Phil Green

It was 1999 when I got the call… “We wonder if you’d like to work in Saudi Arabia?”.

I asked “who is we?” and the answer was then one of the biggest Telecommunication companies in the world – Marconi under the name GPT Special Project Management (as Marconi wasn’t supposed to be doing military contracts anymore)

The rest is history, but in early 2000 my feet landed on the sun-scorched ground, a place so hot that it makes a mockery of what the Guinness Book of Records claims is the hottest place on earth…

Saudi is unlike any other country in the world. You respect it, or it’ll spit you out in a heartbeat. Even the way people think is different, completely differently to how we think in the western world – and you have to learn this very quickly indeed.

We were based in Riyadh and our office then was a big old house we called the RMO. And staff would come and go frequently – not a surprise when the head of HR’s opening line is “Welcome to Saudi! You WILL go to jail here, get over it – it WILL happen!!”

Some of us were more receptive to the way of life and learning about a nations history and culture. In fact you soon become aware that it is melting pot of culture and extraordinary coincidences. A guy who lived a few villas away went to my very first school, more amazingly he was in the class next to mine when we were no more than six years old.  Another time I walked into the next office to mine to walk straight into the father of a mate from Sheffield! (Danny Curran) It was like “errrr…. what are you doing here?”

I met three great people there, people who I know to this day and I regard very highly 1. Abdullah Al Romaizan 2. Ginge (the one and only IT Wizard) and 3. Phil Green.
Now apart from Abdullah who is a Saudi national and from one of the more influential families in Saudi, we lived on a compound, a walled town where inside it was very much western living and also very much like some of the best holiday resorts – Ranco Village… It’s not the best compound in Saudi (apparently the better ones had Golf Courses 😮 ) – but a good one, good enough for us and we called it “home”.

Phil and I worked in the same office as Installation Design Engineers and a major part of our job was site surveys. As our contract was to the Saudi Arabian National Guard, we spent a lot of time in and around and often under military barracks, but the head of the “SANG” was the then crowned prince (now King) Abdullah and as part of the communication system, we had to install direct landline secure communication to any possible location he could be… This meant EVERY royal palace in Riyadh – and while that sounds great and a bit posh, there are over 120 of them…

Phil knew telecommunications very well, he knew far more than most of us, but at the same time, when he didn’t know something, he knew who to ask. Even me when he was building a 8ft concrete retaining wall – he re-engineered what I told him, but it was a strong and interesting job when he had completed it 😉

In our down time we kicked it hard, Phil was into old school rock n roll and the mention of Elvis would have his full attention in a heartbeat, in fact I was doing a simple 12-bar turnaround on the guitar one drunken evening and he came bounding over “which Elvis song was that?” he asked. “All of them” I laughingly replied, “along with every blues tune you’ve ever heard and you could even throw most of Status Quo’s repertoire in there for good measure”.

An irony of sorts; earlier this year I was kicking around Memphis (as yer do) and had a fantastic meal in B.B.King’s restaurant with @Gabsatrucker when we decided to do a drive by of Elvis’s home at  Graceland  for no other reason than to send a pic to Phil as this is his mecca and Danny Curran who hates the place.

Weekend partying was often hard, for Phil it was his way of numbing how much he missed his family, wife Mel and the kids. For Ginge, a way of life 😉  But it was either on a compound, in the middle of the desert or Bahrain – for which Phil bought this old wreck of a car with the biggest wing mirror in the world bolted to the door by Richard Arthur so that they could drive over to Bahrain.

Life from those days has moved on, Ginge lives in South Africa now, I’m between the UK and USA and Phil worked as a Project Manager in the UK for various companies before recently settling in at BP.

It is funny, Phil and I never really socialized that much over the years, but we kept in touch, we chatted via FB and email just a couple of weeks ago. But more often than not, to me he was often a voice in the darkness, at a time when things were the worst – he’d simply say “hi”… And that I’ll never forget.

On Monday Phil passed away suddenly and without warning, last night his wife emailed me the news.

A man, a father, husband, engineer and a fun lovin rogue, but above all to all that knew him – a mate

Phil Green

Someone I was lucky enough to meet and I’ll never forget

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Girl Gone Gamer saying how it really is: Scary Ass Toys…

Yup, with the western world now turning attention toward Christmas and all you parents out there both young and old – and everyone else whoever had toys (which is all of you, because they hadn’t been invented in the century I was born) – while the 2012 TWBrit Christmas list is still being compiled in an outrageous manner – Youtube Vlogger GirlGoneGamer has the right questions regarding toys.

Published in: on 9 November, 2012 at 00:10  Comments (2)  
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Stuff :-)

Firstly, hurricane Sandy…. Wow!!

Hope most people are ok, I guess NYC will be building some new infrastructure over the coming weeks and months to minimise this kind of thing again. Web buddy and owner of Rocketboom.com Andrew Baron managed to get out and about and take some pics of the aftermath. Click on the image to go and see

All things “Sandy” aside, it was Halloween and a quick look at this site called TMZ made me realise that at least 90% of the so-called celebs they talk about, I’ve not in fact heard of lol. Most of which didn’t come close to @gabsatrucker’s Halloween cozzy which was based on a pirate wench – less sword, belt and hat. But in all of this, something strange appeared. [***Segue***] I’ve been looking into “E-Cigarettes” and so far I have found that many rave about the “Apollo” brand for being so like the real thing – yet DONT smell, DONT kill you and DONT affect the people around you… But who knew that come all things Halloween you can “Mod” them and make them look Kewl?! This pic is care of @gypsyhooker or better known as Shannon to the good ladies of the US trucking fraternity.

But… I’m about to embark on a trial of these e-cigs and see if they work where on 4 occasions everything else (patches, a punch in the mouth etc) have failed. But while doing my research I have come across some disturbing things.

1. There is no enforced safety standard or Govt. Regulation

2. There is no guidance regarding public places and mass transit.

3. If these things work, then they are in everyone’s interest to allow and to help stop smoking widely

4. The cost of these things are targeted at the price of a pack of cigarettes – whereas most people in the UK at least, hand-roll – so moving to e-cigs is a far more expensive consideration than the cost to remain smoking…

5 What I do disagree with is that they are made to look like real cigarettes! As such there have been instances on flights where one person has seen someone smoking an e-ciggy and just assumed it was ok to smoke – and lit up a real one… So, they should ban the use of Red or Orange LED’s in them and the outer colour should not be white.

Talking of planes though…

Air New Zealand have brought out a new flight safety video… Think Hobbits!! It’s great lol

In other news

As I mention in an earlier post, this blog’s and my buddy Sue Black was raising pledges for a BOOK publication… Well not only did she raise them, she far exceeded them and in doing so she halved the record time it takes to raise them!! Great work Sue and everyone who pledged – rocking, just rocking!!

More news…

Dell, who class themselves not as a manufacturer but as a Solutions provider have been making steps forward into the digital home. Work, office, media, study, play, photography, design, interact; you name it, dell has drawn it all together for the home in a realistic way and far beyond any other company to date. The new Tech Inspiration site is now up and running with tons of know-how, and cool stuff HERE or click the pic.

SXSW 2013 Austin, Texas… Yer know…. as far as music and film goes – SXSW still has it, but the “Interactive” part? I think 2012 was its death knell… You see, the Interactive part was a meeting place of ideas, conceptual minds to share and conceive of next-tech etc. Now it’s basically a highly sponsored group of events to flog the attendee something.

Even Toby Daniels the CEO of Crowdcentric and the Founder and Executive Director of Social Media Week said the format is old and stale. But the worse parts of SXSW are:

The Ticket Prices!! For an event so highly sponsored they’re unreasonable, unrealistic in the present climate and just money grabbing!

Transport!! Austin really needs to address its transport for such major events. Especially from the Airport – which for the most part you can’t fly internationally to from any country other than Mexico… But would desperately benefit from direct flights to London, Tokyo, Vancouver, Toronto, Sydney and Shanghai.

Yet Austin feels it has a place on the world stage – I happen to agree, but it will soon be looked over due to the inability to get people to the city and around it in a reliable and at a reasonable rate… The Taxi’s are just too expensive.

And Finally: Accommodation… Often booked up, too many tickets than hotel rooms available and of course – the premium prices for the accommodation…

The only thing killing SXSW is – SXSW and Austin itself and it pains me to say that. But Austin will learn this the hard way if F1 finds fault with transport and accommodation that is for sure.

Personally, I like Austin!! In fact I believe Austin has a massive opportunity to make itself one of the best City’s in not only the USA, but culturally and in a cosmopolitan sense – one of the finest in the World!! But there is much to do, and little time to waste.

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