. Bottom bun, burger, cheese, lettuce, tomato and then top bun. The lettuce keeps the tomato juice off the cheese but it can soak into the upper bread. Sorted.

So now the resources of Google have been focussed on sorting out this problem. They'd got themselves in a right pickle.

But where does the pickle go? We'll have to start all over again.


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07/09/2017

Should We Laugh At Kim Jong-un

I have noticed something as I have been performing stand-up in various clubs across the UK. We are starting to feel awkward laughing about Kim Jong-un.

Two years ago we all loved a bit of Kim Jong-un material. There was so much to enjoy. He is a man who forces everyone in the nation he controls to have a picture of him on their walls, like how Tom on MySpace forced you to have him as a friend.

He is referred to as their supreme leader probably because he loved pizza. He certainly has that look.

There was a news story that said he was addicted to cheese and that's why he gained all the weight. That's a hard addiction to break. They do patches. Well, they're Dairylea slices but they work the same.

Since testing a hydrogen bomb people seem to be taking him more seriously but for someone who wants to be taken seriously so much ridicule is one of our weapons against him.

The British spirit is made in part from our humour. During World War II we didn't stop mocking then so why stop now?

And there is much to mock. His official job title is "Chairman of the Workers' Party of Korea". That's like Jacob Rees-Mogg being in charge of a trade union.

The country is called the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, which is a great title apart from the fact it's not democratic, it's not a republic and it doesn't seem to be for the people, but the Korea bit is spot on.

Don't forget all their nuclear bomb tests have happened on their own soil. They have bombed themselves so much we're 7-nil up.

It is true that this story could take some nasty turns but we shouldn't lose our natural urge to mock when we see something deserving.


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17/08/2017

Secret Waves [Podcast]

In this show we talked about that moment when you wave at a stranger and the circumstances that make it happen, with science helping to find if West Ham supporters are better than dog walkers at it.

Here is the podcast of it for you to download/listen. (Originally broadcast on Thursday 10th of August 2017.)




Download the mp3.

     | Subscribe with iTunes | Subscribe via RSS feed | | |

Get the info on how to listen to the show live here.

To find more radio show minipodcasts see here.
All past episodes can be found in the radio podcast archive.
And if you enjoyed that check out the SomeNews Topical Podcast.



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30/07/2017

The New BBC Podcast

Here's an update, the radio show I do on BBC Radio Kent is now being turned into a podcast. If you'd like to have a listen, it's below.

In this episode we talk about Donald Trump, town v country, and what happens if you are dating called Wayne.

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