20 facts about me (thinking up all 20, that's what took the time...)
1.) I lived most of my life (from the age of 2 up until the age of 40, with a couple of breaks) in the town of Chelmsford, in Essex. It's recently become a city.
2.) I play the piano. I started learning at about age 7, and stopped at about age 12. I think I got up to about grade 3, maybe grade 4 at a pinch.
3.) I also play the guitar, but have never had any formal tuition. I can strum a few chords, basically, and approximately pick out All About Eve's Martha's Harbour at a push...
4.) From age 11 - 16, I attended Brentwood School in Essex. Notable alumni include Douglas Adams. Whose shoes I am unfit to lick.
5.) I have a degree in Theology and Religious Studies, which I acquired from Roehampton Institute (or University of Roehampton, as it is now known), where I was part of Southlands College. The only name I recognise on the list of alumni is Toby Anstis. Erm.
6.) As well as my aforementioned musical skills, I've also written a few songs, and recorded some of them on a crusty old four-track portastudio. In recent years, I've re-recorded most of them on Garageband. Should anyone be desperately interested (or just plain desperate) I can always record some of them to a CD for you.
7.) I'm currently putting my musical abilities to use by occasionally playing what we call the piano (but is actually a rather posh Yamaha Clavinova) at Hemel Hempstead Methodist Church.
8.) I originally went to Roehampton with a view to training to be a teacher. However, after finishing my degree I got a couple of months into a PGCE before realising it really, really wasn't for me.
9.) Although I'd grown up in a churchy background, singing in the choir, being part of the youth club, later helping out in junior church, I only really became a Christian in March 1996, shortly after I joined the Southlands College Christian Union. Given Southlands College's Methodist connections, it was, I guess, inevitable that I'd end up becoming a Methodist...
10.) Shortly after that, I felt (and those of you who don't believe in this sort of thing can, if you like, ignore this bit) that God was calling me to be an evangelist, and as a result went on the Rob Frost Team's Share Jesus week, which that year was taking place in Manchester. I went on another three after that, in London, Yorkshire, and Wales. But not in that order.
11.) Whilst on that first Share Jesus week, in August 1996, I met Jane. I soon started going out with her, got engaged to her (in fact, erm, I got engaged to within days of meeting her. This was probably A Big Mistake), and she moved from her home in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, to join me in the flat I was sharing with a couple of fellow students. We got married in December 1998, but it all went horribly wrong very very quickly, and within about three months of marriage, she'd walked out on me. :-(
12.) Partly as a result of that (although partly as a result of some other factors) I've been suffering with depression for a large chunk of the past 14 years.
13.) I was - indeed still am - a huge fan of the actress Charlotte Coleman. Her death in November 2001 didn't really help the depression.
14.) I am also a huge fan of Doctor Who, which I've loved since I was a wee nipper. My earliest vivid memory of any kind involves me and my sister being at the family meal table and asking to be excused so we could go and watch that week's episode of Doctor Who, and making it to the lounge just in time for the end of the first episode of The Ark in Space.
15.) I am also a huge fan of Pet Shop Boys, and have been since 1988. Although I'd already bought a couple of their albums (Disco and Actually) before then. It's probably not obvious to listen to, but much the music I write and record is influenced by them, if only to the extent that most of it is programmed rather than played live.
16.) Those are my main obsessions, but I tend to get fairly enthusiastic, if not outright fannish, about most things that interest me, which include pop music (particularly '80s synthpop music), science fiction, and comedy. My LJ - both my interests list and whatever I'm currently blogging about - should be a bit of a pointer to the things I like.
17.) Any statement that "I am a huge fan of _____" has to be seen in light of the fact that I am actually, pretty huge. Six foot tall, and last I checked I weighed about 20 stone. I've probably gone down a bit since then, but I've no idea by how much. I probably ought to seriously diet.
18.) I took up horseriding for a while, but had to give it up because my weight meant that getting a horse that was big enough to take me wasn't always easy. It's something I'd like to get back to at some point, because there was something very enjoyable about it.
19.) I'd like to write a novel. I have plots going round my head for at least half a dozen novels (or at least stories - they may well be novellas or just short stories), but am not very good at actually putting them down on paper. Other things I'd like to do include computer programming, and setting up my own company converting people's vinyl records to CD.
20.) Right now, my - fairly modest - ambition is to get our house tidy and clean. About a week back, it was still a bit of a horrific mess. Right now, the lounge is gradually getting to a point where I'm happy with it! Which is a good thing. :-)