The blog of photographer and musician, Kim Ayres

101 things about me...

Here it is. Feel free to leave comments or ask questions (red updates put in 31st December 2011)

  1. I have a degree in Philosophy
  2. I play the mandolin
  3. I have 2 children, 3 step-children and 2 3 step-grandchildren, although after nearly 15 21years of knowing them the “step” part of the step-children feels superfluous
  4. I used to run my own web design business
  5. I am now a writer portrait photographer.
  6. I used to belong to a Dark Ages Re-enactment Society, where we would dress up as a Celts, Saxons and Vikings, hit each other with swords and spears and get blind drunk at banquets
  7. I get hangovers very easily, so these days rarely drink more than a single glass of wine or a single bottle of beer in a day
  8. I love my wife deeply, powerfully, passionately and with an intensity that would probably be considered unhealthy if it wasn’t for the fact that…
  9. My wife loves me the same way
  10. I used to smoke over 30 roll-ups a day. I quit smoking over 15 years ago, went through hell, and swore that I would never give up again
  11. If I hadn’t given up smoking, my relationship with Maggie would never have developed because she’s always been a non-smoker
  12. When I was 17 years old, on a Youth Training Scheme, I worked with a landscape gardening firm who did the gardens of John Paul Jones – Bass player of Led Zeppelin. JPJ spoke to me once – he said “You can put those grass clippings over there…”
  13. I lost my virginity at 15 years old to a girl who was in the year above me at school.
  14. I play the guitar
  15. I’d love to be a comic book writer highly paid, internationally renowned, sought-after portrait photographer
  16. When I was a kid I wanted to be an Astronaut when I grew up. I still do.
  17. I love being a Dad
  18. I am 5’ 7” tall first thing in the morning
  19. When I was 20 I split up with my girlfriend 5 weeks before we were due to get married
  20. I find the idea of a benevolent God watching over us as laughable
  21. My highest recorded weight was 275 pounds
  22. I used to indulge in a variety of illegal drugs. I haven’t touched any since I was 22 years old
  23. I hate not being in control
  24. When my mother was in the last days of her life, dying painfully of cancer, I made it perfectly clear to the doctor that there was no point in prolonging her life and that hastening her demise would be the more humane act. To try and shorten my mother’s life when all I wanted, with every fibre in my being, was for her to live, was one of the worst experiences of my life.
  25. My daughter has Downs Syndrome, which isn’t as scary as I’d feared it would be
  26. While I respect a woman’s right to chose, and would never agree to making abortion illegal, I desperately wish that more would chose life. I find it devastating that the vast majority of Downs Syndrome pregnancies are terminated
  27. When I was a kid I hated having what was widely perceived as “a girl’s name”. As an adult I enjoy the fact that it means I am more easily remembered
  28. I was once sent an appointment card from the medical centre for a cervical smear
  29. I joined Mensa when I was 25, but never renewed my membership because I came to feel that belonging to a group, purely because you are good at doing IQ puzzles, was arrogant and elitist.
  30. When I was a teenager, I once went out with a guy for about a week. We never went further than kissing, but it confirmed me in my heterosexuality. After that I was never had any doubts about my sexual orientation.
  31. I love meeting people from different cultural backgrounds – diversity is one of the greatest things about the human race
  32. Since I turned 18 I have voted for Labour, the Scottish National Party, Liberal Democrats and the Monster Raving Loony Party; I have never been able to face the idea of voting Conservative.
  33. I left school at 16 and returned to education 7 years later
  34. I got my degree at Dundee University.
  35. I spent a year at Acadia University in Nova Scotia, Canada, on a Student Exchange Programme
  36. When I returned from Canada I helped set up the Dundee University International Club
  37. I have spent my entire adult life unemployed, in education, on government training schemes and self-employed. The only ‘proper’ job I had where I was employed was working in a bar when I was 18. It only lasted a month
  38. I’m allergic to cats
  39. I have an older brother and a younger sister, and I always felt like the odd one out.
  40. Blackberry Crumble is the greatest desert in the world
  41. When the kids leave home I want to have a 2 seater sports car
  42. When the kids leave home we would like to go and spend 3 months every winter living in a different city in different countries.
  43. When my daughter was 5 months old she had to have open-heart surgery and I had to face the very real possibility that she could die. Any lingering faith in a supreme being was lost at that point.
  44. I played the trombone for over two years when I was at school. When we moved away I had to leave it behind because it belonged to the school. I haven’t played one since
  45. I spent the majority of my childhood growing up in Wales where there was a fair amount of hostility to the English
  46. I was bullied at school until I was 11 years old, when I refused to back down any more
  47. I founded ClacksNet - a voluntary organisation that helps local community groups build websites
  48. My father is an artist
  49. Because your status in the playground at school is determined by how well you can kick, throw and catch a ball, and I was quite an uncoordinated child, I grew to hate soccer, rugby and cricket with a passion
  50. I have a bouzouki which I really should play more often is now my main instrument - I play it more than any other
  51. I used to have a business selling limited-edition prints of my father’s artwork. There were many reasons why it failed, but the biggest was that I hated being a salesman
  52. I used to teach philosophy at adult education evening classes. I’m seeing if I can set up something similar in this part of Scotland I taught them here for 2 years, then the local council stopped funding and supporting adult education evening classes
  53. When I told my father I was going to study philosophy at university he told me that I should “do something useful instead”, like accountancy or business studies, which I felt was a bit rich coming from an artist
  54. Some of my fondest memories are of when I played the mandolin and guitar in a Peruvian band, Fiesta Andina, when I was in Canada. I can still easily recall sitting in a warm house, drinking Andres’ home made brown ale, while a snowstorm was raging outside.
  55. I once played my mandolin in a duet with a woman from Hong Kong who played the Yang Chin (like a hammer dulcimer)
  56. When I was 21 I caught scabies, the cure for which was eye-wateringly painful
  57. I was once involved in a threesome and it was far less fun than I’d imagined
  58. I practice Tai Chi most days
  59. I grew a beard because I hate shaving. My wife has never seen my chin
  60. I have the tiniest of scars on my chin from when I slipped on the stairs and split it open, when I was three years old. My son, who has also only ever seen me with a beard, is convinced it must be something hideous and disfiguring
  61. I’ve always felt slightly ashamed that I can only speak one language
  62. Before I became self-employed, I used to enjoy carving Celtic knotwork designs into pieces of sandstone. Then I didn’t have the time to do it anymore.
  63. At various points in my life I have suffered from depression. I once spent 18 months on anti-depressants, and another time spent over 2 years in group therapy.
  64. I used to believe in the immortality of the soul. Now I don’t.
  65. In primary school, my educational rival was a wee girl called Lisa. I always thought I was smarter than her. Most of my life has been directionless; she is now a brain surgeon.
  66. When I was 16, I got a job as a burger fryer in a place called “Filthy McNasty’s”. I was the sacked within 3 days for being useless.
  67. I’m a Scorpio and Year of the Horse, and I don’t really believe in astrology…
  68. My birthday is the 25th of October, which was also the date of The Charge of the Light Brigade (1854), The Gunfight at the OK Corral (1881), and The Battle of Agincourt (1415).
  69. Maggie and I have been together for nearly 15 over 21 years and married for 10 16
  70. For a few months, on a Training for Work Scheme, I was the regular, weekly radio presenter of “The Central Action Show” on Central FM
  71. I have lost over 65 90 pounds in the past 8 months 6 years
  72. I organised 2 conferences for the Scottish Drugs Training Project in 1997
  73. I can talk endlessly, which is a trait I inherited from my mother
  74. I have a Southern English accent, despite the fact that I have spent far more of my life in other parts of the UK. I picked it up from my parents
  75. When I smoked I would often paint tobacco tins for friends in exchange for ½ ounce of baccy
  76. I drive a Mazda 3
  77. When I ran my web design business I belonged to an organisation called BNI (Business Network International). I was the longest serving Chapter Director at the Stirling branch
  78. I once went out with a lesbian, who only dated me so that her boss would think she was straight
  79. I am very non-judgemental, unless I perceive you to be a threat to my family in which case I am extremely judgemental
  80. The first “job” I had when I left school was working for an Estate Agent on a government training scheme. I sat around 8 hours a day waiting for something to happen. The highlight of the day was making the coffee.
  81. I only learned to iron shirts this year 6 years ago
  82. I was 36 when my stepdaughter made me a grandfather. “Do you want to be Grandad or Grandpa?” she asked. “Both sound too bloody old to me” was my reply. I eventually settled on Grandad
  83. My mother was an incredible pianist, although I never appreciated it at the time
  84. Despite the fact that he is four years older than me, my brother is sometimes mistaken as my younger brother
  85. I enjoy logic problems
  86. My eyes are grey, although depending on what I am wearing or the lighting, they can appear blue or green
  87. The older I get, the less patience I seem to have for people who just moan about their lives without actually trying to do anything about it
  88. I can happily stand up in front of hundreds of people and deliver a presentation without my heart raising a beat, but ask me to cold call a complete stranger on the phone and my heart will be pounding and I will break into a sweat.
  89. I love the idea of the old story teller who travelled from village to village, telling tales around the fire in the chieftain’s hut
  90. I have a habit of giving 30 minute answers to questions when a 30 second one would do
  91. In my early 20s I worked out how to get rid of hiccups by focusing on them instead of trying to hold my breath or drink out of the wrong side of the cup. If you’re desperate to know how it’s done, just ask
  92. The games I enjoy most are those that you sit at a table for and require a bit of strategy and thought, like backgammon, chess, draughts (that’s checkers in Americanese), hnefatafl (a kind of Viking chess), othello and card games
  93. I was born in 1966. In the UK the only thing anyone remembers about that year is that England won the world cup against Germany playing football (soccer). And every single Euro or World cup they bring it up again and again and again and again and again…
  94. My favourite comedians are Eddie Izzard, Jack Dee, Paul Merton and Dara O’ Briain
  95. Often I create birthday cards on the computer (using Photoshop) for family members which involves putting them into an image with their favourite pop/film star
  96. I helped my stepson to raise £2,000 for a cancer charity when he did a 100km hike in the Sahara Desert
  97. If I had the money I’d buy an Aston Martin DB9. If I had unlimited money, I would buy a reconditioned Jaguar XK140
  98. My hair used to be so long it went most of the way down my back. I cut it short about 7 years ago and don’t regret it. It is so much easier to look after now.
  99. When I was young, I wondered what my limits were, whether I could ever be broken. After I broke it took a long time to put the pieces back together. They weren’t all there so over time I had to create new bits to fill the gaps. Whether I am stronger or not is debateable, but I am considerably wiser.
  100. I don’t have a middle name. My parents spent 3 weeks to come up with Kim as a first name. I don’t think they had the will left to find another.
  101. I’m the only one in the family who doesn’t squeeze the toothpaste tube in the middle

33 comments

BStrong said...

That was incredible, but tell me something I don't already know,lol. From where I'm sitting, it doesn't look like you held anything back.
Also,
I don't think you will be able to run for public office in the near or distant future now:)

It's quite fascinating to me how many things we have in common. I still can't iron shirts though.

So you have a birthday coming up. Anything special planned?

Kim, thank you for sharing yourself with us.

B.

melvis4sure said...

I have found that the best way to get someone to stop hiccupping is to offer them a sum of money to continue doing so.

Chris Black said...

Yes, well that was damn close to awe-inspiring.

As I do run for public office on a regular basis, I won''t be doing anything similar. Partly because my list of 101 things wouldn't be nearly as interesting. e.g. I once shared a flat with 11 other students - half smoked dope and half didn't . I was in the half that didn't.

That cat allergy is a pity..

My birthday is coming up soon too, on the 21st...

Thanks
Chris

Kim Ayres said...

bstrong - I don't think public office was ever a realistic option anyway. I'd never be able to stick to any party line long enough to get the support needed to rise to a position of power.

No big plans for the birthday. If you work out from the information given (or just look at my profile for that matter), you'll see that I'll be 39 in a couple of weeks. 40 is usually the one worth making more of a fuss about


melvis4sure - Now that is a truly original way of getting rid of hiccups and I will try and remember that.


Chris - Happy Birthday on the 21st!

I completely disagree that it wouldn't be interesting. Fair enough if there are some things you don't want to reveal for the sake of your office. Despite bstrong's view, there are a few things that even I wouldn't dare mention out loud.

However, the whole point of this is that anyone sounds interesting once you find out over 100 things about them. Everyone has fears, dreams, unique experiences, humour and tragedy in their lives. You've mentioned about having a Russian wife and exporting Ladas. You can't tell me that there are tales to be told there!

Why do we all love reading blogs? The difference in experiences, combined with the similarity in emotions is what we love discovering in other people.

C'mon folks, get those lists started!

Gyrobo said...

You seem to have hit all the high and low points humanity has to offer. It's time to move on...

...To robots!

Kim Ayres said...

Well how about 101 things about a robot? That should give me enough of an insight to see whether it's worth following you into a mechanical outlook :)

kats said...

mmm I may start a list.

I enjoyed yours.

Kats:0)

Kim Ayres said...

Thanks Kats, I'll keep a look out for yours!

Amanda said...

This is so enjoyable to read...I can relate to many things that you said...and I am also a Scorpio...although I claim not to believe in astrology as well, I find it ironic how right on the description seems to be...my birthday is October 27th. ;)

Kim Ayres said...

Thanks Amanda. I'd love to know which bits you relate to :)

Get your list up soon!

Amanda said...

I'll get on it!!! :)

kats said...

There again, my Father may read it.

Then I would have to lie!

Kats:0)

Kim Ayres said...

kats - I think that is one of the biggest problems. I could have put this post up a week earlier if I'd been prepared to put down absolutely everything that occured to me. But as I mentioned in my post The Anonymous Blog there are times when even I have more sense than to post certain things when my blog is not completely anonymous.

However, although there may be plenty of stuff that has been omitted, I have tried to keep it honest. As well as making for a more interesting read, it was an exercise for me in looking at what goes into my own sense of self-definition.

Naomi said...

You put me to shame, I only came up with 50.

That's a lot to take in, I'll have to read it a few more times.

Dr Maroon said...

I'm still reading it. 3 days now. Gwanyersel.

L+J said...

HaHaHa!That was hilarious,thankyou!

Kim Ayres said...

Naomi - I loved your 50 things and it was pretty much what inspired me. But then I saw a few 101 things, particularly Rambling Mommy Thoughts, and realised I needed to do more.

Dr Maroon - the depth of your insights does me honour!

L & J - I'm pleased you enjoyed it. If you're the L & J I think you are (parents of P & S), then it's just as well I was selective about some of the things I included ;)

Amanda said...

I am still taking it all in as well ;)

Besides having a close birthday (27th), some of the other things I relate to are that:

I have a degree in psychology (which seems to be about as useful as philosophy) ;)

I am now a writer

I love collecting artifacts/ costumes from the Dark Ages and going to festivals

I am also 5'7" ;)

I have thought about being a comic book writer for a while now

I am also terrified of talking on the phone

I love to travel and would love to live in different countries

I was bullied as a child

I have suffered off an on with depression most of my life

My eyes change between blue and gree, depending on my mood/ what i am wearing

Wow - that's a start anyway...I'll have to come back and look at these when I am doing my 101 list, so I don't forget...;)

Kim Ayres said...

Uncanny!

In fact when I went to University I was originally going to do a joint honours degree in Psychology and Philosophy, but ended up dropping the Psychology.

They say that those who take psychology are trying to find out what's wrong with themselves, while those who take philosophy are trying to figure out how they fit into the universe!

Amanda said...

I think both are true ;)

I always enjoyed my philosophy classes...;)

Gina said...

I haven't even started mine, but I am thinking that yours is so well written that I may just inflate my experiences and copy yours!(ps. Always Chaos is a friend of mine, also!)

Anonymous said...

Kim, I must confess that even before you linked me to your 101 things, I had already read them. I find them fascinating. Though I now feel bad for not leaving a comment first time around!

I can see why yours took so long - there's nothing random, nothing throwaway in there at all. Excellent.

40th is fast approaching, I see. Have a great one. I'll email you a (single) pint!

Kim Ayres said...

Gina - didn't see this one before. Hope you let me know where to find your 101 things

Kav - I'm impressed. I'm never sure whether anyone really reads these things, but it was an incredibly interesting thing going through the process of making it, as it forced me to consider what I thought was worth putting in - and leaving out

Patrick said...

This is simply awesome... I don't think I can write like that for now.. really fun to read..

By the way, did you really manage to find a solution for hiccups? For me, the more I focus on it, the worse it get.

Well, we are both Scorpions. Mine's on Haloween. Just 6 days apart.. but the age gap is huge.. 22 years.. (I'm just gonna be 21 soon) so you are like an uncle to me? haha.. at least I know I wouldn't be bored if you are.. with the 'ramblings' of yours... XD

Well, thanks for sharing..
Take care ya..

Kim Ayres said...

Patrick - sit up straight, somewhere without too many distractions. Place the fingertips of your dominant hand on that place in the centre of your chest just where the inverted v-shape of your ribs begin to join. Apply a little pressure and breath deeply into your fingertips, so your chest pushes against them. Breathe out, keeping the pressure from your fingers there. Do this 3 or 4 times and you'll find your hiccups have miraculously disappeared :)

Thrup'ny bits said...

I made the mistake of reading your 101 things and note these similarities that I won't use on my own list Why? I guess that's just me.

I have no middle name. Do you still drive a Mazda3? I hate shaving but I do shave off my beard occasionally. I too feel I've lead a directionless life but without the benefit of academic qualifications. I too feel ashamed for speaking only one language (My father spoke French fluently and taught French at a secondary school). I was involved in a threesome twice (Me,M,F and F,F,and me)I didn't learn the first time.

Alan, back to reading more.

Kim Ayres said...

I do still drive the Mazda 3. When I bought it, I realised it was highly likely to be the last car I bought for a long while, so did a fair amount of research to find out what car I'd be OK about driving had a good customer satisfaction level and high level of reliability. 62,000 miles later and I've had no major problems with it so far.

starrlife said...

Kim- when a bone heals after breaking it knits together and is stronger than it was before...I've felt broken many times and am still kicking!

Kim Ayres said...

Starrlife - some things that break will heal. Some things don't.

asmita said...

I once went to a poetry workshop in Kolkata (India), organized by the British Council Library. He was from Dundee University too. I don't remember his name but =/

Kim Ayres said...

Asmita - I've never been to India, but it's somewhere I would love to visit :)

Vương Tử Trực said...

You're my brother's age, the year of Horse.
I know your site through Ron's blog.
I think you're a cool guy who must be interesting to be friend with.
How many countries have you visited?
Have you ever heard of Vietnam and what's your first impression of this country?
What easily makes you bewilder?
Would you make 1001 things about you?
Can I ask more?
Tai

Kim Ayres said...

Vương Tử Trực - welcome to my ramblings :)

Countries visited - several in Europe, Canada and a brief trip to the US. I've never been to Asia, Africa or South America - all places I would love to visit.

I know very little about Vietnam other than the history involving America back in the 60s and 70s. I know this is extremely limited

I think there are endless things that bewilder me - the first thing that leaps to mind is daytime TV programmes

It took me several weeks to come up with 101 things. I don't think I could think of 900 more. Nor do I think anyone would wade their way through it :)

You can ask, but I have to reserve the right to be choosy about whether I answer :)

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