15/01/2018

[Newspaper Column] Dartford Rip-Off

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.

When I heard that the toll at the Severn bridges are to be scrapped at the end of the year I got excited t that the same might happen at Dartford. Sadly we heard there are no plans to scrap the Dartford toll.

When the charge was brought in they said it would be scrapped when then new bridge was paid for but the reneged on that.

We're so used to it when it's about a large bridge but think of it like this. You hired a builder to build you an extension. You set up a direct debit to pay for it. When you have paid for the work the builder says, "Actually, we're going to keep charging you?"

When asked to explain why tolls on the Dartford Crossing remain a Government spokesperson said that the charges at Dartford have not increased in more than three years.

"Dear builder, why are you still taking money out of my account for the extension even though it's paid off?"

"Erm, well, we haven't started taking more out, so shut it."

You would get upset and the builder would say, "Don't worry, we'll be using your money to help build a Lower Thames extension a few doors down."

Remember when the Pope said to Donald Trump we shouldn't be building walls we should be building bridge? Don't fall for it. You'll be paying that off forever.

This is a reminder that we're just cash cows. Why do we put up with it? We wouldn't in the case of a builder. We'd take them to court or call in Dominic Littlewood.

I would write letters to my member of parliament about it but I don't have the time. I spend most of my day queuing for a certain bridge.

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13/01/2018

Podcast ep16: Plastics and Gender Pay Gap

Poddytime!

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, episode 16, I get paid more because I am a man, I spend that money on cauliflower steaks because I'm not smart, and we find out that Trump is the smarterest of all the smarts.

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




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07/01/2018

[Newspaper Column] Train Prices

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.

New year, new me. This year I am going to be less of the grumpy man I had become. I plane to find the positive in things, see the glass as half full. Or totally empty as it's dry January.

It can be hard to find the positive spin on things but I think it is worth the effort.

The New Year also means new prices for train tickets, with an average increase of 3.4 percent. It isn't easy to feel positive about paying more for something that is exactly the same as last year.

An increase of 3.4 percent in the ticket price would be easier to stomach if the trains were 3.4 percent less late or 3.4 percent longer. If the armpit of the person you find yourself wedges into was 3.4 percent fresher it would be OK.

I think we're in the best place to feel positive about this though. While other areas see little improvement we got to use the new Elizabeth Line trains. They seem clean, they look great, they have displays that give us extra information and also mean at least 3.4 percent fewer people will ask you, "Is this train for Stratford?" while struggling to lift their suitcase.

There are no connecting carriage doors so your extra 3.4 percent cost means you can enjoy the smell of the food being eaten on the entire train.

Or course the following years we won't have new trains to keep ourselves distracted and I am sure the fares will continue to go up above inflation in 2019 and 2020.

So the grumpiness I normally have hasn't gone it is simply delayed, and these days you'd pay 3.4 percent more for something like that.

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06/01/2018

Podcast ep15: Trump's Button and Supermoons

And the fresh new podcast is out.

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, episode 15 by any other name, we look at who has the bigger button, Kim Jong-un or Donald Trump, spoiler alert: It's neither of them. They don't have buttons. We also look at the supermoon and what to do if you live in Bell End.

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




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[Newspaper Column] Dirty Office

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 saw a headline to a science story this week asking, "What's the dirtiest thing in your office?"

Like most people I thought, "Alex in accounts." There's someone who'll claim they tell their passwords to their interns as a preemptive excuse.

It turns out the story was about research looking at the office items that are covered in germs. In the past we have seen stories saying keyboards are covered in bacteria but the dirtiest thing in the office wasn't on your desk, which is a shame. If no one else uses your computer the keyboard germs are all your own and no one minds their own brand.

The grossest thing was the box of teabags. Workplace teabags have 17 times more bacteria than a ­toilet seat.

That may be so but if someone makes me a cup of tea at work and they use the toilet seat I will get them fired.

To be fair, they always compare the levels of bacteria on things to those on a toilet and it looks bad because people bleech the toilet. If you did that to the teabags you'd reduce the bacteria but you'd ruin the tea.

Other items on the list of germ-covered office goods include the kettle handle, mugs, the fridge door handle and the kitchen tap. This is the perfect news for anyone who is sick of having to make tea for people at work. Show them this column and tell them you want to keep them healthy.

The issue I have with this story is that, as a freelance presenter, you pick up extra work when people are off. So if you work in a radio station, have an extra cup. Then call me when you're feeling rough.

I'll be free to cover any show just as long as you keep Alex from accounts away from me.

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The Final Goodbye to 2017

Just finishing up the paperwork for 2017, looking at the tax forms, etc. It seems like a good time to get this up online for future reference.

A Mini Review of 2017

What a year it has been.

Doctor Who

The year when we heard that Doctor Who would be a woman. We were told they'd announce the new Doctor at the end of the Wimbledon final. I got confused and thought it was Roger Federer, which I was not happy about. The last time there was a Doctor in sportsware it was Peter Davidson, and look what happened there.

Some people were upset that the Doctor is now a woman, but it's the same people who read the Express and get angry that everyone is going gender neutral these days, so you'd think they'd be happy.

Even that fish on Blue Planet changed gender, so it's very 2017.

Election

Theresa May called a general election, sure that we'd strengthen her hand. It was like the political version of those YouTube clips where someone is so sure they can make the skateboard jump and end up cushioning their fall onto the railings with their intimates.

The election made Jeremy Corbyn a rockstar at Glastonbury, her performed on the folk stage. Old guy, well off, talks about helping the poor and performs at music festivals, Bono we don't need you anymore!

Trump

What a year for Trump news. In January he played golf. In February he played a lot of golf, in March, golf time. In April... well...

Best bit of Trump news was the video of Melania smacking his hand away when he reached out for her. Of course Sean Spicer said what the video didn't show is that just before Mr Trump had said, "Gimme some skin!"

At least Theresa May didn't smack his hand away when he grabber her. Still, she probably thought, "It's just the hand, it could have been worse."

Pie News

Greggs said it would start deliveries this year. Great news because walking into the shop really was burning off too many calories, so having food like that brought right to your door would really help us. Clever marketing plan, you offer that service till people get so big their can't fit through the front door and then they HAVE to order your deliveries. Smart.

The Sutton United Roly Poly Goalie lost his job in #PieGate. In his defence he said it wasn't a pie it was a pasty. The scandal was because there was a bet on if he'd eat a pasty or not and he did. It was effectively spot bet fixing. But come on, did you see him. It was so likely he'd eat a pasty at some point there couldn't have been good odds on that one.

You'd just get your stake back, which is what happens when he burps.

Brexit

Earlier in the year we sent the letter to say we were leaving the EU, our Dear John letter, and since then it's been a nightmare trying to get to leave, it's like trying to leave a gym.

And good news, there is nothing in the detailed Brexit impact assessments to say we're in for a poor economic future. The bad news is, there's nothing else in the detailed Brexit impact assessments. It's just an empty envelope. At least the envelope at the Oscars said La La Land.

And we get blue passports back. So...

Royal Wedding

It started as rumours, was Prince Harry in a relationship? Who with? Meghan Trainor, Angela Merkel, the guy who played Urkel? It was Meghan Markle. An American. A royal fancying one of those hasn't gone well in the past but to be fair, it's risk for her too, we don't have a good reputation at treating royal spouses well. Divorced, beheaded, died... and she's already been divorced.

She spent the Christmas at Sandringham, and I think it was good of Harry to get her that waitressing gig. When you're in acting you have to do that. She's offer things to the royals, cracker? And then it'd get tense.

Money News

This year we got a new £10 note with a woman on it, Jane Austen. Andrea Leadsom described her as one of our greatest living authors. So someone had to have that difficult talk with Andres. Jane's gone to a farm, far away...

It's a polymer like to the new £5. So now if someone says, "Don't worry, I'll put it on the plastic..."

And the new £1 coin came out, which is a dodecagon, so this year was the first time many people used anything from GCSE maths.

And now people can say about a complicated argument, "Well, they're like 12 sides of the same coin."

And there was too much money going to the stars of the BBC. I sometimes dabble at the BBC, and I asked for a payrise, I said, "You do know I'm a bloke, right?" Still no news about that yet as we go into 2018.


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05/01/2018

Podcast ep14: Bye 2017, Hello 2018

Happy New Podcast, and a merry downloadings to you.

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, episode 14, we review the year and have a little look forward to the next one. There's a whole year shrunk into one podcast.

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




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01/01/2018

[Newspaper Column] Trump

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.


Donald Trump has the ability to split opinion. So much so there is a debate over whether the President of the USA should get a state visit to Britain.

Afterall, he tweeted a putdown to our own leader. Some think it shouldn't happen and some think we should ignore it as no one turning up to meet him would be the cruelest thing to do to a narcissist.

There's even a campaign on Twitter to #ShowYourRumpToTrump when he arrives at the airport. That's one reason to hope the state visit isn't soon. It's cold and I'd need some time to hit the gym.

It's good to find the news stories that don't leave Trump looking bad, it'll bring people together. This week Donald Trump has signed directive to send astronauts back to the moon.

I'm surprised he did that. I imagine the core Trump supporter thinks the moon landings are fake and that the Earth is flat.

I've had some lovely Twitter arguments with flat Earthers. Why would the Government spend so much trying to convince us the planet is planet-shaped? Who's making money from this? How much money is there in selling drinks cabinets in the shape of globes?

As someone who likes science I like space travel. The push to put people on the moon gave us technology we use today.

The reason there had been little movement in sending people to the moon is that we were kind of getting on well on Earth. It was the USSR and the USA falling out that led to the space race and getting a man on the moon. Trump wanting to beat China is causing this latest spurt.

The way things are going, if Trump keeps falling out with leaders we'll be living like the Jetsons in no time.

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29/12/2017

Steve and Larry Special 2017 [Podcast]

It's the 2017 Steve and Larry Special, looking back at the entertainment news from the year.

You can also get the specials from 2016 and 2015.

Less Justin Beiber but way more Beckhams, more Game of Thrones and a little bit of UK politics, have a listen.

You can get all the rest of Larry's work on his SoundCloud page here.




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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.

Have a very merry one and see you for more fun in the new year.

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Podcast ep13: Christmas Build Up and Trump

Podcast alert again!

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, episode 13, it's the run up to Christmas and a lot of the news looked at the downside of the season, we get a Trump update, Larry has showbiz news and Paul Ross looks at the films.

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




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27/12/2017

The Sketches Podcast - December 2017

This is a podcast of the comedy sketches that were made for BBC Radio Kent during 2017.

This one is December.

Have a download or listen on me.




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Here's January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November

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


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The Sketches Podcast - November 2017

This is a podcast of the comedy sketches that were made for BBC Radio Kent during 2017.

This one is November.

Have a download or listen on me.




Download the mp3.

     | Subscribe with iTunes |

Here's January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October

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


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The Sketches Podcast - October 2017

This is a podcast of the comedy sketches that were made for BBC Radio Kent during 2017.

This one is October.

Have a download or listen on me.




Download the mp3.

     | Subscribe with iTunes |

Here's January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September

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


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