James May: New Lego & Meccano Engineering Series

ell_sea_kay

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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.


I really like the way you've put that.
And let's not forget that, no matter what happened *afterwards*, it was completed and James got to spend the night as planned - and it was the people who were there day after day that got it done. For the short while I was on site, I had a complete blast, but for me the people who actually knew and understood what was going on were the volunteers like you and Ozgirl, and all I had to do was shut up and build stuff.

This Lego House seems to have been the real black sheep of the whole series (and it was the one that came last as well - maybe that's a good thing!).
But the bottom line is that it will make excellent television - even the media-drama about the demolition - and that is what the show is all about. It might have been about getting people off their arses and enjoying toys for James, but for Plum it would have been making a TV program.


Ell_Sea_Kay
 

ozgirl

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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.
*It helped that i issued a decree that she would pass, of course :p*

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.

Good for you! Coulda told you that, spent 12 years working in offices before i went back & got my Vet degree



For me, the good things which came out of this project outweigh any mud-slinging and disappointment a thousandfold.
Me too, i met you, ell sea kay, roni9 et al, and for the 1st time in ages felt like i had a social life!

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.

*you could be a vet then, that's what happens to us all the time!*

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.
*Apart from CF (once), and HWMNBN, I didn't have probs with people either - JF even bought me lunch one day :)*
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.

Agree completely, he was great, no matter how hot or tired I never saw him refuse a photo or an autograph, even for people who weren't helping with the house (although that annoyed me a bit!). Even the day after the Great Train Robbery (ie the Hornby Debacle) he still showed up with a smile for everyone. Plus one of the other volunteers told me that when CF was giving him a mouthful, James quietly stepped in and told her in no uncertain terms to pull her head in!
If I wasn't already hopelessly infatuated with the man before this project I certainly would be now...:p

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.

See, that would never wash in the veterinary profession. As far as our governing body & the Vet Surgeons' Act, the buck stops with me. Even if it was a nurse that screwed up, I have to take the responsibility, so we don't tend to have that blame culture thing happening thankfully.
I had a case go horribly wrong (not through negligence i hasten to add, just bad luck!) 2 weeks ago. Because I was totally open and honest with the clients (1 of whom was a lawyer gulp!) and communicated with them every step of the way, a nasty situation was avoided. That's why I found so many faults with how this project was handled, the lack of openness and communication was frustrating.
 
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I have to agree .. the major thing that really left me with a bad taste in my mouth was looking on ebay to find some sod for the poliet way of putting it.. is selling the tooth brush and toothpaste he made.. on the hope that some of us volunteers or similar will buy it.. sorry but no way am I paying 150 for some lego. It did make me think i really wish i had bunked off and gone down on the day of demoliton to recover one of the stain glass brick I and mum made tho... it wouldnt mean much to any one else but to us it would have.... if that makes sense.

I never got involved to "meet James " or anything .. apart from anything I was using the project to get my health back. But it is a little upsetting the way the volunteers were just pushed aside with a glass of champagne for those who could make it..There were a lot of people who gave more time and talent than myself or mum .. we just literally made the bricks (granted about 500 of them). I just feel at the end plum were trying to cut corners to speed things up and the volunteers just got forgotten

roni
 

HeidiL

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Unfortunately in most businesses, it seems to be pretty standard - even within a company. There was one chap at a company I used to work at who did a similar job in another office. He was constantly trying to make me look bad. Copying in management on emails pointing out my mistakes/things I'd not done etc, and always ready to blame others when he'd messed up... he stopped doing that when they started copying me in on their replies so I could clarify. The fact that I *would* admit it if I'd fouled up meant they valued me a lot more than they did him - and were more ready to believe me if I said he was the one who'd dropped the ball.
I don't think you'd've had much luck getting a stained glass brick, though Gabrielle - I've seen video of them trying to get the piece out whole then apparently deciding against it and just smashing it.
 

robybobey

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Notice the toothpaste as been dropped in price to ?95 and still no bids.
I saw a Autograph ticket from the build where the money goes to help the heroes.
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/James-May-Aut...UCI%2BIA%2BUA%2BIEW%2BFICS%2BUFI&otn=11&ps=63

?95 each is still ridiculous. I wouldn't pay more than a few pounds personally, if that. The money isn't even going to charity or anything.

I just read this in the ad also:

Photo's of the toothpaste and toothbrush are shown on the internet, pictured within the bathroom. These can be seen on the offical car show web-site of which James is a co-host!( For licensing reasons, obviously I cannot actually name this show, but i am sure you know what I mean )

What? Am I missing something here?
 

shellygrrl

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You can't mention TG on eBay? That makes no sense to me.
 

skylock

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Agree completely, he was great, no matter how hot or tired I never saw him refuse a photo or an autograph, even for people who weren't helping with the house (although that annoyed me a bit!). Even the day after the Great Train Robbery (ie the Hornby Debacle) he still showed up with a smile for everyone. Plus one of the other volunteers told me that when CF was giving him a mouthful, James quietly stepped in and told her in no uncertain terms to pull her head in!
If I wasn't already hopelessly infatuated with the man before this project I certainly would be now...:p


.

The only thing that would have disappointed me more than the house coming down like it did was to have found out James is a jerk in real life.

So glad that several of you have told us he is not.

We had what i thought was a real nice hospital admin. He was always so pleasant. Then we had a doctors appreciation dinner and he was so rude to the waitstaff, I never could stand him after that no matter how nice he was to me.
 

iam-nobody

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The only thing that would have disappointed me more than the house coming down like it did was to have found out James is a jerk in real life.

So glad that several of you have told us he is not.

We had what i thought was a real nice hospital admin. He was always so pleasant. Then we had a doctors appreciation dinner and he was so rude to the waitstaff, I never could stand him after that no matter how nice he was to me.

I can't stand people who thinks it's ok to treat waitress and shop workers like crap just because they think they have a better job them those people.:mad:
 

HeidiL

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Far from it. If James had been a jerk, I doubt I would have stayed on the build more than a week.
 
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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 :))


No need to feel sorry for us, Roni and I had a great time, as did Misty. Ok there were some problems, but any project such as this would have had. I for one would not have missed the experience, we built hundreds of bricks, made some great friends, had some interesting chats with members of the public who came to watch and thank heaven the weather was good most of the time. Yes it is a shame we did not see the finished house, but at least we have something to look forward to when the programme is aired. Would I do it again yes of course I would, or any other madcap idea. If you read this James, we have a few ideas!!!!!
Gabrielle
 

Squidge

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If I wasn't already hopelessly infatuated with the man before this project I certainly would be now...:p
You and the rest of the not-a-dudes. :)

Seriously though, despite the crushing deadlines, logistics, setbacks, vandalism and (in some cases) outright theft, the fact that he was able to remain calm and not take his frustration out on others is a testament to his professionalism and dedication.

The man is truly a gentleman and class act.
 

ozgirl

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Hi everyone,

Just to let you all know that there is still no sign of Lego!Fusker. I suspect in this case that no news is bad news in this case - he's most likely in bits by now.
:cry:

Ell_Sea Kay

:comfort:
So sorry mate, but try to take comfort from the facts:
a) James saw and appreciated him :)
b) He has been immortalised on the interweb and (almost certainly) in the TV show. :tvhappy:
c) You are a very clever and creative woman - I couldn't have done that! :bow:
(I was just good at doggedly building fiddly stuff that other people designed ;))

Would be fab if you could come to the "reunion" to watch the show when it airs - not that we've finalised anything yet...

I would give you some rep love too if'n I could, but must spread the jam around before serving it to you again :D
 
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Wyvern

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I would give you some rep love too if'n I could, but must spread the jam around before serving it to you again :D

Got you covered :)

Sorry to hear there's no sign of Fusker :hug:
 

shellygrrl

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:cry: I wouldn't be surprised if that was true. But yeah; at least Lego!Fusker has been immortalized somehow. :nod:
 

tottiestar

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The lego house was amazing and it was a shame it had to be taken down. But it would have been awful if it had been left to fall to bits and be vandalised like the plasticine garden.

And I'm sorry that Lego!Fusker hasn't been returned.

Originally Posted by ozgirl View Post
Agree completely, he was great, no matter how hot or tired I never saw him refuse a photo or an autograph, even for people who weren't helping with the house (although that annoyed me a bit!). Even the day after the Great Train Robbery (ie the Hornby Debacle) he still showed up with a smile for everyone. Plus one of the other volunteers told me that when CF was giving him a mouthful, James quietly stepped in and told her in no uncertain terms to pull her head in!
If I wasn't already hopelessly infatuated with the man before this project I certainly would be now...

He's a good bloke isn't he? :grin:
 

HeidiL

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I suppose in a strange way by taking it down immediately, it preserves it. People will remember seeing it built, and they'll see it finished and how it was meant to be, on the DVD. Its transience makes it more special, I think, especially for those of us who were there and had a hand in creating it. A one-night-only theatrical spectacular is all the more special for not running like the mousetrap. Being there, being part of it, is rare. We did something amazing, something we'll have DVD evidence of to point our theoretical (and they can bloody stay theoretical in my case) grandchildren at and go 'I was there. I did that!'.
And, I have to admit, taking it down was a lot of fun.
I don't often get to beat seven bells out of things without my Dad taking over and making a mess of it, but he just got on with bagging stuff up.
Actually, that was another of the special things for me. Mum, Dad and Vera all came and helped out, and the whole time we were working on it, we didn't argue about anything. Not even at home. That's unheard of! Dad - who is the main reason I didn't learn to drive until now - even said I was a good driver and couldn't find anything to fault me on during our four-hour magical mystery tour. It's the first time in thirty years that I've actually done something right!
I was so reassured by this that I've arranged to take Mum to Hammond's new book thing in Cheltenham. Which, now I think about it, is a good reason for me to nip to the offy and clear them out of Banana Bread Beer, so that I don't have to think about the many ways she will find to make me cringe.
 

LindenChase

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It looks like the promotion for the series has begun.

There's an interview in the Guardian today with James about the Lego house. Ozgirl and HeidiL: he's saying some real nice things about the volunteers. :)

Link

I think the reporter might have taken him too serious about the ship building though. We all know he's rubbish at doing that. :grin:

Only 2,5 weeks now!
 
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