Thursday, January 10, 2008

"Bet he's got no problems remembering where he left the car keys"

Bless her, that's what the continuity announcer on Channel 5 has just said about me. Gosh, I've never heard that before. And if I had car keys, believe me, I would lose them. "The Mentalists" is on after the break and I thought I'd write my blog while I watch it, or at least until I can't stand to see and hear myself acting like an eejit any more and turn it off...

"There's a small group of people across the world whose brains harbour an amazing ability..." Not a great start. I was hoping for a "this is something anyone can do" approach. Heehee, ooh, fun footage, though! Gunther's house!

Ooh, my house! Tumby house, that is! Ooh, me in the used-to-be-the-dining-room-and-is-now-the-kitchen! Heehee, me with the straw hat! Ugh, I'm ugly. And my voice is horrible. Argh, I always sound so pretentious when I'm talking to the camera! I don't normally sound like that in real life, do I? Also, I'm fat.

Fantastic that we get to see the house, anyway, I can show this to my brother. Hee! They spelt "Highley" wrong! That'll upset the people at the leisure centre! Hmm, artful camera angles to disguise the fact that only five people turned up for the UK championship... Yay, my Zoom-Zoom T-shirt!

Ooh, clever, they matched me telling my spoken number story to a shot of the answer paper - and correctly synchronised the images I'm saying with the numbers as the camera pans across! Nice one, Nick!


Heehee, James Kemp looking impressed in the background. Wow, first advert break already? This is a lot more fun than I expected it to be. I wish I hadn't scuppered the ending by losing the world championship now.

I bet Alan Hansen doesn't really shop at Morrisons. He's just lying because they give him money. Big fibber. Although I suppose he must do his shopping somewhere, so there's a chance he really does. Unless he's rich enough to have someone do his shopping for him, of course.

I'm recording this for my brother (who's out doing something more exciting tonight) but also for any foreigners who want to see it and can arrange to get a copy from me. They'll get to see all these British adverts and experience a whole different culture.

Come on, put The Mentalists back on! Ah, that's better. Who the heck is this reciting poetry? Oh, Ed, of course. Heehee. Ooh, is that the field where we got lost on the way to his party? Yep, there's stately Cooke Manor. God, Ed, people are going to take you seriously when you say things like this. The quality of the terrain, indeed...

Yay, Ed's dad gets an interview too! "We thought he might have finished with the world memory and get a job or something..."

Ooh, is this going to be Grandma's moment of glory? Oh, thanks, Nick, let's say "Ben's parents separated when he was nine..." that's important information for everyone to know. Yay, Grandma looks great on TV! She's watching it right now with all her friends. Heehee, thanks, Grandma, "He doesn't tend to brag about his achievements." Oh, fantastic, Dad's photo too! Hope that's the end of the Pridmore family soap opera.

Oh god, Tony Buzan with a kendo sword. He wanted this documentary to be called "Warriors Of The Mind". "Some people call me a guru, you know..." Good old Tony.

His 92 books on the brain... Actually, I thought the 92 included his books of poetry, don't they? Say what you like about Tony, he's one heck of a snappy dresser. I've always loved his clothes.

Ahh, I remember that taxi ride to Central Tonight in the pouring rain. Happy days.

Hey, you know, I'm really enjoying this. Excellent - "Useless is what would describe what I do..."

Ahh, German championships! Whoa, wait a second. "He's certainly beatable, although he hasn't shown much sign of it over the last few years." I said that about Clemens and they edited it to make it seem like I was talking about Gunther!

Heehee, me getting stressed after dropping the pack of cards at the end. Classic.

Ooh, Gunther's house is nice. Is that his giant chess set? And I'm sorry, I refuse to believe that Gunther and Michaela practice like that, in English yet, when there aren't any cameras around...

Eww, yuck, prawns. "Cutting onions with ze big knife..." Heehee, this is funny stuff.

Ahh, more adverts. Woo, we're half way through and it hasn't made me look particularly stupid yet. Possibly I was worried about nothing.

All that M&S posh food looks horrible. Pain au chocolat bread and butter pudding? Yuck! Now, my dad used to make a great bread and butter pudding.

Too many adverts on telly these days. You know, it occurs to me that you'll need to be watching the documentary while you're reading this blog, or it won't make any sense. Ah well, who cares?

Here we go, Ed and Lukas high-altitude training! You've already told us Ed is the world number 17, people, you only get 45 minutes, don't duplicate information! "Every year we come to the mountains where Lukas lives as a goatherd and train ourselves for the competition..." Heehee. Bet they follow this up with me doing karaoke and getting drunk. Hope they do, anyway.

Wow, nice scenery. Nice camerawork, too! Kudos to Nick, if he did that bit himself. Wow, Ed looks like the real guru, up on top of a mountain. And chopping wood!

Heehee, Gunther's got a lot more trophies than me. And he keeps them in a cabinet.

Yay, "Ben has his own approach to last-minute training" and us getting drunk and karaokeing. Wait, we have me talking about the upcoming German championship made to look like I'm talking about the worlds? More trickery!

Oooooooh, Bahrain. Such a cool place. I hope we get to go there again. Heehee, me with the hankie on my head, foolishly going out in the midday sun. "I'm sweating like whatever the halal equivalent of a pig is..." Hope nobody finds that offensive.

Team China! We really, really need matching T-shirts next year for Britain.

Dr Yip and his Oxford English Dictionary. There should have been more of him there.

Ah, the drama of the abstract images. Ooh, the excitement of the competition! This is actually put together very nicely. "Gunther's mind games pay off" is a bit misleading, but never mind.

That footage wasn't of me starting to memorise binary digits. That was hour numbers. Fakery.

Did I mishear that? Did I say "The Blue Beetle"? Why would I have said that? He's not one of my images? And no, Gunther hasn't been shaken by my performance, he was expecting me to get that kind of score.

Oh, excellent, I was hoping Boris would get a cameo. Nice speed-stacking!

Aargh, hour cards. What a horrible disaster that was. Do we have to see this? Can't we pretend that I got a big score and won the world championship?

Still fun to watch, though. Those aren't my cards, despite what the narrator said. They're German cards.

Heh, "Ben, ludicrously stupidly, tried to do 36 packs of cards..." Nice one, Ed! Actually, it wasn't because I was going for so many that I went wrong. My brain just wasn't in the right place, that afternoon, and I could tell from the start that it wasn't sinking in.

More adverts. Nearly finished. Do you think I'm going to win the world championship? I bet I am. Hey, wasn't that Lynne Slater from EastEnders on that Take A Break advert?

I was hoping there'd be an appropriate advert that was connected in some way to me or to memory, but they're all for things I'm not interested in at all, like Jamie Oliver.

Hmm, answer that message from Crispy or keep blogging? Keep blogging. Gunther and Michaela are training in their hotel room. "Do you ever relax?" "Sometimes, but very rarely."

Ed is actually good at explaining what's going on for establishing shots. I didn't really do any of that. Oh god, he's sounding serious again.

Ah, speed cards. Turn away now if you don't want to see me make a fool of myself...

Sigh. I suck.

My beard doesn't look as grey on TV as it does in real life, though. That's a good thing.

God, I can't believe I messed up the speed cards. It's so embarrassing. Heehee, me and Phil look like siamese twins there.

Well, Gunther deserved it, anyway. Next year it'll be a different story. Oh, I basically said that on the interview, too.

Wow, this has been a great documentary. Oh, the narrator was Richard Vranch. Should have recognised the name. He's a great pianist too, you know.

Well, that's that. I liked it! I hope it was entertaining for the people watching it who'd never heard of me or memory.


Lewis said...

Good TV show Ben.

I knew the results before sitting down to watch it, but thought by watching it, I could somehow magically help you win. Sadly this didn't work and as a result you will have to do it this year instead.

best of luck for the future

ps... two cards at the same time is crazy tough, lol. Are you the only person to use that method?


Ian said...

Great documentary Ben! Loved it! Especially liked you and Joe on Karaoke! And your lucky T-Shirt! Very entertaining! That Gunther's really good, isn't he? You'll have to train really hard if you're gonna beat him next time! I'm sure you'll do it though! So, when will we see you on the telly again?

Mike said...

I think you came across well on the telly... but how could you not like the look of the pain au chocolat bread and butter pudding? I was in the kitchen when that advert came on and I could hear Emma drooling over the M&S food so went to see what they were showing.

Ace* said...

Loved the doc, but have to disagree about the pain au chocolat b & b pud! Seriously, me and the boyfriend really enjoyed it (the documentary that is, we'll be enjoying the b & b pud next week hopefully!) - I kept pointing to the screen and saying "It's Ben!", he must have got quite annoyed but I was so excited!

Well done on 2nd, nothing to be sniffed at and a world record or 2 is pretty damn cool too.

Can't believe I have a celebrity friend! My boyfriend says you need to clean behind your cooker though and my bear (Ashley B Bear - Acesare*'s teddy and an official poohsticker) would like an autograph. On a £50 note if possible.

Mike said...

The documentary was great television. I think that it was generally kind to everyone when you consider that another documentary maker could 'go for the throat'.
I learned something from the documentary, actually:
If Tony Buzan (aka the guru) comes towards you shouting, "Hi!", you're best off running!

Ben, could you make a web site about yourself - beyond a blog? Is there one?

Katy said...

OK, not yet watched it - subject to the video player at home not having mysteriously died in the years since anything was last taped, MummyAnyDots has recorded it for me as I was out last night. However, just thought you might like the comment she sent in her e-mail to me.

"It was really good – I especially loved Zoomy’s grandma, she is so sweet."

Look forward to seeing it soon.

Sam said...

Brilliant stuff!

There were a couple of pillocks on there, but me and my housemates really enjoyed watching.

Anonymous said...

Hey neighbour!

Wanted to say well done when I ran into you outside t'other day. I caught the TV show by accident and found it good watching.
Anyway I didnt say well done because you seemed to feel like you lost and, well, I felt it would have been rude.
Anyway, good luck for the next time Ben!
(Feels wierd typing this when you are barely 10ft behind the walls !

Sal (Flat 3)

Anonymous said...

Hi Ben,
It's ANdi, (Flat 3, same as Sal, but I'm the one on crutches) I couldn't believe it when I saw you on tv... I was bouncing around and telling everyone who would listen that you were my neighbour!
I've been wanting to hobble over and congratulate you since I caught the programme, but like Sal said, you seemed kinda disappointed with the result (You shouldn't be.... second best in the world is very impressive and not to be sneereed at) but that's why I haven't done so yet.
I wanted to say that we were both sooooooo proud of you, and rooting for you the whole time! Wether you think so or not you did sooooo very well, and you got Derby on TV (oh yeah!).
We're moving to Cornwall so sadly won't be living next door for too much longer; I might well come over and congratulate you after all and say goodbye.
It's been great living next to you and we'll miss you loads. Love and hugs, (and of course MANY congratulations) to you, hope you win next time.
Take good care of yourself,
ANdi xxxxx
PS: We saw you posing with the sexy Japanese lady ;)
PPS: Love the lucky t-shirt :)

Zoomy said...

Thanks, guys! When you didn't mention it the other day, I assumed you hadn't seen it (I was quite relieved, actually). But I really don't mind losing - I spent the few days after the competition deliberately avoiding the people who I knew would say "Well, second place is still very good", but I'm over it now, so feel free to congratulate me!

Neil said...

Fantastic show, you need to slow down a bit instead of trying to be world champion and a record breaker in one sitting, you could have kicked that Germans A$$ lol!

Fantastic card method, two at once, I am assuming you have a picture for each pair, meaning 2704 pictures, is that right? Super method!

Good to see Dom O'Brien on the show for an instant too!

azyb said...

I've just seen the program for the 1st time; someone kindly sent me a copy.

That was some of the best television I've seen for ages, and very inspiring. Love your comments on here, and such an eye-opener on how much they manipulate the context in order to 'shot the script' so to speak.

It seems you use the major system for mnemonics? Or is it a hybrid system? Or is it just a plain Ben system? Haha. Well that leads me into my next question...

How's the book coming along? If it's been mentioned on this blog and I've missed it I apologise. But I'm itching to get hold of a copy!

Anyway, thanks again Ben, the memory championships need more people like yourself, even if you do mess it up attempting to break world records every 5 minutes ;)

Zoomy said...

Hi azyb, glad you liked it! I certainly did. And to be fair, there was very little manipulating of reality going on there, it is a very accurate representation of the memory competition world.

Yes, I use a sort of modified Major system, only with added vowel sounds too, and you can find the details dotted around the internet if you really want to.

And the book's sort of written, at least in the draft-to-show-to-publishers format, but all I've got from it so far is a couple of offers to publish very different books if I want to write them. I'm still thinking about it...

azyb said...

Thanks Ben. Well I hope you do manage to get it published one way or another, and in the way you want it done. Of course, if mnemonics/Brain stuff was as popular as Jamie Oliver...

Thanks I'll do some googling and see what I can find on the Ben system. To be honest though, at present, I'm diligently studying Dom's classic book "How to Develop a Perfect Memory." I really love his system but, oh boy, doesn't it take a long time to get those 100 names nailed!! Haha. Powerful stuff, even though it's taken over 2 months to get it up to speed.

Cheers Ben, and all the best for any future events you enter.