Tag Archives: seaside

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: 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]