Archive | December, 2012

BBC4….The World’s Richest Songs

29 Dec

One of the biggest gripes with the talents unearthed by shows such as the X-Factor, American Idol, Britain’s Got Talent etc is that the nature of these programmes start artistes on the wrong path. Spending their most creative early years singing covers of other people’s songs, or songs created by their labels in-house team of writers. Why is it the wrong path you might ask?

Well it is the wrong path because all the hard work from gigging, touring and personal appearances will simply be lining other people’s pockets as this informative BBC4 documentary – Richest Songs in the World – showed. The beneficiary’s of this wealth? The Song writers and owners of the copyright to the song.

Fronted by BBC DJ Mark Radcliffe who also doubles as one half of the comedy rock group The Shirehorses, the show revealed the top ten highest grossing songs ever and it was a very interesting list.

We are given tidbits of where the money comes from 7-8p a CD, 4p for a downloaded tune and usage of music on the BBC for instance can attract about £16 a minute. Then there are films, adverts, Karaoke machines, shopping centres and more.

So who is in the list?

10. Mel Torme – Christmas Song. (1944) [Listen]
The tenth spot was held by the Christmas Song written by Mel Torme and it was made famous by the great Nat King Cole. The song introduced two theme’s that ran throughout the list.

First was that a Christmas hit doesn’t just sell well, it sells spectacularly well! The other  was that for incongruous reasons song writers of Jewish origin were masters at producing Christmas hits.

Estimated Earnings – £12.5 million.

9. Roy Orbison & Bill Dees – Oh Pretty Woman. (1964) [Listen]
Roy Orbison and Bill Dees were apparently struggling for song writing ideas when Roy’s wife walks in on them and announced she was going shopping and thus the opening lines “Pretty Woman walking down the street” were born. The rest of the song followed, and so did a no 1 hit in the USA and UK and elsewhere.

The Richard Gere / Julia Roberts film Pretty Woman brought a substantial boost to the song’s earning potential, as well as introducing it to a whole new generation, so much so that in late 1998 Bill Dees was reportedly earning $100,000 a year.

In the USA the song was the subject of a legal case that established the doctrine of parody. When rap artist Luke Campbell and his 2 Live Crew sampled the song into a somewhat salacious version the copyright owners objected.

The US supreme court ruled the version  was a parody and exempt from royalty payments establishing a legal precedent that exists in the US till today. It may have made a small dent in revenues but not enough to stop the song from being a money spinner.

Estimated Earnings – £13 million

8. Sting – Every Breath You Take. (1983) [Listen]
This is the UK’s first entry in the list. It’s the 80′s super group, The Police, greatest ever song contributing a quarter of the revenue that their entire catalogue ever made. This song throws up another theme that crops in discussions about song revenue, who actually owns the rights. This song is credited to Sting (Gordon Sumner) but in the interview for this programme Andy Summers recounted how he had provided the guitar riff for the song.

So successful was the song that it grosses about $2000 a day. A lot of that is due to P Diddy’s incredibly successful sample of the song in memory of the late rapper Notorious BIG. Ironically the main part that was sampled was Summer’s iconic guitar riff.

Estimated Earnings – £13.5 million

7. Haven Gillespie & Fred J Coots – Santa Claus is coming to town. (1934) [Listen]
So popular has this song been that is covered pretty much anyone who’s anyone from the soulful rendition by the Jackson 5 to hard rocking version by Alice Cooper, and there is even a version by Justin Bieber.

Estimated Earnings – £16.5 million

6. Ben E King, Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller – Stand By Me. (1961) [Listen]
I personally have believed the best music comes out of time of uncertainty. In particular the sixties and early seventies a period of profound political and social change brought us some of the best music that has ever been produced. Ben E King’s anthemic song is a worthy representative of this era.

Ben brought the song initially to Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller who were working out of the famous Brill Building in New York. They added to it’s composition and also agreed to a royalty split of 25% to Leiber and Stoller and 50% to Ben E King, an unusually amicable agreement in an industry where back stabbing over royalties is a way of life.

Stand By me was successful in its own right but the River Phoenix film of the same name amongst other reuses of the song have seen its commercial success soar

Estimated Earnings – £17.5 million

5. Alex North & Hy Zaret – Unchained Melody. (1955) [Listen]
Written for a prison movie ‘Unchained’ in the 50′s it was originally about about a prisoner yearning for freedom. The song was made famous by two guys with most perfectly sculptured chins in show business The righteous Brothers and in the UK by two less sculptured British blokes Robson and Jerome. In between the song has been covered at least an amazing 650 times.

Estimated Earnings – £18 million

4. John Lennon and Paul McCartney – Yesterday. (1965) [Listen]
Back to Blighty for number 4. Yesterday was said to have been specifically written by Paul McCarthy but given the arrangements that existed within the Beatles it is credited to Lennon and McCartney.

When the song was originally written the final lyrics had not been worked out so Paul McCartney used in its place were an homage to scrambled eggs until he came with the now famous lyrics. Despite it seeming simplicity the song is the most successful of the Beatles’s compositions.

Estimated Earnings – £19.5 million

3.Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil and Phil Specter – You lost that loving feeling. (1964) [Listen]
Written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil a legendary Husband and Wife song writing team working out of the famous Brill Building music factory. They worked with Phil Specter on this song and when interviewed on the programme stated he famously added the line “and he is gone, gone, gone, Whoa, whoa, whoa”, much to Mann and Weil’s skepticism . The addition along with Phil Spectre’s wall of sound production worked and helped make the song the most played on radio ever.

Memorably in the UK the song release pitted a very young Cilla Black against the great chins from America – The Righteous brothers in a battle for No 1 both with the same song. Cilla eventually lost  out to the tighter more sophisticated production on the American version. Must have been a ‘surprise, surprise’ for her. [Sorry!]

Estimated Earnings – £20.5 million

2.Irving Berlin – White Christmas. (1940) [Listen]
“I am dreaming of a white Christmas”. This song bundles up all your nostalgic memories of Christmas into soft heavily sentimental wrapping, the ultimate Christmas Song. It was Irving Berlin’s masterpiece and in the hands of all American crooner Bing Crosby it sold an amazing sold 40 million copies and has since gone one to sell over 100 million units netting the man who started as a poor jewish immigrant from Russia a fortune.

Interesting Irving Berlin was a leading light in the creation of The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) the body that first adopted a unified approach for the collection of song royalties and arguably laid the foundation for the fortune of many others on the list.

Estimated Earnings – £24 million

So what’s number one? I heard about this before but was never sure if it was an urban myth or not, well it’s been confirmed.

1.Hill Sisters – Happy Birthday. (1893) [Listen]
No not the Stevie Wonder one. The one you sing at home when it is a birthday, yes that one. You might think of it a ditty, a rhyme, a kids song, but if it is musical and can been copyrighted it will generate royalties. When you consider that every one of the 6 billion people on earth has a birthday you can begin to see the earning potential.

Kindergarten teachers Patty and Mildred Hill created it as a song for their kids with the words originally ‘Good Morning to You’ along the way it morphed to Happy Birthday and into an incredibly popular song. So much so that Warner Brothers bought the rights to the song for 25 million dollars. Happy Birthday reportedly costs 25,000 dollars for use in a TV or Movie and despite its age remains under copyright in the USA till 2030. In the EU the copyright ends in 2016.

Estimated Earnings – £30 million

All in all a great programme and given all the music clips of theses songs and their various cover versions it definitely added a few more pennies to the earnings.

Homeland Season 2 Finale…1 Brit Down 2 Left Standing

25 Dec
Homeland (TV series)

Homeland (TV series) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have a problem there is now a huge void in my Sunday night’s TV schedule and I am not sure it is going to be filled anytime soon, as  it is going to take something big to fill it.

Yes Homeland Season 2 came to an explosive finale on Sunday and when I say explosive I mean both literally and figuratively. 200 dead and the CIA headquarters in Langley blown apart. Abu Nazir’s wrath reached out from the grave and wrecked annihilation. Did this explosive end redeem Season 2?

After all the plaudits and accolades Homeland gathered in the first season, there was a lot to live up to in Season 2. In my opinion it struggled a bit particularly in the middle. Not because it was was not  great TV, it just that season one was stupendously great and often a great first season is very difficult to beat.

Brody’s suicide bomber plot to kill the Vice President had been uncovered and that pretty much killed off a major plot line and the question was where would it go from there.  There were many sub plots left but none of them alone with enough substance to drive a third season except maybe the mole and that is just what seemed to have happened.

Right from Season one we knew there was a leak in the agency, that deep in the Agency there was a ‘third man’ or men .  Who could be

Galvez -The ‘Muslim’ CIA operative, pretty much always under suspicion by people on the programme. He was fingered as a mole by Carrie when it was thought Abu Nazir has escaped but he would be the obvious answer and would be too pat an ending.

Carrie – Bipolar, scatty and at at times maddeningly irrational. Could she be the mole and she doesn’t even realise it, some sort of split personality manifesting itself as the antithesis of what she stands for?  It would be a big reach, but in the last episode she would have been in a position to move Brody’s car, and seemed to encourage them to leave the hall before the bomb went off.

Saul – It seem’s he is becoming the people’s choice for the Mole. His prayers for the dead at the end of the last episode sent social media into a frenzy as people assumed it was an arabic prayer (it was hebrew), but even if that was a red herring there is still the failed lie detector test from season one. I don’t know if it can be him, he just seems to reliable.

Estes – A mole deep in the top echelons of the CIA. That would hav been a massive coup. There is one problem he is dead and unless the mole plot line ended in season 2 it is unlikely. On a side note we have lost the first of the three Brits on Homeland in Estes (David Hartland). He will be taking Homeland Questions and Answers on his twitter feed on the 26th (https://twitter.com/DavidHarewood)

Quinn – The third Brit (Rupert Friend) in the Mix (alongside Brody and Estes). We all know Hollywood loves its bad guys to be Brits so that’s one thing that swings it in his favour. He is black ops specialist and his past has been kept very quiet. He works for  Dar Adul. Who is he?  Are Quinn and Adul some sort of unit that has gone rogue? Plausible but is it possible?

Whoever it is we know they are able to penetrate America’s most secure facilities and wreck havoc.  Interestingly using Brody’s car to move the bomb pulled him right make into the picture just when he thought his life was all coming together (shades of Arlignton Road there). To compound matters Brody’s suicide tape has been released to the media.

All this gave the end season 2 the massive talking point it needed and redeemed the season while laying the ground for a new season, but in my mind changes the essence of the show.

Brody is permanently tainted and threat to America is now well and truly on home soil turning the programme into a mix of  The Fugitve and 24.

Season 3 is going to be more of a challenge for the writers than the last two seasons, but for me I am still in.

TNT Belgium…A Really really great advert

23 Dec

This is a really great advert for the launch of Turner Network Television - TNT’s Belgium channel. If the people pushing the button aren’t actors but ordinary unsuspecting members of the public then the advert steps up from awesome to super awesome!

 

Channel 4…Has Homeland hit a Nadir after the demise of Abu Nazir

19 Dec
Homeland (TV series)

Homeland (TV series) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Homeland’s latest season comes to an end on Channel 4 next week Sunday. Season 2 has been good but has struggled to maintain the same level of intense suspense you got with Season 1.

It was always going to be a struggle. The central and the most intriguing question about Brody “Was he or wasn’t he a terrorist” was largely answered at the end of the first season.

With Season 2 we got to know a bit more detail. We know that the CIA know what Brody was up to. We know Carrie Mathison struggles with her bipolar disorder but despite her increasingly erratic, slightly incredulous, bulging eyed almost maniacal behavior she still delivers when it really matters.

Most of all we know the main protagonist of the two series, Abu Nazir has been found and killed. Although I am still unclear as to why he came to the USA in the first place.

What we have left are the sub plots of Brody’s marriage breakdown, Estes trying to get Saul kicked out of the Agency, Peter Quinn plotting to kill Brody, and who the hell was the Mole?

Will these sub-plots be enough to sustain a third season or will the final programme of season two sow the seeds of a whole new plot line to drive it forward?

It is a tricky situation because the programme has been sustained based on a central theme around Brody. This seems pretty much used up. How they close of Season two will be a big pointer as to whether Homeland goes on for several more seasons or bids us bye after a great Season 1 and good Season 2.

BBC2…Lunch is Av-Ant Garde at Claridge’s!

18 Dec
Claridge's Hotel in Brook Street, London, Engl...

Claridge’s Hotel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Should the Big Yellow Box be worried? Apparently Claridge’s offer long term storage for their customers, particularly if you spend a reasonable time at the hotel. Say maybe 30 days a year for last 10 years and insist on a suite that sets you back £3,500 a night.

Welcome to another edition of BBC Two’s fly on the wall Documentary – Inside Claridge’s. Although being Claridge’s it probably more aptly termed rare Tibetan turquoise tiger beetle on the wall rather than some common domestic fly.

We start off with a visit from Jose ‘Pepe’ Fanjul. A billionaire with interest in sugar companies across the world including Tate and Lyle. For Pepe Claridge’s is a home away from home. In between jaunts to Scotland for a bit of shooting and trips across the world he likes to come back to the familiar luxury of Claridge’s.

He is in and out so frequently that the hotel stores clothes, furniture and presumably pretty much anything else he wants stored to ensure every night stayed there is as stress free as possible. At £3,500 a night it is the very least they could do.

The big theme tonight was the Olympics. The episode was filmed over this year’s London summer Olympics and Claridge’s was heaving under the weight of delegations from over 30 countries  If you ever wondered where some of the billions that the Olympics cost went, a fair sum seemed to have been spent here. With Rooms at £5,000 a night you would need an Olympic sized budget to cope which Seb Coe obviously had.

We saw entourages from across the world checking in, a team of 16 from Malawi staying for 11 nights, team of 9 from Gabon for 8 nights, the Attorney General of New Zealand and many more. Prince Andrew also popped up, although it was unclear if he was there as part of the Olympic jamboree.

As a special celebration of the Olympics, Claridge’s had teamed up with what is supposedly the best restaurant in the World – Copenhagen based Noma  - for a two-week special event.

Noma’s specialty menu for the event included amongst other things foraged greens, Juniper oil and live ants all for the princely sum of £195 a sitting.

I often find when people have to explain or justify why a particular dish is great you do come away with the sense that there is a lot of smoke and mirrors under pinned by great marketing rather it being simply great food.

That was the sense I came away with watching all the to and fro’ing as they set our recreating the spartan Scandinavian feel of Noma in Claridge’s ballroom. Maybe I am just a food pleb with an agrarian palate but it seemed that everyone shown ‘enjoying’ the food for this event had to ‘like’ it irrespective of what their faces portrayed as they nibbled of a selection of live ants.

I did warm a bit to Noma head chef Rene Redzepi though when asked about Prince Andrew and his quizzical response was “Who’s he?”.

The Olympics clearly looked like a winner for Claridge’s but it came at a price as the hotel was invaded by vast numbers of what can only be described as the hoi polloi, congregating in the lobby in numbers and even going as far as resting their feet on footstools. You get the feel that Claridge’s could not wait for the hotel to return to its traditional luxurious gentility.

BBC…Sports Personality of The Year (SPOTY)

16 Dec

If you enjoy watching sports on TV, 2012 has been MEGA!.  From the Manchester City’s last gasp win to snatch the Premiership from bitter rivals Manchester United, Bradley Wiggins historic triumph in France to win the Tour, the multitude of magic moments from the Olympics  and Andrew Murray’s winning his first grand slam after the emotional heartache of Wimbledon.

So many magic moments, how do you choose a winner for the sports personality of the year. Well it has to be done and tonight is the night.  The nominees were

  • Andy Murray – (US Open Champion, Olympic Gold [Tennis])
  • Bradley Wiggins – (Tour De France winner, Olympic Gold [Cycling])
  • Ben Ainslie – (Olympic Gold[Sailing])
  • Chris Hoy – (Olympic Gold [Cycling])
  • David Weir – (Paralympic Gold[Wheelchair Racing])
  • Ellie Simmons – (Paralympic Gold [Swimming])
  • Jessica Ennis – (Olympic Gold [Athletics])
  • Katherine Granger - (Olympic Gold [Rowing])
  • Mo Farah - (Olympic Gold [Athletics])
  • Nicola Adams - (Olympic Gold [Boxing])
  • Roy McIlroy – (PGA Championship 2012 Winner, Ryder Cup 2012)
  • Sarah Storey – (Paralympic Gold [Cycling])

The show as expected was heaving with sporting celebs, the great, the good, the okay and the not so good.  It was also heaving with nostalgia as we were taken back through the glory days of 2012, ably assisted by  mini montages of all the great moments. I have to say no one does montages better than the BBC.  My favorite was from ‘Super Saturday’ the day Jessica Ennis, Greg Rutherford and Mo Farah came good winning three golds in the space of 46 golden minutes

Other great moments were the audience doing the Poznan, when Vincent Company and Sergio Aguero came one, that was brilliant. The award to Martine Wright, a victim of the 7/7 bombing who went on to represent the UK in sitting volleyball at the Paralympics was special, as was the segment with Fabrice Muamba.

It wasn’t all about celebrity honorable mention also goes out to Jim and Sue Haughton who won the unsung hero of the year award.

In other awards Team GB and Paralympic GB won team of the year. Coach of the year went to Dave Brailsford, cycling GB supremo. Usain Bolt won overseas athlete of the year. Lifetime achievement went to Seb Coe.

Then it was all down to the big one. Drum roll and the third place went to…. Andy Murray (shame I really wanted Andy to win, the Wimbledon Final, The Olympic Gold and the US Open were incredible achievements).

Second place went  to the Golden Girl Jessica Ennis and the winner was….Bradley Wiggins.  Congratulations sir, not my preferred choice but a deserved winner.

p.s. From reaction on Twitter it looks like Jessica Ennis’s well appointed dress has bagged her another honour – Rear of The Year.

BBC…Panorama “Britain’s Hidden Housing Crisis”

15 Dec

Even with the global economic crisis Britain still remains one of the richest countries in the world.  I am not an expert of government finances by any stretch of the imagination,  but when the government announce that despite the recession they have found money to spend a million pounds a day over almost a year in an operation to remove the former Libyan dictator we can’t be that broke.

So if as a country we are still relatively rich why the hell do we have disproportionately so many homeless people? BBC  flagship current affairs programme took a look at this in its episode “Britain’s Hidden Housing Crisis”.

First off  I am not sure why the title refers to a “hidden” crisis? In the larger cities of the UK there is a real and very visible crisis, what  is not in dispute is that there is a crisis.  Identifying a crisis is one thing, working out the solutions is another but one way is to take a look at how people end up homeless which is what this edition of Panorama did.

It followed a number of individual and families and over 5 months documented  their experience of being or becoming homeless.

There was the case of Kevin Browne an investment banker who in good times lived in America running his own business, come the credit crunch it all fell apart and he ended up being repatriated to the UK.

His immediate problem seemed to stem from another of things. Firstly he seemed to have no social network he could rely on in the UK for support on his return, no willing family or friends. Secondly having being away from the UK for a while the local council, in this case Croydon, had to assess whether he was a UK resident and eligible for benefits. Thirdly being a single man he was way down the priority list for emergency housing. The end result was many nights in local park.

He was eventually given support and moved into accommodation  His story ended, somewhat ironically, with him looking for employment back in the investment banking industry.

There was also the case of the 52-year-old Dagenham Grandmother Patricia Taylor who after a battle with breast cancer and a marriage breakdown fell  behind with her mortgage payment to Barclays Bank to the tune £9,000. She was evicted from her home of fifteen years.

The council offered her emergency accommodation which she accepted without having seen it. When she did eventually see the property it was dire and insecure, but there the reality of the housing bureaucracy hit.  As she had already accepted it, if she now refused to move in she would be in effect making herself “intentionally homeless” removing from the council any further obligation to house her.

The phrase “intentionally homeless” was one that came up repeatedly in the programme,  and sadly it is becoming heavily relied upon by hard pressed councils across the country to trim down their waiting lists by proving people are knowingly putting themselves in that position.

The debate over being “intentionally homeless ” came up again in the case of  Nick Bull and his family of six. Employment problems had led to mortgage arrears. The Council argued that by failure to make regular rent payments for their Council flat  and also to file paper work to maintain housing benefit meant they had made themselves “intentionally homeless”. This resulted in protracted fight with the council and the family being moved from one emergency accommodation to another.

At the end council upheld their initial ruling and family were ultimately left to fend for themselves.

Successful businessman Lee his wife Sharon and his kids were a victim of the recession. His engineering business collapsed and their income plummeted,  they tried to negotiate with their mortgage lender the Bank of Scotland, but bank rejected offer and they were evicted. Their case was illustrative how over the years the government support for home owners with mortgages who are caught out in a crisis has been rolled back to virtually nothing now.

Four different stories, different reasons and different outcomes, some had questions of self-responsibility others just ill-luck but all reveal that beneath the veneer of affluence is a very dark and depressing world into which an increasing amount of people are being pulled into.

Micky Flanagan…Best Cockney Comedian Out There..Out as in just ‘Out’ not ‘Out Out’

13 Dec

It was a night of Comedy on Channel 4 last night. It kicked with the British Comedy Awards hosted by Jonathan Ross who was in a fairly irreverent mood, but that was just a taster. The main course was what followed a screening of Micky Flanagan’s Out Out Tour.

I love Micky Flanagan I find him hilarious on ’8 out of Ten Cats’, ‘Mock The Week’ and ‘Live At The Apollo’. So I was really looking forward to this show on Channel 4 and it did not disappoint .

The cockney swagger and patter was all there. The observations on what it is like being a true cockney, or at least what the rest of the world likes to think being a cockney would be like, were spot on.

There were new jokes I hadn’t heard before and the old favourites like popping out, going out and going ‘out out’ as well as the legendary mix up between a Cockney’s House and a New Yorker’s arse.

It is not on 4OD but is on repeat on several of the Channel 4′s sister channels

Saturday 15 December 1.55am 4seven
Sunday 16 December 12.05am 4seven
Tuesday 18 December 12.05am 4seven
Wednesday 19 December 1.05am 4seven

And if you can’t wait. Here is a taster of the subtle difference between popping out, going out and going  ’out out’ cockney style.

BBC News mistakenly identifies Aussie DJ Mel Greig as ‘Geri Haliwell. Spice Girl’

10 Dec

The two Aussie DJs, Mel Greig and Michael Christian, who made the prank phone call that is alleged to have led to the apparent suicide of royal nurse Jacintha Saldhana this morning gave interviews to Australian TV over their distress and regret over the whole affair.

Given the interest in the UK it was no surprise that the news item was the lead headline on BBC’s Ten O’Clock News, what was a bit of a surprise was the BBC mistakenly labeling the VT when focused on Mel Grieg as “Geri Haliwell. Spice Girl”.

At least it wasn’t Geri Halliwell

Double Ooops!

Mel Grieg mistakenly labelled as Geri Haliwell on BBC News

Mel Grieg mistakenly labelled as Geri Haliwell on BBC News

BBC2…How many people does it take to choose an Alarm Clock at Claridge’s?

10 Dec
English: Claridges Hotel This luxury 5-star ho...

Claridges Hotel  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

BBC2 took us on a trip into one of the last bastions of British Gentility as it once would have been. The Claridge’s Hotel in London. To call Claridge’s well-appointed is to understate its poshness. It is like a shop with no price tags, a club with comfortable well-preserved Chesterfield chairs, a church with wedding banns from the 1700′s.

I often find with these things it is the scale, or sometimes the detail of what goes behind the scenes that is impressive. With Claridge’s I was impressed the longevity of service of the staff, the fact that the hotel had their own tailors making made to measure uniforms for staff, and the scale of their laundry operation. Not sexy but very impressive.

In times where so much is outsourced and contracted out, retaining full ownership of the what makes you unique may not be the most profitable way to run a business but it almost certainly ensures that you can maintain the quality you are renowned for, and maybe also allow you to get away with charging £6,900 per night for your most expensive room. A move that is not going to make you popular on TripAdvisor.

The eye watering charges notwithstanding, it does come across as a great hotel, an institution that has stood the test of time.

We saw a sample of the guests attracted by its opulence, The Crown Prince of Yugoslavia, the actress Joan Collins and an East End Bookie made good, old money, celebrity and a geezer with lots of cash. I suspect in the old days the cockney geezer may have had a somewhat harder time getting the welcome he gets now.

Like the Hotel itself the programme was gently reassuring. The Manager Thomas, with his clipped  German accent, exuded an aura of Teutonic efficiency but still showed a clear appreciation of the importance of tradition.

If I had the cash to blow, I think a few nights at Claridge’s would definitely be on my list.

And Oh the answer to the question is 4. That’s how many members of staff it takes to choose an Alarm clock at Claridge’s.