I have the same love/hate relationship with the country I live in as I have with Velcro City itself. On a day like today, with clear blues skies and a gentle breeze, I’m pleased to be sat here calmly, typing to the sound of traffic and birdsong with a long weekend approaching me; how could one find fault with England this afternoon?
Well, sometimes the bad things are literally too big to ignore:
Vermin and shysters; the BNP, only with better tailors and their mouths stuffed with plums. British-grown plums, of course. Wankers.
“Why worry about them,” people tell me. “No one takes them seriously.” Well, plenty of people take these seriously:
Sorry, just needed to vent; it’s a common response to having left the building during the daytime. We now return you to our scheduled programmes.
Album of the week
One for the serious metal-heads this week: Daath are supposedly into Kabballah (the Hebrew mystical malarkey, rather than the wackadoo cult based upon it from which Madonna buys blessed mineral water) and all sorts of other stuff, but exactly how that affects their music I have no idea. Suffice to say that their new album The Concealers is that rarest of birds – a consistently powerful and heavy modern metal album with no filler and no gimmick-of-the-day. Go ahead, give your neck a workout.
Writing about books
The This is Not a Game review is half-written, as I managed to bash out one and a half thousand words on the train to London on Wednesday night. This is progress, not to mention the worst part of the process completed; now I just need to edit it up, supplement with quotes and digressions, polish and send. So, that’s an afternoon of the coming weekend taken care of…
Hey hey hey – it’s the first of May! Which is something to celebrate even if you disregard revitalised pagan festivals and political holidays spawned by a dying metanarrative, because it means there’s new fiction at Futurismic. This month I got to publish someone who lives little more than a stone’s throw away from me by comparison to our Stateside contributors; Stephen Gaskell’s “Under an Arctic Sky” is a geopolitical action-escape story done right, and you should go read it before leaving a comment to say what you thought of it. G’waaaaan.
So, as most of you who’ll be interested will already know, I was up in the Big Smoke on Wednesday night, watching Ian R MacLeod take the 2009 Arthur C Clarke Award for Song of Time, a book published by PS Publishing, for whom I am contractor-publicist. It was quite a moment, and even more so for Pete and Nicky (and Ian, obviously) than myself. It’s a very prestigious title for a small press like PS to accrue, and for it to happen in the company’s tenth year of business seems fitting, somehow.
I can’t tell you how satisfying it is to work with people who care deeply about what they do. Seeing Pete’s face as the winner was read out has pretty much made my month.
Work, work, work… there’s been a lot of catch-up this week as I recover from the setbacks of the beginning of April, but there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, I think. My server is up and running, and I’ve pretty much sussed the essential basics of running the thing, so now I can start using it properly as both a hosting and development environment. Some minor projects and tasks have been cleared off; some larger ones have mutated (mostly for the better), and a few more are looming on the horizon like braking supertankers. LIVING THE DREAM, YO.
[high-grade-geekery]I’ve finally abandoned all hope of learning to do anything with Drupal before the next ice age happens (if even that soon), and am defecting my loyalties to MODx, as recommended by good buddy Adam at Mallmus Media. In a nutshell, MODx looks to be a CMS that does everything all the others can do, but actually makes it possible for you to find all of the relevant options in one place without referring to a degree in database architectural philosophy that you don’t have. Plus it has a moderately revolutionary approach to theming and templates that fits much better with my personal design methodologies for larger projects… or, in other words, it makes more intuitive sense to me than the others I’ve tried before, and I think I’m going to enjoy development jobs much more as a result. Yay![/high-grade-geekery]
People tell us that our first gig went pretty well, despite some sound issues. The problem in a nutshell: the girl running the sound desk has never encountered a band who request that they not bother mic’ing up the amplifiers and simply run the kick, snare and vocals through the PA. End result: we didn’t sound quite right, but we still put in a decent showing and had a lot of fun. In case you were wondering how we sound, well, here’s a video recorded on a mobile phone. Horrible sound quality, but you’ll get an idea of where we’re coming from (and how loud we play); the tune is called “Song for Joseph”.
See? We don’t use the Vulcan bomber as our logo for nothing.
The next show is Monday 11th, and the sound guy will be someone we know a little better, so those debut issues should be sorted. We’re really looking forward to it; if you’re in the area, come along. I have tickets, if you’d like to buy one at the super-cheap advance rate of Â£2…
Books and magazines seen
No time for sourcing images today, but there’s a fresh hardback copy of China Mieville‘s The City & The City sat on my sofa alongside a trade paperback of Sean Williams‘ latest Astropolis novel, The Grand Conjunction.
A more unusual score comes in the form of How to Build Your Own Spaceship, a pop-sci book by Piers Bizony about “the science of personal space travel”, which the publisher was nice enough to send me after I emailed them about it. Nice Jetsons vibe to the cover art:
Lovely. Now all I need is the time to read it…
Well, there you have it – it’s been a busy few weeks, but then I always say that, don’t I? But hey, the weekend’s here, and that’s got to be a good thing. I think I’ll wrap this up, finish the Futurismic free fiction round-up and spend a few well-earned hours sat on my arse with my nose in a book… I hope you find something nice to do as well. Laters!
[ 1 - And many thanks to the man DT for the tip-off on that one, too. ]