Where will you be reading this Christmas?

I have noticed a couple of people asking the very reasonable question: what will you be reading this Christmas? While thinking on this it occurred to me to pose the equally relevant question: where will you be reading this Christmas?

With the shortest days upon us there aren’t that many consolations on offer. Dark mornings, gloomy afternoons and then the blinds get close early. Not much to get excited about, but then again…

 

So this is where I will be reading this Christmas. Life is tough sometimes eh?

Oh and this is what I will be reading too! And probably what I’ll be drinking as well. So, as the song says: ’Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.’

Continue reading Where will you be reading this Christmas?

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Little Bit Interesting

OK – it was pointed out to me that I may be a little bit more interesting than I made out the other week.

Yes, I did go to Andrew Lord Weber’s ‘The Other Palace’ for a social networking evening and Lord Andrew was there and I did wave, but he missed me I think. Great contacts though.

And (unconnected) I had a great day in the studio going through songs for a fantastic (other) musical that sounded great on the studio speakers with a full(ish) orchestra. Worked on a new song on the way home too.

And this is a photograph of me being interviewed for my first big screen appearance – talking about football. Uh huh, that’s right.

And this is a link to a very interesting animation I wrote for the film and another to a great game I am involved with (oh and I just finished a great classic SF shoot-the-aliens game).

However, honestly, I don’t feel very interesting – well, not like 20 years ago when I captured an excytosing heart secretory granule using a helium-cooled copper block.

Continue reading Little Bit Interesting

Dwarf Music

For those of you who might have wondered what the sound of modern dwarf music is like, these examples are very good approximations. First off ‘These New Puritans’ and the aptly named ‘We Want War’. Note: big drums and almost discordant brass – all at ear piercing volumes.

We then have what has been dubbed ‘Acid Brass’, which is very close to the dwarvish style which translates as ‘head-banging’ music, as it involves a lot of, err head banging.

An excellent example of this is the ‘Williams Fairley Brass Band’s version of “What Time Is Love?”

Interestingly this is as a very close partial translation of the well-known dwarf expression: ‘What time is love as I need to get down to the pub?” Nobody has ever accused the dwarf race of being overly romantic (except other dwarves).

Nicely himself, as has been noted, finds dwarf music can get a little repetitive and is quite a fan of gnome swing bands and something with a more complex rhythm, or a good tune!

Continue reading Dwarf Music

I am interesting, believe me!

I have just completed a really great film script with a writer living abroad and it’s about – well, I can’t actually tell you what it’s about, but it’s great, believe me.

Later next month I am writing another film script. It’s an adaptation of a novel, which I am really enjoying. It will make a great film. It’s about – well, I can’t actually tell you what that’s about either.

Sh! It’s a secret!

 

In the meantime I’m writing a game story for a client that is absolutely fantastic. The idea behind the story is totally unique and the artwork is stunning and … I wish I could tell you some more about it.

But I can’t.

What about the series of children’s poems? Not a word from me, unfortunately.

The Non Disclosure Agreement (NDA) is a vital and necessary part of a writer’s life. So – I am told – is building your ‘brand’ as a writer. Make your readers interested in you, as a person, with information about the things you like and do.

Well, I write a lot – a lot of the time, in different areas and media. And it’s all pretty damn interesting, and thanks to the NDA I generally can’t breathe a word about any of it.

So – tonight I am going to a performance about a woman who died in 1979*. That’s about it.

But I am interesting, believe me!

 

Continue reading I am interesting, believe me!

President of the Rings – politics and fantasy

Just so you know: there’s politics in my fantasy world, because there’s politics everywhere.

To which you might well reply:
“We’re overrun with politics now; can’t we have a break please? I like my fantasy to make me feel better not worse!”

Sorry, fantasy is the real world now. However, politics doesn’t have to be all bad – honest

The politics in Widergard (Wider-earth, gedit?) is different, not just because it was the elves that introduced democracy when they returned from Overseas, but because Widergard is a modern(ish) world with many different races. You know, the usual suspects: men, elves, dwarfs, goblin, trolls etc, who all now have to get on together.

That’s what politics is all about after all, isn’t it? Getting on together – or at least it should be.

You think we have problems here? Just imagine trying to draft a Race Relations Act when there are six different races? Well, seven if you count the Pix, but nobody really does – which is strange as they are some of the oldest inhabitants of all these fantasy worlds.

They don’t get a lot of press the Pix – I think writers worry about them bringing down the tone.

Continue reading President of the Rings – politics and fantasy

The Genome Wager – scenes from an Italian restaurant.

There is something quite remarkable waiting, biding its time, in the cellars of the UK’s Wine Society. Actually I’m sure there are numerous remarkable things in the cellars of the Wine Society and sure as Alan Sugar, I’m not going to taste any of them!

In principle the bet sounds quite simple. Professor Lewis Wolpert has bet Dr Rupert Sheldrake that by May 1, 2029, given the genome of a fertilized egg of an animal or plant, we will be able to predict in at least one case all the details of the organism that develops from it, including any abnormalities.

Sounds reasonably straightforward eh? I mean, given the rate that our understanding is growing this must be a distinct possibility. Genomics, the study of an organisms entire hereditary mechanism is a burgeoning area of research and is producing astounding results – such as the much trumpeted identification of the human DNA nucleotide sequence in 2007. Alongside genomic research we have major strides taking place in proteomics, the study of the proteome (the set of proteins expressed by any cell at a particular time under particular conditions). New advances in methodology and technology, such as Ultrahigh and Ultra Performance Liquid Chromatography (UHPLC and UPLC) threaten to accelerate the pace of research by offering higher throughput and better and ‘cleaner’ data for genomic and proteomic research.

So what’s the bet about? Is it just a case of: ‘if not then, then later?’

What is Rupert Sheldrake’s beef?

Continue reading The Genome Wager – scenes from an Italian restaurant.

What’s in a Number?

Writing recently about ‘The Prisoner’ recently I forgot to mention that Patrick Mcgoohan’s previous incarnation as John Drake, ‘Danger Man’, was known, for reasons I never quite worked out, as ‘Secret Agent’ in the USA. Probably broadcast elsewhere by this name as well – maybe.

I thought it would be jolly to have a listen to the opening credits, because ‘Danger Man’ had one of the best themes ever! All praise to the late Edwin Astley, who also wrote the theme for ‘The Saint’. No way could ‘Secret Agent’ beat that! It couldn’t, of course, but I did recognise the theme as the song ‘Secret Agent Man’ sung by Johnny Rivers and written by P. F. Sloan‎and Steve Barri (of ‘Eve of Destruction’ fame).

When it got to the chorus I sort of stopped and my heart skipped a beat (didn’t really).

Here it is:

“Secret agent man, secret agent man
They’ve given you a number and taken away your name.”

So, the question must be: was the whole of ‘The Prisoner’ inspired by the lyrics of ‘Secret Agent’, the American name for ‘Danger Man’?

To is there something else we don’t know about going on here? Continue reading What’s in a Number?