Tuesday, 19 August 2014

I am going to bench 100Kg.



I've been doing weights since I was 17. About 3 times in my life I've managed to bench 95Kg. Not bad for someone who- at the time, at least, was under 70Kg himself.

Now, I'm older and a little more out of shape. I'm dropping bombs at boxing but my fitness isn't what it was. Fitness will come in time, but for the next few weeks- however long it will take- I will smash the seated chest press until I can get 10 reps on the 20th plate: 100Kg.

In order to do this, I'll need to eat less shit, eat more protein and vegetables, and sleep better. No more reduced items in Tesco. No more Crazy Caramels. More porridge. More meat. If I do all this, I'll hit my target in 2 months. Starting today.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Published: Take Note


This story started life as a warmup exercise at Writers Connect. Leader Oz asked us to close our eyes. Imagine we're stood in a country garden. We follow a garden path through the estate. We enter a large house through the back door. We find ourselves in a kitchen. On the work surface, there's a note. Oz then suggested we continue the story.

The story went through a few drafts, again through advice from Writers Connect, then ended up in the form you will see it / hear it in now. The Open Road Review is an audiovisual magazine. The editor asked me to record a readout of the story to go alongside the text, which was fun to do. I hope you enjoy it whether you read or listen! Check it out here.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Repping Out Review


I decided to mix up my gym routine this month. Instead of relentlessly smashing the heaviest weights possible, I spent the last 5 weeks performing as many reps as I could, using my own body weight, to increase endurance. I focussed on 6 movements, with some improvements:

10-minute cross-trainer: no new personal bests.
Bicep chinups: 1 rep added to PB
Dips: 2 reps added to PB
Cable crunch with metal handle lifting 50Kg: 60 reps added to PB
Cable crunch with rope handle lifting 50Kg: 50 reps added to PB
Wide grip chinups: no new PBs.

I could possibly have done better was I not a chronic insomniac. Well, you can't have everything. Also, 6 movements is a very broad selection considering I was trying to hammer the same muscles to see an improvement. Next time I do a project like this, I'll not just eat healthier but try to focus on eating more protein.

Monday, 11 August 2014

And the Award for Strangest Toilet Graffiti Goes To...

The Gas Lamp, a bar I found listed in I Love Manchester's “Hidden and Secret Bars” article.


It also has an impressive top row for all you whisky lovers- and quirky suit-wearers- out there. Not normally the type of bar I'd leap at going to, but it's certainly original, a compact den but spacious enough for everyone to sit down. The toilets were clean enough; old fashioned but with new wave ideology scrawled on the painted breeze block.




That's “Greek arse products”, “I am bread” and “Elvis lives”.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Here's Kevin Sinfield playing Joseph aged 11



The England and Leeds Rhinos rugby captain Kevin Sinfield MBE playing the title role in a school production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. Sinfield attended St Agnes Knowls Lane between 1985 and 1992, the latter being the year of the photograph's origin.

I expect he was picked to play Joseph as he was the only person brave enough to sing the solo, Close Every Door.

If I remember rightly this production was filmed by an amateur cameraman. I'd be interested in seeing it, partly because I was in it. I played one of the slave traders who bought Joseph off his brothers at the start of the play, and- in the second picture- the Pharaoh's slave furthest screen right.

If anyone still has this footage, get it uploaded- there are a lot of curious people out there.

Friday, 8 August 2014

Ten things to do before I'm 33



  1. Stop saying “well yeah”.
  2. Rewrite my feature screenplay, Once Upon a Time in Great Britain. Show it to other writers / film people.
  3. Travel.
  4. Tone up abdominals.
  5. Write something that helps people. I've written plenty of blog posts about Z-list celebrities and quirky things you can do on Twitter, but can I actually write something that sheds light on a subject and helps other people to move forward? I have some ideas.
  6. Get known through writing. I'm never going to succeed in anything else, so I HAVE to do something involving words. I'd like to write for a living, but before that, I'd like to do provide information for free online first.
  7. In the last few months I've made some huge steps forward with confidence. I need to make more.
  8. Cut down on social media. If I'm going to write something worthwhile, the time I spend at the computer needs to be dedicated to my goals.
  9. Be bolder and braver.
  10. Get more sleep.

Monday, 4 August 2014

Life for Sale


This week's prompt at Writer's Connect was the phrase “life for sale”.

It started with an old VHS tape of Robin Hood, the first one he'd been given. He made a few pence after the cost of packaging. He sold the rest of his videos in bulk to make a better profit. He soon realised he didn't watch films at all, and put his DVDs up soon after. It took a month before he made his first sum, after the bidding had finished.

The pleasure of seeing his bank account increase was better than any retail therapy he'd ever allowed himself. He started to look around his house.

I buy pre-sliced bread, he thought. Why do I need this bread knife? Or this board, even? Or this bread bin?

He started the bids low and with long bidding times. His outgoings after bills were only the costs of postage and packaging. He felt a strange relief to see his walls again, his shelf space, his bare carpets.

I sleep to relax, he thought. I don't need this couch. So he sold it. It wasn't a bad couch either. He was so eager for the rush he got from being paid that he shortened the bidding time. The young couple that bought it were pleased with their bargain.

He planned holidays, although when and with who he'd not thought through. One day at a time, his home emptied.

He'd sit at home, thinking of the European cities he wanted to see. But he was so stingy that nobody would come with him- they knew he wouldn't spend. So these days he trawls Ebay again, trying to make his home a comfort to others, never having traveled, buying back the wares he'd sold, the life he'd had, reversing every plan he'd made.