It’s been a hard day’s night

Besides sipping wine along the Thames and perusing local museums, we’re also managing to squeeze in a little work.

So here’s a brief taste of some of our vocational visits. (And BTW, I’m just kidding about the “little work.” I’ve never been so busy in my entire life.)

All Stars Boxing Gym
All Stars Boxing Gym

We visited the All Stars Boxing Gym to hone our boxing skills while in London. In between practicing our right hooks and smooth jabs (are those even boxing terms?), we spoke with  owner Isola Akay and some of his great (and talented!) boxing students.

Akay explained that he started the club for local kids, working hard to provide them with as an alternative to the rough streets of London’s Paddington district. As Akay says “sports is a kind of activity which has no barrier . . .  it doesn’t matter which colour, it doesn’t matter which background, people are met on equal standards.” What a great guy, and such an inspiration.

Steve, broadcasting live from BBC London
Steve, broadcasting live from BBC London

I know I’ve said that the BBC public tour was less than impressive . . .  but the private tour was fabulous!

I spent my afternoon shadowing some wonderful BBC broadcast journalists, primarily the 6:00 news team.  I took part in their staff meetings, watched them brainstorm headlines, observed the production, and sat in awe as news changed during the broadcast. That is seriously stressful. A few observations (as a Master of Journalism, according to Emerson College):

  • BBC News uses the same equipment as my alma mater, Emerson College. Good? Bad? Who knows, I spaced out during all my broadcast lessons at Emerson.
  • While CNN was covering Facebook, the BBC was covering Gordon Brown’s major Labour party speech. ‘Nuff said.
  • BBC staff is very young and hip. They made me look frumpy. (Although, I suppose that’s not hard.)
  • It’s very weird watching the BBC news, seeing the anchor chatting at the desk in the newsroom, and realizing that you’re sitting in the background of that same newsroom.
  • No commercials. What a magical concept.
  • Even the BBC stoops to American standards: I heard quite a bit of discussion about Sarah Brown’s dress. Watch out Michelle Obama, you may have competition!

*PS: The photo above wasn’t from today, it was from our previous public tour. Steve became a BBC anchor!

American Embassy
American Embassy

We visited the Embassy and learned about the US and UK business partnerships., which was great fun. Or quite lovely, as my British counterparts would say.

Looking to visit the Embassy on your next trip to London? Be prepared to queue.


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