Sunday, April 26, 2009


Fresh out of university I did not want the type of job that other graduates of possibly the best computer degree in the world were getting.

I graduated in Computer Science from Manchester University about 28 years ago. It was a course that I doubt gets taught anywhere any more. We were taught everything about computers: from how the electrons flow through the wires, through constructing the basic circuits that all computers are built on, up through programming basics that have never and will never change, to managing massive database systems. Nowadays the courses tend to specialise - we covered everything.

And where did most graduates of this amazing course go? They went to write payroll systems for large corporations.

I was always bit of a rebel, in a very middle class sort of way. In my third year I did a subsidiary course in the History of Music, I've always had an interest in music - I can get a tune out of most things but can't play any individual instrument at all well. Doing this additional course caused real problems because it ran to a completely different schedule and entailed a long walk between the various campus areas.

My intentions were less about learning music history and more about the girls - no, that's a lie - I really wanted access to the Music Faculty's music technology lab, I wanted to play with the synthesizers. I wanted to be like Mike Oldfield. I had a band in the second year that managed just one performance, although we had some real talent, in the third year I wanted to go it alone.

Getting back to the point, when I finished my degree course I wanted something different, and eventually landed myself a job with the Open University, making these new-fangled personal computers talk. I added speech output to various types of micro-computer.

It was from there I went off into my career as magazine writer and editor.

The circle turns. On Friday I got offered a new contract, not the one I wanted, once again I'm working for the Open University, this time at their HQ in Milton Keynes. Not to do with talking computers though.

As mentioned in my previous post one thing that will stop you from writing is outside influences - and getting things organised, not to say actually getting the job, has rather interfered with my committing Running to script. I've managed to keep it going but not at the proper rate unfortunately. I'm on 77 pages with 4 days to go, about 6 pages per day.

But I will have a train ride from Manchester to Milton Keynes in which to write, plus evenings in the B&B that I've booked for the week. Six pages per day is not a huge number.

The B&B does have a TV in every room which may be a bit of a problem, and hopefully I'll be able to organise the room so that I can type fairly comfortably. I hope so.

After Running, according to my plan, I'm writing the pilot for my detective TV series Tec (working title). I have been looking for the notebook that contains the notes for Tec I made with my wife a couple of years ago. Unfortunately I can't find it anywhere which is a shame. Still, I can remember most of the points about the plot and a bit of re-research into the unusual disease required for the pilot will tell me what I need to know.


In other news: I note that this new series of BBC's Robin Hood lost 1.3 million viewers last week. It's got lower figures than Primeval. I haven't watched the Robin Hood because of no interest, the first ones were just so poor (in my opinion); Primeval however has got into its stride and this series has had some really good episodes (including actually killing the lead character, permanently).


I have downloaded all the episodes of Robin Hood to watch them and see why it's lost so many viewers. Is it just because it can't match the Primeval/Britain's Got Talent combo? Or has it improved and driven away some of its viewers? (Ooooh, harsh!)

Of course it's all my opinion, but I shall let you know what I think.

(I also downloaded BBC4's repeat of a Kate Bush concert from 1978. I have been madly in love with Kate Bush since Wuthering Heights.)

What's on the turntable? "Mrs Bartolozzi" by Kate Bush from "A Sea of Honey", CD1 of "Aerial"


Sofluid said...

Oh I love Kate Bush too... In fact her music pretty much symbolises the first year of my degree because I listened to her music so damn much!

Jason Arnopp said...

Hello Sir! Can I be the bastard who pops up to say, "Dude! Any chance of a Primeval spoiler warning at the start of the post?"? Luckily, I didn't get spoilered, but I'm thinking of other potentially less fortunate souls...

Adaddinsane said...

Dash it all - that was three weeks ago but fair dues. I shall pop in the amendment.

Sofluid, me too.

Jason Arnopp said...

Splendid, sir! Just seems the done 'net thing, innit - even for a 10-year-old movie.

Adaddinsane said...

Wonders of technology, I'm on the train ATM.

Etiquette is etiquette when all's said and done.

Adaddinsane said...

(Trouble is that means I have a net connection and that means procrastination opportunities when i should be writing.)