LATEST GOSSIP

January 2008


The biggest shock of the year is that Mia and I are still together!
What seemed like the party to end it all in the Presidential Suite ended with us going home together and spending New Year in Carnegies with Skelly as the new main man. So what plans do I have for the new year?
  • Get a new job, the Eurocentre just doesn't cut it anymore
  • Get studying...film, websites, language, whatever
  • Make some goddamn money!
  • Fix Mia!
Well, the new year started off with some unseasonal hot weather and I got my ass up the mountains to explore "Huang Di Dien" which has a high ridge definitely not suitable for children or dogs...so who do you see up there??? I expect to read about unfortunate deaths quite soon.

On another hike the weather suddenly changed from 28 degrees to 18 degrees and I was miles from anywhere when it also started to piss down with rain. I was fortunate enough to see a flying squirrel but caught my 4th cold in 3 months, bagged two leeches, twisted my angle and got a belisha beacon red nose to show off.Bollocks!
Anyway, got time to do the Sunderland page.

SHIT COMIC WON'T ACCEPT HE'S CRAP

I picked up the newspaper to find that Hartlepool is still doing stand-up in Taiwan. This man is not funny. I have seen him on various occasions when he's managed to blag his way onto someone else's gig. He is embarrassing. Nobody laughs, people leave and still he comes back for more. What planet does this guy live on?

My step-dad Ray, died on Saturday 19th...it'll be hard for my mum, they'd been married for over 30 years.

Weather took a turn for the worse and for the rest of the month we had cold and rain which convinced me to invest in a proper radiator...money well spent. Luckily we've finaly got internet, so there's something to do other than watching telly.

MIA IN JOB SHOCK


That's right. Young Miss Chien has started working in a French restaurant conveniently located just across the road from Carnegies.

February 2008


The latest news for me is.....I gotta new bike!!

Ya Man!! Decided, with Chinese New Year just around the corner to invest in a new Giant so keep me occupied during the holiday. Trouble is, it's been raining almost non-stop...
I've been working furiously on my website and have now (One year late!) got my Peak district page up and running. Better late than never.

BEAR & READING'S GREAT ADVENTURE

Day one of CNY with the temperature dropping and the rain falling. Desperate times called for desperate measures!

If you cannot see the embedded movie, click here

So Chinese New Year arrived, the weather didn't change....but it didn't stop us from hiking!!

There's an earlier hike from January when the sun actually did shine one time in Ping-Shee

The last Saturday of CNY saw us start off with a film, Charlie Wilson's War, followed by footy at the Tavern (reading lost again). Then it was on to Luxy where we managed to get on the guest list. The two Matt's couldn't handle it and left early. The Bear and I were there till four but couldn't resist calling in at Carnegies on the way home. Skelly was steaming, as was I by the end of the night. didn't get home till 7am after going for breakfast in Swensens with Dave and Sharon.


If you cannot see the embedded movie, click here

The Bioradience machine involved holding a metal rod with one hand, whilst your man dabbed me with a metal prod on the other hand. Using the computer he flicked through various body areas and each dab gave a reading as to whether I was deficient in that area. If you feel the need to have your aura checked out you better take a look at their website

And yes, I did have to go looking for an apartment. I found one in a nice area, but, small and 9,000nt a month more than I'm paying now...plus of course all the buying of odds and ends one has to do...

March 2008


Went on the hunt for more hours as my expenses are going to shoot up! Sold my soul to the devil and decided to start working on Saturdays...
Dragged my heels somewhat on moving in as the rent wasn't due until the 10th. After a week of not seeing The Bear following "The Incident" I went hiking with him and Olivia which led to yet another "incident" with Mia and I.
So, well, yes I moved into my swell new pad. Procured a new sofa, lamps and tables with the money I got from flogging my band new bike to The Bear and paid the deposit by borrowing off Skelly. So here I am with my flag flying at full mast in one of the so called "nicer" parts of town, ie near Da-An forest park.
After a couple of weeks got used to living there and once the sun started to shine, decided it was in fact, quite a nice place to live in.

MARKY'S LATEST READ

Good read about a guy who started out teaching English in China and then became a freelance writer. He kept in touch with a lot of his students over the years but never mentions whether he shagged them or not....

With the elections in Taiwan a lot of people living overseas came back to vote. One of these was Joo-Pei-i and I met her in Yong-Kang Street near my house which is a top eating destination.


We ate in a veggy restaurant and then had one of the famous "bing" (ice) thingys.

April 2008


Biffed the Bear at tennis for the first time in many a year and the sun started to shine....
Mia's last week in Taiwan before going off to Spain and France for three weeks had us getting back on track. About time too, the previous week she lamped me one in the jaw! quite surreal actually because we had been getting on so badly I thought the end was imminent. Maybe it was the trip to Chih-Nan Temple that did it...

The big news in Europe is...er...a nude photo of the President's wife, Carla Bruni, fetched $91,000. I'd love to see the day something like that happens in the UK....Nah, impossible, never could, for a start there's no one good looking enough!

Our globetrotting pal Mr Skelly jets back in fron Scotland to put on a funk extraveganza at Carnegies.

And very good it was too. Even Jenny Chen joined in the fun dancing away. I even saw her canoodling with Skelly later on, what a pair of lovebirds!
I drank so much I felt rough as a dog the next day.
BUT not so rough that I couldn't beat the Bear and take silver at golf, going round in a very acceptable 70
So, Mia left for Europe and I was left all alone in my flat. Started to go a bit stir-crazy so did some work on my website and came up with the new and improved Red Lion page.
As Mia was away I spent the time working like a dog.....not! Many classes cancelled and I managed to miss all classes on the Friday by getting stuck in the mountains. What started out as a 2 hour hike ended up with me struggling in dense jungle, on a cliff edge for 6 hours. By the time I got out I was 3km away from my scooter and had to walk back up the hill in the dark. As usual I blame the maps. If China ever invades they'll get nowhere because all the maps are shite. The path I took down from Penrack mountain was supposed to lead to a road. It didn't, so I continued along it and then followed the fork to the right which the sign on a tree said would lead me out. Well, the path petered out and I went for the scramble down through the undergrowth option. Bad move, it was very steep and when I got to the cliff edge the only way was sideways. Came out in a graveyard and startled the ghosts living there. Then I was set apon by wild dogs which I saw off with a few choice rocks. The silver lining was, once on the dark road leading back to my bike I saw hundreds of fireflies...quite wonderful!

MARKY'S LATEST READ

I discovered Lonely Planet back in Christmas 1982 when I got the India book as a present from Mum. Interesting to see how the company grew but not that much interest I guess to anyone who hasn't used the books.

Saturday ended up with me getting blind pissed! I went to five different bars, spent a fortune and felt dreadful the next day. The good thing was I re-discovered the heavy metal karaoke bar I went to with Skelly a few years ago. Sang the same song as last time, Highway Star by Deep Purple.
Felt dreadful (and miserable) all day Sunday. Gotta stop these 10 hour sessions. I still felt a bit rough on Monday! Anyway, another site is up and running. My Banwell Castle page is finally up, just a mere...er, year late!

May 2008


So Mia came back from Europe, a little changed I think in more ways than one. Now she knows why I go on about Spain the superior lifestyle option! We might head out that way come the summer. Reading got themselves into serious trouble by losing key games and it was after our depressing home defeat to Spurs that I saw Natasha in Carnegies. She was very distraught so I went outside with her to discuss further....
Apparently Nina had been kicked out of the house by her wicked step-father. Natasha was flying back the next day to sort things out and meanwhile I offered to take care of Nina if she wanted to come back to Taiwan. Well mia got to meet Natasha and they danced together for a bit but I could see Natasha was deeply unhappy. Mia, meanwhile was drunk as a skunk and out causing mayhem in the footy team ranks.

MARKY'S LATEST READ

The film of this book was out a couple of months ago and of course I didn't get round to seeing it! Anyway, when I started to read it I found out i'd...er, actually read it before! Talk about getting old. I could barely remember what happened. Well, not a bad read but a bit too implausible I thought.

In a month of incidents, the Eurocentre was not to be excluded. I was standing around waiting for class when a large chap with a 50's side swept haircut marched in and requested in a loud voice if Yann Ravel was available.He wasn't so the guy sat down and started making comments about "giving a man a chance" and generally seeming very agitated. When I was in the classroom I heard this commotion outside and the loud voice again shouting, "17,000 Canadians died to save your country" and other such bizarre outbursts. The next thing I knew was Brett(Kiwi teacher) was out of his classroom and frogmarching the guy towards the lift. Seems like he didn't get the job.
The next incident was very dodgy but time will resolve things no doubt so don't want to say much......
So, yes, erm...relegation for the Royals.
Came down to the last Saturday and we had to win at Derby which we duly did. Unfortunately, Portsmouth who were playing in the FA Cup final the following weekend weren't too bothered about beating a Fulham side who'd won three of their last four games to come back from the dead and send us down instead. The Bear, being a Fulham fan was naturally overjoyed.

June 2008


DUKE & ANGIE'S WEDDING

The...er, celebrity wedding of the year! Well, Skelly hasn't got round to organising his yet!! Lot's of over the top images and had the potential for a good party. What happened? As soon as the food was gone everyone pissed off!!


If you cannot see the embedded movie, click here

Finaly got myself a TV commercial to do, working with none other than Lin Chih-lin a famous model/actor in Taiwan. It was for China Airlines and we were sent onto a training airplane at Song-Shan airport which is not a plane at all but a mock up on the ground. Naturally I was sat next to the star and even exchanged words with the girl:

Me: "Good acting"
Her: "Very exaggerated"
(in American accent)

I then said in Chinese that they always want you act in an exaggerated style and she proceeded to look at me as though I was a germ...
Well, we spent 12 hours there and my role (as passenger!) was not the most stimulating so that near the end we were willing the crew to call time.

The outside of the plane that wasn't a plane...weren't allowed to take pictures or video.

The entrance to the Airbus

FINAL BREAK UP WITH MIA


Our relationship hadn't been good since UK to be honest and deteriorated to such an extent that towards the end I was treating her pretty badly and she did a couple of outrageous things as well. All very ugly and it came to a final head where Mia said she wanted to see Anouska Shanka perform at The National Music Hall so I took time off school. When it came to buying tickets she said she's already got one and was going with a group of other people and didn't want to go with me because she thought I might fall asleep!! Well, that of course was bullshit and of course she was going with a guy. Naturally the concert wasn't the greatest experience for me as I saw her up on the balcony but I guess it's finaly over and I can concentrate on enjoying the summer and having some fun!!


CANADA D'EH AT THE BEACH

Only the Canadians could hold a beach party that was crap! Nothing to eat(Bar crap burgers from The Tavern) no stalls and shite entertainment. Needless to say most of the fun was on the trip home and that's what I filmed!!


If you cannot see the embedded movie, click here
One girl stayed in her bikini the whole trip back...she was drunk and entertaining! We stood outside a Family Mart drinking beer before taking the MRT back to Taipei

Tis the Passion Fruit season and they have knocked Zespri Gold Kiwi's off top spot in the fruit stakes....Am I bored or what?


July 2008



POOL PARTY ACTION

Even though the weather was sizzling hot, there was never much sun by the time I got there...hence the pasty white skin!! Damn I am so white!!


If you cannot see the embedded movie, click here

Despite these parties July was actually quite a grim month for me if the truth be told so a little song via Jessie Chen to beat the blues!

My personal life became a shambles, I lost a lot of work, the weather was either raining or too hot...glad to get it out of the way really! A good job there was a trip back to the UK coming up.

August 2008


The disater continued into August! Suffice to say I left all my stuff in my flat and probably won't be going back to get it......Oh my god, I've got a whole wardrobe of clothes, furniture plus a motorbike to sort out....nightmare!!

Looking rather stressed during my transit at Bangkok...

Anyway, went and got Nina from Germany and had two weeks of fun hanging out with her....she has grown about 6 inches since I last saw her, becoming a young lady!
Click here to see the page

Took her to Thorpe Park with her cousin Georgie and here they are posing. Nina as usual was fearless but Georgie got a bit queasy on some of the rides...
Nick came with me to take Nina back and we went to Dresden via Leipzeig and suprise suprise spent the first night getting drunk. Natasha's friend Doo Doo accompanied us and despite her claims at being able to handle her drink she was soon drunk as a skunk! I saw a whole new part of Dresden that I missed before and the hostel we stayed in was right in the the heart of the restaurant/Bar area. We ended up in "Labowski's" which paid homage to that great film The Big Labowski and allowed smoking inside, contrary to EC law....So even the Germans aren't being as jobsworth as the UK about petty rules and regulations.
Spent the next day at Natasha's place which was a bit weird but I survived. Her place is huge and they have aquired a Labrador puppy...
Our flight was delayed three hours on the way back and seeing as there was an outdoor bar and seeing as it was sunny, Nicholas decided to have a few drinks, quite a few drinks....
By the time we got onto the plane he was a little the worse for wear and after necking some whiskey from plastic sachets he started to get rather loud.
"I wasn't THAT bad!!" Says Nick
"Oh yes you were!!" Says I!! I took to wearing dark glasses and kept me head down!!


I am now the proud owner of this shiny red MG!!

Went on a trip up to Chesterfield to collect a car for Paul. Travelled up by train which was a very pleasant way to go. The drive back down the M1 was horrendous and seemed to take forever. Here you can see me at Birmingham New street changing trains.
The month passed quickly in something of a blur as I tried to keep busy. My house needed a lot of sorting out with unpaid bills and Mia's stuff everywhere reminding me of what might have been...

September 2008


The blur continued into September, not a good time for my head...man i'd forgotton what this feels like, I'm not a happy Mark right now but gotta stay with the program! Anyway, at least got out to the pub to see some live music

PINK FLOYD TRIBUTE

Trademark Mark and his wife took over the local boozer and to bring the punters in booked this rather excellent tribute band!!


If you cannot see the embedded movie, click here



Heather's 50th came and went at one of my favourite pubs, The Bunk. Went to see my London mates in the posh part of town and was paying around 4 a pint for drinks, not cheap at all. Ended up at Nigel's luxury abode drinking cinnammon liqueur with gold flakes, puffing doobies and then sleeping on the sofa with Hi-Definition TV for company.

You can now take a peek at the flat I was living in in Taipei.

Another sad song for my current blue mood


I'm not generally a fan of the Blunster but this song really moves me

October 2008


One of the bright spots has been Reading's form as they started to demolish teams towards the end of September and really look the part to go back to the premiership.
Fiona, the other half of my old mate Nick who lives in Tasmania came back to the UK with two of the kids. I took them to Avebury to see the stone circle which as usual was cold and windy. Sounds like they have a cool lifestyle over there!...here you can see us in front of "The West Kennet Long Barrow"

I also made a trip to Scotland to see Joanne in Edinburgh.
I've started Uni....but will I stay with it???? Decision time yet again...can't make them and that's one of the reason's I'm going to do the Landmark course in London at the end of the month...I've paid my money; it isn't cheap at 350 pound but I'm hoping, like our Loree to get something out of it!! check out the link, it's from a Guardian reporter who wanted to investigate as to whether it's a cult or not!!
Big weekend tour that involved a trip up to Preston to see us lose in a game we should have won and then on to the Lake District....

WE CONQUERED SCAFELL PIKE!!



Stayed in the Boot Inn in Boot! The Lake District decided to throw the worst weather ever at us and we had to face 70mph winds and horizontal rain. At first we weren't going to tackle the summit as the going was so tough but there were others up there who were not deterred so we decided to go for it as well. We took the circular route round the back from Wasdale Head via Sty Head and then up the rocky path into the maddest weather you've ever seen. You couldn't get a good foothold and when the gusts came you just had to cling on and wait for them to pass. Visibility was no more than 20 yards and the rain soaked us, despite being propery equipped. The final half an hour was hellish and there was no view at all from the top, we just huddled around the memorial eating energy snacks and trying to keep out of the wind. The walk down seemed to take forever and then the rain started piercing like daggers, had to make a shield around my face. The end finaly came in sight and a nice warm pub to drink beer and boast of our escapades!



The above picture is how we should have viewed the top of Scafell Pike, but actually we couldn't see jack!!

Germany 2008 page is now available for viewing.
College is hotting up ,got to write a 10 page screenplay, film a documentary, edit a technical exercise and analyse a film, all in the next few weeks!!

November 2008


The weather turned nasty at the end of October, just in time for me to start the Landmark Forum in London. While others were out celebrating Halloween, I was sat in a hall with 100 people being told my life didn't mean shit and that we're all going to die anyway!!
I stayed with Loree for the duration of the course which was good because her and Michel have both done the course and could talk to me about it. Anyway, it was an emotional rollercoaster which involved me crying a lot and making phone calls to the people most important to me to apologise to them. I even wrote to Natasha to say I'm sorry which is something I never thought I'd do....
After the Landmark, anything is possible!
Here I am trying to teach a bemused Maya
Well, I was so moved by the Forum, that I decided to jump onto the advanced which meant another trip up to Loree's the following weekend. I was hoping the advanced was going to be Forum Part 2. I was wrong! It was very tough and I was on the verge of walking out on several occasions. I just couldn't buy the idea of calling up everyone I knew and trying to enroll them onto the Forum. It was just some group marketing exercise as far as I could see. At one point I was given a twenty five minute grilling by the course leader in front of everyone...Someone in my group was also yelling, "You're letting us down, cut it out!" I grimly took the stick while they then delved into my past to find the reason for my negative attitude! Anyway, I struggled through it and there was some great bonding with other people on the course which was cool. I think I got something out of it all, I'm feeling even more positive than after the forum so I guess it was worth it!
After a punishing schedule the inevitable happened and I got sick....stayed in bed for two days, then had to get up early to go film what I hope will be an amazing documentary. All will be revealed soon but basically it's about a women who was diagnosed HIV positive 17 years ago and how she went about dealing with it and what methods of help she looked for(including tree hugging!!)
Next day saw me off to Sheffield wit' lads to see us destroy United 2-0. Here you see us outside a traditional sweet shop, the likes of which you don't see anymore down south. Run by an 83 year old woman, we all purchased a "quarter" of some of her fine wares.
Busy week of filming...when this documentary is finished we're going to win an award!!
I panicked about going back to Taiwan...sometimes I do think I am on the edge of madness, but although I missed my morning flight, I managed to get on the evening one and take in a Reading match as well!! Unfortunately we lost at home for the 1st time this season and it was freezing bloody cold. Arrived back in Taiwan and parked myself on the Bears sofa!
Went straight to work the next day and now have to go to an office to teach. The poor buggers there work like slaves and rarely get away before 9.30pm...but hey! This is Taiwan and par for the course! Got drunk on the wednesday, I mean I got VERY drunk on wednesday and was stopped by the police riding home on my scooter.
POLICE: You have anything to drink?
MOI: 2 drinks
POLICE: OK, go
I was steaming....good job no breathaliser was used!!

This is me outside Bear's house. I stayed on the sofa in his place for a week before moving back to my old flat, heavily in debt and wondering how I'm going to survive the month. The weekend was an On Tap, Carnegies shuffle and good fun I guess...though I am missing "you know who" a lot.
Mia told me she has recieved an offer from Surrey Uni to go back and finish her degree...If she'd got it a week earlier, I probably would have stayed in UK, she would have flown over and stayed at mine and we'd both be able to finish our courses. Instead, we're both in Taiwan, haven't seen each other, she wants nothing more to do with me and has become a band groupie....It's a funny old game...

December 2008


Joined the OnTap darts league and actually won two of my games...my old skills are returning! I went out Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and er...Saturday too. Am I becoming a pub monster? Thursday was Brass Monkey which was pretty good as I met some friends there.
Friday, I took my students to OnTap which became a photographing frenzy. Pictures of drinks, food, dartboard...anything you can think of! Saturday was a mad session which started off fine when I went to See Jarvis Cocker with a free armband from Denmark Dave. There we met a rather hyper girl called Lilian and her German friend. After that we went to the Taiwan Beer Factory and started to get drunk..

It was then back to my house where we drank all my beer including my special "Innis and Gunn" which I had been saving for someone!....Alas they have gone and cannot be replaced. Lilian was getting pretty out of control by this point so we were obliged to give a bit of a thrashing with a leather belt....which she of course enjoyed immensely!! Then on to On Tap where we drank shots and that was me wrecked. Staggered into Carnegies but don't remember much as I was a mess so I left and got a taxi home. Got out at Da-An park and got lost! I actually walked around for nearly an hour and was in a right state. I must have looked great to all the people up early to do their jogging and Tai-Chi....must try not to do that again.


Next day I felt crap but went to Carnegies for Kira's 1st birthday party. Everyone else was drinking but I stuck to tea and juice! Brass Monkey followed for the Animals in Taiwan quiz where I stuck to....Coke. We came second and I'm seriously thinking about adopting a dog...I need to be loved!!
Mia and I meet in the park so I can give her some stuff...uncomfortable for both of us. I can see how badly she has been affected by our break up but I don't know if she realises how it affected me too. Saw her again the next day in a coffee shop and I think it is pretty clear we won't be contacting each other much any more...the final closure I guess. She is quite unwell and I just hope she can pull through OK.
I am picking up lots more work but am completely skint at the moment...not fun!! I did a marathon eight hour teaching session on Saturday without a break, but never again!! Saturday was the usual drunkenness but this time will be the last time we go to Carnegies I hope!! Roxy 99 is much more fun!

MARKY'S LATEST READ

The Bear lent me this book about a Chinese girl who goes to study in the UK for one year and falls in love with an English guy. What follows is reminiscent of my own experience where the girl wants to spend every moment with the guy and he wants his own space. Cultural misunderstandings cause many problems and eventually they separate...quite sad.

So Christmas came and went with little fanfare, though not without incident...
Whilst others were out celebrating the night away, I was up a mountain comforting young Mia who had just been dumped by her boyfriend.
Christmas day itself was a drunken affair down On Tap involving meal, beer, darts, shots, Wacky Races, wine, pub quiz, snakebite and Russells girlfiend, Ellen taking thousands of photo's!

Went hiking to Maukong a couple of times and took my new friend Tracy there to see if if we could spot any of the monkeys I saw a few days before...
So, New Year's Eve and the inevitable start at On Tap which involved shorts, beers and picture taking. No suprises there then. At midnight we all duly trundled up the road to watch the 101 fireworks which were ok. Once back in the pub it was time to rally the troops to get moving to somewhere bigger and better.....for more click on 2009!