No, no, I’m not closing down VCTB – sorry if I got your hopes up! Though given the quietude here of late, you’d be forgiven for thinking it of me…
What I am doing, however, is moving out of Portsmouth this coming Tuesday, shifting ~250 miles up the country to Stockport in order to set up housekeeping with my lovely lady.
That may go some way to explaining why things have been quiet this year on the VCTB front; every bit of spare time I’ve had has been invested in spending time with my better half, and when you live so far apart that can be quite demanding. It’s been a struggle keeping on top of my freelance work, to be honest, let alone chuntering sf-nal blather here on a regular basis. And so the time has come to transcend the geography and start a new life in a new town, to paraphrase David Jones. I’m really looking forward to it. 🙂
I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with this town – a relationship that gave this blog its name, in fact. I arrived here in September of 1994, fifteen years ago, so I’ve now been here for near enough half my life, and it’s a huge part of my identity and outlook – not in the football-team sense, but in the sense of having spent the formative years of my adolescence and adulthood here, having been a part (no matter how peripheral) of its cultural pulse for a decade and a half. There’s times I loathe the place – and grey damp days like this one are the worst times for that, for sure – but to say I’ll miss it would be a massive understatement. So many people and places that I love dearly are here, and it’s tough to leave that behind.
But love makes the difficult into the trivial, and I’ve got an exciting new life waiting for me in the chilly hills of Cheshire. Stockport itself isn’t what you’d call a cultural hub, but it’s mere minutes from central Manchester on the train, where (so it seems) all the cornucopian cultural options of a sizeable city await my involvement. I’ll be looking to join a new band (one of the hardest parts of deciding to move was having to quit Aeroplane Attack, and I’ll never forget or recapture the fun of being in my first proper band with four awesome people), find some writing groups and hangouts, haunt concert venues and second-hand bookstores and libraries and museums and pubs… but more importantly, I’ll be living alongside the lady I love. And while I’d probably balked slightly had she asked me to move into an internet-less cave two hundred miles from the nearest bookstore, I’d still have gone. All the other stuff is just gravy.
But hey, it’s the season for gravy, AMIRITE? So maybe some of you lot who know Manchester can suggest good places to go, interesting people to meet, exciting stuff to do? Maybe you’d like to meet up if you’re in the same area, show me the sights, tell me the horror stories? Maybe you know of a science fiction fandom group or writer’s circle I might be able to join? If so, please drop me a line – I’d love to hear from you.
And for those who are wondering (and the few who have asked) about the fate of Velcro City Tourist Board, fear not – it’s not going away. Sure, I’ll not be based in Velcro City any more, but the place will always be a huge slice of my mental furniture… and who says the guy who runs the tourist board can’t telecommute, eh? Velcro City has always been the version of Portsmouth that lived in my head, and always will be; it will become no less real or detailed by me living somewhere else, and someday I may even finish the damned stories I keep thinking up for it. So, no promises about schedules, but look out here in the coming new year for me talking about stuff I like, books and albums I’ve received, stuff I’ve been to see, and stuff that’s amused/annoyed/amazed me on the intertubes… and maybe even some fiction and poetry. It’ll be just like old times. Except, y’know, new. 🙂