Breath Of Life

The life and times of Mr Mark Allen....

Thursday, May 25, 2006

A Salty Seadog and a Webcam


The 'Green Dream' (The Midlands own Big Brother) gets nearer - it starts on Monday - Remember to text 'MARK' to 07624 803988 every day to keep me in. It only costs the same as texting a friend .

It will be on Midlands Today and Radio WM but there is also a webcam in there...You can see it on CLICK

For all the latest from the house CLICK

The weekend was surreal as only Eurovision weekends can be…Finland looked good, but it wasn’t even metal, more like sub-Bon Jovi soft rock – a real letdown.

It would be like Slipknot turning up in your kitchen and playing a Richard Marx track!

I went to Erik and Diana’s to watch it – they can’t really go out at the moment, what with Mark Jnr being a few days old.

I notice the cat doesn’t like the baby Cats and babies don’t mix, unless they are baby cats….

Which brings us neatly to my kittens., They are now almost four weeks old and almost ready to come to the house.

I will have an ‘at home’ for them so they can be meeted and greeted by all and sundry…(not dogs invited…)

I gave a talk for the West Midlands CF Trust, at the Quality Hotel on the Hagley Road in Birmingham on Tuesday.

I then had to hot-foot it to Radio WM to be interviewed by Jimmy Franks….By the end of it voice had disappeared.

I took the opportunity to drop off my CV for Hugh Berlyn at BBC On-Line. A friend told me they are looking for freelancers.

Actually been busy on that front this week. My Godmother’s hubbie (is that my Godfather? – Not in a mafia way though?) – has decided to walk backwards between Burntwood and Lichfield to raise money for a memorial at Alrewas.

He is a salty old sea dog and the papers seem to love the story. He is being inundated with photographers and hacks…

It only took a small press release and the story wrote itself.

I think a couple of papers aren’t even going to change the release and just put it in...If only everything was as easy eh?

The county council jobs I went for I rang up about. One I didn’t get but only because I hadn’t enough actual PR experience. The woman said the rest of my application and CV was perfect….The other job hasn’t been shortlisted yet.

I also posted my application for the editorship of the Staffordshire County Magazine… this space.

Two bits of bad news. Tracey (a CF girl) died this week in hospital and Sue Leigh’s husband died in a car crash.

The BB thing is looming large. It seems to be on the front of the Cannock edition of every paper each week.

We are going out live on Midlands Today (BBC TV) on Monday and several times a day on Radio WM…

People are continuing to recognise me in the street.

At the weekend I am off to Sarah’s 30th in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, followed by the Transplant Ball (up north too!)

So I will be going into this Big Brother house with a massive hangover.

I am still working hard at the gym and playing badminton and cycling each week – still can’t lose weight though…damn steroids. But as soon as they are reduced I will shrink…

Its not as if I’m fat, and I have put on a lot of muscle. I just have my ideal weight in my head (not always the same as the doctors’…Not that they can agree among themselves anyway!

Well its Wednesday night as I write this and I went to my computer class, gym and yoga today and am physically and mentally exhausted. I have also been trying to fight a losing battle in catching up with my e-mails….

Anyway,,,,I don’t know if I will have time to write much before I go into the Cannock Big Brother House on Monday so please come and say hello and text till it hurts to keep me in there.

Oh and a big thank you to those people who buy the stuff I put on eBay – your cash enables me to buy more stuff I don’t need!

And if you are thinking of bidding against me for those cricket rib guards….please don’t! Time to pack for the weekend (including the tuxedo I will have to squeeze into!)

Oh yes mum is at the Chelsea Flower Show this week so watch out for her on TV….(television, not transvestite!)

It's now Thursday and I went to Cannck after the gym and saw the band stand starting to be converted. I also bumped into Psycho Mick and Ian (double whammy with cheese?)


Feel free to e-mail me on MAIL

Music: Andy Bell ‘Crazy’…Dirty Pretty Things ‘ Bang..’
Momus: ‘Little Red Song Book’ PSBs ‘ I’m With Stupid’ (my new sponsor)

Friday, May 19, 2006

Text 'Mark' to 07624 803988

The texting number has been announced! To keep me in Cannock's own Big Brother - 'Green Dream' text 'MARK' to 07624 803988 as many times as you can, from Monday 29th May (Bank Holiday Monday) when we go in!I need as many votes as possible each day to survive each eviction! I am relying on you! xxxAll the latest news on the Green Dream BB House is at(
Book: The Insider - Piers Morgan
Music: We Are Scientists, Rammstein, tATu, Panic! At The Disco

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Link To HoldThe Front Page Story!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Hold The Front Page

Hello Blogettes,

10,200 hits on this site and rising - CONGRATULATIONS ALL OF YOU!!! :)

It has been a funny old week. (Ooooh is that a touch of the 'Jimmy Hill' or what?!)

I went to Corinne's housewarming do and Trevor Hadfield's retirement do at the weekend....So many 'doooos'. These events are good for networking daaarlin'!

Then the next few days have just been a bit of a blur (and not because of booze!)

The good news is the hospital have stopped my nebulisers. I rang on Monday and they have tinkered with my medication....but everything seems to be ok. I am just concentrating on increasing that lung capacity.

I am still doing either the gym or a cycle every day (sometimes both). I am also doing badminton and yoga once a week (not at the same time!)....It really has to be a priority.

While I am only worming (or do I mean working) part-time I am using the time to get on with my ECDL Advanced - which I am finding a lot harder than the ECDL or Clait Plus...Also getting my finances in orded to make sure that cash is working for me. Everything stuck in low interest accounts is now reinvested and being watched.

A couple of media appearances to fill you in on. I will be interviewed on Radio WM at about 10.45pm on Tuesday - after hotfooting it from speaking at the West Midlands CF Trust AGM (also in Birmingham)

All the latest new on the Green Dream BB House is at

Tomorrow (17th) should see an interview I did for HTFP (the journalists' website) go on-line

Read the article I wrote for The Mercury about Dr Trevor Hadfield

Oh yes..while we are about it...feel free to email me on
(Especially if you are going to offer me freelance work or a full-time PR job!)

Book: The Insider - Piers Morgan
Music: We Are Scientists, Rammstein, tATu (my new sponsor)

Friday, May 12, 2006

Tyne Tea(s)(e)

Hiya Folkies,

So how are we? Mad.... if you're talking to a computer screen!

Did you click on the link. What do you think of my fellow housemates. We are a motley crew are we not? Remember the fun starts on Monday 29th (Bank Holiday) in Cannock Town Centre......

Please come along and vote to keep me in (I may even share the £1,000 prize with you!)

Why do all the local papers use the worst picture of me they have, while they print glamourous pics of the girls? Hmmmmmmm
Medical matters...I went up to Newcastle-upon-Tyne on Tuesday morning for my CAT Scan - which strangely didn't involve any cats. The lab test didn't involve any labradors either...

I then dumped my stuff in the flat and went to sleep briefly - waking up because it was so damn hot and the radiator wouldn't turn off!

Then I got a call from Erik to say he was a dad. MARK ERIK WEST! See pic. I have never had a child named after me before....It kind of links me to him for life doesn't it. Kind of special.

I went to West Jesmond (a short walk and a couple of Metro stops from The Freeman and met up with Sarah. We had food and wine and chatted for ages and I caught the Metro back....very civilised.

I was up before 6am for the second time in two days for the usual blowing, blood and other tests, prodding and poking. My lung capacity was exactly the same as last time - as long as it hasn't gone down!

I was 'released' and wandered around Newcastle until my train came....I was home about 6.45pm. Shattered.

Despite all the walking around the hospital I felt as if I hadn't had much exercise in the last two days so made sure I went to the gym on Thursday and Friday. (To watch the test match on Sky as much as to exercise!)

The days were filled with my ECDL Advanced (mind-numbing) , playing badminton ( and seeing the new baby....

I also actually got my first payment through Paypal from an item I sold on eBay.....But I don't know how to put the cash into my PayPal account - does it happen automatically? Can anyone help!?

I intend to have a more chilled weekend with only Corrine's BBQ planned.....Although they are making me sweat until Monday to find out my test results.

This week will be a mont since my SCC application so I should know wither way. If i don't get an interview there will be an inquest!!!!

I met up with town centre management Michelle today to receive my 'pack' as to what I can and can't do in 'th e house' and what I can and can't take.....We have to do about 3 tasks a day to earn food!!! Aaaaaaagh.

I will tell you more when I have read it! Talking of reading....we now have 10,100 hits on this blog!

I hope to put some of the pictures of my new kittens AND Jimbo's wedding on ove the next few days.....You have been warned (as apposed to being Warne'd - a Shane-ism!)

Book: The Insider - Piers Morgan
Music: We Are Scientists, Rammstein, tATu (my new sponsor)

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Mark Erik West!

Hiya People/Peoplettes,

Erik and Diana are now parents.....MARK ERIK WEST (cool name eh?) was born yesterday (9thMay) at 12.02pm and weighs 8lb 2oz........All three of them are now home and the cat is apparently very confused! CONGRATULATIONS!

I have just got in from a couple of days in Newcastle-upon-Tyne so will fill you all with tales of CT scans, red wine, West Jesmond and blowing tests over the weekend! Salutations!

For the latest on my Cannock Big Brother run-up CLICK See my fellow housmates! xxx

Monday, May 08, 2006

Big Brother Fever and a Chocolate Fountain

Hiya Popsters!

Wow this Big Brother thing is getting really big. People are starting to recognise me on the street again. I used to bew 'that bloke who had the double lung transplant'...Now I am 'That bloke who's gonna be in the Midlands' Big Brother'!

I don't know which I like best. One of the local papers is now describing me as a 'lung hero' - whatever that is!

Karma.I am really getting into this yoga thing I only do it once a week but after my session on Wednesday I felt so relaxed I could have slept right there… studio one! Is this usual?

I was in the mood to do sweet FA afterwards and talking of the F.A - I watched a bizarre England v Germany game on TV…

Germany had ex-footballers, England had ‘celebs’ like Damon Hill and Boris Johnson…..hmmmm I think that says something about our races….

I find it really odd the people who say everyone is the same no matter what colour or nationality you are from. What bollocks. Nature or nurture brings out the best and worst in everyone….!

I think Boris Johnson probably went to one of those sad schools that just did ‘rugger’ or ‘rowing’ or something like that….But I must admit he is a star!

I had a meeting with my stockbroker on Thursday. Gosh….it makes me feel really grown up to have a stockbroker….It sounds a lot posher than it actually is.

Its more like a hobby. I do like a ‘dabble’ and view it a bit like the fantasy cricket league – another reason to read results in The Times every morning.

After a few weeks of ‘getting-back-to-normaldon’ the being on the front page of all the local papers means the Big Brother thing has made me a z-lister again.

I just find it so odd. I am recognised…I didn’t realise people cares so much about this Green Dream thing…

Even a couple from badminton club on Thursday had seen it. I wish I had more to tell them. It’s all a mystery. Well up to five days with a glamour model and random other people, what a social experiment.

If I was a psycho-anaylist (rather than just a psycho) I would have a field day – perhaps.

On Friday we WON the village quiz – although everyone else in the team seemed to know a lot more than myself – I convinced myself I was good moral support.

A bottle of wine each isn’t bad for a night’s work – although I drank a bottle whie we were filling out the answers!

I am actually getting bids on a CD I put on eBay – miracles do happen. I bought a job lot of limited edition Andy Bell vs In_vox CDs and am flogging them to Erasure fans.

Badminton took it out of me for some reason on Thursday and I didn’t perform well at the gym on Friday – which doesn’t bode well for my hospital visit on Tuesday…

Oh yes….before I forget…I am going to be in Newcastle from Tuesday morning to Wedesday night. I am at Sarah’s on the Tuesday but will hopefully be home on Wednesday – but I will be checking my mobile if anyone needs to get in touch.

Saturday was Jimbo and Judy’s wedding. I will have lots of pics on my photo site asap.

It was a good do. The service at Christ Church B’Wood was done by the vicar who came to our middle school to talk to us about Eskimos!

Bride and groom are perfect for each other – always a bonus! I doubt they will read this but hope they are having a lovely time in Cyprus – and they don’t get burgled!

The bridesmaids looked lovely, particularly the radiant Kayleigh and Nicola..

I actually spent the evening talking to cool people and proper conversations. So a big hi to Surrey F! Stay in touch! The reception at Moat Farm had a chocolate fountain - genius!

You could dip fruit in this fountain (but not heads, Vicar of Dibley Style!). If only one could have dipped oranges in. The irony would be lost. (Well its not ironic.....but something would have been lost anyway!)

I had planned a cycle on Monday but it was pouring with rain (and I felt a bit delicate) so I just lay in bed after my 8am medication and just listened to Dirty, Pretty Things
I dragged myself to the pub with Garry and Mike at lunchtime (gosh how we suffer for our art) and then Erik and Diana came round in the afternoon – all of a sudden Sunday had gone….

The gaps in the week were taken up with boring writing work-type stuff and a couple of vists to Lichfield to pay money in or take it out (more the latter!)

Anything else, just use your illusion and you will be close Oh one final thing I finally ordered my DOWNLOAD TICKETS to see Guns’n’Roses, Fightstar and Prodigy! x

The kittens are growing by the day. Each time I go for a look they seem to have more spirit and personality!

Book: Piers Morgan
Music: Babyshambles, Beautiful South,


Wednesday, May 03, 2006

I Am A Housemate - CONFIRMED

I will be a housemate on Cannock's BIG BROTHER....


I will be living in a converted bandstand for up to five days....It starts on the last Monday in May (Bank Holiday) so I want as many people as possible turning up and VOTING FOR ME TO STAY IN.....

I am just amazed I got through the audition....I think my picture will be in The Mercury, Post and Express & Star (tonight) over the next few days..... MEDIA WHORE AHOY!

Will Chantelle be there? Apparently one of the contestants is a 'glamour model; - interesting!

Monday, May 01, 2006

Big Brother + Blood Pressure

Hello There Poptarts and Grung-ettes

So what has been happening in the not so wild and frantic world of Mark this week I hear none of you ask!

I got handed a leaflet for Cannock's own 'Big Brother' - five days and nights in a bandstand in the town centre.....Auditions are on Tuesday....I am onsidering whehter to go along....What do you think?

To evict Mark a t-shit with a text number and my name on suit me. Hmmmmmm. I don't think the docs would have any complaints, as long as I took all my medication in with me!

Tuesday was fairly humdrum. I went to Esporta in Stafford – have a week’s free membership so am trying to alternate between that and Cannons for a week.

I didn’t see anyone I knew there, except Cassie M of course.

I got told off by a strange-looking woman who thought I was about to go in the sauna without showering – perish the thought! Lol…

She has obviously spent too many years on a sun-bed – She looked 50 but perhaps could just have been a Stafford-frazzled 25! (Or is that her IQ?)

In the evening I went over to see Diana and Erik in Wilenhall and finally organised Erik and my trip to Download to see The Prodigy, Guns ‘n’ Roses, Fightstar etc.

I had to have my blood pressure read after my computer class at the GP (This was nothing to do with the stress of the Advanced ECDL but a pre-arranged thing to keep the people at Newcastle happy!) It was normal…as expected.

In the evening I had two pleasant surprises. I went to yoga after my workout – and ENJOYED IT…I then had a phone call from Pauline (in Belfast) – I met Pauline in Korea and we were part of a group which went to China together in 2001.

I met Vickie and Gracie (ladies who lunch…although Gracie is still a baby!) for lunch at the Park Gate – and then burned up all those calories at badminton that night.

Friday was another computer session at the college and then the library to research local government power for a feature I am writing. It could also come in useful if I get an interview for the SCC job too.

In the evening was Ian's b'day bash - at a curry house in Burntwood.

On Saturday I went to Esporta for the last time and in the evening it was the Dixon's party in the village. I saw some people I hadn't seen in years, so that was a bonus.,

Sunday saw a return to Cannons and the change of gym must have done me some good because I did well. I think its the slighly different equipment at each centre.

I spent most of the day writing and then hit the PG in the evening with the cricket lads. It must be only weeks now before the docs will let me play agasin...after all there is a transplant touring side!

Watch out world! lol

MUSIC: Panic! At The Disco, Kraftwerk
BOOKS: To Cut A Long Story Short - Jeffrey Archer