Another look at my process. A little bit about how I’ve started tracking inspiration and research more thoroughly than I was before.
Another new Writer’s Life video. I went and had a look at the new version of the development that inspired the vampire tower in Zombies v Vampires/Northern Gorehouse.
Shortly after the service launched in Manchester, I took a Mobike hire bike out for a test ride. Whilst I was about it, I visited some of the locations of Northern Gorehouse (aka Zombies V Vampires). Here’s A Writer’s Life, episode 3.
Just a quick report on what I’m planning for future videos in the series.
First of what will hopefully be a regular series.
This year’s Manchester International Festival opened with What Is The City But The People? Created by the same guy who did the original Manchester Day, it was a wonderful slice of city life, weaving narratives around shared and separate experiences.
I had the camera in the phone on burst shots- five of everything- and I hope I’ve picked the best of them for the album.
I’ve been quite busy since the Naked Bike Ride, and only just managed to get a few images edited and uploaded. Unfortunately, Flickr won’t let me embed the gallery here, because of the flesh. But you can visit it here.
A Western set in the early years of the twentieth century, so there was some interesting use of the telephone, with rural ‘party lines’ for communication.
‘Stringer’ McKail travels from San Francisco- where he’s one of those too-honest-to-be-rich-and-famous newspaper reporters- to Calaveras Countys, where he grew up. Not long after arriving, people are trying to kill him. Soon after that, he meets the first of a string of women who want to sleep with him.
It’s all got something to do with a stagecoach robbery fifty years earlier, and a bandito who most likely never existed- his name translates from Mexican Spanish as ‘Grumpy Joe’, and may have been a catch all to keep the ‘Anglos’ from persecuting the local Mexican community. Somebody thinks they can track down the treasure, and they’re not above killing and kidnapping to get to it.
Part of my research on consciousness for an upcoming project. This was more of a philosophical read on the definition of consciousness, and its benefits and problems, than about the process that may have brought it about.
Lots of interesting ideas, and the book is sprouting many coloured bookmark tabs where I found ideas worth exploring further, or springboards for ideas to put in the story.
At a loose end in the city centre yesterday evening, I decided to start photographing stickers I found on lamp posts and elsewhere. Sticker bombing street furniture feels like a relatively new development to me, but I’m probably wrong, and have only just noticed it.
I’ve added some older sticker pictures to the album, and there’s one legitimate, screwed down, sign that’s made its way into the collection as well.
I have a magazine full of custom cars and comics by a French artist called Pascal Meslet, which has somehow managed to survive since 1984. I’ve always wanted to make some models based upon the pictures in it, and finally managed to.
It’s a far from direct copy, but this little Renault 5 was inspired by the image it was photographed on top of. It’s been practically finished for over a month, I just kept putting off painting the rear lights and gluing them in.
I need to get more modelling done, I reckon.
“Happy Minor Birthday.” Seth held his shot glass up over the table.
Frankie raised her glass and clinked it against Seth’s. “One day, soon, I’m going to make you stop forcing me to celebrate this.” she said, wincing at the clumsiness of her declaration. They knocked back the spirits, throats burning and lips strangely numbed.
“Never! You’re a first. A trail blazer! A miracle! A….” Usually, Seth had to be much more drunk before he started describing her birth in these terms.
“Not a freak. Never a freak. I mean, look at all the bag babies there are now. All those preemies who wouldn’t have lived before you. And you, the first of them.”
“The first to survive. All the ones before me died. There’s a reason my middle name’s Miracle. I know they would all have died anyway, they were so premature. But I have to wonder how I survived and they didn’t. Sometimes I imagine their ghosts looking at me, all angry because I got out alive and they didn’t.” Frankie turned her shot glass over and tapped the table top with it. “What is this stuff? Why’s it filling me with melancholy and misery?”
“It’s one of Will’s concoctions. He gave me the shots free for feedback. Wants to make up a batch and sell it across the bar. You don’t like it?”
“Maybe I’m just not in the mood. I need brandy.”
Seth turned in his seat and leaned on the bar. Will spotted him immediately, and navigated his way around the bar staff. “Well?” he asked.
Frankie unrolled her phone and checked her messages. She didn’t want to give her opinion on the drink. Seth’s hand waggled in the air, the wavering sign for so-so. Will hid his disappointment well. “Double brandy, and a pint of the Earl Grey lager, please.”
“Dinesh is stuck on a tram. Everyone else says they’ll be here in the next half hour or so.” Frankie told Seth when he put the tumbler of dark gold liquid down before her.
“Including the dishy Darius?”
Frankie blushed. “Can we not mention the Minor Birthday thing to him. I haven’t told him yet.”
“If he’s with the others, one of them will have blabbed already. And I may, maybe, have already mentioned it’s your Minor Birthday when I invited him. Just the name, not the full, gory explanation.” Seth turned to pick up his lager, avoiding her glare.
“Fucking wonderful. Everybody wants to know all about the procedure when they find out. ‘You were taken out of your mother’s womb how many months early?’ ‘Are those bags really see-through? Could you see the lab you were grown in?’ ‘What was it like?’” The voice Frankie put on got squeakier with each question. She picked up the tumbler and swirled the brandy around.
She wasn’t angry at Seth. He meant well. Sooner or later, with everyone she met, the subject of her birth came up. Everyone was interested in the process. Too many had an opinion on the ethics of bringing a baby to term in an artificial womb when they wouldn’t survive in their mother’s. The worst were the ones who thought she needed protecting.
Seth had a smile, that annoying one that meant he knew something she didn’t. “What?”
“Oh, nothing. I mean, I’ve already let out one person’s secrets today. I really shouldn’t do it.”
“What is it? Something about Darius?”
“Well, speak of the devil.” Seth pointed over Frankie’s left shoulder.
She turned quickly, and there was Darius, over by the door. He spotted them, smiled and waved. He was achingly gorgeous, about as beautiful as any man could be. Was he some sort of freak, just like her?
Oh, she hoped so. She really did.
So, we’re going to have an election, because Theresa May expects things to get much worse as the Brexit debacle rolls on. She’s terrified that the incompetents she’s put in charge of negotiations will deliver a disaster, taking her down with them (and the rest of the country as well, of course, but she doesn’t really care about most of us).
I listened to her announcement of the election (twice, because I’m some sort of masochist). It was six minutes of blaming everyone else for her party’s failures. And then, on the front page of the Daily Mail this morning, the bile we’ve come to expect from the rag, labelling everyone who doesn’t do exactly what Chairman May demands a saboteur.
If that’s what she, and they, want to call sensible, decent people who have serious and well founded misgivings about this whole farce then I’m going to embrace it. I’m a proud saboteur.
The design’s available on clothes, mugs and stickers from Redbubble
Here’s a mocked up view of what it’ll look like on a T-shirt-
Update Now available in blue as well, ideal for white T-shirts etc.
I went out for a ride in the sun last Sunday, and recorded this trip through the back streets of the Northern Quarter and Ancoats. I’ve sped it up, to suit the bounce of the soundtrack I found for it.
Music- EDM Detection Mode by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
I’m not a big fan of all these plans to build higher and shinier and more expensive towers in the city centre. I can’t shake the feeling that more down to Earth developments, aimed at people on an average wage or below, and not backed by the super wealthy, would have a harder time getting planning permission. But I am a natural cynic.
Zombies vs Vampires got a big bit of inspiration from Gary Neville’s plans (even if I put my versions somewhere else by accident), and it feels like I may be tapping into something of relevance with my ‘1% lording it over the 99%’ narrative.
Take a look at some of the towers and skyscrapers which could sprout up around the city centre over the next few years
I’m a little late to this one, but here’s the email I just sent to Jo Johnson, Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation.
Dear Jo Johnson MP,
I am concerned that the Digital Economy Bill will help copyright trolls threaten ordinary Internet users. The offences in the Bill should be made narrower so they do not include so many new people. Minor copyright infringement should not be punishable by 10 years in prison.
As a writer, I want to be fairly paid for the works I create. I do not want to punish anyone who is inspired by my work, whether they’re telling others about it- and potentially growing my fanbase- or creating fanfic or having fun with my ideas. As it stands, it appears the Bill could punish fans, one of the greatest resources a creator can have, excessively, up to potentially putting them in prison.
I urge you to change the Bill so that it will explicitly exclude low value copyright infringements and only be aimed at persistent and malicious offenders. Don’t punish the fans, go after the genuine pirates.
Go to this page to send your own.