Come on in and meet the people of Worcester.

Hello Andy Kirk


Andy Kirk was born in Bewdley forty-eight years ago, and now lives happily with his partner and two children. “I’ve tried my hand at many occupations including working at a Bakers, various retail outlets and in the insurance industry, too. But, I’d always dreamed of becoming a full-time magician. In 1992, I took the plunge into the daunting world of self employment and my dream finally became a reality. I am now in my twentieth successful year. Ten years ago I became President of the British Magical Society, one of the oldest and most prestigious in the world.  Writing has, over the past few years, become an obsession, and I’ve been lucky enough to get several of my short stories published.

What is your name:  Andy Kirk (Stage / Business Name – Andy’s Magic).

When were you happiest?  I’m happy with my life right now but the birth of my children were probably the happiest occasions for me.

What is your greatest fear?  My Dad’s got Alzheimer’s – it’s an awful disease that takes you away and leaves nothing but a shell. I wouldn’t want to live with Alzheimer’s and I fear it’s on-set.

What was your most embarrassing moment?

What is your most treasured possession?  If it’s the thing I’d be lost without, then it’s my iPhone. It’s my phone, entertainment centre, office and social network device all in one – what would I do without it?

Where would you like to live? Somewhere sunny by the sea.

What do you most dislike about your appearance? You can’t improve on perfection… lol

If you could bring something extinct back to life what would you choose? The Dodo. Within less than 100 years of their discovery they had become extinct. That’s not long for a species to exist. so I think those just-over-three-foot-flightless-birds deserve another lease of life. Bring back the Dodo, I say!

What is your favourite smell? Freshly baked bread, – ah, you can’t beat it.

Is it better to give or receive? It’s always nice to receive, whether it be
gifts, praise or complements, but giving to someone you love, or someone who needs or deserves it must surely always be the most gratifying.

How do you relax? Listening to music, reading  or watching a good movie; either one is a great way to escape – if only temporarily – from this stress-laden world we live in. (Both experiences  can be enhanced with a glass of fine malt whiskey on the rocks.)

What is your guiltiest pleasure? Columbo… I love it. No one else in my home does so it’s on telly only when I’m home-alone. I’ve even got a signed Columbo photo – well, signed by Peter Falk who played the great shabby detective.

To whom would you most like to say sorry, and why? To my Mum and Dad. And it’s for all those times I played up and stressed them out (when I was a child that is). Now I’ve got children of my own – I know what it’s like.

What or who is the greatest love of your life? My Partner and our two lads. I love my work, I love to write, I love lots of things but without my wonderful family none of it would have much meaning.

What was the best kiss of your life? With, Karla, my current partner (She’ll be reading this, so what else could I put ).

Have you ever said I love you and not meant it? No, definitely not.

Who would you like to invite to your dream dinner party? Author, James Herbert. Met him a few weeks ago and what a lovely guy. He’s got so many interesting tales and he’s a very humorous man, too. And I love his work. If he were still alive, Jeremy Beadle would be great fun to have at a dinner party. I met him several times and he really was a genuinely nice man. Very kind and generous and, of course, full of jokes. He really was “Game for a Laugh”.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse? “I’ll just have one more Whiskey” – far too often.

What do you like most about Worcester? Worcestershire’s beautiful countryside.

What is the worst job you’ve done? Working in a Cider factory. The equipment was always going wrong, bottles would explode and I was constantly getting covered in cider. And we weren’t even allowed to sample the stuff – rubbish job!

What has been your biggest disappointment? I’m disappointed every Saturday night when my lottery numbers fail to appear.

If you could go back in time, where would you go? Probably mid-fifties where Elvis Presley is about to become the “King of rock ‘n’ roll”  – I love that era of music.

What is the closest you’ve come to death? A car crash way back in 1985. As I journeyed to work early one morning, a lorry – not expecting me to be coming the other way – cut a corner on a very sharp bend. I had no chance to avoid, and smashed into and under the back of the lorry. The car was a write-off , but somehow I managed to escape with cuts, bruises and a badly injured leg. It could so easily have been so much more worse.

For more information go to Andy’s website:  http://www.andysmagic.co.uk/

Hello


Hello Damon Lord


Damon Lord writes dark and speculative fiction and occasionally contributes articles for an online magazine. He lives with his wife, Angie, and young son. Unlike the stereotypical writer, he does not like cats. He was also exiled from his native Wales for the inexcusable shame of not being interested in the national sport of rugby. When not found writing, he speaks Esperanto and can be found cooking or learning obscure languages, and may even occasionally be observed holding down a day-job in IT. He is currently studying for MA in Cthulhonic Linguistics (majoring in Madness) at Miskatonic University, Caermaen campus.

Your name: Damon Lord (yes, that’s my real name, but if you type it into Google, it sometimes asks “Did you mean Demon Lord?”)

When were you happiest? Right now. I’ve a great job, I’m married to a wonderful lady and we have a bouncing, intelligent, young son, and I’m starting to get noticed for my writing and poetry. Things could always be better, but I’m happy as I am right now.

What is your greatest fear? Going totally blind. I’ve got enough eyesight problems as it is, and I fear things getting worse.

What was your most embarrassing moment? This usually involves karaoke machines in foreign countries, and copious amounts of local beer.

What is your most treasured possession? A letter from Boris Johnson, rejecting an article I’d submitted to him when he was editor of The Spectator. I was touched to have received what seemed like a personal reply.

Where would you like to live? Worcester, of course! If money were no object, I’d love to live in a cottage in Monmouthshire overlooking Twmbarlwm, Arthur Machen’s “Hill of Dreams”. Or in a cottage overlooking the north Pembrokeshire coast, particularly around St. David’s.

What do you most dislike about your appearance? My extremely long, agile, and extendible tongue. It’s long enough for me to touch the tip of my nose easily. If I eat Oreos and then poke my tongue out, I’d end up looking like a giraffe. What I dislike about it is that it’s not long enough. I’d like it if it were longer.

If you could bring something extinct back to life what would you choose? I’m highly interested in linguistics, and speak a number of different tongues myself (no pun intended, given the answer to my previous question). I’d love to bring loads of dead or dying languages back to vibrant life. For example, in all seriousness I’d love to see the Cornish language revival become more mainstream, and I’d like to bring back the Tokharian B language just for the LOLz.

What is your favourite smell? Strong tea, with Anchor butter melting on toast. It’s the one smell that reminds me of my grandmother.

Is it better to give or receive? That very much depends on what’s being given or received.

How do you relax? I used to be involved in politics, but then I got a life. Now I learn diverse languages. I aimlessly browse websites. I read books on the Kindle. I enjoy beer. I write; I usually need music to write along with, and I have an eclectic, highly varied and global taste in music.

What is your guiltiest pleasure? Messing about on Facebook when I should be writing. I now have Facebook on my mobile phone too so I can do it on the go too. I’m doomed!

To whom would you most like to say sorry, and why? My Dad. We didn’t get on a few years back. He passed away, just a few months ago in March, 2012, as I held his hand. Now he’s gone and there are things I still need to say to him but can’t.

What or who is the greatest love of your life? Apart from the obvious, like my wife, son, family, etc., I’d say the joy of writing or learning languages. Both to me are linguistic explorations into the realm of the word, so are very much the same, or if they aren’t they’re inter-related.

What was the best kiss of your life? Every weekday morning before work, my son kisses me good-bye and says “bye”.

Have you ever said I love you and not meant it? No, but I have said I love you, then regretted it.

Who would you like to invite to your dream dinner party? Daniel Tammet: he can learn a language such as Icelandic in a week. I’d love to compare notes with him on learning languages quickly. Arthur Machen: I’d love to chat about his use of place in his work, and how he makes his work so timeless. And Mika Tan, an adult actress.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse? Indeed. However. Very.

Which living person do most admire, and why? Tim Lebbon. He’s a successful author, whom I actually knew in person 16 years ago. A few years ago, he left the day job to become a full time writer, and I wouldn’t mind doing that myself one day too!

What do you like most about Worcester? It’s small enough to be quiet, but large enough to be a vibrant city. The people of the city are mostly intelligent, and mostly positive in their outlook.

What is the worst job you’ve done? I worked in a call centre in Cardiff for three solid years. It was a highly restrictive, high-pressure environment, and absolutely ambition-crushing. They’d even time how long you took to have a break to have a wee!

What has been your biggest disappointment? Not standing up for myself sooner when someone sought to really belittle me because of my failing eyesight.

If you could go back in time, where would you go? I’d like to see the construction of King Solomon’s Temple.

What is the closest you’ve come to death? With my failing eyesight, I’m often in danger of getting hit by cars when I cross the road, but a time that really sticks out was when I had to have two operations for my dodgy appendix. The first time they didn’t get it. Nine months later my appendix was close to bursting, so they finally got it out the second time.

For more information about Damon visit his website: www.damonlord.net

 

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Hello


Hello Matt Johnson


Matt is a 21 year old Worcester based film maker, lobbyist, tutor, occasional writer and general superhero. He is originally from Birmingham.

“My favourite film is V for Vendetta, read into that what you like. My favourite director is Darren Aronofsky, my favourite writer is Dean Koontz and my favourite video game is metal gear solid.

I distrust Alpacas. What’s their angle? They’re like sheep with long necks? Very suspicious. I like to read, play video games, drink real ale and watch and make films.”

When were you happiest? January 12th 2011 in Portcullis House, House of Commons. Three months I and my colleagues spent planning an event. An event people told us we were crazy to think about. We took video games into the House of Commons and asked MPs to come play them with us, leaders of the video game industry and the press. It was a huge success.

What is your greatest fear? I fear nothing.

What was your most embarrassing moment?Voting for the lib dems.

What is your most treasured possession? My camera

Where would you like to live? Giethoorn, Holland. No roads, no traffic, just canals and beautiful houses.

What do you most dislike about your appearance? I think I’m probably too handsome for my own good.

If you could bring something back to life what would you choose? I have watched Jurassic Park and have come to the conclusion that this is a bad idea.

What is your favourite smell? I love the smell of napalm in the morning.

Is it better to give or receive? Give

How do you relax? Video games, a pint, facebook and reading. Mostly not all at the same time.

What is your guiltiest pleasure? I really enjoy travelling back in time and hiding David Cameron’s car keys when he’s in a rush. It’s hilarious.

To whom would you most like to say sorry, and why? I would like to apologise for the world for allowing a certain person to live. It would have been very inconvenient for me to kill him.

What or who is the greatest love of your life? My camera.

What was the best kiss of your life? I don’t kiss and tell I’m afraid

Have you ever said I love you and not meant it? Of cause not

Who would you like to invite to your dream dinner party? Charlie Brooker so I can worship his genius in person.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse? The phrase “Never, under any circumstances trust a tory”

Which living person do most admire, and why? Charlie Brooker because he is omniscience

What do you like most about Worcester? Great city and a short walk away great countryside

What is the worst job you’ve done? Worked for a marketing company once doing research and social media. Lasted about a month.

What has been your biggest disappointment? When the person I mentioned earlier I let live ruined something I and several others spent a long time creating.

If you could go back in time, where would you go? I think I mentioned my time lord antics earlier on.

What is the closest you’ve come to death? Allergic reaction I guess.

 For further information visit Matt’s blogs: http://vimeo.com/mattjohnsonmedia

http://howtomakefilmsandalienatepeople.wordpress.com/

 

 

Hello


Hello Rod Griffiths


View Rod.jpg in slide showView rod2.jpg in slide show

Rod Griffiths was born in Bristol 67 years ago. “I used to work in public health, both as a professor and as regional director; I was good enough at it to get a CBE but not a knighthood. I have three children and I live with my second wife. Since I retired I write novels, most of which are still in my computer, one is available on Kindle, search on my name to find it. My other major activity is exploring Europe in a Camper van”.

When were you happiest? The day I got into medical school.

What is your greatest fear? Letting people down.

What was your most embarrassing moment? I don’t do embarrassment.

What is your most treasured possession? My Lucy Rie pots.

Where would you like to live? Sydney, especially if it could be moved closer to England.

What do you most dislike about your appearance? The arthritis.

If you could bring something extinct back to life what would you choose? The biggest dinosaur I could find.

What is your favourite smell? White trumpet lily.

Is it better to give or receive? Give

How do you relax? Sleep.

What is your guiltiest pleasure? Don’t have any. In my previous job I had to be positively vetted, so no guilty secrets allowed.

To whom would you most like to say sorry, and why?

What or who is the greatest love of your life? Lois and my kids.

What was the best kiss of your life? The first one.

Have you ever said I love you and not meant it? No.

Who would you like to invite to your dream dinner party? Joan Baez

Which words or phrases do you most overuse? Fine.

Which living person do most admire, and why? Joan Baez. She has similar values to me and doesn’t shirk acting on them, and she can sing.

What do you like most about Worcester? The river

What is the worst job you’ve done? Shovelling concrete.

What has been your biggest disappointment? I’d rather not talk about it.

If you could go back in time, where would you go? Going forward would be better.

What is the closest you’ve come to death? Losing the rudder in a force eight gale in Lyme bay.

For further information visit Rod’s blog: http://rod-griffiths.blogspot.co.uk/

Hello


Hello Tony Judge


Tony Judge writes novels, short stories, satirical pieces and short poems. He is a freelance writer, the author of several non-fiction books, published by BWCS and ARCchart, and a member of the UK Society of Authors. Since 2011 his satire has been regularly broadcast by Radio Wildfire. He produced his first novel, Sirocco Express, in 2006; it had subsequently received many excellent reviews. It describes the experiences of a young Nigerian student at the hands of people smugglers while travelling from Lagos to London. In 2010 he completed his second novel, The Whole Rotten Edifice; an historical fiction set during the desperate defence of Moscow in 1941/2.

When were you happiest? Aged 10, during the school holidays, or more recently soon after my son was born.

What is your greatest fear? Not being able to go for a walk.

What was your most embarrassing moment? When I lost the power of speech in front of an expectant audience (just to clarify: the pauses were pregnant but not the audience). Actually, it’s happened more than once, but thankfully not for a few years.

What is your most treasured possession? My memory. Or was it my health?

Where would you like to live? Half the year in the Canadian Rockies and the other half on a Greek island.

What do you most dislike about your appearance? My ever-present paunch.

If you could bring something extinct back to life what would you choose? The Woolly Mammoth; they must have been good eating, and you could make several decent chess sets out of the ivory.

What is your favourite smell? A small harbour at low tide.

Is it better to give or receive? It’s better for you to give and for me to receive.

How do you relax? Anything outdoors and I’m instantly relaxed (unless I’m being shot at by those mad hillbillies in Deliverance, obviously). Beer and something to read or some good telly are also helpful.

What is your guiltiest pleasure? Randomly surfing the net when I should be writing.

To whom would you most like to say sorry, and why? My dad, for all the wise-ass nonsense I spouted as an adolescent. He died in 1986, so I lost my chance.

 What or who is the greatest love of your life? My family.

What was the best kiss of your life? When I met my partner.

Have you ever said I love you and not meant it? No. Although later sometimes I decided my enthusiasm was misplaced.

 Who would you like to invite to your dream dinner party? Dorothy Parker, Oscar Wilde and Humphrey Lyttelton: we’d have some banter.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse? Mmmm, I know. I’ll definitely do it tomorrow.

What is the worst job you’ve done? Aged 18, I worked briefly in the electrical goods department of the local Co-op. The manager was a control freak who insisted that the correct ambience could only be maintained if the same Elton John album played during opening hours on a continuous loop. This is the kind of thing they do in secret prisons to people in orange jump suits. We became enemies after I smuggled in a Jimi Hendrix LP.

What has been your biggest disappointment? Not finding a vocation when I was young. I became a student of Psychology mainly to avoid working for the Co-op guy. I’ve been trying to avoid working for people like him ever since, with mixed results.

 If you could go back in time, where would you go? The Italian Renaissance, to see what all the hype was about.

What is the closest you’ve come to death? Climbing without ropes in the Lake District. A friend and I blundered into the bottom of Dungeon Ghyll when it was full of snow. We lost the path and, being young and bullish, decided to climb out. It turned into a nightmare that still makes me shudder; we were so lucky not to fall.

 How would you like to be remembered? As the first 100-year-old to be barred from a pub for rowdy behaviour.

PHOTOGRAPH: Tony Judge performing at The Hive, Worcester, April 2012. Photo by Sara Hayward

For further information visit Tony’s website: http://tonyjudge.weebly.com/

Hello Polly Robinson


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A member of Worcester Writers’ Circle, Worcestershire Literary Festival and 42, Polly loves writing and has been published in anthologies such as The Survivor’s Guide to Bedlam (Wrixton & Hirst, 2012), Ripples (Summers, 2012), and Eerie Digest (www.eeriedigest.com April, May, 2012).  She started a blog in November 2011 and writes regularly: http://journalread.wordpress.com/

Born in Worcester, brought up in Malvern, she returned to Worcester 30 years ago. She has worked at GUS Home Shopping and Worcester College of Technology and still works in education.  Polly is married to Geoff and has three grown children; her four grandbabes are a joy.

When were you happiest? Now

What is your greatest fear? Losing my legs / faculties

What was your most embarrassing moment? Falling down a manhole cover at Three Counties Showground

What is your most treasured possession? My robin mug …

Where would you like to live? Somewhere warm and sunny but green

What do you most dislike about your appearance? Scars on legs

If you could bring something extinct back to life what would you choose? Xerxes Blue butterfly – extinct since 1940s because man built on its habitat

What is your favourite smell? Freshly baked bread

Is it better to give or receive? Give

How do you relax? Sun, sea, snorkelling

What is your guiltiest pleasure? Espresso coffee

To whom would you most like to say sorry, and why? I’m a quick-fire apologiser so can’t think of anyone … sorry J

What or who is the greatest love of your life? My family

What was the best kiss of your life? Ooooh, that first one with Geoff

Have you ever said I love you and not meant it? Don’t think so …

Who would you like to invite to your dream dinner party? Victoria Wood, Virginia Woolf, Germaine Greer, Charles Dickens, William Shakespeare, Stephen King – no-one would get a word in edgewise!

Which words or phrases do you most overuse? ‘Evidently’, ‘interesting’ and hmmm…

Which living person do most admire, and why? Victoria Wood – she’s an inspiration – hugely creative

What do you like most about Worcester? The people, the river, the cathedral

What is the worst job you’ve done? Skivvy in a kitchen – ugh

What has been your biggest disappointment? Never finding the grandmother clock stolen by a thief, it was a treasured possession passed on to me by my mother

If you could go back in time, where would you go? Ancient Greece – Sappho, Sophocles et al

What is the closest you’ve come to death? Knocking myself out in the garden on a wall ‘cos I was daft enough to try to dig with a spade (!)

For further information visit Polly’s blog:  http://journalread.wordpress.com/