Featherstone Rovers v Halifax

Ben’s First Rugby League Match

Being a northern lad, I like a bit of Rugby League, this is perhaps aided by the fact that I grew up on the doorstep of the Leeds Rhinos’ stadium in Headingley (although weirdly, that never got me liking cricket). That said, I’ve not watched a game live in years so when Ben’s school gave him a free child ticket to Featherstone Rovers v Halifax I took him and one of his friends along.

Featherstone Rovers v Halifax

Let me start by saying, Rugby League is probably the most northern thing in the world. You’ll never see so many flat caps and tracksuits in a single location in your life. The smaller stadiums tend to be sat in the middle of housing estates and it doesn’t matter who you follow, the single most heard chant at any game will be “get them onside ref!”. If you can bypass all that though, and I can as a northerner then it’s a great game to watch.

Featherstone Rovers are the closest team to where I live now so I guess that makes them my team these days (I’ll always be a Rhino really though). Featherstone ran out comfortable winners against Halifax 34-16 and it was a pretty good game that I think Ben and his friend enjoyed although it’s a difficult game to follow if you’ve not really got any knowledge of the rules. Who knows, maybe Ben will become a lifelong fan.

I’d definitely like to go see another game soon but I would like it to be the Rhinos next time.

Family Trip To London

As we’re saving cash for a big trip to Florida next year we continued our short breaks this summer with a short trip to London.

7 Hour Journey

Following an epic 7 hour journey (yep, 7 hours – traffic was insane) we finally arrived at our hotel (The Marriot in Bexleyheath), again we picked a hotel quite a way out which in hindsight wasn’t  a great choice but the hotel itself was really good – the room was really nice, the pool was great (I had to be dragged out of the spa pool), the restaurant and food were good so we were happy enough. Continue reading

Benny Skateboarding

Here’s a little edit that I’ve been working on for my 9 year old son Ben. It’s just a little montage of all the footage that I’ve taken of him skateboarding lately.

It’s all filmed on my now pretty old iPhone 4, so it’s not the highest quality but it does the job. Obviously I do have other cameras but it’s a pain to cart a camera around with your while skateboarding so I tend to depend on the iPhone as it fits easily into a pocket.

Most of the footage is filmed at Subvert Skate Park in Xscape Castleford but there’s also some footage from Pit Wheels in Upton, Pontefract Park and a few clips from car parks too.

I Love My Kindle (And I Don’t Even Own One)

For years I stopped reading, I’m not really sure why – just life got in the way I guess, which incidentally is the best excuse for anything ever. Anyway, the point is for probably the best part of a decade I didn’t read a single book.

In truth I did attempt to read a few but I lost my page, I lost the book, I lost interest. It just wasn’t happening. All of that changed when I downloaded the Kindle app to my iPhone. The fact that I can read a book and always have it with me is what keeps me reading. I can pick up the book even if I just have a spare 5 minutes and get through a few pages, I never lose my page. For the most part, I’m probably preaching to the converted here but it’s actually the fact that I read on my phone rather than a Kindle that keeps me reading. When most people learn that I read on my phone, they say that it’s too small or something similar but they will happily read a page on the internet on their phone. It’s exactly the same as why I use my iPhone camera a lot more than I use a regular camera. It’s always there.

I tend to like reading crime books and I have to say that I should probably break out of this a little more often than I do but here’s a list of books I’ve read that I would recommend if you like similar things…

  • The Penal Colony
  • Any of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher Books
  • The Hunger Games
  • 11.22.63
  • Life of Pi
  • Shatter
  • The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo series

I’ve read loads more but for the large part they’re all crime books that are much of a muchness. I like them but it’s hard to differentiate between them.

Thanks to Kindle and iPhone for getting me reading again!

Sketching More

Since the start of the year I’ve been trying to sketch a lot more, partly because I have a side project to do that is forcing my hand but partly because it’s something I wanted to do anyway.

I’ve always been decent at drawing but never really pushed it. At school I knew I could get amazing marks in art with minimum effort so that’s what I did, no-one ever really pushed me to get better and I wasn’t about to do it myself. In truth, I never really enjoyed art but I knew I was good at it and it wasn’t as boring as the other lessons so going to art college was kind of a formality.

But all that was 18 years ago now and I’ve barely drawn since. I did some stuff a few years as part of my day job for some pretty big names – Disney and Nickelodeon were among those names but that was very much me just dipping my toes back in – I’ve never been anywhere near as good as I was when I was 18. It makes sense really, I was drawing daily whether I wanted to or not.

Anyway to cut a long story short, I’m trying again – just little sketches here and there whenever I can. I’ve included a few images in this post – all of them have issues or areas that I’m not particularly happy with but it’s all in the name of improving…

If you want to see more of my sketching give my Instagram a follow

Recreating Baggio’s Penalty Miss

In the early 90′s there was a TV show hosted by Frank Skinner and David Baddiel called Fantasy Football League. I was about 15 at the time and it was one of my favourite programmes – football and comedy, what could be better?

Probably my favourite part of the show was ‘Phoenix From The Flames’ where Baddiel, Skinner and a former footballer would recreate a moment from football past. Off the top of my head some of the ex players that took part were Nayim, Alan Hansen, Ricky Villa, Ronald Koeman, Matt Le Tissier and a lot more.

20 years later and I still haven’t got over the desire to make my own Phoenix. Good Friday 2014 seemed like the perfect day, and it was. A few friends and I headed to Westbrook YMCA and set about remaking Roberto Baggio’s penalty miss in the World Cup final 1994 – one of the worst World Cups in recent history (South Africa was pretty bad too).

It was loads of fun making this and pretty tough at the same time – how the hell do you match a high angle shot when you’re on a pitch that has no tall structures nearby?

It’s hard to judge whether it’s good or not, you tend to be pretty biased when it’s you and your friends that have made it.

I’d love to make some more and probably will at some point so watch this space!

The Octopus Skateboard

A few months back my local skatepark (The Park, Subvert) were running a competition to design their next shop deck and I figured it was worth having a blast.

Pretty early on I came up with the concept of having an octopus on the deck. I’d love to say there is some clever reason behind it, but there isn’t. I just like octopuses, they’re just really bizarre creatures – I think Karl Pilkington put it best when he said that he didn’t find it strange that an octopuses testicles were inside it’s head as they would look weird dangling down below. Continue reading