Category Archives: Feelgood Saturday

There was the news…

On this morning’s show we remembered someone who was, for people over a certain age, something of a national treasure, who passed away yesterday at the age of 88. Kenneth Kendall was one of the BBC’s stalwart TV newsreaders long before the days of 24/7 news, being – in  fact – the very first newsreader to appear in vision on BBC television, way back in 1955. As well as that, he also made a cameo appearance in the film 2001: A Space Odyssey – playing a newsreader; he was also in the Doctor Who serial The War Machines. But perhaps he’ll be most fondly remembered for his authoritative yet warm style as presenter of Channel 4’s gameshow Treasure Hunt, in which he and the studio-based contestants sent Anneka Rice around the country in a helicopter searching for clues to the treasure.

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Sooner or later…

It was good to be joined this morning by prospective new presenter Alex Hoggett, a regular with his band The Felonie on Nick Field’s Curveballs, who took part in our Creative Sessions earlier this year. Alex did a great job with the Events Guide, and it was good to have someone to chew the cud with between the songs!

My clues to this week’s song that was acceptable in the 80s – a UK top 40 hit single that you probably hadn’t heard in a while – were that this 1986 top 20 single was the follow up to their debut chart topper for this synth-pop duo who’ve been churning out hits ever since; and that, according to this song, “sooner or later this happens to everyone.”*

*Acceptable in the 80s was Love comes quickly by the Pet Shop Boys

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Lighting up the High Street

On this morning’s show we took a look ahead to what turned out to be a great afternoon of entertainment hosted by Phoenix FM at the heart of this year’s Brentwood High Street Christmas lights celebrations. Rob Jelly and Tony Smith did a brilliant job holding it all together on the main stage, ably assisted by Bob Simpson and other presenters, with some excellent performances by – amongst others – Leanne Louise, Edd Coates and our own Michelle Ward. As if that wasn’t enough we’ll be doing it all again tomorrow with the lighting up of Shenfield!

My clues to this week’s song that was acceptable in the 80s – a UK top 40 hit single that you probably hadn’t heard in a while – were that one half of this electro collaboration was out of his league, and this duet will always be together.*

*Acceptable in the 80s was Together in electric dreams by Giorgio Moroder & Phil Oakey

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Stop the traffik

Sarah and Nigel joined me this morning from the Chelmsford based group Active Communities against Trafficking.

They began by explaining what trafficking is, and how the victims – often children – are used for sexual exploitation as well as a source of illegal labour. They told me that figures suggest the trafficking of people to the UK is on the rise, and – alarmingly – that the UK itself is seventh on the list of countries from which people are being taken for exploitation. Sarah pointed out that the term “child prostitute” is a misnomer, and described the techniques commonly used in grooming. She and Nigel went on to describe the signs to look out for that someone might be being used, and what to do if you have any suspicions. As its name suggests, their group is actively campaigning against this crime, and if you’d like to find out more visit the website or contact them at You can also follow them on Twitter via @actchelmsford. For further information – and for advice if you suspect that someone might be a victim – you can also call the UK Human Trafficking Centre on 0844 778 2406.

Listen here:

[audio:|titles=Feelgood Saturday 24 11 12 ACT]
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One should be amused…

Next weekend the Brentwood Centre goes back to the 40s, 50s and 60s when it plays host to the Essex Vintage Weekender, and this morning we took a look ahead with a taster from one of the bands taking part. Julie Jive and the Bigshots – who performed live on the Feelgood Saturday last year – is a 5 piece band from Essex who perform swinging, rocking and jiving music from the 1950s, and they’ll be on stage next Friday evening supporting headliner Si Cranstoun. They’re also performing on Saturday, and hopefully will have time before hitting the stage to pop into next week’s show for a chat about what they’ve been up to and what excites them about the 50s.

For a taster of their music click here:

[audio:|titles=Julie Jive segue 51sec]

Meanwhile, three decades later, my clues to this week’s song that was acceptable in the 80s – a UK top 40 hit single that you probably hadn’t heard in a while – were that this 1980 top 10 hit has been covered and sampled numerous times, most successfully by German trance duo Marc et Claude; and that perhaps the band was named after the Queen’s favourite pets!*

*Acceptable in the 80s was Everybody’s got to learn sometime by the Korgis


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Helping keep the brass in YOUR pocket

I chatted this morning with Nick Brown, Principal of the recently formed Brentwood Bills Club, which helps businesses, homes and community groups in the Brentwood and Billericay area save money on a whole range of bills. Nick explained some of the differences between the Club and price comparison websites, including the personal and flexible service the Club offers – which is especially helpful for people without access to the internet, or who get confused by the bewildering array of options. The Club is non-profit making, and Nick described his personal motivation in simply wanting to help local people and organisations save money, and in the process promote the local economy.

Nick is also involved with CVC Better Living, a charity which offers help and advice on using computers, mobile phones or the internet to people over 65.

If you or someone you know could benefit from either of these worthwhile services simply visit the Bills Club’s website, email or phone 01277 280 301; you can also find them on Twitter and Facebook.

Listen again:

[audio:|titles=Feelgood Saturday 10 11 11 Nick Brown]
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Stuck in the 80s!

My clues to this week’s song that was acceptable in the 80s – a UK top 40 hit single that you probably hadn’t heard in a while – were that this boy band were having anything but a bad hair day with their 1982 top 10 hit, and snooker ace Judd Trump can thank the band for one of his nicknames.*

There’s quite an 80s thing going on at Phoenix at the moment – not only does Stephen Bealey feature a whole hour of 80s music on his Sunday Sunrise, but tomorrow afternoon Bob Simpson begins his top 100 countdown of the decade on the Sunday Replay, in association with Kirby’s Coaches. But for some of the songs from the era remembered for the wrong reasons – and for your chance to vote for what you think was the worst song of the 80s – check out Gary Casserley’s Getting you home page!

 *Acceptable in the 80s was Fantastic day by Haircut 100

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End of an era

I had a brief chat with Scott Ross this morning about the end of an era this week in the world of TV in the UK, with the final switch-off of analogue transmissions and, with it, the BBC’s Ceefax service. The Divis Mountain transmitter in Northern Ireland was officially shut down on Tuesday by Olympic veteran Dame Mary Peters.

My clues to this week’s song that was acceptable in the 80s – a UK top 40 hit single that you probably hadn’t heard in a while – were that the song culminates in the singer standing pretty in the dust that was a city, and that this 1984 no 1 was this German Band’s only UK top 40 hit.*

 *Acceptable in the 80s was Nena’s 99 red balloons

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Another musical trip back to the 80s

We enjoyed another nusical trip back to the 80s this morning, with one of those songs that was acceptable in the 80s – a UK top 40 hit single that you probably hadn’t heard in a while. My clues were that this Merseyside band liked to sit on the roof and watch the day go by, and if you didn’t have enough crockery for your dinner party the band’s name might describe your predicament!*

 *Acceptable in the 80s was Wishful thinking by China Crisis, sitting on the roof and watching the day go by being a reference to some of the song’s lyrics

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Well and truly puzzled!

We learnt this morning that the Rubik’s Cube European Championships were taking place in Poland, with over 300 contestants from 26 countries taking part. Something about this tickled me – I’m not sure whether it’s simply the fact that there is such a tournament, or that some of those taking part do the cube with their feet – or even blindfolded! Say, what!?!

My clues to this week’s song that was acceptable in the 80s – a UK top 40 hit single that you probably hadn’t heard in a while – were that this punk band failed to make a stranglehold on the charts with this 1986 song, and that the weather forecast wouldn’t corroborate the message in the song.*

 *Acceptable in the 80s was Always the sun by The Stranglers

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Encouraging young people through sport and music

I was joined this morning by Richard King, Chairman of Brentwood Rugby Club, who are hosting the Golden Boot Festival, a one day tournament for under-16s in teams from as far away as Norfolk. As well as explaining how the festival works, Richard talked about some of the cultural differences between rugby and football – both on and off the pitch – and how Brentwood particularly encourages youngsters to get involved in the game. Richard said that the Club always offers a warm and friendly welcome to anyone interested in finding out more about rugby, whatever their age; for more information and contact details visit the website. Listen again: [audio:|titles=Feelgood Saturday 06 10 12 Richard King BRC]

It was also the first day of the Essex Indoor Festival, with – amongst loads of other great attractions – some excellent performances by bands and duets, one of which took the time to pop in shortly before going on stage. Ever Young have been together for about a year, having met at the Sylvia Young Theatre School, and they explained that much of their work involves touring schools, where they’re particularly keen to encourage youngsters to stand up against bullying. Hollie, Cherelle, Jack and Eyal have quite diverse musical tastes, and from the way they obviously complement each other this is clearly an advantage, as demonstrated by their a cappella excerpts from two of their songs – debut single Warrior, released earlier this year, and Take Control, which they’re still in the process of writing. I look forward to hearing and seeing much more of Ever Young in the future!

Listen again:

[audio:|titles=Feelgood Saturday 06 10 12 Ever Young]

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Where does she find the time?!

Prolific local author Sylvia Kent popped in this morning to talk about two fascinating ebooks she’s recently published, both on aspects of local history. In “St Mary Magdalene: Billericay’s Church in the High Street” Sylvia describes how this much-loved landmark has played an important role in the life of the town for over 600 years, with the proceeds from sale of the book going towards the fund for its major restoration 5 years ago. “Brentwood: Historic Town” goes back even further, to the town’s very early days, covering also the many nearby villages, and includes some great insights into many of the notable characters who’ve been linked with Brentwood in one way or another. Both ebooks are available via Amazon.

Sylvia also spoke briefly about Billericay’s Cater Museum, as well as her involvement with the Brentwood Writers’ Circle and the Society of Women Writers and Journalists. Sylvia also writes a regular blog, on a whole host of topics, and appears regularly on Michelle’s Eat my Lunch with her Book Club. To listen again to our conversation click here:

[audio:|titles=Feelgood Saturday 29 09 12 Sylvia Kent 1]
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Coffee time again!

We caught up this morning with Caryl Kwei from the Brentwood Fairtrade Steering Group, who next week will be hosting one of the many local events that make up MacMillan Cancer Support’s annual World’s Biggest Coffee Morning. This one is on Friday 28 September at Brentwood Town Hall, starting at 10am, and as well as providing all sorts of Fairtrade goodies to sample, the group will also be inviting people to sign a pledge to make a small step for Fairtrade.

My clues to this week’s song that was acceptable in the 80s – a UK top 40 hit single that you probably hadn’t heard in a while – were the rhetorical question, red, blue and yellow, perhaps?; and that this song was the title track from the second album by a girl who just wanted to have fun.*

 *Acceptable in the 80s was True colors by Cyndi Lauper

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GX0TRG calling the world!

Pete Sipple of the recently formed Thames Amateur Radio Group popped in this morning to explain exactly what amateur radio is all about and why it still holds its appeal in an age of internet, Skype and general 24/7 communication. The Group were holding a special event day at our studios at the Brentwood Centre – with all sorts of aerials set up – and today was the first time their call sign had been used – GX0TRG!  Pete popped back later to tell us some of the far flung places they’d managed to reach – including Russia and Hullbridge! If you’d like to find out more about amateur radio or the Group visit their website.

[audio:|titles=Feelgood Saturday 15 09 12 Pete Sipple]

I also caught up this morning with Sunday Lunch presenter Tony Smith, who – along with Eat My Lunch’s Michelle Ward – has been working hard putting together the very first Phoenix in the Foyer gigs this evening. This promises to be the first of many great nights out – and a bargain, at just £7!

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The one man band

This morning I was joined by Paolo Morena, the Chelmsford based singer, songwriter and musician whose looping techniques of layering a song as he plays live effectively make him a one man band. Paolo is passionate about sharing his creativity with others, and he encourages members of his fan club to customise their own album – by choosing the tracks, designing the cover and even creating their own remixes of his songs! Members receive a fresh new song every month, together with alternative versions and downloadable files of the raw components allowing them to remix their favourite tracks. To download his new EP, for more information on the fan club or for details of where you can see him play live visit Paolo’s website, or email

To listen again to Paolo, including his songs Be alright and Saturday night, click here:

[audio:|titles=Feelgood Saturday 08 09 12 Paolo Morena]

Paolo also set a question to win a selection of his CDs, a Paolo t-shirt and a subscription to the website, asking for the name of the Paul Simon album inspired by the music of African artists. Well done to Robert for being the first to enter with the correct answer, Graceland.

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An Inspector calls…

…In fact it was the Chief Inspector, as I was joined this morning by Justin Cartledge, who’s starring as the infamous Jacques Clouseau in Early Doors Productions’ forthcoming performance of The Pink Panther Strikes Again, along with co-star William Wells and director Amy Clayton. Justin and Bill gave a brilliant sneak preview of what you can expect if you go along, and Justin explained what it’s like as an actor playing a character who will always be virtually synonymous with his original big screen performer, namely Peter Sellers. Amy also explained how Early Doors came about, and said that she’s always very happy to chat with anyone who thinks they might like to get involved. The team clearly work very hard but have a lot of fun, and have exciting plans for the future – although their next production is a closely guarded secret!

To listen again click here:

[audio:|titles=Feelgood Saturday 01 09 12 Early Doors Productions]

The Pink Panther Strikes Again is at the Cramphorn Theatre, Chelmsford, from Thursday 20th to Saturday 22nd September. To book tickets or for contact details if you’d like to talk about joining the group visit their website.

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Who – or what – is Nicki Minaj singing about?

We took a look ahead this morning to some of the many brilliant events talking place in and around our area over the next week or two, including next weekend’s Herongate & Ingrave Cricket Club Beer Festival and our own Fun Day in association with Brentwood Town FC next Saturday afternoon.

Amongst the usual brilliant selection of music I played David Guetta’s Turn me on, posing the question is Nicki Minaj really singing about a former Billericay MP – or is it just another of those misheard lyrics…? (And I don’t mean Teresa Gorman.)

[audio:|titles=Turn me on]
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Essex Dog Day 2012 on Feelgood Saturday

Was a pleasure to sit in for Alan this week on the Feelgood Saturday.

Thanks to Sarah Courage and Roy Dyer for coming into Phoenix FM to tell us all about the Essex Dog Day event to be held in the beautiful grounds of Crix, a privately owned Georgian house accessed directly off the A12, on Sunday 26th August.

This is the 2nd Essex event, this year supported by Tollhurst Fisher LLP Solicitors and The Spring Lodge Veterinary Group, and it promises to be a fantastic dog event and a great day out for all the family, especially their pooches!

Celebrity Crufts commentator Peter Purves will keep you abreast of the action including displays by the Essex Dog Display Team, Gun and Fun Dog Scurries, Sheepdog and Husky Demonstrations, a Security Dog Display and Falconry.

And there are competitions for you to enter. Full details on

The event is to raise funds for PARC Essex. PARC is a charity that provides vital support to families with children with special needs at the only purpose built centre in Essex. This care helps to keep families together and extends to all children across the county with physical and learning difficulties from birth to 19 years. Since PARC’s foundation in 1997, thousands of children have found a safe and secure environment to learn through play led by fully trained and dedicated staff.

You can find out more by visiting

Sarah outlined the whole event for us on Phoenix FM, whilst Roy Dyer gave us a real insight into the many issues and benefits of having a dog as part of the family.

Click the play button below to hear the Sarah and Roy chatting to Ed:


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Will you need the Egghead?

Lynda Head, St Francis Hospice’s Community Fundraising Manager, popped in this morning to talk about their Big Yellow Q Quiz Night next Friday at the Brentwood Centre, where BBC TV’s Egghead Barry Simmons will be on hand to sell answers for teams who get stuck. Lynda explained that, with annual running costs of nearly £8 million – only about a third of which is covered by grants – fundraising events like this are vital to the work of the hospice, which serves an area of a million people from Ingatestone to Redbridge. Lynda also talked about a fantastic classic car show they’re holding at the Ford Technical Centre in Dunton on Sunday 2nd September, and a fundraising walk a fortnight later for you and your dog around the grounds of Ingatestone Hall. To find out more about the classic car show – which will also include loads of things to keep the children happy – tune in to Rob’s breakfast show next Saturday, when he’ll be chatting with organiser Alan Mason.

Lynda also talked about various other ways people can volunteer to support St Francis, and she emphasised that – whether fundraising or helping in another way – there really is something everyone can do, regardless of age or ability. So – you don’t need to be an Egghead to take part in that quiz!

For more information on St Francis or to book tickets for the Big Yellow Q Quiz visit the website, or phone 01708 723593.

[audio:|titles=Feelgood Saturday 11 08 12 St Francis Lynda Head]
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The Horn behind the music of the 80s

On this morning’s show I unearthed yet another song that was acceptable in the 80s – a UK top 40 hit that you probably hadn’t heard in a while. In this case I wouldn’t be surprised if you’d not heard it since it was a hit 30 years ago! My clues were that one half of the duo who performed it found renewed fame a few years ago in the jungle; and a few years before this song they’d scored a top 20 hit with a cover of a Beatles song.

The answer was Videotheque by Dollar, whose David van Day appeared in I’m a celebrity in 2008. He and Thereza Bazar had met when they were in the group Guys n Dolls, which they broke away from after becoming romantically involved, and their Beatles cover was I wanna hold your hand. Videotheque was their fourth single produced by the outstanding Trevor Horn – of Buggles, Yes and Art of Noise fame – who went on to produce for just about anyone who was anyone in the 80s, such as Seal, ABC, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, the Pet Shop Boys, Lisa Stansfield and loads more besides…

If you love 80s music, don’t forget that Stephen Bealey plays a whole hour every Sunday morning on Sunday Sunrise.

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More local talent!

I had the pleasure this morning of giving the first airing to four songs recorded exclusively for Phoenix FM by Brentwood based singer/songwriter Paul Coogan. Paul was one of 23 artists and bands who took part in this year’s Creative Sessions back in May, when he performed Beneath a still sky, Evil lady, Miss trust and Indiscriminate.

And – if the name rings a bell – Paul used to be a presenter here on Phoenix, and we’d featured another of his songs on the show last September, when he released the charity single Unnatural disaster to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks. Profits from that went to an organisation that seeks to spread awareness about the catastrophic health effects on 9/11 First Responders, as well as to help those who are in need of financial support as a result of 9/11 related illness or injury.

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A gentlemanly journalist – an oxymoron?

Stephen “Mr 80s” Bealey sat in for Rob on breakfast this morning, leaving behind a bit of an 80s whiff that wafted across this morning’s Feelgood Saturday – including another song that was Acceptable in the 80s, a UK top 40 hit single that you probably hadn’t heard in quite a while. My clues were that the artist who wrote and performed the song is probably best known for the 1973 album “Tubular bells”, and that the song contains the lyrics “he was shot 6 times by a man on the run – and she couldn’t find how to push through.”*

I also paid tribute this morning to veteran ITN newsreader Sir Alastair Burnett, who has died at the age of 84. Loads of people have been paying warm tributes, including Andrew Neil, who described him as “one of the greatest journalists of his generation”, and said of him “he will also always be recalled by family, friends and colleagues for his unparalleled professionalism, humour and gentlemanly kindness, especially to journalists starting out on their careers. Joy it was to be in his company and he was an inspiration to many who followed in his footsteps – the broadcasters’ broadcaster.” Perhaps there are quite a few journalist who wouldn’t be described in such warm terms, but it would be unfair for a whole profession to be tarred with the same brush. Unbelievably Sir Alastair presented his last TV news bulletin in 1991!

 *Acceptable in the 80s was Moonlight shadow by Mike Oldfield featuring Maggie Reilly

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Another vowel please, Carol…

Well, it was still Carol when I last watched Countdown! With yet more rain meaning that so many things have had to be cancelled – including Phoenix FM’s Family Fun Day in association with Brentwood Town FC – I decided this morning to brighten things up with another of those songs that was acceptable in the 80s, a UK top 40 hit single that you probably hadn’t heard in quite a while. My clues were that this song was the summer dance anthem of 1983, and it was by a group who definitely preferred vowels over consonants!*

For more 80s music don’t miss Stephen Bealey’s brand new Sunday breakfast show, tomorrow morning from 7 –

 *Acceptable in the 80s was IOU by Freeez

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From Belarus to Billericay and farewell to a friend

[audio:|titles=Feelgood Saturday 07 07 12 BLCCLL]

It was fantastic this morning to welcome to Phoenix FM eight of the twelve children mostly from the Bragin area of Belarus currently enjoying a month-long recuperative holiday organised by the Billericay Link of Chernobyl Children’s Life Line. Ksyenia, Hannah, Kostya, Danila, Nastia, Vika, Andrei and Nikite have been enjoying a very full schedule, and 12 year-old Ksyenia – who’s English is first class – told us how life in England differs from that back home.

Alastair Manthorpe from the Link explained that holidays such as this one for children from the areas still affected by contamination from the 1986 explosions at the Ukranian nuclear power plant are believed to help significantly extend their life expectancy, and English teacher Nadia described why she gives up so much of her time each year to accompany such groups as interpreter and carer. Nadia also spoke movingly of her memories of Saturday, 26th April 1986 – the day that literally changed life across a vast area of western USSR.

Alastair and his wife Gaynor are hosts to Ksyenia, Hannah, Kostya and Danila, although Gaynor explained that hosts normally look after two children. They’re already keen to talk to anyone who thinks they might be able to act as a host family next year, when a group will be invited from Ukraine – clearly it’s a big commitment, but the rewards for the children and their UK hosts are tremendous and long-lasting. To contact the Link – whether you think you could get involved as a host or in any other way – phone Chairman David Gladstone on 01277 653462, or Host coordinator Kim Gavan on 01268 471335.

It was such a pleasure to meet the children – they were so well behaved and extremely patient, particularly as most of them wouldn’t have understood much of what was being said. If I had to pick a highlight of our time together it would be Ksyenia’s reading of our Events Guide – unlike me on so many occasions, she was virtually word perfect!

I also said a few words to wish the very best of luck to one of our best loved presenters at Phoenix – on and off air – Ed Wellman, ahead of his final Sunday Breakfast show. There are so many positive things that could be said about Ed, and suffice it to say that it’s been a privilege and a pleasure to know him, as a colleague and a friend. Ed, thanks for all your support and encouragement – and here’s to the future!

[audio:|titles=Good luck Ed!]
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Hello from Belarus!

We heard this morning from a dozen children from Belarus who are currently enjoying a recuperative holiday in Essex organised by the Billericay Link of Chernobyl Children Life Line. Each year the Link welcomes a group of children from some of the areas still being affected in all sorts of ways by the 1986 nuclear disaster, and I caught up with them at a fabulous barbecue last week, together with a couple of the people who’ve made it all possible. They’ve still got a couple of weeks of their holiday left, and next Saturday they’ll be joining me live in the studio – in the meantime, I’d better brush up on my Belarussian!

[audio:|titles=BLCCLL BBQ]
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To be, or not to be, honoured?

With today’s publication of the Queen’s Birthday Honours list we took a look this morning at some of those who, in the past, have turned down an award from Her Majesty. Earlier this year, following a Freedom of Information request, the Cabinet Office was forced to publish the names of people who’d refused an OBE, CBE or knighthood between 1951 and 1999 and who’d since died. Perhaps most famous was John Lennon, who returned his MBE in 1969 together with a note to the Queen protesting against the country’s foreign policy in Africa and Vietnam – as well as against his single, Cold Turkey, “slipping down the charts”!

We also took a brief look forward to next Wednesday’s Breakfast Show, when Rob Jelly will be chatting with Robert Winger about the Brentwood Dodgeball League. Knowing nothing about the sport and impatient to learn more I decided to head over to good old Wikipedia – which helpfully describes dodgeball as “any of a variety of games in which players try to hit other players on the opposing team with their own balls while avoiding being hit themselves…” No doubt Robert will be able to elucidate on Wednesday!

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Strawberries and a stripper!

There are so many things going on around Brentwood and Billericay at the moment – many of them, though by no means all, connected with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee commemorations – and we covered a couple of excellent events on today’s programme.

First it was the annual Strawberry Fair taking place on Shenfield Common, which Phoenix FM was delighted to be hosting, and Sunday Lunch presenter Tony Smith took time out from a busy schedule to keep us posted on what turned out to be a great day out for young and old. To mark the Jubilee, this year the Fair had a British theme, and several of the station’s presenters joined in the fun by chatting with some of the organisations taking part.

Then it was a similar theme for the Little Burstead Grand Jubilee Fete, with Ron Whitt shedding some light on the identity of the Beast of Burstead, whose return at the Fete has been advertised on a large hoarding on Noak Hill Road over the past few weeks. He sounded like someone not to be messed with, but fortunately there were loads of other weird and wonderful attractions to make it worth the risk of facing the beast’s wrath – including a fire-eater, chainsaw wood-carvers, a tug-o-war and a fun dog show – together with a Victorian peepshow for the ladies starring Jack the Stripper!

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Southgate and Lee – from busking to the big time!

This morning I gave the first play on Phoenix FM to the debut single by the duet Southgate and Leigh, Reena. Composer and keyboard player Phil Southgate grew up in Hutton, and he and Phillipa Leigh will be playing live at next Saturday’s Strawberry Fair. Reena was named by Cosmopolitan as last week’s single of the week, and next month Southgate and Leigh will be supporting Joan Armatrading as part of her UK tour – after Joan heard Phillipa busking their music on the Tube!

Today’s beautiful sunshine gave the perfect opportunity to dig out some feelgood summer songs this morning, but I’m afraid I couldn’t hide the fact that I’m British – I just couldn’t stop talking about the weather! Hopefully a lot more to come over the next few months…

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Two great bands – live! …and all about the Marillac

With the seventh Phoenix FM Creative Sessions being recorded a stone’s throw from our studios at the Brentwood Centre it was great this morning to welcome a couple of bands onto the programme for a chat and to play some songs live. 5-piece Belter played acoustic versions of three songs, including their recently released first single, TV junkie; and the highly acclaimed Midway Still, who released their first album 20 years ago, sang with Paul on guitar. The Creative Sessions are a great way of giving exposure to a wide range of talent, and it was brilliant to be able to have two great bands in the studio.

I also chatted with Volunteer Coordinator with the Marillac Care Home, Amanda Trew. The Marillac, in a beautiful setting in Warley, is a residential home caring for about 50 adults with a range of physical and neurological disabilities, and Amanda explained that they’re currently going through an exciting phase of expansion, meaning they can improve still further the care they’re able to provide. Amanda also talked about the various ways that people can get involved as volunteers, including joining in with a sport that I’d not heard of before! If you’d like to chat with Amanda about becoming a volunteer – particularly if you enjoy spending time getting to know new people – phone 01277 220276, or email

[audio:|titles=Feelgood Saturday 18 02 12 Amanda Trew Marillac]
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Who’ll be Queen for a Day?

Mark Reed popped in today to talk about a very exciting competition being run by Bennetts Funeral Directors, in conjunction with the Gazette and various local businesses. They’re on the search for two ladies – one in each of Billericay and Brentwood – who deserve to be treated like royalty as Queen for a Day. Mark explained that the lucky winner of each title might have fought back against the odds to achieve the unachievable; given up a lot to help someone else over a long period of time; or perhaps she’ll be someone who works tirelessly to help others within the community. Whoever is crowned will enjoy a day she’ll never forget, being picked up in a Rolls Royce for a day that will include tea and prize giving at a swanky hotel; a shopping spree; hair styling and beauty pampering; and a special VIP visit to a mystery local attraction – all rounded off with a state dinner for two. If you know a lady living in Billericay or Brentwood who deserves all this, send a letter, with their name and contact details, plus up to 300 words explaining why they are deserving of the prize, to Jane Bennett, Bennetts Funeral Directors, 120 High Street, Brentwood, CM14 4AS. The closing date is 21 May; only one nomination is allowed per household, and the judges’ decision is final. Winners have to be available between 10am and 10pm on 31 May for the Billericay prize and 1 June for the Brentwood prize, and they must be happy to take part in all aspects of the competition. The winners may be accompanied by an escort.

[audio:|titles=Feelgood Saturday 12 05 12 Queen for a Day]

I also chatted this morning with Curator of Billericay’s Cater Museum, Chris Brewster, about their Official Garden Opening taking place this afternoon. These events are always well worth a visit for anyone with even a vague interest in gardening, and today’s was no exception – with two RHS experts on hand giving free advice, and the chance to have a go at flower arranging. If you’ve never visited the Museum before, it’s well worth a look around – at 74 Billericay High Street, look for the door next to the jeweller’s.

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FA Cup Final day and a stolen Bra!

A Stolen Bra?

Very much enjoyed covering Alan Johnson on Feelgood Saturday today. Along with some great Feelgood music we heard some Interesting local news and sports stories including a story about a bra (and nothing else) being stolen from a house in Brentwood!
Along with a preview of todays FA Cup Final I played some Red vs Blue music (UB40 – Red Red Wine vs Madonna – True Blue) to support the teams in today’s match – Liverpool and Chelsea.
Alan will be back next week

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The oldest horse in the world?

I was joined this morning by Fran Smith from the Remus Memorial Horse Sanctuary. As well as explaining how the Sanctuary came about and what it does, Fran also talked about Shayne, who – at the incredible age of 51 – is possibly the oldest horse in the world! Fran explained that Shayne has become quite a male diva as a result of worldwide media attention, and he’s even got a girlfriend! Unfortunately Remus’ Open Day planned for next weekend has been cancelled, but you can still go along and meet him at the next one, on 3rd June. Remus is always pleased to welcome volunteers to help keep the work going, and even if you can only spare a little time they’d love to hear from you – contact them via the website.[audio:|titles=Feelgood Saturday 28 04 12 Fran Smith]

Also this morning we heard a chat that that Brentwood & Ongar MP Eric Pickles had earlier in the week with Phoenix FM’s Kay Bellwood. Eric turned 60 this month, and Kay began by asking him if, when he first went into politics, he imagined that twenty years later he’d have made it into Government as Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. Eric also talked to Kay about his many interests outside politics – including a collection of memorabilia relating to a classic comic book character![audio:|titles=Phoenix FM interview with Eric Pickles (Kay Bellwood, 20-04-2012)]

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Elizabeth Lord – She just can’t stop writing!

This morning I thoroughly enjoyed chatting with prolific local novelist Elizabeth Lord. Elizabeth, who lives in Billericay, has published no fewer than 23 novels; she’s also about to publish the first of a trilogy, and is already working on the next one after those! Elizabeth explained that many of her stories are set in the past, often based on real people and events, but her latest – The Chandelier Ballroom – is entirely fictitious, being a bit of a ghost story with an Essex connection and a sinister twist! It’s also her first to be published just as an e-book. 

As if writing doesn’t keep Elizabeth busy enough, she’s also Secretary of the Billericay Writers’ Group, which, she explained, is always happy to welcome new members. The group meets on the second and fourth Wednesday evenings of each month between 8 and 10 at the Fold in Laindon Road (next to the Ivory Rooms); there’s no need to book – so feel free just to turn up!

For more information on a fascinating lady and her extensive collection of novels see Elizabeth’s website.

[audio:|titles=Elizabeth Lord]
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A great way to remember a friend

I chatted this morning with Oliver Rowe, one of the organisers of a special day of events to remember his friend whilst raising money for Cancer Research UK. The Alan Paul Squash Memorial Handicap is taking place at LA Fitness in Warley on Saturday 28 April starting at 10.30am, and is open to players of any age or skill level – it costs just £5 to enter the handicap, which is being coordinated by current Women’s Over 70 World Squash Champion, Barbara Sanderson, of Harold Wood. 

Alan – who passed away last year – was not only a longstanding squash player but also a keen jazz fan, and after the winner’s trophy has been awarded there’s an evening of jazz featuring Southend based band Avanti – who, Oliver explained, have a jazz funk oriented style. Tickets for the Jazz Evening, which starts at 7pm also at LA Fitness, are just £10, or £5 for concessions. 

To join the squash tournament, to book tickets for the Jazz Evening or for more information on either event contact Oliver on 07802 677983 or the LA Fitness bar on 01277 228333. 

By the way, in case you’re wondering, it is the same Oliver Rowe who used to present Phoenix FM’s Saturday Pitstop – good to hear from him again!

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My not so Feelgood Saturday – 7th April

A bit of a different sound to the programme today – as I was suffering from a sore throat :(. As Scott Ross later suggested, from my point of view “Feelgood” wasn’t quite the order of things this morning! 

Never mind, the music was still good, including the song that that was Acceptable in the 80s – a UK top 40 hit single that you probably hadn’t heard in a while. My clues were that the Caribbean born writer and performer of this song had previously sung about love and affection, and that this song contains the chorus “animal, mineral, physical, spiritual – I’m the one you need.”* 

*Acceptable in the 80s was Drop the pilot by Joan Armatrading.

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Feelgood Saturday, Skidmarques and Annette Carey Couture

It was my great pleasure to be sitting in for Alan on Feelgood Saturday this week. In the first hour, apart from the usual mix of great music we heard an item about the local Herongate museum who are appealing for help and sponsorship. We also heard how our local sports teams are doing and about the matches they are playing today.

In the second hour I was delighted to be joined by Keith Playell, MD of Skidmarques along with Annette Carey of Annette Carey Couture who spoke about their involvement in the forthcoming Ladies Motoring Evening at Skidmarques. You can hear the whole interview here: [audio:|titles=Skidmarques]

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Undiscovered Upminster and an evening for ladies only – Feelgood Saturday 24th March

This morning I chatted with Phoenix presenter and filmmaker Mike Jones, about his fascinating new documentary Undiscovered Upminster. Mike shared one or two of the interesting facts about his home town which, to many of us, is little known other than sitting at the end of the District Line – and I’m sure that it’ll be enjoyed by anyone with an interest in how people used to live, whether or not you’re familiar with that area. Mike’s already working on his next production – Undiscovered Hornchurch – and is particularly keen to hear from anyone with cine films featuring the area.

[audio:|titles=Feelgood Saturday 24 03 12 Mike Jones]

I was also joined this morning by Managing Director of Skidmarques, Keith Playell, who talked about their Ladies’ Motoring Evening on Wednesday 4th April at their headquarters in Hutton. This follows the success of a similar event last summer, and as well as an opportunity to learn a bit about basic car maintenance there’ll also be a selection of Forever Living products, refreshments including wine courtesy of Wines of France and a great display of bridal and evening wear by Annette Carey – who’ll be joining us next week. Despite my protestations, this is an event strictly for ladies only – and it’s absolutely free of charge! Places are limited, however, so get in quick!

[audio:|titles=Feelgood Saturday 24 03 12 Keith Playell Skidmarques]
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One of the most sampled songs of the 80s – Feelgood Saturday 17th March

Following the success of last weekend’s Fairtrade celebration in Brentwood High Street, this morning I gave a mention to the many local businesses and organisations whom the local Steering Group wanted to thank for their support – including, of course, Phoenix FM! Brentwood truly is a Fairtrade Town, and it’s great to know that so many people are right behind this.

My clues to this morning’s song that was Acceptable in the 80s – a UK top 40 hit single that you probably hadn’t heard in a while – were that this 1983 jazz funk hit has been sampled numerous times, by the likes of Jennifer Lopez, Dr Dre, LL Cool J, Keyshia Cole and the Notorious BIG; and that it could be a song about an orange, or maybe a pineapple.*

*Acceptable in the 80s was Mtume’s Juicy fruit.

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Fairtrade Celebration! – Feelgood Saturday 10th March

On this morning’s show I caught up again with the Brentwood Fairtrade Group, who were celebrating the culmination of Fairtrade Fortnight with a big display in the High Street. The theme of this year’s Fortnight has been Taking a Step Towards Fairtrade, and to help encourage people in Brentwood to do this they had loads of giveaways, competitions and a performance by Shenfield’s Bluebird Choir. This was also, of course, a chance to celebrate the Group’s excellent achievement in achieving official Fairtrade status for Brentwood!

[audio:|titles=Feelgood Saturday 10 03 12 Fairtrade celebration (phone)]
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Just how many Humperdincks are there? – Feelgood Saturday 3rd March

Following this week’s news that Englebert Humperdinck is to represent the UK in this year’s Eurovsion Song Contest I decided to type his name into predictive text on my smartphone, which replaced his forename with the mysterious combination “Engle Beet”, but remarkably seemed to recognise Humperdinck! This led me to pose the question – why would whoever’s job it is to decide which words should be included in predictive text include “Humperdinck?!” And – if it is considered that this is a sufficiently commonly texted word – why doesn’t the phone also recognise “Englebert”? Is there a more famous Mr or Ms H who I’ve forgotten about?!

My clues to this morning’s song that was Acceptable in the 80s – a UK top 40 hit single that you probably hadn’t heard in a while – were that the title of the song is something an obsessed fan might have said to Marlene Deitrich; and that, although they were one hit wonders, this group were passionate about their music.*

*Acceptable in the 80s was I’m in love with a German film star by the Passions.

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Fairtrade and Brentwood’s youngest councillor – Feelgood Saturday 25th February

Caryl Kwei from the Brentwood Fairtrade steering group popped in this morning, to talk about Fairtrade Fortnight, which starts on Monday. This year’s theme is Taking a Step towards Fairtrade, which Caryl explained can be as simple as changing our buying habits for something we use regularly. Caryl also talked about her recent visit to New Koforidua, the first Fairtrade town in Africa, where much of the coco in Fairtrade chocolate is produced; as well as what it means to Brentwood now that it’s joined Billericay in achieving Fairtrade town status. The Brentwood Group is holding a celebration by the chapel ruins in the High Street on Saturday 10th March. If you’d like to organise your own event to support Fairtrade Fortnight, or you’re interested in joining the group, e-mail, or phone Caryl on 01277 226834.

I was also joined this morning by James Sapwell, Liberal Democrat councillor for Brentwood North, who, at 21, is one of the youngest serving councillors in the UK. James explained what motivated him to get involved in politics, including why he stood as an Independent for the 2010 General Election while still a teenager, and shared a few thoughts for others interested in becoming politically active. We also talked about various issues, including formal prayers in council meetings, excessive property prices and the US Presidential Elections – not to mention the recent local press furore over the measurement of how well Brentwood Borough Councillors are performing for those they represent! Residents of Brentwood North can contact James at, or on 07545 968880.

[audio:|titles=Feelgood Saturday 25 02 12 James Sapwell]
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Belarus to Billericay – Feelgood Saturday 18th February

This morning I was pleased to welcome back some good friends of the programme from the Billericay Link of Chernobyl Children Life Line. Chairman David Gladstone reminded us about the holidays the group organises each year for children from areas still being affected by the 1986 nuclear power plant disaster, and Gaynor and Alastair Manthorpe described the poverty they found when they kept their promise to visit Max and Pasha, the two children they hosted last year. Whilst in Ukraine they also took the opportunity to visit the site of the former power plant, and Alastair described what they found.

This year the Link is organising a holiday in Essex for a dozen children from Belarus, but to be able to do this they need new host families. Alastair said that the main thing they’re looking for in a host family is dedication; if you think you could help out visit the website, or phone Gaynor and Alastair on 01245 328235. This year’s holiday is the four weeks from 17th June, and host families do need to look after two children sharing a room. David, Gaynor and Alastair have all described how rewarding their own experiences as hosts have been.

Gaynor also talked about their fundraising concert, featured on our Events Guide, in which she’ll be playing clarinet and saxophone, on Saturday 10th March at Billericay URC.

It’s always a pleasure to meet members of the Link, and I hope that the children will have the time to make a trip to Phoenix FM part of their holiday!

[audio:|titles=Feelgood Saturday 18 02 12 BLCCLL]
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Day 1 in our new home – and a Government inspection! – Feelgood Saturday 11th February

Day one of broadcasting from our brand new studios in the Brentwood Centre made for a somewhat different programme from normal, with an unexpected visit from Brentwood & Ongar MP Eric Pickles. As well as being an occasional presenter on the station, Eric has been a long-term supporter of Phoenix FM over many years, including our original campaign for the licence, and he was most impressed with our new studios.

As well as being one of our local MPs Eric is also, of course, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, which he explained is quite a broad portfolio. We also talked about this week’s High Court ruling that Bideford Town Council had been acting unlawfully by allowing prayers to be said before meetings, as well as the possibility of Brentwood Borough Council introducing car parking charges in subsurbs such as Shenfield and Ingatestone.

Eric also gave his take on the Iron Lady, commending Meryl Streep’s performance as Margaret Thatcher, although he didn’t feel that Jim Broadbent’s portrayal of Denis was nearly as accurate.

Our new studios provide a very welcome environmemt for guests, and I’m looking forward to welcoming many more people onto the programme!

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A free day out and a charity that empowers people – Feelgood Saturday 4th February

Skidmarques‘ MD Keith Playell popped by again this morning to give us the latest news on their big Open Day next Sunday afternoon to celebrate the company’s move to bigger premises. As well as some classic cars, a hog roast and cupcake decorating for the children there’ll also be free wine and soft drinks, a display by BNI and live music courtesy of Flaming Pie; and hopefully AmD Milltek’s VW Golf for the British Touring Car Championship will also be on display. Brentwood Mayor Cllr Joan Holmes will kick it all off at 2pm at Unit 7 on the Everik Business Centre in Prospect Way, Hutton.

[audio:|titles=Feelgood Saturday 04 02 12 Keith Playell]

I was also joined this morning by Alicia Quispé-Flores, from the independent advocacy service BATIAS, a charity which empowers people with learning disabilities throughout south Essex. Alicia explained that a learning disability means that a person’s ability to learn new things is impaired, and that BATIAS helps people cope with a range of issues – from crisis situations involving housing or finance to learning new social skills or trying new activities – using three different styles of activity. One of these they call Citizen Advocacy, where a trained volunteer supports the client in a particular way, such as learning new skills or going out shopping. The need for BATIAS has never been greater, and they also need help with fundraising, with the first meeting of their new Fundraising Committee taking place at the Beehive in Grays on 29th February. If you’d like to offer yourself as a volunteer, with the opportunity to make new friends in the process; or you can help with fundraising;  or if you, or someone you know, could benefit from what BATIAS can offer, contact Alicia on 01375 389869. You can also follow BATIAS on twitter @BATIAS.

[audio:|titles=Feelgood Saturday 04 02 12 Alicia Quispé-Flores]
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Fast cars and new talent – Feelgood Saturday 28th January

Skidmarques‘ MD Keith Playell popped in again this morning, to share some of the exciting things already planned for their big Open Day to celebrate the company’s move to bigger premises. This will be something not to miss for anyone who loves cars – with a whole range on display, including vintage cars, a Ford GT and – if all goes to plan – AmD Technik’s VW Golf for this season’s Britiah Touring Car Championship. It’s not just about cars, though – there’ll also be a Giigly Pig hog roast, cupcake decorating for the children with the Cookery Angel, complimentary wine from Drinks of France, live music by Flaming Pie and a stand promting Business Network International, of which Keith is an enthusiastic member. It’s happening on Sunday 12th February at 2pm at Prospect Way in Hutton, and is free of charge. Keith is busy finalising some other attractions for the day, and will be back on next week’s show to tell us more!

[audio:|titles=Feelgood Saturday 28 01 12 Keith Playell]

Also this morning I chatted with Dan Schultz, organiser of Chelmsford’s Got Talent, along with Phoenix FM’s Elliot Smith, one of its hosts. Dan and Elliott talked about their inspiration for the competition when they visited a remote village in Zambia in 2009, following which their church – the Chelmsford Corps of the Salvation Army – raised £38,000 to buy a new ambulance for the Chikankata area. Action Africa, the charity set up to support the work in Zambia, will benefit from the contest, which is a great opportunity for people to showcase their talents in front of a live audience. It’s open to people of any age, you don’t have to live in Chelmsford and auditions are taking place next Saturday, with the live final a fortnight later. For more information, or to book tickets for the final, visit the website.

[audio:|titles=Dan Schultz and Elliot Smith]
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Pothole Watch

I chatted this morning with Keith Playell, Managing Director of Skidmarques, the tyre and wheel alignment specialists based in Hutton who sponsor our Events Guide. Skidmarques has just launched a new locally focused initiative called Pothole Watch, in which they’re looking for people to log the locations of potholes throughout the Phoenix FM coverage area. It would help if the latitude and longitude coordinates are given, and the website explains how to do find these. Keith explained that, if you’re unfortunate enough to have hit a pothole, an alignment check is important – which Skidmarques will carry out free of charge – and any readjustment that’s found to be necessary is likely to work out a lot cheaper than the cost of having to replace two front tyres through premature wear resulting from misalignment. Skidmarques is a business that prides itself on being involved in the community, and Keith briefly mentioned their plans for a big Open Day on 12th February to launch their move to a bigger workshop – he’ll be back on the show next week to reveal more!


[audio:|titles=Keith Playell]

My clues to this morning’s song that was Acceptable in the 80s – a UK top 40 hit single that you probably hadn’t heard in a while – were that the song could’ve been about a BBC Breakfast and Sunday Morning Live presenter, and that it was a UK one hit wonder for a group from the Netherlands.*

*Acceptable in the 80s was Susanna by Art Company

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Excellent stage and screen, all on our doorstep – Feelgood Saturday 14th January

We covered both films and theatre on this morning’s show, both of which are flourishing across Brentwood and Billericay. First up Jill Dimmock popped in from the Brentwood Arts Cinema Club to talk about their line-up for this year, which starts next Sunday with a French film from last year. They’ve got a great schedule planned for their monthly screenings at the United Reformed Church in New Road, including films by big name directors such as Stanley Kubrick and Roman Polanski, as well as one made just a couple of years ago that is set and was filmed in south Essex. For more information on the Club, including details of how to join, phone Jill on 01277 216712, or e-mail

[audio:|titles=Jill Dimmock]

I then welcomed two members of Billericay Operatic Society – Chairwoman Jane Martin and Honorary Secretary Mark Clements, who’s also one of the main performers in their latest production, taking place next month at Brentwood Theatre. On the Twentieth Century is a musical comedy set on board a train in 1930s America, and although it’s not that well known Jane told us that it won a number of Tony Awards when it was first performed in Broadway in the late 70s. There are rumours that it’s soon set to make a return to the New York stage, but there’s no need to travel far from home as – if the Society’s past performances are anything to go by – their production is sure to be great! Jane and Mark explained that Billericay Operatic Society is always keen to welcome new members; if you think it’s something you might like to get involved with contact Jane via

[audio:|titles=Billericay Operatic Society]
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A “P” please Bob… – Feelgood Saturday 7th January

It was sad this morning to hear the news that broadcasting legend Bob Holness had died. He’s probably best remembered for presenting the TV quiz Blockbusters in the 80s and early 90s, and of course there’s long been an urban myth that Bob played the saxophone on Gerry Rafferty’s Baker Street, but I shared my fondest memory of Bob as the time he met Lady One Question on the spoof gameshow Banzai. Bob was, for me and many people of my generation, a national treasure.

My friend Keith Rogers, who I’d not seen in quite a while, popped in this morning for a coffee, and we had a brief chat on air about his early career in radio. Keith was around in the days of the pirate ships of the 60s; he went on to work on Radio 1 as well as a number of commercial stations, including commercial radio in its early days in Essex. Keith was impressed with our set-up at Phoenix, particularly the way that we are so much at the heart of the local community – and he’s also great at making coffee!

My clues to this morning’s song that was Acceptable in the 80s – a UK top 40 hit single that you probably hadn’t heard in a while – were that this 1988 top 10 hit features Patsy Kensit on vocals, and the song includes the lyrics “take these dogs away from me before they, they bite.”*

*Acceptable in the 80s was I’m not scared by Eighth Wonder.

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Brentwood’s officially Fairtrade – Feelgood Saturday 31st December

Following last week’s announcement that Brentwood has been designated an official Fairtrade Town I chatted this morning with Caryl Kwei, whose local steering group have worked so hard over the past few years to encourage local residents, businesses and other organisations to help make sure the town meets the five goals set by the Fairtrade Foundation. Caryl also talked about Fairtrade Fortnight, which starts on 27 February, when they’ll be asking everyone to take a step for Fairtrade. If you support the idea of making sure that the people who produce the things we all buy every day get a better deal and you’d like to get actively involved with the local group, including Fairtrade Fortnight, give Caryl a call on 01277 226834, or e-mail Kim Anderson at the Council –

[audio:|titles=Feelgood Saturday 31 12 11 Caryl Kwei]

I’ve had a great time throughout 2011 meeting so many interesting people on the Feelgood Saturday, and if you’ve been one of them, thank you for taking the time to come in and share with the rest of Brentwood and Billericay. Hopefully there’s been something of interest to everyone – we’ve featured local charities, several of the local theatre and operatic groups, one or two local bands, local history and occasionally more serious subjects such as the layout at the A127/A176 interchange; we also played a part in helping reunite deaf cocker spaniel Molly with her owner after being stolen from her home in Ingatestone. If you’re involved with an organisation that you think people would like to know more about, or if you’re an individual with an interesting story to tell, please feel free to contact me – and you could be on the show in 2012! E-mail

Thank you so much for listening during 2011 – do tell your friends about the show and about the station, and have a very happy new year.

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Roll on summer! – Feelgood Saturday 24th December

This morning we heard that Brentwood had been named the fifth most desirable place to live in the UK, according to the Halifax Bank’s annual Quality of Life Survey, which looks at factors such as health, crime, jobs and housing. No placing in the top 30 for Billericay, though – I suggested that Brentwood and Billericay deserve to share top spot!

My clues to this morning’s song that was Acceptable in the 80s – a UK top 40 hit single that you probably hadn’t heard in a while – were that Calvin Harris had a hit in 2009 with a song by the same name, and that the song is a flashback to Christmas 1981.*

As an antedote to Christmas music, most of which is pretty dire, and to celebrate the fact that we’ve now passed the Winter Solstice, I played a few summer-sounding songs this morning. The nights are getting longer – roll on summer!

Have a great Christmas!

*I was extremely generous this morning and virtually gave the answer to the song that was Acceptable in the 80s in my clue – it was Flashback by Imagination.

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Why don’t you… – Feelgood Saturday 17th December

I promised not too many cheesy Christmas songs this morning, and think I kept my word. I did give East 17’s Stay another day an airing, but it doesn’t really mention Christmas, so I think I could get away with that!

1985 provided this morning’s song that was Acceptable in the 80s – a UK top 40 hit single that you probably hadn’t heard in a while. My clues were that it was a top 10 hit for Michael Jackson’s older brother, and that it includes the lyrics “I was crazy for you, you were crazy for me. How could something so right go so wrong?”*

*Acceptable in the 80s was Do what you do by Jermaine Jackson.

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A pet greyhound, Victorian Billericay and central heating – Feelgood Saturday 10th December

Carol Cannavan, editor of various publications for the plumbing and heating industry, and Danny Davis, Operations Manager with the Chartered Institute of Plumbing & Heating Engineering, popped in this morning to give some advice on how to prevent winter plumbing and heating disasters. Amongst other things they advised anyone who’s going away to check their insurance policy, which sometimes requires the system to be drained, and also how to find a reputable, qualified plumber. Danny explained that the CIPHE website has lots of useful information for consumers.

[audio:|titles=Feelgood Saturday 10 12 11 Carol Cannavan Danny Davis]

Also this morning I was joined by Chris Brewster, Curator of Billericay’s Cater Museum, and her lovely pet greyhound, Rocky. Chris explained how she and Rocky first came together via Clarks Farm Greyhound Rescue near Maldon, and she also talked about his work visiting a residential care home, being registered with Canine Concern. Rocky is so special that Chris has even written a series of children’s short stories about him, and you can get the latest collection, “Rocky Finds his Feet”, from the Cater Museum. Chris spoke very enthusiastically about the Museum, in particular their current Victorian Christmas Market display by the Billericay Miniatures Group, which has a backdrop of various Billericay landmarks.

[audio:|titles=Feelgood Saturday 10 12 11 Chris Brewster]
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Christmas angels, a friendly banker and a very long river – Feelgood Saturday 3rd December

This morning I enjoyed chatting with Hil Jennings and Steve Meacham, two members of a band called Amazi, about their song Christmas Angel. Hil explained how he was inspired to write the song after visiting Rwanda in 2008, when he saw first hand how some of the World’s poorest people live. All the profits from downloads of the song and CD sales are going towards the work of the RSVP Trust, a Christian charity involved with various projects in Africa and the UK. For details of how to buy the song visit their website. During our chat it became obvious that you wouldn’t want me on your pub quiz team…


Christmas Angel:[audio:|titles=Amazi – Christmas Angel] 

Amazing Grace:[audio:|titles=Amazi – Amazing Grace]

It was also great to meet Michelle Flynn, from Shenfield, who recently impressed a prestigious line up of judges to be awarded the title London’s Best Dressed Banker. As well as explaining how she won – beating the likes of Sir Mervyn King – Michelle described her fashion preferences, and gave a few tips on how to look good without breaking your own bank. With bankers not being the most popular people in society, Michelle said it was good to be involved with something that was so much fun.

[audio:|titles=Michelle Flynn]

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After the fire – Feelgood Saturday 26th November

It was back to 1985 for this morning’s song that was Acceptable in the 80s – a UK top 40 hit single that you probably hadn’t heard in a while. My clues were that before going solo this R&B artist had known all about three of the classical elements, and that the song contains ancient tales of hidden Chinese love.*

Despite believing that the run up to Christams shouldn’t start before December I did play a new Christmas song, by a band called Amazi, proceeds from which are going to the RSVP Trust’s clean water projects in Africa. Hil Jennings and Steve Meacham from the band will be joining me on next week’s Feelgood Saturday to talk about Christmas Angel and the work of RSVP.

Also on next week’s show we’ll be talking about fashion, with someone who knows all about what and what not to wear – Michelle Flynn from Shenfield was recently awarded the title London’s Best Dressed Banker, beating some big names including Bank of England Governor Sir Mervyn King!

*The three classical elements in my clue to the Acceptable in the 80s artist were Earth, Wind and Fire, the band of which Philip Bailey had been a member; and ancient tales of hidden Chinese love is a line from his beautiful song, Walking on the Chinese Wall.

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If only every winter’s day could be like this – Feelgood Saturday 19th November

 A beautiful sunny morning across Brentwood and Billericay, and a bit of a smooth feel to some of the music, including this morning’s song that was Acceptable in the 80s – a UK top 40 hit single that you probably hadn’t heard in a while. My clues were that it was a 1986 R&B hit that was covered in 1991 by Kenny Thomas, and that it includes the lyrics “Candles they light the dark; now I see how lovely the feelings are”.*

*Acceptable in the 80s was Tender love by the Force MDs.

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Around the Horn – Feelgood Saturday 12th November

It was a laid back show this morning, packed with great songs, ranging from Nero to Mike & the Mechanics. Amongst them was another song that was Acceptable in the 80s – a UK top 40 hit single that you probably hadn’t heard in a while. My clues were that  this group’s name would suggest that they had a message to get across, and that the song  was one of only 3 top 40 hits for this band, who were signed to the prolific record producer Trevor Horn.*

*Acceptable in the 80s was Duel by German band Propaganda, on the label of the musical giant behind Yes, Buggles and Art of Noise, who went on to produce for some of the biggest artists of the past 30 years – such as ABC, Simple Minds and the Pet Shop Boys.

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Free opera and a play for Armistice Day – Feelgood Saturday 5th November

Chairman of Hutton and Shenfield Choral Society, Richard Randall, joined me this morning to talk about A Night at the Opera next Saturday evening at Brentwood International Centre. The Society is keen to develop a section for young people, and to encourage younger people to experience opera – perhaps for the first time – they’re giving away tickets for next week’s concert to anyone under 30! To reserve your tickets e-mail, but get in quick, as once they’re gone they are gone. If you’d like to talk to Richard about getting involved with HSCS – whatever your age – phone 01245 474242.

[audio:|titles=Richard Randall HSCS]

I also chatted with Penny Betteridge, co-founder of the Thalian Theatre Group based in Basildon and director of their production next week of The Accrington Pals. Penny explained that the play is based on the true story of a volunteer batallion formed in response to Lord Kitchener’s somewhat misguided appeal at the outbreak of World War One, focusing particularly on the lives of the women left behind in Lancashire. Penny also talked about the history of the Thalians, and said that they’re always keen to welcome new members – particularly girls over 16. To contact Penny or her co-founder, husband Mike, phone 01268 417854.

[audio:|titles=Penny Betteridge Thalian Theatre Group]
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Afraid of emotional commitment? – Feelgood Saturday 29th October

It was great to be joined this morning by Laurie Edmonds, Social Media Manager of the Brentwood Operatic Society. Laurie spoke about BOS’ performance next week of Stephen Sondheim’s Company, which centres around 35 year old Bobby, a man with no emotional commitments who spends his birthday reviewing the relationships of his married acquaintances and his girlfriends. Laurie explained that Company is a challenging production in all sorts of ways, which makes it all the more special for leading actor Sam Gilmore-Cousins and Phoenix FM’s former Breakfast presenter Emma Sweeney – as it’s her directorial debut! Company is on from Wednesday to Saturday (2nd-5th November) at Brentwood Theatre, and based on past BOS performances that I’ve been to I’ve no doubt they’ll pull it off superbly. You can get tickets for Company from the Brentwood Theatre Box Office  on 01277 200305; or, until midnight on Sunday, directly from BOS, with a £1 saving off the Threatre booking fee.  Tickets may also be available on the door, but these will be subject to availability.

Laurie also talked about the Society’s youth division, BOSSY, and their forthcoming version of Little Shop of Horrors, as well as a very special cabaret that they’re planning for the spring. If you’d like to talk to BOS about getting involved you can e-mail, and you can follow all their latest news via Facebook, Twitter and the Society’s Blog.

My clues to this morning’s Acceptable in the 80s top 40 single that you probably hadn’t heard in a while were that this band believed that talk is cheap by satellite, and this was their last hit single in both the USA and the UK.*

*Acceptable in the 80s was Electric Light Orchestra’s Calling America.

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Billericay’s Community Archive and Brentwood’s PHAB – Feelgood Saturday 22nd October

I chatted this morning with Sylvia Kent and Jim Devlin who were at Billericay Library with a display by the Billericay Community Archive. The Archive has made great progress since it was launched last year, but Jim explained that they’re always pleased to receive new material – photos, memorabilia and memories of all sorts of Billericay or any of the villages and towns nearby that look to Billericay as a focal point.

[audio:|titles=Feelgood Saturday 22 10 11 Billericay Community Archive]

I also chatted with Gordon Dimmock, Chairman of Brentwood Senior PHAB, about the history and ethos of PHAB nationally and, in particular, the local Club, which always welcomes new members. The Club meets every other Monday evening between 7.30 and 9.30 either at the Walter Boyce Centre on Warley Hill, or at a variety of other venues in the Brentwood area. The PHAB motto is “Making more of life together”, and if you’d like to join in with their variety of social activities Gordon would be delighted to hear from you – phone him on 01277 216712 or e-mail I also reminded Gordon about how Phoenix FM supported PHAB when we ran our first trial broadcast to help raise funds for their minibus, back in the winter of 1996/97!

[audio:|titles=Feelgood Saturday 22 10 11 Gordon Dimmock PHAB]
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Flashback to the 80s – Feelgood Saturday 15th October

Elliot and I chatted a bit about the Rugby World Cup this morning, wondering to what extent people in England have been getting behind Wales, and also how much sport can really lift the mood of a nation – bearing in mind the earthquake that hit Christchurch last year and New Zealand’s bid for the final.

Tomorrow evening on Phoenix FM Gary Casserly will be playing the “most naff song of the 70s”, based on votes from a shortlist of 12 songs – and we mulled over which we thought were the worst. Elliot picked “There’s no-one quite like Grandma” and I went for “No charge” – put your own vote in on Gary’s showpage

We also played another two songs that were Acceptable in the 80s – UK top 40 hit singles that you probably haven’t heard in a while. My clues to the first were that this song includes the lyrics “They can remember quiet sides of midnight; they can remember attraction of fame”, and that this Scottish band is still alive and kicking. For the second song I said that the album from which it came gives its name to one of our long-running popular programmes on PFM, and that the song is a flashback to 1981.*

*Acceptable in the 80s were Glittering Prize by Simple Minds and Imagination’s Body Talk, “Alive and kicking” and “Flashback” both referring to later songs.

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Where did Strike get that amazing piano riff? – Feelgood Saturday 8th October

I played two songs this morning that were Acceptable in the 80s – UK top 40 hit singles that you probably haven’t heard in a while. My clues to the first were that this 1986 one hit wonder contains the lyrics: “If I gave you my soul – For a piece of your mind – Would you carry me with you – To the far edge of time?”, and that the band might have named themselves Jenny Wren; the second song was a hit in 1985 for a jazz funk band who had a string of hits throughout the 80s and into the 90s, with the clue that the song contains a piano riff that was sampled in the 90s by Strike on their song I have peace.*

[audio:|titles=Strike – I have peace (piano riff)]

*Acceptable in the 80s were Leaving my now by Level 42 and Cock’ Robin’s The promise you made.

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The most dangerous stretch of road in Essex? – Feelgood Saturday 1st October

I was joined this morning by Alfie Swan, proprietor of Billericay’s BDC Driving School, to discuss the A127/A176 interchange in the Noak Hill Road and Upper Mayne area, near the Hollywood-style “Basildon” sign. Since the layout was redesigned earlier this year this has attracted an enomous amount of opposition from local people who claim that the slip roads off the A127 are dangerous, including Alfie, who told us why. I also read a selection of listeners’ e-mails, all of which supported Alfie’s view concerning the interchange; in fact, I haven’t received a single message from anyone who thinks that the layout of the roads is safe.

[audio:|titles=Feelgood Saturday 01 10 11 Alfie Swan BDC Driving School]I had invited Essex County Council, the Highway Authority responsible for the intersection, to appear on the programme, but they declined the invitation. They did, however, issue a statement: 

“The design and construction of the left slip conforms to the Design Manual for Roads and Bridges the basis on which all highway schemes are designed and constructed.  Also as standard practice with all newly constructed schemes, an independent Road Safety Audit was carried out on the completed layout. Based on feedback received from members of the public, the County Council carried out a second audit, this time with Essex Police present, where again all parties were content that the scheme conformed to the national Design Criteria for a new layout of this nature.  A recommendation from the police suggested to this an additional give-way sign be installed to raise awareness of the change in layout, this has been done. The junction will continue to be monitored whilst drivers adapt to the changes.”

Following receipt of the statement I asked the Council for clarification of some points, including the extent and nature of the ongoing monitoring, how many representations they’ve received about this and what they understand to be the reason for the concerns raised by the public. Given the extent of feeling about this, I also asked the Council for the details of an official who would be able to advise people on the correct way to use the interchange. In response to these and other questions the Council sent me what they described as “additional points for clarification”:

•” The design and construction of the left slip conforms to the Design Manual for Roads and Bridges the basis on which all highway schemes are designed and constructed.

• As standard practice with all newly constructed schemes, an independent Road Safety Audit was carried out on the completed layout.

• Subsequent to feedback received from members of the public, the County Council carried out a second audit, this time with Essex Police present, where again all parties were content that the scheme conformed to the national Design Criteria for a new layout of this nature. However it was suggested by the Police representative that a pair of additional give-way signs be installed to raise awareness of the change in layout. These were provided.

• The angle between the approach traffic and the give way lines is greater than the minimum entry angle of 20 degrees stated in the national design criteria. This ensures that all road users (including HGV and left hand drive vehicles) obtain the optimum view of the preceding carriageway/junction by use of wing mirrors.

• The junction will continue to be monitored whilst drivers adapt to the changes.”

You can judge for yourself whether you feel these additional points add very much to the initial statement.

I also chatted this morning with Tracey Alexandrou, a personal trainer and fitness instructor who’s organising the Lactic Fallout next month at the Secret Nuclear Bunker near Kelvedon Hatch, following the success earlier this year of the Lactic Rush. Tracey made the Fallout – which is an 8 mile obstacle race – sound like a lot of fun; so much so that Phoenix FM’s Helen Bealey is thinking about taking part! If you’d like to join Helen and Rush winner Rocket Ronnie O’Sullivan you don’t need to be as fit as Tracey, who’s running a marathon later this month across the Seven Sisters of the South Downs![audio:|titles=Feelgood Saturday 01 10 11 Tracey Alexandrou Lactic Fallout]

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Hearing only bad news on the radio… – Feelgood Saturday 24th September

Elliot caught up live this morning with the Martyr’s Walk taking place in the centre of Brentwood to commemorate the final days and hours of William Hunter, the “Boy Martyr” who organiser of the walk Mark Reed spoke about on last week’s show.

We also played two songs this morning that were Acceptable in the 80s – UK top 40 hit singles that you probably haven’t heard in a while. My clues to the first one were that despite releasing 7 albums, this political song was the band’s only top 40 single, and they weren’t hearing any good news on the radio; the other song, from 1989, was a medley of two songs by 70s rockers Peter Frampton and Lynyrd Skynyrd, one of which was covered again in 1994 by Big Mountain.*

*Acceptable in the 80s were Radio Africa by Latin Quarter and Will to Power’s Baby I love your way/Freebird.

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Human trafficking and Brentwood’s boy martyr – Feelgood Saturday 17th September

Elliot and I were joined this morning by Sarah Bell and Garry Smith, who are launching a new group next week to help the fight against human trafficking. Active Communities against Trafficking is a network of groups under the umbrella organisation Stop the Traffik, and as the news of the police raid in Bedfordshire earlier this week highlighted, it’s not just the bigger cities where people – normally youngsters – have been coerced into working against their will. Sarah and Garry gave examples of a variety of situations where this could be happening within our own communities, ways to spot it and what you should do if you suspect that something’s not right.

Sarah and Garry also gave some useful contact numbers:

  • NSPCC Child Trafficking Advice & Information Line – 0800 800 5000
  • Child Social Services – 0845 603 7634
  • Stop UK’s Trafficking Helpline – 0844 800 3314
  • Crimestoppers – 0800 555 111

The launch meeting of the new Chelmsford ACT group is next Wednesday eveing at Costa Coffee in the Meadows Shopping Centre, starting at 7pm. To contact the group e-mail Even if you can’t join the group, you can find other ways to show your support in the fight against trafficking at Heaven’s Attic.

[audio:|titles=Stop the Traffik]

We also chatted with Brentwood Councillor Mark Reed, who’s organising the Martyr’s Walk next Saturday, when local theatre group DOT Productions will be telling the story of William Hunter. Everyone’s invited to go along and possibly join in and learn more about William and in particular his last weeks and hours – and it might help you decide whether you think he was indeed a Martyr – or perhaps Misguided? Mark and I also paid brief tribute to Ernie Clark, founder with his late wife Paula of the Hopefield Animal Sanctuary, who passed away last weekend.

[audio:|titles=William Hunter]

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Remembering 9/11 – Feelgood Saturday 10th September

This morning we invited you to share your memories of 9/11 – where you were when you heard the news, how the events of that day affected you personally and how you think the World has changed over the past 10 years. Thank you so much to everyone who took the trouble to get in touch – we were quite overwhelmed with so many moving recollections and reflections, which you can listen to again:

[audio:|titles=Phoenix 10 09 11 Memories of 9 11]

Someone who got in touch this morning was Paul Coogan, a singer/songwriter from Brentwood who today released a charity single to commemrate the tenth anniversary of the terror attacks. All profits from the sale of the single, which features alternative mixes of the song “Unnatural disaster”, will go to The FealGood Foundation, an organisation that seeks to spread awareness about the catastrophic health effects on 9/11 First Responders, as well as to help those who are in need of financial support as a result of 9/11 related illness or injury. You can listen to excerpts of the song at Paul’s website.

We also heard this morning from Darren Couchman, North Essex Area Volunteer Manager for Cancer Research UK, about the Thorndon Stride walk for breast cancer taking place in Thorndon Country Park on 9th October. To register visit the website, or phone 08701 60 20 40.

Also, Elliot told us about his friend Dan Schultz, who’s passionate about issues affecting young people and is hoping to break into TV presenting via Channel 4’s Battlefront. To support Dan just e-mail your name to

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Have you seen Molly? – Feelgood Saturday 3rd September

I chatted this morning with Jayne Hayes, founder of an organisation called DogLost which has helped reunite an amazing 11,000 missing and stolen dogs which their owners in just 8 years. DogLost is run entirely by volunteers, and it’s something that Jayne clearly devotes a phenominal amount of time to. Jayne told us the sad story of Molly, a chocolate coloured Cocker Spaniel, who was stolen last Monday whilst being walked on farmland in Padhams Green near Mountnessing by thieves in a grey coloured van which then sped off. Molly also suffers from a neurological disorder which leaves her with a tilted head (as well as being deaf) and she needs constant monitoring and careful care. Her owner is obviously absolutely devastated and extremely worried, and  DogLost is assisting her in her search and quest to be reunited with Molly. If you think you may have seen Molly you can get in touch with DogWatch, or phone her owner, Jackie Nixon, directly on 07989 978773.

[audio:|titles=Feelgood Saturday 03 09 11 DogLost]

Feelgood Saturday 03 09 11 DogLost

We played two songs this morning that were Acceptable in the 80s – UK top 40 hit singles that you probably haven’t heard in a while. The first was a song from Billy Idol’s 1983 album Rebel Yell, which includes its title in French in the background – “Les yeax sans visage” – Eyes without a face. The second song was a 1986 hit for It Bites, who – despite being formed in the early 80s and are still going some 30 years later (albeit with a changed line-up) – have had just one top 40 hit single, Calling all the heroes.

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Acceptable in the 80s – Feelgood Saturday 27th August

One of Phoenix FM’s newest voices, Elliot Smith, joined me this morning, and did a great job reading the Events Guide and generally helping me keep the show on the straight and narrow!

Bank Holiday Monday there’s a Family Fun Day in Billericay to raise funds for Cancer Research UK, and I had a chat with the organiser, Alex Chambers.

I also talked to Caryl Kwei, of the Brentwood Fairtrade Group, who were offering samples of Fairtrade products at Brentwood Theatre, including a new range of chilled ready meals. Caryl also gave an update on the Group’s application to win Fairtrade Town status for Brentwood.

I started a new feature this morning, inspired by the thought of how many songs from the decade of big hair and loads-a-money have been all but forgotten, even though they may have been big hits at the time. Acceptable in the 80s is an opportunity to dig out some of those songs that’ll either make you think, “wow – I haven’t heard that in ages!” or, particularly if you weren’t around at the time, “I can’t believe people used to listen to this!” This morning’s revived song was For America, a 1986 top 10 hit single for Red Box, who had only one other UK hit single, Lean on me. If you’ve any ideas of 80s songs you’ve not heard in ages – whether or not they’ve stood the test of time – let me know. All I ask is that they made the UK top 40 singles chart some time in the 80s – and that they’re not songs you tend to hear all the time.

My cryptic Where am I? clue to a location somewhere in our area was “this water trench was dug by a comparatively young person,” with the hint to think of an industrial park near South Weald.*

* The water trench in my Where am I? clue is a way of describing a ditch, and a young person is a child. Comparatively refers to the usual practice of adding the letters “er” to an adjective; in this case you add “er” to the noun “child” – then the word ditch – to give Childerditch!

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Berserk not just around Hylands Park! Feelgood Saturday 20th August

My clue to this morning’s Stuck in a moment challenge was that this song did what its title suggested*:

[audio:|titles=Stuck in a moment]

My cryptic Where am I? clue to a location somewhere in our area was “berserk drivers toot around here,” with the hint that this place often features in our travel news!*

*The answer to Stuck in a moment was 2009 chart topper Number one by Tinchy Stryder and N-Dubz, who are on stage at the V Festival tomorrow. Drivers tooting around here in my Where am I? clue referred to a roundabout; it also gave a clue that it was an anagram you were looking for, the key words being “berserk” and “toot”. Unscrambling the letters in those two words gave Brook Street – hence the answer, the Brook Street Roundabout!

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Feelgood Saturday – 13 August 2011

It was fun sitting in for Alan Johnson on the Feelgood Saturday show this last weekend. Rain, wind and generally rubbish it was on the outside, but in the studio we did our best to keep Alan’s feelgood flavour going this week. Our new reporter Elliot Smith read the news and Events for the week ahead, we devised a somewhat tame cryptic clue for Alan’s ‘Where am I’ quiz, which involved changing a word to a similar one, putting one backwards and translating one into Spanish. And well done John for texting in with the correct answer which was the Bay Tree Centre, hardly the most challenging landmark in the series!
We also were joined by Feelgod Saturday friend, Sylvia Kent, who brought with her local writer and photographer Bart Kent (and his family), who spoke of his exhibition of pictures that you can see through the month of August in the Brentwood Library.
Click here to hear the ‘Where am I’ quiz clues and our chat with Bart Kent.
Alan will be back with you next Saturday morning at 10am

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Cars and girls and a beatboxing Councillor – Feelgood Saturday 6th August

I chatted this morning with Keith Playell from Skidmarques about their Ladies’ Motoring Event next Wednesday. Keith explained the idea behind the evening, and also gave some useful tips for the guys as well as the girls on how to keep our tyres safe. He also described a very exciting prize on offer at the Event – but it’s just for the ladies…!

[audio:|titles=Feelgood Saturday 06 08 11 Keith Playell Skidmarques]

I was also joined by Brentwood Councillor Mark Reed, talking about the Brentwood SX Urban Games taking place tomorrow at King George’s Playing Field. This is more than just sport, and to demonstrate Mark gave an excellent beatbox demonstration!

[audio:|titles=Feelgood Saturday 06 08 11 Mark Reed SX Urban Games]

My cryptic Where am I? clue to a location somewhere in our area was “Weighing it all up, these girls never ever worship anywhere else,” with the hint that the girls in question know where it’s at.*

* The reference in my Stuck in a moment clue to worship led to a church; “Never ever” and “I know where it’s at” are both names of songs by girl band All Saints, leading to All Saints Church. Finally, weighing it all up is another way of saying to take stock; put all that together and you get to All Saints Church in Stock!

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Victorian Billericay – Feelgood Saturday 30th July

We heard today from prolific local author and historian Frances Clamp talking recently on Bygones about the 19th century workhouse in Billericay:


This morning’s Stuck in a moment clue was that this song has been covered by Phil Collins*:

[audio:|titles=Stuck in a moment 39a]

My cryptic Where am I? clue to a location somewhere in our area was “they’re said to have heard anthems about this place,” with the hint that it’s a village.*

*The answer to Stuck in a moment was Cyndi Lauper’s True colours. The word “about” in my Where am I? clue suggested an anagram; unscramble the letters in “heard” and “anthems” to get to Ramsden Heath!

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Even more wind than usual! Feelgood Saturday 23rd July

My clue to this morning’s Stuck in a moment challenge was that this artist’s current album features previously released songs*:

[audio:] My cryptic Where am I? clue to a location somewhere in our area was the question “could this be the home of a windy television programme?”, with the hint to think of something you might do for a baby.*

*The answer to Stuck in a moment was Babooshka by Kate Bush, from her 1980 album Never for Ever. The wind in my Where am I? clue was a burp, the TV programme being Harry Hill’s TV Burp – giving the answer as Harold Hill!

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The connection between Madness, a 16th century composer and our area – Feelgood Saturday 16th July

We heard this morning from prolific local author and historian Frances Clamp talking last week on Bygones about the history of the St Andrews Centre in Billericay:


This morning’s Stuck in a moment clue was the question, “Were they headed up by Kid Creole?”*:


My cryptic Where am I? clue to a location somewhere in our area was “the Nutty Boys are snooty about this place,” with the hint that it was home to a 16th century composer.*

*The answer to Stuck in a moment was Give it up by KC & the Sunshine Band, Kid Creole being a clue to the initials KC, the band being named after its founder Harry Wayne Casey. The Nutty Boys in my Where am I? clue were Madness; an anagram of MADNESS and SNOOTY gave the answer – Stondon Massey, home in his latter years to composer William Byrd.

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Brentwood Matters!

You can now listen to interviews from the day here:

[audio:|titles=Brentwood Matters interviews]

A number of local organisations came together today for the Essex Watch and Community Safety Partnership Brentwood Matters celebration of “community cohesion” in front of the Baytree Centre. Amongst the participants we featured during the Feelgood Saturday and throughout the afternoon were the Brentwood Buddhists, Essex County Council Trading Standards, Essex Fire & Rescue Service and the Rotary Club of Brentwood.

Phoenix FM’s Ed Wellman did an excellent job providing the music and entertainment for the event itself throughout the day – and a big thank you to all our listeners who took the time to come along and say hello!

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Feelgood Saturday 2nd July

I was joined this morning by George Adey, who shares his insights in George’s World every fortnight on Michelle Ward’s Eat my Lunch, along with Andrew, a fellow member of Brentwood’s Trinity Church, to talk about the On the Move  event that they and other local churches were taking part in by the Chapel ruins:

[audio:|titles=Feelgood Saturday 02 07 11 On the Move]

L-R Gaynor, Max, Pasha, Nick, Vlada, Dasha, Pippa & David

It was also a pleasure this morning to meet four of the dozen children from Ukraine currently on holiday with families in Essex organised by the Billericay Link of Chernobyl Children’s Life Line. Dasha, Vlada, Pasha and Max all spoke in brilliant English about some of the things they’ve been getting up to; and their hosts, Gaynor, Pippa and Nick, talked about things from their perspective. Chairman of the Link, David Gladstone, said that they’re always looking for people to consider hosting children in future years; David can be contacted on 01277 653462:[audio:|titles=Feelgood Saturday 02 07 11 BLCCLL]

I also had a brief chat with Olga Ruocco of the Thalian Theatre Group, who told us about their current production at the Towngate Theatre, Second from Last in the Sack Race. Olga also mentioned their next production, the play The Accrington Pals, for which they’re looking for new members to audition – to contact the group, which is based in Basildon, e-mail

[audio:|titles=Feelgood Saturday 02 07 11 Olga Ruocco]
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Feelgood Saturday 25th June

I had a very lively and interesting chat this morning with Colin Freeman, from Essex Watch and Neighbourhood Watch, who, as members of the Brentwood Community Safety Partnership, are organising a celebration of community cohesion on 9th July in  in front of the Baytree Centre. Neighbourhood Matters is going to be an opportunity for various statutory bodies as well as voluntary organisations serving the Brentwood community to come together and promote the ethos of neighbourhood awareness, encouraging everyone to look out for each other.

To find out more aboout the event, which is sponsored by Phoenix FM, contact Colin on 01279 621862 or at

[audio:|titles=Feelgood Saturday 25 06 11 Community Awareness Colin Freeman]

This morning’s Stuck in a moment clue was that this song was that this could’ve been a song about the Fab Four*:

[audio:|titles=Stuck in a moment 36a]

*The answer to Stuck in a moment was Fireflies by Owl City, a firefly being a type of beetle.

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Feelgood Saturday 18th June

I was joined this morning by former England & Essex bowler, John Lever MBE, Player Manager of the Lashings World XI, along with Brentwood Cricket Club Chairman Paul Webb. Dave Turner also dropped in from the Commentary Box and we chatted about next Friday’s 35-over match between the Brentwood Buccaneers and the Lashings World XI:

[audio:|titles=Feelgood Saturday 18 06 11 John Lever Paul Webb]

My cryptic Where am I? clue to a location somewhere in our area was “the ancient pipe did have a big puncture,” with the hint that this is one of the many beautiful villages in our area.*

*Where am I? was Great Burstead, the pipe in question being a water pipe, and the past tense of burst – in ancient or archaic English – being bursted.

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Feelgood Saturday 11th June

I chatted this morning with Jean Wilson, Chairman of Brentwood Operatic Society. Jean talked about their forthcoming production of Guys & Dolls at Brentwood Theatre, about how they’re always pleased to talk to anyone who thinks they might like to get involved and she also outlined the Society’s programme right through to next year!

[audio:|titles=Feelgood Saturday 11 06 11 Jean Wilson]

This morning’s Stuck in a moment clue was that this song was a collaboration between two legends of British rock music*:

[audio:|titles=Stuck in a moment 35a]

*The answer to Stuck in a moment was Under Pressure by Queen & David Bowie.

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Feelgood Saturday 4th June

This morning’s Stuck in a moment clue was that this late 70s song was inspired by the Troubles in Northern Ireland*:

[audio:|titles=Stuck in a moment 34a]

My cryptic Where am I? clue to a location somewhere in our area was “be careful replacing l’article defini,” with the hint that it’s in the south of our area.

*The answer to Stuck in a moment was Oliver’s Army by Elvis Costello & the Attractions, which Costello wrote after a visit he made to Belfast. Where am I? was Warley Place.

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Feelgood Saturday 28th May

We heard this morning from prolific local author and historian Frances Clamp talking recently on Scott Ross’ Tuesday afternoon Bygones about the shooting down during the First World War of a German Zeppelin airship near Green Farm Lane in Billericay. Frances has a wealth of knowledge of the history of our area and her chats with Scott between 2 and 3 every Tuesday afternoon always make for a fascinating listen!

[audio:|titles=FC7 Bygones 26 04 11 Billericay Zeppelin]

This morning’s Stuck in a moment clue was that this R&B singer was begging for another chance*:

[audio:|titles=Stuck in a moment 33a]

My cryptic Where am I? clue to a location somewhere in our area was “the Roman twin finds refuge here,” with the hint that the clue is connected with mythology.*

*The answer to Stuck in a moment was Jason Derulo’s Watcha say?. Where am I? was the Remus Memorial Horse Sanctuary at Buttsbury, Romulus and Remus being said to have been the founders of ancient Rome.

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Feelgood Saturday 21st May

I was joined this morning by Brentwood based personal trainer Gabby Clarke, who spoke passionately about her understanding of the relationships between a healthy mind and a healthy body. We also chatted about her regular Prams in the Park groups for new Mums. You can contact Gabby at

[audio:|titles=Feelgood Saturday 21 05 11 Gabby Clarke]

I also chatted with Wendi and Lucy from the Ad Hoc Players Theatre Club, who are putting on a play next month at Brentwood Theatre about the issues raised from an increasingly ageing population. In particular, Really Old, Like Forty Five tackles alzheimer’s, with a donation being made from the ticket sales to the Alzheimer’s Society. The group always welcome new members, behind the scenes and on stage, and all they ask is enthusiasm!

[audio:|titles=Feelgood Saturday 21 05 11 Ad Hoc Players]
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Feelgood Saturday 14th May

I had a chat this morning with Sylvia Kent, a governor of Billeriacy’s Cater Museum, about their spring garden day. Sylvia said the museum always makes for a great visit, and talked about some of the excellent things they have on display all year round:

[audio:|titles=Feelgood Saturday 14 05 11 Cater Museum]

This morning’s Stuck in a moment clue was that the going was sometimes tough for this R&B singer*:

[audio:|titles=Stuck in a moment 32a]

My cryptic Where am I? clue to a location somewhere in our area was “M People singer condemns this village.”*

*The answer to Stuck in a moment was Caribbean Queen by Billy Ocean, who grew up in Romford. Where am I? was Ramsden Heath, an anagram of Heather damns!

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Feelgood Saturday 7th May

This morning’s Stuck in a moment clue was that the title of this song is a commonly used text abbreviation*:

[audio:|titles=Stuck in a moment 31a]

My cryptic Where am I? clue to a location somewhere in our area was “the primulas have a fine view of London up here,” with the hint that there’s a connection with Blur.

*The answer to Stuck in a moment was OMG by Usher featuring Where am I? was Primrose Hill in Brentwood, primroses being part of the primula family, and the video to Blur’s song For tomorrow having been made on the Primrose Hill in North West London.

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Feelgood Saturday 30th April – Frontline – promoting inclusion for all

It was a pleasure this morning to be joined by Kelly and Jo from Frontline Partnership, an organisation based in Brentwood which promotes inclusion and supports people with learning disabilities and high support needs to live full and productive lives. We barely scratched the surface of what they do as they’ve got loads of things going on, so if you’d like to get involved in any capacity you’re bound to fit in somewhere! For general enquiries phone 01277 218902, or for the HoursWorth supported employment scheme 01277 233889.

[audio:|titles=Feelgood Saturday 30 04 11 Frontline Kelly Jo]

My Stuck in a moment clue was that Steve Robertson has been known to play this song on his 90s show Do You Remember the First Time?*:

[audio:|titles=Stuck in a moment 30a]

*The answer to Stuck in a moment was You’re not alone by Olive.

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Feelgood Saturday 23rd April – Morris Men and the Mayor

I had a brief chat this morning with Ken Smith, one of Billericay’s Mayflower Morris Men, about their St George’s Day celebrations. Ken said that they’re always keen to welcome new members – although, in keeping with tradition, no ladies! Ken’s number is 07941 319988.

[audio:|titles=Ken Smith Mayflower Morris Men]

I was also joined by the Worshipful the Mayor of Brentwood, Councillor David Tee, who talked about his lifelong associations with the town and what it means to have been able to serve as its “most important person”.

[audio:|titles=Feelgood Saturday 23 04 11 Cllr David Tee Mayor of Brentwood]

My Stuck in a moment clue was that Jamelia had a top 10 hit with a song with the same name 21 years later*:

[audio:|titles=Stuck in a moment]

*The answer to Stuck in a moment was Something about you by Level 42.

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Feelgood Saturday 16th April – Back to the 50s

I was joined this morning by Julie Jive & the Bigshots, a 5 piece band from Essex who perform swinging, rocking and jiving music from the 1950s. They did three songs live, and also talked about their gig in Wickford on 30th April – which is absolutely free! Julie and the guys are a great bunch of people, and we had a lot of fun:

[audio:|titles=Feelgood Saturday 16 04 11 Julie Jive and the Bigshots]

My Stuck in a moment clue was that this song was a collaboration, which helped revive the career of one of the artists involved*:

[audio:|titles=Stuck in a moment 28a]

My cryptic Where am I? clue to a location somewhere in our area was “The teddybears have a woody snore.”*

*The answer to Stuck in a moment was What have I done to deserve this? by the Pet Shop Boys & Dusty Springfield. Where am I? was Norsey Wood.

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Feelgood Saturday 9th April

This morning’s Stuck in a moment clue was that this song was based on a mash-up of two others, one of which was by this artist*:

[audio:|titles=Stuck in a moment 29a]

My cryptic Where am I? clue to a location somewhere in our area was “the inquiry had a good innings.”*

*The answer to Stuck in a moment was Toca’s Miracle by Fragma, which was based on their debut top 20 hit Toca me and CoCo’s I need a miracle. Where am I? was Hutton Cricket Club.

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Feelgood Saturday 2nd April – Looking forward to Sunday night!

Everyone at Phoenix FM is looking forward to our latest Fundraiser tomorrow night at Brentwood Theatre – the last one was a really good night, and this one promises to be too!

Whilst out I’ll be recording Louis Theroux’ latest BBC2 documentary, when he makes a return visit to “the most hated family in America” – despite the fact that after his first programme 5 years ago one member of the ultra-strict Westboro’ Baptist Church branded him “one of the chief workers of iniquity in the whole history of man!” Promises to be must-see TV…

My clue to the Stuck in a moment quiz was that this song caused conflict with the Vatican*:

[audio:|titles=Stuck in a moment 26a]

My cryptic Where am I? clue to a location somewhere in our area was “hanging around here these days is different from what it was 400 years ago.”*

*The answer to Stuck in a moment was Madonna’s Papa don’t preach. Where am I? was Gallows Corner.

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Feelgood Saturday 26th March – Happy Birthday to Us!

We’re all in party mood today, celebrating Phoenix FM’s 4th birthday – which was actually on Wednesday. Amongst other famous people we share our birthday with is 4 minute mile runner Roger Bannister, who was 82, and Hollywood legend Joan Crawford, who would’ve been 107. It was also the 58th birthday of soul diva Chaka Khan, which gave a good reason to dig out I feel for you!

Prolific local author and historian Frances Clamp took us back to a time pre-Joan Crawford, with a fascinating look at some archeologocal finds linking Billericay with the Bronze Age. Frances joins Scott Ross every Tuesday afternoon on Phoenix FM with Bygones.

My clue to the Stuck in a moment quiz was that this song was this artist’s first top 40 hit single, exactly a year ago*:

[audio:|titles=Stuck in a moment]

My cryptic Where am I? clue to a location somewhere in our area was “Go the way of the Great King for an education.”*

*The answer to Stuck in a moment was Starry eyed by Ellie Goulding. Where am I? was Shenfield High School, in Alexander Lane – the King in question being Alexander the Great!

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Feelgood Saturday 19th March – Lactic Rush

This morning I chatted with Tracey Alexandrou, organiser of the Lactic Rush taking place at the Secret Nuclear Bunker near Kelvedon Hatch on 15th May. Tracey, who’s a personal fitness trainer, has designed and tested an 8-mile course through bogs, lakes and other obstacles, and she explained that you don’t need to be super-fit to take part. It’s in aid of Help for Heroes, and you can also get people to sponsor you for your chosen charity if you wish. Tracey said that it’ll be a great day out for the whole family, even for those not taking part, and she also told us about a much loved Essex celebrity who’s already got his name down! To find out more, or if you’d like to act as a marshal on the day, visit or phone Tracey on 07792 011817. Listen again here:


My clue to the Stuck in a moment quiz was that this song was nominated for a Grammy award in the category “best female pop vocal performance”*:


My cryptic Where am I? clue to a location somewhere in our area was the question “Did the Home Guard Sergeant own a shop here?”, with the hint that this place was the scene of a massive fire just over a hundred years ago.*

*The answer to Stuck in a moment was Oops! I did it again by Britney Spears. Where am I? was Wilson’s Corner, the Sergeant being Dad’s Army’s Wilson, and the shop being Wilson’s Department Store, which was destroyed in a blaze in 1909.

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Brentwood Fairtrade Festival

Following last week’s chat with Malcolm Burgess from the Brentwood Fairtrade Campaign Group, today saw the culmination of Fairtrade Fortnight, with the group hosting a Festival in the High Street to raise awareness of Fairtrade and in particular their campaign to make Brentwood an official Fairtrade town. Phoenix FM’s Helen Bealey, Scott Ross and Ed Wellman kept us updated with all the action in the High Street, including chats with the organisers and Brentwood’s Mayor, Councillor David Tee; as well as from the Library, whose Book Rest Café was serving free samples of Fairtrade cookies. Phoenix FM is pleased to be a supporter of Fairtrade, and we were delighted to be presented with a certificate by coordinator of the Brentwood group, Caryl Kwei.

I was hoping to be joined by the brilliant Chelmsford-based band Amoriste, who’d also been scheduled to perform at the Fairtrade Festival, but unfortunately due to illness they weren’t able to appear. However, I did play a couple of their songs, including their debut single, the Mascot, which will be available for download later this month. The Mascot features the voice of the legendry football results broadcaster James Alexander Gordon, which gave me the chance to mention my claim to fame that when I once phoned to speak to his son, who’s a friend of mine, a member of his family mistook me for JAG – something I’ve never quite understood, but was nonetheless flattered by! Amoriste are currently touring the south east in a red Routemaster bus. To find out more visit

My cryptic Where am I? clue to a location somewhere in our area was “A good spot to catch some rays.”*

Track listing:

Black Eyed Peas – Where is the love?
Duffy – My boy
Cornershop – Brimful of asha
Shapeshifters – Lola’s theme
REM – Überlin
Elvis Costello – Every day I write the book
Amoriste – Saturday am
Mama’s Gun – Wishing
Aqua – Back to the 80s
Stereophonics – Traffic
Watergate – Heart of Asia
Black Box – Ride on time
Amoriste – The mascot
Hue and Cry – Labour of love
Corrs – Radio
Patrick Wolf – The city
Sunshine Underground – I ain’t losing any sleep
Living In A Box – Living in a box
Madonna – Vogue

* Where am I? was Sun Corner in Billericay.

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5th March 2011 – Remus and Fairtrade – two excellent local groups

Fran Smith popped in from the Remus Memorial Horse Sanctuary near Ingatestone. Fran talked about the Sanctuary’s tremendous work caring for various animals – not just horses – who have been victims of abuse or neglect. I was struck by the love and care for the animals, which obviously pays off as one of their horses, Shane, is an amazing 55 years old! Remus is always pleased to welcome new volunteers, to help with various aspects of keeping the sanctuary running as they feel comfortable – to find out more about volunteering, as well as the various workshops and events happening at Remus, e-mail or phone 01277 356191.

[audio:|titles=Feelgood Saturday 05 03 11 Remus]

I was also joined by Malcolm Burgess from the Brentwood Fairtrade Campaign Group. Malcolm talked very enthusiastically about the history of Fairtrade and the vital difference that it makes to the lives of the producers of various everyday goods. Fairtrade Fortnight runs until 13th March, and Malcolm told us how various schools, churches and businesses throughout the area are “showing off their label”, the focus this year being cotton. Malcolm also outlined how the group is working hard to get Brentwood officially recognised as a Fairtrade town, following Billericay which achieved the status a couple of years ago. Phoenix FM is pleased to be a supporter of Fairtrade, and we’ll be covering the Fairtrade Festival which the Brentwood group is hosting next Saturday morning next to the Chapel Ruins in the High Street. Malcolm explained that members of the Brentwood group have a lot of fun raising awareness throughout the year, and are always delighted to welcome new people. To find out more phone Caryl on 01277 226834, or e-mail

[audio:|titles=Feelgood Saturday 05 03 11 Malcolm Burgess Fairtrade]

Track listing:

Usher – More
Emma Bunton – What Took You So Long
Searchers – Sweets For My Sweet
Westlife – You Raise Me Up
Zutons – Zuton Fever
Olly Murs – Heart On My Sleeve
Stray Cats – Rock This Town
Owl City – Fireflies
Elvis Costello – Oliver’s army
Ronan Keating – If Tomorrow Never Comes
Chesney Hawkes – The One And Only
Duffy – My Boy
Livin’ Joy – Dreamer
We Are Scientists – The Great Escape
Gramophonedzie – Why Don’t You
Craig David – One More Lie (Standing In The Shadows)

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26th February 2011 – A joined up show!

Mark Reed joined us live from Brentwood Theatre to talk about the seed swap taking place this morning to raise funds to help regenerate the sensory garden in King George’s Park. Mark also spoke about Brentwood Fairtrade Group, who were also at the theatre ahead of the launch on Monday of Fairtrade Fortnight. Martin Burgess from the Brentwood Group will be joining me on the Feelgood Saturday next week to tell us more about their campaign to turn Brentwood into a Fairtrade town, which we at Phoenix FM are pleased to support.

My clue to the Stuck in a moment quiz was that  the band was named after a phrase from a series of vampire novels.*

My cryptic Where am I? clue to a location somewhere in our area was “Did Queen Victoria’s grandson spend his leisure time here?”, with the hint that this place featured in something else we’d been talking about.*

Track listing:

Billie Ray Martin – Your Loving Arms
Manic Street Preachers – Your Love Alone Is Not Enough
Bob Geldof – Silly Pretty Thing
Frank Sinatra – New York New York
Small Faces – Itchycoo Park
Brandon Flowers – Jilted Lovers And Broken Hearts
James Brown – I Feel Good
Simon Webbe – Lay your hands
Black Eyed Peas – Just Can’t Get Enough
Amoriste – Saturday am
Scissor Sisters – Comfortably Numb
Verve – Bittersweet Symphony
Chris Brown – Yeah 3x
KT Tunstall – Black Horse and the Cherry Tree
Rumer – Am I Forgiven
Madonna – American Life
Adele – Rolling In The Deep
Hurts – Sunday
Pet Shop Boys & Dusty Springfield – What have I done to deserve this?

* The answer to Stuck in a moment was To the moon and back by Savage Garden, who were named after a phrase from a series of novels called the Vampire Chronicles – “The mind of each man is a savage garden.” Where am I? was the King George’s playing fields, named in memory of George V – whose sensory garden the seed swap was in aid of.

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12th February 2011 – Songs for Valentines – but no slush!

As it’s Valentine’s Day on Monday I played a couple of songs to get in the mood, but nothing too slushy – a lot of dance music songs, such as Fragma’s Everytime you need me, have lyrics to match any love ballad!

My clue to the Stuck in a moment quiz was that  the name of the band was a tribute to John Lennon.*

My cryptic Where am I? clue to a location somewhere in our area was “A flatulent sounding 60s children’s TV character would be at home here.”*

Track listing:

Heaven 17 – Temptation
Cheryl Cole – The Flood
Kenny Loggins – Footloose
Pearl and the Puppets – Because I Do
Maximo Park – Questing Not Coasting
Duffy – Keeping My Baby
The Joy Formidable – Austere
Fragma – Everytime you need me
Sophie Ellis-Bextor – Music Gets The Better Of Me
Kate Bush – Army Dreamers
Savage Garden – To the moon and back
Cyndi Lauper – Girls just want to have fun
Ultravox – Vienna
James Brown – I Feel Good
Depeche Mode – Free Love
Shapeshifters – Lola’s Theme
Jason Derulo – Whatcha Say
Reflekt featuring Delline Bass – Need to feel loved
Hurts – Sunday
Wombats – Jump Into The Fog
Dogs Die In Hot Cars – I Love You Cos I Have To
Nelly – Just A Dream

* The answer to Stuck in a moment was In and Out of Love by Imagination. Where am I? was Mountnessing Windmill, the character being Camberwick Green’s Windy Miller.

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5th February 2011 – A courageous curate, a cocktail and a legal battle surrounding a doll!

Local author Frances Clamp talked about how a 19th century fire in Brentwood High Street could have affected the course of the history of southern Africa, when the Curate of St Thomas’ Church risked his life by climbing onto the roof of the burning building. That Curate was Frances Rhodes, whose son Cecil – born a few years later – would give his name to Rhodesia! Frances joins Scott Ross every Tuesday afternoon on Phoenix FM between 2 and 3.

My clue to the Stuck in a moment quiz was that  the song had been the subject of a long running legal battle, one of the parties to which was a toy manufacturer.*

My cryptic Where am I? clue to a location somewhere in our area was “The environmentalist drinks a vodka and tomato juice cocktail when she stays here.”*

Track listing:

Britney Spears – Oops I did it again
Spiller feat Sophie Ellis-Bextor – Groovejet (If This Ain’t Love)
Peter Gabriel – Sledgehammer
Cheryl Cole – The Flood
Tall Dark Friend – Corridors
Space – Female Of The Species
Darts – Daddy Cool
Gnarls Barkley – Crazy
Zero 7 – Destiny
Seal – Crazy
Rihanna – SOS
Muse – Unintended
Swedish House Mafia Feat. Pharrell – One (Your Name)
Hurts – Sunday
A1 – Caught In The Middle
Jackie Wilson – Reet petite
Bob Geldof – Silly Pretty Thing
Pink Floyd – Another Brick In The Wall (part 2)
Buzzcocks – Everybody’s Happy Nowadays
Hard-Fi – Hard To Beat
Duran Duran – Save a prayer

* The answer to Stuck in a moment was Barbie Girl by Aqua, the legal dispute being between Mattel and MCA Records. Where am I? was Marygreen Manor Hotel, the cocktail in the clue being a Bloody Mary.

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29th January 2011 – Remembering a “mad” scientist

My clue to the Stuck in a moment quiz was that  the artist had previously been a member of one of the most successful boy bands of the early 2000s.*

My cryptic Where am I? clue to a location somewhere in our area was “This display of artefacts provides for all tastes,” with the hint that it’s also something some people do for themselves when they go on holiday.*

Following Rob Harvey’s earlier play of Hyperactive by Thomas Dolby I dug out his quirky 1982 hit, She blinded me with science, which brought back memories of the somewhat eccentric TV scientist Magnus Pyke – who appeared in the song and the video – best remembered for constantly waving his arms around!

Track listing:

Housemartins – Happy hour
Sparkadia – Mary
Edwyn Collins – A Girl Like You
Gwen Stefani – What You Waiting For
Nickelback – How You Remind Me
Brian Setzer – Jump Jive And Wail
Basement Jaxx – Oh my gosh
Thomas Dolby – She Blinded Me With Science
Bob Geldof – Silly Pretty Thing
White Stripes – The Hardest Button To Button
Supertramp – Breakfast in America
Freeez – I.O.U.
Natalie Imbruglia – Wrong Impression
Duffy – Keeping My Baby
Marc Almond and Gene Pitney – Something’s Gotten Hold Of My Heart
Caro Emerald – Riviera Life
Craig David – One More Lie (Standing In The Shadows)
Gossip – Standing In The Way Of Control
Jojo – Leave get out
Saw Doctors – I Use To Love Her
Right Said Fred – I’m Too Sexy
Madonna – Live to tell

* The answer to Stuck in a moment was Lay your hands by Simon Webbe, formerly with Blue. Where am I? was the Cater Museum in Billericay High Street, the hint referring to a self catering holiday.

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22nd January 2011 – Teenage idealism & a game of draughts

Local author Frances Clamp talked about 16th century Brentwood Protestant martyr William Hunter. Frances joins Scott Ross every Tuesday afternoon on Phoenix FM between 2 and 3.

My clues to the Stuck in a moment quiz were that  the song featured in a film which starred the artist, along with an actor who would later develop a strong connection with Billericay; and that it won the 1988 Golden Globe award for Best Original Song.*

My cryptic Where am I? clue to a location somewhere in our area was “Go here to play a traditional board game.”*

Track listing:

D:Ream – UR the best thing
Gabriella Cilmi – Sweet about me
Franz Ferdinand – Do you want to
Kim Carnes – Bette Davis eyes
Lasgo – Surrender
Nelly Furtado – Say it right
Pear and the Puppets – Because I do
Four Tops – When she was my girl
Mystery Jets – Two doors down
Alcazar – Crying at the discotheque
Prefab Sprout – The king of rock ‘n’ roll
Noisettes – Don’t upset the rhythm (go baby go)
Caro Emerald – Riviera life
Outkast – The way you move
Anastacia – I’m outta love
Mark Ronson & the Business International featuring Boy George – Somebody to love me
States of Emotion – The unsung
Katy Perry – Peacock
Blondie – Atomic
Stevie Wonder – I was made to love her
La’s – There she goes

* The answer to Stuck in a moment was Two hearts by Phil Collins, the clue referring to Larry Lamb, who played Mick Shipman in Billericay based Gavin & Stacey. Where am I? was the Chequers Pub in Billericay High Street, or that with the same name on Rayleigh Road in Hutton.

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15th January 2011 – Big hair, cheesy music and romantic comedy

Ian Southgate from Brentwood Operatic Society took time out of his busy schedule to talk about their production of the Wedding Singer next week at Brentwood Theatre. Ian’s playing the part of Glenn, a bit of a philanderer, in the show which is based on the film which starred Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler. The Wedding Singer is a great feelgood comedy musical, and Ian said that their version includes lots of throwbacks to the 80s, particularly references to songs from the decade that brought us big hair and cheesy music – so everyone who goes along is guaranteed a good time! We also talked about the Society, which is over 100 years old, and which Ian believes is one of the best in the area. He said that new members are always welcome to pop along to their Thursday evening rehearsals at the County Ground, whether you’re interested in auditioning for a leading part, a part in the chorus or one of the vital behind-the-scenes roles. Their next production is Guys & Dolls, which they are casting in early February. For more details and to contact the society visit

My clue to the Stuck in a moment quiz was that the song made the artist the youngest solo artist at the time to have his debut single peak at number one on the UK singles chart.*

My cryptic Where am I? clue to a location somewhere in our area was “The worst kept secret in Essex!”*

Track listing:

Livin’ Joy – Dreamer
Duffy – Mercy
Robin Beck – First Time
Four Seasons – Let’s Hang On
David Gray – The Other Side
Subways – Oh Yeah
Pet Shop Boys – Together
Evanescence – Bring Me To Life
Elton John – Are you ready for love
Spandau Ballet – Through the barricades
Tinchy Stryder featuring N Dubz – Number 1
Eliza Doolittle – Pack Up
Janet Jackson – Whoops Now
Billy Idol – White Wedding
Depeche Mode – Just Can’t Get Enough
Kid Sister – Daydreaming
Red Hot Chili Peppers – The Zephyr Song
Pixie Lott – Can’t Make This Over
Billie Ray Martin – Your Loving Arms

* The answer to Stuck in a moment was Fill me in by Craig David. Where am I? was the Secret Nuclear Bunker at Kelvedon Hatch.

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8th January 2011 – from Stone Yard to Baker Street

Local author Frances Clamp talked about the history of the site that is now Stone Yard in Western Gardens, Brentwood. Frances joins Scott Ross every Tuesday afternoon on Phoenix FM between 2 and 3.

I paid tribute to Gerry Rafferty, who passed away on Tuesday, and referred to suggestions that Baker Street was a reflection of his own life.

My clues to the Stuck in a moment quiz were that when this song topped the US singles chart it made the artist the first one of this decade to have number ones in three consecutive decades; and that it was my favourite single of 2010 – the answer to be found somewhere on the Phoenix FM website!*

My cryptic Where am I? clue to a location somewhere in our area was “Is the school cook a captain?”*

Track listing:

Gnarls Barkley – Crazy
Kylie Minogue – Can’t get you out of my head
Sam & Dave – Soul man
Manic Street Preachers – Kevin Carter
Solu Music featuring Kimblee – Fade
Olly Murs – Thinking of me
Estelle feat. Kanye West – American boy
Starsailor – In the crossfire
McFly – Obviously
Melanie Fiona – Give it to me right
Martika – Toy soldiers
Katy Perry – Firework
Everything Everything – Photoshop handsome
Tim Berg – Seek bromance
Who – Pinball wizard
Charlotte Church – Logical world
Gerry Rafferty – Baker Street
Own City – Fireflies
Diana Ross – Chain reaction
Busted – Year 3000
Inna – Hot

* The answer to Stuck in a moment was OMG by Usher featuring Where am I? was Endeavour School, Brentwood, the clue being a reference to Captain Cook’s 18th century voyage of discovery to Australia and New Zealand on HMS Endeavour.

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