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10 things you might not know (and don't care to know) about Jim Stoilin'

This seems to be today's CBlog activity, and since I'm as self-interested as the rest of you, I shall join in!

1: I grew up with bikers and a bearded alcoholic called The Preacher

I don't go into a great deal of detail about my childhood, save for the occasional joke on Podcastle, but if I've ever jokingly referenced a childhood surrounded by Hell's Angel Outcasts, I'm actually not joking. A lot of my childhood was spent in transit and among my earliest memories there are recollections of sleeping on people's floors because of homelessness, and people called Plek and Animal and tattooed people pissing in our wardrobe. My stepfather was a psychopath known to his friends and enemies as The Preacher. He had very few teeth.

2: I was an unsuccessful comedian:

Going as far back as secondary school, I wanted to be a comedian. In college I met my best friend and the man I thought I'd have a career with, Leo VK. Together we formed a group with another friend of mine called The New Associates, then The Associates, then The Morphine Associates. Funnily enough we had no actual success to go along with these name changes. We did a few sketch shows in and around London and I think we had a lot of good ideas, but we lacked the zeal to really make a career out of it. Before giving up and deciding I was a writer and not a comic, I tried a tiny handful of stand-up comedy gigs in music venues. I miss the stage terribly, but you have to admit to yourself where your strengths lie and do not lie.

3: Writing a satirical article sometimes terrifies me:

While I think there's a prevailing attitude that I don't give a shit what people think of my work, that's not entirely true. I certainly don't care if you disagree with my opinions or think I'm a shit human being, but if I write a comedic article, I really get worried that it's not funny and people will hate it. It's weird -- I can insult Sony/MS/Nintendo and revel in the backlash from people all day long, but if just one person thinks a humorous article of mine wasn't funny, I get very worked up. I think it ties in with the ex-comedian in me.

Getting a good reaction to a comedy article can only be described as a relief.

4: Withnail & I is a very important film to me:

As if it's a surprise that I love a film about drug-addled, swearing actors, Withnail & I is a very important film. It's the one film I can count on when life is shit to remind me that it could be shitter. Plus, having lived in similar squalor-filled situations, I can sympathize with the movie entirely.

5: I am compulsively honest:

Have you ever seen As Good As It Gets? There's a scene where Jack Nicholson keeps overexplaining everything because he doesn't feel like he's being precise enough. It's something like, "I'd spent all night out in the cold just to see you. Actually that's an overstatement, I'd rather be indoors ..." and he continues like this, exacting his thoughts out so he's not overstating or underexplaining. That's pretty much what I can be like at my worst. Especially with friends and loved ones, I have a problem with anything I perceived as dishonesty. Integrity is important to me and if I feel like I've lied, I will obsess over it for a long time. I can't even claim it's particular noble -- it's more a complex than a sincere form of honesty. It's strange. My wife at least says she knows I'd never be able to cheat on her.


6: The first game I remember buying was Dizzy: Prince of the Yolk Folk

... and by "buying" I mean "having been bought for me." Being a 25-year-old isn't exactly old, yet I still feel pretty fucking old for remembering a time when I could walk into WH Smith and actually buy a videogame on a cassette. They were on the way out then, sure, but they could still be bought brand new while I was a kid. I remember my grandparents getting it for me, or my brother. Either way we played together. He did the controls, I did the hard stuff like working out what the fuck to do.

7: I wish I had some videogame design talent:

Unlike many of my industry peers, I'm not an aspiring game designer and I don't wish to move on from writing to a games industry job as a permanent career move. However, I am not bereft of videogame ideas, and one in particular I'd love to see become a reality. Sadly, I have no talent whatsoever in that department. Maybe one day I'll found my own studio and hire boffins to do the work for me. I have a number of concepts I'd love to have brought to life.

8: I'd like to do videogame voiceovers:

Again with the faded dreams of performance. I want to voice at least one game, and would love to have a secondary career as a vocal talent. I strongly believe that we need more recognizable voice actors in games that are actually known for that and not something else. David Hayter is someone I admire as the first rung on the ladder of videogame voice actors getting respect. Fuck, I'd even voice games for free, I don't need the money. I just want more people with a passion for the craft in the industry.

9: I learned to roller blade by walking up a hill with the blades on:

I consider this a defining moment of my life, where I decided that the best way to do something was to make it as hard as possible for you, then hoping for the best. An extreme crash course, if you will. I was only about fourteen or fifteen and scored a role as Ariel in Return to the Forbidden Planet, that year's school play. It was a singing robot who rollerbladed onstage. So, I learned to do it by walking up and down the hill that separated my house from my grandparents' house. It was fucking difficult, I feel over, and it hurt. But after that, you bet your cunt that rollerblading was easy as shit.

10: My grandparents are the reason I'm here today:

My family is as English as you can get, which means we don't show our emotions and never say "I love you." However, despite the awkwardness of expressing one's feelings, I have never doubted that my grandparents love me. They practically are my parents, and kept me going when I was wasting my life. The reason I'm where I am today -- with a career and a family of my own -- is because they were there when all I had was another overdraft debt on my bank account. Saying goodbye to them was one of the hardest parts of moving to America. They drove me to the hotel the night before my flight, and were the last people I saw. Watching them as they walked to the car still cuts me up.

If I ever win a Pulitzer for writing about Princess Peach and I don't thank my grandparents, you all have full rights to slap me in the fucking face.
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About Jim Sterlingone of us since 6:50 PM on 05.12.2007