Extreme weirdness

by Suw on February 4, 2005

I went to uni with a guy called Mark Davies. We both did a degree in Geology at the University of Wales, College of Cardiff, graduating in 1993. When I left uni, I moved to London, got a job in publishing and promptly lost contact with most of my fellow geologists. It was no surprise to me – I wasn't made for running up mountains day after day, I was designed expressly for the purpose of sitting in front of a computer, typing. It's what I'm good at.
Mark DaviesIn around 1996 (or early 97), just as I was hitting a stage of deep dissatisfaction with my life as it was going, there was a documentary on TV which shook me somewhat. It wasn't really the subject, the Soufriere volcano on the island of Montserrat, but the fact that one of the volcanologists was Mark. My life was in the doldrums and here was this guy I used to know doing really cool stuff on TV. I ended up talking to one of my old lecturers about the possibility of going back and doing a doctorate but common sense asserted itself and I went off to become a music journalist instead.
A few years later, I saw Mark in a documentary about Santorini, an historical volcano which went bang in a most magnificently spectacular fashion. Again, it made me wonder why I was doing crap stuff and he was off having fun in the sun with a TV crew.
Now I'm sitting here watching a series called Extreme Archaeology, fronted by Mark, which was first shown on Channel 4 last year. But the pangs of jealousy I felt before are completely absent. Maybe I'm less impressed by a TV appearance now as I was then, or maybe it's because Mark appears to be thinning on top. Maybe it's because the archaeology is not so much extreme as ill-conceived. I suspect, however, it's because whilst he's off getting muddy on the banks of the River Wye, I'm doing what I consider to be really cool stuff whilst sitting in front of a computer, typing.
UPDATE: I just wanna clarify something. Reading this back it sounds as if I'm criticising Mark, but that's not my intention. He was a lovely guy and undoubtedly still is. But if all I can think of to explain the change in my reaction to seeing someone I spent three years on the same degree as on telly is 'he seems to be thinning a bit' then that, to me, indicates that the change is internal, it's me who's changed: I'm more satisfied with what I'm doing now, so I don't feel the envy or the disquiet that I used to feel.
I'd love to have a chat with Mark and find out how he ended up doing documentaries, what it's really like to make a TV program, and what he's been up to in the decade since I saw him last. I'd also love to see if he's in touch with anyone else from uni cos I lost touch with them all years ago.
But this was never meant to be a spikey post. Sorry if it read like that.

Anonymous February 6, 2005 at 4:58 am

not just weirdness, but X-TREME WEIRDNESS

Anonymous February 6, 2005 at 10:56 am

Wormhole Xtreme!!!!!!!!!!!
Let's face it, he'll never be able to compete with Stargate SG1.

Anonymous February 11, 2005 at 12:31 pm

thin on top??? if that's the best you can do….

Anonymous February 11, 2005 at 1:20 pm

This isn't about criticism of Mark – he was and undoubtedly still is a lovely guy and my comments aren't meant to be read as a dig. It's more about my examination of my reactions to seeing him on TV. I'll admit that I'm as shallow as the next person – the only difference is that I sometimes discuss it in public. And if hairstyle is the only reason I can find for why I may no longer feel jealous, then that means that the difference is not with Mark, but inside me. That was my point. Maybe it didn't come across so well.

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