Friday, 27 January 2012

So now you Know!

By now you would have all seen me get smashed to bits on The Qualifier and Ski Lift, shame they didn't show a bit more of my Qualifier run but hey-ho. So here is what my Winter Wipeout experience was like.

You already know about Argentina and meeting Liam Gallagher so no need to go over old ground so we take up the story on the Friday morning and our first day of filming on the Winter Wipeout set. We were up at 6am, my roomie Steve and i were pretty well organised and bright as button which is very surprising being as we had all been traveling from Wednesday morning Till Thursday afternoon. If you remember from my Argentina topic the 19 people i met in the restaurant on the Thursday night of course were my fellow contestants.

Myself and Steve headed down to meet the rest John, Jason, Katy, Karen, Owen,Patrick, Rob, Abi, Amber, Nikki, Sarah, Sam, Chanis, Judy, Tristan, Kerry, Emily and Tom at 7.30am to all get on our little mini bus and off to Winter Wipeout land, wayhay, whoopee and all the other excited noises.

We traveled miles through Buenos Aires to get to the location, took about an hour. It was a bit crazy on the roads and we went through all different types of areas, industrial estates, upmarket housing locations and slums. The slums were something else to i can tell you.

We approach the location of Wipeout and just past the guards gate you can see the back of the normal Wipeout Zone and then the butterflies started. WOW, we're really here about to get our bodies and faces smashed for fun LOL.

As we got off you could see everyone wanted to just run off and look around but it was all very strict and well managed, if it hadn't been i would of been on the Big Red Balls all day. We were led to a large marquee where it was like a little holding pen for the day as the first day was just the filming of The Qualifier. Once we were all accounted for we were given our tour of The Qualifier and our first sighting of the legendary Big Red Balls. Now what you see on TV is all nice and pretty but behind the scenes the location is one huge, i mean massive field with all the sections for Winter Wipeout and Total Wipeout. As we were led over for our briefing of The Qualifier all you could see scattered around were all the other bits of the courses that weren't being used for that episode. It was a right old Aladdin's cave of Wipeout mayhem LOL.

We were told what was expected of us from each section The Snow Balls (no ducking), Granny's House (No ducking under doors), The Big Rad Balls (run across travelator) and The Log Jam (jump on one, jump to other, get through hoop) then get to top of finish podium and stand up. All taken in and notes made.

Then we were split up in to 4 groups to do all our stuff to camera, this was so much fun.
My group was the first with Amanda Byram for interviews, OMG! I was so nervous and she was so laid back, real cool chick. I stood next to her and she asked me three questions:-
"What preparation have you had for Winter Wipeout?", my mind went blank, TYPICAL! I came out with "Well being from Wales there are alot of sheep to avoid" DOH! YOU IDIOT!
Second question "I hear you own a cocktail bar in Greece" to which i answered "Yes i do and I've been called the Willy Wonka of the cocktail world", not bad eh!. she added "what makes a successful cocktail for The Qualifier?" (she holds up an imaginary cocktail shaker for me to put ingredients in to) uhhh, "Some spiky hair (pluck some hair drop it in), some wristbands (placed my bandanna wrists on top of it) and the heart and fire of a young welsh dragon (thumping my chest)" she knocks it back and says "mmmmmmmmm".
Third question "Do you think you have a prayer with this course?" TING! light bulb moment, "Well Amanda i am a Reverend" the reply came "So you can bless me?" to which i said yes and placed my hand on her forehead and said "I bless you my child" and pushed her head back not realising i had done it quite hard and she stumbled back a bit LOL. As soon as the cameras stopped filming she said "you didn't have to push me that f**king hard" and started laughing. PHEW! We said our goodbyes and on to the next section.

This part is filmed in front of the log cabin, you stand in front of camera and just act a tit basically, so not hard for me really. From behind the camera they're shouting things like "Roar", "Scream like a girl", "Show us your muscles" then it would be things associated to you like "Make a cocktail", "mosh,head bang" and because in my audition i did a the worm dance move on the floor they had me doing that, time and time again, i was knackered before i got to the course LOL.

The last part was when you see people stood still spinning around and this was the funniest thing. The rotating platform you stand on isn't powered by a motor, it isn't powered by someone on a bicycle and it isn't even powered by someone on a crank handle, its actually spun by an Argentinian laid on his back LOL. I kid you not, below the camera is a guy on his back moving the platform around with his feet and when he gets tired they replace him with a guy who uses his hands, i was rolling with laughter. Also its bloody difficult trying to stay on it and do actions at the same time like before "Shake a cocktail", "Dance", "Hands on hips", Jesus Christ i have problems doing all that on the floor let alone on a rotating platform with a guy lying on his back next to it.

So all the Pre-filming was done. Its Qualifier Time! I was in the first group of 5 to go to the course. The others weren't allowed to watch and we couldn't watch each other. We were led to behind a small hill at the start point and kitted with our body armour/floatation jacket. At this point your hearts racing and i just wanted to laugh hard with nerves. In the first group were Judy, John,Tristan, Abi and Myself. Bugger i had the 3 finalists in my group LOL. Judy was first, then John, then ME AAAAAGGGGHHHH! I was taken to the top of the course and stretched out in front of me was The Qualifier. I'd watched every series of Total Wipeout, laughed till i cried seeing all the contestants get beat up by the course and now i was there, it felt so unreal and i was buzzing, best adrenalin rush ever. I'm told to do my shout out to camera "I'm the rock rev Kev, I'm gonna rock this course and walk on water, hallelujah to the big man", a few seconds pause and the horn goes for me to start my run (Just at this point typing this my heart is pounding out my chest, seriously its like being there again). I had in my head from the beginning "Just hit it hard" that's all that my mind was saying. I start off at a sprint forgetting that i will pick up speed as its down hill, then SMACK! i lose my footing and face plant on the beam, BUGGER! Now yes, i was highly ashamed but it saved me valuable time, cause for each time you go in the water its about 20-30 seconds to get out. I didn't know where the snowballs were then felt one hit me in the face but i was safe. Up for second lot, "Just hit it hard", I went for it, smashed off in to the water, those snowballs are filled with sand and water. When you get hit you don't know where you are when your head pops up from the water, i get my bearings and off up the rope ladder. On to Granny's House, ok again "Just hit it hard" i wait for the gap in the cross beam, the pie misses me, i put my shoulder towards the door, smack, door in the face, in the water. That water is really filthy and full of thick mud below. Up the stairs, wait for Tevez, skip over him, RUN FORREST! smack, second door in the face and back in the water. Now by this point I've been smacked in the head 5 times and in the water 3 times. I got up the ladder out of the water and was really dazed, out of breath and was thinking "this isn't fun anymore" LOL. Up the steps to the travelator, take a breath and try to run but as you get to the edge you can't see the first ball so its all about judgement and luck. I hit the first ball, reach second and , SPLASH! I'm in the water again. The next ladder is the highest on the course and the toughest as your so drained by this point its a real struggle. On to the Log Jam, I jump, they tip the platform, i face plant again on to the log. I hit it so hard i can't even remember the rest of the course apart from hitting my face again on the second log, i was out of it. I can only remember getting out to talk to Amanda. So glad i could watch it on TV as didn't remember any of that part. Now I'm upbeat nearly all the time but when you've just been in and out of freezing cold water 5 times, smashed in the face 7 times and knackered the last thing you want is an interview LOL i couldn't remember what i said to her, Amanda asked me something about what cocktail would the course be and i said "Lime and Cement as its that hard", What the hell was i on about LOL. Everybody says it "I could do that, easy" but everyone who did the Qualifier said "That's harder than it looks". One of my fellow contestants Sam when he finished actually collapsed and was very very bad but after a bit of medical attention and a lay down he was fine. Its the fact that your in shorts, t-shirt, socks and trainers and the water just weighs you down and each blow from the course takes that little bit of air out of you and every ladder takes that little bit of energy. After Amanda's interview you do another interview to camera just in case you haven't made it through as you don't get told your times till its all completed and everyone has done their time. I think Granny's house will take over from the Big Red Balls as being the one to watch, its so funny seeing people get smashed by those doors.

We wait and wait then one of the officials comes in with a clipboard. While we waited they were all telling stories of their runs, i just kept quiet as listening to all the others i was getting nervous that i hadn't qualified as everyone sounded as though they had really fast times. They start to read out the times in order of fastest to slowest, my heart was starting to sink even after the first 2 as they were so quick, then 8th its me, i was amazed, didn't think i was anywhere near that fast 2.52 Min's, not bad being as i was in the water 5 times. So i was through to Ski Lift. The days filming was over and off we went back to the hotel.

My right shoulder started to freeze up, it was getting real sore and i couldn't even move it 1/4 of the way up and i knew the next day i would be hanging from the ski lift, it didn't look good. I hit it hard on the first of Granny's Doors and also when i landed on the first Log Jam. All the others were going out in to town but i had to get my arm better or try, so i stayed in, took painkillers and rested it. Through the night i would move my arm to try and work it better but i was in so much pain i thought that was it, no ski lift.

Woke up the next morning and had a bit more mobility in my arm but again the pain was unreal. Jason gave me some extra strong painkillers and off we went. When we arrived at the Wipeout
set i practiced lifting myself up on a beam, f**k it hurt. I told one of the producers and they said the medics have to check it before they'd allow me on. I sat in an ambulance just praying i could carry on. He gave me another painkiller, one the size of a horse tablet and massaged gel in to the joint, boy that brought tears to my eyes but he gave me the all clear. Thank God!

The Ski Lift doesn't look that big on TV but when your there its massive. We were put in a cherry picker crane 2 at a time and swung out to our platforms that we would stand on for ski lift. Tom was the first on and he had to stand on his while 11 others were placed on their platforms, that's a long time. The handles are set to your height so it was all fair. Each of us had to do another shout out to camera, mine was "TO DEATH OR GLORY!" in a very theatrical way haha. Then once everyone was done the platform starts spinning, you go around a few times to get used to the feel, then the snow starts then the horn goes and the arms start to turn. Those arms can be raised and lowered at will and sped up, slowed down or even stopped at will also. At one point i was coming around and i went to lift myself up over the arm and the arm stopped, so i let myself down, no sooner my feet had hit my platform they started it fast again, GITS! Before we started myself and John came up with a plan that if i was one of the last five left on the ski lift i would let go so i could save my shoulder. After i had seen many bodies hit the water I took a look around, 5 left, i couldn't believe it, i had to double check to make sure, 5 left, that's it, I've made it and before i could even think of letting go, THUD! right in the top of my chest i was hit straight on, there was no way i could pull myself over, i held on until my grip failed and off i went. In my mind i thought i was through anyway but when i got out they said "we have to go to playback" that didn't sound good. It was that close between me and Rob that they didn't know who came off 6th, it was me. OH well. I wasn't disappointed, i was still beaming from ear to ear from doing the ski lift, that was so much fun, worth being on the show just for that. I know i got hit quite a few times and was swinging and spinning all over the place and all your doing is looking for your platform to plant your feet but you forget about the swinging arms, big mistake haha.

After dinner the last contestants, John, Tristan, Abi, Karen and Rob went to film Blunderland. All the other contestants could watch so we all sat there and I'll be very honest, it was just as much fun watching it as it was taking part, it was great. The poor last 5 got battered about all over the place but only 3 go through, Abi, Tristan and John.

We were all taken out for a little trip while the finalists did some filming and got prepared for the Wipeout Zone. That part is filmed at night time so we went out, came back and were allowed to walk around the Wipeout set to take pictures. Darkness fell and it was time for The Wipeout Zone.

As we walked towards it you could see searchlights, dry ice, snow and fire. It was awesome! you could feel the heat from the huge flame throwers as we sat to the side of the Zone. Then one by one they were flung out of the chair in to the freezing cold water. At this point i was quite happy to be sat down watching. I was so exhausted when i did the Qualifier that seeing this Zone i think would have killed me, I'm not that strong a swimmer and the distances they had to swim when they came off, using up so much energy battling the course and then having to climb tall ladders, there is no way i would have finished it, i am fit but not as fit as i thought. John, Tristan and Abi were amazing and myself and all the other contestants were so proud of them.

All day long on the first and second day there was no feeling of it was a competition, well there was maybe one person LOL everyone just got on, encouraged each other, laughed at each other and it felt like cared for each other. I didn't even think of the money from day one, i just wanted to be on the show that i love watching. I feel very honoured just to have even been picked to be on the show. There are over 60 million people in the UK and only 720 have been on Wipeout, only 160 have been on Winter Wipeout, I was proud of myself for even getting just in to the last 200 auditions let alone being in that 160. The memory of Argentina, the contestants and of course Winter Wipeout will be the best memory of my active life and i have got to say a big thank you to all at Endamol the production team who make Wipeout and a huge huge thank you to my fellow contestants for helping me enjoy such a fantastic journey.

If you see any of these 20 people please stay away from them, THEY ARE DANGEROUS!

The final times of The Qualifier, its a miracle, i made it.

Outside Granny's House on Winter Wipeout, she's a real tough bitch LOL

Aww the Big Red Balls are all covered up for bedtime, so here are the Big Black Balls.

The Wipeout Zone from Total Wipeout the first 5 series, Still in use.

And what can i say, she asked, who was i say to say no LOL

Now then i do have to add something here. Not all is as it seems on the show. Every part of the set that moves is controlled by a stunt coordinator. They can raise and lower, open and close, speed up and slow done any thing that you see moving in the whole of the show, its not all randomly timed. Which i guess is a bit unfair as someone can get an easier ride than the next person but if it was all timed then it would always be the fittest that won which isn't great TV, this show is all about having fun while your on it and making fun TV for people to watch. There is also another part you won't see. Sometimes if a body armour pops open, or a mic pack off the helmet is lost or a shoe is lost in the mud they stop the clock and stop the filming. So that means that person gets a rest while they sort everything out, one of the contestants on The Qualifier lost a shoe and he said himself they searched for it for 5 Min's at Granny's House which meant he had a good rest before the Big Red Balls, i think you can guess who it was LOL. But its a fun show and its great TV, one of the best on TV, i've never a watched a show that makes me cry with laughter every time i watch it.

So this is where my story ends but the memories live on, hope you all enjoyed and i'm so sorry i couldn't win it for you all, but i tried my best. On the next update, my audition for Derren Browns "Can i make a thick shit the winner of mastermind" LOL

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Happy New Year! Its time to start thinking of season 2012

Well didn't Christmas whizz by, before we all knew it it was over. I remember when i used to buy the Radio Times a fortnight before Christmas and circle all the programmes and films i wanted to watch and that was with only 4 TV channels at the time. These days i was lucky if i could find one programme i wanted to watch over Christmas and that's with over 50 channels. Old repeated movies, programmes being repeated endlessly, one programme was repeated 3 times in one week. No wonder i don't watch much TV, theres nothing on, well apart from Winter Wipeout of course. I think episode 7 will be a good one, 28Th of Jan i think its on but keep watching every Saturday as I'm sure they're all just as good.

So what toys did i find interesting this Christmas at Toys R Us, well there were many but i pity the poor child who woke up with scalextric Velodrome Set. I bet he was cursing Father Christmas, how boring can a toy be. I know its the "Year of the Olympics" (which i think is a total waste of billions when Policing, NHS and Education are being cut and the UK is down the pan) but to bring out a Velodrome Scalextrics set is desperate to say the least. Now the whole point of Scalextrics track sets is you can expand them so its more than just an oval with jumps, bridges, tunnels etc but a Velodrome, Whoopee round and round and round, how dull can a toy be, children i now apologies for your parents for buying you such a crap toy haha.

The most shameless, worst toy ever in the history of crap toys.

On my walks around the store i was spooked the most by the psycho twins. These life like demon children stand at 2.5 ft tall with a stare that puts Charles Manson to shame. Any child who received these i think will have endless sleepless nights wondering when the dolls are going to come to life and drag them in to their wardrobes. Kids if your folks got you these dolls for Christmas i think they've bought them as behaviour training device, "If you don't stop being naughty I'll set the dolls on you!"

If you got these dolls for Christmas kids your in big trouble.

I was shocked to see that a toy company was using me as a cheap version of Barbies Ken. The female dolls name is Steffi and the have brought out her boyfriend "Kevin". I am thinking of suing the company as they have got the doll completely wrong.

1/ Its is dressed far to smart to be me, I've only ever worn a suit for weddings, funerals and court appearances lol

2/ The hair on the doll is far to thick on top and needs to be thinned out to almost bald.

3/ The doll is much taller than i am even though they say it is scaled down.

The Kevin Doll, how dare they!

And i think I'm way over priced lol

So i bet your asking yourself "well come on Kevlar what did you have off Father Christmas that's so good?" Well i got what everyman wishes he could have "POWER TOOLS". I had a cordless screwdriver with built in power cell, a precision jigsaw with lazer guiding and a massive cordless drill with a spare ready to charge battery and a new tool box with various tools. Oh yeah, if changing rooms ever comes back on the goggle box I'm the new Handy Andy, I'm "Katastrophe Kev". I've always said if you got the correct tools you can do any job. So I've thrown out my blunt butter knife and toffee hammer so I'm now available for hire (UK only) in Greece i still have a butter knife and toffee hammer. I also had many autobiographies and clothes for chrimbo so I'm well happy. Next year slippers, smoking jacket and a pipe.

My handy work for you all to gasp at in awe! Roman blinds, curtains and shelves!

New years eve was a pretty dull affair, i was in bed by midnight watching the fireworks in London on TV where myself and Helen were 2 years ago, I'm definitely going to book something for next year but to be honest I'm starting to go off alcohol and seeing the pictures in the papers of all the drunk people laying in the gutters all over the UK on new years eve puts me off going out at all.

So we now look ahead to season 2012, my 12Th year running a bar on Zakynthos and got a few new things planned for 2012 but I'm keeping them all secret as usual. Got to keep the competition guessing but there is going to be changes and more new cocktails that you won't get anywhere else. Still sticking with original spirits and no cheap local brands, also my prices are staying exactly the same as last season, in fact my prices haven't risen since i opened in 2007. The chill out theme is staying the same and again no TV's or entertainment. It should be good!

I have been told that i have to audition for "The Cube", so that's exactly what I'm going to do. I think Helen is trying to turn me in to a game show junky. As long as i don't have to audition for "Fat Club", "10 Years Younger" or "Embarrassing Bodies" i don't mind.

Well that's the update for now and will be doing an update every 2 weeks until i head back to Zakynthos.

I hope 2012 is a good year for you all and hope to see many of you back on the island, roll on 2012, WOOHOO!