Welcome to my personal blog.
My name is Graham Carter and I started this blog on January 1, 2007.
I was born and brought up in the town of Swindon, Wiltshire, England, where I still live, half a century later. I am at least a seventh-generation Swindonian and am proud of my (albeit humble) family origins and my honest, working class home town. My late father was a fireman/ambulance driver with British Railways at the Swindon Railway Works (which was big enough to have its own fire and ambulance station), and the Works also employed both my grandfathers - one as a labourer, the other as a boilermaker.
Since 1987 I've been married to Julie, and we have two children - Sean and Holly, who are now both teenagers, plus our cat, Daisy (our other cat, Elvis, having sadly died in 2011).
Until recently I worked as a freelance journalist/sub-editor, and although I still write a weekly column for the Swindon Advertiser, I am now writing a non-fiction book about... well, I am not saying what it's about, just for now.
My Swindon Advertiser column, by the way, is about life "from the wrong side of 40", although I am now also the wrong side of 50. My best work from more than 20 years as a professional journalist was the Chronicle of Swindon, published in 2006, which traced the town's history in 200 tabloid pages (eight pages a week for six months) of which I did 99 per cent of the research, writing and editing. I also once contributed a chapter to a proper football book called The Cult of the Manager.
My main interests are history (especially local and family history), art (I draw a bit), reading (almost always non-fiction) and music. I took up playing the drums when I was about 40, and in 2008 played my first live gigs - in a Sixties/Seventies cover band called The Misfits, who still belt it out in pubs and clubs around Swindon every four to six weeks. I also take an interest in lots of other things, including sport - cricket having taken over as my favourite (although I'm too old to partake myself, except in running), architecture and lots of other things too numerous or too personal to mention.
I hate the word 'hate', but I genuinely do hate Margaret Thatcher, mushrooms, the so-called 'celebrity' culture we have to live in, Big Brother and EastEnders, racism, snobbery, the short-sightedness and small-mindedness of local government and, of course, rap music.
On the other hand, even these abominations are more than made up for by The Beatles, Al Stewart, Brian Wilson/The Beach Boys, bangers and mash and curry (though not on the same plate), frost and snow, Bill Bryson, NASA, Michael Palin, National Geographic, QI, plain chocolate, cats, Christmas, cathedrals (even though I'm an atheist), Parma Violets, wind turbines, Stephen Fry, Time Team, Austin A30s/A35s, Countdown, drummer Dom Famularo, Ordnance Survey maps, satnav, iPods, iMacs, contact lenses, fridges that dispense ice, the smell of Play-Doh, Nuts in May, museums, Amsterdam, real ale, real cider, Quark XPress, Adobe Photoshop, the internet, Rolf Harris, Fawlty Towers, The Sixth Sense, The Muppet Christmas Carol, Thunderbirds, daleks, all things Indian, flying, English canals and Phoenix Nights.
In 2009 I co-founded the Alfred Williams Heritage Society, of which I am currently Vice-chair.
Other interesting points about me include: I am a twin (my twin brother is called Brian); my wife and my twin brother's wife were born on the very same day (as each other, but not the same day as us); I'm colour-blind; I've run four marathons (including two London Marathons); I once jumped out of a plane; I have met and interviewed (or at least questioned) various famous people, including Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, Sir Stanley Matthews, Sir Henry Cooper and a former member of The Beatles (Pete Best, the drummer before Ringo); I've set foot on four different continents - Europe, America, Australasia and (very briefly) Asia; and I've travelled as far north as Edinburgh, as far west as Florida, and as far east and south as Australia. What's the best place I've visited? Australia (no contest).
This blog is about my continuing career as a human being in a very big world, and the impact it is having on me - and, to a much lesser extent, the impact I have on it.