Friday, 19 August 2011

Would you like to taste the wine, sir/madam?

I hate this ritual. It's awkward and odd and has no place in all but the very best restaurants.

95% of wines are okay. In the restaurants I frequent, 99.5% of them are okay. Most are screw-top, and modern bottling procedures are such that even cork-stopped wines are usually always as they should be.

But still, we have to go through with the tasting. What is the point?

Traditionally, when one person is paying the bill, that person is asked by the sommelier/waiter to taste the wine. Not because of their inherently superior knowledge, but because it re-inforces the hierarchy of their position as bill-payer. You might be breaking bread as equals, but some are more equal than others.

We wait for the bill-payer to say the wine is good enough to drink, then it can be shared among us lesser mortals.

In terms of real, genuine practical effect, the only thing this obviates is the pouring of bad wine into more than one glass.

It's out of date. I don't like it.

Hmm I think, as I take a sip doesn't taste corked, but I'm hardly having an epiphany here... in fact... it tastes exactly like the second cheapest wine on the menu, which is, funnily enough, exactly what I ordered. 

The waiter knows it's bog-standard supermarket screw-top plonk with a 400% mark-up, and so do I. He's now been waiting exactly five seconds for me to say something, which is far too long to comment on what I already knew would be okay. Why are we doing this?

"Lovely" I say, failing to make eye contact with the waiter, or my dining companions.

Let's stop this now. In future, I'll order the wine. You bring it.

If there's a problem, I'll let you know.


Saturday, 13 August 2011

Word on the Street

I have just updated my biog to take account of what I've been doing for the last couple of years.

In doing so I found a link to a language programme called Word on the Street I did for young people at BBC World.

This went out on BBC Persia, and was sold to various other territories.

I could be big in Iran.

Biography and Credits

Nick is a freelance television reporter and presenter. He is currently under contract as a reporter with the One Show. In 2015 he presented his fourth crime series for Channel 5 and produced a well-received Panorama called Trouble at the Post Office.

Nick is also in demand as an event host and public speaking trainer. 

You can contact him via Abbee, his agent at Champion Speakers on 01509 85 29 27 or use the contact form on this blog - it goes straight to his email inbox.

You can also trying twitter, linkedin or facebook.

One Show Reporter, BBC1, Dec 2014 - to date
Caught on Camera series 3, Channel 5, Summer/Autumn 2015, 7 x 60mins
Panorama: Trouble at the Post Office (producer), BBC1, August 2015
Criminals: Caught On Camera series 2, Channel 5, Summer/Autumn 2014, 8 x 60mins
Britain’s Crime Capitals, Channel 5, Spring/Summer 2014, 2 x 60 mins
Criminals: Caught On Camera series 1, Channel 5, Autumn 2013, 6 x 60mins
Inside Out, regional investigative journalism strand, BBC 1, 2011 to date
Word on The Street, BBC / British Council, 2010
Five News, reporter and weekend presenter, Channel 5, 2008 - 2009
London Tonight, reporter, ITN, 2008 - to date

Saturday Breakfast, BBC Surrey, 2011 to 2015
Newsbeat, BBC Radio 1, output editor, End 2012
Weekday Breakfast, BBC Surrey, 2009 - 2012
BBC Radio 5 Live, dep presenter 2007 - 2009
Newsbeat, Entertainment reporter, BBC Radio 1, 2004 - 2007


1997 - 1988 Broadcast Assistant at Xfm working on Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant's show.
1998 - 2001 BBC Oxford Broadcast Assistant then Broadcast Journalist.
2001 - 2004 BBC Three (then called BBC Choice) Broadcast journalist, dep 60seconds presenter.
2004 - 2007 Radio 1's Newsbeat reporter, specialising in entertainment news.
2007 - 2009 BBC Radio 5live dep presenter covering Weekend News, Richard Bacon and Stephen Nolan.
2008 - 2009 ITN's London Tonight and Five News reporter. 
2009 Five News weekend presenter.


Crime, surveillance, politics, corruption, finance/banking, food retail, alcohol and music.

Nick is married with three children and lives in Surrey.