Wednesday, 21 August 2019

The Best Year Of Our Lives: The Characters - Paul Adams

For obvious reasons, Paul Adams was at the same time both the easiest and the most difficult character for me to portray.

Easiest, because I had a personal insight into his psyche. I know what makes him tick, even if some of those who share this story with him are not so sure. I share his musical enthusiasms, his anxieties, his yearnings, and his sense of longing for a past that is uncertain, undefined, and in equal part mystical and mythical. Such over-familiarity also made it the most difficult.

The various observations I have received from readers about the character of Paul Adams are noted. He was never going to be wholly the good guy or the bad, he is not a character to be reduced to such binary simplicities. He is a complex subject for analysis, even for me. In varying proportions he is vain, delusional, manipulative, devious, indecisive, sometimes cowardly and most times obsessive. In his defence he is also protective, loyal, romantic, resourceful, pragmatic, aspirational and, in his own mind at least, even visionary. His destination is formless but the path that leads him, and others, to it is forever clear.

CONFUSED BY TIME

Paul is a character confused by time, to the extent that he simply refuses to accept the transient nature of his existence. If it happened at some point in the past and lingers within his soul then as far as he is concerned it is still happening. He cocks a snook at impermanence and plants his flag defiantly upon the hill of his apogee, challenging life to do its worst. The best year of his life is, for Paul, a transcendent experience.

Whatever inspiration I may have drawn from literary greats such as Tolkein or C.S. Lewis, the story which loomed large in my subconscious, particularly in the later chapters, was Quadrophenia. The story of Jimmy the mod, albeit a character slightly older and meaner than Paul Adams, was one with which there were obvious parallels, although I did not consciously plan it that way and the fact only really occurred to me after publication. All the same the idea of Paul riding off a cliff on a stolen scooter to his death once the euphoria of the big event had faded, and everything he had lived for had crumbled so quickly and so completely into dust, seemed to me to be inappropriate and overstated.

ANTICLIMACTIC

Instead I chose to bring him back to Earth with a bump, in an Epilogue so anticlimactic that it would disorient the reader every bit as much as had any of the chapters charting Paul’s ascent to imagined greatness. Or that was the intention anyway. Once the story had been told and the magic had been fulfilled Paul Adams alighted from the wardrobe. Alone.

I feel there are many chapters left in Paul Adams, but what tale they will tell I truly do not know. The best year of anybody’s life cannot, by definition, be bettered.

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

Holy Holy at the London Palladium



It's been a fortnight since I saw Holy Holy performing at the prestigious London Palladium. There is sadly no more frustrating an existence than that of the writer who is too busy scratching a living to have the time to write. Fortunately (for me), performances like this one are not quickly forgotten.

Holy Holy is led by Mick "Woody" Woodmansey, the legendary drummer and sole surviving member of The Spiders From Mars, the quartet fronted by David Bowie during his Ziggy Stardust period in the early 1970s. The band's description of itself as a "supergroup" is audacious and assertive, but entirely justified. I've seen a whole bunch of tribute bands, some of them very good, but this is something so immeasurably different as to be off the scale.

For starters there is Woody himself, who was there when it all happened the first time. One can hardly be a tribute act to oneself. On bass is Tony Visconti, who played on The Man Who Sold The World and went on to produce around a dozen of Bowie's subsequent albums as well as scores of others for such artists as T. Rex, Thin Lizzy, Morrissey, Iggy Pop and The Moody Blues to name just a few.

AN IMPRESSIVE LINE-UP

On guitars are James Stevenson (The Alarm, Generation X, The Cult) and Paul Cudderford (Ian Hunter, Bob Geldof) - both proud Mick Ronson devotees. On keyboards is Heaven 17's Berenice Scott and on guitar, sax and backing vocals (and occasionally lead vocals) the very talented Jessica Lee Morgan, daughter of Visconti and Welsh folk singer Mary Hopkin. With such an impressive line-up fronted by the ferocious vocal talents of Heaven 17's Glenn Gregory, Holy Holy is clearly no more a tribute group than the Rolling Stones is a pub band.

In all of this Glenn Gregory himself deserves a special mention. Whilst his vocal range and power are beyond dispute, when I saw Holy Holy for the first time just over a year ago I felt he looked just a little awkward, his hand gestures and body language ever so slightly self-conscious. Of course it may just have been my imagination, but in any event this was entirely understandable - rock frontmen by their very nature exude ego every bit as much as ability, demanding ownership of the stage as well as of the songs they sing. When their raison d'etre before an audience is as an act of homage to another frontman, especially one of such immense stature as Bowie, ego is not an option.

Nevertheless, at the Palladium not a hint of awkwardness reported present. Gregory commanded the set from start to finish and, just like a certain man, he never lost control. My wife Caroline, not a Bowie fan but there to keep me company and to enjoy a night out in London, singled his out as the best and most memorable performance amongst some very stiff competition.

HARD ROCK ETHIC

The set itself comprised a complete and sequential performance of two of Bowie's early albums, The Man Who Sold The World and The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars. The former, released in 1970, had been the first to involve something approaching what was to become the iconic Spiders line-up, although with Visconti on bass rather than Trevor Bolder, who arrived a little later. As a progressive rock enthusiast Woodmansey was much at home with its hard rock ethic, although curiously it was never actually toured by Bowie and the band. Woody's eagerness to make up for lost time with his present company was lovable and infectious.

From the raw and racy excitement of The Width Of A Circle, through After All with its eerily Gothic fairground vibe, the throbbing percussion sound of The Supermen and the recurring faux-Latin backdrop of the title track, Holy Holy delivered the first instalment with power and authenticity. Then it was time for Woody's patient yet strangely haunting drum intro to Five Years to lead us into the second.

The band's interpretation of the whole Ziggy Stardust playlist was similarly faithful to the original with which, I suspect, the overwhelming majority of the audience were as familiar to the last note as I was. Any rare deviations had a relevance all of their own; for instance the guitar play-out at the tail end of Moonage Daydream was recognisably that of Ronson's climactic finale during the historic Ziggy tour of 1973. When Jessica Lee Morgan took lead vocals for Lady Stardust it was almost like a signal to the crowd that the dancing was soon to begin and, sure enough, by the time the group had launched into Star the first among our fellow old-timers in the Royal Stalls were on their feet.

A SHORT CHAPTER

Almost half a century on from the halcyon days of the early seventies Woody Woodmansey is conspicuously an even better drummer than he was in those far-off days. He did little wrong when he wielded the sticks for Bowie but there is an authority about his playing now which just keeps on growing. I would love the opportunity to ask him just how he processes the surreality of performing the same numbers on stage this second time around, probably before many of the same people in the audience, with the other Spiders gone and a whole new gang playing in front of him.

It is impossible to overstate the importance of The Spiders From Mars to the whole Bowie story. And yet, chronologically speaking, they were but a short chapter in a long, almost Tolstoy-esque epic which held the reader's attention to the last through the novel expedient of changing the characters repeatedly throughout.

I will simply say this though as if to illustrate my point. I have watched countless documentaries about Bowie's career and a whole lot of them have survived the omission of Diamond Dogs, the Young Americans plastic soul period or even the Thin White Duke in the interests of maintaining brevity. But try relating the story of this extraordinary man's artistic career without any mention of Ziggy or the Spiders and see where that lands your credibility. Bowie made some wonderful music post-Spiders with the help of some of the very best musicians, but there was something about the two years or so that he spent in the company of Ronno, Bolder and Woody that stands apart, and tells a tale all of its own.

EVERGREEN SUPERGROUP

I read somewhere that in a moment of reflection Bowie once wondered aloud what direction his career would have taken had the band remained together. I have often found myself reflecting upon this too. Personally I consider it doubtful that Ziggy would have maintained his mystique for half a century, with middle-aged ladies hurling their substantial corsets at a much filled-out Ronson as he struck arthritis-defying guitar-god poses about the stage. But Bowie changed, constantly, and there is no good reason why the band could not have changed with him. It is a tantalising thought, but sadly one which will never progress beyond our imaginations and our dreams.

But we do have Holy Holy, the evergreen supergroup performing the music of a departed hero, filling venues and wowing audiences on a scale that many "stand alone" acts equipped with their own material and owing nothing to anybody who went before would kill for. Other than perhaps the price of the beer, there was absolutely nothing about the whole evening that I would have preferred any other way. I missed it, but when Caroline told me that Woody had thrown his drumstick at the end of the set I was momentarily overcome with an uneasy sense of deju vu, but it would seem it was simply done in happiness, and perhaps relief that the night had gone off so swimmingly.

WHERE ARE WE NOW?

 


At the end of the evening, and with the two playlists completed to perfection, the band allowed itself a little time to unwind with a few bonus Bowie numbers which didn't belong to the sequence. Before Rebel Rebel provided us with a lively, hand-clapping final encore I was surprised to hear them perform Where Are We Now? - not only because it was a much later number, released in 2013, but also because it was a melancholy lament the mood of which was much in contrast with what we had been listening to earlier. But Glenn Gregory nailed it, and I found my inner nostalgic being summoned from the depths of my soul as he pined for days gone by, with images of the Brandenburg Gate and Richmond Lock flashing through my subconscious.

When I saw Woody and Tony Visconti last year at a presentation at the latter's Kingston studio I wanted to ask them during their brief Q&A session whether they had considered writing and adding some of their own material to their repertoire, not of course as a separate venture from their core business but as a compliment to it, something maybe which paid homage to Bowie, to his work, to the Spiders, to the seventies or whatever. For whatever reason my nerve failed me, worried perhaps that I would be misunderstood either by them or by their devoted audience, or indeed by both. The question still nags me, and I wish I'd persisted.

Holy Holy are truly a unique act, there to honour the genius of another man who left us much too soon, and yet a phenomenon in their own right. I'm impatient to see the band realise its absolute best potential, which despite the huge triumph of the Palladium and of the tour I feel is yet to come.

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

Where the Title Came From...



This was the song which inspired the title of my novel. It seemed so apt on so many levels, and there could be no more fitting tribute to all those people who made 1976 and that whole period such a wonderful and special time for me. Thank you my friends, and thank you Mr. Harley for putting it all into words for me so masterfully.

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

Working At Worple by Ken Noakes - Review



Once again from the pen of my former primary school teacher Ken Noakes has issued forth a gem to keep alive the most precious of memories – those earliest years spent at primary school, in my case the eponymous Worple Road School in Isleworth.

Hot on the heels of his well-received Crowlink, a Magical Location for School Journeys: an Appreciation, a tribute to the serene South Downs hamlet at which most of us ex-pupils spent the first days of our lives away from the family home, Working At Worple provides a rich source of information both for the edification of those who were there or who knew us, and for the not unimportant purposes of historical record. Inconsequential though they may appear alongside two world wars and Brexit as historical events, my gratuitous sinking of a moored rowing boat along the banks of the Thames and my summoning of the fire brigade to my home under a false premise should surely not be allowed to simply fade into obscurity with the passing of their respective witnesses – and now, thanks to Ken and his diligent research and painstaking chronicling of events, they won't be.

Working At Worple is a significantly longer work than the Crowlink booklet, necessarily so as it covers a much longer period in time. Essentially it is divided into two parts, the first delving into the history of the school dating back to 1928 for which the author obviously had to depend largely upon logs and records, and the second relating his own experiences as a teacher at the school between 1969 and 1972. During his three-and-a-bit years at Worple, Ken had the misfortune of having me in his class for two of them.

HISTORIC WORPLE

The story begins in 1928, which was the year that Worple truly became a junior school. Before that it had received children up to the age of fourteen whilst in 1927, for one year only, infant-aged pupils had been taken. The junior school at Worple Road was separate from the infant school, although they co-existed on the same development and pupils progressed automatically from one to the other.

All head teachers were required to keep a log book in which all events considered to be of significance were recorded for posterity, including "the introduction of new books, apparatus or courses of instruction, any plan of lessons approved by the Board, the visits of managers, absence, illness, or failure of duty on part of the school staff, or any special circumstances, affecting the school that may, for the sake of future reference or for any other reason, deserve to be recorded."

One aspect of Worple life which did require to be logged was the meting out of corporal punishment, a.k.a. "the cane". It is difficult to envision in this modern age an environment in which children sometimes as young as seven would be disciplined by means of a painful, if measured, physical beating with a stick, but it was once accepted practice throughout the land and there is no evidence to suggest that Worple Road was any better or worse in this regard than any other school. Different head teachers would appear to have wielded the cane with varying degrees of enthusiasm, although towards the later years of its deployment it would seem from the personal testimony of survivors that not every incidence of its use found its way into the annals.

The author records these incidents, as with others which demonstrate an approach inconsistent with modern standards and expectations, in a pleasingly dispassionate manner, not admonitory or judgmental but certainly not approving. He appears, as I do, to take the view that the ways of the past belong to the past and that it is superfluous to judge them according to the values by which we live today.

THE KEN NOAKES ERA

It is the second part of the book which finds the author really getting his hands into the meat. This is Ken's personal account based upon his own first-hand experience, richly fortified by the input of many of his former pupils with whom he has re-established contact in recent years thanks to social media.

Young, enthusiastic and fresh out of university, the author approaches his first day as a real teacher (he'd served an apprenticeship of sorts prior to embarking upon his studies) with a mixture of excitement and trepidation. He describes vividly the various key characters with whom he came immediately into contact – teachers, ancillary staff, the caretaker – before listing some of the pupils that he had been told (or in some cases warned) about, along with many of their specific wonts and eccentricities. His first ever class comprises a full compliment of second-year juniors (although one of first-year age would seem somehow to have wangled his way onto the team-sheet). Nearly half a century later, and with some 44 years of subsequent teaching experience under his belt, the clarity of his recollection is staggering. That class of ours must truly have left a lasting impression!

Inevitably there is some mention of Crowlink, the then annual school holiday destination of choice for older Worple pupils and their teachers, and equally inevitably there is a small element of overlap with his earlier work. Although the trip to Crowlink only accounted for one week in the school year, and even the most affluent pupils whose parents could afford to send them away during both the third and fourth years only spent ten days of their school lives away at this wonderful location (in my fourth year the trip set my folks back a whole £8.50, plus £1 obligatory insurance), it was very much an integral feature of Worple life. With the excitement of the build-up taken into account, as well as the days following our return in which we designed and completed our project folders (which feature heavily in the book), Crowlink fever in practice consumed a hefty chunk of our third and final term.

THE INDOMITABLE SPIRIT

As well as making for an entertaining and informative read, Working At Worple captures for the enchantment of generations yet unborn the unique and indomitable spirit of Worple Road Junior School in the late 1960s and early 1970s which still pervades every reunion. Supported by photographs and work extracts aplenty, it cannot fail to transport the ex-pupil back to a place in time that was both more innocent and less buffered from the everyday iniquities that we needed to encounter, and to overcome, in order to become – for better or for worse – the people that we are today. I can still feel in my own work as a writer of fiction the call of What I Did At The Weekend, penned in 1969-70 and in which the aforementioned rowing boat sinking was proudly recounted.

This book really is essential reading for old pupils and staff of Worple Road, Isleworth residents and ex-residents with an interest in their own local history, and indeed anyone with a curiosity to understand the dynamics of junior school life in the late sixties and early seventies. As a community Worple Road was unique, but then so is every community. For me, it didn't hurt (too much) to see, for once, my younger self through the eyes of somebody entrusted with the unenviable task of being at once my tutor and my disciplinarian. That won't, of course, stop Ken being much relieved not to be the one to have to write the sequel.

Working at Worple by Ken Noakes is available at £8.00 plus £1.50 postage and packing (UK orders). Contact kennoakes77@yahoo.co.uk to order a copy.

Saturday, 22 December 2018

Authorsinterviews - My Interview With Blogger Fiona McVie

Book enthusiast Fiona McVie (left) has been interviewing authors for many years. Her blog Authorsinterviews is a rich resource for anybody who wants to learn a bit more about the people behind the stories, so it was my great pleasure to respond to her questions when we communicated last week.

The full text of my interview with Fiona can be found here.

Friday, 7 December 2018

The Summer Of '76 by Ray Burston - Review



To begin with this book was an easy sell to me because I find myself enchanted by the seventies in general and by anything to do with 1976 in particular. So a simple glance at the title made it a must-buy. When I discovered that it was set on the Isle of Wight, not only in a town but actually around a street with which I am very familiar (for it has been the venue of countless family holidays in more recent years), my complete and undivided attention was assured.

But mere familiarity of setting and nostalgic indulgence would not have been enough to retain my interest throughout a full-length novel were it not for a captivating storyline. And The Summer Of '76 does its work beautifully and with consummate skill by calmly setting a scene which is idyllic as well as ever so slightly twee, and then rousing the reader from that comfort zone by increments but in a way which is nonetheless quite relentless.

UNEXPECTED TWISTS AND TURNS

I am reluctant to relate too much of the storyline as much of the magic of this wonderful book rests on the unexpected twists and turns that it quite cleverly drip-feeds to us. In essence it is about a young man from the Midlands, in his late teens, who visits his aunt and uncle at their seaside home in Sandown and discovers a whole lot more about himself than he could possibly have bargained for. In the process of so doing he encounters a pretty young American student who for a while becomes his love interest, but events and cruel fate inevitably come between them.

From the beginning the seemingly disparate characters who happen upon one another by chance find they have much more in common than any of them could have expected. Eventually it is the sheer improbability of these relationships and interactions, like a soap opera on steroids, which makes the story so special, and so difficult for the reader to disengage from.

As the tale unfolds many themes remain constant, such as the Christian faith shared by many of the characters which conflicts them all the more as they wrestle with questionable events from their dim and distant pasts, and the helpful - and to some of us evocative – contemporary news bulletins and musical and topical by-lines which appear with apposite regularity.

COMMONALITY OF SPIRIT

Perhaps inevitably I found myself making comparisons with my own debut novel The Best Year Of Our Lives, not in a competitive way but rather in an intrigued and constructive quest for any similarities or differences between the writer's recollections of that glorious summer and my own. What became clear was that whilst The Summer Of '76 has a unique and profound vibe all of its own, there is a commonality of spirit which is shared by so many of us whose adolescence was defined by that era.

The writer has a flair for melodrama and for thematic writing which cannot be overstated. I am really glad I purchased this book, and feel doubly blessed that what I had expected to be a mere harmless foray into my own formative years turned out to be such a whole lot more. It would be good as a film, and I hope that one day it is picked up by somebody with the connections to visit upon it the recognition it deserves.

The Summer Of '76 by Ray Burston is available from Amazon in both paperbook and e-book format.

Thursday, 6 December 2018

My Top 10 Online Survey Companies

According to somebody who knows about these things, there are an estimated 62,000 authors presently "in some sort of employment" in the United Kingdom.

What must be straight away obvious is that not all of these people can be living in the lap of luxury as a consequence of their literary efforts. Indeed for every J.K. Rowling it is reasonable to assume that there will be, well, at least 61,000 "professional" authors at the opposite end of the income scale, having sold their self-published magnum opus to their mother and her mate, and to very few others. By comparison, my own four-figure sales tally (at time of writing) may strike one as a veritable success story. But it still doesn't pay the bills.

Which means that, like most other writers, I find myself doing other "jobs" to plug the wage gap, and one of my many income streams is paid online surveys – assisting market researchers in undertaking demographic profiling for the extremely modest payment which they all offer.

There are literally hundreds of survey providers, some of which are better to work with than others. Below I have listed ten of my favourites:



Provides intelligent research and informed insight for clients in the worlds of business, culture and politics. On balance probably my first choice for surveys due to its generous payments.

PROS: Amongst the highest payers, PopulusLive surveys generally command around £1 for every five minutes' work undertaken. Surveys tend to come in clusters, with two or three some days and nothing for several days at other times. Screen-outs (an irritating occupational hazard for survey enthusiasts in which participants are advised that they are unsuitable and do not qualify) are infrequent by comparison with some others, and occur – as they should – early into the process. The interface is nearly always the same, making for an unflustered and easy-to-follow experience. Payment is by cheque in increments of £50, sent out the month after the target has been reached.

CONS: Customer service can be erratic. On the one solitary occasion when I've had to report the non-arrival of a cheque I had to threaten the company with the regulator before it felt the need to respond to any of my e-mails, and then the reply was perfunctory and unapologetic. Take care when completing surveys to enter accurate information as failure to do so usually results in instant disqualification with no second chances.



Formerly called Mintvine, this US-facing company provides a whole bunch of surveys each and every day, some of which command very generous payment and others which certainly do not. Each day at 3pm (UK time) a new mini-poll appears on the home page which pays $0.05 for a single question answered. Not much I know, but you'll be surprised how much it adds up!

PROS: Nearly always a wide range of surveys to choose from, for which notification is sent (if you so choose) by e-mail. Some can offer up to $4 a time, but the beauty is that the survey value is always provided so you can choose which ones you think are worth doing (although quite often the high-value surveys become unavailable very quickly). Low payout threshold of just $10 cleared funds, which can be achieved in a matter of a couple of days.

CONS: The US focus means some of the surveys can be arcane and irrelevant to UK participants. Screen-out can sometimes occur some way into the process and a formal complaint will usually, even if successful, result in a meagre amount of compensation being awarded.



London-based market research and insight consultancy. Surveys tend to pay 25p, 50p or 75p, depending upon length.

PROS: A consistent interface and relatively few screen-outs. Although payments are modest surveys tend to be of an acceptable duration, with unpleasant surprises a rare occurrence. Payouts are made promptly once an account balance of £25 is reached.

CONS: The website can be very hit and miss, with error messages aplenty. Surveys are not usually affected, but such things as checking one's balance are a luxury best taken advantage of when everything is working.



One of the original and best-known survey providers, YouGov specialises in providing polling data for political purposes but it also does a whole lot besides. Its easy-to-use format and generous referral bonus makes it something of a favourite for many.

PROS: Screen-outs are almost unheard of as potential customers are screened before invitations are sent out (most other survey companies are appallingly lazy in this regard). A regular interface and impressively interactive website make for an enjoyable survey experience.

CONS: Rewards are modest (usually 50p) and surveys can be few and far between, meaning it can take some months to hit the £50 threshold for a payout. A good account to have in the portfolio but don't be depending on it to feed the family.



An online and app-based mobile community asking questions about the products and services you use and places you visit every day.

PROS: A handy app enables participants to take surveys on the go without having to negotiate the torturous web links and awkward screens not properly configured for mobiles which can be the experience offered by many of its rivals. Although most pay 25p, 50p or 75p higher value surveys up to £3.50 are not unusual. Payout is at £25, which can be reached relatively quickly.

CONS: Screen-outs occur more frequently than would be ideal, sometimes some way in to the survey. Customer service can sometimes be erratic when this is complained about.



Australia-based but UK-facing provider which provides a handy feed containing surveys roughly matched to your profile. Surveys are usually valued according to length and rewards are reasonable.

PROS: Easy-to-use feed and a good proportion of valid surveys which enable you to complete the process and claim your reward. Where screen-out occurs a compensation payment of 5p is made, making the disappointment a little more bearable. Payout is at £25 and arrives promptly.

CONS: Very few, other than at times viable surveys can be frustratingly few whilst at others they can be plentiful.



A favourite to many survey enthusiasts but a source of some frustration to others, Panelbase is one of the fastest-growing and most popular online research communities on the web. Also provides occasional focus groups by invitation.

PROS: Alerts are sent by e-mail and rewards are usually generous when measured against time taken. Any surveys under £1 are pleasingly concise and a low threshold of just £10 means frequent prompt payouts. By popular consent one of the best-paying and most well-liked providers out there.

CONS: Screen-outs are frequent and would appear to have become more so of late, to the point where they now seem to be the norm rather than the exception. Sometimes they appear random and arbitrary, whilst at others they can occur well into the survey rather than during the first few screens as is supposed to happen. Complaints are sometimes addressed promptly – if you reach the right person. I tend to avoid their third-party surveys as some of them seem a tad unscrupulous and Panelbase seem to exert little control over them.



Wants to hear what you think about the very latest products and big issues affecting you. Offers surveys, discussions and polls.

PROS: Generous rewards for surveys which are of a reasonable length. Sometimes provides online communities by invitation which can pay at a rate of up to £15-£30 per hour. £20 threshold for payouts.

CONS: Surveys are infrequent and can sometimes be on very similar topics, meaning that participants who are screened out of one are likely to be screened out of all of them. Unless I have been unlucky, payouts seem to arrive some very considerable time after they have been claimed.



A very popular and quirky survey company which provides a large number of very short, low-value and often "fun" polls, as well as the occasional outdoor video project.

PROS: Lots of short polls – by the time the participant has gone through the list there will probably have been another one appear. Fun topics make them a pleasure to take part in.

CONS: Low rewards mean a lot of effort has to be put in to reach the £40 payout threshold (although loyal customers are sometimes rewarded with their own personal lower limit – mine is currently down to £25!).



I have included this because it is "different" in so many ways. Participants who have opted in to receive them are sent notices of each new survey (literally dozens each and every day). Priced in dollars and with a US slant, it might just be possible to use up every waking hour only attending to surveys from this company. Some I know do just that.

PROS: With an almost unlimited supply of surveys, the $30 minimum payout is not difficult to reach in a relatively short space of time. Some, although certainly by no means all, pay quite generously.

CONS: A high proportion of screen-outs, and many surveys are priced at "Up to….." - so one never really knows how much they are paying out until the money is in one's account. And that doesn't happen until a week later.