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Call Centre drama takes the Office to new heights

Dave O'Connell

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TV Watch with Dave O’Connell

Those who reckoned that The Office could only ever have been a figment of Ricky Gervais’ vivid imagination have obviously never heard of Nev Wilshire, peacock-proud CEO of the third biggest call centre in Swansea.

Nev makes David Brent look like a cartoon character, because he is the looniest, most lovable, un-PC boss on the face of the planet – and he has surrounded himself with a cast of similarly doolally staff.

The Call Centre started out as a fly-on-the-wall on BBC Three and is now getting a well earned re-run on BBC1 – and it wouldn’t be any funnier if it was scripted by the team from Father Ted.

Nev himself is a balding, podgy 53 year old proud Welshman, who bases his management style on Napoleon and makes it his business to know the ins and outs of the call centre workers’ professional and private lives.

Born and bred in Swansea, he’s a big fan of Swansea City – and of John Wayne, who was one of the good guys as he puts it.

Key to the drama is the fact that Nev believes only ‘happy people sell’ and he has developed a unique approach to managing his young workforce – keeping them smiling and the sales rolling in.

This stretches to organising blind dates for those on a barren spell, and being utterly politically incorrect almost every minute of the day.

And yet it would be hard to take offence to Big Nev, who only has the best interests of his workforce at heart – quite a job in itself as his call centre has gone from eight staff sharing three desks just three years ago. He now employs 700 people at 250 desks.

With all due respects to those who work in call centres, it’s not a career choice you’d make for yourself as a lifetime ambition – and yet the staff at Swansea’s third largest centre couldn’t be happier if they worked for Apple or Google.

Their actual work seems to involve cold-calling customers to try and sell them cavity wall insulation for their houses, but that’s almost a backdrop to their lives – because this is a hot-bed of hormones and high jinks, led from the front by Nev himself.

Call centres can provide rich pickings for inter-staff relationships – there are now over a million people working in UK call centres, with an average age of just 26.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel. 

CITY TRIBUNE

Sharon goes global for lockdown album The Reckoning

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Sharon's new album will be available from this Friday.

Despite Covid-19 travel restrictions, Sharon Shannon has gone global for her latest studio album, The Reckoning, which is being released this Friday, November 27.

The Reckoning, which was composed, written and recorded during lockdown, features more than dozen remote collaborations from locations across the world.

All the twelve tracks have been co-written by Sharon and band members and various guest collaborators.

The full-on method in which it was recorded marks a new departure for the Clare-born musician who lives in Galway City, she says.

“Normally when we work on an album, we do one track at a time,” Sharon explains. “But with this, it seems to be an avalanche when you’re working on 13 or 14 tracks every day. It’s like a minefield!”

One of the key tracks, The Jolly Roger, resulted from a challenge which rugby player Robbie Henshaw presented to Sharon during the first Covid lockdown. Issued via Facebook, her task was to learn a new skill. And she did. After five days of intense practice, she created The Jolly Roger Facebook video . That clip of Sharon and her electric guitar has attracted more than 289,000 views since it was uploaded earlier this year.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Artists going to dogs in aid of annual auction

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Work donated to MADRA by Galway artist Grace Cunningham and Achill Island’s Padraig McCaul.

Works by some of Ireland’s top artists, including Grace Cunningham and Finbar McHugh from Galway as well as Padraig McCaul from Achill Island and Charles Harper from Valentia Island, will go under the hammer at this year’s MADRA Dog Rescue Charity Art Auction.

The popular event, which kicks off for viewing next week, will take place online year due to Covid restrictions.

The event, will open for registration and online bids next Thursday, December 3 and will remain available to view and bid online until Monday, December 7 .

The goal is to raise €3,000 to contribute towards vet bills for the Connemara-based dog rescue and adoption charity. MADRA is facing major bills, all without the financial support that’s normally generated by its two charity shops – they have been closed for months this year due to the pandemic.

“We have stunning artworks available with an amazing variety of subjects and styles,” explains MADRA co-founder and director, Marina Fiddler, adding that the organisation is “honoured that so many talented artists have donated such beautiful pieces to support the homeless dogs in our care”.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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CITY TRIBUNE

Celebrating Romania on Great Union Day

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ConTempo, will perform a programme from thier native Romania for next Tuesday's lunchthime concert.

The next instalment of the lunchtime music series, From Europe with Love, will take place next Tuesday, December 1, at 1pm. Hosted by Galway Music Residency, it’s the last one for 2020.

It promises to be a special event as Galway’s Ensemble in Residence, the ConTempo Quartet, who are from Romania, celebrate their homeland on what’s known as Great Union Day. This national holiday marks the unification of Transylvania, Bessarabia and Bukovina with the Romanian Kingdom in 1918.

ConTempo will perform a varied programme, showcasing the best of Romanian music. This will feature works by celebrated composers George Enescu and Theodor Grigoriu alongside lesser-known musical treasures. There will be a strong folk theme throughout, making for a lively lunchtime show.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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