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The Apprentice 2013 on BBC One – Series 9: Part 4 of 14

Lord Alan Sugar hand picked world UK best apprentices put on a magnificent display last week.  The Apprentice 2013 Series 9 and part 3 gave us a glimpse of what was truly in store for us and that these apprentices are truly exceptional people.  Two bright individuals quickly jump to my mind, or rather a couple of scenes flash in my memory.  The first scene – Lusia passionately painting Jordan’s toenails matt-black and probably the only task to date where both Lusia and Jordon have worked so passionately, second Alex the Welsh Dracula with his killer eye-brows taking on the know-it-all Natalie in a race to achieve the unbelievable milestone – to answer the telephone to receive next task instructions.  Why can’t my staff show such ‘extraordinary’ enthusiasm when the phone rings?

The task was simple (as always) innovative storage space solution flat-pack furniture.  You know, the stuff you supposed to find exhilarating in your home/apartment and forced to say  ‘wow can’t believe this wasn’t thought of before’, but since this is The Apprentice, we need to be a little less excited and more realistic, and aim to get some good solutions from our hopefuls.

In a nutshell – The Girls team lost led by Natalie, between the best brains in the world country they could only come up with (in theory) a multifunctional cube, which could do this and that, that and this all the while being just a cube.  When it came to putting the theory into practice they failed miserably and all they made was a nail-free-not-a-cube-looking-rectangle-box-on wheels and finished their masterpiece in the colour grey.  Lord Alan Sugar asked the teams to produce something which involved thinking outside of the box, the girls gave Lord Alan Sugar the box instead – on wheels.

On the other hand, the boys team powered by Alex but led by Jordan produced something a little more exciting.  A table which could be folded into a much needed table.  Not surprisingly the boys team won the task by selling more to their customers.

Natalie brings back the chief product designer Uzma and the not-so-enthusiastic Sophie back to the boardroom, where Sophie ends up falling victim to Lord Alan Sugar’s finger.

It’s clear, the girls are having a disaster of a time and I can’t imagine the impact it will have should they fail the task today – or Lord Alan Sugar may simply mix up the teams so save further embarrassments.

Today’s challenge involves some farmyard shop fun.

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The Apprentice 2013 on BBC One – Series 9: Part 3 of 14

Last week we were truly spoilt by Lord Alan Sugar.  Not only did we get to see the first episode of this year’s The Apprentice a day early (on a Tuesday) we were overdosed by the second episode the following day (Wednesday) – thus sending the blood pressure of us The Apprentice addicts into dangerous territory.

The first episode on Tuesday introduced us to the candidates, a deliberate selection of annoying muppets and arrogant to**ers who would struggle to put a key into a keyhole.  The task was simple, unload a load of junk made in China, count it, prices it, work out the profit margins and figure out best locations to flog it.  The team which makes the most profit wins – simple right but boy oh boy did the girls team get into a devastating mess or what.  I was almost stunned to see a group of girls taking a cat product made in China to, what is known as China town in London, and sell it there when already those shops were stocked up with this product.  Not surprisingly the women’s team lost the task resulting in, the mouth motivator Jaz Ampaw-Farr being fired – and rightly so – God damn she was annoying.

The second episode on Wednesday was a little different.  The boys (Team Endeavour) and the girls (Team Evolve) had to come up with a flavoured beer for punters.  Tim, the constantly moving man who really is a puppet where someone using strings, against his will, moves his arms and head rather annoyingly, was sent over to run the girls team as a project manager – but quickly realised he couldn’t even manage his own moving actions let alone control the tasks.  On the other side it was Kurt who was appointed to lead the boys team.  In all honestly I simply can’t remember him, but somehow he managed to pull off the task and win – especially after his catastrophic decision to send three non-drinkers (including a Muslim) to go actually make, taste the beer – I mean come on.

The boys team pulled it off, somehow, leaving Tim to fight it out with the girls in the boardroom.  It all proved to be too much for animated Tim and was the second casualty of this series.

For me, there is one outstanding character in this series – The Welsh Dracula Alex Mills. He had the best one liner I have heard, well since my preschool days, “Will you be quiet you silly little shit” blasted to the PhD student.  The PhD student from some University had no research knowledge in addressing this comment, and all methodologies failed at this point for him – which resulted in utter silence.

If I had the opportunity to hire anyone of these contestants it would have to be the Welsh Dracula, I mean his eyebrows are amazing, something out of this world – literally.  I’d hire him on the basis that he could scare my competition into submission just by his physical appearance when I take him into meetings, if that would fail he could scare the living daylights out of them by his one liners “just give up your business you silly little shit”.  In fact I am going to find this Welsh Dracula Alex Mills and offer him a job as a personal bodyguard.

What is evident in this year’s bunch of top brass is the attitudes of the girls, if anything, they should be re-branded as Team Delusional.  The boys, including The Welsh Dracula, do have their problems but they proved twice in a row they can meet the task objective and win, but for the girls they are horrible to watch and some are nasty pieces of work.  I am sure that those girls who get fired from The Apprentice will be labelled for life of not-employable.

Today’s episode it’s a challenge for flat pack furniture – bring it on

The Apprentice 2013 on BBC One Starts 9pm Tuesday 7 May

The Apprentice 2013

Are you ready…?  I know I am.  The Worlds UK’s best business minded people are ready to fight for Lord Alan Sugar’s £250,000 investment.  If you’re clever enough – the banks would probably give you more with a good-sound business plan and save you a life-time of embarrassment but then again Series 9 kicks off today BBC One (Tuesday 7 May at 9pm) and can be viewed later on BBC iPlayer.  There are no The Apprentice 2013 spoiler here but only a quick shout out to everyone “that you’re Wednesday evenings won’t be the same again – well not at least for the next few months”.

The Apprentice is one of my favourite TV show (if I can call it a show or should I use the words side-splitting entertainment) and I find it extremely…erm what’s the word(s) “I can’t believe I’m watching this stuff” while I grit my teeth and remain calm at the TV, especially when the UK’s best, sorry Worlds best candidates fight their hearts out in each task climbing to the top, get hired then decide to take Lord Sugar to court.

Let me introduce you to the candidates, starting with my favourite first:

Zeeshaan Shah, Age: 27, Career: CEO of Property Investment Company, Location: London

Francesca MacDuff-Varley, Age: 32, Career: Dance and Entertainment Entrepreneur Location: Leeds

Jaz Ampaw-Farr, Age: 41, Career: Literacy and Education Company Director, Location: Milton Keynes

Leah Totton, Age: 24, Career: Doctor, Location: London

Luisa Zissman, Age: 25, Career: Retail Entrepreneur, Location: St Albans

Natalie Panayi, Age: 30, Career: Recruitment Manager, Location: Rickmansworth

Rebecca Slater, Age: 35, Career: Medical Rep, Location: Wigan

Sophie Lau, Age: 22, Career: Restaurateur, Location: Bristol

Uzma Yakoob, Age: 32, Career: Entrepreneur and Make-Up Brand Owner, Location: London

Alex Mills, Age: 22, Career: Company Director, Location: Cardiff

Jason Leech, Age: 29, Career: Historian and Property Entrepreneur, Location: London

Jordan Poulton, Age: 26, Career: Business Analyst, Location: London

Kurt Wilson, Age: 26, Career: Health Drink Entrepreneur and Health & Safety Manager, Location: Liverpool

Myles Mordaunt, Age: 39, Career: Marketing Company Co-Founder, Location: Monaco

Neil Clough, Age: 32, Career: Regional Manager – Soccer Centres, Location: Altrincham

Tim Stillwell, Age: 23, Career: Mexican Food Entrepreneur, Location: Birmingham

Bring it on…

Me, her and Keeping up with the Kardashians

I choose my acquaintances based on their attractiveness, their sexiness, their style, class, ability, age and profession – the latter at times can be compromised or negotiated but is rare.  As a guy It’s hard work, and at times it requires long exhausting hours of research into their lifestyles, background and their intended future aspirations, before I make my move or orchestrate an engagement.  I guess, my interpretation of acquaintances is different from the norm.

One thing I wasn’t prepared for is how serious ‘some’ take a reality TV show – that too unscripted, as my recent acquaintance would have me believe.  Despite an exceptionally high appointed role working for a watch brand known to the world as Rolex, and despite ticking all the boxes for being on par for an ideal acquaintance, she has brought with her an unimaginable rift between us.

Allow me, going forth, to refer to this acquaintance as Priya – who is the most adorable personality you would find in a woman of 31 years of age – that I can’t take away from her. Her assignments for Rolex give her the power to travel around the world (for which many envy her profession and career) connecting and networking with high profile individuals, including members associated with Hollywood, Bollywood and government officials in the west just to highlight a few.

Her recent business assignment brings her to West Yorkshire and in particular to Leeds.  I first met Priya in London during the build-up to 2010 International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) which was to be held in Colombo, Sri Lanka.  It was there, in London, where we first interacted and engaged but departed until her presence in Leeds few weeks ago.  She instantly and immediately struck a tone in me and ever since we have kept our communication ongoing.

To keep focus on the unimaginable rift she has introduced between us, I cannot put what I am about to write in any easy or simple words, and I must express this as it formulates in my head.  Priya’s life can be divided into three whole sections – and by no stretch of the imagination can what I write impede her personality and her status – two parts out of three of her life I can handle and in all cases with pleasure, but the final part I am not prepared to compromise or negotiate on, and I must reject it wholeheartedly.

The first part of her life is work – which is impressive and attractive, the second part to her life currently is our close interactions and engagements – again impressive and something I have no problem with, but the third part of her life is spending every second when she is either not working or when she is not with me, watching the US reality show known as Keeping up with the Kardashians.

The Kardashians or the actual word, admittedly, is not oblivious to me.  It has, in the past, popped up in discussion with other people I know – all being females, but since my physical engagement with Priya during the build up of 2010 IIFA event in Colombo, I have understood exactly who the Kardashians are.

Priya, literally is obsessed in keeping up with the Kardashians, she has gone as far as setting up my Sky HD box at my apartment to record every possible program that is aired on Sky relating to the Kardashians, whereas in the past my Sky HD was programmed to record programs such as ‘The Apprentice, Dragons Den, programs relating to cooking and property development and Sport games’.  If Priya is not at work and not with me she will be at the home cinema in my apartment keeping up with the Kardashians, and if she isn’t at my apartment watching it, for sure, she will be at her hotel keeping up with the Kardashians.

I once asked her “if there is or was a person who you would aspire to be, who would that one person be?” thinking the response will be on par with Ghandi and Jesus or someone to this level, her response was unimaginable and signalled the seriousness of her Keeping up with the Kardashians condition, and she uttered with passion “it would be…hhhhmmmm….Kim Kardashian out of the three sisters” at which point my jaw, my jogging pants and the mug of fresh brewed coffee dropped (and this scene, is on replay in slow-motion in my mind ever since).  It was clear that Kardashian is not a one man army but a clan, and there were more of them – Jesus Christ indeed.

To give her a fair trial, since she puts up with me and my habit of watching dragons den religiously with a notepad and my thinking cap on, I decided I would cave into her request of watching at least one episode of keeping up with the Kardashians with her – so I did.

The one episode that I watched with her, good grief I couldn’t help but clench my fists and grit my teeth all the while Priya found it romantic, while the I watched this disaster she rested her head on my somewhat tense lap with tense thigh muscles, the episode was so crazy, embarrassing and emotionally charged that I wish I hadn’t agreed to watching it.

In this episode, Kris Jenner happens to bump into her ex at a tennis practice, she, somewhat decides to pursue her ex which in the end results in agreeing to have an evening dinner – in the disguise of wanting closure from their relationship (considering they haven’t met each other for over a decade).  All the while, her current poor husband Bruce Jenner is left in the dark about what was brewing behind his back.  One of the Kardashian daughters along with Rob Kardashian realise the mother is up to something and decide to follow her, spy on her moves suspecting their mother having an affair – but their pursuit of obtaining evidence runs cold when they lose track of where their mother has vanished.  After spending the evening dinner, in close proximity with her ex, flirting and somewhat reliving old memories, Kris decides to go home and come clean with what just happened, so she wakes Bruce up from his bed, brings him out to the kitchen area and explains what happens.  For the sake of sanity and idealism I wish not to go any further in describing this episode.

As the episode drew to a close, I couldn’t help but regret having sat there watching this crazy reality TV show, if I can call it that.  I should receive an award for handling this episode so well and living to tell the tale – I guess the award should include words such as ‘brave’ or ‘extremely brave’ in the title.  What was more regrettable was Priya actually enjoyed it, which goes to show that I and Priya are on two different planets entirely.

Priya is checked into a hotel a stone throw away from my apartment, but she pretty much spends her time when she isn’t working at my apartment.

So almost two weeks ago, I decided to ‘politely’ eject her out of my apartment for a few days so that I can a) reclaim back my Sky HD box, b) delete all of the programs recorded that relate to the Kardashians and c) to teach her a lesson in making me watch this crap, where the time I spent watching that one episode is something I will never get back, not to mention the distress caused at the time. Harsh – I know.

Last weekend, almost 11 days later, I finally opened the door to Priya.  In those 7 days days I have had no contact with her other than mobile communication, but I’m now glad that she has realised that its either keeping up with the Kardashians or keeping up with me, happy that she opted for the later.  In saying that, as she fluttered her eyelashes I did back track on one thing though, which was that she could watch her unscripted, reality TV show at her own hotel room – as and when she pleased, but not in my premises.

As for the Kardashians, well, they can go take a long walk and occupy someone else’s home cinema as far as I am concerned.

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