About Me

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Cromer, Norfolk, United Kingdom

I'm a former hospital radio/club/mobile DJ, avid record collector and amateur musician (playing guitar, keyboards, recorder, harmonica and percussion.) I've even filled in on bass guitar for a couple of local bands as well (although that was quite a few years ago). Also interested in Motorsports, Wrestling/Mixed Martial Arts and Classic Television and Radio from the 1960s - 1980s.

Why am I on here? Well, I'm just trying to make some sense of life before it's too late...but who cares anyway?

Saturday, 31 July 2010

One Man's Poison....

It's often been said that one man's poison is another man's food - and I think that's a perfect anaolgy as far as record collecting's concerned. For example, last weekend I went to a record fair at the local community centre, but it wasn't the usual boxes of rare Beatles or Elvis singles that I ended up taking a closer look at - it was one section where LPs were going for 50p each or 3 for a quid - especially after picking up half a dozen Paul McCartney albums and several Elvis LPs (albeit the cheap RCA Camden ones) last year. Anyway, I came away from last Sunday's outing with 12 albums & 12" singles for £4. One of them was an old Connie Francis ("The Exciting Connie Francis") from 1959 - I paid around 34p (based on the 3 for a quid offer), yet while I was looking on eBay a few days later, I found that a few people were offering it for around £25. A Brenda Lee album from 1962, picked up the same afternoon was spotted on eBay with prices upwards of £10. I think I might have got something of a bargain after seeing those two examples.

Elsewhere, it's another busy motorsports weekend. Team GB take their place in tonight's Speedway World Cup final in Vojens alongside Poland, Denmark and Sweden, Formula 1 moves on to Budapest for the Hungarian Grand Prix, where the team orders row is still one of the major talking points of the weekend while NASCAR is at the Pocono Raceway for Sunday's Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500. Pocono is an unusual track, configured in a triangle instead of the normal oval circuits NASCAR usually race at, with three differently banked corners and three straights of differing length which will challenge driver and car alike. This should be an interesting race as Juan Pablo Montoya attempts to put his problems at Indianapolis behind him but don't count out 4-time series champion Jimmie Johnson or last week's winner Jamie McMurray both of whom are starting in the top ten on the grid.

Should be an interesting few days....

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Three Days In Five Paragraphs...

I've had the run of the house to myself today, so I'm typing this while the pets settle down to their afternoon snooze. There's been no contact from anyone connected with Merchants Place since I declared my intention to drop out of the admin course, so I hope I won't hear any more about it. In any case, I've got a visit to A4e next Tuesday, where the plan is to set up a "work boost". This is basically where I do a four-week stint with an employer, unpaid, but the idea is to get some work experience (which I haven't had for several years) and an up-to-date reference. Mind you, they had better get a move on, as I've only got 14 weeks left on Flexible New Deal. After that, I'm not sure what's going to happen, although I've heard "Work For Your Benefit" being mentioned as a possible next step. Guess I'll discover more nearer the time.

As for the last few days' motorsports action, the Poles dominated in the Speedway World Cup meeting which was delayed due to the weather. They go on to Saturday's final with Denmark and Russia getting the first two places for Thursday night's race-off.

Over in NASCAR, Juan Pablo Montoya's Brickyard 400 jinx continued when a bad pit stop call resulted in him losing several positions. Untill then, he had been dominant throughout the race, and was a dead cert to win before crashing into the wall on lap 146. Jamie McMurray was the eventual winner, giving his car owner Chip Ganassi an unprecedented "classic" treble - with Ganassi-owned cars winning the Indy 500, the Daytona 500 and the Brickyard 400 all in the same year - quite some feat if you think about it....

Helio Castroneves ran into some trouble as well at the Indy car Series' latest race in Edmonton after getting penalised for blocking Will Power late on in the race, thus effectively gifting the win to Scott Dixon, and a NASCAR/Indy Car double for Ganassi.

Mind you, that was mild compared to the Ferrari "team orders" fiasco at Hockenheim. The last I heard, the team were fined $100,000 by the race stewards, and the matter referred to the FIA's World Motor Sport Council for further discussion. However, I wouldn't expect a decision on whether there'll be any further punishment until after the Hungarian Grand Prix at the earliest.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

A Welcome Distraction...

It's another "do not disturb" type of weekend as there's plenty of motorsports action to keep an eye on in the next few days. The whole thing starts tonight with the first event in this year's Speedway World Cup in Poland on Sky Sports. That's followed by the German Grand Prix on BBC 1 tomorrow lunchtime, then it's Nascar's Brickyard 400 on Open Access 3 (sky channel 190) before finishing off with the latest round of the Indy Car Series from Edmonton, Canada on Sky Sports.

All of which should be a nice way to take my mind off things, especially as I've had several people on Facebook in the last few days trying to persuade me to reconsider my decision to drop out of the Admin Skills course in the light of the decision of the providers to charge for the course next term. Anyway, all I'll say on the subject is this - I've made my decision, and I'm sticking to it.

In the meantime, I've got the ongoing digital transfers project to keep me occupied - and it's a great chance for me to catch up with some old videos that I hadn't watched in over ten years such as The Zoo Gang which I hadn't seen since it was shown on Bravo around 14 years ago - and that was in the days when they used to specialise in old films and TV series. In fact unlike ITV 4 (who still show a lot of the old ITC series from the 60s) Bravo always showed the black & white episodes from the early seasons of shows like The Saint and Danger Man as part of their "Timewarp Television" strand. Anyway I'll be interested in keeping a close eye on a new channel called Vintage TV which is due to launch on Sky Digital in September.

So as one shepherd said to his mate, "Come on, let's get the flock out of here!"

Monday, 19 July 2010

It all boils down to money....

Just had some news regarding the admin skills course at Merchants Place - and it doesn't look too good...

As a result of the aforementioned funding issues they are considering running the courses for ten weeks, at a cost of £10 per week for each student, including those, like myself, who are "unwaged" ie, on benefits such as Jobseekers Allowance. They say that there are a couple of possible options for alternative methods of funding, but it's highly unlikely that I'd qualify for those.

So it looks as though push has come to shove, and I seem to have no alternative than to drop out of the course. This is a great pity, since, as I mentioned in an earlier post, I've made a few new friends and got a few extra qualifications during my time at Merchants Place.

I still have just under 4 months left to go on Flexible New Deal, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed, as I'm waiting for developments regarding the mandatory 4-week "Work Boost" that A4e are supposed to be setting up for me. Other than that, what else can I do?

Not a lot it seems...

Saturday, 17 July 2010

School's Out....

Thursday night's exam session went off without a hitch - well, not quite - I was roped in by the tutor supervising the exam to help set up the dictation software on the computers which were being used for Audio Transcription exams as he didn't know how to load in the necessary audio files. Anyway, I now have a wait of around 5 - 8 weeks for the results. In the meantime I received the latest batch of certificates from Merchants Place, so now I (officially) have an OCR Level 2 Certificate in Text Processing (Business Professional). Most people will probably wonder what the hell I'm on about, but it looks impressive on my CV, which has now had yet another rewrite to accommodate the new qualifications. I also have a nice little break from classes, while I wait for further developments on the funding side of things.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Calm before the storm...

All quiet over here, so I'm trying to take my mind off things while I await the two admin skills exams I have tomorrow as well as my latest A4e appointment earlier on that day. In the meantime I've been going through some old videos which I've been dubbing onto DVD in the last couple of weeks, as well as catching up on some recent WWE and UFC events which have taken place recently.

I'm keeping a close eye on various motorsports events as well, especially the Speedway World Cup which takes place in a couple of weeks time. Team GB looks as though they've got a pretty strong line-up for this year, especially with Scott Nicholls and Simon Stead back in the team after sitting out last year's tournament. On current inidvidual form, I won't be too surprised if Team GB go straight through to the final this time round, and they'll have plenty of home support as well for their meeting which takes place at the Norfolk Arena in King's Lynn.

Should be an interesting week, whatever happens...

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Random updates 13/07/10

Before I go any further, let me welcome you to my new blog - basically an attempt to get my thoughts into some sort of order before I go stir crazy...

Now that's out of the way, on to business...

It's been a bit quiet here in the last couple of months, although thanks to a couple of recent panic attacks, I'm back on beta blockers for the first time in a couple of years.

Anyway, that's the least of my worries as the future of the Admin Skills course is up in the air again due to "funding issues" at Merchants Place. To be honest, I doubt that the course will be continuing - especially with all the announcements about various government cutbacks in recent weeks. If it does go belly-up, it'll be a shame, having managed to get a few extra certificates in the last year or so, as well as meeting a few new friends in the process. (And they've allowed me to go at a pace I'm comfortable with instead of saying "you must pass this by such-and-such a date" which has made things easy to cope with taking into account my past mental health issues.) For now, the plan is to get through the next couple of exams next Thursday evening, and await developments during the summer break.

In the meantime, I've had plenty to take my mind off things - especially this past weekend. Not only did I have the British F1 grand prix to look forward to on Sunday, the British Speedway GP took place on Saturday night, followed by NASCAR's latest race a few hours later. So the "do not disturb" sign" was hung out with all the motorsports going on in the last few days.