Mark Versus

Blurring the line between self improvement and self punishment

Category: Personal

An open letter to @taigmcnab

Today, @taigmcnab,  you packed your life into the back of a transit van and headed back to the fires from which you were forged.  The North.  At your distance (rather than ‘in your absence’) I have been reflecting on the overwhelming benefits of the defection to South of the River/Watford Gap.

To whatever degree we were friends before you came down it has been my immense privilege getting to know you better.  More than better. If you will allow me, it feels like family.

You are a sparring partner,  a smoking partner, a business partner and a pal.  You say yes when other people say maybe and I will miss having that to hand the most.  You have been a very practical inspiration.  Cheers buddy.

See you on Skype.  I know I am speaking for a whole bunch of people in saying best of luck with the new job and keep a duvet and pillow under the sofa. You never know when someone might drop by.

London loves you.




How have I never seen this photo before?



It’s Alive!

Today I assembled the Recesky Twin Lens Reflex Camera that will act as my weapon of choice for the Mark Versus DIY Camera Contest.  It was a fairly straight forward process which I had intended on documenting fully. However, never seeing the point if duplicating effort, instead I shall link to this page and recommend you have it open should you attempt the build.  I would say the build took a couple of hours all-in.

There were a couple of moments that took some head scratching so, should it be of assistance, I shall list them here. I am aware that this may demonstrate a lack of skill on my part rather than any engineering errors on the part of whoever makes these kits.

  1. You will need a tiny screwdriver. The whole unit requires tightening up at the end (you need to keep the body loose in order to fit pieces in right up until the last minute) and access gets a little difficult once everything is in place.
  2. The Shutter: This was the most complex part of the process (as expected) and requires a bit of time spent tweaking and loosening and tightening and then re-loosening screws in order to get it working smoothly.  I found during this process that in order to keep the central part of the shutter mechanism in place I needed to fashion a small washer which I placed under it which did the job. For my washer I stripped a cable tie from some recent electronic gadget purchase and bent the wire into shape/width.
  3. The Viewfinder: attaching the viewfinder to the body felt like the point at which I was going to break some plastic and it would all end in tears.  Given that this is pretty far into the process it would have been a massive shame and I would be in a stinking mood for the rest of the day if I had muffed it up. So be careful.

Other that those bits, even the unintelligible Chinese instructions seemed to make sense. They are very well illustrated.

I have now loaded a roll of 35mm film I have had knocking around the flat and am about to head out for a test flight.  The film is nowhere near the recommended speed (ISO800 instead of the recommended 200) so I hold out little hope of any successful shots, but I will post anything that comes out OK.

As I imagined, holding the camera and looking down the viewfinder great fun. Focusing is a bit hit and miss (I blame my eyes as much as the camera) and it is a bit light, but I am really looking forward to mucking about with it.

And then, after August, perhaps I should try and mod it to be digital?

In A New York Minute

I recently returned from a trip to New York with Lisa and our friends Amanda and Simon. It was one of the best the best times I have had in any country. Thanks to Amanda, Simon, Ben, Iain and, of course, Lisa for a cracking time.

Click on the link below for some Picasa Highlights

[Note: I am looking for a better way to display Picasa Albums in WordPress. If anyone has any favourites let me know.]

And the Oscar goes too…

Oscar StatuetteCongratulations to all of the winners of Sunday night’s Oscars, particularly to team ‘King’s Speech’.  A classy film exemplified by some great speeches.

Congratulations too to the winner of the Mark Versus Oscar Sweepstake 2011. Or rather winners as it was a tie.  The first of the winners was, and you may have your doubts, Mark Versus himself.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is why I get paid the bug bucks. Suck it, losers!

All of you except the wonderful and intelligent Karen R. who, with a score of 14 matched my, up till now, peerless intellect and ability to guess things about films that I haven’t seen.  She has earned my respect and, as promised, a prize from my flat.  I am going to contact Karen directly and offer her a choice of a few film related items and will update with a photo of Karen and the prize.

Special mentions go out to the 3 people who came in joint second guessing 13 correctly Taig M., Sky M. and Dave G. You get nothing.

Funny As -U-K

Now that there are a few videos up I wanted to point people in the direction of my latest hobby site Funny as -U-K. It’s a stream of assembled videos of some of the excellent British comics working today. Some of the acts are well established, others are just guys I have seen on the circuit. It is a posterous site so it is easy to subscribe.

There is also a dedicated twitter feed @funnyasuk that you can follow to see when a new video is added.

I am hoping that in time I can add a podcast to the site, talking to some of the comedians featured.  I will keep everyone posted.

If you have seen a good act or have a particular favourite the you should email me and I will stick them up on the site.



P.S. I nicked the photo above from If anyone wants me to take it down they can ask. If anyone can pull that face, let me take a picture of it.

The MarkVersus Oscar Sweepstake 2011

So the magic of award season is upon us, and despite often getting angry at the whole process I always find myself a little fixated on the nominees. There is always the gap between who I would like to win and who I think will win to reconcile. Generally, I reconcile this by accepting that I am right and everyone else is wrong and perhaps next year they will learn.

So this year I have decided to employ the magic of internet technology to conduct a poll in the form of a sweepstake to find out just how far from the pulse my filmfinger (note: register actually is.

So, the link is here >>

Click on it, share it, fill out your choices and, come February, we’ll see whose filmfinger is up their shamenose.