Mar 22

Adventures in Lyme Regis…

One of the great perks of being a lighting designer, is every now and then it takes you on an adventure.  A few weeks ago, this adventure was in Lyme Regis.

I know very little about Lyme Regis.  My Mum informs me it’s been the setting of a couple of novels.  My friend from Somerset informs me it has fantastic chips and clotted cream.  Two American friends who holiday there regularly, on hearing that this was my destination, joyously exclaimed ‘squid butts!’

Squid butts, it turned out, referred to fossilised squid butts.  ‘Everyone always goes down to the beach and turns right,’ explained my friends, ‘but the secret is to turn left, walk into the bay, find a good spot and just settle down and start digging for million-year-old squid butts.  So many just waiting to be found.’

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Mar 18

Scottish Independence

Sooo for anyone who hasn’t heard, Scotland is having a referendum in a few months time about independence from England.  Which is groovy – referendums are always fun, right?

And obviously I’m not Scottish, and I can’t vote in this one, and everyone’s sticking their oar in, so I’ll try and keep this short and simple and sweet.  Basically: I’m pro-Union.

My views have very little to do with either politics or economics.  I think it likely, particularly looking at the voting patterns of the North, that Scotland despises the Conservative government just as much as I do, and I’m sorry on behalf of all England that Scotland too suffers under the weight of the puffed-up ideologue loons who currently inhabit Westminster.  Will Scotland be better or worse off economically speaking if it splits from England?  Dunno.  Historically it hasn’t had a great time, but that was 500 years ago, so really, who’s counting?  Will England be worse off if Scotland goes?  Well, almost certainly, if only because we’ll have our despicable government all to our sunny selves, with fewer constituencies likely to vote them out.  Save us, Scotland!

But all of this isn’t really the point.

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Mar 14

From Bestseller to Bust

This is a bit pants, albeit, I think, fairly damn true:

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Mar 12

Let’s Have a Hard Conversation…

This is going to have a health warning on it.

If you are a young reader of this blog (say, under 15) or of a gentle disposition, then be advised that this entire entry is going to be about books and sexual violence, and you may want to pause before reading on….

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Mar 10

Top Secret Projects Becoming Less Top Secret…

… towards the end of April.

I know this doesn’t sound like great news, but actually, there was this whole move to keep all the TopSecretProjects Top Secret until autumn or even next year, which would have been tedious.  However!  Through curious circumstances beyond our control (and yet, awesome circumstances beyond our control) somewhere around the mid-end of April, I would encourage all curious monkeys to Watch This Space.

That’s all!

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Mar 07

Sound Map of London


… is awesome.

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Mar 03

Awesome Women

There is a recurring theme in not only science fiction and fantasy, but generally in literary circles, of recording the deeds of amazing female writers as something of an after-thought.  A great many debates have raged on this topic, which I won’t go into here because this is not the purpose of the post.

All I will say is that yes, I do believe that there is still something of a gender imbalance in both the portrayal of female characters and female writers across all genres, and a great many groovy people are campaigning to change this, and as always the dream, for me, is reaching that point where gender doesn’t matter.  Until then, and in the interest of balance, I thought I’d mention a few female authors who defined my childhood reading and my modern loves.

Ursula K. Le Guin remains one of the all-time greatest science fiction and fantasy writers of the 20th century, in my opinion.  Her voice, her style, her stories, her characters and her big, big ideas about identity, humanity and morality make her one of the names that deserve to read for centuries to come.

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Feb 28


It seems that every year we need a gimmick.  For the BBC, 2014 is apparently a celebration of ‘freedom’.

My uncle, when in regularly cantankerous mood, vouchsafed the following:

“I don’t think we’re more free.  The only freedoms I see us having are the freedoms to consume.  To buy buy buy – that’s the only freedom we’ve got now.”

And, much as I may hate to say it, and while I disagree in many different ways and on different levels, he has a shimmer of a point.

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Feb 24

Playing Butch

My escrima bag is purple.  It has a flowery strap and a flowery lining.  I made it from some scrap materials around the house.  I’m also gently modifying it as the months go by… it’s acquired a new pouch I can put my syllabus and inhaler in, as well as a butterfly sown on above the purple buttons and lilac ribbon straps that secure the pouch shut.  As well as this, my sticks are decorated in the brightest colours I can find, and it’s only because LX tape tends not to come in pink, that they haven’t gone that colour as well.

Why did I make this?  Several reasons.  1.  It’s £20 to buy an escrima-stick bag online, and that just seemed ridiculous.  2.  I like making things.  There’s some phrase to do with idle hands and the devil’s work, perhaps… 3.  I wanted the girliest weapons bag I could have.

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Feb 21

The Love Ballad of the Bad Cop Agent

Have I mentioned that I love my agent?

Let me explain…

Agents have to take a lot of shit.  They sit between the author and the publisher, as the literary equivalent of Switzerland in a land war.  For both parties, they must navigate that very fine line between truth and tact.  Thus, a publisher may say to an author, “Darling, I loved your latest book, it was sensational, just sensational – but don’t you think the plot needs changing completely?”

“What?!” shrieks the author.  “What the hell kind of shit is this?”

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