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?

Friday, 18 December 2015

"Same Procedure As Every Year..."

It’s been a bit of a nervous time over the last few weeks. Thanks to some bad panic attacks I had been suffering from, I had been released from a work placement I had been on at the Big “C” shop in Sheringham. The place is, to say the least, cramped at the best of times, but when it gets really busy it can get claustrophobic in there. And as I suffer from social anxiety disorder, it gets almost impossible to cope with as well. The staff at Seetec (who set the thing up to start with) have been understanding about my situation, as have the Jobcentre staff (especially Neil, who’s my work coach). Basically, they haven’t put any pressure on me regarding my job search, so I’ve had two clear weeks to get over the panic attacks. I did manage to get some applications done though as I wanted to try and keep some kind of routine going during that time. All I have to concentrate on now is my upcoming diabetic review, which (thanks to some rather awkward timing) will take around two days - the first bit takes place late on Monday afternoon, with a follow-up appointment with one of the doctors the following morning. Once I get those out of the way I can start to look forward to Christmas - although it looks like being a quiet one. (Same procedure as last year? Same procedure as every year knowing my luck!)

By the way, those of you who follow the Records Revisited blog may be interested to know that I now have a regular column at forgotten80sclub.com which will focus on the various 80s albums to be found in my record collection, plus a few 1980s related memories. To find the section, go to the "Twitterati" menu on the home page and navigate down to "Tales from the Twitterati" where a link for "Mark's Corner" will appear - then click on that link to see all the articles I've done so far for the site.

Nothing else to report here so exit stage left....

Monday, 2 November 2015

You Will.......

So there's been very little going on that's worth bothering about at the moment - it's just been the usual round of online job hunting, transferring old TV programmes on to DVD and so on.  Having said that, those awfully nice people at Jobcentre Plus (he said rather sarcastically) are setting me up with YET ANOTHER scheme. (Well, as far as DWP are concerned it's not so much  "do you want to go on a work placement?" as "you will go on a work placement whether you want to or not")  Basically, all I can do is just bite the bullet, go down and see what happens.  Hopefully it'll be somewhere I can put my computer skills to some good use, although from what I've seen online about this particular scheme, if you don't end up on a placement to start with, it'll be just another endless round of supervised job searching, which sounds pointless as I'm averaging around 9 - 10 applications a week, but if I have to do it, then what the hell..

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Commercial Break (or is it...?)

Just for a bit of a distraction...

("We'll be back after this message from our sponsor...")

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Time To Make That Move

Well, I've had a few days away from About With Friends, and I've slowly come to the conclusion that it's now got to the point where it's not worth going all the way over there to basically be told that there's nothing for me to do.  For example: on Monday I went in as normal, just stood around as various members did a computer assignment, then when I checked to see if there was anything else I could get on with I was just told "go and entertain yourself for an hour or so."  It's been getting frustrating to say the least, as in the last couple of months there have been several staff members, who would have normally given me plenty of work to keep me going, leaving the charity.

In the meantime (as I mentioned on Monday) I've recently started doing some data entry work for the LDN Research Trust.  A few days ago, they sent over some work for me to do which is a lot more complex than what I've done in that past for them, and it also involves some checking up on the internet to verify the contact details these organisations provided, so it would need a lot more time to be devoted to the task than the other stuff I've done. It's also home-based stuff, with all communications done via e-mail, which is perfect for me.

So after weighing everything up, there's really only one decision I can make.  Sure, several people at AWF won't be happy about it, but I really need to be somewhere where I have plenty to do, be productive and be proud of what I achieve, not sitting around waiting for the next task and stagnating. And if that means leaving AWF, then so be it.

I think it's time to drop a pipe bomb.....

Monday, 24 August 2015

Getting Cynical As I Get Older

So this is where I stand having slowly come to terms with (in no particular order) becoming a 50-something, dealing with type 2 diabetes, and my chances of getting a job lessening with each day that goes by.  (that last bit is just my opinion but others will say I’m just being defeatist.)

For starters I’ve had two job interviews in the space of a month:  one at Wensum Tailoring outside Norwich and the other at Drury’s Transport in North Walsham.  Both interviews seemed to go well, and I was hoping that I’d at least get some feedback.  It’s too early to judge on the North Walsham job, but Wensum Tailoring (so it appears to me) simply hasn’t bothered to reply, having now being over a month since the interview - and according to Universal Jobmatch the job has now been filled.  Methinks I might as well write that one off then.

It’s not exactly all go at About With Friends either.  I ended up taking two weeks off from there last month due to the fact that there simply wasn’t any work for me to get on with.  In the meantime, I’ve got involved with the LDN Research Trust, a charity which aims to initiate research into the benefits of Low Dose Naltrexone, and assist those patients who could benefit from the treatment.  It’s basic data entry stuff which I can easily do at home, and it’s also connected to a conference in Florida which is due to take place sometime next year.  As for About With Friends, I’m slowly getting to the same situation I had last month - where I was going over there only to be told that there wasn’t anything for me to do, so I end up struggling to occupy myself for three hours. An ideal scenario would be for me to go in as usual, but instead of what happens now, I have the stuff that the LDN Research trust supply to me in the event of the AWF staff not having a task for me to get on with.  I happened to suggest this to the Work Skills manager this morning, and he appears to be fine with the idea, as he thinks of it as “one charity helping another”.  Whether any of the others will let me go ahead with it is another matter.

So what else is going to happen?

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Another Let-Down

Now this is beginning to p*** me off.

I had applied for a job at Camp Beaumont's office in Beeston Regis (which is just outside Sheringham) as an admin/sales co-ordinator, and when I got the phone call from them last Monday inviting me over for an interview on Thursday morning, I was, to say the least, quietly hopeful.  I already had one interview the previous Friday, and although I didn't get the job on that occasion, the interview itself went rather well.  (I must say that the people I saw that day were very courteous and did their best to help calm any nerves I had -so no problems there.)

Anyway, the next couple of days were spent getting paperwork sorted out (like my CV and certificates), and as I had an appointment already scheduled at the Jobcentre, this gave me a chance to get a travel warrant organised for the day.  Things seemed to be looking up, or so I thought.

Well, Thursday morning rolled around, and I was just about to leave the house (having grabbed some breakfast and taken my diabetes medication) when my mobile phone sounded.  It was the Camp Beaumont office - according to the woman on the phone, the Managing Director was called out of the office unexpectedly and there was nobody else who could carry out the interview, so they had to cancel the appointment.  I was told that they would get back in touch to reschedule the interview, so I left it at that.  The travel warrant wasn't wasted though, as the cancellation enabled me to go to my regular supported jobsearch session at the Salvation Army in Sheringham.

In the meantime, I had a third offer of an interview in as many weeks when an agency in Norwich told me that a company in Aylsham had seen my CV and was interested in talking to me. (but that's another story entirely).

That contact from Camp Beaumont I was expecting did come, but it wasn't the rescheduled interview appointment I was hoping for.  Instead, it said that they had filled the vacancy and that my application was unsuccessful. It felt as if the proverbial rug had been pulled out from under me. What they did was highly unprofessional.  To put it bluntly, I've been let down and lied to.  

Well that farce means that I'll have had two interviews in three weeks, which isn't bad going if you think about it (and at least it'll keep DWP quiet for a while.)   And if  anyone from that company sees this, I'll leave them with this thought - if that's the way they treat those people who apply for jobs with them, I'd shudder to think about how they treat those who work for them.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

"It Were Different Back In My Day"

In these days of digital downloads and online streaming, it sometimes gets hard to imagine a time when you went into Woolworths or your local record shop to get the latest hits.  Younger readers will probably think I'm rambling on like an old man here, but when I was buying records around 35 or so years ago, it seemed like more of an event  - not like today, when the latest number one is on your laptop or iPod after a few clicks of a mouse (...now I am rambling on like an old man, but I digress...)

Back in 1980, your only sources of news on the latest releases were the music papers - and it was not just the NME.  We also had Record Mirror, Melody Maker and Sounds (to name three)  and to music fans, this was, for most of the time, the starting point.  In my case, once I had found out that a favourite act had a new single on such and such a date, I'd start taking a few notes - and if there was an extra track on the b-side of the 12-inch edition, that was a bonus - I'd get that as well.   Once I had my list prepared, it would be down to the friendly neighbourhood record shop at the first opportunity (well, the next time I'd be going into town) to hand the list over and put the stuff I wanted on order.

Then the waiting started.  Making do with dodgy recordings from Radio 1 (and this was when you could only get it on Medium Wave during the daytime), listening to Radio Luxembourg (and putting up with the signal constantly fading in and out)  or watching Top of the Pops on BBC One on a Thursday, the next couple of weeks or so would feel like an eternity until the next visit to the shop to check if the discs had come in.  If they were, it was "mission accomplished".  In fact, there were times when I simply couldn't hand my cash over quickly enough most weeks! And as for the odd limited edition that cropped up, those were the ones you'd kill for, so to speak, especially if they came with a free single.  At times it felt as if every purchase was planned with almost military precision.

Now I might have exaggerated the odd detail here or there, but that's more or less how buying music was in the 70s & 80s.  Not like today, when it's all sorted with a click of a button.  There's none of the personal contact you'd get when browsing at the record store, and there's none of the anticipation of waiting to get that disc on to your stereo when you got it home.

To be honest, it makes you yearn for the good old days, doesn't it?