(Click on any of the following links for in depth text on the various subjects)
I was dragged kicking and screaming into this cruel world in Aston, Birmingham, UK on 25th January 1964.I have two brothers, Philip and Peter and also a sister, Debbie. I have known and loved my partner, Zoe for ever and we married in 1999. We have 2 sons, Mark and Carl.
School and Work
I was educated at Gossey Lane Primary School, Lea Village Junior School and Sir Wilfred Martineau Secondary Comprehensive (now merged with Byng Kenrick School and collectively known simply as The International School & Community College of East Birmingham or just ISCCEB for the duffers that go there). I achieved 'O' Levels in Maths (B), Physics (C), Art (C), Woodwork (GCSE Level 1) and Geography (to which I am eternally grateful for teaching me what an Ox-Bow lake is!). After school I served my electronics apprenticeship at Camden Computer Systems on the Coventry Road in Small Heath, Birmingham whilst also attending East Birmingham College I achieved a BTEC National Certificate in Digital Electronics and have also studied Computer Studies and, err... book-keeping (don't ask!). Other companies I worked at were Leisure Card Limited, Fluematic Limited, Stagecraft Systems.
Keyboards and Bands
I am a keyboard player and have been since I was 19 (a talent I have my father to thank for). I have played in the following bands, none of which were ever famous unfortunately;
Soundsurround (aka Black Orchid)
Mindz Eye (aka Silent Witness)
The Ragged Edge
Jump The Gun aka:-
Wishful Thinking (an Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) tribute)
Xenon, a social club duo.
..and my current project, a real band; 'The Essential Journey', a tribute to the awesome American rock band 'JOURNEY'.
Here's a You Tube promo video I made for that group.
Click this text to access my songs library.
Click this text to peruse my rig!
Karate and Power-lifting
As well as karate my other big leisurely pursuit when I was younger was power lifting. Well I was quite small and frail at school and got picked on a lot, so after school I enlisted to join the army but they said I was too small and to 'go to a gym and come back in six months'. I did join a gym but after six months the desire to join the army had left me. I achieved great success (at the BAI gymnasium in Lower Severn Street, Birmingham which 'The Mailbox' now sits on) winning several competitions, notably Junior West Midlands Champion (1984), Under 23 West Midlands Champion (1985) (all 60kg class). I still go to a gym but only to fight the flab and keep the buns firm these days.
Perchance anybody cares my competition best totals were 165Kg (364lb) for Squat, 95Kg (209lb) for Bench Press and 170Kg (374lb) for dead lift. I was going for the 180Kg dead lift but failed it - if I'd had got it I would have qualified to lift in the British championships. After this I gave up competitions and tried a little karate instead. Apparently 'karate' means 'open hand way' - should mean 'how to kill yourself trying to keep fit way'! Hard work. I got to a green belt grading and won an award for Kata - The style was wada-ru. I gave karate up because the club I used became just a bit too leisurely for me, was more like aerobics instead of karate - ain't you supposed to hit people in karate or something?!!
Cameras and Photography
Finally I am also a keen photographer and have owned several cameras. The first ever being when I was about 12, it was an unbranded little plastic thing my parents got me for Christmas as part of an 'adventure kit'. Can't remember what else was in the kit - binoculars and some other shit I guess but that camera blew me away! It used 127 roll film and the first picture I ever took using it was of the Rotunda in Birmingham (which ironically is as old as me - and probably as ugly!). The next camera I remember getting after this was a Hanimex 110 'pocket' camera which took 110 cartridge films and was probably the worst camera ever made. The negative was tiny and the pictures were always grainy and awful.
After a few other 'toy' cameras I guess my first 'real' camera was the old chestnut Zenit E which I think just about every photographer has owned at some time! It was cheap (about £50) but was a great entry level to SLR cameras, even if it did only take half pictures after a few years use. I then got a real REAL camera; a Ricoh XR-S which I saved and saved for and purchased from Sherwood's in Great Western Arcade, Birmingham (now gone). It was unique in that it had solar panels on the prism housing to keep it's battery charged. A simply great camera until some light fingered toss-pot relieved me of it and I was relegated back down to a Praktica BMS which Dixon's were selling off for £50 - did a fair job for a while till my wonderful wife, Zoe got me a Minolta 505 SI Super one birthday which I have had to this day. My next 'big' purchase will be the inevitable move to the digital domain, indeed I am currently looking at the very popular Cannon EOS 400D which I will probably go for, when I get enough dough! A marvellous camera I'm sure but nothing has ever exited me like that first little adventure kit 127 roll jobby! Happy days..!!!
I never had a box brownie!
Click to enter my gallery of photographic work
Click for other general pictures I can bore you with
Read my latest RANTS
This page was last edited 29/06/2008