Thursday, 13 November 2014

so here's a thing

in the process of moving house i found "a thing" - to whit the novel that i wrote when i was sixteen whilst waiting for my GCSE results. not for me a hedonistic summer of celebration with my friends - oh no. i was a strange wodehouse/ doctor who/ douglas adams obsessed teenager whose best friend idolised george formby. so it kind of made sense for us very weird kids to challenge each other to write a novel over the summer

dave wrote a thing called "school daze" which was amazing in the way it built up to set pieces beautifully - it was exquisitely timed and gorgeously written... and then whenever a set piece was needed he just sort of left it for later... whereas i zipped along merrily with utter disregard for structure and timing and logic. it just sort of fell out... as you will soon see

for yes, i am going to post it all up here. the ridiculous outpourings of a sixteen year old who felt that just what the world needed was an anarchic, knockabout comedy version of euripedes' "iphigenia in aulis"...

but before all that here is the folder it was found in...

this lot on the back were the main cast of my fictional world - st dominics. this was a heavily greyfriars influenced version of my horrible private school i was stuck with going to: bedford school. i was a scholarship kid, my dad being one before me - he loved every second of it, i hated every second of mine. i was a lower middle class kid in a world of arrogant, stuck up rich kids. i was bullied from the get go. i loathed it. the school promoted rubbishy sports' people over actually GOOD old bedfordians like john fowles and saki. i retreated into a fantasy world more akin to a wodehouse book than the real world

the idea that st dominics - later st judes, when i realised i hadn't come up with the name - was home to a wide range of characters, and each book and story would involve those characters individually and occasionally as a collective. they included the rubbishy ed mcbrane, constantly in denial of his own rubbishness; bill "the pathetic" perkins, who was an inverse of the great gatsby - always hoping he was the romantic hero of his own life but actually horribly anachronistic; greg and mabel, my weirdly chaste romantic leads; neil redburn, mad scientist and loon; hamish cambofflebuffle, an ill thought out to write novels based on e j thribb from private eye

the book that is about to start was a neil one, and a not very good one at that. it's.... very much the vision of a boy who was very immature and unworldly, but probably quite brighter than average and deeply, deeply in love with the books that gave him an escape from his miserable daily life. it's... a thing. and it's here. and it's for you, if you want it...

Monday, 20 October 2014

Thursday, 25 September 2014

the common swings forgotten country stars

so i've been buying a house which has led to a stressful summer... hence why there's been so much silence for so long. but i'm working on a thing. and here are some things from said thing...

Friday, 11 July 2014

whatever happened to cosmo mandinsky: coming soon

it's been a while since we last dropped in on benjamin quinn and his adventures in antiquing. i'm currently working on putting the story so far into a printed version - issue one is very nearly done. here are some adverts that will be in what i believe used to be called "the endpapers"

Monday, 7 July 2014

On "Zine" by Pagan Kennedy and the Wacky World of Self Publishing

I wrote this for librarything's "Early Reviewers" who sent me a copy for free. I recommend you head to the Santa Fe Writers Project to grab your own copy. It really, really is great:

Self-publishing is a weird old thing. Why go to all the effort of creating something that often will only be read by family and friends, but takes you weeks or even months of effort to produce, then costs you too much money to get printed, and then can be incredibly difficult to distribute to complete strangers? Why not just do it electronically or just try and get it published properly? It’s surely just pure self-indulgence…

Well yeah, in a way it kind of is. And I say that as someone who has been happily, and not cheaply, indulging his silliest ideas for about five years now. I am struck with a deeply silly idea (what if I wrote something like “Roy of the Rovers” but from my own perspective of not caring or understanding a single thing about the kicking game?) that makes me chuckle and then doodle it down and hope it makes someone else laugh as much as I did (if you want to find out if that person is you, by the way, the resulting “Roy of the Rovers” parody is called “Johnny Kickfoot” and can be found in “The Common Swings Variousness Spectacular” available from, well, me). So in many ways it’s, yes, indulging myself in a very real way. But it’s also a wonderful way of spontaneously taking an idea and getting it down on the page very quickly. To me this is one of the most profoundly wonderful things about zines and mini comics: it’s quick to produce and is frequently (once you get the hang of doing them) pretty much the equivalent of opening up your head and allowing the ideas to plop out directly onto the page.

And the delight of it all is… you don’t have to care or worry about what readers might think about it. You’re not doing it for them. You’re doing it for you. No second guessing. As long as it’s not entirely self-obsessed, boring navel gazing that you’re producing (that’s what blogs are for, surely) you’ve got a good chance of finding someone who finds what you do enjoyable. I’ve had many baffled looks at my zines, but I’ve also found that one thing usually appeals to each person who reads them. Just one thing. And it’s usually the most unexpected thing in the world. My wife’s favourite was a kid’s book idea I basically knocked up on the spot about a vain pony called “Carl the Splendid Horse”. Just mentioning it sends her into giggles and I have no idea why. And I don’t’ think about it too much either, because by then I’m usually trying to think of another silly gag to make someone else chuckle.

This is a roundabout way of saying that I understand a lot of the world that “Zine” comes from. I may not have been creating an autobiographical, mainly text based zine like Pagan Kennedy did, but by golly did this book resonate with me. Kennedy started “Pagan’s Head” as a way of not trying to second guess what other people – and Pagan herself - expected from her attempts to write the Great American Novel ™. This was the Great American Novel’s idiot, carefree brother who just gadded about on the sofa and watched the telly while his precious sibling vexed for hours pondering how many times is too many when it comes to saying “said” on one page. In other words, this was a spontaneous, slight, silly, wildly creative outlet for the kind of ideas that she deemed unusable for her “proper work”. And before she knew it, that spontaneous, slight, silly and wildly creative outlet had actually become, in many ways, as important – if not more so - as the Proper Novel itself.

And that’s because a zine is like a dialogue. A dialogue between the creator and the reader. It’s a letter to people you initially know and then, hopefully, some you have yet to meet. It’s a bulletin straight from your brain. And having Kennedy’s insights into the creative process – and then being able to see that creative process itself – are fascinating. In many ways the quality of the zine itself is not important (although, handily, “Pagan’s Head” is a great read as it moves slowly from self-indulgence to finding a very real and confident voice, as Pagan moves towards the more themed issues: it’s a lovely companion piece to something like John Porcellino’s “King Cat Classix”, a similar collection of juvenilia slowly becoming bolder and more adventurous as the writer and artist grows in confidence in using his skills) – it’s the story of how it got there that really holds the attention.

Because in many ways zines, mini comics and the whole world of self-publishing are more about the journey than they are about the destination itself. Many novels suffer from being so focussed on the destination, they don’t take the time to enjoy dawdling and take in the view on the route. In the hurry to say something important about the human condition, writers don’t suddenly get waylaid by a comical cat or an unusual street name. The zine writer absolutely thrives on those tiny details. Most zine writers and mini comic writers couldn’t give a stuff about the destination. Some of them have barely left the house. Some of them could probably knock out ten issues of something based purely on their front door. Which is why they’re so wonderful. They’re entirely the work of a creative mind wanting to scoop out the overflow from their brain and pin it down on the page. Even the dullest zine or mini comic can contain something uniquely brilliant and vivid. And to read someone’s story about how they progressed along that route makes it even more wonderful. A great, great book.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

the sound of young nottinghamshire

i'm finally getting my arse in gear with regards to one of my longest - and most put off - projects. but before we get there, here's some record sleeves for one of nottinghamshire's most beloved and mysterious indiepop bands of the 1980s, the culverts...

Thursday, 3 April 2014


so as part of the day job, i've had to transcribe a couple of MP3s of a lecture i couldn't get to. so i tried an online sound to text service free. it's turned up... quite a thing:

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the lives of many of the ancient investment appraisal of all the things that is going and what you want me to do is just make sure
everybody's pay as you have a design that is quick and understands how to him, they will be a question in the okay so as to
eliminate his reading through the requirements of the limited, and he roughly say I will involve you as you are the one in your will
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basic definitions and would include the catalyst is an inability to software comparisons come from homes that is so on
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and twelve. Current assets of value within twelve to that window. I think that the aggregate liabilities have been ready, there is
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evaluation revenues of him a him and him just remembering what goes into a recession and all culminates this is a closing is not
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same as sometimes it is softening in saving histopathology him a him him not to follow them, so is the only redeemable in two
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probably saw myself I have no life in a piece that is the reason is that local liability, Tennessee five, and that is what is going on
is unsolvable on a financial instrument of all is the definition of financial instrument is something that you will mobile services
cash is always the matter is under voluntary something that says you you give me your money and I will give you a piece of
paper that says identity, but I hope you are okay. I was him on our unit tests a silver medal is ten= one eighty days of ethanol is
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and will know that this must be revalued to the market value of each polishing their other readers are marking on a for him. Who
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somebody else's fault is available to seven and he is available for sale. I will think about anything is available. Satellite during
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 1 / 3you sold days as a solely on the closing of the will him her assets should dispose of it, voting trust in our pattern. It has a
imposes them available for sale on the gnome is okay. I is okay. So I will and hang on in the day I get the buzz among thinking
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graveyard and so those labeled in the top off of abolishing the human radio fix a sexy little gray all and will and I also check
premium check premium policies and is reading the is a phenomenal value of shattering is the one and I know I is will the
nominal value of the shatters, i.e., of how the ship premium is excess on the volume they saw that about the hassles of trying to
see who is available as a problem? again, and I think this is a collateral testing. When I arrived I would buy anything that is
notably low level of a police already lease is the sauce. I even looked working out with his victim will will is will find they are
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revaluation on renting user could employ that within the revenues will I do believe that, then I will. Solomon is a problem is a
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and excise to include the meeting and all the eighth of an appreciated for the Santa Fe line depreciation isn't there as consisting
not of direct cost of sales. These policies don't believe in it all the people in his paintings are the most pad file. The dividend of
seven dividend profit of the original application for the end of September, two four David Sasson, a legal claim from Cosmopolis
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confidently enough that you are selling is also the author of the cases that José will is will and not a whole lot of places is really
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told me which is so whose idea was that you present time, the peoples of the officer in male is usually really really( and working.
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investments in the letter from operations on the ninety times that we don't finance costs– Haven placebo on a meeting is in me,
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decided to those of us during this visit. He denies that are you really so the half a million hands of capital assets means I'm
paying less time and less time in a month or in front I have to bring them on Tuesday to did you convey in a limited phone
conversation is a is an absolutely exact calculation. Nothing changes always saying is because of the allowances of coronary
on his right. Okay, so him: Olivier 's and so is the and is the diastolic allotment of you are him a him essentially the same
available-for-sale investments with our long-term health of phone volume on volume, you are in a the is is ready for you to look
comprehensively as an investment is a total comprehensive income for the year is the same problem. I hope training for the live
game on investment thoughts. The game from the market value to the market value any question will ask you are on you. You
will work on this and say the provision, which I haven't seen before the problem that I knew through discussion and schools. We
need to do with itself or something similar to a fair idea what is causing you want to discuss us. Okay that's that's that's that's
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is so well seven five two thousand and eighty accumulated depreciation you would appreciate you so from the allows you to
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available-for-sale investment known as Machiavelli is a good, so will their offensive is professor and is tolerating all of these are
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process that I should get a few liabilities, while validity and reliability validity to say that I only got one in duty of a base of the
known as loans the loan will anything else in the middle. The number lot lot of the liability section will include those financial
instruments which are mono homes on N/A the third revision him him a good definition of the problem is in so to qualify as little
as those are for those interested root that is most than in the act. The main thing that he told his is him him, J J and revaluation
on the news on the settings and changes going on so they are only situations outside. Okay, I'm out of the revaluation
investment dividends and is yet another loved one who is willing to Chevy 's move. The rest will finish his disease. The extra
marketing agency when removing your presentation. So what are you trying to him: thousand and four at home. They are
comprehensively as you know all the results on revenues of possibility and penicillin in the evaluation process presentation thing
will be able people who really want to be interested in is looking at net profit fell over there and six eight, one hundred news, so I
will be about the same. Okay, I have a son of a greasy education goals. We revalued on investment is available for sale. I
shall not on your over comprehensive income training. I would think of the net profit or net profit you think about on a separate
line. You will assist in six of them is in his and since six and six is your role in everything set up check J London friendship
premium over the revaluation resulted in revenues is the only balance. Sitting in him why to almost) capital to hunger. Even, for
that he is on the revenue is also something is wrong miscellaneous education psychoanalysis, thirty two hundred people in the
same linear looking for movement shareholder meeting of one of the move from the revaluation. The only computer vendors
are appropriation prophecies that focal much of the statements of changes in my city from parading without a will will so you J
framing your evaluation is a you already knew him, José is the single farm will question the sanity by losing is the devil is in the
unit has included is valued on really two excellent questions. Really, who are as repeatedly recognized the will as a result
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of those brought in walkway is a I don't want anymore and probably will will all become balance, as in and I I will I live in a show
of unity from usually lots of love. Anything was green on green is okay. I is anything that was right with the social self and hold
meetings and I'm not quite sure both you will a is him, I will write as if he is really more will will will will see is the is
 3 / 3

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

a nice review and some bookshop related things...

nice things said about me from this weekend's zine fair in leeds! lovely!

i am racing onwards with my bookshop project, "tipped in"... here's a page or two!


Friday, 14 March 2014

two things

1. zine fair in leeds this weekend - and i will be there so stop by to say hello

2. a new project is coming called "tipped in" - here are a couple of things...

Tuesday, 25 February 2014


sickness and business (as in being busy, rather than an actual business) and the like have caused me to be rather slack at updating hereabouts, but there is finally a flurry of news!

1. i'm at the leeds zine fair in about three weeks time selling my rubbish! come along and say hello!

2. my etsy shop is finally being restocked

3. i'm working on a longish serialised story for a local shop in todmorden - more on that when the first pages are done

4. i'm starting work on phase two of "cosmo mandinsky" and am slowly working out how on earth i can edit the first part into an actual physical form of sorts

5. and i've done some doodles... enjoy!

Friday, 17 January 2014

doodle of the day

i think i'm going to end up doing a doodle a day for the foreseeable - keeps me updating this regularly and doesn't take too much to knock out either. this is a new part of the evil geniuses and the pets who love them series which is also continued in the "variousness spectacular... coming soon to an etsy near you (or just message me)!!!

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

isaac chutney

i spent this morning typing up an exam for a student who can’t write/ use computers and in my break, whilst discussing politics and music (he knows i have no interest at all in football) i ended up doodling this. i have no idea what it is or why, but i like the look of isaac chutney. he looks a swell guy

Monday, 13 January 2014

the man with the red umbrella

i've been a bit neglectful of this blog of late, i do apologise. i am slowly readying myself for a return to action, but in the mean time here's an odd thing i've just read...

some time ago i picked up this thing called "the man with the red umbrella" by r a brandt in the sadly no-more piece hall bookshop in halifax. it was in the humour section but is more of a... fantastic piece of children's fiction. of sorts. having said that, it's more leonora carrington than anything else. it's creepy, hilarious, charming, baffling and beautiful in equal measure. my favourite bit? the squirrel delighted with his cornflakes; "did you know there are over three hundred and sixty-two cornflakes in here!... think of it!" amazing

here are the best bits of brandt's art...