Friday Photo Blogging: pining for Berlin

FPB will be fairly brisk this week, as I’m still stuffed up with a nasty head-cold and very much wishing I was still in Berlin, mooching about the place and checking out the scenery. With that in mind, here’s a snap from my recent travels:

Chilling in the Hof

A sunny day, a new city to explore, a quiet outdoor bar in the mid-afternoon[1], a beer, a pen and a notebook – what more does a man really need? Well, an income, obviously – which is why I came back. Selah. You’re not rid of me yet. 🙂

Writing about music

The Dreaded Press chunters along as always, though the start of student season means there’s lots of new stuff being released, and I’m a trifle behind as a result. But – having discovered that it’s much easier to write for TDP when I’m not stressing about it – I’m successfully not worrying too much. The realisation that it’s me doing the PR people a favour (and not the other way round) was a useful epiphany.

Album of the week

Lake Toba by Lukestar, by a hefty margin. Glacial post-hardcore meets post-rock-pop; a super album, and a breath of fresh air.

Writing about books

Still playing catch-up to some degree, so reviewing has been on the back-burner for the week. I have, however, started reading The New Utopian Politics of Ursula K Le Guin’s The Dispossessed. That sound you’ve been hearing? That’s the sound of a boot-strap novel reviewer who may possibly have bitten off more than he can adequately chew…


A quiet week on the comments front, but otherwise all seems well over at Futurismic. Looks like it’ll be another good month for ad income, too; fingers crossed.


As announced earlier this week, I’ve finished and delivered Gareth L Powell’s site, which he seems very pleased with (and which other people have said nice things about as well).

Of course, I look at it now and feel it looks terribly derivative and pedestrian, and that I could doubtless have made more effort to give it some real zing… but I’m consoling myself by saying that’s a manifestation of the desire to improve, which can’t be a bad thing for a creative worker to have, AMIRITE?

Plenty more projects queueing up, as well, so the opportunity to raise my game is never far away…

Books and magazines seen

The latest issue (#82) of the poetry mag Iota arrived early in the week. There’s no scan of it online, but it comes (as always) with abstract monochrome photography for the cover art… gives them a recognisable and coherent image, but does little to assuage the conception of poetry as old-fashioned and self-indulgent. Which is a shame, because Iota‘s content is usually pretty strong and vivid.

And a book, too – Pan Macmillan have punted over Peter F Hamilton’s The Temporal Void, which should come in handy should I ever need to ballast my airship or bludgeon an intruder to death – it’s very weighty at 746 pages[2].

Peter F Hamilton - The Temporal Void


First week back in the day-job saddle, and it’s been predictably hectic, which may explain why I’ve caught this cold. Still, I got to see the mighty Swervedriver on Tuesday night, which was well worth the time and money. That said, it’s been a crazy few weeks for gigs, and looking at the bank balance I think I’ll be attending a lot less in the coming months. Still, what’s summer for if not having a bit of fun, eh?

Being unable to breathe through my nose (and, incidentally, unable to hear through my right ear) isn’t much fun, though, so I’ll be trundling off to request a double helping of extra chillies in The Friday Curry in the hope of napalming the bugs out of my system. It may not work, but it’s the only way I’ll be able to taste anything…

Here’s hoping you have yourself a good weekend. Auf weidersehn, meinen freunden!

[ 1 – The bar in question is out back of Tacheles, a quasi-legal artist’s squat / gallery / club / venue on Oranienburgerstrasse. Well worth checking out if you’re in the area; historians of underground art movements may be intrigued to know that this is where such UK-born techno crews such as Mutoid Waste Company and Spiral Tribe first ended up after the Criminal Justice Bill killed the free festival circuit. ]

[ 2 – It bills Hamilton as “Britain’s number one science fiction writer” – not to dispute that title, but I wonder whether it’s based on sales figures or some other metric, as I can think of a number of other potential claimants to the throne in question. ]

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