Blogs > June 2011
30th June 2011
Plenty going on this week to keep us busy! We are reaching the end of Wimbledon already with the Mens Semi's on Friday (insert your own joke here) tennis fever seems to have swept Wearside with courts being booked out across the area. I said this at the start of Wimbledon, it's not just me who gets carried away with Wimbledon fortnight and becomes a massive tennis fan for a couple weeks. Hopefully though the youngsters of Sunderland will carry on and who knows we might produce a Wimbledon finalist like Andy Murray ( I'm writing this on Thursday so am being optimistic that Andy will make the final). I've enjoyed the tennis this year, although my wife hasn't so much when it takes up most of the night, however I couldn't turn off the Nadal vs Del Potro match after two hours even though Laura was bored and wanted to watch something else!
Other things this week included my training for the Great North run has significantly improved. I have managed to go out every week for the last few weeks now, and I'm starting to feel a little better about the run which is getting closer. I also did my usual run in reverse this week, the main reason was to avoid a hill. There has been much discussion about me avoiding this hill, and it not really being possible unless I go a different way. The thing is there is quite a steep hill on my route which I dread everytime I go out, so I thought by running the route the other way I would run down it rather than up it. Now yes there is still an incline to go up but it it not as steep. However Mr Thorburn informs me I am still running the same amount of steepness, I'm still struggling to understand this, in my mind it it much better to be running down it than up it!
We also concluded our recycling week, and got our collection collected. Thankyou to everyone who donated, whether it was clothes, shoes, toys or whatever it all helped to fill our recycling unit provided by Alex Smiles. In all you brought along 63 bags which we turned into £1260 for Marie curie Cancer Care and will help towards keeping this wonderful service on Wearside.
So next week looks to be another busy one, and who knows I might be talking about Britain having a Wimbledon champion and that money on Sunderland Secret Sound being won aswell, now that would be nice!!
Posted by Mark Black at 3:48pm
21st June 2011
So Wimbledon kicked off yesterday, it's the two weeks of the year where I become the biggest tennis fan, but have to remember the rules every year. I'm not too sure what it is about wimbledon that gets me interested I'll switch off any other tennis throughout the year, but Wimbledon I'll find myself watching. I think it's all the history and the fact they have to wear white, it's the only tournamnent that has a strict dress code!
Andy Murray's first match was a typical British display, losing the first set then coming back, although his opponent did seem to completley give up towards the end. It also still makes me laugh when they talk to themselves and give themselves a telling off.
Already we have had a great highlight with Boris Becker mistaking Noel fielding for a woman. If you're not sure who he is, he's one of the team captains on Never Mind The Buzzcocks. Now yes he has longer hair and wears eye liner but surely you can tell he is a man. Boris said "The man in the middle...that's not a girl, right? that's a man?" Boris Becker has become a bit of an institution and I find myself watching for him as much as for the tennis.
So for the next two weeks I'll find myself glued to the tv and no doubt will expect Murray to win and then not really be surprised when he doesn't!
Posted by Mark Black at 3:14pm
10th June 2011
Busy week this week! After the choas of Take That taking over the city I thought it might go a bit quiet, I needn't have worried. Tuesday I was at the theatre to see 'Midnight Tango' featuring Vincent and Flavia from strictly Come Dancing. Now if I'm completley honest this was more for Laura than me, but the fact it had Flavia in it was enough for me to be convinced to go! It turned out to be a great night.
It is the first time I've been to anything that is completely music and dance with no speach. Even I could tell there was a story there but thankfully Laura could fill me in with the bits I missed at the interval. There was a lot going on on stage and sometimes tricky to know where to look, I did find my gaze stopping on whereever Flavia was though! The dancing was amazing, and I'm told that Flavia's lines were exceptional (that's a technical term apparently).
The rest of the week had been geared to our bring a Pound to work day which we managed to pull off again. The day is always like no other in the office with people in and out all day and the whole team getting behind this great cause. This year we were raising money for Marie Curie Cancer Care and the collection team from Marie Curie were fantastic and never stopped working all day. Typically we ended up in a pie shop and Simon got his feet nibbled by fish (he said he was working, honest!) It is always something which makes this job so special, seeing the genorosity of people on Wearside, in a time when people haven't got a lot they are still prepared to give.
So after a couple of busy weeks probably time to drop a gear and slow down a bit...except we have still got £8200 on Sunderland Secret Sound, we are preparing for this years airshow and of course we are bringing the Kings of Leon to the Stadium of Light, it's a good job this isn't like real work!
Posted by Mark Black at 2:30pm
1st June 2011
So every now and then I get an e-mail which gives me an idea, and last week was one of those times. I got an e-mail from my boss letting us know that the world was meant to end on 21st May. There was an article attached which was saying that a group in America (no surprise there then) was saying that a massive earthquake would happen at 6pm on the Saturday and start the end of the world. Now of course I didn't actually think for a second that it was real but thought it might be an idea to venture onto the streets of Sunderland and inform everyone that the world may be about to end, so listen to Sun Fm!
Everyone has seen those people walking around with sandwich boards declaring 'the end is nigh' so armed with sticky tape, scissors and two of our advertising boards I set out to make my sandwich board. I have to say I was quite impressed with myself and my work would definatley have stood up to anything that they make on Blue Peter!
So I ventured out into the city centre (with Marie Gardiner for moral support) and it's fair to say I got some very odd looks. I did expect people to be coming up and asking what I was doing, but they did seem to be giving me a wide birth, surely they didn't think I was crazy and really believed it was the end of the world, did they?? The few people who did approach me seemed more concerened that they had nights out planned and hadn't been paid yet. It was the strangest feeling walking around with the board on. I'm used to people staring at me when I'm out doing events, but it's usually because I'm doing a compition and people can win something, this was completley different. I was also glad that I had taken Marie along with me, as I really would have looked crazy if I was by myself.
Thankfully the world didn't end, and I can write this. I now have an end of the world sandwich board doing nothing. I suppose I can keep for the next time, as the end of the world predictions seem to be as fairly regular thing!
Posted by Mark Black at 11:38am
1st June 2011
There are certain perks to this job that I do and I get to do things I wouldn't normally get to do and judging Miss Sunderland is one of those. Now when it was first mentioned I was more than happy to do it and thought it would be easy, I couldn't have been more wrong! There were a number of heats that I was involved in before the final, the first of which took place in the Bridges. I remember being very relaxed and looking forward to it and thinking this will be fun. As the girls started to come down the runway it became very apparent I had underestimated the task in front of me, it was going to be really tough to choose between them. Also I realised that this was a huge compittion and I would not only be judging how these girls looked but possibly crushing their dream.
So after a number of months judging the heats with a few disagreements between the judges we had a our thirty finalists. It took place at the Rainton Meadows arena, which looked fantastic, it was a Vegas Showgirl theme and looked the business. I was right down the front on the judges table with cameras on me projecting onto two big screens at the side of the stage, my first thought, don't drop soup all the way down my tie! My fellow judges were sponsors of the event as well as Miss England, Mr England and the current Miss Sunderland, it is fair to say I was feeling very self concious.
Over three rounds we judged the girls and found out a bit about them. It was tricky to remember all of them, but we did have a brouchure with all of them in to refresh the memory. Now over the months I had realised what I needeed to do and as the girls came along put a little star next to the girls I thought could win. By the end I had starred eight girls! So I just had to put them in order of who I liked the most. To be honest our winner Phillipa Attle stood out from the start and she had stood out in her heat as well. It's also a great relief when you realise your choice matches that of the rest of the judges. When Phillipa was announced as the winner we all had to wing it a bit as friends and family were eager to get on stage, it weas lovely to see how much it meant not only to Phillipa but to her family and friends also.
So what did I think of my first experience judging? I thouroughly enjoyed it. I surprised myself how much I got into it and would be disagreeing with other judges and fighting the corner of girls I had never met. It was a great compitition to be part of and I think we found a girl who can be a real role model and represent Sunderland in exactly the right way, and who knows we might even have a Miss England on our hands.
Posted by Mark Black at 11:38am