About Me

Where do I start? I have had such a varied career over the years, it's difficult to know the right place to begin my tale!

I was born in Cheshire, and lived there until I was 17, where the family moved to a small Leicestershire market town. I eventually moved to Birmingham in 1996, having worked in and around the Midlands (gigs and computing) for several years.

My roadie career began in early 1985, when I got together with a young band called Thursday Child from Nuneaton. I and a few friends decided they needed a road crew and offered to help them out at gigs they were doing in the local area. The band only lasted about a year and a half, but it was great fun while it lasted. During the same time, I also got involved with the up and coming progressive rock band IQ.

As I needed something to help me out while I followed my passion for gigs, I enroled at Coventry Lanchester Polytechnic (before it was officially a University) on a Computing course. Don't tell my parents but most of my grant got spent of travel expenses to and from gigs up and down the country!

After graduating from Lanchester Polytechnic, I joined GEC Telecommunications to work on their design package, called EDCAD. EDCAD was the tool used to design a System X digital telephone exchange. Utilising an in-house designed AI (Artificial Intelligence) expert system and the Pafec DOGS CAD system, EDCAD could create detailed floor plans, wiring & cabling plans and parts list, which were all used to build and install a single telephone exchange. GEC Telecommunications became GEC Plessey Telecommunications (GPT), and with the change in name came a major restructuring program together with several rounds of redundancies. This coincided with me doing more roadie gigs, so I left.

During the late 80s and early 90s, I'd be working during the day, and gigging in the evening. Most roadie gigs were with Ark and IQ, but there were a few others along the way too. For non-roadie gigs, I'd be driving up and down the UK, and a few excursions to mainland Europe. A wonderful time, despite many late nights.

In 1992 I became a professional Lighting Engineer, Drum Technician & Stage Manager, largely for the rock band ARK. Over the course of 4 years, I toured over half the countries in the EU, averaging around 200 gigs a year. I have worked with the famous, the not so famous, and "who???". The fun being with unknowns, but the money being with the famous. One day I may write my memoirs, but I don't think anyone will believe me! After 4 years on the road, moving up towards getting asked to do some bigger gigs, I opted to go back into computing industry.

After 4 years professionally crewing, the adventurous and imaginative side of my nature got me my next job at JPM International Ltd. who are a fruit machine company. While there I helped to write several machines for the bingo, pub, casino and video quiz machine markets, including an amalgamation between a fruit machine and a crane grabber, called Star Turn. If you'd have been to the Mecca Bingo Hall, Acocks Green during 1997, you may have seen it in the arcade room. Following completion of a video quiz machine, I decided I needed a change.

My enjoyment for gigging never stopped during this time, although it did dwindled somewhat. Since 1994 I had been working with the Birmingham Jazz Series Concerts, which took place around Birmingham, where I provided the lights for concerts at The Adrian Boult Hall, as well as acting crew boss for many of their gigs at other Birmingham venues. In 1995 I started working with two Leicester bands, Prolapse and CUSP. Sadly both Prolapse and CUSP no longer exist, but some wonderful memories still remain.

As my gigging work slowed, I was spending more time on computing activities, which by this point had seen me working with a couple of web design companies, where I had learnt Perl. My interest in Perl led me to attend the O'Reilly OSCON (Open Source Conference) in Monterey, California during July 2000. While there I got to know several people I had previous only known online, and several inspired me to start Birmingham Perl Mongers on my return to the UK. The group grew more and more successful, to the point we were at one point the second largest group in the UK.

After forming Birmingham Perl Mongers, I presented at just about every technical meeting, presenting talks on a variety of subjects for both beginners and experts alike. Having cultivated my online Perl profile, I have also spoken at several Linux User Groups, Linux conferences and Perl Conferences, and became a regular speaker at the two major Perl grassroots conferences, YAPC::Europe and YAPC::NA.

Following YAPC::Europe::2003 in Paris, a number of us thought it would be worth Birmingham Perl Mongers hosting the conference. We elected to submit a proposal for 2006 and won the bid. And so at the end of August 2006, YAPC::Europe::2006 took place in Birmingham, with myself as lead organiser. The event was considered a success and helped to raise the profile of both Perl Monger user groups in the UK and Birmingham Perl Mongers in the West Midlands, to the point our numbers have continued to grow and our technical meetings are growing ever more popular, both for attendees and guest speakers asking if they can present talks.

Once I got involved in the Perl community, I also started become more involved in the idea of Free, Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS). As such I became a CPAN Author, and now contribute several modules. In addition I also started to maintain the CPAN Testers Statistics site, having previously been a CPAN Tester, and have a hand in maintaining one of the software projects used to test distributions uploaded to CPAN. As a consequence I regularly presented talks on testing and CPAN Testers. 

To help raise the profile further, Birmingham Perl Mongers took it upon themselves to organise a "World Tour" of UK Perl Monger groups in 2006. The idea was partly to raise the profile of UK Perl groups, but also to advertise the forthcoming YAPC::Europe::2006. For 2007, we decided to do it again, but this time we expanded by visiting numerous Linux as well as Perl user groups in the UK.

In 2015, after 10 years involved with the CPAN Testers, expanding the family of sites from the original report site to twelve supporting sites, I decided the next level needed fresh eyes and ideas, and I stepped away. Since then my Perl and OpenSource activities have been considerably diminished over the last few years, although I still write Perl occasionally, and my day-job is actually managing 4 teams of Perl developers, so I'm still learning.

Hopefully when life starts to get back to some sort of normality, after the past couple of years, I may well do a bit more Perl again, but for now, music polls and gaming are keeping me entertained more than enough.

Some Rights Reserved Unless otherwise expressly stated, all original material of whatever nature created by Barbie and included in the Memories Of A Roadie website and any related pages, including the website's archives, is licensed under a Creative Commons by Attribution Non-Commercial License. If you wish to use material for commercial puposes, please contact me for further assistance regarding commercial licensing.