|Monday 06/09/2004 00:00|
No longer-quite-thirty-something, balding, unmarriageable, over-fed and under-educated Local Government Officer. Obsessions include books, music, free software, railways, history and hypochondria. I'm a mess of contradictions - high Tory Victorian values meeting half-hearted Marxism somewhere in the middle. I'm a faithful and helpful friend, but bear grudges mercilessly. I'm happiest wandering around London with a bag full of books, or with a Rail Rover and a day of track bashing ahead of me. I like Glasgow, autumn, unexpected string quartets and sans-serif typefaces. I dislike misused punctuation, cycling on the pavement and flags defaced by writing. I appreciate good beer, hold strong views on irrational subjects, and have an absurd sense of humour.
Longer bits for the terminally curious:
This is roughly speaking the third attempt I've made at a personal website since the heady days of 1996. Having finally written a Content Management System which I understand, I now try my best to update things on a fairly regular basis.
The Daylog was something which began to keep a disparate bunch of friends updated on movements - and probably comes across as rather self-obsessed drivel at times. Believe me, its not nearly as bad as it was back in 1999 when I started out trying to record my movements. Nowadays, blogging is all the rage and my efforts are probably quite tame. However, the Daylog has come in for its fair share of frankly unwarranted and rather impolite criticism over the years - one of the reasons that there is no direct email link, contact form or comment system on the site. If you need to contact me, there are plenty of ways which you probably already know.
I work for a Local Authority, having had broad experience across Education and Social Care over a career spanning almost two decades. Lately this has been in the much-maligned and misunderstood field of Commissioning - but I've had lots of practical experience in School Admissions, Transport, Performance Management, Change Programmes and Policy Development. If you're really interested, you'll find me on LinkedIn. Whilst I broadly enjoy my work, I suffer the same frustrations which all Local Government Employees have in common - too much work, too little time, limited resources and fairly unstable political leadership. I often vent my frustrations in oblique little posts on the site.
Nowadays, I spend much of my time travelling Britain's rail network - a hobby from the past which has re-emerged lately. I suppose in common parlance I'm a trainspotter - but to be honest, its more often the track or the route which interested me most. I've heard just about every jibe possible about this choice of passtime, so only innovative and unusually cruel insults will register!
With the lack of any serious education to speak of, I've had to attempt to educate myself. This means I get to read all the books I want, in the order I see fit. A bit erratic, but I'm getting there. My primary interests are in the life and work of George Gissing (1857-1903) and William Kent (1884-1963). I hope eventually to write about Kent, but I am about as productive and confident in my output as Orwell's Gordon Comstock. I set up a rather underused but well intentioned George Gissing Discussion List, and I was a delegate at the Gissing Centenery Conference in July 2003.
I'm also interested in the history, topography and literary representation of London - and in particular the City. I'm a member of The London Topographical Society and The London and Middlesex Archaeological Society. I collect older guidebooks and histories of London, and I particularly enjoy those published between the First and Second World War, which reflect a City now almost entirely disappeared.
Since 1999 I've exclusively run Linux on servers at home, and have used my very limited skills to contribute where I can to Free Software. I've particularly been interested in the efforts of The GNOME project to create a free, easy to use desktop. I served as part of the GNOME Foundation Membership Committee for over a year, and I've contributed several small utilities to the desktop over the years. I'm usually to be found in the #lemmings channel on irc.freenode.net where a small bunch of old-time stalwarts discuss Linux and related topics, among other very surreal and varied things!
I suppose I could go on in traditional personal website style to list whole pages of music and books which I enjoy, but I'm not sure how helpful or interesting that would be. Things which I find diverting or life-affirming make it onto the site. If you've accidentally arrived at this site, I hope you found something to interest you. If not, I won't be either surprised or offended.