26th July 2012
I firmly believe there are certain things which men and women are just naturally better at, I'm certainly not going to list them though and get myself in trouble, one of these things is hula hooping! I was at the Back on the map Hendon together summer fun day and somehow found myself with a hula hoop being challenged to keep going longer than a number of competitors. I wasn't very good. Although by the end of the day I had improved considerably but still wasn't as good as everybody else there. It's one of those things where you know the principal and what you need to do, but just can't put it into practice. I was aware it was all in the hips, but I couldn't stop myself putting my whole body into it. I was watching everybody else doing it and mainly the girls who made it look so easy, they looked like they were hardly moving at all. As I say I got better towards the end of the day, but everytime thought to myself "I've got it..." I would distract myself from the task in hand and drop the hoop! You can check out the photo's by clicking on our gallery.
The next big thing I'm embarking on is appearing for one night only in the Sunderland Empire's stage experience production of FAME. I have 2 lines! I’ll be playing Elliott Green - the sleazy record producer that gets Carmen to leave school to work for him. My big two lines are these:
"Hey sweet cheeks. Last night was great. Now you’ve signed with me, I’m going to get you heard on radio stations around the world including Sun FM."
I think I'll be fine memorising this, but I think I have to perfect an American accent, which should be tricky. If you are coming along to see the show, please be kind! It's on 3rd and 4th August at Sunderland Empire.
Posted by Mark Black at 4:20pm
18th July 2012
Every now and then I will open my e-mails to an opportunity which is a little different, and evokes the response "should I do this, I'm not sure." I must add that more often than not I end up doing it! This time it was a request from Music in the Minster, which is based in Sunderland Minster, to come and have a go at singing. Not only did they say come and have a go, but that they could get me singing in 45 minutes. This appealed straight away as I'd love to be able to sing. If I had three wishes and you couldn't say, to win the lottery, it would be to be a premiership footballer, play James Bond in the movies and be able to sing and become a rockstar!
Alison Barton is a mezzo-soprano and was convinced that she could get me singing in 45 minutes. To be fair she technically did get me creating notes which weren't too bad, no words, but she did only have a short amount of time to work with me. Alison is lovely and really made me feel relaxed but some of the things she wanted me to do were strange, but did work. One of the things I had to do was put two fingers between my teeth in my mouth so I could get how far my mouth needed to be open when I sing. Also she asked me to raise my soft pallet. If you don't know where it is, put your tongue to the roof of your mouth and move it back, you'll feel it go soft about half way back. Now raising this was tricky, I didn't have a clue, but eventually did it. It was like making more space at the back of my mouth. Little by little I started to make the notes, doubting whether it really was me making those sounds.
There were times when I was laughing, just when you realised that you were singing, and more in an opera style. It was fun though and I'd recommend it to anyone. Was I singing...yes, there were some decent notes coming out of my mouth. Will you be seeing me on the next series of X-Factor...probbaly not! In saying that I'd encourage anyone to get involved if you love singing, and what ever level you are Alison will improve you. If you want to find out more check out their Facebook page or e-mail email@example.com
You know I said I rarely say no to things...I'll be appearing in Fame at the Sunderland Empire for one night only soon! More details soon
Posted by Mark Black at 3:34pm
19th June 2012
Have you heard of Free Running? I'd guess you would have seen it, it's when people jump across buildings and on walls, it's usually in concrete cities. Well I have been doing a little bit of that, although it was in a sports hall with plenty of soft mats around.
I was invited down to the Raich Carter sports centre by AAA sports to try out their new course of Free Running which is being recieved really well. The idea is to give kids and adults the chance to try out this new sport, but providing some safety as well. The strange thing about this is that everything that Andy the instructor asked me to do, I know I wouldn't have thought twice about it when I was a kid, but now that I'm an adult and think about everything too much it became trickier. A few of the things I had to do were jump from one block to a higher block from a standing start and then do it backwards! I also had to do a running jump from a block over a distance and grab onto another block which was stood upright. As I'm writing this I don't think you will be getting the full idea of what I was doing and to be fair I didn't do to well with it. Luckily for you there is video evidence which I will be getting soon so you will be able to see exactly what I was doing.
Doing all of this confirmed how unfit I am, and my legs were hurting me for the next few days. In saying that though, I did enjoy it and I didn't have to be asked to try again as I was determined to do it. It was something that I knew I could do but was frustrating when it wasn't quite going to plan. So keep checking back I'll put the footage up when I have it!!!
Posted by Mark Black at 4:03pm
18th May 2012
So this week I narrowly missed getting into big trouble with my wife, I brought her car key to work, not on purpose! She's got one of these contactless keys so you just have to have it on you to start the car and I had been driving it the night before, put the key in my pocket and forgot about it. I found it just as I arrived at work the next day, and a thousand thoughts rush through your head, can I get back home and back to work in time, will she have to get a taxi to work, could she get a friend to drop her off, has she got a spare key? One quick phone call it was all sorted as she had a spare, crisis averted. This is typical of technology it becomes too clever and yes it helps you out but provides you with a whole host of new problems. Those sensor handwashes are a perfect example of this. You know the ones that you put your hand under and it dispenses some handwash. BUT if you hold your hand under for a fraction too long it dispenses more which goes all over the sink or floor thus creating more work for you.
My other disaster this week was with a mug. We have a new promotion where you can get a brand new Sun Fm mug by sending in a picture of yourself with your old battered mug. To demonstrate what we wanted I got an old mug from the kitchen so i could have my photo taken with it. However, i decided it didn't look old and battered enough...so I thought i would try and chip it a bit and make it look more worse for wear. Clearly I didn't think this through because as I whacked the mug off the floor it broke in two...not exactly what I had hoped for. Not one to be defeated we incorporated this into the 'design' and it meant we could patch it up, with plasters! I think you will agree it did the trick and has the desired effect...
If you would like one of our new mugs click on this link and it will take you to the right page to upload your picture. Sun Fm Mug of the Day.
Posted by Mark Black at 3:47pm
4th May 2012
Another very busy week at Sun Fm towers, but the highlight had to be the visit from Patrick the Panda. I received a letter (from Patrick) explaining that he lived at Cleadon Village Nursery and liked visiting different places, and recently had been to meet the cast of Coronation street. This had given him a taste for fame and he wanted to come and visit us at Sun Fm, presumably to meet the most famous person here, Simon Grundy!! Patrick was an instant hit and we all wanted our photo taken with him. He did everything from reading the news to sitting in the studio and even had a go at fixing our internet connection, but even he couldn't make it work again. He spent five days with us and really became part of the team before he had to return to the nursery. I hear that he trying to get on the telly next, so watch out because you never know where he might pop up.
So it's a bank holiday weekend then, who is planning a BBQ? I've tried to discourage people from this because there are so many factors which have to be just right for them to work. Don't get me wrong I've been to plenty of successful ones but just as many that have been a wash out. It seems that bank holiday and BBQ go together, but I'd much rather have the food cooked properly in the oven and enjoy the day with friends. My best BBQ story is this, nothing to do with food. Years ago I was at a friends BBQ and everything was going fine, for a change. My mate was cooking and he asked me to hold something so I put my bottle of beer down on the little shelf underneath the BBQ. It was only there for about two minutes, but long enough for the top of the bottle to heat up so that when I took a drink I burnt my mouth. I have never lived this down and possibly is the root of my dislike for BBQ's.
Whatever you are doing over the weekend enjoy and I'll blog again soon, promise, I know I have been a bit slack with it.
Posted by Mark Black at 4:24pm