Four jobs I’ve had:1) I haven't actually had many jobs. At college in Rochester in 1980, to augment my meagre grant I worked as a chef in an American diner. I used to make a mean club sandwich and stupendous banana splits, which the owner's brother (the owner was banged up in Canterbury nick, framed by the police, allegedly) used to keep in the freezer overnight to have for breakfast.
2) I collected tolls at the Dartford Crossing for six years. The public are wonderfully friendly and generous. Professional drivers are beautiful people, brimming with skill and totally lacking arrogance and I'd pay money to have all their babies. Itinerant block paving and tarmac skimming operatives will always stop and give you the time of day in their engaging brogue.* On the other hand, Frank Bruno is a bloody nice bloke and has the biggest hands I've ever seen in my life. Honest.
3) The first job I had after moving to Crewe in 2002 was as an inventory controller for Twyfords in their distribution centre in Alsager, Cheshire. It was the biggest building I'd ever been in, the size of 12 football pitches, and contained over 40,000 khazis of which only 2 were serviceable. I'm still not sure what I was meant to be doing there.
4) As a kid I picked strawberries on the farm next door. I still owe Des 14p for the extra box I claimed by mistake. I was round Des' this morning getting hay for the ponies but I never saw him. I still can't afford to pay him back.
1) Ashford, Kent. I grew up there from the age of 9 months until I left at 18, 27 years ago. The house is at a place called Bromley Green, 2 miles from the nearest village in any direction and it used to be 4 miles from the edge of town. It's now only 2. I am back there now.
2) Chatham. Digs while at college. If anyone knows the area, the Weedswood estate. It's a beautiful and very inspiring location for the aspiring artist and the Poacher's Pocket is probably the most aptly named hostelry in the country.
3. Lewisham. From 1980-84 with my future ex-wife. 3 flats. Lots of falling down ceiling grief and mice.
4. Crewe. It's where 90% of my post goes and where a special person also lives. I'm sorry, you didn't need that but it's true. I'm a lifetime member of the Limelight Club so I daresay I'll pop back now and again. I hope that won't be the only reason.
Four favourite foods:
1) My own cottage pie. Packet mixes are OK but what are cupboards full of stuff you keep buying and never using for, after all. I put apples in it.
2) Monkfish in a puy lentil gravy from the Bear's Paw in Warmingham, Cheshire. The best meal I've ever eaten. Yes, they called it gravy. The rest of the menu was in English so why not the sauce?
3) A good strongish cheddar cheese and Branston sandwich made with white crusty doorsteps the size of the London Eye. Proper man's food. Although I have been taken by Marianne's tomato and basil sandwiches. They are a bit girly though so I have to make them on white and maybe with a bit of ham in and stuff the constitution.
4) I'm partial to a bit of whitebait. Tony, one of my clients, takes me to a restaurant in St John's wood called Tino's. It's never going to be the world's greatest restaurant but the food is good enough for me and the owner's dead friendly. It's a proper local restaurant where locals go to avoid cooking lunch. His whitebait starter is a meal in itself and is beautiful.
movies films I could watch over and over:
This is a hard one. I'm not the world's greatest film buff. I'll go to the pictures occasionally and I usually like to laugh so you can forget art movies which are just a load of old toss usually. That's such a presumptuous phrase anyway; aren't all movies "art" in the same way that Turner and Tracy Emin are artists? Borat nearly made me wet myself but I can't take that much schadenfreude in repeated doses. So, anyroad, sorry if these seem to be mainly off the eye-level shelves at Blockbuster.
1) Any of the Wallace and Gromit ones but the Rabbit one was just brilliant. Nothing wrong with being a big kid. Only seen it once.
2) Life of Brian. I've got it on DVD but oddly enough, I've never got round to watching it again. He's not the Messiah, he's a very naughty boy.
3) Tremors. Don't ask me why. It's that one with Kevin Bacon in about the sandworm type things out in the Nevada desert or wherever. Typical buddy/ensemble movie, loads of great lines and a feelgood ending. I don't go out looking for it, it's on telly about every six months and I always seem to catch it. Can't switch it off whenever I do though.
4) The only art one. A film I can't watch anymore because it's only available on DV tape and my camera's bust. Made in 2002 at one of Crayford's premier indoor locations (No 6, Green Place), the leading protagonists were at the top of their game. The lighting was crap because we had to keep the curtains pretty much closed. "That" kind of art. Oh for heavens' sakes, what are video cameras for anyway?
Four TV shows I enjoy:
This isn't exhaustive. I don't watch a huge amount of telly but these can usually be found to offer a diversion:
1) Whatever the cricket highlights are called and whatever the proper cricket coverage will be called when the government gives it back to the people. I will enjoy watching Murdoch's funeral, over and over again. C4nt.
2) Sunday evening family dramas on ITV. I've probably just eaten so don't tax me. Heartbeat, The Royal, Midsomer Killing Fields any of that lot.
3) Corrie. It's the only soap worth watching, chuck.
4) I'm a bit stuck now. OK, Parky. But back on the BBC please. He's a skilled and intelligent interviewer and knowledgeable hack of around 50 years experience. Love him when he goes all starstruck. Last week to Diaz, C. "When did you realise you were beautiful?" Mike, she makes my trousers go lumpy, too.
Four places I’ve visited:
Countries or what? I'm not the world's most extensive traveller but there are places I've been that I've enjoyed and would visit again. These aren't necessarily those.
2) Germany. Again, not extensively travelled but when I met my first wife back in 1979 her dad was posted back out to BAOR and they lived in Duesseldorf so I got to visit lots. Done most of Nordrhein Westfalen though and all the touristy bits like the Drachenfels...and had an Eisbein in Cologne. One of the reasons why the German cuisine is possibly even less renowned than our own and the Germans lack a sense of humour.
3) Dungeness. One of my favourite places on earth. It's windy, barren and about as remote as it's possible to be in south-east England yet it's possessed of a surreal beauty. The juxtaposition of fishermen's huts made largely of old railway carriages and two massive nuclear power stations, one of which my Grandad helped to design, seems to work. It's been partly spoilt over the last 15 years or so by bastard townie ponces from that there London, thinking they're aping Derek Jarman by moving into the huts and making proper houses of them. Jarman appreciated the sparseness of the environment and kept his house, Prospect Cottage, in the vernacular. Next time I go down I might have to smack some of them about a bit.
4) This place. Top lovely people Stephen and Caroline live next door with their owner, Roger the Cat.
Four places I’d like to visit:
1) I would love to visit the Maldives, too. Sitting around for a week doing nothing because there's bugger all to do sounds pretty cool. Need an invite.
2) The North Pole before it stops freezing over.
3) West coast of Ireland.
4) A proper desert. Just for a couple of days
Four websites I go to daily:1) This blog and most of the others on my blogroll.
3) The Scotsman. I'm not Scottish and have no Scottish antecedents. I just made a personal vow I'd never quote the Guardian if I could help it. Plus they have an annual haggis hunt.
4) Cricinfo. It's about trance and electronica.
Four people I tag to do this list:
I won't bother with this bit. First four just shout and acknowledge. If it's more then who cares.