Zipping around Ancoats and the Northern Quarter 1

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 (

Return To Boom Town

Welcome to Boom Town

I started Boom Town last year, put it aside for the Summer, and returned to it recently. Click on the image above for the full gallery.

I also did a walk around video, which is a little shaky and blurry. When it gets it right, my phone’s macro focus is great. But when I’m working on something so close, and moving around, it keeps getting confused.

Testicle Pie

This video has been several months in the making. As mentioned, it started with a conversation in the pub, but that was back in January or February, and I only got to make the pie last weekend. Thanks to wonderful timing, my local butcher, after months of not having them, had lambs’ fry in again just in time for me to make the pie and take it along to a party where it could be sampled by my challenger.

Now I’m looking for other food related challenges to video. Any suggestions?

Flying around Incredible Edible in Todmorden

Last week, I was lucky enough to get a look around Todmorden, to see how the Incredible Edible group in the town has found ways to bring food and colour to its public spaces. Thanks to my action cam and a selfie stick, I was able to get a view of the project from the point of view of some of the insects it helps promote.

Little treasures

For the first time in a few years, I went along to an auction earlier this week and picked up a couple of mixed lots. Yesterday, I filtered out a few of my favourite items and, as they’re all small enough, thought I’d share them on a video. The autofocus on my phone is easily confused when things are that close to it, so there are a couple of points where it struggles. I’ll look at ways of fixing that in future videos.

I can’t embed a link to my Zibbet store in the video, as they’re not yet an ‘approved’ merchandise site, but I’ve asked to have that fixed.

The wonderful world of Mad Max rip-offs

As I’m writing a story inspired by Mad Max and the whole post apocalypse road warrior genre, I’ve been watching quite a few eighties era rip offs of the original.

A fair few of them are mentioned on this list, and I’ve gone searching for the ones I haven’t seen yet. Be warned, you are not going to encounter high production values, subtle acting or coherent storytelling if you follow me down this path. But most of these films are enjoyable in their own clunky ways.

(Don’t tell anyone I told you, but many of these films can be found, complete, on YouTube. Often ripped from VHS copies, the reproduction can leave a lot to be desired. But, as so many of them are currently unavailable any other way, this could be your best chance of seeing them.)

Source: The 10 stupidest (and most shameless) Mad Max rip-offs

I hope the security services aren’t recording my YouTube history

So, I’m working on the next book to be published under the Garth Owen pen name. The working title is Pickers and the high concept pitch is “Mad Max goes green.” Having broken it down into chapters and major scenes, then looked at my current writing pace, it’s not going to be ready by the middle of next month to tie in to the release of Fury Road.

A slightly longer synopsis- Pickers* wander through the (mostly) abandoned badlands after a climate change driven collapse, finding old equipment and technology that they can rescue, repurpose or recycle, selling it on to settlements. The story is about a family of pickers- father, two daughters and the husband of one of the daughters- who have been chasing a particularly precious treasure trove, and the journey they take once they find directions to its location. The treasure isn’t oil, or even water, and the action takes place in Spain and France, rather than unspecified desert.

I’m setting it up such that guns and ammunition aren’t yet vanishingly rare, but other, older weapon technologies are more likely to be used first. So I’ve been watching quite a few YouTube videos about bows and catapults. Which is how I found my new hero Joerg Sprave.

Joerg’s a jolly bald fellow with a crazy imagination, lots of skills, and one of the scariest laughs ever**. He builds things like pump action pencil launchers.

Or, at the other end of the spectrum, a machete launching “crossbow”.

It was an aside in one of his Slingshot Channel videos that inspired me to arm a secondary character with a catapult that she uses to launch darts fashioned from nails. I’m not sure how many of his other creations I could realistically use in the story, but you never know.

I’ve also been researching stuff such as thermite and napalm, but those probably aren’t things I should mention on an open channel.

*I admit it, the title’s inspired by the TV show American Pickers.

** It’s not the laugh itself that’s scary. The laugh is rather jovial, and occasionally gleeful. It’s just the way that he lets it out just after demonstrating another piece of destructive hardware.

The world’s biggest movie set?

You think of ghost towns as places that once were busy and full of citizens, only to be emptied out when whatever made them rich dried up. The city of Ordos in Inner Mongolia, however, never achieved any commercial success, and is full of empty tower blocks and part finished public spaces. It is home to only 2% of its projected population.

Just think of the films you could shoot here. Something creepy with a not quite functional future vibe to it. Gattaca with a far East twist or one of the planets of Serenity.

Ford shot a commercial there, but it’s just begging for more screen time than that.