Monthly archives: July 2006


Paging Robert Langdon

The body, or bits of it, at least, of Italian financier Gianmario Roveraro have been found under a motorway bridge. The banker, who had ties to Opus Dei and the collapse of Parmalat, was kidnapped on the way home from a meeting of everyone’s favourite conspiratorial religious group. There is no mention of whether his bits were arranged in such a way as to send a secret message.

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Is this what Mongrels are made of?

Protein-Nanoparticle Material Mimics Human Brain Tissue

A material that mimics brain tissue is a step towards artificial replacements for brain cells. Haven’t read this in full, I’ll probably do that this evening, but it might tie into ideas I’ve had for the Mongrels comic strips (Adrift is about a man with artificial brain cells living on, in a sense, after his body has died) and the script I’m writing for Tim’s “Spinneyhead presents” challenge.

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Income for non-dummies

You’ve got to love the internet. It keeps dropping those things you’ve been thinking about into your lap fully formed.

I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching about my attitude to work in the last few weeks. I’m always going to and get something to pay the bills if I have to. However, I’m looking for a change of direction away from developing Access databases for people who don’t know what they really want toward either analysing the data held on someone else’s tables or the very different area of web design. In the short term, I got a call about a 3 month contract that’ll start on Monday if I get it.

But I’ve always wanted to be independent of employers for some, or preferably all, of my income. Hence the ads on the blogs and Spinneyhead’s growing tail. I’ve just never been able to explain exactly why this would be right for me. So thank goodness for Steve Pavlina who came along and put it into words for me.

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What's in a name?

I admit it. English is not my strongest subject. My spelling is pretty bad. I also have a difficulty understanding simple concepts like what a spinney is. I thought it was a object spinning around, but no, Ian informs me that it isn’t.

One quick search on google later reveals the definition to be “a copse that shelters game”. Ok, so I’m going to have to do a bit of thinking about what we could do for the logo. Unfortunately, as with most Google searches I do, it didn’t end there.

Next up, I found a couple of pictures of spinneys as well ( Here and Here ).

After the pictures, I noticed Spinney Records, so Ian will probably have to come up with something different for the record label of the Spinneyhead empire. (Incidentally, Ian’s first thought about Spinney Records was “Hippies!”, closely followed by “Perhaps we should try for some cross promotion?”)

Lastly, I found Spinney Abbey in East Cambridge. Ian was quick to point out they have ghost stories. I think it would be quite cool to film a horror film around Spinney Abbey, It seems to look the part, but traveling would be a bit of a pain.

Ian did have one final thought on all these spinneys and in a film: “A concert by Spinney records artists in the grounds of Spinney Abbey compered by the Spinneyhead team”.

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Heavensent 8.2

Shara had been offered a fine selection of the best carbonised ferrous for whatever alchemy it was that primed the weapon in her arm. She paced the parapet, massaging her shoulder and flexing her hand. Fynn crouched near the edge, as still as the stone carved devilward beside him, staring into the dark. Occasionally he would say something into the handset cradled on his shoulder, the message fed through the wires down to Aurile, who stood by a city map several floors below.

Aylo was fascinated by the way Shara moved. She had a bearing, confidence and poise that made the most experienced of the resistance fighters look like a swaggering child. She was also absolutely deadly, which made him think his next action was the stupidest thing he ever did. “You are a weapon?” he asked, “The gun is built into you.”

Shara looked at Aylo and he wanted to jump over the edge. “Several weapons systems have been built into my body. The electromagnetic accelerator in my arm is the main one, however.” She stretched the arm and spread her fingers, examining them. Aylo imagined her clasping the fist and pointing it at him.

“Why are you the weapon? Why not one of the men?”

Shara made a fist, Aylo thought he saw it arcing toward him. She smiled, letting the arm drop to her side. “Because we knew we were coming to an undeveloped” she gave the word extra emphasis, “society. You would hardly expect a pretty little thing to be the fighter, would you?” Aylo was certain his heart had stopped. He wished he had asked his other question. The previous morning, so he had been told, none of these three could speak the language. First Aurile had learned it, then he had taken the other two aside, put them into some form of trance and made a strange concentrated warbling. After this strange ritual, Shara and Fynn had been able to speak like well taught tourists.

Fynn stood, stretched and walked over. “They wish you downstairs.” he told Aylo, who nodded dumbly and headed quickly for the door. Fynn moved to another corner of the roof and stared out again. Shara returned to her calisthenics.

Heavensent 8.3
Heavensent 8.1
Heavensent 1.1

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Blackburn Arts in the Park

As promised, photos from Blackburn’s Arts in the Park festival-

The first band we saw who were worthy of the name (there was a dire cover versions duo on the main stage when we arrived) were Story One. There should definitely be more fiddles in indie music. Their new album is being released online on 1st August. Well worth checking out.

Next up were Polytechnic who, I’m afraid, didn’t impress.

Tom Hingley and the Lovers, one of the three bands we came to see for nostalgia reasons. After an excellent opening with Saturn 5 they went on to play a great set of mostly Inspiral Carpets classics.

As noted earlier, there should definitely be more fiddles in indie music. When they’re played by Erica Nockalls- 9th and 10th legs of the Groove Machine- even the most guitar centred indie boy would agree. An excellent set of Wonderstuff nostalgia. I started out quite close to the front and edged ever closer as the area behind me became a drunken mosh pit. I spotted two young boys right by the barrier, one of them only just able to see over it, with no-one around to protect them. I did my best, but ended up being unable to resist one of the surges and the smaller kid got pushed against the barrier and burst his nose. Security helped me lift them over to safety after that, but I feel bad I couldn’t protect them better.

Finally, the headliners, the Lightning Seeds. I’ve always liked their music but for some reason not got round to buying any of their albums. Despite the songs beiong more laid back the mosh pit seemed to have grown. This may just have been an impression formed by being on the side of it, and able to see the chaos, rather than in front of it this time.

Apart from the idiots who kept trying to crush children, this was an excellent (and free, I like free) gig. There’ll be another one next year, so look out for that.

On Amazon-
Story One
Tom Hingley
Wonderstuff
Lightning Seeds

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Heavensent 8.1

Note I forgot to post Friday’s episode, so here it is today.

The Cachement sank into the mud, valves hissing and bubbling as redistributed air settled it onto an even keel. No wreck ever laid on the bottom so neatly as the carefully scuttled barge. The crew still patrolled the deck, using the handrails as they swam toward the open hold.

They had started sinking as soon as the lights of Stran Island had shown on the horizon, continuing on their way underwater until they reached the sandbank that lay offshore. Now they had to transfer to the vehicles that were the barge’s cargo on its last journey. The long tubes, rounded at one end and with a propeller and rudder at the other, were little more than slow sit-on torpedoes, transport for the warheads that were the front quarter of the craft. Another tube slung under the body carried extra batteries and oxygen to prolong the range for this special mission. Two by two, the crew members swam down to their Pigs.

Six Pigs headed for the north channel around Stran and six for the south. Those that made it were to pick their targets from the docks on the eastern side of the island. They knew they were part of a far larger plan, but were certain they were to strike the hardest blow. Strung out over several thousand spans, the small craft set out. If all went to plan, they would arrive in the harbour just before dawn.

With its mission completed, the remainder of Cachement’s crew flooded the tanks, transferring the air to their control section. As the hull of the old barge settled snugly into the mud, the little metal bubble began rising slowly to, hopefully, a rescue craft from the invasion fleet.

Heavensent 8.2
Heavensent 7.8
Heavensent 1.1

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It's a little business, I like to call Show…

After the concert yesterday, Ian was left with the distinct idea of doing Spinneyhead presents…. Obviously, Ian needs to come up with a few film plots, then the scripts before anything else can get started.

However, to aid Ian (and all those wanna be film makers out there), I did a bit of research to see how we can go about doing this within budget (ie, speading nothing or at least very little) possibly with a bit of beg, borrowing and stealing along the way.

During my search, I found this link to create you own ILM (yes, that is ILM, not film (ILM is Industrial Light and Magic, the Lucas Arts people))

Yes, this does mean that Ian may well have a fighting chance of doing this (if he does the scripts, etc) and yes, you could become involved. I am sure Ian will post relavant details a little closer to the time…

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It's a popular misconception, that says we haven't seen anything yet

It's a popular misconception, that says we haven't seen anything y et
It’s a popular misconception, that says we haven’t seen anything y et,
originally uploaded by spinneyhead.

Tom Hingley and the lovers performing at Blackburn’s arts in the park festival. Also on the bill were Wonderstuff and the Lightning Seeds. More pictures and a review in the next few days.
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