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Other things about us:
Rachel (Stevie Jackson and the big pair of jugs)
Iíll never forget the time when sister Janice and I were on holiday in Morcombe. I was browsing through sticks of rock to take back for the rest of the Friends Of The Heroes and Sister J was flicking through saucy postcards (I didnít even dare to as who they were for!) when who should walk by but none other than Stevie Jackson! He had his fender telecaster in one hand and a bag of chips in the other.
"Oh my GOD. You write for Friends Of The heroes, donít you?" he said addressing Sister J. "Itís such an honour to meet you" he stuttered, blushing profusely.
Sister J was as cool as a cucumber and handed him a signed postcard (The one with the slogan: "that's a very big pair of jugs you have there" if I remember rightly).
It was at that moment I knew that Friends Of The Heroes had truly made it. To the best of my knowledge Stevie Jackson is still a regular at Sister Jís world famous redemptive disco classes.
Johan (But somewhere in all that, you needed someone)
Iíve had so many - so many stories, so many great conversations alongside meetings, so many thoughts.
But if I had to choose a purely personal one, the one that, more than any of the other, made Friends of the Heroes worthwhile to me as a person, it would be the following. Once, I wrote a two-part tribute to my deceased friend Matthew, which went onto the site (thanks!)
Last year, on what I only later realised was his birthday, I received an e-mail from a complete stranger, who turned out to be a girl who had known Matthew, I think when he was in London, writing to thank me for the piece, and to say that she had really appreciated it, and that she had been moved by it (or something like that). For the first time, I think, I really felt that I had touched someone through my writing, and that is the most special feeling ever. It also showed me what the Friends had achieved - again, thank you to all who have made this happen, and keep it happening, fortnight after fortnight!
Matti (Teaching the cavalry html)
Friends of the Heroes taught me two big lessons - how to html and how to push ahead even when the road looks darkly impassable.
A year ago, the call went up - the FotH web mistresses were BOTH on holiday simultaneously, did any of the writers know how to create a web-page? Of course I did! I had my own web-site, I knew this thing! So I eagerly stepped up to the plate. THE CAVALRY HAS ARRIVED!
Oh! Innocence... Ignorance and Innocence combined...
I realized my mistake when the lovely Rachel sent me the guidance notes on how to create a FotH's web-page. It had strangeness in it... like html... like acronyms such as FTP. I phoned the IT desk at the University where I work, 'what's FTP mean then?' Five minutes later I was not only more confused, but in the early stages of utter panic. You see, the web-building that I knew all about involved an idiot-proof template. You type your text in this box, you up-load a photograph into that box, you press a button called 'ok' and magically it appeared on the internet. That was ABC, I'd just told the indomitable editors that I knew fully-blown html!
Fortunately, Grainne had also volunteered. Between Grainne, the University's IT desk and a re-appearance by the (justifiably) anxious Rachel, I taught myself ftp-ing and basic html-ing within the space of about three days. I didn't stop there, I carried on until I was more use than hindrance, and became a half-decent webmistress.
Witchgrove began by nicking the Friends of the Heroes style (with permission), the Pagan Headstone Campaign, my home-page, Charles Arnold's site - all of the above owe a debt to the Friends of the Heroes team for providing the circumstances which dropped me into the deep end and teaching me how to swim to safety again.
Grainne (Friends of the Heroes Forever!)
The first article I wrote for Friends of the Heroes was a review of Rodrigo y Gabriela, in June 2003. I'd been reading the zine since it started, and looked forward to the new issue each week. Naturally, I looked forward to the issue with my article in it even more. I had felt very 'girl-reporter' coming home from the gig and sitting down to write some notes, then sitting down a few days later to write my article. It probably took me a few days, I probably struggled with it, but that's not what I remember.
My favourite Friends of the Heroes memory is opening the new issue and seeing the title of my article there in the contents, with my name next to it! Then clicking the link and seeing my article. It seemed transformed, with the pretty Friends of the Heroes borders it looked so professional. Now it was a real magazine article, when before it was just a Word document seeing on my computer.
I was hooked. From then on, I wanted to part of making this magazine, I wanted to be involved in it's creation and evolution. And I still do. It's fun and exciting and rewarding. It's also hard work and the cause of some stress and frustration on a Thursday night, but I wouldn't give it. I hope we are still here in another two years, and another two years after that!