66. Cult of Openness

You won’t find Game of Thrones Season 7 here but the Open Culture website continues to add to its menu of televisual treats – pooling free-to-view films from the dark corners of the web and serving them up for your delectation. The quality is consistently good but this is no den of exclusivity. Kubrick and Kurosawa rub shoulders with Laurel and Hardy and Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes, while vintage documentaries invite viewers to cross over to other parts of the site, where music, art and literature can be found sharing a joint and listening to Miles Davis. In other words, Open Culture provides click-bait that’s more likely to lead to submerged intellectual treasure than a feeling of existential worthlessness followed by a pop-up ad for caffeine shampoo. And it’s all FREE.
Screen Shot 2017-07-07 at 07.03.37My ONE complaint is that I’ve been unable to find any content directly relevant to my own life and the ambivalence felt by those whose calling as a writer and editor sometimes makes them wonder if they should have picked up at all.
Screen Shot 2017-07-07 at 07.04.12Screen Shot 2017-07-07 at 07.05.06Admittedly, I drew the blinds recently in sunny Barcelona (while out of range of the BBC’s more homely iPlayer) and set off on a long, unforgettable trip into the dark hinterland of Andrei Tarkovsy’s ‘Stalker’, from which I’m still recovering. Possibly there was something in that…
Screen Shot 2017-07-07 at 07.06.59Screen Shot 2017-07-07 at 07.07.22Elsewhere on the site I ‘listened’ to Swedish composer Gris Skymning’s experimental piece, ‘Mute Gun Salute for Animals Petrified by Firework Displays’ (last played at the UN in 1959 to celebrate the Animal Disarmament Act). But as for something to share with other literary types – nothing to report as yet.
Screen Shot 2017-07-07 at 07.08.01Screen Shot 2017-07-07 at 07.08.27Next I looked at some images of Victorian ladies whose previously sepia features had been vivified via a palette of shocking neons by New York artist/tinterist Delia Shazhorn in order to ‘out their inner pizzazz’. Still nothing for the writers. Guess I’ll have to keep looking…
Screen Shot 2017-07-07 at 07.09.30

Find your own inspiration here: www.openculture.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

59. Game of Drones

blackhole-vincent-bob

The producers of Game of Thrones have done it, so why can’t I? Admittedly fewer people are looking forward to the release of my four novels later this year than they are to seeing whether dragons or white walkers will prevail in a post-Brexit world but I’m going to provide you with a teaser anyway – and one of more substantial dimensions than HBO’s computer-generated mumble-fest of a preview that reminded this Cumbrian resident of a slowly collapsing dry stone wall. My next post features a far more revealing chunk from Altered State, a sci-fi dystopian fantasy (for adults) and my fourth attempt at blowing the socks off the well-clad reading public.

There are similarities between my work and that of George RR Martin/his successors, if you look closely enough. Strong female characters abound, though they rarely resort to violence (as they do in the extract to follow). There is also an otherworldly quality to the latter two books – Death Defiers and Altered State – though there is more humour and less brooding than we can expect in the new GoT.

KIND OF FREEDOM artwork 2.jpg

Previous genius from Richard Heap

Visually, I hope you’ll find my books as rich and satisfying as any high-def. adventure, thanks in no small part to the cover art being provided by long-term collaborator Richard Heap. If you’re going to start judging books by their covers, the release of this quintet may be as good a time as any. Stand by for news on publication dates soon. Winter is coming, beware the red witch/orange bloke etc.