Monday, 7 April 2014

Massive update - Pegs Off! / Spark by Amber Run / Tumblr

Hi guys,

Sorry about the massive silence. Personal life got out of control but now things are starting to look up. This blog will probably only be for updates for a little while until I can get myself together again.

So - the updates:

1) Good news: I have a piece being performed at Pegs Off! Bad news: it's completely sold out. Well done if you managed to get a ticket. I can't wait to see you there! If you didn't get one I'll try and take some photos.

2) Today I also discovered that the NFTS short film I wrote for Jamie Stone has now been used for the video for Amber Run's 2014 single Spark:

3) As the third volume of The Strumpet is sold out online I've put my short comic Pest! online. You can read it on my website and also on my new tumblr.

If you have a tumblr follow me - I'd love to follow you back :)

Friday, 18 October 2013

Friday Feature: Jamie Baywood's Getting Rooted in New Zealand

As you may have realised I'm still stuck in blogging limbo whilst I look after my mother (another two weeks to go) however travel writer Jamie Baywood has graciously offered to write a guest post for you all!

Jamie is a Californian now living in wedded bliss in Scotland. Getting Rooted in New Zealand is her account of the start of her journey to find happiness: fleeing California and her ex-boyfriend for New Zealand, a country with 100,000 fewer men than women...but things never go as planned and it is going to take new weird world filled with curious characters and slapstick situations in unbelievably bizarre jobs before she even gets close to finding what she is looking for.

Jamie has put together a soundtrack for her journey through New Zealand so that you can feel like you are living the adventure with her:

  1. Bitter:Sweet - The Mating Game
  2. Goldfrapp - Ooh La La
  3. Santigold - L.E.S. Artistes (Brummer Remix)
  4. Kids of 88 - Just a Little Bit
  5. Naked and Famous - Young Blood
  6. Kavinsky - Nightcall
  7. College & Electric Youth - A Real Hero
  8. Metronomy - The Look
Here are some of Jamie's reasons for choosing the tracks she did:
These songs I listened to a lot in California before New Zealand:
BiitterSweet – The Mating Game
Goldfrapp – Ooh La La
I listened to these songs a lot when I was about twenty-five and single in California. I was young and getting chased by a lot of guys – most I was completely uninterested in.
These songs I listened to while I was in New Zealand:
Santigold – L.E.S. Artistes
There are some lines in this song that really apply to how I felt when I first arrived in New Zealand:
What I’m searching for I can say I hope it will be worth what I give up 
What am I here for 
I left my home to disappear is all I’m here for myself
Kids of 88 – Just a little Bit
Naked and Famous – Young Blood
Kids of 88 and Naked and Famous were New Zealand bands I discovered during my time in there. I had the chance to go to a concert where they both performed. It was a great night.
I listened to while living in the UK after New Zealand:
Kavinsky - Nightcall
College & Electric Youth - A Real Hero
Metronomy - The Look
I can get obsessed with listening to movie soundtracks. Last year when I first moved to the UK and was living in Scotland I was obsessed with the Drive soundtrack. I listen to Nightcall and A Real Hero over and over. My husband also introduced me to Metronomy in Scotland.

Getting Rooted in New Zealand is available in paperback and ebook on Amazon:
Jamie Baywood can be followed on:
If you are a writer, musician, band, artist or movie maker and are curious about being a Feature Friday or if you know someone who you think would make a good Feature Friday please get in contact!

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Support / Pre-order your copy of The Strumpet volume 3 featuring me!

If you do and you are able to attend the London launch party in November I'll sign your copy and give you a big thank you hug! If you come dressed as Edward Nygma I'll even give you a thank you kiss ;) ;)

Here is a sneaky preview of my featured short comic Pest!

Friday, 27 September 2013

Friday Feature - Six downloadable remixes and a cover from Phoenix's Bankrupt!

Hi guys, sorry for the disappearance. Mum fell down a hole and broke her leg in two places so I've been looking after her. I'll probably be barely blogging for another eight weeks however I'll try my best to post when I can.

So anyway...back in April French electro indie rock band Phoenix released their latest album Bankrupt! To accompany Bankrupt! Phoenix allowed other indie and pop types to remix their singles. Some amazing music has come out of these remixes and the best thing is that the majority of the remixes are available for download for free via their soundcloud.

Phoenix have a massive following by those in the know however they're the kind of band whose singles rarely make it into the top 40 (even in France) so it's most likely that you either know everything about them or nothing at all. If you have encountered them it is probably via their single Too Young which appeared in the party scene in Lost in Translation.

Here are my favourite of the Bankrupt! remixes plus a cover:

You can do much worse than start your exploration of the noise pop genre than with the bouncing girlish glee of Sleigh Bells. They very much make this remix their own by replacing Thomas Mars' vocals with that of the instantly recognisable Alexis Krauss, returning him in the chorus to create a duet effect. It is sugary, pounding and menacing all at the same time.

You're in for a real treat with the Trying To Be Cool remixes as they feature four cracking versions, my favourites being Canadian DJ A-Trak's indie trance epic and French DJ Breakbot's super funky disco groove. All of the remixes are available to download apart from the one featuring R. Kelly and all the components are also available to download so that you can mix your own!

My favourite of the Entertainment remixes is by Blood Orange (aka producer Dev Hynes / Lightspeed Champion) featuring vocals by MKS (the three original Sugababes). It is a twinkling, dreamy, forlorn R&B indie mashup with MKS singing a soulful version of the song's chorus against distorted guitar riffs and Thomas Mars' echoing main vocals.

Saving the best till last is alternative rock band Dinosaur Jr's 'remix' of Entertainment. Despite advertising it's a cover not remix. No one from Phoenix appears in this version and the vocals and instrumentals are all reinterpreted by Dinosaur Jr. I find it absolutely beautiful and actually (don't shoot me) better than the original. It is slow burning, tortured, heartfelt, etc etc. It is the perfect kind of cover, the kind where the band has put their own style onto a song without losing what made that original song so magical and worthy of being covered in the first place. It's very different from Phoenix's electro pop take on alternative music but if you approach it with an open mind you should find it just as enjoyable as the original.

Friday, 13 September 2013

Minx Reviews: Confessions of a Blabbermouth

Hi guys - sorry for the silence! I've been preparing for a milestone in my career: having my first ever short graphic story published! So in honour of that I present to you my next Minx Review, the graphic story Confessions of a Blabbermouth written by Mike Carey and his daughter Louise Carey and illustrated by Aaron Alexovich.

Confessions of a Blabbermouth is about teen blogger Tasha whose mother moves in her new boyfriend, Jed, and his boring daughter Chloe. Jed is a writer, something Chloe also aspires to be which severely puts Tasha's nose out of joint when Chloe applies for the same job as Tasha on the school paper. Tasha takes to her blog to air her grievances about Chloe, even if what she says isn't true, causing all sorts of mayhem however from the flames of animosity friendship might still bloom.
I think the thing that stands out most about Blabbermouth is Jed. He most definitely can be added to the Minx douchebag list. He starts the story a minor douchebag and finishes, not redeemed but as a super douchebag (only enhanced by Aaron's ability to make him look like a crazy man)! As someone who doesn't really get on with their mother's partner I find it strangely satisfying though I can also see how it might feel weird. We are forever being sold realistic stories where the step-parent is miss-portrayed as the villain and that it is actually the hero(ine)'s grudge where the problem lies (compared to fairy tales where the step-parent is always evil). It's kind of nice to know that sometimes the problem IS with the grownup and that the teenage protagonist isn't just being hysterical! Jed, however, is a bit of a super villain in a what is supposed to be a realistic story. He is a character designed purely to be disliked and I think if you cannot empathise with someone who doesn't get on with a step-parent you will find him too one dimensional. Jed being a nogoodnik whilst Tasha and Chloe cement a relationship does cause for a strange ending. It makes you wonder how their future will be able to continue when surely if Jed is removed Chloe will also have to make an exit.
The second most obvious thing is that ever present lesson: be careful what you say in the Internet! Back when I was Tasha's age I had a livejournal where I wrote every little thing that popped into my head. I shudder just to think about it now! But that's how the Internet was back then, you were in your personal little space not realising the whole of the world could read it if they so chose. Of course the Internet's a little different now, blogs are usually themed and feature informative articles such as this one (hehe), all grievances are saved for Facebook and instant messengers and though I steer away from both I'm pretty certain all it takes for an unwise word to go nuclear is for one not so friendly friend to re-share it.
Teenage girls are always going to gossip. It's a fact. And things will always be said as fact that are actually pure feeling and opinion. This is one of the book's best lessons for both Tasha and Chloe - learning to actually get to know a person before judging them - but to be fair that's one of the hardest lessons we all need to learn! In a sense Tasha is lucky that she unites with Chloe over a common cause. If that had not existed and Chloe had been completely innocent Tasha would have come across as a complete bitch. I most definitely don't recommend bitching about someone you see as a threat as a way of becoming best buddies!
The art is by kimmie66 artist and writer Aaron Alexovich and is much more realistic (for him) so as to suit the realistic setting. It definitely feels like a good access point for his art as the characters contain his trademark level of expression without appearing too stylised. Tasha is hyperactive, Chloe always seems to be carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders and Jed is terrifying! It's also very curious to see a British secondary school through the eyes of an American artist. I especially loved how he managed to express various students through how they wore their ties.
Unlike the other Minx titles Blabbermouth is the one most purely enjoyable by teenage girls only thanks to it being half-written by one such creature! If you have never experienced the highs and lows and emotional rushes of being a teenage girl you just won't get it. Characters over-react, the go into moods for no reason, do completely unreasoned things and see other characters either as purely good or purely bad...which is how it is as a teenage girl. It won't make for the best reading experience if you are looking for some classic Mike Carey but if you're a girl and you just want someone to empathise with then you could do much worse than read Confessions of a Blabbermouth.

You'll like Confessions of a Blabbermouth if you like:
Re-Gifters, Gossip Girl, Mean Girls, The Parent Trap, Step Brothers, trashy talk shows and a bit of cheeky gossip blogging.

You'll like Confessions of a Blabbermouth if you don't like:
Your step-dad.

Selected graphic novels also by Mike Carey:
Lucifer, The Sandman Presents: Petrefax and The Furies, various Hellblazer volumes, Batman: Gotham Knights #37: "Fear is the Key", Detective Comics #801-804: "The Barker: When You're Strange", My Faith in Frankie, Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere, various Crossing Midnight volumes, God Save the Queen, Faker #1-6, Re-Gifters, The Unwritten, Ultimate Elektra: Devil's Due #1-5, Spellbinders #1-6, various Fantastic Four volumes, various X-Men volumes, Ultimate Vision #1-5, Ender's Shadow, The Torch #1-8, Thor: Wolves of the North, Sigil #1-4, Red Sonja #0-6, Vampirella: Revelations, Wetworks: Worldstorm, Voodoo Child and The Stranded #1-5.

Novels also by Mike Carey:
The Devil You Know, Vicious Circle, Dead Men's Boots, Thicker Than Water, The Naming of the Beasts and The Steel Seraglio (co-written with Linda Carey and Louise Carey).

Also by Aaron Alexovich:Eldritch!, Serenity Rose and kimmie66.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Taking that ride to Nowhere

Every time I go on holiday to Folkestone I ride the RH&DR light railway from the beginning of the line at Hythe to the end of the line Dungeness and back again via a model train museum at New Romney. It's such a wonderful experience because the trains are very small versions of old fashioned steam and diesel trains such as the train featured in Rail. There are also lots of excitable children (which is always lovely to see) and the end destination, Dungeness is like another planet!

Dungeness is basically one gigantic shingle beach where next to nothing can grow. Due to this the power station was built however they needed places to house the workers so little wooden shacks were built. Despite being right next to a power station these shacks are powered by gas canisters as the area is so isolated. Some of the shacks now have been sold off and are galleries.

I like visiting Dungeness as it is so beautiful but also so creepy. You can stand next to the power station looking at the vast expanse of nothing and hear this strange, disembodied, echoing voice floating from the speaker system of the mysterious power station.

If you would also like to visit Dungeness I definitely recommend going via the RH&DR (Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway). It's always a fun ride and some days are eve themed rides such as at Christmas, Halloween and the local festival Day of Syn.

Once at Dungeness you can either eat a picnic on the beach, have a cream tea at the railway café or try some regional food at Dungeness' only pub, The Britannia Inn. There are also cafes / restaurants at Hythe and New Romney.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

IS Blog Tour 1

Hi guys, just a quickie because I'm sick in bed.

Lovely Hannah, the editor of Impossible Spaces has posted the first of four (yes the number has now doubled as part of my plan for global domination) guest posts I will be writing as part of the Impossible Spaces blog tour.

You can read it here (I made the link nice and big so you have no excuses for missing it lol).

Remember when I wrote about how to plan a story? Well my post for Hannah is an expansion explaining how I personally go from the planning stage to the finished article. Enjoy and expect more soon!
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