52% intelligent. 9% modest. More monkey than bear.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

That's the story of my life (that's the story of my life)

I know this is something of a hoary old blog classic.... but for some reason I have recently been overtaken by an all-consuming self-confessional urge. I've sort of been avoiding this for a couple of days with a few little posts about nothing much, but the urge hasn't gone away, so I'm giving up the fight.

Bear with me as I get this out of my system.

99% true - 100 things about me. 99 are true, 1 is a lie.

Can you spot the porkie?

1. I was born in Northampton General Hospital at 17:30 one Thursday afternoon in early March. On the same day in history (apparently), Marcus Aurelius became Emperor (161), Henry VIII declares himself the Supreme head of the Church in England (1531), Dr. John Kellogg first serves Cornflakes to the patients in his mental institution (1897) & West Indian legend Viv Richards is born (1952)
2. I was first taken to the Opticians when I was about 5 years old, and I remember my elder brother laughing at me and telling me I might have to wear glasses
3, I have worn glasses ever since
4. I used to have blonde, curly hair
5. I am now balding with dark hair going pretty substantially grey
6. My dad and both my brothers have full heads of hair
7. I ran away from school, aged 5, because they wouldn't let me watch 'Play School'
8. I was sent away to boarding school in September 1981, when I was 7 years old, and I have never really lived at home since that day
9. I didn't get homesick
10. I was the head chorister at school, although I had to retire when I was 13 years old and my voice broke. They still let me attend the choir dinner, though, which was nice
11. When I was 13, I was made Head of School. I've never been as mature since
12. I was awarded a scholarship to Rugby School in 1987
13. I was absolutely terrible at Maths, but excelled in English
14. I got 10 GCSEs (9 A's and a B - the B was in Biology)
15. I got 3 A-Levels (2 A's and a B - the B was in English... my best subject)
16. I was a fast bowler with natural bounce and played for the school 2nd XI (once)
17. I was a big second-row forward and played for the school 3rd XV
18. I was never all that popular at school
19. I edited the school weekly newsheet
20. The first album I ever bought was "Human Racing" by Nik Kershaw
21. I also owned "Silk & Steel" by Five Star
22. I bought "The Number of the Beast" by Iron Maiden on cassette because I liked the album cover
23. I own all of Iron Maiden's albums up to (but not including) "Fear of the Dark"
24. I am in the video for "Sweet Soul Sister" by the Cult - it was filmed at the first concert I ever attended
25. I am also in the video for "Fix You" by Coldplay - it was filmed at their recent gig at the Bolton Reebok Stadium
26. You'd need extremely good eyesight to pick me out from the crowd
27. I once stole a book from the school bookshop. It was called "The 9 lives of Island McKenzie" and was about a shipwrecked cat. It was brilliant, but I did feel a little guilty.
28. I love the shape of a woman's foot
29. My middle name is 'Peter', although I've never really understood the point of it and no-one uses it (at least to my face)
30. I have cut myself deliberately - when I was about 10. Never very deeply, but deep enough to bleed. I didn't do this for attention. Mainly I did it idly as I watched a film about Custer's Last Stand, fascinated by how sharp my penknife was
31. When I was about 12, I used to give myself friction burns on my cheek using a pumice stone. I've avoided thinking about this much (I could have given myself terrible scars for one thing), but I probably did do this for attention
32. I used to bully people without mercy with words
33. I got a 2:1 in my undergraduate degree, but feel I underachieved
34. I got a Masters in Medieval Studies, but only because I was good enough to and because I had nothing better to do
35. My Masters dissertation was entitled "Historical Precedent and the Deposition of Henry VI". It's in the library at the King's Manor at the University of York if you fancy reading it...
36. I used to be a DJ on University Radio. I am especially proud of playing the double-header of "Female of the Species" by Space and "Deadlier than the Male" by the Walker Brothers. Do you see what I did there?
37. I desperately wanted to be a journalist. In some ways I still do. It just seemed too hard to get into and more about who you knew than what you were capable of writing
38. I don't really understand how I ended up working in IT. Neither do my family.
39. I am very fond of my mum & dad's cat. She's called Crumble, and I have known her for 15 years. I was very sad to hear at the weekend that she has kidney failure.
40. I know a lot about music and I own a lot of music, but sometimes I feel like a fraud and wonder if I lack a genuine passion for it
41. I love to read, but I don't feel as though I read enough books.
42. John Irving is probably my favourite author, with "A Prayer for Owen Meany" as my favorite book. I think Paul Auster is starting to run him close though
43. I am not at all religious, but I find the Old Testament mesmerising
44. I always read the nutritional information on the back of the packet before choosing a sandwich for my lunch & cannot bring myself to eat anything with a fat content of greater than about 25g.
45. I rarely buy biscuits because I lack the self-discipline to leave an open packet lying around
46. I lost my virginity when I was 21
47. I did not have a proper girlfriend until I was 21
48. I didn't lose it to her
49. I lost it to my next girlfriend (you wait 8 years for one, and 2 come along inside 6 months)
50. I have only downloaded one song illegally (as far as I know) - "What's the Frequency Kenneth?" by REM, and the reason I did so was because the copy on my CD was scratched, so didn't feel very guilty about it
51. I disapprove of piracy, but I do rip CDs from people who lend them to me. I don't usually feel very guilty about that either, as usually they are CDs I have little intention of buying. I'll also happily let people rip CDs that I own
52. I think the iPod is the single best thing that I have ever bought
53. I really like cheese, but I hate almost every blue cheese I have ever tasted. My favourite cheese is Comte
54. I like really peaty malt whisky, and I drink it neat without ice (but not very often)
55. I have size 12 feet
56. My body mass index is 21
57. My body fat percentage is 12%
58. I am not very sporty, but exercise about 4 times a week
59. I used to have a scar on my chest from the stud of someone I tackled in a game of rugby. I think it hurt them more than it hurt me
60. I don't enunciate very clearly when I speak. I'm something of a mumbler, and people often don't catch what I say and have to ask me to say it again
61. I'm intellectually vain
62. I am extremely pedantic and find it very hard to resist correcting people when they misuse a word or pronounce it incorrectly
63. I own more pairs of shoes than my girlfriend
64. I own a pair of "make poverty history" pants
65. The t-shirt I would most like to own is the Red Wings one that Cameron wears in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" with "9 Howe" on the back, but I haven't been able to find one anywhere
66. I have appeared on a stage wearing nothing but a loincloth
67. I once had an argument with my girlfriend over whether or not Martin Luther grew a beard when he was in hiding in the Wartburg (I maintained that he did)
68. I will carry on an argument even when I when I know I am wrong, as long as I am convinced that the other person isn't sure that they are right
69. The best concert I have ever been to was either Metallica at the Milton Keynes Bowl in about 1993 or James at Oxford Brookes the night before they played Glastonbury in 1998
70. The worst concert I have ever been to was Bob Dylan at the Docklands Arena in about 2002. I fell asleep. Don't ever be tempted to see him
71. I think I am a reliable friend
72. I am the chairman of a weekly 5-a-side football game. We have been playing socially on a Thursday night for about 7 years now. My duties are to send out an email seeing who can play, paying for the pitch & collecting the money. I am only the chairman because I am the most reliable, I think
73. I speak reasonable french and very scratchy Italian. I wish I spoke both better, although I do a nice line in fluent nonsense French, I'm told, with an excellent accent
74. My girlfriend was brought up in France and would like to move back there one day. Fluent nonsense French may not be enough
75. I am fascinated by blogs and by blogging.
76. Writing a blog has provided a creative outlet that my life has been missing for some time
77. I feel as though I need to get a new job, but I lack the energy to really look for one
78. I'd like to do more work for charity, and I'm currently in the process of volunteering for hospital radio and to work at Skylarks
79. I think I'm probably a geek
80. Shortly after England beat Germany in the European Championships in 2000, a policeman asked me very politely to stop dancing in the street as I was holding up traffic
81. I don't have a favourite colour, but a lot of my work shirts seem to be either pink or purple
82. I have very blue eyes but they turn grey when I am tired. Just like my maternal grandfather, apparently
83. I am quite self-contained. I don't like spending time on my own, but will happily sit with someone for hours without saying a word
84. My girlfriend sometimes finds this difficult
85. I read the Observer on a Sunday. Well. I say that, but really what I do is I buy it and then only read the sports section, the film and music reviews and have a flick through the magazine. The rest I recycle after a couple of weeks of it sititing on the floor
86. I often buy DVDs and then don't watch them. I never seem to find the time and somehow knowing that I have got them if I need them is enough
87. I have suffered from chronic back pain for 10 years. One of the reasons I exercise so much is that it seems to help to keep my back mobile
88. I drink more bottled water than tap water, and I prefer sparkling to still. I think this is the influence of a girlfriend brought up in France
89. I make a reasonable salad dressing. I think this is the influence of a girlfriend brought up in France
90. I wear a belt on my trousers even when I don't need to do so to hold them up. I'm not sure why
91. I think that purple jelly beans taste like B.O.
92. I love marmite
93. I like my tea strong and without too much milk
94. I lack guile: the expression on my face invariably says what I think of people and what they are saying. I am probably prouder of this than I have any right to be
95. I think Robert De Niro is extremely overrated as an actor, and I consider "Trading Places" to be a far superior film to "Raging Bull"
96. I have an obsessive personality. Amongst other things, I reckon this manifests itself in my blogging
97. I have a flair for inventing nicknames
98. I'm quite worried that this post will manage to be both boring and not tell you anything interesting about me - in which case it will have been a waste of everyone's time
99. I spend too much time on the computer and not enough time talking to my girlfriend
100. I got bored of this list and went to do something else at number 26 (as to why I completed this list - see point 96)

Hm. 99 things about me and one lie.

I'm not sure if this exercise has been useful. Do you feel you know me any better? Or do you already know me well enough to pick out the lie?


  • At 12:47 am, Blogger Damo said…

    My guess is the lie is number 92.

    Erm, this took you how long?

  • At 3:36 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    13. Lie! See 79. Although you prob really believe it so I dont think this is the porkie you say you said.
    79. Yes you are
    21. a la Nelson 'Har Har' (Although I taped it off someone - you praps?
    91. Couldnt agree with you more mate
    98. Lie...you're not worried at all...you couldnt care less


  • At 6:06 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I keep on thinking of doing one of these, but I can never quite be bothered. Maybe one day...

    I think that #63 is the lie - how is it possible for a bloke to own more pairs of shoes than a chick? ;o)

    66. Do you have photos?

    82. I have green eyes that go yellow when I'm tired or pissed off. Yep, yellow. It freaks people out.

    - OLS

  • At 8:24 am, Blogger LB said…

    i am slightly nervous about contributing here, as I feel I ought to know the answer to this, whereas there's no particular reason why I suppose I should.

    I am tempted to go for #26 on the basis that you're bloomin' tall.

    There are lots that I know are true (#21 (its a classic pop record), #44 (wuss), #64 (me too), #67 (that would be an interesting one on a divorce petition))

    hmmm. one lie.

    #40 has got to be cobblers, surely. i'm not sure you'd have conned me for 10 years that you actually didnt really care passionately about this stuff.

    and don't be worried about #98. it was neither boring or uninteresting (which may be the same thing. Anyway.)

  • At 9:48 am, Blogger Teresa Bowman said…

    Funny thing: I loathe self-obsessed people who just go on and on and on about themselves all the time, but I love reading things like this. All part of my love/hate relationship with the human race in general, I suppose. I just like finding out what makes people tick.

    As for the lie ... I've no idea. I'm not even going to guess.

    My cousin once had to do something like this as a school exercise, except that he only had to think up 3 facts, 1 of which had to be a lie. The facts he picked were:

    1. That his great-grandfather (i.e. mine as well) caught and bowled W G Grace;
    2. That his aunt (i.e. my mum) had been on Fifteen To One and Countdown; and
    3. That his father used to play for Blackburn Rovers.

    That last one was the porkie. As anyone who has ever met my uncle could tell you.

  • At 10:49 am, Blogger Flash said…

    First up, I love 100 things lists & I think they should be compulsorary for all bloggers!

    Secondly, what a fine first album you had.

    Third, The number of points where I said to myself "yeah, & me" was, quite frankly, scary.

    And for the lie I'm with OLS on the shoes, it's not possible is it?

  • At 10:50 am, Blogger Flash said…

    oh & Bee must bloody hate me, eh?

    Self-obessed - check
    Go on & on about myself all the time - check

    oh dear!

  • At 11:12 am, Blogger Teresa Bowman said…

    Flash, my dear fellow, of course I don't hate you. I was thinking more along the lines of people who go whining on about themselves like they're talking to some quack psychotherapist or other about how all the stupid problems in their lives stem from the childhood trauma of their mother once having told them that their hair needed washing.

    Mind you, for all I know your blog might be just like that. I wouldn't know at present due to this ****ing ****y b******s computer system at work not letting me read it because you might once have used the word "bloody" or something.

  • At 11:29 am, Blogger LB said…

    i'm inclined to say the "shoes" thing is true. If you've ever walked into his hallway and been faced with a huge line of blokes shoes, you'd probably go for a different lie....

    "...you're my knight in shining armour, chase the devils and the dragons away, from manana to manana, do I am love you, yes I do do...."

    I should be embarrassed about knowing that I reckon. sigh.

  • At 12:00 pm, Blogger Teresa Bowman said…

    Actually, I'm going to bite the bullet and go for #17.

    From the photos I've seen you just don't look like much of a rugby player to me.

    (Am probably wrong but hey whatever it's not like anybody died)

  • At 12:07 pm, Blogger John McClure said…

    I'm going to go for 9 as the lie.

    And your solution to number 65 might lie here.

    And I'm with Bargain on the shoes thing.

  • At 12:32 pm, Blogger Statue John said…

    I would have to say that you were never a fast bowler, more medium pace...

  • At 12:48 pm, Blogger Statue John said…

    No.4 - blonde? Nah...

  • At 12:58 pm, Blogger Teresa Bowman said…

    No, I can believe the hair thing. Until I was about 5 my hair was blonde and dead straight. It is now dark and slightly wavy.

    Such are the vagaries of hair.

  • At 2:24 pm, Blogger John McClure said…

    Wait... this isn't fiction?

  • At 2:40 pm, Blogger LB said…

    1/100th of it is fiction, and it's bleeding annoying fiction at that.

    I have just noticed the line "do I am love you?" from "Rain or Shine". what the bejesus does that mean?

    hip-hop/rap/r&b. heh heh heh

  • At 4:55 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    4. Me too - though mine did, at least, retain its curl
    38. ditto. One day I might even escape. (see 77). I also concur with 85. 86 and 92

    57. I'd have thought it was even less than that - there's nothing on you. However, that's perhaps venturing into the unhealthy?
    64. Sounds like they did a roaring trade at Glastonbury :-)
    68. Remind me never to have an argument with you. I'm never sure I'm right.

    97 - not sure about this one. You gave me my 'blog name'. hmmm

    However, I'm going for 10. - I've heard you humming along to your i-pod (see 52.) and find it hard to believe you were even in the choir - let alone Head Chorister?

  • At 5:14 pm, Blogger swisslet said…


    Damo --> mmmm (and not that long actually, once I got started)

    Des --> you were in the same maths set as me, so you should know

    OLS --> she keeps hers in their boxes in the cupboard, whereas mine are in a heap by the front door, but I reckon I have more

    Lord B (& Fox) --> I haven't seen the video yet, but 2/3 of the way back in a crowd of 30,000 with my hood up and in the dark.... I don't fancy my chances of having a starring role, frankly. And #40 is actually quite true

    Bee --> I refer you to #59, and I am 6'5" tall and used to weigh about 18 stone

    John --> the closest I got was feeling that perhaps I ought to feel it, but didn't

    Statue John --> haha. As I nearly took your block off on several occasions, you know that this one is true. Actually you are the best-placed person to pick the porkie, as you were there (and I was a blondie too, and I once had hair...)

    Fox --> I always sort of intended to. I think I'm rubbish with dialogue though. Why? Are you going to offer me a book deal?

    Rufus-Fan --> ok, maybe not as inspired as "Mogwai Womble" was, but at least it's relevant. And you cheeky mare, I can bloody sing too.... Maybe I was never the soloist for "once in royal david's city", but I was auditioned for it

    This is fun.


  • At 5:19 pm, Blogger red one said…

    I reckon 97 is the porkie. After all, you didn't exactly "make up" Swiss Toni all by yourself...

    Although the marmite one also looks dodgy.

    ST - you should be hugely proud of your (nearly) 100 facts effort. I've got one of those list things to do, but with 10 items - all will be revealed if I ever post it - and I'm struggling to get past six.


  • At 6:44 pm, Blogger red one said…

    Mine's a weak black tea, please. Putting milk in is just one of thsoe peculiar english habits my family has happily missed out on.


  • At 7:24 pm, Blogger red one said…

    A nice cuppa to go with the fishcakes then? Oh, wait. Where am I, exactly?


  • At 7:46 pm, Blogger Statue John said…

    Dang. No pressure then!

    I was actually a member of the same choir and enjoyed the same dinner, although i didn't really know you back then (had a far higher pitched and more beautiful voice too)!

    I'm guessing the porkie must be no.11. I have a vague recollection that you were a joint head of school? Given that this was nigh on 20 years ago now, my memories are a little bit sketchy to say the least so i'm probably wrong. Couldn't agree more about the maturity comment mind ;)

  • At 8:14 pm, Blogger LB said…

    weakish tea with lots of milk for me. and i drink about 15 cups a day, so I Am Right.

    and English Breakfast tea is a must. Or that new Twinings yellow stuff.

  • At 8:31 pm, Blogger swisslet said…

    shall I be mother?


    (oh, and statue john --- fyi, caroline was head girl, I was head of SCHOOL)

  • At 9:15 pm, Blogger Statue John said…

    Oooof, so i was kinda right...

    OK, next guess.....was the first concert you went to actually the hard rock band Thunder, supported by the Electric Boys, at the Aston Villa leisure centre, and not The Cult?

    If its not that one then it is clearly no.13 - how could you have excelled at English and yet only got a B...

  • At 10:38 pm, Blogger Tom said…

    53. Cheese is the devils work. Except on Pizza.

  • At 1:47 pm, Blogger The Cheat said…

    i don't know you but the list is fascinating!


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