Ruby Red


Yes, I know these things are supposed to be weekly not fortnightly.

What has passed

There have been a few things in the last week and a half which have distracted me or taken me away from work. With the exception of a friend’s birthday celebrations none of them have been good. So productivity has been poor.

I managed to get a page of Point of Contact done for last week, but not for this. With stuff that’s coming up I don’t think there’ll be a new page for several weeks. The next page introduces some important characters and sets up part 1’s big finish, so I want to make a better job of it than I feel capable of at the moment.

One thing I did manage was getting a book onto Amazon’s Kindle platform. Post and Publish collects three novellas and four short stories for the ebook reader (and many i-devices too). No sales yet, but it’s a little more length in my long tail. I’ve just uploaded Ruby Red, with luck it should be live by the weekend.

The bike business is steady, after a particularly good week a fortnight ago. I haven’t got rid of any of the bikes I was working on, but others have left the building and given me a little more space. I’m also now the proud owner of a bike trailer, which should make carting stuff around easier.

What shall come

I may have lost any momentum I had earlier in the year. It’ll come back to me, but I’m going to take a week or three to deal with some stuff I think. Projects will be rebooted/finished as soon as possible and there’ll probably be some campaigning and political stuff to liven things up. I can’t give any definite plans for the next week or so.

Longer term I think there may be a market on the Kindle for shorter works sold cheaply- 10,000 to 40,000 word novellas, possibly as parts of a series- so I’ll kick off some ideas along those lines.

Next time I hope to bury you under news of projects nearing completion, starting up and in planning.

Ruby Ruby Ruby Ruby

Ruby canoe
Originally uploaded by spinneyhead.
Perhaps because the story meant so much to me when I wrote it, perhaps because I felt like challenging myself, the chapters in Ruby Red are each getting an illustration. This is chapter 1 “Ruby”.

After several abortive attempts at drawing a canoe from reference material I went on the web and found one to download. I changed the textures to reflect the matt plastic finish I remember on Coleman canoes and added the name to the prow. Then I rendered it in Bryce. The reflected shoreline is something I couldn’t work out how to do in Bryce, so it’s taken from a picture I took of Bassenthwaite last October, stuck on the layer below the render (which had been set to Multiply), blurred and made 50% opaque.

Not a great piece of digital art, but I’m happy with it.

Ruby Red cover concept 1

Ruby Red cover concept 1
Originally uploaded by spinneyhead.
It’s the records I shot a few days ago, remixed and lettered.

I’ve been thinking so much about the music of the early nineties whilst going back to Ruby Red that the cover’s destined to have a vinyl theme to it. I’ll try one or two more ideas out and then ask you to vote on them.

I can feel you move

Inspiral Carpets – Move 12"
Originally uploaded by spinneyhead.
I’m looking for inspiration for the cover of Ruby Red. As it was written, and is set, in 1992, I’ve dug out all the vinyl and tapes I still have from that time and photographed or scanned the covers. I could get it all online this afternoon, but I think there’s other stuff that needs doing so it may take a few days.

First up- the Inspiral Carpets.

Me and Ruby Red, we never went to bed……..

Ruby Horse I know of course, that it’s you,
Ruby Horse I ran your course, and I’m blue.
(black & blue)

I spent friday night with a fly-by-night,
she said, hold on tight,
she said, “Hold on tight”.
I’m a son of a gun, I’m a son of a gun
It’s a bad thing I’ve done….
Me and my mother’s only son.

Remember us? I do,
Funny me and funny you.
Oh the sun shone down like marmalade
and covered us like glue

Then she turned on me
with all honesty, me and Ruby Red,
We never went to bed.
That’s the truth of course
me and Ruby Horse, she
left too soon….
Underneath a bright new moon.

Ruby Horse I know of course that it’s you,
Ruby Horse I ran your course and I’m blue.
Oh Ruby Red I know you’re dead and I’m through.

Ha, ha, ha.

Ruby Horse – Wonderstuff

I’m revisiting “Ruby Red”, a story I wrote in 1992, to probably publish it through Lulu. It’s an odd experience, talking to myself when I was fifteen years younger.

The story was written because of, but not about, a relationship. It rolled out in three weeks of intensive typing in the summer. I was using Wordwise, a word processor on a ROM that slotted into the BBC Model B.

At the moment I’m just skimming through the files, taking out some of the formatting so I can apply styles to it later. I don’t know how much editing I’m going to do after that, I don’t really want to push aside my 22 year old self, no matter how stilted some of the descriptive passages sound to me now (I’ve always been quite good with dialogue, I think).

There are one or two things that have gone since I wrote the story. It’s been over a decade since I canoed and I can’t feel so carefree about just getting in a car and going for a drive any more. But there’s an awful lot that’s still recognisably me. I have a couple of near indestructible Ned’s Atomic Dustbin “Kill Your Television” long sleeves, and I still love the song. The music from the early nineties has stuck with me and the 90s revival is making me a happy man. Most of all I still have an, as yet unrequited, thing for short redheads.


If you pop over to the shop and get the ultra cheap download of Another Education/ Ruby Red you’ll find the latter stotry is set in an imaginary West Cumbrian University. Twelve years later and life, sort of, imitates art as the University of Central Lancashire plans a campus in west Cumbria, only a few miles from the fictional location.

From Mum, who actually sent me the newspaper cutting, prompting me to go and find it online.

I haven’t double checked, but an article appeared in the company magazine today and I think this is how it read-

Most of us could just about manage to make dinner and read the paper after work � Ian Pattinson, though, is a regular word machine.
After a full day in Staines, designing databases to improve the efficiency of the sales force, he still has the energy to write novels � not just one either. In his words: �I hope to produce a novel every six to nine months, in a number of genres and experimenting with different styles every time.�
Ian�s latest novel is made up of two stories � Another Education and Ruby Red � both set in fictional university towns in the north of England. They�ve been made available as print on demand from Planetree Publishing.
In Another Education, a group of friends are trying to reconcile study, politics, job-hunting, romance and beer, when the community is hit by murder. Ruby Red is the story of a bereavement, a new romance�and a deaf cat with no tail.
�I do my writing in the evenings and at weekends, between learning to snowboard and games on the Playstation 2,� says Ian. �I also maintain a website � � where I show samples of my work.
Already in the offing is a 7� square comic about an ill-fated musician and his band, and a workplace comedy called The Eliza Effect.