AA vs RAC, Which is better?… a handy tip to save some cash!

The car breakdown cover that I have for myself, my wife and our two cars is about to run out. A week or two ago I received the obligatory,

“Here is your renewal letter (the new price is hidden somewhere on page 6 at the bottom)” from the RAC.

“Last year’s price £114”
“This year’s price £118!”

Now I’ve never been a fan of the auto-renewal system of if you buy something on a yearly basis, you automatically have to agree to let us take your money from your card next year or you can’t buy it this year, so I generally do my very best to beat this system:

1] Because I like getting things cheaper and…
2] I don’t like bottom-dwelling leeches taking advantage of….

a] People like my parents – “The Grey Pound”, because they can’t work a computer, a comparison site, or even know that there are other service providers other than the AA or the RAC and…
b] People who are not on top of their family admin or don’t have the time or the inclination to trawl about looking for a better deal when surely the company that you have already bought from should offer you the best deal that they can anyhow?

Firstly let me point out that I don’t really aim the bottom-dwelling leeches comment at either the RAC or the AA, just large corporations in general who don’t reward loyal customers or are rather misleading in how they price their services.

I actually think that both the AA and the RAC are rather good. Not that I have had much interaction with either, but when my Fiat Stilo popped a spark plug attachment type thing on a Bolton retail park whilst Christmas shopping in 2010 at 9 pm I must say that the very nice AA man (or was it the RAC man?) couldn’t fix it, but did call for a long low loader truck thing, dragged it on the back and did get me home for 2 am. So all’s well that ends well.

When the (largely underrated) Stilo which served me well for about 8 years eventually did pop it’s clogs after timing belt neglect and ultimate failure, the very nice RAC man (or was it the AA man?) got him to the nearest graveyard and me to home.

Anyway, back to the matter in hand… I had a look at “money-saving-expert-waste-of-time-not-really-anything-to-see-here.com” and they seemed to favour a company called “Auto-aid breakdown”. Martin Lewis and crew seemed to rave on about great customer reviews yet trust pilot reviewers seemed to somewhat disagree with comments entitled:

“Appalling customer service agent” and “Awful” and “Don’t cheap out” so I decided that I wasn’t going to. I remembered the old adage… “buy cheap, buy twice”. Or in this case it would probably be “buy cheap, wait twice as long on the hard shoulder”. So I decided that I was going to stick with the creme de la creme of roadside assistance, the good old British institution – the AA, or the new kid on the old boys block, the RAC. (“Simply not cricket Marjory, I say… would you mind giving the old AA badge on the Rover a quick polish?)

I had remembered that I had insured one of our cars with the AA in March, and that I had received an email offer of discounted breakdown cover. I dug it out from the depths of Yahoo Mail and clicked on it, filled out the online form; two cars, two people, roadside assistance, nationwide recovery, home-start, yes, click for quote…..  £60! – bargain I thought compared to my RAC offer of £118.

Armed with my newfound saving opportunity I rang the RAC to cancel my renewal.

RAC Lady “can I ask why you are cancelling?”
Me “I’ve got a cheaper quote”

RAC Lady “I see, who’s that with?”
Me “The AA”

RAC Lady “How much is it?”
Me “Sixty pounds”

RAC Lady “That is a good deal, was that part of an offer?”
Me “Yes, I’m insured with them”

RAC Lady “You are getting actually a great deal with us at the moment, as it’s already discounted, so you are already receiving a discount of £80”
Me “That’s great but it’s still £118 which is twice as much as the AA”

RAC Lady “Let me speak to my manager and see what I can do….. ba ba da da ba ba bada da da dadada ba ba da da the girl from iponema blah ba”
RAC Lady “I’ve spoken to my manager and the best we can do is £90 for 15 months of cover, so that’s a really great deal”
Me “But it”s still not cheaper than the AA, I think I’ll go ahead and cancel”

RAC Lady “Let me speak to my manager and see what we can do…ba ba da da ba ba bada da da dadada ba ba da da the girl from iponema blah ba”
RAC Lady “I’ve spoken to my manager and the very best we can do is £81 for 15 months cover”

Me “Ok let’s do it”

So I managed to save about £60 of my renewal price. Moral of the story? basically these two will bend over backwards to grab you off the other in my humble opinion, so go renew your car insurance with whichever one and fill your boots. Can’t guarantee you’ll get the same email offer, but they never even asked me for proof… none at all. Stand your ground, grow Kahunas and lady Kahunas and fight for your rights. Tell your mum and dad and help the grey pound to sustain our economy. Make Britain great again.

What’s this got to do with video production? absolutely nothing, it’s just another of Woody’s great money saving expert tips, and with the £60 saved you could by a cheap camera battery? maybe.

Driverless Bus in Manchester – Shooting with Auto Futures

Had a great day yesterday shooting with Alex Kreetzer of Auto Futures. We were reporting on the new driver less bus being developed by Stagecoach and Fusion Technologies. Due to be trialed in Scotland sometime next year, you may well be seeing these vehicles on a street near you relatively soon.

We managed to grab a chat with the CEO of stagecoach and the CEO of Fusion Tech, with Alex doing a thoroughly successful job of collecting the necessary information.

Here’s a link to Auto Futures and the video:



Plaid at Schizm @ The Park, Manchester

Pretty sure that this night was held at what used to be the Man Alive club down Grosvenor St in Manchester. We used to go there a lot in the early days with DJ Trafford Love Thang on the funk n soul decks.

Must have changed it’s name to The Park I guess, but we always called it the Man Alive. Just up from the dirty old Flea n Firkin student pub.

5 quid in to see Plaid eh? – that was a great night.

SCHIZM @ The Park Grosvenor St, Manchester, M1

PLAID (Live) GLITCH & VERSIVO DJs Saturday 2nd May 1998 10:00pm ’til Late, ££5.00 Plus Booking Fee.

Ritchie Hawtin at Planet K Manchester 2000

This old ticket that I dug out is a little bit worse for wear. It was Ritchie Hawtin doing a live gig and I do remember going to this one! I think it was about the the time he’d done his first two albums as plastikman and was doing the rounds with the 909s decks and efx thing I believe. Might be wrong though of course.

54-60 Oldham St Manchester. Sat 22nd Jul 00 10pm-3am



NO entry/pass-outs after 2:00am

Planet K was in the Northern Quarter, on Oldham St. I managed to find a pic of the outside of the club on the web, this is not my pic so thanks to whoever took it.

Tong 95 Baskerville Hall

Continuing with the theme, this ticket  dug up from my archives is quite interesting as I can’t find any reference to this party on the web. I can remember going, but not so sure who with. I think it might have been an invitation only job but not sure, I remember walking into this grand entrance hall and there were lots of “beautiful people”, you know, those London types 😉 and a huge staircase. I think if you were important you could stay in the house bedrooms, but I’ve a feeling we might have been in a tent.

As usual I can’t remember a great deal about the night (it was 23 years ago, probably) but maybe it was Pete Tong and in 1995 😉  If you were there give us a shout and let us know.

I had a reminder of this place whilst watching “Salvage Hunters” the other night with Drew Pritchard visiting the place to try to ransack it of it’s worldly wares. He pulled up in the van and I said to my wife “I’m sure I’ve been to a party there” – sure enough he was right.

Last Electric Chair of the 20th Century – Music Box Manchester

I found this flyer in my old bag of stuff. I must have gone to the night or I wouldn’t have kept the flyer. It was at the Music box, which I frequented a fair bit back in the day. If you weren’t around the Manchester scene then The Music Box was a basement club situated under Jilly’s Rock World on Oxford St. The Music Box was dark, sweaty and very, very loud. Great club.

I do remember going to the Electric Chair a lot at The Roadhouse, I think I went to the first one but not entirely sure. Memories are all a bit hazy now.

Transcript from flyer:

“So here we are in the glorious days of the 20th Century getting paranoid with the millennium machine sucking the blood from our necks, too busy to do anything because we are marinating tofu while trisha and jerry turn us into a mob of home improvements mutants and stencil spraying sunday supplement robots, listening to robbie williams because we are so post modern and ironic. kick the bullshit into touch and close down the infested 50p a drink cesspits filling our streets. stop the planet becoming one gigantic soulless trafford centre full of stepford wives and husbands eating at chain bars and restaurants, shopping at ikea with their generic dinner party friends. fuck the millenium, celebrate the real things and enjoy it now. long live passion, soul, debauchery and dancing in outerspace.”

The Incredible Warp Lighthouse Party

Been rooting through my old stuff yesterday and dug out my bag of “things I don’t want to get rid off but don’t know what to do with” and found all my old love letters, all three of them, photos, tickets to see West Ham and some old tickets to gigs and parties. Some of them may be of interest so I thought that I would scan them in. This is my ticket from The Incredible Warp Lighthouse Party, Saturday 14th October 2000 featuring Aphex Twin, Autechre, Boards of Canada etc. There is a bit of info on this night on the web, but not much. I was a huge fan of Plaid and BOC so was really looking forward to this one.

We queued up for hours due to intense security with airport style scanners to walk through. Beer and bar ran out by about 11:00pm. Live room was tiny so most couldn’t get in. Lots of scared kids sat on the floor in a huge warehouse (if you were there you’ll know why!).

Location was Trinity Buoy Wharf which was pretty much a derelict site at the time and the home of London’s only lighthouse. The views over to the millennium dome were pretty cool at night.

Bumped into Bjork though in the crowd which was interesting.