In the winter of 1972, a stalk delivered me to a gooseberry bush somewhere near the sea in Blackpool. I spent eighteen years building sandcastles and failing to learn to swim. Largely put off by the suspicious brown colour of the water. I kept my head down and got a few respectable GCSEs, A Levels, and the less said about the ‘S Level’ the better. You can take it as read they were mostly in sciency/geeky subjects.
The Oxford Years
Between 1991 and 1995, I was an undergraduate at Keble College, Oxford, supposedly studying for an MEng in Engineering and Computer Science. It’s a long story, but essentially I never quite got to the end, taking my fourth year out.
Ever ready to volunteer for anything, I was involved in far too many projects whilst a student. It all began when I co-edited and produced the 1992 Freshers’ Handbook which, with no due modesty, I revolutionized in terms of production standards. From there, through a failed attempts to be elected NUS rep and JCR President [no hack — no flack], to a much more satisfying appointment as Committee Secretary to the Keble Ball 1993. Far be it from me to let it rest there, I was sucessfully elected JCR Secretary in the same year — establishing myself as the constitution–meister and photocopying guru. No mean feat.
After eight terms, I spent a year out working in the nascent Development Office at Keble. My responsibilities included collaborating on a new alumni database and design, setting and distribution of numerous items of print including an alumni newsletter called the brick and the annual tome known as The Record. Both of which I continued publishing for another ten years after leaving College. As IT guru, I had general responsibility for the development office and managed the technical aspects of a new alumni database called Fundraising Pro for which Keble was a beta testing site.
Whilst still an undergrad, this work was coincidental with a variety of similar work, self employed, under the name amulation. Clients included other Oxford colleges and small businesses in the vicinity.
I moved to London in the summer of 2005. Pimlico to be precise. Tres chic. For a while I commuted back to Oxford in my green Fiesta 1.2 Ghia.
When I finished full-time work at Keble, the occasion work continued — most notably as producer of the two Keble alumni publications The Record and the brick. And, curiously, some vocal work. For quite a while you could hear my voice each week on the recorded information lines for the Screen on Baker Street and and The Screen on the Green Islington cinemas (now Everyman cinemas).
Between 1996 and 1998, I worked full-time as webmaster for a start-up, ground-breaking marine oriented website, before moving to my current job in easter 1998.
The Day Job
I’ve been the Technical Manager at Pendragon ever since. I have general responsibilty for internal IT, management of product development and liaising with our terribly important clients for this 15-strong business. We are a specialist electronic publisher in the niche market of pensions law and regulation. When I joined, Pendragon was part of Thompson Corp/Gee Publishing/Sweet and Maxwell businesses. Since then, we’ve been through one MBO and one acquisition. We now sit, with some independence, within the Wilmington Group PLC.
The Dark Nights and Weekends
Have a browse around the site for more details of the exciting, white-knuckle-ride that is my spare time and social life. You’ll get a fair idea of whether that is sarcasm or immodesty. Humour, apparently, is something I use as a defence mechanism. But now I carry CS spray instead. Laugh at my ‘jokes’ or else I spray you.