Monday, 30 April 2007

PostHeaderIcon My Glorious Career as a Magician

It's not widely known but as a child I had a keen interest in performing magic. All kids love magic, there's something, err, magical about it that can't fail to fascinate and excite. My interest really started when I changed schools at nine and the new school had a magic club run by the headmaster. This wasn't just any old club, it was renowned with affiliations to the Magic Circle and had the legendary Ali Bongo as it's president no less.

All the cool kids (well, I now realise they weren't so much cool as just nerds) were members of this club and I just had to get in but it wasn't that simple. To be accepted as a member you had to perform some magic in front of the other assembled members and then they'd vote for you behind closed doors. Only being ten years old I didn't have that much up my sleeve and so performed a very simple card trick. Unfortunately nerves got the better of me and I completely fumbled it, this as it turns out would be the way it went for the rest of my magical career. I did manage to get in on my second attempt, it was quite fortuitous that most of the members were missing that day and I had a number of friends present that managed to just about swing the vote in my favour.

Well I was like a dog with two dicks, I loved it. I would read and read about magic and practice and practice, it was my number one hobby for quite some time - it even took over from my Action Man. Eventually I had my first public performance that was at a show put on by the club in front of parents etc. Being the new kid I was given something very quick and simple to perform that couldn't possibly go wrong, it was the old pour-a-glass-of-milk-into-a-newspaper-and-make-it-disappear trick. I'd practiced it and had it down pat, it was one of the main acts in my repertoire but as soon as I got up in front of the audience it all fell apart. I could not for the life of me roll the newspaper in to a cone! The more it failed the harder it got and after a few minutes of trying the audience were starting to laugh, they were either being very cruel or they must have thought it was a kind of comedy routine ala Tommy Cooper. Eventually some nice chap got up out of the audience and rolled the cone for me much to every ones amusement.

My next live performance was some months later where I did a different but still quite simple trick in front of the school. This time it went flawlessly and a number of us were chosen to perform at a charity event in the local town hall the following weekend. Actually we weren't so much chosen as just available. My act was about halfway through the show, which was going well, the crowd appeared to be enjoying it. As I got to the point in my act were it was all about to happen I suddenly realised that I'd failed to do something really crucial at the start of the routine which meant that the trick was not going to work. I didn't really know what to do, I think I must have just froze staring at my props wondering what to do next when I heard someone in the crowd heckling me. I mumbled something like "sorry this isn't going to work" did an about turn and walked off the stage.

I didn't let things perturb me, my next public appearance was for television for the Look North programme. Some lucky club members got to go to the BBC studios to perform live, unsurprisingly I wasn't one of them. But all was not lost as a TV crew came to the school to film us doing various magic things. By now I think people had come to realise that I was crap, my involvement was reduced to just holding a hanky in front of a bunch of flowers whilst someone else had all the glory. I didn't mind as I was still excited about being on TV anyway.

At the end of filming we did one of those camera tricks that made us all disappear. It was very straight forward enough, they would film us, cut, the director would give us a signal to get up and go and then they would continue to film the empty space where we used to be. I couldn't possibly fuck this up - or could I? We were all sat down smiling at the camera in one of those class photo poses, the director gave the signal to the cameraman to cut which I confused with our signal to get up and go! In the edit that made it on TV you could clearly see me in the front standing and turning before we all vanished, it did kind of spoil it.

That was my last public appearance, I decided to bow out whilst I was at the top of my game.
Thursday, 12 April 2007

PostHeaderIcon Being Gary Lynch

I'm not the only Gary Lynch, the World is full of us. I get bizarre emails from people asking such things as "are you the famous brain surgeon Gary Lynch" or "are you the Gary Lynch who's the great-grandparent of Jim McKenzie from Wokakabootoo Falls, Ontario" - that's a made up place name by the way. These people must have found my email address by doing a web search and ending up at this website. So you have to wonder how fucking stupid these people must be, having seen this website, to then ask "are you the famous brain surgeon Gary Lynch"! Interestingly it's only Americans that email me.

So if you've arrived here looking for Gary Lynch then please take a look at the photo at the top right, does that look like the person you're looking for? If on the other hand you're another Gary Lynch then 'Hi', welcome to the club.

Having Googled 'Gary Lynch' myself I must admit the other Gary Lynch's seem to have a much more interesting life than I. There's the famous surfer Gary Lynch, there's Judge Gary Lynch, there's the Gay Games figure skating bronze medalist Gary Lynch and many more. Oddly the majority of them seem to work in either law enforcement or psychiatry/neuroscience but one thing we've all got in common is grey hair. Must be the pressure of being Gary Lynch.

Anyway, according to the oracle of all things (i.e. Google) there is only one number one and that's me http://www.google.com/search?q=gary+lynch
Friday, 6 April 2007

PostHeaderIcon The True Cost of HDTV

I recently decided the time was right to take the plunge into HDTV now that a lot of manufacturers are producing Full HD (1080p) screens at reasonable prices. The deciding factor though was the purchase of new sofas which meant the bulky CRT TV looked out of place in it's new position in the lounge.

Having made this decision I choose a 37 inch Sharp LC-37XD1E LCD screen which had had good reviews and was I thought a reasonable £1100. Of course I knew there would be additional costs involved but I never really paused to add up what the true cost of buying into HDTV would be.

First I needed a stand to put the TV on, but it couldn't be any old stand it had to be the one that matched my hifi rack, so that was another £300.

I needed a HDMI lead to replace the SCART lead connecting my DVD player to the TV, another £20.

Obviously a HDTV requires a HD source so I had to upgrade my Sky+ to Sky HD, that was another £290 for the box and another £120 per year in subscription fees.

I soon discovered that Sky HD boxes can be incompatible with some LCD TV's as they radiate infra-red light that interferes with the remote control! I eventually found a solution to this by buying a IR 'magic eye', another £5.

Not content with just the limited HDTV offerings on Sky you start looking around for other HD sources and so decided it would be a great excuse to get an XBOX 360, another £290.

When the XBOX arrived I didn't realise the wireless networking wasn't built in, so the wireless adapter was another £55.

I then discovered that my Internet router was not compatible with XBOX Live which meant reconfiguring my whole wireless network and buying a new router, another £42.

And another £40 for XBOX Live subscription.

So, all in all my £1100 TV purchase actually ended up costing me (1100 + 300 + 20 + 290 + 120 + 5 + 290 + 55 + 42 + 40) £2262! More than double - not quite the bargain I originally thought.

Of course that doesn't include the additional cost of XBOX games and other accessories plus the costs of an HD-DVD player which I'm bound to buy sooner rather than later.

Gary

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