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Been there, done that , got the book.

Byline: By Barbara Argument Evening Gazette

You might have heard his Teesside tones on Steve Wright's afternoon show last week.

Chances are you will be seeing and hearing a lot more about Richard Horne before long.

His new book, 101 Things to Do Before You Die, turns out to be the definitive guide to everything you should do before it is too late.

It is all the rage in London, especially where he lives in trendy Islington.

He had Steve Wright and his posse raving about its clever concept on his mega-audience radio show.

And the book has had rave reviews from everyone who matters.

Copies of the pocket-size volume have been spotted tucked into loads of pockets, although it has only been in book stores for a week.

Yet the idea for 31-year-old Richard's first book was so simple, he was convinced it had been done before.

So he sat on it for six years ( until he discovered his 101 Things to Do was totally original.

He had already thought up things for it.

Such as being present when your team wins the World Cup. Being friends with your ex. Getting something named after you. Hitting a hole in one. Score the winning goal at the Riverside. Joining the Mile High club. Living out of a van. Realising a childhood dream.

Or best of all winning the lottery to make it so much easier to do all 101 things before you really do die.

"Some things can be done and some are plainly pretty much impossible," says Richard.

"But it's better to regret something you have done, rather than regret something you should have done, but didn't.

"Living is the middle bit between life and death, it's what you do in the middle that counts."

And that includes making it to 100 and receiving a telegram from the Queen.

Richard is a Hemlington lad, an avid Boro fan, a graphic art graduate with a brilliant future ( before he dies ( whose work includes the fourth Harry Potter book jacket, a Tom Jones CD cover and websites for model Sophie Dahl, actor Ethan Hawke and prize-winning author Margaret Atwood.

If you haven't heard about his latest venture, his book is basically this...

A guide to 101 ways to do all sorts of scary, naughty, pointless, reckless, sporty, exciting or just plain mundane things before we pop our clogs.

You have to get out and do them, then write them down in the book, giving each experience the appropriate star rating.

If you cheat, as Richard says, nobody is going to know. Except yourself. So what is the point in that?

Want to give your life more direction? This is the book to get. Do that bungee jump, gatecrash a fancy party, write a best-seller, have something named after you, score the winning goal, experience weightlessness or, for goodness sake, milk a cow, conquer your fear, go to the dogs, make a fire without matches.

There is step by step advice, sticky stars, and progress sheets. You just write your name on the cover and get going.

Richard himself got going at Viewley Hill Primary. Then there was Coulby Newham School before Acklam Sixth Form College.

Art was his best subject, but he managed to do not too well at it before moving to Cleveland College of Art for a foundation course in graphic design.

His parents, Neville and Christine, were "fantastic" he says, encouraging him every inch of the way and he grew up with sister Jane and a big extended family.

University days in Hull were so much fun he didn't want to leave, so he and nine friends managed to take the student spirit with them by moving to a big house in London.

They lived like that for six years until some started marrying and now Richard has moved on too, although they have all managed to stay within a close radius.

He isn't dating but lives with flatmate Katie Thompson who, as it happens, is the daughter of his old Boro design and technology teacher.

He landed his dream job soon after arriving in London, but it turned into a nightmare when the boss moved his inexperienced son in to be head designer.

"You know that category in the book Leave the Job You Hate? Well, this is the job that inspired me," says Richard.

"It was my dream, designing CD covers ( I did The Best of Tom Jones ( but I couldn't do it any more. At a meeting they asked me at the end if there was anything else. I just said, 'I'm leaving.' And I did right away."

So that was the first Thing to Do ticked off his list.

Richard freelanced for a while then went to work for publishers Bloomsbury, which was an amazing stroke of luck.

He showed them the ideas and bingo! 101 Things, written, designed and illustrated by Richard Horne was on its way.

"The idea was going to evolve into greetings cards and I never thought of turning it into a book," says Richard.

"So I sat on it until someone at Bloomsbury said they would take a look.

"I worked for six months, seven days a week and only finished 24 hours before I was due to set off around the world."

So did he do his scariest thing while he was away?

"No!" he groans. "I did a bungee jump in New Zealand, but when the time came my legs wouldn't move, I sort of fell off.

"Although I would love to skydive, I just can't do it. I was at the airport, but just kept on driving past."

And has he got his beloved Boro in the book? "Well, I've got scoring the winning goal, haven't I?" says Richard.

"There's also the section where you visit lots of places, Rio de Janiero, the Colosseum in Rome, the Pyramids...

"I couldn't quite fit Boro in at that point!"

* Check out the book on

101 Things To Do Before You Die, by Richard Horne, published by Bloomsbury, pounds 7.99
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2004 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Issues
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Sep 28, 2004
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Next Article:Boro author says life's not a dress rehearsal.

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