Hoff the record…

I’ve never been one for regrets.

That said, there is something I regret not doing during my career as a studio producer: I wish I’d taken some photographs with the celebs that I met.

It may sound a little pathetic, but I often find people look at me like I’m making it up when I discuss the time I did a shoot with Julie Andrews, Warwick Davis or The Cheeky Girls (OK, they believe me on the last one). The thing is, back then nobody had camera phones (not really) and taking photos with ‘The Talent’ just wasn’t done.

Despite all that, I really wish I’d taken a photo the morning I spent with David Hasselhoff. To add a bit of perspective, I was OBSESSED with Knight Rider when I was a kid. I mean totally and completely hypnotised by this show.

I talked into my watch (in reality my bare wrist, as I didn’t have a timepiece) just like David’s character, ‘Michael Knight’.

I talked to our car (leading I’m sure to my parents being concerned about my mental health) just like David’s character ‘Michael Knight’.

I even had a weird situation at a parent-teacher meeting, where my mum and dad asked about my classmate ‘Michael’ – who they’d never met, but I wouldn’t stop going on about. This led to much confusion from the teacher, as it transpired I didn’t have a friend with that name at school. Finally, they discovered I’d been so obsessed with Hasselhoff’s alter-ego that I’d come home from school and tell my parents I’d been playing with him all day.

Basically, for a large part of my childhood, I lived in a fantasy world with David Hasselhoff at its centre.

So, fast forward many years, and I can’t quite believe I’m standing on the studio floor next to The Hoff himself. My 7 year-old self would have passed-out with joy, I was just about holding it together. ‘David’, those of us who have worked with The Hoff get to call him that, was spending the morning on our show to publicise The Spongebob Movie – in which he had an extended cameo.

That day I had fulfilled a lifetime’s dream and written a script for The Hoff, I mean ‘David’, to act out. It was a skit based around Baywatch, where all the presenters of the show were dressed in orange swim gear, watching on as the wonderous Mr H saved the day.

So there I was, with David, saying to him:

“OK Mr Hasselhoff…”

“Please call me ‘David’…”

“OK, ‘David’. What’s going to happen is this. When it’s your cue line I’ll tap you on the shoulder…”

“On the shoulder?”

“Yes.”

“How?”

“Like this.”

I tapped him on the shoulder. David frowned, then grinned.

“Maybe you should try it like this,” he said, mischeviously.

He jabbed me between the ribs with a finger.

“Or like this…”

Hasselhoff poked me again. We both roared with laughter.

It was then that I realised I was having horseplay, for that’s what it was, with the legendary David Hasselhoff. My 7 year old self would have happily died and gone to heaven.

As it was, composure was quickly regained and ‘David’ did the scene perfectly – hitting every comedy cue he was given.

The man was, and is, a total legend.

So, back to my original point. I’d have loved to have my photograph taken with my friend ‘David’. But it didn’t happen.

I regret this for two reasons:

  • To have the momento of meeting a childhood hero would have been great.
  • To have captured the look on the face of one of the show’s presenters: Mark Felgate. Mark is a wonderful comedy talent, who (I found out later) was as big a fan of Mr Hasselhoff as me. Sadly, for reasons of comedy, I’d dressed him in a Pamela Anderson-style high cut orange swimsuit. It wasn’t the way Mark had dreamed of meeting his hero, in fact, it became a moment he’d rather forget. Sorry Mark.

There are those who have mocked Mr Hasselhoff and his claims of bringing down the Berlin Wall with his song ‘Looking for Freedom’. As someone who worked with ‘David’ I’ve no doubt he had a major role in the ending of the Cold War.

David wouldn’t have needed a digger to destroy that wall, he could have brought it down with a well-placed prod.

Michael Caines: Lympstone Manor

Here’s my interview with Michael Caines, for the launch of Lympstone Manor, as seen in Western Morning News.

“I’ll not be happy!” said one old lady, so everyone on the bus could hear, “if he ruins that place, Courtlands House. Lovely it is!”

Her companion nodded in agreement.

“In fact, if he does, I’ll never watch his films ever again! He should stick to acting, blooming Michael Caine!”

I overheard this conversation, between a pair of endearingly-confused locals, just over a year ago. Today I find myself in the lush surroundings of Lympstone Manor (formerly Courtlands House), East Devon’s newest luxury hotel, talking to the man behind it all.

Chef Michael Caines, 48, and I are seated in one of Lympstone Manor’s lounges – with impressive views of the bucolic Exe Estuary – discussing the hotel, that he clearly sees as the culmination of an impressive career.

Born in Exeter in 1969, Caines was adopted soon afterwards: “I was adopted at the age of six weeks old into a loving family. I’m not a privileged kid. I didn’t get given anything, I’ve had to work for it.” 

Chris McGuire, Western Morning News

For the full piece, click here.

My first book…

Last year saw the release of my first book: “The Modern MAMIL: How to look pro”, illustrated by the amazing Spencer Wilson. It’s a funny look at the world of middle-aged men in Lycra. 

Congratulations on obtaining this invaluable guide.

Like all Middle Aged Men In Lycra, you know in your heart of hearts that, if there was any justice in the world, you’d be a pro-cyclist.

If only the stars had aligned differently, making you taller, thinner, sportier or less fond of cake – it all could have been so different.

You’d have been up there on the podium with the trophies, the sponsorship deals and the press intrusion.

Never fear, you may not BE a pro, but that doesn’t mean you can’t LOOK like one.

The book you’re holding right now is the key to looking the part. From socks to shaving, cadences to coffee-shop culture, we cover it all.

Trust us, after reading this guide, you won’t be able to go out for a spin without someone shouting:

“There goes a total pro!”

You can thank us later.

Chris McGuire, The Modern MAMIL: How to look pro

To get your copy, click here. The perfect gift for the MAMIL in your life. 

Your average Cycling writer? Fat chance!

Honesty, that’s the key.

I come back to it over and over again. People can tell, always, when you’re trying to be pretend you’re something you’re not.

When I started writing about cycling I had to make the decision (and it was a decision) to be honest.

What do I mean?

In short, I had to make it clear that I wasn’t one of those lean, mean, ‘cool’ cyclists who clock up 100s of miles without breaking sweat.

Oh, no. I was one of those men on the wrong side of 30 (or 40 nowadays) who was carrying a little (a lot) too much weight, didn’t know a groupset from a twinset and could only manage a ride down to the all-night garage and back before collapsing on the couch.

I realised that there were many people out there like me – they were never going to be Chris Froome or even ‘Joe Bloggs’ the second-fastest fella at their local bike club.

Yet I understood that what these people were was enthusiastic for change and more than a little bit intimidated by a sport that seemed to celebrate a bodily perfection that they couldn’t hope to live up to.

It takes bravery to leave your house in skin tight Lycra when you’re carrying the extra pounds. It takes humility to smile and wave as the local bike club whizzes by, leaving you for dust. It takes patience to sit by the side of the road and change a flat tyre as white-van man toots his horn and shouts something unrepeatable as he speeds past.

There’s a whole host of people who aren’t photogenic, fast or fabulous on their bikes. They’re just folks trying to carve back a bit of life for themselves, despite the naysayers. I write for these people.

That’s why I share photos of me out on my bike (they’re never flattering), I tell stories of my failures (and occasional triumphs) and don’t worry when what I write takes a comical edge.

It’s OK to laugh at my experiences. Laughter doesn’t hurt anyone really. I just hope, that after people have laughed, that some of them might get inspired to get out on their bikes too.

They’ll be glad they did…

Moose Allain Interview

I’m proud of this one, my interview with Moose Allain – artist, writer and Twitter god – for The Western Morning News. Click here for the full piece.

The first thing Moose Allain offers me is a towel – he’s that kind of guy. Embarrassingly, I arrive at his door sweating buckets having decided to cycle to his East Devon home, without realising the entire journey would be uphill. Guided inside, I stumble into the kitchen; where I collapse into a chair. Coffee is proffered and after a few glugs I feel more like myself again. Moose is kind enough to give me time to regain my composure, while his wife, Karen, soothes my embarrassment by explaining that even marines they’ve known struggled climbing the nearby hills. A likely story, but it’s gratefully received.

As soon as it’s clear I’m no longer feeling faint, conversation begins in earnest. Moose Allain is a big, avuncular fellow. His naturally serious face regularly erupts into gales of laughter that are as contagious as they are welcome. I’m immediately at home in his (clearly family-orientated) house – it’s that kind of place. I’ve long been interested in Moose, seeing him as part of the vanguard of creatives who moved West and capitalised on the opportunities for non-centralised working offered by the internet, social media and new technologies

Chris McGuire, West Magazine.

Writing for my heroes…

They say never work with your heroes.
It’s probably a good maxim in life.
Yet I’m so glad, that in one case, I did.
Working with Ciaran Morrison and Mick O’Hara aka ‘Zig and Zag’ was one of the biggest thrills of my career. They presented a show called ‘Me:TV’ and I got the honour of scripting these iconic aliens…
The thing is, most of the time, when you write a script you hope that whoever is reading it will do it justice. You pray they’ll get the jokes, pause in the right places and (frankly) not drop the ball.
With Zig and Zag I had no concerns. Rather than worrying, I’d sit back and watch these two masters of their field raise what I’d written to whole new levels.
It was absolute bliss.

Cycling writing…

It’s funny how things go.
I started writing about cycling after a series of events in my life:


1: I got fat. As with many in their late 30s, I focused too much on work and too little on exercise. A combination that meant I was carrying more than ‘a little’ extra weight.
2: I started cycling to try to lose weight. Simple as that. Between you and I, it took more than a little bravery to leave the house carrying the extra pounds in unflattering cycling tights
3: l got a diagnosis. From nowhere I discovered I was a Type 1 diabetic.

Essentially, I was an overweight, newly diagnosed diabetic, lacking in any real skill, cyclist…
Which is just the person the cycling industry needed to hear from!
Since then I’ve written many features for Cycling Plus Magazine and a whole host of national publications about cycling.
In a world of experts I have the voice of someone who doesn’t find it easy and still makes a mess of shaving their legs…
Oh and it led to my book ‘The Modern MAMIL: How to look pro’ illustrated by the amazing Spencer Wilson.

It’s been a rollercoaster and may have led, every now and then, to someone taking an embarrassing shot or two…

Hairy Dogs for Nick Toons

I’ve always loved animation.

Over the years I’ve worked on developing and scripting several animation projects for both TV and business.

‘Hairy Dog Stories’, the series of shorts I originated, scripted and produced for Nick Toons, will always have a special place in my heart.

These funny little vignettes see ‘Arnold’ (a shaggy sheep dog) ably assisted by ‘Toby’ (a spritely terrier) on their daily routine – ensuring all lampposts and trees in their patch are properly marked with, ehem, ‘scent’… During this activity, which takes place with almost military precision, Arnold tells his young companion the tallest of tall stories.

Each ‘Hairy Dog Story’ is filled with Arnold’s unbelievable adventures, from having a picnic with the Queen to becoming the first dog is space.

Created by Zoo Film Group, for Nick Toons, these shorts always makes me smile…