Saturday 19 September 2020, 16:18 GMT

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So what another manic three weeks it's been on Drive. Plus, the last 21 days have been momentous for me in more ways than one.
First of all, I had the honour of presenting my first Phoenix FM Breakfast show sitting in for the Sweeney on 24th September. Although early mornings are far from my forte, it was fun being here, especially as we opened our doors for the World's Biggest Coffee Morning in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support.
Secondly, this presenter reached an important milestone, namely his quarter century. I decided to celebrate with a trip from Brentwood to the o2 Arena enjoying a lemonade at each stop on the train... at least this was the plan! Alas, my friends managed to mess up the itinerary so from Chadwell Heath I travelled straight to Liverpool Street where I consumed copious lemonades. We rounded off the evening with a lovely meal, and dancing to Abba & BeeGees tributes at the Indigo. Marvellous!
Our studio assistant Rebecca Clarke suggested the idea of a Phoenix FM Panto on Tuesday 21st September and the email conversation rapidly took flight, with various volunteers on the team either nominating themselves for parts or quickly professing to an inability to perform. Others thought a Phoenix talent show would be a better idea. In the studio we mooted the idea of Shrek the musical and Rebecca quickly put herself forward to be donkey. Watch this space to see if any of these come to fruition.

On Wednesday 29th September, Karen came into the studio to discuss the results of an A12 noise survey. It focused on an area of Brentwood where the trunk road literally backs on residents' gardens. Unsurprisingly, 99% of the respondents said they were affected by the issue.
A resounding majority commented the noise had an effect on their state of well being and how they used their garden. Welcome news indeed then that Cllr Chilvers intends to take her findings to the Highways Agency next month to lobby for some form of deflectors.
It is plain for everyone to see how the Lighting Up Brentwood event has been scaled down over the last couple of years. In just two years, we've gone from an all day extravaganza with roads closed to traffic, Gloria Hunniford doing the switch-on honours and churches parading through the high street, to a midweek market in a small part of the town.
Our guests on Thursday 7th October chewed the fat over whether the cost-cutting had gone too far and demoralised Christmas spirit amongst traders and consumers alike, or whether this year's change to a Thursday night was a far better way of saving tax payer's money than cuts in other services.
Joe McElderry's fantastic follow-up release had the honours of our last record of the week on Drive. A re-jig to the format on Monday 3rd October meant that we would now feature the midweek charts at the top of the show instead. The week before that Taio Cruz's new ballad Falling In Love showed us that the R&B star had a sombre side which was just as great to listen to.
New releases from Maroon 5 and K T Tunstall also continued to give album tracks a well-deserved airing in the album of the week slot. Hands All Over and Tiger Suit respectively both demonstrated that neither artist had lost an ounce of talent.
Make sure you check back here for next week's blogs when you can find out more about the Drive studio assistants. Plus the Mayor of Brentwood pays Drive a visit, and we chat to Simon Owen at Wembley for England's next Euro 2012 qualifier. That's all to come next week on Drive.

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