Tag Archives: pier

Friday Photo Blogging: the glowering frown of the clouds

Whoa – Paul Raven in “actually got out of the house with a camera recently” shocker!

Not the most exciting of photographs, I’ll grant you, but better than me digging in the archives or showing you some other dust-coated relic from my hovel.

South Parade Pier beneath a bank of cloud

The weather’s been good enough for me to do some supplementary cycling, and yesterday evening I was quite taken by the bank of cloud looming over South Parade Pier – so that’s what you have above. Mmmm – moody.

Writing about music

The one major upside of having a frantically busy week is that a normal week seems easy by comparison, so this week’s mere five reviews have been a relative breeze to cope with after last week’s bedlam.

As hinted at last week, the initial enthusiasm of potential reviewers has yet to coalesce into concrete samples of writing, so I need to do some prodding forthwith.

Album of the week

Got to be Station by Russian Circles. It’s not prog, it’s not post-rock, it’s not post-metal … but it’s all brilliant.

Neither obtained nor reviewed this week, but an extra mention goes to Vantage Point by dEUS, which has been on my stereo or headphones at pretty much every point I’ve had free in the last week. It’s a great album, people; SRSLY.

Writing about books

Well, look at that – I actually got some material out of the door and published, here and elsewhere, as noted earlier in the week.

Nearly finished reading Love And Sex With Robots, which I plan to review on the train tomorrow; after that it’s a binge to try to cover as much of the Masterclass reading list as possible before the damned thing actually starts*.


Well, just look at those new bloggers go! A few teething problems with formatting, but that’s down to my fussiness more than their skills, and we’re getting pretty close to sorted – especially considering they’ve come up with more interesting stuff in a week than I usually find in a month.

Who knows – we may soon reach a point where I can miss a day blogging at Futurismic and (gasp!) not get all panicked about it!

And hey – what did you think of Kristin Janz‘s story, “Veritas Nos Liberabit“?


As noted yesterday, I’m stepping down from my editorial post at Interzone. As far as FPB is concerned, the most obvious result of this will be to slightly reduce the number of times I go on about being hideously busy**; that said, I’m going to miss it. End of an era, folks … but the start of a new one, too. 🙂


I’m rollin’, rollin’, rollin’, as Fred Durst once jabbered. Looks like I’ve got a website project tentatively booked to be done by the end of the month. Just waiting for confirmation and a few access passwords, and I’m good to go.

And how good a feeling was it to have my first proper invoice to PS Publishing paid off last weekend? Awesome, frankly. Onwards and upwards, wot? 🙂

Books and magazines seen

Would you believe nothing again? Most unusual to go a few weeks without anything more than a trio of vampire-shagger paperbacks from Orbit.

Then again, the music industry seems to slow down come mid-June, so maybe publishing works the same way. So much to learn! Not like I’m short of stuff to read, anyway. Selah.

Out and about: BSFA & SFF AGMs

OK, so I’ve determined I’m definitely going to the AGMs tomorrow – having even taken the drastic measure of dropping off my laundry for a service wash one day early***.

Hope to see some of you there – if we’ve not met before, come and say hello. I may look like some ludicrous caricature of a sysadmin crossed with a failed hippie-biker, but I’m told I’m moderately charming in spite of it****.


Well, there’s something to be said for actually getting a bit of home-turf blogging done during the week, in that there’s less need to say things here in the FPB Coda. This is good for me, as it frees up some Friday evening time, and good for you, as you have less irrelevant guff to scroll through. Bilateral result – a career in the diplomatic service surely beckons!

So, in the spirit of moving fast and staying light – like a hobo on a skateboard, maybe – I’ll bid you all a good weekend before heading out for The Friday Curry Which Is Verily Regulated By Ritual And Tradition. Hasta luego, amigos. 🙂

[ * Seeing that’s in about two week’s time, good luck to me – though if I read any of it, I’ll be more prepared than last year, and I’ve already read one of the non-fic titles on the list of my own accord. ]

[ ** Yeah, like I’m ever going to stop saying that, until the day I have a gorgeous Mexican professor of literature and philosophy paid a CEO’s salary to bring me nachos and Coronas with lime as I write, in between her own research into the intersection of indigenous culture and modern urban mythology. Not that I’m planning ahead or anything. ]

[ *** Rock’n’f*ckin’roll, huh? Yawp. ]

[ **** By my mother, since you asked. ]

Friday Photo Blogging: beams and sky

Digging in the crates this week, I’m afraid. Here’s the awning frame at the front of South Parade Pier …

South Parade Pier

I’ve not gotten round to doing any photography, as you may have guessed – I’ve been too busy with other more urgent concerns.

It’s a shame, as the weather has been bright and sunny up until this morning. Selah.

Writing about music

Well, I got all the overhanging deadlines for other people out of the way as promised, and with a few lingering exceptions (mostly situations wherein I’ve been offered albums or interviews I couldn’t get on my own), the decks have been cleared.

So now it’s a case of gradually ramping up to a steady turnover at The Dreaded Press – which, given the amount of stuff I’m getting sent through already, shouldn’t prove difficult.

Writing about books

No literary scribbling this week, to my shame.

I did, however, discover that I’ve been accepted for the SFF Masterclass for the second year running. Which is super news; now all I have to do is work out how I’ll be able to afford it!

I’m pretty sure I can claim it as essential career development and training, so at least I can write it off against tax …

That said, the day I’m earning enough outside my day-job to warrant me actually paying any tax on it will be a happy day indeed.


After last week’s revelation (and thank you all for the good wishes, both public and private – it’s excellent to know that people believe in me), it should be obvious that Futurismic has been chewing up large chunks of my time this week.

Most of it is the sort of tedious web-admin stuff that no amount of pre-planning can make easier, involving as it does wrestling with the support systems of web hosts and registrars. It’s been … interesting, let’s say.

I meant to post some of my thoughts and plans right here over the course of the week, but time has not permitted; this weekend may see them surface.

But the good news is that we’re on track for the 3rd March relaunch – so watch this space. Or rather, watch that space!

Velcro City disruption possible

While on the subject of web hosting and domain registration*, I’m currently waiting on the transferral of control of this domain to the registrar that holds and hosts all my other sites.

As I’m moving away from UK2 (who are a notoriously grasping bunch of shysters that I won’t honour with a link), this has cost me a lot of time and money, and caused me no amount of frustration so far**.

Thankfully, as with many such processes, Google was far more helpful than the company themselves (not to mention damning). The web is still very much a frontier town – it pays to ask around before you go into business with someone.

I believe the process is in action now, but if VCTB disappears for a few days, at least you’ll know what happened. Fingers crossed, everything will work out fine.

Books and magazines seen

Only the one incoming title this week, the result of me exercising my editorial privileges as Reviews Kaizer at Interzone:

Solaris Book Of New Science Fiction Volume 2

The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction Vol. 2ed. George Mann

Literally fresh from the press, no less – they’d just received the ARCs when I requested it. Cheers, George! 🙂

I think I may well end up bouncing in and out of it over the next few weeks as a way of breaking up the Wolfe omnibus – not because I’m finding it boring (which I’m most certainly not) but because it’s bombarding me with so much imagery and so many set pieces to absorb that I’m finding it hard to concentrate on reality***.


With the sheer amount of BUSY I’ve had this week****, I’ve totally failed to say how nice it was to meet some of the gang at TTAcon last Saturday (and to put some faces to the names and email addresses at long last), as well as briefly meeting Pat Cadigan and Ellen Datlow and catching up with my great friend Liz.

As a side note, Jetse mentions a conversation we had at the time regarding McDonald’s Brasyl; for the record, I don’t remember claiming Brasyl was an inferior novel to River Of Gods, but I’m sure I said that it wasn’t as immediate a story (as I put that very phrase in my recently submitted review). We’d both had a beer or two, though, which may explain the crossed wires*****.

Anyhow, go read Jetse’s analysis – because in addition to being an amiable Dutch man-mountain and beer-machine, he’s a damn good writer and an exceptionally clever fellow as well.

That aside, I’m going to keep FPB short this week and forgo the normal blathering, as I have a gig to attend this evening (EP launch party for local prog-hardcore gang Munroe Effect), and I have this week’s Free Fiction round-up yet to do for Futurismic

And there’s The Friday Curry to be shoehorned in there somewhere, as well! So I’ll bid you a swift farewell, and wish you a good weekend.

Adios, amigos.

[ * That sound you can hear? That’s my teeth grinding. ]

[ ** “Thank you for filling in this intensely obtuse web-page form that doesn’t work in Firefox and has a tendency of clearing all fields when you attempt to submit it. Now please fax the DNA sequences for both your parents and at least one living uncle or aunt to the following number, along with the deeds to your home and a document that transfers possession of all your worldly goods to a three-legged armadillo named Napoleon, and we’ll consider looking into your support query some time this week. Thank you for using UK2!” ]

[ *** So, no change there, then. ]

[ **** One of these days I’ll go through past FPBs and count the number of times I’ve described myself as being ridiculously busy. I would do it now, but naturally I’m far too busy. ]

[ ***** Yeah, I had a few beers. It was a con, after all! I’m being frugal and healthy, but I’m not becoming a Puritan. ]

Friday Photo Blogging: once more beneath the pier

Well, would you believe it – I actually did some photography over the last seven days!

Of course, deciding what artistic merit it has (if any) must be left as an analytical exercise for you, the reader:

South Parade Pier

I’m a sucker for the underside of South Parade Pier, principally because I like industrial decay as an aesthetic … and nothing says “industrial decay” in quite the same voice as the rusting underbelly of a Victorian-era pier.

Plus there are lots of repeating shapes and surfaces, angles and lines and so on.

So, yeah. Rusty stuff FTW.

South Parade Pier

Writing about music

Not a whole raft-load of actual music-related writing this week, but a crazed flurry of organising for music-writing-related things to happen has taken place.

Which means I’m off to Southampton on Monday night to talk to the guys in From Autumn To Ashes, and on Tuesday I’ll be on the phone to those quirky chaps from British Sea Power.

Plus a clutch of CDs to write about, and other assorted tasks and jobs to do … as I predicted last week, I’m back up to breakneck pace again!

Writing about books

I sent off (and received a commented and edited version of) the first draft of my review of Debatable Space for Strange Horizons, and I’m planning to have that squared away by the end of this week.

I’m currently reading the ARC of Adam Roberts’ Swiftly. It’s a pretty good story so far, but one of the most terrible examples of typesetting I’ve seen in a long time, so I hope some considerable copy-editing has been done on it before it goes to press. I need this read and reviewed by the end of the month.

In the meantime, I need to get my thoughts on Stross’s* Halting State put together for your perusal right here on VCTB.

And there is a copy of Severian Of The Guild (an omnibus edition of Gene Wolfe’s Book Of The New Sun, a title I’ve been meaning to attack for a couple of years now) making its way slowly across the ocean from Canada, so I am informed …

… which I guess I’ll need to finish off before the Great Baroque Cycle Reading Group (or should it be Reading Cabal?) kicks off around March.

Writing about other stuff

There has been some, but I can’t go into details right now. I can say that it’s not freelance work as such, and that I should have a fairly big announcement to make once some things have become confirmed and sorted out.

For now you’ll just have to call me a big nasty tease. Or ignore the issue completely, of course – which I guess is more likely, not to mention sensible.

Books and magazines seen

No fresh materials this week, although my production-run hardback copy of Iain M Banks’ Matter turned up from Orbit. It’ll look lovely next to my signed ARC, I’m sure. :p

Speaking of IMB, you’re all doubtless looking forward to my interview/article in the imminent issue of Interzone, aren’t you? Jolly good, I thought as much. 🙂


There goes another week in the rock’n’roll lifestyle of the scruffiest man in science fiction fandom. Cheerleaders for health and common sense will doubtless be keen to know that I am still off the cigarettes (and still finding it easy so far).

However, they will be less pleased to know that I’m now heading off to obtain The Friday Curry Of Justice, which I’m told (by people who know such things) is probably just as likely as cigarettes to cause heart attacks in my future.

To those people I say: a man needs a vice or two. I’m not ready to become a Buddhist monk quite yet. If you hear a loud noise in the next few hours, it’ll be my arteries clanging shut joyfully. 🙂

That’s me done for the day, folks. I hope you all have a great weekend doing whatever it is you like to do*. Hasta luego, amigos.

[* Why no ‘s’ after the apostrophe for Roberts, but an extra ‘s’ for Stross? Couldn’t say for certain, but I guess it’s aesthetics – they just look right that way. Go figure.]

[** With the exception of arguing about Battlestar Galactica on the Eastercon Mailing List; because, frankly, there aren’t enough hours left before the heat-death of the universe to waste them on talking about television***.]

[*** IMHO. 😉 ]

[tags]friday, photo, blogging, south, parade, pier, seaside, rust, music, bookstores, writing, blather[/tags]

Friday Photo Blogging: Beneath the pier, the rust

So, here is a picture of the murky underside of Velcro City’s South Parade Pier*, taken on a surprisingly sunny day about a fortnight ago. Not the most recent of photos, but time, weather and resources have not permitted any shutterbug adventures of late.

South Parade Pier, Southsea

I like all the lines and angles, the rust – it’s like a poem of engineering, a mumbled story about the decay of Victorian values entangled with the detritus of what came after. Something like that.

[* Yes, the one that caught fire during the filming of ‘Tommy’.] Continue reading Friday Photo Blogging: Beneath the pier, the rust