Saturday, April 22, 2006

Shear Misfortune

You have to feel a little bit sorry for Alan Shearer, who announced his retirement from his football career this morning due to injury. I don't subscribe to him being any kind of perfect gent, but you have to admire his decision to buck the money deal and stick it out with the club that was in his heart - loyalty is not a word oft associated with the football circus in these times. I have a signed Shearer England shirt given to me a as present, too.

The mention of Shearer and Newcastle is quite apt since I went up there on Thursday, returning yesterday lunchtime. There's a huge, huge banner of Shearer hanging on the side of St.James' Park which I thought was a fitting tribute to the guy.

I've only been to Newcastle a bunch of times and it's always grown on me - the people are great, super-friendly and I've always had a top time, with this recent trip being no different. I stayed over with a good friend in Prudhoe after a really good meal and a night out with the Codeworks people. I'd been to look around another dev studio and met with some regional development guys - all interesting stuff as well as a cracking coffee down on the quayside at the Baltic centre.

I returned back to Wakefield and back to Team17 to find out that there was a bit of a send off occuring for Rico who is leaving for Sweden to hopefully start a family, etc. So the afternoon was spent with him and a bunch of other Team17 people and it was a very good afternoon - very funny and it seemed everyone was really bouyant and happy, which is a great thing - there really is a tide of optimism at the company which is great after a difficult few years generally for all independent developers. It was particularly amusing to see just how pissed Aten and Kilburn got. What wasn't particularly amusing was the hangover I got last night - which was a double-headed monster since I'd "topped up" my Newcastle night out by drinking on Friday afternoon...

It'll be sad to see Rico go, but I'm not sure it's the last we'll see of the fella - or of his work! Having worked with him for nigh on 19yrs, we'll have to see how the future pans out. In fact he's back in just a little over a week and I think he'll come out in town that night too. Rico is the artist responsible for a wide range of classic Team17 titles (Alien Breed, Project-X, Superfrog and more). His last official work was on Worms: Open Warfare for PSP. It's always odd when someone leaves T17 - especially one of the "older veterans" and people often never really "leave" in the true sense of the word, describing it as the best company to work for - which is wonderful to hear when you're responsible for running the place :-) It'll be a bit odd for Rico for a while, but I'm sure he'll cope ok - he was out in Sweden for many years before he moved back over a few years back - T17 is like an extended family and I'm sure he'll miss most of the folks very much.

I was out in Wakefield on Wednesday with Matt from Sony London and the guys from the T17 office - we watched Arsenal edge out Villa-Real in the Champions league and had a few beers in our favourite Belgian-bar, Elliots before grabbing a pretty crappy curry it has to be said - at about 2.30am.

We're also, it seems, welcoming back one of our former programmers, who after dipping his toe "in the real world" wants to come back, so we expect to see Charles back in June, which is good news.

I've got to sort my mums PC/Broadband out today too - thats all ready to go now. It remains to be seen just how much she'll get into it - she struggles with TV remotes! Other than that I've not got much else planned and depending on the weather, I could find myself armed with sandpaper and furniture stain in the garden again.

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