This web page is about Chris Harris, a training specialist, musician and photographer who lives near Bristol in the UK.

Read Chris's blog.

Last update: January 2019

 

Age: 58
Profession: Training consultant / e-learning specialist
Habitat: Small village near Bristol, England
Highest qualification: MSc. in Advanced Learning Technology from Lancaster University
Hobbies: Illustration, Photography, Reading, Movies, Writing, Music, Songwriting, Home recording, Drawing, Computing
Sports: Skiing, cycling (very infrequently)
Sense of humour: Very left field (i.e. frequently described as "weird")
Favourite writers: William Gibson, Terry Pratchett, Larry Niven, Jack Womack and Ed Regis to name just a few.
Favourite TV shows: Horizon, Cowboy Bebop, Father Ted, Futurama, Buffy, Warehouse 13, The IT Crowd, Black Books, Star Trek in its Original, Next Generation, and Discovery versions, and Babylon 5.
Favourite films: Buckaroo Banzai, Forbidden Planet, Blade Runner (both the Original and 2049), Monty Python and the Holy Grail, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Inception, and M. Hulot's Holiday.
Favourite drink: Coffee
Would spend sudden fortune on: A larger house with more bookcases and a better home cinema set-up. And a recording studio.

As you may have realised (especially if you Google me) there are quite a few folks called Chris Harris about. So here are a few details to help you see if you've found who you're looking for.

No, I'm not the speedway rider and Top Gear presenter. I've never been a Texas State Senator. The guy with the domain name is a Canadian wildlife photographer. Furthermore, I would like to state for the record that I have never, at any time, had anything to do with Chris Moyles. I have never been a professional wrestler. Nor am I a New Zealand cricketer. And I wasn't Bristol's famous pantomime dame, either.

Chances are, if you're still here and you're looking for a Chris Harris who likes skiing, draws cartoons, and is a bit of a film and music nut, you've come to the right place.

I was born in 1960 in the town of Lytham St. Annes, in Lancashire. Being born on 11th August meant that I got a total solar eclipse for my birthday way back in 1999, which was a once-in-a-lifetime experience in all senses of the word.

During childhood my family moved about a lot. In the 1970s I went to Burton Manor County Primary school and King Edward VI Grammar school in Stafford, but finished my "A" levels at John Newnham High School in Croydon.

I moved to Milton Keynes in 1986, working in BT's training department. For a while I was based at Bletchley Park, famous for its role during the war in breaking German military codes. I really enjoyed my time there. I met some great people while I worked at BT, and ended up marrying one of them. Sadly, life in the 90's wasn't as good and we split up a few years later.

I moved down here to Gloucestershire in 1995, and apart from a brief stint in Florida (it's a hard life) I've been here ever since. I live in a small village on the edge of the Cotswolds, a little bit north of Bristol. The Cotswolds are a range of hills which run across southern England from the Severn Estuary to just west of Oxford. That's how I explain it, anyway - everyone has their own ideas where the Cotswolds start and end. What everyone does agree on is that they contain some of the most beautiful countryside in Britain. The local stone is a warm, honey colour, and many of the local buildings are built from it. It has a warm, luminous feel to it, quite unlike anywhere else I've lived. I wish I'd moved here years ago.

You can find me on Facebook, Twitter, Bandcamp, Soundcloud and many other places on the Internet by searching for "Headfirstonly", after the skiing club that was the initial reason for me creating this website.

Motorhead - from the vaults

If I was to try and sum myself up in a single word, I'd like to think that the word would be "creative."

I used to draw a lot—cartoons, portraits and a little graphic design. I really enjoyed it; I even did some work for a few bands, including the heavy metal group Motorhead. For some reason people don't believe this, muttering things like "and he looks so normal..." but it's all true!

These days, my drawing board is set up in the conservatory and I recently used it to take part in the #Inktober challenge. Yes, I've finally started sketching again. I've put together a graphics page about some of the stuff I've produced over the years.

Photography is a big part of my life these days. You'll find lots of stuff about that elsewhere.

I also enjoy birdwatching. It's handy living where I do, because the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust reserve at Slimbridge is a few minutes' drive from here. I joined the WWT in 1997, and I've been in the RSPB for more than 30 years. My father lives in north Norfolk, which is also prime birdwatching country. When I visit, I try whenever I can to go walking on the beach at Cley or Salthouse. There, you can see all sorts of birds - even the occasional Flamingo. After living inland for so long, I'm still terrible at identifying waders and the like, but I'm getting better. My mum is no longer with us, but she was a great birdwatcher; she was the sort of person who could say, "what's wrong with that blackbird on the drive?" and when you looked, it turned out to be a perfectly healthy ring ouzel.

Then there's reading: I have a book problem. Look up the definition of the Japanese word tsundoku and the associated illustrations will look very much like my house. In normal circumstances, I can't go into a bookshop without buying a book, and my house is full of stacks of paperbacks and hardbacks. Even buying a Kindle a few years ago has done little to stop the growth of piles of physical books on all available flat surfaces. I buy a tremendous amount of books and I usually spend at least an hour a day reading through them. So many books, so little time... On my books page I used to go on and on about the fact, but since I discovered that you can automate a lot of the listing and reviewing process at Gooodreads, I do all that sort of thing over there.

There's also my obsession with cinema. Some friends of mine once suggested that I'd had the Internet Movie Database surgically implanted. I've loved films since I was little, but these days that love has become an all-consuming passion. You can find out more —so much more—on my films page.

My greatest love and biggest obsession will always be music. I enjoy listening to all styles, from classical to heavy rock, from pop to electronica. I'm not sure "enjoy" does the process justice. When I listen to a piece of music I become totally absorbed in it. I write and record my own music, too. I've done so since the 70s, when all I had to work with was an acoustic guitar, a cassette recorder, and some pots and pans from the kitchen that would be used as a drumkit. These days my gear has become more sophisticated; I play lots of different musical instruments and—inevitably—computers are involved in the creative process as well. On my music page you can find out a bit more about what I enjoy listening to and how I make music of my own. The page also has plenty of embedded video and audio, so not only can you listen to what I do, you can also see how I do it.

I'm a regular participant in the songwriting challenges of February Album Writing Month (where the target is to write 14 songs in 28 days), and its sister site 50/90 (where the target is to write 50 songs in the 90 days between July 4th and October 1st). Doing this has had a huge effect on my songwriting skills. It's also helped me boost my musical output to around 100 new tracks each year. It's even helped me to devlop a singing voice that I'm comfortable with inflicting on other people.

Meanwhile, on my Page o'musicians you can find out about the artists I love.

Finally, as if you hadn't already realised, I spend more time than is good for me in front of my computer. Maintaining the blog on this site has been a part of my monthly routine since 2003, and it's proved a useful repository for the piles of trivia and other Internet rubbish I accumulate every day. The results are archived for you to browse through, should you wish to do so. The discipline of coming up with something every week or so for more than fifteen years years also led me to discover that I really enjoy writing as a pastime in its own right. As a result, I've written a few novels (as part of November's National Novel Writing Month event, commonly referred to as Nanowrimo) and usually I have a bunch of short stories in various stages of development. You never know; one day I might even start trying to get some of them published. If I do, you'll hear about it on the blog.

Chris