Thursday, 28 January 2010

Cold Turkey

So, another week gone and my adventures in offline living continue. As an experience, being internet-free is very much like testing how long you can hold your breath. That is to say, it’s not nearly so much fun when you’re being forced to do it by circumstances beyond your control. Anyway, I’ve managed to poke my head above the waterline for a moment, so here goes:

The Cancertown: Blasphemous Tumours script is now basically complete in my head. The actual writing process may be slow until I get back online, as there’s a lot to be hammered out with Stephen Downey, but I at least know where it’s going and how it’s getting there. Through a complicated arrangement of levers and pulleys, Stephen has managed to get several more Slaughterman’s Creed pages to me and, having seen them, I’m gladder than ever to be working with him. I gather there’s a possibility of some additions to the Creed team in the pipeline, but I’ll leave Stephen to make any announcements that may arise there.

I’m also looking forward to getting back in touch with Rob Carey, Mel Cook, Scott James, Neil Van Antwerpen and Peter-David Douglas, all of whom have been forging ahead in my electronic absence. Thanks for your patience, guys.

Had a sort of impromptu housewarming party last weekend with Tet, Ferret, Ollie Masters and his girlfriend, Katy. Rock Band 2 seemed the appropriate response to the occasion, taking proper advantage of the fact that we’ve got no neighbours within fifty yards yet. Ollie spilled a few more details about his upcoming Insomnia book, Dead Goats, and I’m really on board with it.

Time’s up for now. Back whenever this farcical cascade of telecommunicative incompetence next allows it...

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Better and Better...

My mistake, fundamentally, was in assuming that nothing else could go wrong. I see that now.

It’s actually pretty amazing to reflect on the level of arrogant optimism I betrayed in my last blog post. Needless to say, normal service has not been resumed. The date we were given by our nameless major telecommunications company of the 18th of January is now revealed as a hoax, having whistled past without incident on Monday. No sign of any engineers, no phone connection and no chance of getting an internet service hooked up this month.

Frankly, if I weren’t enjoying the change of pace and scenery here so damn much, I’d probably be pretty upset right now.

Ashford, as it turns out, is a delightful little town. It’s familiar enough terrain for a former East Ender to feel at home here (particularly one who grew up in nearby Folkestone), but there’s enough going on that’s different to retain the novelty value for a good long while. In many ways, it’s as if someone hoovered Canterbury.

Also, there’s a fucking great WWI tank in the town centre – apparently a permanent resident. How rock is that?

I’m writing again, in between building flat-pack furniture and swearing at phone companies who miss appointments because the cabling they’d allocated for hooking up your house has been stolen by magpies or something.

In fact, I’ve just completed a first draft script for The Morlock Manifesto, a six-pager for Accent UK’s upcoming Victoriana anthology. I’ve got Nic Wilkinson on art for this one, making this the first time we’ve teamed up as co-creators since Remember This Moment. Nic seems pretty excited about the project, and I’ve been impressed by Accent books in the past so it’s deeply cool to be kicking off 2010 with a submission for them.

With that script done I’m now looking at the first chapter of Cancertown: Blasphemous Tumours. The arrival of the first book on the PSN download store has, I’m told, been a raging success – although I’m not allowed to talk about numbers just yet as they haven’t been officially announced. Once again, though, I’m completely knocked out by the enthusiasm that has greeted The Little Book That Could. I’m also thoroughly pumped about writing the second volume.

Went to see Avatar a little while back. Without question, that film has the most relentlessly, ambitiously awful script I’ve ever witnessed from a major production company. I’ve never seen a movie so desperate to pummel its audiences in the face with a rock-stupid avalanche of smugness and clichés. I’m prepared to bet that Alvin & the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel has a more original and persuasive message, although I’m not actually prepared to pay for a ticket to see if that’s true...

If you were to ignore Avatar’s fuck-awful script and the jarring visual and stylistic clash between the live-action characters and the sub-Heavy Metal world of the cat people (frankly, Who Framed Roger Rabbit? blended more realistically), you’d be left with a paint-by-numbers 3D film. Ultimately, all a 3D film needs to be watchable is stuff whizzing about all over the place. Avatar has that, which is about the only wholly positive thing I can think to say about it. I literally can’t think of a single reason to see it in 2D. Talk to Nic if you want something more uplifting. She liked it more than I did.

On the other hand, we also saw Sherlock Holmes, which was way better than anticipated. Swings and roundabouts.

It now looks like mid-February is the earliest guess at a resolution to my current internet drought. Plenty of opportunity for things to go wrong between now and then, though. Back as and when circumstances permit it. Don’t do anything crazy while I’m away.

Monday, 11 January 2010

There and Back Again... Or Not

Right, so here’s the thing. Due to what can only be described as a supremely far-sighted act of up-fuckery by a major telecommunications company – an act so fractally intricate in its failure that to examine in microscopic detail any portion of it would reveal an individual cell of failure every bit as complex and complete as the entire act itself – I am apparently to be without an internet connection until (at the earliest) the 23rd of January. I am also snowed in with no transport or landline.

I would characterise myself as disappointed about that.

To those wondering how I’m managing to blog about this on the internet, I would remind them of the epic proportions of my personal cunning. Despite that, my ability to handle such relatively mundane tasks as replying to backlogged emails from last year or earning a living as a professional writer will be virtually non-existent until my connection is established.

So, I have at last moved out of a two-bedroom flat in to London and into a three-bedroom building site in Ashford. It is, in every conceivable respect, a significant upgrade. We’ve been here for two weeks and so far nothing has fallen down, frozen up or caught fire. The whole thing is beyond cool.

Getting back into work mode is tricky without the internet or a phone. I’ve got artists and publishers waiting to hear from me, over a hundred vital emails to answer and enough scripts to write to keep me busy for months. I should probably get back to it while I still have this brief, flickering moment of access.

Roll on the 23rd...
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