Friday Photo Blogging: It will grow back

No fresh photography this week, so I thought I’d share this little gem from the SFF Masterclass that has languished on my cameraphone ever since. Of all the things you could name a hairdressing salon, would you think of choosing…

It will grow back...

We laughed like drains and took pictures. Then a passing lady laughed like a drain at us taking the pictures, and seemingly failed to realise why we found it so funny. Good times. 🙂

Writing about music

Things have been a little lumpy and sparse over at TDP this week, for reasons that will be apparent later on. However, I finally have a new reviewer on board (a friend of Gareth L Powell‘s, no less), and I think he’s going to work out nicely.

Album of the week

It’s a tricky call this week, but on the basis of sheer bubblegum fun and exuberance I’m going to go for Ice Cream Spiritual by Ponytail, which is mad as a sack of badgers.

Honourable mention goes to Lower Definition for releasing The Greatest Of All Lost Arts – a post-hardcore album that didn’t cliché me into a coma.

Writing about books

Haha, no, not really. See further down.


Things are hotting up in this department, as it happens. Those of you who read John Jarrold’s blog may have seen him announce that his client Stephen Deas has a new website up and running… designed and tweaked up by yours truly! Go see what you think; it’s pretty simple to look at, but it works just as requested.

More projects are in the pipeline, and will be announced as they arrive. In the meantime, if you or someone you know wants something similar doing, do drop me a line!


Everything is fairly smooth over at Futurismic, web technology notwithstanding (see later). I’ve just this morning paid for next month’s story, which I am really pleased with and expect you all to praise unanimously when it is published[1].

Still looking for more book reviewers, by the way – especially of pop-science non-fiction stuff. Drop me a line if you’re keen.

The great migration

As referenced a few times above, I’ve been steering Futurismic and The Dreaded Press through a change of hosting company this week, which is always a fraught and tense experience (as some of you probably already know).

As far as I can be sure, everything seems to be running from the new locations now, so the DNS change went through pretty swiftly. Unsurprisingly, server response and uptime are already looking a lot stronger than they were this time last week… all that remains now is to get NetPivotal to terminate my account completely[2].

The unpleasantness of these shenanigans has been amplified by what appears to be some mystery virus that is making me ache all over and feel generally rotten, to the extent that I had Thursday off work to lay in bed and hide under the duvet from the crazed ranting of the man in the flat upstairs… it’s been one of those weeks, basically. Which is why I’m hideously behind on a lot of things[3].

Books and magazines seen

Laugh, oh ye gods and men, at the latest episode in the seemingly endless F&SF subscription – the August issue has arrived! Not so sure about the cover this time:

Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction - August 2008

Maybe it one got lost in the post… but they’ve stopped sending me renewal notices, so I’m positive my sub must be expired by now. Perhaps they just really like me?

In the postbox just this morning is the summer package from the BSFA containing the latest issues of Focus and Vector. In an act of unabashed self-aggrandisement I’ll point out that the former contains the second part of my guide to blogging for authors, and the latter my review of Adam Roberts’ Swiftly[4].

Books, also; I seem to have been sent a second copy of David Louis Edelman’s Multireal (which is good, because the first one is off with a reviewer already). And just off the slow boat from Canada is the VanderMeers’ Steampunk anthology, courtesy SF Site:

The Steampunk Anthology edited by Ann & Jeff Vandermeer

Some more non-fiction for Futurismic from Icon Books in the shape of Future Proof, co-authored by Nick Sagan:

Future Proof by Nick Sagan, Andy Walker and Matt Frary

So many books, so little time. What I could really do with is a huge block of time to myself


… so it’s fortunate I’m going to have one, isn’t it, hmm?

Yes indeed – from the August bank holiday right through to 14th September, yours truly will be day-job free. This is what happens when – after a lifetime of shitty factory jobs wherein you grew accustomed to never having any paid holiday worth speaking of – you forget to use up your allowance until the point where your line manager suggests, firmly but kindly, that you should disappear for a few weeks.

I’ve blocked it out on my calendar; it’s an intimidatingly huge chunk of time. And I’ve decided I’m going to go on a proper holiday for some of it, too – a week in Berlin by train looks very much on the cards. Any suggestions from folk who’ve visited there before will be gratefully received.

But mostly that’s going to be a couple of weeks with which to blitz some projects which have been far too long half-finished (TDP‘s layout and theme, anyone?), and get a metric shedload of reading done. Something to look forward to… I need to get me one of those blog countdown widgets, I’m thinking[5].


So, a train-wreck of week with a light at the end of the tunnel – that’s a rare combination, but I think I’ll take it!

For reasons of health and for reasons of tradition, I shall now venture forth to discover whether the restorative properties of cumin and chillies can banish this lingering sensation of illness; The Friday Curry is renowned for miraculous cures of this type, so the wise old pilgrims say.

I hope your journey to the far side of the weekend is as eventful (or eventless) as you would wish it to be – hasta luego, amigos. 🙂

[ 1 – Yes, I mentioned this last week. I’ll probably mention it next week too. It’s that good a story. ]

[ 2 – Which may be a mission in and of itself. The usual procedure (with almost any hosting outfit) is to be told your account has been closed and then still be recharged and invoiced at the renewal date… I shall be asking for written confirmation, I think. ]

[ 3 – Astute readers probably realised long before I did that I mention all this stuff as a way of keeping myself honest to myself as a self-employed person. I’m my own boss, but you – the largely silent readers of FPB – are like my shadowy HR department. How’s that for an extra weight on your conscience, eh? ]

[ 4 – That review was written before the good Professor Roberts became one of my clients. It remains to be seen whether he will still be one after he reads it… ]

[ 5 – If only so criminal webstalker types have a good idea of when to attempt to burgle my flat. ]

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