All posts by Ben Veal

Ben Veal is a Public Relations and Digital Marketing professional based in Wiltshire, UK. A big fan of film and literature, Ben also writes for the Daily Mirror about the rather unusual sport that is professional wrestling. Find out more about Ben at www.benvealwrites.com.

‘Not the 12 Days of Christmas’ Day 4: a stupidly funny video clip

On the Fourth Day of Christmas, my Guru gave to me… possibly the funniest festive video ever

Mr Griswold

Oh yes, it’s a lofty claim to make, but in the humble opinion of Ben Veal, the festive flick which tops his Christmas wishlist is the underrated 1989 Chevy Chase vehicle, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

Yes indeed, this classic John Hughes comedy has been a fixture of the Veal family Christmas for the past two decades, so much so that I am capable of quoting the entire dialogue, word for word. But that doesn’t mean that it’s lost any of its comedy touch – and one clip that never gets tiresome is this one, which answers the age old question: just how can I supercharge my sled …?

Enjoy and remember, don’t try this at home! Continue reading

Article by Ben Veal

December 17, 2014

Ben Veal is a Public Relations and Digital Marketing professional based in Wiltshire, UK. A big fan of film and literature, Ben also writes for the Daily Mirror about the rather unusual sport that is professional wrestling. Find out more about Ben at www.benvealwrites.com.


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What a Scream! Ten Horror Movies you simply have to see…

Classic Movie Monsters by @englishinvader, on FlickrFilm addict and resident Media Guru, Ben Veal prides himself in being one of the biggest movie-buffs outside of LA. This issue, he explores some silver screen creepiness to compile his bucket list of horror movies…

As the seasons change and autumn arrives, I find myself drawn to horror movies. With a chill in the air and the nights drawing in (for us Northern hemisphere folk), the prospect of Halloween and scary movies seems like just the right combination. Let’s face it – it’s just not the same during the summer!

From all the films I’ve watched in my lifetime (a rather unhealthy amount), horror movies have always been a personal favourite. So it is with some fiendish relish that I present to Guru Magazine my (very subjective) ten best horror movies of all time. Read on, if you dare…

Article by Ben Veal

October 31, 2013

Ben Veal is a Public Relations and Digital Marketing professional based in Wiltshire, UK. A big fan of film and literature, Ben also writes for the Daily Mirror about the rather unusual sport that is professional wrestling. Find out more about Ben at www.benvealwrites.com.


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Book Review: Gold

Author:

Publisher: Sceptre
Price: £7.99, $16.00 (Kindle version available) Available from Amazon (UK / USA)

Last year’s Olympic Games was a sporting event that few of us here in the UK are likely to forget in a hurry. Preempted by years of cynicism, the overwhelming success of London 2012 stunned critics and united the nation in jubilant fashion, as eyes across the globe turned to our nation’s capital to see the very best athletes in the world compete for the chance to be immortalised in history – by winning gold.

Gold book cover

It is this quest that serves as the backdrop for Chris Cleave’s third novel Gold (Sceptre, 2012), the author’s follow-up to New York Times bestseller The Other Hand (or Little Bee as it was marketed in America).

GOLD is the fictional tale of British Olympic cyclists Zoe Castle and Kate Meadows – but don’t let the two-wheeled subject matter put you off. Having trained and raced against each other for fifteen years, these two athletes are among the fastest in the world; a fact that will be put to the test when the ICO declares a rule change stating that only one of them can represent their country in London. Now, that’s an Olympic-sized pickle for you.

The two lead protagonists couldn’t be more different from one another, at least on the face of it: Zoe is a relentless, self-destructive, man-eating celebrity cyclist, seemingly destined for the win from the outset. Kate, meanwhile, is the mother of Sophie, a brave eight-year-old battling with leukemia. Kate is struggling to keep on top of the rigorous training regime alongside husband, and fellow Olympian, Jack. Bolstering the two females together is veteran coach Tom, whose withering frame has just about one more Games left in it.

The contrast between Zoe and Kate makes for some truly absorbing reading, as the two rivals-turned-friends push towards victory, and battle to keep on top of their respective personal demons. But GOLD is about much more than the sport of cycling.

In one of the story’s pivotal moments, a sportscaster comments on the action taking place before his eyes. He astutely observes: “We can easily forget, underneath all the glitz and the glamour of an Olympics, that these are real people, real families like yours and mine”.

Much like Cleave’s last book, which tackled the hard topic of immigration, GOLD uses the world of professional cycling merely as a setting for what is a sublime and richly-written character piece, revolving around an engaging central cast and with a plotline that will keep you guessing right up until the very last page. It’s an emotional read, to say the least.

As GOLD confirms, when it comes to the problems of real people placed in extraordinary circumstances, few can tell their story quite like Chris Cleave.

GOLD is now available to buy from all leading bookshops and online. To find out more about the author, visit www.facebook.com/ChrisCleaveBooks and www.twitter.com/chriscleave.

4 5 stars

“GOLD is about what we choose to put first: our ambition, or the people we love … which is a heartbreaking human dilemma. We call it work/life balance, and I chose to pose the dilemma to athletes because in sport there’s nowhere to hide. Failure and success are absolute and the human choices are very hard.” – Chris Cleave, author of GOLD

This article is from Guru Magazine issue 13, read the issue in full here.

Review by Ben Veal

Article by Ben Veal

August 20, 2013

Ben Veal is a Public Relations and Digital Marketing professional based in Wiltshire, UK. A big fan of film and literature, Ben also writes for the Daily Mirror about the rather unusual sport that is professional wrestling. Find out more about Ben at www.benvealwrites.com.


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‘How To Have An Almost Perfect Marriage’ by Mrs Stephen Fry

A light-hearted page-turner with widespread appeal.

Wife of Stephen Fry, mother to six – or seven – boisterous children, prolific tweeter and tea-drinker and the proud owner of a 2010 Shorty Award, Edna Fry has a number of strings to her bow. With the publication of How To Have An Almost Perfect Marriage, Mrs Stephen Fry now has something else to brag about: a crowd-funded book courtesy of Unbound.co.uk.

Earlier this year, the very popular Mrs Fry unveiled a new book concept to her fans and followers, requesting funds to make this concept a reality. Only a few short months later, the book is now fully funded and published, having received 165% of its original target amount.

And what a concept it is. Following on from the success of Mrs Fry’s Diary, which saw the new author dip her toe tentatively into the literary pool, How To Have An Almost Perfect Marriage sees the wise wife offering up a veritable treasure-trove of marital hints and tips, bestowing pearls of wisdom to couples both young and old.

“Statistically, 100 per cent of divorces start with marriage. And yet there are still hundreds of thousands of weddings each year – why?

Well, people get married for all sorts of reasons – security, social convention, pregnancy, boredom, fear of being alone, even love. Personally, I fancied a new hat and Stephen was nearby.”

Across 190 pages and nine chapters, Mrs Stephen Fry covers all aspects of marriage – from the first date and the hunt to find Mr or Mrs Right, through to the initial proposal, the wedding service, honeymoon, reproduction and divorce.

There’s also recipes for keeping a husband well-fed and happy  (Edna’s Working Men’s Club Sandwich, for instance, manages to combine the likes of cheese and onion crisps and pork pies with Black Forest Gateau and lager), tips for moving into your first home, wedding anniversary suggestions, and an eclectic array of baby names to aid with the naming process for expectant parents.

Along the way, she shares many of her memories from her lively marriage with the ‘real’ Stephen: a man less likely to be found making quipps on QI and exploring the latest gadgets, and far more likely to be spotted either propping up the bar inside the Dog & Duck or waiting for his order by Kevin’s Kebab Van.

Filled to the brim with amusing anecdotes, one-liners and some wonderfully astute marital insights, How To Have An Almost Perfect Marriage really is tremendous fun. Existing followers of the author’s tweets will know exactly what to expect, and for new fans – you’re in for a treat.

A light-hearted page-turner which is likely to appeal to a very wide audience (married or otherwise), How To Have An Almost Perfect Marriage seems almost destined to have a place in most people’s Christmas stockings this festive season.

Get the latest offers from Amazon: How to Have an Almost Perfect Marriage

‘How To Have An Almost Perfect Marriage’ is available now to buy from Amazon, Waterstones and other leading retailers. To find out more about the project and those who supported it, visit Unbound.co.uk. You can also, of course, follow Mrs Stephen Fry on Twitter now at @MrsStephenFry.

Article by Ben Veal

December 6, 2012

Ben Veal is a Public Relations and Digital Marketing professional based in Wiltshire, UK. A big fan of film and literature, Ben also writes for the Daily Mirror about the rather unusual sport that is professional wrestling. Find out more about Ben at www.benvealwrites.com.


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