James May: New Lego & Meccano Engineering Series

skylock

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 3, 2006
Messages
2,546
Location
USA
Car(s)
Honda Civic
So who is Vic?

It is clear there was no project manager or there was one that should never work again in that capacity.
 

HeidiL

Not A Dude
Joined
Aug 19, 2009
Messages
485
Location
Bolton, Lancs
Car(s)
Austin Mini
IMHO, sour grapes were to be expected. It is kind of the raison d'etre for a vineyard, after all. Although the ones near the house were moderately sweet...

Tsk, can't take you anywhere, can I? Not only do you start eating the grapes but you turn up and straight away, the security guard's Big Vicious Guard Dog is sitting on your feet licking your face like you're her bestest friend. *sigh*
 

Gaz Hunter

New Member
Joined
Sep 24, 2009
Messages
5
Location
Coventry UK
Car(s)
Corsa
I am sad to see the house go, I enjoyed seeing it *in the flesh* on the occasions I dropped HeidiL off/collected her/played with the dopey rottie guard dog...but it was just a prop for a show, built as such, and doomed to go the way of all such. Just try and find an original Dalek, or indeed Tardis...and their fan-base was massive!

(Okay...you tend to hide behind the sofa less when James turns up on TV. But he doesn't have a scary sink plunger...)

I wasn't party to the political machinations, having kept well away from The Fan Base, but I wasn't surprised to find out that A) the house was temporary (hey, it's Lego, who'd'a'thunk it?) and B) the rumourmill was turning out whole-grain conspiracy loaves...

In the end the house is gone, Legoland got the bricks returned and will make good and charitable (I trust) use of them and The House (note the capitals) will live on in the TV series, and will spread around the world bringing joy to millions. Possibly :)

Gaz

He was the building site manager. An actual builder, rather than part of Plum.

So his arse was hanging out of his trousers, he couldn't make next Wednesday, five sugars in that, love, but don't stir it 'cos I don't like it sweet, and couldn't organise a cock-up in a brothel?
 
Last edited by a moderator:

flydiscovery

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2009
Messages
3,972
Location
US
Car(s)
2013 Hyundai Elantra GLS
Honestly, it seems fitting to me that the house was destroyed. Isn't that the typical fate of Lego constructions? Makes it like an overgrown living room project. I think it's kind of sweet, in a way.

I think this is really the best way to look at it. The hardest part is ALWAYS when you have to take it apart, but in the end you always have to and you always build something better next time. James took apart his Lego house and I took apart mine. We'll build something else later. Besides, it's hard to think of something new when you have something old to look at. You can only truly be creative with a clean page.
 
Last edited:

HeidiL

Not A Dude
Joined
Aug 19, 2009
Messages
485
Location
Bolton, Lancs
Car(s)
Austin Mini
Exactly. And, having exchanged a couple of emails with Plum, I think this rather scared them off trying anything on this scale ever again. :)
 

ozgirl

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 26, 2009
Messages
765
Location
Hampshire, UK
Car(s)
Focus 1.6 Zetec: unoriginal but good
I think this is really the best way to look at it. The hardest part is ALWAYS when you have to take it apart, but in the end you always have to and you always build something better next time. James took apart his Lego house and I took apart mine. We'll build something else later. Besides, it's hard to think of something new when you have something old to look at. You can only truly be creative with a clean page.

Err, Mr May had nothin' to do with taking it apart (except the bits he broke whilst staying there! :p) I've nearly workshopped my way through its destruction, what I'm bitter & twisted about is how we were all just dismissed once we'd outlived our usefulness. It wouldn't have cost them any money to allow us in on the weekend (after filming finished of course) for an 'exclusive' (apart from the Daily Fail & TG BBC) peek at the finished article. Instead, from what I've gathered, some random members of the general public managed to blag their way in, and what was the result of that? Bye bye Fusker! :mad:
 

HeidiL

Not A Dude
Joined
Aug 19, 2009
Messages
485
Location
Bolton, Lancs
Car(s)
Austin Mini
I think we can blame the security guard for that, though. I'm told - and I have no confirmation of this, nor can I remember who told me it, now - that at least one security guard was letting people in all along...
 

ozgirl

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 26, 2009
Messages
765
Location
Hampshire, UK
Car(s)
Focus 1.6 Zetec: unoriginal but good
Last edited:

skylock

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 3, 2006
Messages
2,546
Location
USA
Car(s)
Honda Civic
He was the building site manager. An actual builder, rather than part of Plum.

OK, maybe I am not understanding Plum's role in this whole thing. What was it? Why was Vic calling the shots?

If anyone would care to lay out how it was run I would appreciate it. I would like to know who actually is to blame.

I keep seeing Lego being made out the baddie all over the web, and while I have a low opinion of Lego right now, I do not think they were to blame.

I thought this was funny. Got a text from my bf a couple of days ago. He tells me to go to AOL homepage because they are tearing the lego house down. (poor man has no idea what I do at work every night :D)
 

shellygrrl

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 29, 2008
Messages
3,676
Location
Maine
Heh.

I don't think it's Lego's fault; they probably had very little to do with this other than supplying the bricks. I also don't lay blame on Denbies, as they would've housed it for whatever length of time. Right now, I think it was just a case of piss-poor planning and whatnot on the part of someone at Plum.

Yeah, the Lego house would have to have been torn down/taken apart eventually; I'm sure (I doubt it would've gone in its built state to Legoland). But, like others here, I'd have thought it would have happened a bit later than it did. Not to mention the volunteers, from what I'm reading here, didn't get to have a chance to see the finished product for themselves (something they should've been very able to do). That makes me sad. :(

At least the bricks are going/have gone back to Legoland, and they're going to do something amazing with them.
 

skylock

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 3, 2006
Messages
2,546
Location
USA
Car(s)
Honda Civic
Heh.

I don't think it's Lego's fault; they probably had very little to do with this other than supplying the bricks. I also don't lay blame on Denbies, as they would've housed it for whatever length of time. Right now, I think it was just a case of piss-poor planning and whatnot on the part of someone at Plum.Yeah, the Lego house would have to have been torn down/taken apart eventually; I'm sure (I doubt it would've gone in its built state to Legoland). But, like others here, I'd have thought it would have happened a bit later than it did. Not to mention the volunteers, from what I'm reading here, didn't get to have a chance to see the finished product for themselves (something they should've been very able to do). That makes me sad. :(

At least the bricks are going/have gone back to Legoland, and they're going to do something amazing with them.


That's what I think to. I am not blaming Lego. My low opinion of them stems from everytime I look at lego now, I am going to remember that house and the piss poor decisions made in regards to it.

No matter what individuals did along the way, it all falls back on Plum.

The volunteers who helped make this thing happen in the first place were amazing in my opinion and even they were just dumped on. I can not think of any way they could have been treated worse.

They let the bastards in to steal Fusker, but stood united to keep the actual people who got it done out. That is just amazing to me. Some of those people will have daily reminders of what they did for free for a long time. I am sure it was an amazing experience and if I had been close enough, I would have wanted to be a part of it.

I really thank those of you who were there and shared with those of us who could not be there.
 

HeidiL

Not A Dude
Joined
Aug 19, 2009
Messages
485
Location
Bolton, Lancs
Car(s)
Austin Mini
You seem to think that I have more information than I do and you also seem to be unreasonably angry about it. I put some bricks together, I met some people, I took the bricks apart again, I went away and now I'll get a proper job. It's over and done with, they've said they're not going to do anything like this again, so does it really matter who was responsible for various factors? The show is going to look the same whatever. They might even have done things the way they did on purpose so it would make better telly.
From what Vic said, however, the house had to come down then because he had another job to go on to, simple as that. I think - but I'm not certain - that without him there to officially supervise the site, nobody else could be there for insurance reasons. Another reason that nobody should have been allowed in.
I didn't say he was 'calling the shots' however it seems likely he was doing the job he'd been contracted to do - managing the build site both as it went up and as it came down. Also, by his own admission, a lot of what he said might not have been exactly true.
 

brydie76

Viva Las Clarksonistas!
Joined
Oct 28, 2008
Messages
3,052
Location
Australia
Car(s)
2012 Suzuki Swift Sport/Aprilia Sportcity 200
I think this was a good example of groupthink

"ohhhh, great!!!!!! Let's get involved in a Lego house!!!!!!!"
"yeahhhh, us too!!!!!!! We'll do this!!!!"
"and we'll do this!!!!!! This will be great publicity"

cut to two months later, and...
"ok, this is costing us this now, and taking us this time. Why didn't anybody tell us this earlier?"
"well, why didn't you tell us this or this? It's your fault!!!!!"

And the poor volunteers are stuck in the middle of a massive fight between the bueracracies involved. I think nearly every company here is to blame: lego for not researching costs and time involved in saving it enough, Plum for not using effective management strategies and to other comapinies for just turning this into a general mess. The only blameless people here look to be May and the volunteers.

Heidi, ozgirl, Gabrielle and the rest, I feel sorry for you guys. Hope your experiences weren't completely ruined. :hug:

(disclaimer: this is what I have gleaned mostly from this thread. For all i know, some amazing factor could throw my theory out the window. But 3 years working in a well-managed system for a job has taught me a few things. That and CAFS :))
 

skylock

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 3, 2006
Messages
2,546
Location
USA
Car(s)
Honda Civic
I was partly blaming Lego too until I called and talked to them. Lego's story was that assistance was offered, but rejected. Rejected by who? She didn't know. She did not know why the offer for assistance was rejected either. Could it have been a cost measure? An ego issue? I don't know and if they do, they are not telling. She did say that after the house was assessed, it was determined that due to the manner it was built, it was going to be too costly to consider moving it. I asked about the 50 thousand pounds and she said that would have been the minimum cost if no unforseen issues were found.

She also said they had had quite a few calls about it though.

I agree May and the volunteers are blameless. Because no matter what May demanded (if he even demanded anything unreasonable), it was the project manager who had to say yay or nay. Now, I am not sure about the BBC, but I really don't think it was them either. My experience with those types of people are they don't have a clue what is going on most of the time and just somehow slide by unnoticed. (I work with a few people like that and we just let them do it because it saves the rest of us a lot of problems)

Was she telling the truth or just some hastily thrown together excuse they came up with I don't know, but she seemed sincere.
 

HeidiL

Not A Dude
Joined
Aug 19, 2009
Messages
485
Location
Bolton, Lancs
Car(s)
Austin Mini
Personally, the fact that I'd made some new friends and for once been involved in something which was actually completed (rather than dying of office politics or budget changes or which became obsolete before completion) and been useful for a while was enough of a mood boost that I passed my driving test easily. Anyone who knows me will tell you how if I'm feeling in the slightest bit down I tend to flap and fret about any sort of test and cause myself to make stupid mistakes. The things I was marked down for this time were, if anything, caused by overconfidence.
Taking it down really didn't bother me. Not only had we got it done, but I have some new friends and no longer have to rely on public transport and that's a huge benefit. Also, some of the things I ended up doing made me realise that I have more options for my career direction than I thought. Options that will require some training, but which I'd repeatedly dismissed when offered opportunities in that direction because 'I'm a tech, I'd be rubbish at $foo'. I'll be a lot more prepared to try any new direction now.
For me, the good things which came out of this project outweigh any mud-slinging and disappointment a thousandfold. Many of the volunteers felt used and undervalued but that doesn't bother me hugely because I'm used to that. I've not had many jobs where the credit for what I did came my way rather than to a boss or colleague, so really I never expected anything else. I'm used to jobs where pulling off a miracle gets no thanks but failure to gets a load of abuse.
Certain people involved were routinely rude or talked down to us, and a fair bit of information and advice was ignored, but again, at least towards me, they were still better than a lot of people I've worked for. Even factoring in what I've heard from others, I've had worse bosses.
There's one exception which stands out there, one person who I don't think really upset anyone and who tried to acknowledge and make time for everyone - James, who let's face it, was the real boss, so I really don't care about the rest of them. I very much doubt I'll have to work with any of them again anyway, but I'd not hesitate to sign up to help out with anything else James does, whoever else he might be working with.
 

HeidiL

Not A Dude
Joined
Aug 19, 2009
Messages
485
Location
Bolton, Lancs
Car(s)
Austin Mini
As far as I'm aware the only part the BBC have in this is that they're buying the completed show. I'd expect James, as the client, to have been kept in the dark about a lot of things, too. Most places I've worked have a policy of never admitting to a client that there's been a mistake or setback unless it becomes absolutely unavoidable, and then reasons it was some other company's fault are usually found.
 
Top