Tom Is In The Hot Seat

Discussion in 'Personal Diaries' started by Terry Page, Mar 21, 2016.

  1. Holly Saunders

    Holly Saunders Veteran Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2015
    Messages:
    21,461
    Likes Received:
    6,470
    if you could wake up today in the body of someone famous from History, and act out that person for a week...who would it be and why?
     
    #26
  2. Tom Locke

    Tom Locke Very Well-Known Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2015
    Messages:
    1,223
    Likes Received:
    2,261
    @Holly Saunders @Ina I. Wonder

    Tom are you Scottish born and raised...if not what's your background?
    You're a writer now but what did you/ have you...done for a living most of your life?

    Have you ever worn a kilt..or tossed a caber?
    What did you as a Scotsman, think of the movie, "Braveheart", with Mel Gibson?

    I'll need to clear up a misconception. While I live in Scotland and have done since 1992, I am Irish, though I was born in England. I went to university in Edinburgh as a mature (so they say) student in 1992 and have lived in Scotland ever since, give or take my sojourns in Africa. I have been near neither a kilt nor a caber.

    As for Braveheart, I thought it embarrassing piffle, but Hollywood and factual history have a very distant relationship.

    Most of my career, if one can call it that, has been spent working in IT. I was a computer programmer for many years. After I was made redundant in 2002 (the company I was working for became insolvent, long story), I ended up working (briefly, thankfully) for a dire insurance company in Edinburgh and then got a job in the Civil Service. I managed to convince them to give me early retirement a couple of years ago and I got on with writing the two books I had been wanting to write.
     
    #27
  3. Tom Locke

    Tom Locke Very Well-Known Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2015
    Messages:
    1,223
    Likes Received:
    2,261
    If you mean the photo of me in the pub, then I am young (well, about 28). It's an old photo. The one of me in the hat is up to date, though Terry has skilfully photoshopped it to have me sitting down.

    The answer is 56, nudging towards 57 in May.
     
    #28
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2016
  4. Tom Locke

    Tom Locke Very Well-Known Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2015
    Messages:
    1,223
    Likes Received:
    2,261
    My parents died in the same year, either side of my fifteenth birthday. It's difficult to say what influence they had, but they were from very working-class backgrounds and had little opportunity for much formal education. Despite, or perhaps because of, that, they always made sure that I was diligent in my school work and while circumstances dictated that I missed out on higher education when I was younger, I caught up in later years, so I think that my parents' ethos stayed with me.

    I was, nominally, a Catholic, but my parents were never doctrinaire and something that helped, I think, was when I went to grammar school. There were Church of England services every morning and as a left-footer, I was excused these along with any other kind of religious instruction. While these things were going on, the assorted Catholics, Hindus, Muslims and other 'outsiders' all hung around together and it seemed to me to be bizarre that human beings were being sorted and pigeon-holed by religious faith. Being something of an outsider myself, I found it easy to empathise with people that were 'different'. They might be different because of their skin colour and I was different because of my accent, so it was probably round that time that I really forged my beliefs of people being people, irrespective of anything else.
     
    #29
    Joe Riley and Ina I. Wonder like this.
  5. Tom Locke

    Tom Locke Very Well-Known Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2015
    Messages:
    1,223
    Likes Received:
    2,261
    My comment about "football" was something of a facetious one, but it has always struck me as slightly odd that a game which largely involves use of the hands is called football.

    I've never attended an American Football game, though I've seen quite a few on television. I have to be honest and say that it's not a sport I enjoy much. For me, it's too structured and reliant on set-plays. I prefer sports that have flow to them, which is what I love about soccer, if I may call it that. We also have two codes of rugby in Britain, union and league, and these are closer in style to American football. Both rugby codes have a set-piece element, but to me there is a great deal more flow and continuity to the game than with American football. Ireland also has Gaelic football, played with a round ball and almost a cross between rugby and soccer.
     
    #30
  6. Terry Page

    Terry Page Very Well-Known Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2015
    Messages:
    4,357
    Likes Received:
    8,554
    What do you feel is your best personality trait, and what would you most like to change about yourself.....if anything?
     
    #31
  7. Tom Locke

    Tom Locke Very Well-Known Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2015
    Messages:
    1,223
    Likes Received:
    2,261
    These are the two books I've had published. The first is factual and covers the two years I spent in Eritrea. The second is a humorous (I hope) novel set in Edinburgh.

    eri.jpg king.jpg
     
    #32
  8. Tom Locke

    Tom Locke Very Well-Known Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2015
    Messages:
    1,223
    Likes Received:
    2,261
    I'm not sure this forum has enough space. Let's try one, though.

    I had been in Eritrea for two weeks. New volunteers had acclimatising in Asmara, the capital, before heading off to their postings. Obviously, a number were going to stay in the capital.

    My destination was Assab, right down in the south of the country, a place that is much more humid and hot than Asmara, which is about 8,000 feet above sea level. To get to Assab, one catches a plane for a flight of just over an hour.

    It's hard to describe the feeling when the plane doors open. Have you ever opened an oven rather absent-mindedly and taken the blast of hot air as you stand in front of it? It's a bit like that, except it's not going to get any cooler.

    So there I was, stumbling across the tarmac, weighed down by luggage. My own stuff was heavy enough and VSO had kindly loaded me up with a heap of other things, including a water filter that I soon discovered I wouldn't need (the water was a bit hot, but very pure) and two blankets that I was never going to use in a million years.

    I was so laden down that it was impossible to see much. All I could do was peer over the top of my load and head in the direction of the terminal building, roughly following the people in front of me. I don't know what the exact temperature was, but it was somewhere around 40C. Suddenly, I was no longer on Planet Earth. I seemed to have fallen into the pits of Dante's Inferno.

    What I was completely unaware of was the large hole in the tarmac. I had walked straight into it. You know those cartoons where, say, Wile E. Coyote is chasing Roadrunner and suddenly vanishes into a hole or over a cliff with a theatrical wave? It was a bit like that.

    I have to say that a number of people came to my rescue and they were very kind. Even so, it was impossible for them to keep straight faces as they helped to extract me from the earth's crust.

    This was just one of many embarrassing moments. I could confess to the time I tried, drunkenly, to get into what I thought was my house, only to discover that the front door was a different colour to when I'd left the house. The real owner was surprisingly understanding. I could mention the time I sent an email to the wrong Catherine (same first and second names, but the wrong woman) who was equally understanding about my suggestion that we meet at Edinburgh's Waverley station. But I won't.
     
    #33
  9. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2015
    Messages:
    15,026
    Likes Received:
    13,773
    Lol Tom, you are going to have to tell us some more funny and embarrassing stories, I really enjoyed these.

    I do know what it feels like when you open an oven door though, that's how I always describe Fresno in the summer. :)
     
    #34
    Linda Binning and Tom Locke like this.
  10. Karen McKenzie

    Karen McKenzie Well-Known Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2016
    Messages:
    471
    Likes Received:
    1,211
    Tom...describe your perfect day. :)
     
    #35
  11. Ruby Begonia

    Ruby Begonia Very Well-Known Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2015
    Messages:
    2,997
    Likes Received:
    4,558
    Tom, what makes you laugh?
     
    #36
  12. Bonnie Thomas

    Bonnie Thomas Very Well-Known Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2015
    Messages:
    1,861
    Likes Received:
    1,908
    Thank you for your answer Tom.
    Our football came to be from the union rugby form of course, but changes from that style came along with time. It's so violent anymore that rule changes are always happening. ... but none seem to do with injuries to the 'hands'. :D
    Although NFL Football is king in the US, we very much love "soccer" too .. it's very popular over here.
     
    #37
    Ruby Begonia and Tom Locke like this.
  13. Tom Locke

    Tom Locke Very Well-Known Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2015
    Messages:
    1,223
    Likes Received:
    2,261
    All sorts. Let's consider the comics that I find funny:

    British: Monty Python, Ronnie Barker, Paul Merton, Alexei Sayle.
    US: Marx Brothers, Buster Keaton, Bill Hicks.

    Among writers, Flann O'Brien is an absolute hero and if I could write something even a fiftieth as funny as The Third Policeman, I would never look at a keyboard again. Tom Sharpe produced some hilarious novels, my favourites being his two works set in apartheid South Africa which mocked the regime mercilessly and uproariously (Riotous Assembly and Indecent Exposure). The Wilt series is also very funny.

    Another English writer, Mervyn Peake, wrote the brilliant Titus Groan, the first part of what is known as the Gormenghast trilogy. That's another of my favourites.

    I like some of the novels of another Englishman, David Lodge. Also, my books are arranged in alphabetical order on the shelves and he has to put up with sitting next to me.

    As you might guess, I like surrealism and satire. I especially like the way the best humorists are able to turn ordinary, everyday situations into something hilarious. Over the years, the BBC have produced some brilliant sitcoms; Fawlty Towers (by John Cleese of Monty Python fame), Porridge and Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads (both by Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, with the first featuring Ronnie Barker), along with Dad's Army, The Good Life, Only Fools and Horses and Yes, Minister (later Yes, Prime Minister). Of course, there were plenty of forgettable ones, too, but these are all classics.

    I can't leave this without a word for the lunatic genius that was Spike Milligan. The Goon Show was an inspiration for the Monty Python team among others and Milligan's books are typically mad. Even at the end, Milligan couldn't resist a joke. He wanted "I told you I was ill" put on his tombstone. The local diocese wouldn't allow it, so he had it written in Irish.
     
    #38
  14. Tom Locke

    Tom Locke Very Well-Known Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2015
    Messages:
    1,223
    Likes Received:
    2,261
    I think I've had a few of those, but the best ones are while travelling. Let's imagine a city somewhere in eastern Europe. Up reasonably early, then down for some breakfast. Collect the travel book and map, then head off to a museum. I like museums that inform you about the history of a place, so perhaps a national, ethnographical or achaeological museum for the morning. We'll also have a break for a cup of coffee (I don't drink coffee very often at home, preferring tea).

    Time for a little wander around or a short journey on a metro train. A little, light lunch, maybe some garlic soup in the winter or something less hot if it's a warm day.

    For the afternoon, a trip to an art gallery. Again, the national gallery would be the first choice. Most such galleries have a collection of local art along with the international stuff. There may even be another cup of coffee fitted in.

    If there's a nice park, we might have a stroll there, particularly if there's a river handy. Ensure that a duck is photographed and if there is any other interesting birdlife, splendid!

    In the evening, the plan is somewhere that sells good beer. If there is dark beer available, even better. Sometimes you fancy a proper meal, sometimes just some snacks to go with your beer does just fine.

    I think of Riga, sitting in the evening sunshine in the beautiful old medieval town, with a glass (okay, several) of dark Latvian beer and vegetarian garlic tapas. Or sitting by the banks of Lake Balaton with beer in hand and the sun slowing setting over the lake. Or sitting outside a wonderful little pub in Ljubljana, where they brew their own beer at the back of the bar, snacking on garlic pizza bread and trying the different beers. Or of colder days, a perishing day in Berlin where we went to the German Historical Museum in the morning, took in Hertha Berlin v Borussia Dortmund in the afternoon and thawed out later in a bar serving wonderful schwarzbier.

    All of these things make me happy.
     
    #39
  15. Karen McKenzie

    Karen McKenzie Well-Known Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2016
    Messages:
    471
    Likes Received:
    1,211
    Awww..thanks for taking us along. I loved that evening sunshine and the tapas were divine. :)
     
    #40
    Tom Locke likes this.
  16. Ruby Begonia

    Ruby Begonia Very Well-Known Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2015
    Messages:
    2,997
    Likes Received:
    4,558
    Tom, reading you is delightful. We do share a few loves; Fawlty Towers, The Marx Brothers and Garlic!!!
     
    #41
    Tom Locke likes this.
  17. Holly Saunders

    Holly Saunders Veteran Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2015
    Messages:
    21,461
    Likes Received:
    6,470

    You missed my question at the top of the page Tom ^^^^^^...so I'll ask again... :D
     
    #42
  18. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2015
    Messages:
    15,026
    Likes Received:
    13,773
    Tom, those would be perfect days for me also! Even the alcoholic part a few years ago....now I'd skip that part. Thanks, really enjoyed that.
     
    #43
  19. Shirley Martin

    Shirley Martin Veteran Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2015
    Messages:
    7,159
    Likes Received:
    3,841
    Tom, do you plan to write another book and, if you do, what will it be about? Perhaps a romance? :)
     
    #44
    Tom Locke likes this.
  20. Tom Locke

    Tom Locke Very Well-Known Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2015
    Messages:
    1,223
    Likes Received:
    2,261
    Just a quick note to point out that I'm not avoiding any questions, but I've got a busy morning and I'll answer all of them later today. The questions I've not answered are the hard ones and I need to think a bit more.
     
    #45
    Terry Page and Holly Saunders like this.
  21. Terry Page

    Terry Page Very Well-Known Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2015
    Messages:
    4,357
    Likes Received:
    8,554
    You have all the time in the world Tom, the seat is all yours until the 30th March ;):D:D:D
     
    #46
    Holly Saunders likes this.
  22. Karen McKenzie

    Karen McKenzie Well-Known Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2016
    Messages:
    471
    Likes Received:
    1,211
    Tom...What was the best advice you were given in life?
     
    #47
  23. Tom Locke

    Tom Locke Very Well-Known Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2015
    Messages:
    1,223
    Likes Received:
    2,261
    I've started a couple. One is something I've had in mind for years, but it's never really got going. It is set in Ireland in the time of the War of Independence. I'm trying to have my fictional characters interact with real people from the era, like Michael Collins and Tom Barry, to name but two. What I find really hard is trying to be accurate about dates and places. It needs a lot of research, which is quite hard going.

    I've also started a follow-up to The King. I wasn't sure about this, as I was worried I might be writing the same book twice. So what I've done is disposed of nearly all the characters from the first book and I'll see where it goes.

    Romance? Nah!
     
    #48
    Ruby Begonia likes this.
  24. Tom Locke

    Tom Locke Very Well-Known Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2015
    Messages:
    1,223
    Likes Received:
    2,261
    I didn't miss it, it's just that it's a tough question and I didn't have a ready answer. I'm not sure I do now, but let's have a go.

    So many...wouldn't it be nice to be a really great sportsman for a week? I used to play cricket regularly and I was a decent club player, but imagine being somebody like Don Bradman, a man whose record still remains way above what anybody has achieved in the game?

    How about this? Che Guevara, travelling around South America on his motorbike.

    Of more recent vintage, David Attenborough, especially that famous scene where he is sitting with that troupe of gorillas. Wow!
     
    #49
    Ruby Begonia and Holly Saunders like this.
  25. Tom Locke

    Tom Locke Very Well-Known Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2015
    Messages:
    1,223
    Likes Received:
    2,261
    Tough question and I'm not sure I have an answer. A strength can often be a weakness at the same time. I'm a fairly opinionated person, which some people will see as a good thing and others bad. I have paradoxical tendencies; in some ways, I can be very sensitive and in others, I really don't care what other people think of me. I am also a mixture of shyness and outright bolshiness. This, of course, is assuming the presence of a personality. I'll leave you with a brief conversation between Catherine and one of her former bosses.

    Boss: Why don't you like (so-and-so)?
    Catherine: Personality clash. I've got one and he hasn't.
     
    #50
    Ruby Begonia and Holly Saunders like this.

Share This Page