Tag Archives: busyness

Friday Photo Blogging: Welcome to The North

This is the view I can see through the window just beyond my monitor in my new office (albeit taken from the far side of the glass, stood out on the cold back step while smoking a cigarette in the sharp chill of dusk):


So, yeah – I’ve moved. 🙂

I’m afraid this won’t be a full-blown FPB of the old school, because there’s still a whole raft of stuff for me to do – not only with setting up housekeeping (and officekeeping) here in Stockport, but with catching up on my freelance work as well. And then there’s the other blogs: Futurismic has, of necessity, been quiet all week; likewise The Dreaded Press.

So much to do, so much to do… and Xmas is bearing down on us like an office Romeo on the drunk secretary at the annual piss-up, so time is not exactly going to be plentiful. Well, OK, that’s not strictly true: I’ve enough time to do my work, and some time to spend with my lady and our respective families, and with our friends. My personal blog? Not quite so much… but then I’m guessing most of you are pretty busy at this time of year, too, and I hope you’ll overlook any slackness on my part. 🙂

But as a hint of things to come, here’s a “books received” entry: after seeing it mentioned at Chairman Bruce’s Beyond the Beyond, I just had to seek out a copy of Technomad by Graham St John:

Technomad - Graham St John

Basically it’s a cultural history of post-rave movements across the planet. Some of you may not know I spent a fair period as a DJ, clubber and small-time promoter on the dance music scene between 1994 and 2003; the countercultural philosophies (and fallacies) that inform that world still intrigue me hugely today. Should be a good read, I’m thinking.

But my good lady is about to return from Ikea with two large bookcases to assemble, so I’d better sign off. Have a great weekend, ladies and gents. 🙂

Mind-melds and panels and gigs, oh my!

Ah, the wild synchronicities of modern life! This is one of those weeks where I appear to be doing a gazillion out-of-the-house things at once – or, if not at once, very close together.


First up (by virtue of having already happened), I made another appearance at SF Signal for one of their Mind Meld topics. This time out the question was:

In your opinion, does literary science fiction and fantasy have mainstream respect? Why, if at all, does it need mainstream approval? What would such approval mean for genre fiction?

Do pop over to see me disassemble the question rather than giving a straight answer, and to see more sensible (not to mention concise) answers from such notables as Gene Wolfe, Ian McDonald and Paolo Bacigalupi.

A Waste of Space?

Tomorrow night (23rd October) sees me up the tracks in London… at no less a venue than the Royal Greenwich Observatory. The SciFi London people (who do such a super job of hosting the Clarke Award every year) are having an “Oktoberfest” at the Planetarium with assorted sf-nal goings-on, including a screening of the new Star Trek movie, for them what’s interested (and has tickets, presumably)).

One of the other events is a discussion panel called “A Space of Waste?”, which aims to determine “whether science fiction authors are wasting their time writing about interplanetary travel, space colonisation and the spread of mankind across the universe given everything science has taught us about the realities, possibilities and costs of doing so.” Yours truly is on the panel alongside authors Jaine Fenn, Philip Palmer and Paul McAuley… so I guess I’ll be providing the comic relief. Perhaps I should wear a silly hat?

I Like Trains and Aeroplanes

And then there’s Saturday night (24th October), which sees Aeroplane Attack playing our first “proper” support slot at the Wedgewood Rooms, supporting iLiKETRAiNS and The Strange Death Of Liberal England (the latter of whom were kind enough to hustle the promoter into giving us the gig, and who as such deserve our sincere thanks). Playing the Wedge is ace, because we can turn it up nice and loud without crippling our own hearing, and because we have room to shuffle about on stage (which is often a problem for a 5-piece rock band playing pub venues with four half-stacks and a full drum kit).

Also, the other bands are super, and it’s the night the clocks go back… so why not make a night of it if you’re in Velcro City? Tickets are cheaper from me in advance, so if you fancy coming along drop me a line and we’ll hook something up.

And if you can’t make it, be sure to have a damn good time doing something else, OK? That’s what the weekend’s for, y’know. 🙂

(Though if you could spare a moment to listen to the new Aeroplane Attack tune we’ve uploaded, that’d be jolly good of you.)

Friday Photo Blogging: springtime in Velcro City

I’m told that today is the first ‘official’ day of Spring; the weather here in Velcro City decided to jump the gun by a few days, because from Monday through to now, it’s been clear blue skies and fresh air – and all the more blissful for that. The sort of weather, in fact, that makes me remember that this town isn’t all bad…

Beach huts at Eastney

After all, not all city folk can cycle down to the beach in a matter of minutes. That said, I wouldn’t want to be out sunbathing like some people are at the moment. It’s not quite warm enough yet.


Well, it’s been a few weeks since we last had an instalment of FPB, and this is going to be another truncated one. My schedule has become a lot more randomised since I went full-time freelance, partly by necessity and partly by opportunity; what this means in real terms is that I’m not always here to knock out a full post on Friday afternoon, and when I am I may not have the amount of time I’d like.

Which means that I may have to reassess my approach to posting on VCTB, and start scattering stuff out in smaller pieces instead of dumping a week of my life at a time; as much as I’d hate to see it go, I don’t know if Friday Photo Blogging can survive the transition as a regular weekly occurrence.

But that’s not too bad; I console myself with the fact that I can’t post because I’m too damned busy, which is good for me and good for you, the reader (who, one assumes, would be even more bored than usual were I to make daily posts on how I wasn’t doing anything much at all). Work to do, people and bands to see… like Japanese post-rock stalwarts Mono, for example, who are the reason I’ll be heading out of town by the time this post goes live. There’ll be a review at TDP, of course, where we’re back to daily review output once again thanks to my growing little clade of reviewers.

(Oh, and if you’ve been pining for some Album of the Week advice, then I suggest you try Pure Reason Revolution’s Amor Vincit Omnia. I can’t be sure you’ll like it (in fact, I’m not entirely sure I like it), but it’s an impressive and ambitious piece of work that updates ELP/Yes-era prog for a modern audience. Trite lyrics, but staggering vocal melodies. Go listen to Pure Reason Revolution on Last FM, because MySpace blows.)

Books and magazines seen

High time I caught up on incoming materials, as there’s quite a stack developing. Magazine-wise, we have Foundation #103 and Interzone #221, the latter coming with yet another knock-out piece of cover art:

cover art for Interzone #221

Then there’s the books. I don’t think the Pyr edition of Ian McDonald’s Cyberabad Days collection has been mentioned here yet (though mentioning it on Twitter aroused a fair amount of jealousy); I’ve already read it, and need to bash out a review some time fairly soon. But in summary: excellent, well worth your money.

Cyberabad Days - Ian McDonald

Then there’s the second novel from Chris Beckett, Marcher, which I’m greatly looking forward to reading, and there’s Bruce Sterling‘s latest, The Caryatids, which I splashed out on in hardcover and am about a third of the way through at the moment.

Marcher by Chris Beckett The Caryatids by Bruce Sterling

The added bonus was a copy of Gonzo, the oral history of Hunter S Thompson assembled by Jann Wenner and Corey Seymour.

Gonzo: the life of Hunter S Thompson

Comprising entirely of interview snippets from Thompson’s friends, family, colleagues and more, it paints a different picture of the man behind the legend. Possibly more notably, it paints a much kinder picture of Wenner than Thompson ever did in his own writing…


Well, there you go – a bit minimal for an FPB, but at least there’s something here, eh? Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a gig to get ready for…

Friday Photo Blogging: The Sword

Crikey, what a week. But first, meet JD Cronise – spectacularly-monikered and hirsute frontman of George R R Martin-inspired Texan thrash metallers The Sword:

JD Cronise

The Sword played at The Wedgewood Rooms on Wednesday night, and it was an excellent gig … excellent if you like ridiculously downtuned thrash riffs and lyrics that make HP Lovecraft turn in his grave, that is.

You can read my review of their new album Gods Of The Earth, which was released this week (and is streaming in full on their MySpace, too), but unfortunately I can’t share the live review with you just yet …

… because, as you may already know, I lost pretty much the entirety of yesterday as far as productivity is concerned, thanks to one of my hard drives dying on me.

The good news is that I’m up and running on an all-Linux system (Ubuntu, as you asked), and that I managed to rescue almost all of my important documents (bar a few reviews and what was to be this week’s Friday Flash, which I haven’t had the time to rewrite yet – hence the lack thereof).

Also, the magic of cloud computing means that all my emails and contacts (and certain completely irreplaceable documents) are floating out in the aether where I can retrieve them at will, just as they should be … which just goes to show I learned from the last time my hardware conspired to destroy me.

The bad news is that the drive that died appears to be definitively dead beyond any form of resurrection, so it’s time to invest in a USB external drive for backups, and to look at signing up for the ultimate security of Jungle Disk. Soon.

Writing about music

As mentioned above, saw The Sword on Wednesday and they were totally thrashtastic. Hardware death has meant I missed a scheduled article on TDP last night, but I managed to get up early enough to make this morning’s self-imposed deadline. Go me!

Writing about books

Finished and review the Solaris Book of New Science Fiction Vol 2, which I thought was on the whole a pretty decent little anthology.

Have yet to approach the Book Of The New Sun review; still stewing over how to say what I want to say. Next in the queue will almost certainly have to be Walter Jon Williams’ Implied Spaces, because everyone seems to be going nuts for it, and I loved a few of his short pieces.

Writing about other stuff

Pipeline, pipeline, pipeline; I’m too harried and hurried to go into details this week, I’m afraid.

Books and magazines seen

A double-thick issue #12 of Apex Science Fiction and Horror Digest.

Apex Science Fiction and Horror Digest #12 cover art

An ARC of Subterranean‘s reprint of Stephenson’s Snow Crash (though before you get too jealous, it’s not a production-grade copy, just a bound proof).


As you can see, I’m wrapping it up quickly today; the last 36 hours have been more than hectic enough, and I have yet to compile and post Friday Free Fiction at Futurismic … having lost the use of Windows Live Writer is probably the only serious regret I have about my computer dying …

… well, that and the prospect of having to re-rip a 400+ strong CD collection. Still, it’ll be fun hearing some old albums I’ve not listened to in a while.

And so, with a distinct (or at least comparative) minimum of blather, I shall bid you all a good weekend and head off for a hard-earned Friday Curry Of Justice.

Hasta luego, amigos.