17th October 2011
Firstly apologies for letting my Bloging lapse, it has been very busy around Sun FM towers lately...honest! So last week I was passing on my Knowledge (don't laugh) it was all part of the student radio awards being announced. I love talking about my job and am quite reguarly asked how I got into radio and to give any tips. It's quiete nice to be honest as I remember being in that posistion and getting the advice, so to be on the other side is a great feeling. I did have Marie Gardiner for some moral support as I was talking about presenting and she was talking about social media.
It's still a little nerve racking doing stuff like this, which I know sounds odd coming from someone who talks for a living, but it comes down to what you are used to. I get comfortable in my studio not seeing who I'm talking to and the face they might be pulling when I'm talking, but in a room full of students you can see the yawns and the eye rolls. Thankfully they were all very good and interested in what we had to say, and I managed to get a few laughs, which is always good. The final possibly scary moment is asking if anyone has any questions at the end...silence!! Thankfully that didn't happen and we managed to ramble on for another forty minutes or so. So who knows you might hear some voices on the radio in the future which have got there on the advice that myself and Marie gave out!
This weekend has been quite busy I've been to two comedy gigs and a christening, and also found out that marriage is making me fat! Last year I bought a pair of smart trousers before we went on our honeymoon, this was December, the pants fit fine. Fast forward ten months and they are rather snug. I had heard people say that once you are married you get comfortable and pile on weight, but I thought nah that won't be me, turns out it is. Also it doesn't help that Laura loves to bake, and she is quite good at it, and to get to our living room you have to walk through the kitchen which means I have regular access to the afore mentioned cake. I've always been quite skinny so this is quite a shock to the system, also when your sister in law comments on how tight your pants are, especially around the bottom area, you don't know where to put yourself.
This wasn't the only awkward moment of the weekend, and I'm sorry to mention toilets but this incident really stood out for me. I was at the Gala Theatre over the weekend and they only had one set of toilets open, so there was a queue at the mens! Women are used to queues, men not so much and you could feel the tension in the gents as we waited. There was no talking, just the odd nod. The other issue is whether to use the cubicle or not because there is always the danger of stage fright. Nine times out of ten it's fine, but do you take the risk. I'm not ashamed to say I didn't risk it!!
Next week I'll be flying through the air with AAA, like they do on Dancing on Ice. I'm not sure if I'll enjoy it or if it will make me sick, we'll see.
Posted by Mark Black at 3:11pm
7th October 2011
We Will Rock you has been at the Sunderland Empire for the last two weeks, I went to see it last Thursday and loved it. Usually when I see things like this it reminds me that I'd love to be able to sing and perform like a rockstar (I know this will never happen...sigh) Not detered by this myself and Marie Gardiner went to Herrington Rock school for a lesson. From the start Marie was much better at playing the guitar and drums than me (but she has done it before).
With the guitar, the main thing I found tricky was getting my fingers in the right posistion, my fingers just didn't seem long enough. Also why are the strings made out of metal, which will cut into your fingers, it seems like a very bad design if you ask me, not that I'm making excuses you understand. Eventually Bob managed to get me to play a small piece, and I have to say I was chuffed with it, especially when I played it out on air people could actually name the song, praise indeed.
With the drums I really struggled, it's that concept of patting your head and rubbing your tummy at the same time, I've never been any good at that. The key seemed to be to stay relaxed but once I got going I'd just stiffen up and make more mistakes until I just wanted to throw the drum sticks across the room. Again Marie sat down and just did it, very smug! Also if that wasn't bad enough, there was a 10 year old having a lesson who was amazing on the drums. He drummed along to Green Day - Basket Case, and was perfect.
We both loved the lesson, and I think with more time and practice I might get there with the guitar, as for the drums I just can't keep it going for any length of time before messing up so I'll leave that to the drumming Gorilla off the adverts.
This week we have a visit from our big boss so I'm off to tidy my desk, speak soon!
Posted by Mark Black at 4:02pm
19th September 2011
An amazing weekend with the Split festival, Sunderland winning 4-0 and the Great North Run, lots of reasons to be proud of where we live.
So I made it then 13.1 miles all the way to South Shields, with only my legs to carry me. I some how managed a time of 2hrs 11mins which I am so chuffed with considering I walked some of it and my legs were giving way by the end. The Great North Run is one of the those events which fill you with pride when you watch it, it captures everything which is great about the Northeast and I've always said that I would do it, so now I've done it twice is something special.
Standing on the Central motorway with over 50,000 other runners is always a great feeling, always a little odd to see so many blokes having a wee as well, shame seems to go out of the window! It is much better for the men I must add. It's always odd at the start because you hear the gun go then it takes you some time to get over the line. I started off running with two friends but after a couple of mile realised I wasn't able to maintain their pace and dropped back. Running on my own I thought would be awful but there are so many people around you and the crowd chearing that the time went over fairly quickly. I rememebr getting to half way and thinking everystep is one closer to the finish. It's always a little bad when someone in a costume overtakes you and when someone dressed as a giant sunflower passed me, that wasn't a great moment, but I did pass the man carrying a fridge on his back, so that was ok.
To begin with the sun was out and it was really warm on one side of my face, so the rain was very welcome, and definetley helped, as weird as that seems. I'm sure I would have been slower if it hadn't rained. I got to 10 miles and felt better than I expected, it also coincided with the Boost zone where you get music and jelly babies! The last 3 miles were really tough, and I started to get cramp so had to stop a number of times to release my leg which went into spasm. It also happened during the final mile and I remember thinking just let me get to the finish line, I've come all of this way. Luckily I did finish and hobbled over the line and down to the Marie Curie tent where I was met with smiling faces and everything I needed to recover.
You get a goody bag with your medal and t-shirt as well as other goodies. There are a couple of items in the bag which do seem a little odd. As well as the water and sports drinks and nutrition bars there are T-Bags and toothpaste in there, no toothbrush but toothpaste!! Not entirely sure what use they are stood in a field in the middle of South Shields, but appreciated the thought none the les!!!
People have been asking me how the race was and genuinely I love the fact that I've been part of it and am very proud that it takes place in our region. I will probably do it again at some point, just not next year. As I write this the back of my legs ache so much and I still have a lovely John Wayne style walk, was it worth it...I have to say yes, but don't embark on it lightly, put the training in and you'll get even more out of the day. It is the WORLDS biggest half marathon and I'd say if you can do it even once in your life, it's well worth doing. I'm now off to have a lie down!!
Posted by Mark Black at 3:07pm
13th September 2011
I am now into the final week of preparation for this years Great North Run, and I'm still getting over my cold/manflu! This year I haven't done as much training as I should have, but hoping that the training I did for last years run will stand me in good stead (wishful thinking). So I needed a good week this week and really could have done without this cold. Over the weekend it was much worse, my nose was constantly running. It amazes me where all the fluid comes from and then you end up with a nice red sore nose from all the blowing. Tried to get sympathy from Laura, but as she had had it the week before and I wasn't that sympathetic she wasn't that forth coming.
So enough of the gory details, I had a cold, it's much better now I just sound bunged up. As for my training everyone has advice on what you should do the weeke before. Everyone seems to agree that lots of pasta and chicken is a good thing, but to run or not to run is the question. Last year I did a couple of short runs then had a three full days off before the run and that seemed to work. Some people are saying that I shouldn't run at all (which is tempting) so not sure what to do. I think I'll go out at least once, I think I need to to, so I know that I can do it. This year is definetley more daunting as I know what is in store, last year was my first time and ignorance really was bliss. This year I know which bits to dread and what I'll be like at the end! Not to put you off if this is your first. It's a great day and I thouroughly enjoyed it, but I'm giving it a rest for a few years after this one.
Must also mention Chrissie Pitt, who I had on the show this week. She auditioned on X Factor last Saturday with girlband twisted and Kelly Roland persauded her to go solo. Chrissie is from South Shields and a real talent and hopefully we will see her progress from bootcamp to the finals. She has been getting loads of press over the last few days from 'This morning' and 'loose women' to 'Lorraine'. It's great to get behind a local talent and Kelly Roland clearly thinks she's got what it takes and so do we. If you want to show your support you can follow her on twitter @Chrissiepitt.
Posted by Mark Black at 2:51pm
5th September 2011
This weekend we were at the Peterlee show hosting the main stage again, it's the only time we get close to being rockstars! "HELLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO PETERLEEEEEEEE" It was another great weekend, if a little wet in the afternoon, with loads happening.
There was the final of the xtra factor which went down really well, ten fabulous singers with Lily Brooke the eventual winner, for someone so young she has bags of talent and a deserved winner. Before the bands on the Saturday I was looking after the main arena with The Black Rock Llama display team, The Whirling Wheel of Death and the Pre Hee Men! The llamas where brilliant, and didn't spit which was a bonus. I had no idea they were so energetic and could jump as much as they did around the course. It's fair to say my llama knowledge has increased since the weekend. I also got the chance to use my X-Factor style voiceover voice! The Vander brothers had the Whirling Wheel of Death, and I bet you're even saying it to yourself in a big voice, it just lends itself to it. I should explain what it is. It's a metal contraption with two giant rings at each end which spins. The two guys get into a ring each and get it spinning while walking on the edge, unaided by any safety support, it's quite impressive. There was also a script that I had to read while they were performing, hence the x factor style voiceover, still needs a bit of work though.
Other things to mention is a chocolate scandal this christmas, yes, SCANDAL! There are certain things you have to get at christmas, christmas tree...chestnuts...after eight mints AND a tin of roses (possibly even two). This year though you will get less for your money, the tin will be lighter, equivilent to ELEVEN chocolates less, Eleven. Now this is significant as there are always certain ones left at the end, usually the toffee pennies in our house. Now everything would be fine if they took out eleven toffee pennie, I could cope with that, that would benefit me, but it won't be, which means less of the ones I want, and more chance I get stuck with toffee pennies. So I have a dilema do I continue with tradition OR do I get something else. Of course there is a third option...just buy an extra tin!!
Posted by Mark Black at 3:15pm