Monthly Archives: May 2010

Echo Boomers

Morphamish+Texture – Echo Boomers by morphamish

I am having a real echo boomer crisis. The point where I know I can’t keep living a life which a badly Xeroxed copy of Scott Pilgrim.

I’ve felt slow and sluggish and unable to think coherently for the past month or so. Longer than that, really, because while the feeling that I’m not producing interesting or relevant or worthy material is constant I can ignore the doubt and sometimes bullshit myself into believing that I’m not some piss-poor fraud.

But then there are times when I’m on the edge of terminal exhaustion and unable to write a fucking word. A shell which is functionally illiterate and simply a waste of space. I haven’t written a proper story in weeks, if not longer. I haven’t got the ego, the energy or the self-confidence left to do anything except struggle.

Because I don’t want to be entirely self-pitying* listen to this track my Morphamish & Texture. This track is beyond good. Really wonderful lyrics, and a delicious beat. I want always writing material as sharp as these lyrics. I am, maybe, slowly crawling towards this goal.

– Will.

* Although I reserve the right to complain and moan like a petulant child once a season.

Morphamish + Texture – Echo Boomers [Soundcloud]

Reaction

A few tweets from a few weeks ago. I need to keep these handy.

Just had an idea for a fiction reading event, or a blog while sitting near my old flat on New Walk.

7:09 PM May 18th via mobile web

REACTION. A workshop on the weekend to create fictional grenades and then a live reading event in the week.

7:12 PM May 18th via mobile web

Monthly and based on current affairs. Maybe a set list of writers to develop a brand. The point is to be cutting edge and relevant.

7:14 PM May 18th via mobile web

I remember trying to send a follow up message via my phone which said, “NO WANKING! THIS IS THE WORLD PUNCHING YOU IN THE FACE AND TELLING YOU WHAT IS HAPPENING!”

A phrase to roll around your head to go with this is “echo boomers.”

After the Show

A conversation I had on Sunday was about future sports in fiction. I’ve quickly invented a rather obvious one and written about it here. I may develop the concept further into a proper short story. This idea amuses me.

The nightly highlight show had just ended and Gaz was sat at a table watching the end credits on the pub’s TV. His best friend Mark came back into the Pub reeking of smoke. “How far did they get while I was out?”

“Not much further. Three guys managed to break out of the Death Mine though.”

“Did any of them reach the ice?” asked Mark.

“All three, just. The one guy left from Kent got kicked to death by the other two. They were wearing crampons. It was a bit sick.”

“Well you can’t fake violence like that, can you? It just happens. I’m going to the bar, do want anything?”

“Same as before,” Gaz said, draining the final dregs of beer from his glass.

A Government Sniper

Most of this was written very quickly before Short Fuse earlier tonight. Just sounding out a scene for something.

They had been following the instructions they had been given. They were leaving the zone broken and defeated by the siege. He had given her his old army gas mask to stop the tear gas from blinding her. He used a scarf and said nothing about the stinging pain as they ran towards the edge of the rebel zone. They held their hands above their heads.

The sniper started to shoot on the hour of the deadline. This sniper was clearing the streets before the rolling forced removal of resistance went in.

His leg collapsed under him. A large caliber bullet in the thigh. She noticed only when she felt him grab her leg as he fell to the ground.

The sniper fired a second time as the echo of the first bullet faded away. She turned her head and he was waving to her to get away as he was hit in the stomach. To get to cover. He wanted her to get to safety. He wanted her to stay alive and to continue the fight for freedom.

She stopped and screamed. The sniper’s third shot impacted the ground next to her. The bullet shattered on the road. He told her to run as the sniper’s gaze turned to her and severed her spine.

A Venus Moon Is Rising

A Venus Moon is rising as the street lamps flicker into life and I leave the house to go to the shops for night food. My constant technological companion, my Hitachi mp3 player, sits in my left pocket playing random tracks through a cheap pair of Sennheiser MX 51 ear-buds.

Tonight my Hitachi worked magic in three parts.

I’d write about the tracks and how I feel about them, but there’s no point really. Just listen.

CSS – Fuckoff is Not the Only Thing You Have to Show

Manic Street Preachers – P.C.P.

NIN – Ghosts 24

A Sunday Morning

  • This is being written in my Moleskine notebook. (My portable memory.)
  • I’m sprawled out on the sofa watching TV. Tapped out from working on a comic script.
  • I’ve done, maybe, about a quarter to a third of the work required for project Miles. Although I reckon I’ve done most of the heavy lifting.Tomorrow is playing with index cards working out the rhythm and beat.
  • Blitz Street is a strange TV program presented by Tony Robinson. They built a 1930s street and then over four episodes bombed it with different German bombs from World War II.
  • There’s more to the program than that, but not much. The episode I’m watching is about the V2 rocket.
  • I like rockets.
  • Happily I think I only have two short stories to work on and that script for Miles. Although one of the short stories is a horrific and unrewarding slog of hardness.
  • I was loaned an idea for another comic by someone earlier. I’ll write more about it later when I’ve thrashed out some actual details. But the phrases “Cabaret Voltaire” and “cubist comic” interest me. This will probably be a medium length project.
  • You’ll be happy to hear that Molly is attacking me and my hair.
  • Time to type this up, finish watching Blitz Street and then read a bit before bed.

A Saturday Evening

Not that anyone is really that interested, but I am currently sitting at my desk nursing a vodka and tonic since we never have any gin in the house. (Note to self: solve this problem.) Currently the smells of dinner cooking are drifting upstairs from the kitchen and towards my desk and my panoramic view of some trees and a lam post.

But it is a Saturday night, and because I am not doing anything social and because I choose to chain myself to my desk: I am in a thinking mood. Also I am in the mood where I have been reading a bunch of essays by different authors which I keep stored on my computer.

Some music by an artist called ‘Fill‘ is playing through my Beyerdynamic headphones. It is nice gentle and free ambient electronica. Very mellow, and it goes well with the vodka.

Anyway, I feel like sharing a few thoughts. Well… at least one set of thoughts.

Currently I am working on about half a dozen projects. I don’t have a list, or even a total idea of the extent I have spread myself thinly, but that seems to be about the right value. Half a dozen, erm, yeah that sounds about right. One of these is another comic. This time with a guy I am friendly with, via the DMU Anime Society, called Miles.

He’s a good solid artist. He ought to be as he is studying Game Art. Very proficient, and importantly he has the eye for narratives driven by words and pictures. Now one of my major goals is to get people who are part of the anime society and who have the relevant skills is to start them making comics. Mini-Comix, web-comix, Euro-Manga, American style things, Franco-Belgian style things, it doesn’t really matter what kind of comics, but if they have the ability then I want to see them making shit.

“Get Excited and Make Things!”

The script that I am working on for Miles is me playing with comics again. What I am thinking of doing is working in a strict nine panel grid. Like ‘Watchmen’, and like ‘From Hell’ which are both three tiers of three panels. What I want to do is also have no dialogue, because I am obsessed with the idea of silent comics.

I really like silent film.

This is something that comics can do that film can’t. Portray thoughts. I reckon you can have a silent comic where the only written words are the thoughts of the characters inside thought bubbles. Which means like prose a comic can get inside a character’s head relatively unobtrusively. But unlike prose a comic can get inside the heads of many characters, and this is, I think, a good tool for telling some stories.

There you have it, the rules that I am imposing on myself for the script I am writing for Miles. Using a nine panel grid and only using the thoughts of characters to move the story forward. My trick for writing comics, because I am interested in personally experimenting with the form, is to impose rules and arbitrary restrictions on myself and shape a story around those as well as the initial premise.

My V&T has ran dry which means time to finish this and investigate the progress being made on the Moroccan Meatballs.

An Impromptu Survey

This is the sort of thinking I get up to early in the morning when I should be sleeping1.

I am actually going somewhere with this, but you’ll have to trust and watch me slowly building up layers of ideas and opinion into a coherent set of thoughts before it will start to make sense2. There’s a few more question I need to ask after this stage of the thought process. There is however a large amount of zugzwang going on here, and I only have a vague idea of where this is heading.

Yes, some of you will have seen his on Twitter, and this is related to the last note I made here.

SF = Speculative Fiction = Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror.

The questions:

Why do we read / watch SF?

Why do we read / watch any kind of story?

What makes SF special to some of us?

Why does it entertain us?

Ideally I need as many answers as possible. However I am willing to accept none and make my own blind and rash proclamations when thinking later. =)

1. Post originally made to my Facebook account at 2:53am.
2. I know I’ve said this a lot.

Some Thoughts About Sf

Some of you will see this a couple of times because you follow my many breadcrumbs of data / content in several places. I’m not sorry about this. I’m spreading this burst as far and wide as I can in the vain hope that I’ll find a new vein of ideas.

When did Science Fiction stop being subversive?

– Me.

about the same time people started noticing that it was.

– A Reply.

Subversion refers to an attempt to overthrow structures of authority, including the state.

– Definition of ‘Subversion.’

And also it’s like porn, the definition of what’s extreme is constantly changing.

– Another Reply.

When society, in a super loose sense, internalized what were once ‘Star Trek’ concepts as understandable or normal.

– Me.

I suspect that I take the view that the quality of the writing is what matters when it comes to literary merit. Sf is an attitude more than anything else to me. It’s the attitude of having an idea, a shock, and then producing a fiction to explorer that idea and some of its logical consequences. Rather than just simply having fantastical stuff as set dressing to disguise bad or lazy characterization. Or because it is popcorn friendly fun.

– Me.

** REAL SF FANS DON’T READ PRIEST **

There’s a saying: “REAL programmers don’t eat quiche… they eat
Twinkies and Szechuan food.” This kind of junk-food mentality is true of
your typical SF fan, too. Your REAL SF fan doesn’t read Priest. He doesn’t
read Dick or Ballard, either. He reads David Brin and Larry Niven and Anne
McCaffrey. Junk food for the brain.

And what’s more, he’s proud of it. He holds his head high so the
light will catch his coke-bottle glasses, hoists his basketball gut, and,
with the odor of Twinkies on his breath, tells you, “I’m SPECIAL. It takes a
special kind of person to appreciate this stuff.”

And the hell of it is, every so often something that really IS
special comes along in a junk-food wrapper. Like a granola bar, or maybe
chicken cordon bleu on a bun — it looks like junk food, tastes like junk
food, but it’s actually got real nutrition in it. This year we’re lucky —
we’ve had a couple of rich, vitamin-packed granola bars already, and at least
one of them is being scarfed down by junk-food addicts everywhere.

Certainly they like the taste of NEUROMANCER (by William Gibson, an
Ace Special, $2.95 (Gollancz L 8.95)). I mean, this is high-tech enough to
satisfy the most acned sixteen-year-old hacker whose only sex life is getting
his modem on-line with an X-rated bulletin board. Never mind that it shows
you how the future may very well BE, never mind the political issues, this
guy knows what it’s like the be plugged IN, man.

But that’s okay. Literature, the really good stuff, has a way of
changing your thinking whether you want it to or not.

But let’s talk about our other granola bar for a minute. You see,
the problem with this kind of literature is it’s got a short shelf life. A
book that comes out in September might as well have a little printed squib on
the back that says “Best if enjoyed before November 1,” like you see on bags
of Twinkies, because in no time at all it’s going to be gone.

– Cheap Truth #8.

A Pleasent Occurrence


Today while wandering around town looking at consumer goods I was listening to the final parts of the Neuromancer audio-book. I’ve read this book at least half a dozen times maybe. So I only listen to the audio-book in a random order, since my mp3 player is nearly always set to Random All1. In fact I don’t think I’ve even heard the whole audio-book. It is on my Hitachi mp3 player for no good reason apart from the facts that I enjoy the sound of William Gibson’s drawl, and that listening to someone else’s writing being spoken helps me get in the flow.

But the nice, if slightly confusing, occurrence that happened to me earlier was that when I was walking through the High Cross Centre towards John Lewis the side of the ‘tape’ I was listening to ended and my media player started playing heavy dub2 to me. The part of Neuromancer that had just played was a section which featured Malcolm, the Rastafarian tug pilot, heavily. So I had a delightful couple of minutes trying to workout if this was part of the ‘tape’ or a happenstance all while walking past stalls selling cheap perfume and jewellery.

It is the small moments that make life matter.

1. If I don’t have music on I get annoyed and twitchy.
2. I suspect it was material from the Black Lantern netlabel. I have no exact idea what though.