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Post Tagged with: Bits of me

Inside a Hong Kong village…

Inside a Hong Kong village…

Apparently, Hong Kong is all a twitter about the sit-in demonstrations (complete with riot police and pepper spray) that have been taking place as the Hong Kong Legislative Council rubber-stamped a decision to build a high-speed railway line through Hong Kong to China, demolishing ancient villages in the process. (Interestingly, the official Chinese news state agency thinks the protestors barely deserve half a sentence in their report).

Anyway, cnngo.com had a photo-essay featuring the village at the heart of the railway line, and it’s rather striking how it looks an awful lot like the village my parents grew up. Even if I haven’t been back there in 20 years.

Oh, while we’re here, 50 reasosn why Hong Kong is fab. Now if only I spoke Cantonese…

I can now say I've written for BBC News :)

I can now say I've written for BBC News :)

Lookie here! (Thanks, @zsk!)

and she has revealed that on Boxing Day, it got 21,500 hits. Now if only I had 1p for everyone who clicked… 🙂

25 random facts…

25 random facts…

Since I’ve been tagged by a few friends on Facebook and elsewhere, I thought I’d try to come up with 25 random facts about me:

  1. One of my first websites was lauded by Microsoft, Yahoo and the BBC. Of course, this was back in 1997.
  2. I’ve been in Stephen Fry‘s bedroom
  3. I love peas. Love them. If I had a big enough freezer, all my stir fries would come with peas included.
  4. I also love snow – the way it can make a city like London be frozen, cold and yet clean and crisp. Of course, I’ve never had to go to work in the middle of a blizzard.
  5. I also love the cold. It awakens the senses, keeps everything sharp. Then again, I’ve never had to walk to work during a very very cold snap.
  6. Ben Elton thinks I’m a wanker. Long story.
  7. In my younger days, the only time I cried at a film was during E.T.’s resurrection.
  8. Unfortunately, these days, any old thing can set my eyes moist. A moving montage, a soaring piece of music…
  9. This may be why I don’t really go to the cinema any more. In 2008, I managed four trips. and one of them was to the terrible Indiana Jones movie.
  10. My favourite film is Brazil, a tale of a man who battles bureaucracy by going insane.
  11. I’ve worked in the BBC, in four different places, over ten years – with a lot of time off for good behaviour.
  12. Emma Freud is the best Radio 1 DJ that ever existed, IMHO. and she gave me an online snog once.
  13. I am petrified of zombies. Terrified of them.
  14. and crabs. Crabs will take over the world. You mark my words.
  15. I hate unfriendly people.
  16. I love living in London, full of unfriendly people. Go, as they say, figure.
  17. When I’m sat on my sofa, I wish I was in the pub.
  18. When I’m in the pub, I wish I was sat on my sofa.
  19. Chef Ainsley Harriott gripped my thigh once.
  20. So did Pet Shop Boys lead singer Neil Tennant
  21. I once tried to bore a friend to sleep by summarising every single Doctor Who episode ever broadcast. It didn’t work. She’s still my friend.
  22. I wore a kilt once. Loved it.
  23. I can’t stand sour foods. Salt and vinegar crisps are the devil’s condiment of choice.
  24. I haven’t programmed a computer in years. Must learn again.
  25. I was once asked to take part in a local carnival as a Chinese person on the grounds that I didn’t need any make-up…
  26. I used to be terrible at cooking. I couldn’t even make a bowl of cornflakes properly.
  27. People seem to confide in me. I have no real idea why, but I like it.

So… go and write 25 random facts about you in *your* blog!

Dear BBC, why have you cancelled my Christmas?

Dear BBC, why have you cancelled my Christmas?

Ever since I was a wee nipper, Christmas Day always started at 2pm (our family were always late risers…) when Top of The Pops was on BBC One, Christmas Day. We’d emerge from our respective bedrooms, and open our presents to the latest bangin’ tunes of 1987, with occasional home camera footage. Which is quite scary twenty years on.

Fortunately, while we’ve ditched the self-filming thing, opening our presents to the tune of Top of The Pops is something we still do now on the odd times we do get together at Christmas – much to the bemusement of the strangers from the outside.

And now the BBC have cancelled Christmas Top Of The Pops. Bah, harumph and all that. We’ve cancelled Christmas in protest.

The agony of the short-distance writer

The agony of the short-distance writer

Despite having spent most of my life writing words for websites (and project proposals, that sort of thing), and having had two jobs with the word “Editor” in the title, I’ve never really considered myself a writer.

Recently, I was asked to write a short article for Ariel, the BBC’s internal corporate newspaper. On a topic I knew a lot about, indeed, that I somewhat relished.

However, I kept putting it off week after week until finally, today, I was told that I had to get it to the editor by lunchtime or knives and screams would be heard. So I knuckled down, looked at the few notes I’d made, and in an hour, I’d turned out 425 words of prose that’s almost professional. It’s elegant, the end references the beginning, and it’s one of the best articles I think I’ve written. And I knocked it out in less than an hour.

I’d whip myself even more about being such a procrastinating fool about it, but it seems I’m not that alone. Douglas Adams famously declared that “I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.” Most of the emails that Russell T Davies sends out in The Writer’s Tale are of him either avoiding starting work on a script, procrastinating over working on a script, or the insane things that happen as he tries to finish his work to deadline.

What is it about writing that encourages procrastination to such an extent? How is it I can quickly knock off a blog entry, no problem, but trying to write an article causes huge amounts of internal angst? How come editors don’t want to strangle their contributors at every available opportunity? And how can I stop procrastination in the unlikely event I ever get asked to write another article?

When Ewan McGregor and I worked together

When Ewan McGregor and I worked together

Me and Ewan McGregor in Rogue Trader In the late 1990s, in-between freelance web jobs, I spent a day as an extra, being a Singaporean stock trader in the film Rogue Trader, a film about how stocktrader Nick Leeson managed to bring down the United Kingdom’s oldest investment bank. The film starred Ewan McGregor and Anna Friel.

Alas, any glamorous notions I had about finally being part of the film industry were somewhat thwarted by the sheer tedium of waiting around on film sets waiting for filming to start, with nothing to do except talk to equally disillusioned Chinese extras, who were mostly Filipino actors/actresses who’d come to London with dreams of treading the stage or doing some good acting, as opposed to ending up with a bunch of extras. Although I did manage to walk around the Pinewood Studios shop and buy a jacket.

After one day of work, being on/off set for about 10 hours and wasting three hours being shuttled between central London and Pinewood for £80 (and they were very keen to get people back for more extras shooting, but I’d rather sit in front of a computer pumping out webcode!), the net result is the picture you see. If you watch the film itself, I’m about 40 minutes into the film, just after Nick Leeson is celebrating Christmas with his girlfriend (Friel).

The only other time I saw it was when slightly drunk and waiting in eager anticipation to see The Matrix. One of the trailers that featured before it was for Rogue Trader, and I yelped in surprise when I saw a strangely familiar moon-shaped face staring at me on the screen before I realised it was me.

I kept meaning to track down the DVD but then to my surprise, when I stumbled in after a hard day at a works do summer party (football, softball, Pimms, quizzes and the odd bit of chat) to find the film showing on ITV4. And finally, I manage to capture my moment of fame alongside Ewan McGregor.

To come … how I had dinner with Frank Skinner and was in Stephen Fry‘s bedroom…

Protected: College memories aka Is she talking about the same person I used to be?

Protected: College memories aka Is she talking about the same person I used to be?

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Obama the llama

Obama the llama

I may be tired, slightly irritable (well, you try having your parents stay for a week and you sleeping in the living room on the sofa with one of their friends) but for some reason, I can’t stop dwelling on the notion that Barrack Obama may have won the Democratic nomination.

Simply because I cannot believe
– a nation that managed to vote for Dubya *twice*, is ever going to elect Obama as President. Which basically means the most powerful man in the world could well end up being a 73-year-old military veteran. Which is not good news.
– which basically means the Democrats have basically handed over the Presidency to yet another warmonger. Obama may be the right candidate, but he’s not going to be the one who wins
– surely everyone who’s voted in the primaries is already a Democrat nominee. So why is the UK press so keen on splashing the fact that members of a foreign political party have chosen their next presidential candidate …
– what on earth does Obama stand for? What are his policies? I am reminded of the character in a Stephen King novel who came to power vaguely promising great change, and then promptly starting a war… (then again, I guess the same can be said for Clinton. All political rhetoric and inspirational self-selling speeches as opposed to policies)
-why am I more interested in US domestic politics than UK domestic politics (again!)?

More importantly, thanks to my sister getting married, I seem to have missed the chance to be part of the last Circle Line pub crawl on the London Underground. and more importantly, the chance to cameo on the Daily Show.

Take the money and run?

Take the money and run?

So… yet again another potentially life-changing question, after someone has unexpectedly graciously offered me another job. Do I go for:

Nottingham – six-month lucrative contract, possibility of permanent. The money involved is obscene, and would be enough for me to do a Masters’, but the work itself sounds relatively dull, and it’s a continuation of the dual-city thing which has run me a tad ragged lately.

London – eleven-month contract at my old haunt but at a higher grade, with the possibility of extension for another year and who knows after that? The money offered is nearly equivalent, although that’d be over eleven months as opposed to six months with the Nottingham job, so I doubt I’d build up enough savings to do a said Masters. But then London offers stability, a chance to sit still for eleven months and try to build a life. Oh, and listen to Virgin Radio in glorious FM, now I’ve become a late-night addict to The Geoff Show.

Just to throw another spanner into the works, I’ve got two more job interviews tomorrow – one with possibly the best TV channel in the world…

Stomach acid stings. Who knew?

Stomach acid stings. Who knew?

(Warning: this post contains gratuitous descriptive imagery of bodily functions. Look away now…)