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Restarter profile: Meet Monique

Monique teaching women how to build a PC
Monique teaching PC building (in the middle)

When did you start repairing electronics and electricals?

I’m old enough to remember when you had to wire electricals up yourself and you had repair people (usually men) who would come round when things broke and repair it right in front of you – I’d watch and learn. So the first thing I fixed was fuses on things about 35 years ago! Then I lived in a squat in the eighties so we did all our own wiring.


Why do you attend Restart Parties?

I came to the first on because it was just round the corner and it seemed like a good idea. I don’t think I had anything to fix, I thought I’d just observe but the next thing I knew I was repairing people’s laptops.


What is your favourite kind of repair?

The easy ones! Where it turns out it’s something simple and stupid, like a bit of fluff or dirt on the contacts. My favourite was at 1970s coffee grinder the owner thought it was dead but it just had 40 years worth of oils built up which needed cleaning off. Or the lady who brought in her laptop which just needed to be rebooted. I love it when people think they need to get rid of something and it can be fixed really easily.


What do you do when you are not Restarting?

Software developer and consultant, been doing this for nearly 30 years. Occasionally I help with software issues at Restart Parties.


What frustrates you (in life)?

The whole way work is structured, the way people have to get jobs and yet they are treated like ‘goods’ – the one-sided employer / employee contract. I don’t have to deal with this now I’m freelance.


What gets you out of bed in the morning?

A good problem to solve, usually a technical one or a logic one. Not a life one, they’re too complicated.


What’s the first thing – one material thing – that you could not live without? (besides oxygen, food, water, and shelter and medical care)

A very decent pair of shoes, like Dr. Martens. I’m actually a trained shoe-maker.


Share something cool with us

The coolest thing that ever happened it was 1974 or 75, my math teacher who was very inspiring one day came into class she said ‘put away your books girls’, she gave us graph paper and got us to do all these graphs and puzzles. It was really fun! At the end she said ‘well girls that was Fortran — it’s not on the curriculum but you might need to know it someday’. I guess that’s where it all started for me.

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