Blogs > July 2012

July 2012

Hula Hoops are not for Boys

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

Singing in Sunderland

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.

Mark singing


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

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


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