Friday Photo Blogging: big pink graffiti bear

Berlin graffiti again, this time from the stairwell at Tacheles. Bears are the totem animal of Berlin, though they don’t always and up looking quite so cheerily cheesy as this one does:

Graffiti in stairwell, Tacheles

He appears to be some sort of mer-bear, also; or maybe he’s just wearing some sort of skirt? Artists, eh – who knows what goes on in their minds?

Writing about music

Another blissfully relaxed week on the music reviewing front; having two volunteers doing a couple a week is really lightening the load, and making my overall schedule a mite more human.

Album of the week

Technically reviewed last week (but published after FPB went out, so it still counts): Nottingham bass-less three-piece Lords delivered Everyone Is People, which I described as “simultaneously ramshackle and flawless, the most rock’n’roll anti-rock album ever, all the bombast and fakery stripped away leaving just the bare essentials – the grooves.”

I rather liked it, in other words.

Writing about books

Slow and minimal progress on the Steampunk anthology review has been made, but I finished off the latest typescript report this week, so I don’t feel too guilty about it. That said, I really do need to catch up on some of my book reviews – which is why the new schedule-with-breathing-space is such a pleasant thing to have.


Still waiting on an artists’ agent to contact me regarding some licensing for a pending project… I thought it was the artists that were supposed to be feckless about easy money, and that the agents were sharp and on the case about it? Go figure; I’ll hassle ’em again on Monday.

The other current project (which is quite a biggie) proceeds apace; it’s good to be able to just do an hour a day and see gradual progress being made[1].


Things are trotting along nicely over at Futurismic; the newest piece of fiction is ready to roll out on Monday (first weekday of the month, y’see), and we’ve got a few potential purchases on the consideration pile, which is a good place to be[2]. Ad earnings are low this month, but after last month’s bonanza that’s only to be expected, I guess.

It was very flattering to be contacted about featuring excerpt material from a major new science fiction title on the site, but sadly my ethics got in the way – the title in question was the new Orson Scott Card (who’s milking the Ender series once again), and I’ll not grandstand for homophobes and bigots, no matter how much traffic it might bring. Yeah, I know, I’m a fool… but Seth Godin says it’s more important to follow your heart sometimes. I just hope it pays off one day!

Books and magazines seen

Just the one this week, but it’s a striking item – not just for its title, God Killers, but for the cover artwork:

God Killers - Liam Sharp

Liam Sharp is known for his comics artwork[3], but he’s always wanted to write fiction as well, and this is his forthcoming first collection from Mam Tor Publishing (which appears to be the only place you can pre-order God Killers). In a rare situation for genre publishing, Liam not only chose the cover artist himself, but chose himself as the cover artist… so we can presume that the burly chap on the cover is actually a character.

Is it any good? I have no idea yet, but China Mieville’s a fan, apparently; gotta count for something.


Well, I’ve just caved in and activated the central heating, because when I came in from work it was the same temperature inside as it was outside, with the exception of the exhaust from my computer. I’m not looking forward to the bills, but it’s that or dressing like Captain Oates for the next four months and being incapable of doing anything even remotely productive or useful.

Now, while everyone else in the country is dressing up as the undead[4], I’m going to shuffle around my steadily-warming flat, make myself some food (no Friday Curry this week, diet fans!), and get ready to head down to the seafront and review the two bands blessed with the double-edged ignominy of supporting Funeral For A Friend.

I shan’t be reviewing the headliners for two reasons: first of all, they wanted me to sign one of those intimidating release forms for the privilege (and surrender the freedom of the press to their image management team in the process); secondly, because I f*cking loathe the tawdry shite they peddle as music, and I can’t be bothered reviewing them honestly just to be bombarded by testosterone-raddled subliterate MySpace users who can’t see that their favourite band doesn’t necessarily have to be everyone‘s favourite band[6]

Anyway… so far, so rock’n’roll, eh? Have a great weekend, and enjoy Halloween (or Samhain, if you’re keeping it old-school). Auf weidersehn!

[ 1 – As opposed to sitting down at midday on Saturday with two cans of Red Bull and binging on PHP and CSS for eight hours, which has been tried before. Not good for the brain, and tends to produce a lot of errors and false leads. Hello, learning curve! ]

[ 2 – Good for us, but we like to think it’s good for the writers also. ]

[ 3 – He did the art for the Doug Rushkoff comic series Testament, which I bought as monthly singles and which I’ve plugged here more than a few times. ]

[ 4 – I mean seriously, can’t we move on? Zombies are soooo post-Millennial, and vampires should have gone out of fashion when they stopped making new episodes of Buffy[5]. ]

[ 5 – No such f*cking luck. ]

[ 6 – Seriously, book review flak is much easier to deal with, if only because you can actually decipher the words that they’ve typed at you. ]

Lilly Allen – teh Wrdswth ov er generashun, innit?

Lilly AllenHell knows I get some infuriatingly hyperbolic press releases[1] in the course of business as usual at The Dreaded Press, but The Guardian gets blurbs on the big fish who pass me by, like Lilly “No, my dad’s nothing to do with my success at all, and I skived at Stage School” Allen:

It has a cold open of sorts, beginning with lyrics – a couplet, I suppose you’d call it – from one of Lily’s new tracks.

“Now I lie here in the wet patch in the middle of the bed,
I’m feeling pretty damn hard done by, I’ve spent ages giving head”.

Now, what do you think are the publicists’ words immediately following this?

“Lily Allen, the Wordsworth of the MySpace generation, returns with the -”

I’m so sorry, I thought for a minute they said “the Wordsworth of the MySpace generation”.

Oh my God! They totally did!

But it gets better – The Guardian writer phoned up the PR to call them out on it:

“Congratulations on a sublimely parodic press release,” LiS greets Murray Chalmers, the brains behind it all. “We’re particularly interested in the Wordsworth comparison, which we feel if anything underplays Lily’s talent and indeed canonical importance. Tell me: which of Wordsworth’s works would you say It’s Not Me, It’s You has the deepest affinity with?”

There is a pause. Just name any of Wordsworth’s works. “It was really to remind people what an excellent lyricist Lily is,” says Murray, eventually.

PWN’T. Hat tip to Jonathan “SF Diplomat” McCalmont for making my evening that much more bearable.

[ 1 – Rule of thumb – the greater the hyperbole quotient, the more dismally pointless and vapid the music being promoted. So frankly I’m shocked that Ms Allen’s lot didn’t lay it on even thicker. ]

[image by T. Young]