Monday, 29 December 2008

2009. Bring it.

We divide large sections of time into orbits of the Earth round the Sun - this is called a year. Pretty lucky that each orbit takes the same time as the last, otherwise we'd have to make up new months and shit. "Sorry mate, it's a short year this year, having to cut back on February and March."

It's the end of another year, and those of us left are all a year older.

I'm off soon on holiday - going to the South Island of NZ for New Year's fun with friends on the beach, hopefully with some hot sunny weather. (Christmas turned out nice in the end!) I'll be pretty much incommunicado, i.e. off the internet, so please let me wish you all a happy new year wherever you are in the world. Hope your 2008 wasn't too bad and your prospects for 2009 are good.

Me? My 2008 was alright I guess - chaotic, but necessary chaos. My 2009 however is looking awesome, so fingers crossed.

Happy new year!

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Recharging batteries, Christmas, Youtube + THE NEW BOOK

Long time no speak - apologies for my absence. Been hectic. I wrote to you from my relatives' house in Orewa, North of Auckland; it's crazy how many kiwis have heard of this tiny little town.

Moved house in Wellington a week ago, which has definitely been a good decision (although not without complications), and got some work at the hospital logging files and packing boxes. Hardly rocket science but gets me out of the house and off the internet which can only be a good thing!

Took a trip to Martinborough with some friends the other weekend - nothing happens in Martinborough except growing grapes and making wine. We had a jolly time tasting wines on the Saturday, I think we got around 6 vineyards and tasted about 30+ wines. I bought 3 bottles that I really can't afford. But they were very nice.

This week is the start of the Christmas & New Year switch-off for New Zealanders, where everyone packs up for 2 weeks and goes on holiday. So I'm up with my lovely relatives for this week, enjoying the warmth of the North (it was pissing down yesterday, after a full week of hot sunny weather apparently - and vice versa down in Wellington). I'm also enjoying a chance to recharge my batteries after the madness and uncertainty of the last couple of weeks. Then on Saturday I fly back to Welly and have to stay up til 2am to get on a ferry, in order to spend New Year's at someone's batch near Nelson with some couchsurfing friends. Hurrah!

Christmas in Wellington has been amazing, simply because it hasn't been there. Compared with the UK, where Christmas is shoved down your throat from November for 6 weeks solid, it's been an amazing relief - no garish lights everywhere, no annoying Christmas music, very few Christmas adverts. I do like some stuff about Christmas, but people just go overboard in the UK - here, it seems to be mainly about looking forward to Christmas Day, which is just one day long. It's in the name.

Books! I have started writing the sequel to NO UP, having sketched a bit out already, and damn it looks good. Can't reveal anything now but of course expect new characters and lots of action, sex, intrigue and cheesy jokes. Also I have updating the pages for my first proper book DEVOLUTION in preparation for launching the hard copy - a clever person would have done it well in advance of Christmas so people might buy it, but hey, I've been busy. Expect the re-launch in January.

Finally I leave you with some amusing covers I've been doing on, including an acoustic-rock take on Outkast and Marilyn Manson a'cappella in the bathroom. Enjoy.

To all my old friends back home and new friends in New Zealand, have a wicked Christmas and a sweet New Year!

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Sun and frustrations.

Well the sun finally came out over the weekend - 3 days of lovely warm sunshine, with and without the wind. And now it's gone in again. I don't mind the weather changing, it's the temperature going with it that's annoying - the temperature still drops 10 degrees just 'cos the sun goes in, and it's the NZ equivalent of the start of June. If we had this weather in June in England I'd be livid. The irony is that we did have this weather in June and I was livid. I've always been a cynic of S.A.D. but I'm a bit worried I might have it, I get so worked up about the weather. Serious lack of sunshine the last 12 months.

Maybe I'm just uptight and taking it out on the weather.

So in general news, I've been here in Wellington 5 weeks and still don't have a job. This is not good. It should't be bugging me, but it is. All I wanted to do was find a flat first, then look for a job, because it's hassle enough trying to do one without the other. And I was right, it was a massive pain in the arse finding a flat - I have to do it all over again soon when my room's owner gets back in January - and finding a job is proving the same. But seriously, 5 weeks without a job.

It's not necessarily my fault. In NZ there's a perfect storm for jobs at the moment - the economy is bad (like it is everywhere), the Summer/Christmas break is coming up, and all the HR people and managers aren't filling/creating any new posts before they know what the new government's going to start doing. This has led one nice English woman at an agency to tell me, completely unofficially, that I should "go on holiday til January" when there'll be jobs around again. Fuck. I don't want to go on holiday. I'm just starting to feeled settled, in the normal way I wanted when I made the decision to leave the United Kingdom of Greyness, and the whole country is getting ready to shut down for 2-4 weeks and go on holiday in a campervan around the South Island. I know you should research a country before you go and live somewhere, but I'm not sure I could have seen this all coming.

So I'm not starving, I'm just eating into my savings and trying not to look at the numbers. I'm applying for stuff when I can, but it's tricky trying to say "no" to data entry and fruit picking when there's hardly any jobs of any type around. I don't want to have my CV read "fruit picking" i.e. "went on a holiday for 12 months to New Zealand and had a laugh". But the shame-cycle of joblessness is getting closer, and it's hard to get out once you're in...

Sunday, 23 November 2008

NO UP actual book out now!

I am an author!

You can now order a real copy of my new book No Up over the internet from Lulu is the wonderful website that has lets you upload files and publish them as real books. The awesome things about it are that they only make copies when people order them, and you can order from wherever you are in the world. Well, almost anywhere - right now I'm thinking about the UK and NZ!

If you don't know anything about No Up, it's an action/comedy/sci-fi/adventure with magic and monsters and cheeky British humour - you can find out more and read chapters for free on the No Up minisite.

The published copy costs £5 ($13 NZD) + P&P, which is reasonable for books in this day and age.

Obviously I'm pretty happy to have my first book actually in print - I wrote my first book when I was 10 and have been writing for 15 years, and I've enjoyed writing this book even more than others, but it's just really cool to have something physical to show people.

Happy ordering everyone, many thanks and I hope you enjoy it!

Thursday, 13 November 2008

After-thoughts to my American post below

Okay, an American friend I've made here in New Zealand has checked me on a couple of points in this blog post. To be fair, it is rather one-sided and harsh - I'm certainly not saying America is the only bad country in the world, or that Britain hasn't done shitty shitty things in the past, especially when it was a world power. This blog post was more about my personal feelings and thoughts towards today's superpower, the driving cultural force I've grown up with in the world.

On specific points:

- The US hasn't "forced" its culture on other countries - many countries have indeed taken its food, films, language etc. voluntarily, and largely because America has been such an attractive powerhouse in the second half of the 20th century. I would suggest that America's economic influence is at least partly conscious and directed as a means of non-military influence around the world. But there is an appeal to its cultural exports that countries and societies have signed up to, voluntarily. This is quite a core concern to me because national identity is such a strong part of personal identity, and its strange and frustrating to see young people take up habits and language of the world's major player, and not as a part of the natural evolution of languages. But hey, cultures develop by shocks as well as slow evolution. And in this global village, we're not exactly the 51st state quite yet.

- Obama attended a large evangelical Christian church, and most probably took donations from it, as well as others. So I guess my point is really the kind of views each kind of church contributes to the Democrats, Republicans, and individual candidates ... which certainly cuts my point down a bit.

Anyway I don't like going back on stuff I say, as you know, and the positive aspects of the post definitely remain. But as you also know I'm someone who occasionally shoots (his mouth off) and asks questions later, so I'm trying to be good with some self-aware analysis.


Monday, 10 November 2008

Wellington & NZ - the good, the bad, and the neither

A new update about Wellington, New Zealand and the Southern Hemisphere. For those of you interested =]

Good stuff

- Expressive, creative attitude towards fashion without the pressure. If I see someone who looks like a scenester, I no longer feel the urge to strangle them like I would in England. Because chances are they're not.

- Cuba Street. What can I say.

- Pleasant attitude of young people. A kid asked the other day if I could buy "smokes" for his mate. I said no. And bizarrely, he answered "okay".

- Simple street layout without the American identi-kit city plans.

- Fashion part 2: hardly any girls wearing heels during the day. Hey, heels are hot, but save them for a special occasion! Again, a lack of pressure. Even the boots don't have heels!

- Space. Even the capital city has more space than my home town Chelmsford.

- No-one is mad about politics, but no-one is really anti-politics. Not like people are in Britain. Sign outside the pub on election day said "VOTE. BEER."

- Wicked Asian/Oriental food. All types of restaurants in Wellington city centre, you could pass a couple of dozen in a 5-minute walk.

- CULTURE both high & low & everything in between. Cafes and bars and poster boards in cafes for gigs and events.

- People are nice =]

- Bars that double as cafes, and cafes that double as restaurants, and bars that double as restaurants too. Restaurants, cafes and bars that double as venues. Places that are all four.

- Buses everywhere in Wellington. They even have trains here! (Most of NZ does not.)

- Kebab houses built like palaces! I sat in one with wooden furniture and huge flat screen and a kebab the size of my head. Wrapped in tin foil. Then I ate it.

- Pies are kept in hot cabinets, not in fridges. Why keep pies in a fridge?!

- Strong mix of fruits, including European, Asian and native NZ

- Lack of poncy bars and flash clubs.

Rather annoying things

- ID. The law here is that you're asked for ID if you're buying alcohol and you look under 25, even though like Britain, the legal age for buying drink is 18. What the fuck. It's silly enough in Britain where the supermarket thinks I still look "under 21". It doesn't take flaming x-ray vision to tell if someone's under 18 or not. I look 25, give or take a year or two. I've got lines for christ's sake. And yet they still won't accept my UK provisional driving licence at a number of bars.

- Weather (in Wellington). "Changeable" does not describe it.

- EFTPOS. We learnt about EFTPOS as a useful tool in Year 9 IT, age 14. Here, it's shouted about everywhere almost like it's a brand name.

- You have to pay for wireless. WHY.

- Cars turning left on red. Cars threatening to run you over when there is definitely a green man. WHY.

- Internet. Here, you have a download limit on your broadband plan. WHY.

Not good or bad just notable

- The sun goes the other way in the sky. The other way!!!

- Bizarre mix of music everywhere, e.g. uber-strange pop followed by loud goth metal in a cafe, 3pm Sunday afternoon.

- Strong American influence on a largely independent, culturally-British country, e.g. films, language, products etc.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

How could an anti-American be so inspired by America?

I'm 25. I remember being 17 and watching America elect George W Bush - or rather, not elect him. I was already a cynic about the world's only remaining superpower, but the last 8 years of my late youth have defined me as a person, and during this time people have known me as an open, vocal critic of the United States of America.

During this year, and as of last night, this has changed.

12 months ago very few people in Britain had heard of Barack Obama. The next president was going to be Hillary Clinton - I knew that, you knew that, and Americans tired of the Bush-Cheney regime knew that. I liked Bill Clinton, and I prefer the Democrats to Republicans, so I was more than happy for Hillary to become the first woman president of the USA. When I heard a black man was running for president too, I was frustrated that the excitement of a black person running would divide the centre-left that wanted to get rid of the Republicans in the White House.

But Barack Obama was not just a black man running for president.

Obama spoke about equality and justice, about the millions of Americans without health insurance in a nation where medical care costs money. Obama spoke about the mess of the Iraq war and the deception that took the US, UK and other countries into it, when few American public officials would be so critical. Obama spoke about race, even giving a speech almost entirely on that subject. Most of all he spoke well, articulately but in a way that anyone could understand and connect.

I am still a critic of America.

During the last 8 years, I openly and honestly defined myself as someone legitimately anti-American - not with the screaming hysteria of flag-burning crowds in some Muslim countries, but with a genuine critical view. America's recent history is littered with attempts to stifle democracy in other countries (CIA assassinations in Latin America), and violent wars and secret bombings of countries that posed little threat (Vietnam, the carpet bombing of Laos). America has pushed its clothes, music, language, heroes, food, ideals onto other countries at the expense of their own cultures. It has harboured racism, bigotry, discrimination and a rejection of science at the highest levels of government. America is the country of Guantanamo Bay and the "war on terror", of Abu Ghraib and secret torture sites in Eastern Europe. Most of all America has promoted a model of liberal capitalism around the world which has increased inequality between rich and poor countries, and rich and poor people. And all the time the people of America seem wrapped up mindlessly saluting the flag, and telling the rest of the world how great their country is without knowing where the rest of the world is.

I have changed, and my views have changed.

These concerns do not give way just because Obama has become president. You could put Mahatma Gandhi in charge of the mafia, and it wouldn't change the structure or the purpose of the organisation.

But over time I have realised my concerns are not with "America". They are with the US government, the US state, and the corporate and religious interests that have dominated the country.

If the people of America don't know much about the rest of the world, it is down to a lack of education, not wilful ignorance.

This is a country that has been held prisoner by an aggressive and negative administration for the last 8 years, and millions of people around the world like me have identified themselves as "anti-American" when what they mean is anti-Bush, or anti-Republican, or anti-war, or anti-discrimination.

Barack Obama's campaign and election has been simply awesome, in the genuine meaning of the word (as Eddie Izzard explains). His campaign has been about working towards a better America. It was as much about the original American ideals of liberty and opportunity as the need for economic equality and education. It was about restoring America's reputation in the world by both reaching out to other countries and doing the right things for the American people. Most significantly, it was built on the donations and work of ordinary people, not big business or evangelical churches. It was about reclaiming the American dream from the rich.

Obama is the first non-white president of the USA. This is a touching, private milestone for America - this is a cleansing of its history of segregation and, I would declare, Martin Luther King's assassination. His skin colour is also important for the world, and hopefully will bring down walls that discourage ethnic minorities in other countries reaching the heights of office.

But Obama's achievement here is renewing America. I would have given anything to be in Grant Park, Chicago when he made his acceptance speech - the sheer joy and hope and happiness could be felt through the TV screen I was watching. Obama is everything America should be, and many things other countries could and should aspire to. Obama's biggest achievement is making a cynic like me so inspired, impressed and amazed by what America can and should be.

He did it

He did it.

Whatever happens today, tomorrow, the next 4 years, no-one can erase what has been done by this man, his campaign, and the millions of Americans who voted for him.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008


Please forgive all the capital letters, I hope you can appreciate I'm pretty excited about being here. Anyway it's a bit over a week since I flew into Auckland - I guess I should give you the lowdown...

- 29-hour flight from London to Auckland via Hong Kong. Not too bad as I've done a 28-hour flight before (in 3 flights), but still hits you. Was waking up at 3am for several nights after.

- Spent some time with my uncle's family outside Auckland, then a day with my aunt inside Auckland. Very nice to see them.

- Bus from Auckland -> Wellington: 11 hours overnight, $72.
- Flight from Auckland -> Wellington: 1 hour, $70.
With a laptop, guitar, suitcase and bag, what would you choose?

- Stayed at a hostel for a couple of nights - first night I got in, went out with some Germans/Irish/English, saw a rock band, and got a French girl's number. Mmm French people.

- Currently holed up at a couchsurfer's, a student flat of 5 girls who've finished their exams. Most couchsurfs are around 2/3 nights. There's an American guy who's been here about 6 weeks! All really nice so I'm grateful for the chance to relax while I look for a flat.

- Flats in the centre of Welly vary from $110-150ish (£40-60ish) a week, and vary from "awesome pad" to "shithole" with hardly any relation to price. Seen some places, hoping to be actually moved in somewhere next week.

- The weather. 2 days now the wind has been so strong you could see my ribs through my coat. On Saturday, walking around looking at flats, the wind and rain were worse than anything I've seen, and I've lived in England for 25 years. The hills and the rain remind me of Bristol, but seriously.
The next day I went hiking, it was sunny and warm. Insane.

- Wellington central is laid out quite well so I already have some good bearings here, unlike my first year at Bristol which took weeks to get used to. It's also walkable, and combined with the straight streets makes even 30-min walks seem less far.


- Comspolitan and busy atmosphere without the tourist/hollow feeling of Auckland.

- Been meeting lots of people in various places, including the Wellington Couchsurfing group.

- Some good beers in this country thankfully, I recommend Speight's Dark and Mac's Red amongst others. Then again they do call 500ml beers a "pint" which is really not on.

...And of course, the accent has been a topic of conversation here. I recommend this video as something both instructive for those not familiar with the kiwi accent and rather funny for those who are.

The US votes and the world will change

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Making babies the right way

Putting your penis in someone's bum is the wrong way to make babies. If it's a woman's bum, it's 100% the wrong way. If it's a man's bum, it's still 100%, but kind of even more the wrong way, if you see what I mean.

So okay. If sex were about making babies, gay men would be pretty bad at it.

The thing is, sex is not just about making babies. This won't come as a shock to many people, because let's face it, sex is a good way to spend an evening (and a morning). Everyone knows it.

But go a bit further, and a lot of people do get shocked. Here's two ideas that a lot of people have around the world:

- Anal sex is wrong, 'cos it's, you know, dirty. Bumholes are dirty.
- Sex between two men is wrong, because two men can't make babies.

Both of these are not only bogus arguments against gay sex and gay people, they're also contradictory. Think about it - if two men having sex is wrong because anal sex is wrong, how come there is no public issue with man-woman anal sex? You don't hear religious people preaching against the terror of men putting their penises in women's bums.

So if it's not about being dirty, the argument must be about making babies. Right?

No, I don't get it either.

If you want to make a baby you'll need either a) a man, a woman, and some free time, or b) some scientists in white coats and a plant called "Ivy F".

If you want to get some hot, sticky, sweaty, tender, pleasureful exercise with someone you know and like, sex is a pretty good bet, whether it's between men or women. (Although if you don't want a baby, contraception is a requirement...)

Monday, 20 October 2008

The final chapter of No Up! Chapter 11 - The Sea

This is it! The final chapter of No Up is out now, also mysteriously called "The Sea". And what a finale!

An end, and yet a beginning ... Czioc begins his mission and travels, enjoys some cyber masturbation, and meets some friendly strangers. But darkness is in store...

I've really enjoyed writing this and I hope you've enjoyed reading it. If you have, please donate something via paypal to and tell your friends.

Hard copy release!
Yes as we speak I'm finalising the details for the hard copy release of No Up, along with my previous book Devolution. So for those of you who like the feel of actual paper and want to order an actual book with my name on it, watch out for details in the coming week.

Thursday, 16 October 2008


Governments buying shares in banks
A big up-yours to the laissez-faire. Who/what is laissez-faire? The idea of unregulated capitalism - thought up by crazies in the 70s, brought to life in the 80s by Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, and now dead. Sure, of all the industries that should really be nationalised for the public good - transport springs to mind - banking was relatively far down the list. But the financial crisis was caused by people playing make-believe with money and now the concept that the free market can regulate itself is dead. I'd be happier if it wasn't taxpayers who are paying for it.

UK education shock - less exams, not more
SATs exams for 14-year-olds (Year 9) are to be scrapped. The government is of course blaming the American company ETS Europe's monumental screw-up earlier this year, but the plain truth has been obvious for many years - UK school pupils are some of the most overtested in the world. Parents' damaging demands for league tables and government's endless search for figures and data to prove progress is backward and negative - I should know, it was my school year that first took SATs and first had A-levels split into AS and A2 exams, giving young people 3 solid years of exams that seriously affect your life.
Ironically it was the Conservative Party which pointed out children being overtested, when they love league tables and examinations more than anyone else.

UK civil liberties shock - 42 days no longer an option
Also this week, after being rejected in the House of Lords, the government's proposed terror law will no longer include the ability to lock terror suspects up for 42 days without charge. This would have had much more news coverage if it wasn't for the financial crisis - it's amazing that the government didn't try and force it through for the very same reason. Okay, nobody likes terrorists - terrorists are arseholes. But "terror suspects" could be anyone - the Brazilian man shot dead on the tube was one. And we do not want authorities locking people up for an extra 2 weeks without actually charging them for a crime - for "terror", for whatever.

And while the world learns to wash its hands...
Today is the first United Nations Global Handwashing Day, where millions of children and young people across the developing world are being taught that washing your hands is not only clean, but can pretent deadly diseases. So easy, so simple, so important.

...the U.K. doesn't know how
I saw a news article today called "Faecal bacteria join the commute". Yes. You read right. "Faecal bacteria" are bacteria from shit. Apparently 40% of commuters tested in a recent investigation had shit on their hands. 40 PER CENT. I would doubt these findings, but I'm a man, and I see other men not washing their hands in toilet. But seriously, shit. SHIT. What is wrong with people?

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Got a cold? EAT

I may or may not be coming down with a cold right now. My body has been threatening me the last 24 hours, and it is the season. I can't log into Facebook without seeing most people's status set to "X is like SO ill :(".

Rather than doing nothing and hoping for the best, this time I've decided to fire nutrients and minerals at my stomach in the assumption that these are what the body needs to fight infection, whether viral or bacterial. So, cue smoothies, fruit, raw vegetables, and protein-rich meat including the magical stuff that is CHORIZO.

I am no scientist. This may not work. It could all be bollocks.

We'll see!

Oh and sleep too, plenty of sleep is important!

Monday, 13 October 2008

No Up Chapter 10 - The Sea (final chapter for our heroine!)

Yes today is the new chapter of No Up, and it's the LAST chapter for our heroine Noksalika! She and Hanaman travel to the port, but can she escape him? What does he want? What does she want? Where is she going? And what is her deal with the mysterious Piarowef?

Vertical water, espionage, treachery and blood await in Chapter 10. Enjoy!

P.S. I'm working on the hard copy release of both No Up and Devolution. Looking good so far =]

Saturday, 11 October 2008

You lucky thing

I finished working this week - got 2 weeks of holiday left, so might as well use them - which is obviously nice. One phrase that cropped up though when people found out I was going to New Zealand was "oh you lucky thing".

I don't really count myself lucky at all - the material cost, well, I paid about £1000 for flights and a working visa, and there's been other costs as well, but nothing someone on a standard salary couldn't afford. Equally the decision to go and live in New Zealand for a year, well, that just seemed perfectly straightforward for me - sure I will miss my friends and family, but I've learnt that a year isn't really a long time at all in the grand scheme of things. I guess what I'm trying to say is that most people could do what I'm doing if they wanted.

But then it struck me. "Most people" have families to look after, both children and elderly parents. "Most people" have debts. "Most people" have responsibilities which stop even those with the material means from getting out and doing something even slightly crazy or different. I have no responsibilities, not direct ones. No-one depends on me. My only debt is my student loan, which I'm told if I ignore it for 20 years it will go away. I was quite good at my job but I certainly wasn't irreplacable. I haven't got a partner with their own attachments who'd much rather stay put.

Leaving my friends for a long period of time and going somewhere I've never been before (okay once, overnight, but it was dark) is something that doesn't phase me at all - I'm kind of used to doing things by myself and I like meeting new people. But I am lucky, I realise that.

Monday, 6 October 2008

No Up Chapter 9 out now - Craftsmanship

Ahoy! It's that time again - Chapter 9 of No Up is out today!

There's only 11 chapters overall - strange the book seems to be coming to a close just as Czioc's mission has begun.

Czioc meets a rebel, and sees the real magic of the Ethe when he gets his sword made (after a massive drunken night out). And we find out more about the strange dead person in his head...


Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Magic invisible money

Something funny happened the other day. I was buying some drinks with my card in the pub, and the bar lady comes out with pen and paper for me to sign. And standing there, holding the pen, I joke "Ahhh, very retro!".

What the fuck?!

I think we take for granted all the technology we rely on every single day. I'm buying real alcoholic drinks in a pub with MAGIC INVISIBLE MONEY using a card with SHINY CAPITAL LETTERS, and the only proof she has that I've actually paid is because THE MACHINE WENT BEEP.

And I'm making jokes about how outdated it is.

Right now I'm making a blog post, listening to electronic music captured from the air in the last 30 years, uploading bewitched frozen pictures, buying travel insurance for travelling A HUNDRED THOUSAND MILES and checking the news of insane amounts of magic invisible money somehow "crashing" in foreign lands. Invisible lands?

We are truly a technological race.

When is socialism not actually socialism?

How bizarre that in America, the country of hyper-capitalism that brought the world massive inequality and the current economic crash, a revolt is stopping the proposed $700 billion (that’s $700,000,000,000) bailout for the American financial industry.

It’s fairly obvious that members of the U.S. House of Representatives (the lower house, like the House of Commons in the U.K.) are not voting on principal but to save their political skins ahead of their own election this November.

What’s bizarre is to hear people calling the bailout “socialism”. Okay, socialism generally means government and state running industries and providing support to, or interfering with, private industry. But to me socialism means the government and state providing services for the public. The BBC and the NHS are two examples of mild socialism, and ones that I think are both morally right and provide excellent services.

So it seems crazy to me to think of bailing out massive financial institutions and their managers for bad, stupid decisions they made as “socialism”.

Don’t get me wrong – although I think a deal is required to stabilise the financial system we all rely on, I think this originated as one last scheme from Bush & the Republicans to bail out corporate America and screw the American taxpayer (not to mention scuppering the next president’s time in office), and doesn’t seem to have changed much since. (I also have a childish eagerness in watching the suffering of the masters of voodoo economics and their bizarre corrupt world, where massive riches are thrown about and huge bonuses given for providing very little benefit to society. Not to mention a slight morbid fascination in the possible end of the world.)

I just don’t want us lefties getting a bad name!

Monday, 29 September 2008

No Up Chapter 8 - Misty Pornographic Memories

Misty pornographic memories and cyber masturabation. Yes, it's the new chapter of No Up!

Noksalika recalls her early life in classical music and pornography, and meets Czioc in cyberspace - but still in her disguise. Oh, and the monster's back...

Check it out now!

Sunday, 28 September 2008

End of a band

What a fun gig. Had a majorly good time - definitely one of the best gigs we've done, if just for sheer fun rather than actual quality. Felt great to have a busy crowd, with people even singing down the front. Was great to finish things off in style.

The other two seemed very sad about it, more than me - I did my grieving for the band earlier this year - but it was a sad occasion as well as a happy one. We'd been in a band before, but this one characterised all our lives for 4 years, so even though things wound down at the close of 2007, this was marking the end of a personal era.

Music is what we do. Matt and Jon have The Library Suits, and may good fortune be upon them (as if they need good fortune with songs like these). I've got my own stuff, and you can expect to see me again.

Onwards to the future.

Friday, 26 September 2008

Last gig last gig last gig

Well it's the last gig of my old band F451 you may or may not have heard of.

More importantly for me and this blog, it's the last time I get to wield an electric guitar at the helm of a rock band before I head off to New Zealand. Acoustic from here on out.

So yeah, should be fun, will let you know how it goes =]

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Favourite months?

May and September are my favourite months, because they are the same.

"No they're not!" you say. "They have different names for a start."

Fair play. But what I mean is I like them because they bring out the same feeling in me - the promise of interesting, better times ahead.

July? Sticky.
November? Cold, wet.
February? Fuck off.
March? It's STILL cold!

May is the first time of the year, almost every year, when the sun comes out and MEANS something. It's crappy and cold and wet and crappy and cold and the suddenly BANG - the sun comes out, and it's warm at the same time. And you think "wow, England's not shit all year round!" And everyone in England takes their tops off.

But September? After 3 years of going to university, I now have an instinctive reaction to early Autumn which reminds me of going back to the lights, the action, the new people of a new term at university. (For some reason this is stronger than 12 years of school where the new term means "Summer has ended, WHERE DID SUMMER GO?". I can't explain this.)

It's something in the air, in the first slightly damp, cool sniff, that brings an excitement out in me. And I just got a whiff of this today.

P.S. Drink + 3 days + boat + 8 mates + pirate gear = IMMENSE

Friday, 19 September 2008

Pirates, anti-beards, Itsa Bitsa, His Noodly Appendage ... and NO UP Chapter 7

Slightly early this week: No Up Chapter 7 - A mission. And a monster.

Lights, monsters, action! The pace picks up when terror strikes the Migration! Check out one of the best chapters yet:

This chapter is hot on the heels of the wonderful short story Sir Ralph Beef Wellington & The Incredible Loophole! because tomorrow I'm off on a boating holiday. I say tomorrow, really I mean later this morning - earlier we had our last band practice for the last F451 gig, and now, long after midnight, I have to conjure a pirate costume for our boating adventures out of some random bits of rubbish and a tube of glue like Itsa Bitsa. (Okay, does anyone remember Itsa Bitsa? Wikipedia is empty, and even the mighty Google has nothing on it!)

We've all been growing beards for the last 2½ weeks for this, except at the age of 25, it turns out this is something I can't do. On my face is some stringy blonde fur, or as I like to refer to it, the "anti-beard".

Completely coincidentally it's International Talk Like A Pirate Day today (Friday 19th September), and avast me hearties, ye better talk like a pirate! For those wishing to add a religious theme, pray to His Noodly Greatness the Flying Spaghetti Monster - on the serious side, he's about dinosaurs and our kids' education! On the jokey side, it's about the connection between global warming and pirates ... and any religion where heaven has a beer volcano and a stripper factory has MY attention.

Mad? Yes, I'll have 7 please.

P.S. yarrrrrr

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Sir Ralph Beef Wellington & The Incredible Loophole!

Ahoy! I've written a new short story!

It's a wonderfully amusing story about 2 men and their quest to find the loophole in the International Dateline.

You can find it under the Short Stories section on the website, and under "Notes" if you're looking on Facebook.

Comments are naturally welcome - if you like it, please post the link on a friend's wall!

The story stemmed from an idea I had for a longer story - should I expand it into a bigger book? Or maybe Sir Ralph Beef Wellington's adventures could become a small series...
Oh and I also fully I admit getting the name from an existing character on TV - it was just a working title but it stuck (especially with me going to Wellington in NZ).

Onwards to yesterday, and the day before!


Tuesday, 16 September 2008

No Up Chapter 6 - Sport. (and birthday.)

"To live successfully as a beautiful girl is to knowingly live a lie..."

Hello everybody
Philosophy and action in the new chapter of No Up - Noksalika tries to lose Hanaman at a large sports stadium, and meets a dark handsome stranger, and a shapeshifting demon. It all starts kicking off now!

It was my birthday on the weekend - am now the grand old age of 25. Celebrated by going to London and dipping my head in the Thames. No really.

Got a new short story up on the website soon, another in the pipeline, plus a couple of reviews.

Hope you're all well!

Sunday, 7 September 2008

No Up banners + Chapter 5 - Collection

Guys guys guys! Online now is Chapter 5 of NO UP, with sex and talk of sexy girls, dreams, the strange biology behind carrying the dead, and more of that charasmatic dead person inside Czioc's head.

Enjoying the book? Tell friends about it with these quote banners. Simply copy/download them, then put them up on your myspace, facebook, bebo, orkut, whatever you like!
There's also a simple picture one at the end if you prefer.

Does anyone else enjoy running?

Well, "enjoy" might be the wrong word. I was out today on something like a 60-minute run round Hylands park, and out in the pissing rain and mud, "enjoy" isn't really the word I'd use for the feeling you get from it.

Running for an hour is a long time for many, not so long for some. Some do it properly in order to take part in marathons and 5/10km runs - I had a friend who did the London marathon, and his training schedule seemed INSANE. Then there's others who just do it for health and fitness, raise your endurance, burn off calories. (These two might well be related.)

And then there's people like me ... I like running as a way of keeping fit, but there's something very solitary about it - even running with a bunch of other people, it's still just you and the distance to be eaten up. Maybe as an egomaniac who's used to doing things by myself all my life, I enjoy a challenge where it's purely me on my own, and your own body is as much a team mate as a barrier to be overcome.

Whatever. Does anyone else do running?

Monday, 1 September 2008

No Up Chapter 4 - The appearance of shyness

Chapter 4 of NO UP is now online - we follow Noksalika in her new identity, learn more about her reasons for escaping, and meet a rather pleasant if strange new character...

As usual, you can find it on the NO UP ministe

Thursday, 28 August 2008

Countries, nations, and a swamp of flagrant wank

Okay, I'm not defending hypocrisy, but I do think it's better to say if you think something's wrong (even if you do nothing about it), rather than just do nothing.

Take this stuff about Russia, Georgia, South Ossetia and Abkhazia. The UK and US are saying Russia shouldn't recognise the two breakaway parts of Georgia without international approval - Russia is of course responding with "well what the hell were you doing with Kosovo and Serbia?"

This is the standard foreign policy bitching you get when something big like the Georgia invasion kicks off. But a quick look on that swamp of flagrant wank, the BBC Have Your Say message boards, reminded me that there's a strong attitude in Britain against apparent "hypocrisy" regardless of what's right or wrong.

There seems to be a hundred posts criticising David Miliband (UK Foreign Secretary) because UK, US, EU etc. (basically everyone except Russia) recognised Kosovo's independence without asking Serbia what it thought, and now he's rushing off to Ukraine etc. to raise opposition Russia apparently doing the same thing. But amongst all these idiots barking their opinions as scientific fact, there's no agreement - or even opinion - about whether granting independence to smaller regions is a good idea or a bad idea. When it's fashionable to oppose the government, as in this situation, the tide of wank opinion says "free these poor occupied territories that I know very little about and will never visit!". But ask the same people about whether Scotland should become independent, and they'd almost certainly whip out the British flag and start singing the national anthem (possibly one of the reasons the Scots want rid of the English. Understandable if you ask me).

It's certainly not an issue about proper process and procedure, seeing as these people usually have the same contempt for the UN as they do for the EU (on the BBC Have Your Say boards, anyway).

It's the same thing as you might find with the environment, or vegetarianism. If someone who owns a car says "ride bikes, cut carbon emissions" he/she gets laughed at and ignored because they are a "hypocrit". Take David Cameron (leader of the Conservative Party) - I fucking hate the Tory party, and I think David Cameron is an even more conservative version of Tony Blair. But while people find it very easy to call his bike-riding hypocritical because his bodyguards drive a car behind him (and people like me think it's a shallow publicity stunt), it's more as an excuse to ignore the issue of carbon emissions rather than having to face up to the issue ourselves.

My opinion on countries' independence? Nationalism is overrated. I don't know what's so great about being British that's not just good in general - public services (when they work), democracy (ish), civil liberties (for now...). I'd be quite happy for Scotland if they declared independence and broke up the United Kingdom, if they felt that strongly about it; likewise if South Ossetia and Abkhazia want to go their own way. Then again I don't know what's so much better about being Scottish, South Ossetian or Abkhazian than British or Georgian. Plus it gets pretty complicated at the fine detail - what about rich regions of countries going their own way, and taking the tax with them? (e.g. Bolivia, quick example among many.)

The main thing across the world is the importance of finding ways of expressing people's different levels of allegiance. I'm Essex, English, British, European, and a person of the world. While I like some of those regions and descriptions more than others, I can't deny any of them.

Monday, 25 August 2008

No Up Chapter 3 - Migration

Today is the release of Chapter 3 of my new book NO UP, where our main characters Czioc and Pshappa consume immense amounts of alcohol and make wonderful childish banter. (By coincidence I was up all last night at a party that KICKED ARSE, and even managed to avoid a hangover.) We also find out more about Noksalika's possible faked death, and the mighty Migration...
Enjoy! Comments always welcome!

Sunday, 17 August 2008

No Up Chapter 2 - Escape

Thanks everyone for all your feedback, glad you enjoyed Chapter 1 - please feel free to leave comments! Fresh today is Chapter 2 "Escape", featuring lesbian sex, espionage and our other main character Noksalika...

Monday, 11 August 2008

The new book NO UP starts here!

Ladies gentlemen and others I am proud to present my new book NO UP, an epic adventure story with drink, sex, magic, love, secrets, lies, British humour and MONSTERS. Yay!

11 chapters will be released over 11 weeks starting today - if you're on the website right now, just go to "books" or click the image link on the left. Anyone reading on facebook or the blog by itself, you can find the NO UP minisite at

NO UP is the first book in the new astounding trilogy noUPnoLIESnoNEVER, combining an epic adventure saga, a tragic love story and a breath-taking reflection of the Facetube/surveillance generation.

Maybe getting ahead of myself there, but I'm obviously very excited. Hope you enjoy reading the first chapter, let me know what you think. Cheers!

Sunday, 10 August 2008

New book is done, launch tomorrow!

Hi everyone, in a bit of a rush at the moment. Been feverishly finshing off the new book and I'm really excited - it goes live on my website tomorrow, with one chapter being released every week.

It's called NO UP and it's a very exciting, enjoyable book, full of drink, action, sex, magic and adventure. It's the first of 3 books in a micro-trilogy so don't expect to understand everything straight away - just let the characters and action take you through!

Here's some blurb I'm putting up, and a picture below. See you tomorrow!

NO UP is the first book in a stunning new micro-triology by British writer and musician Jez Kemp - an epic and debauched combination of Lord Of The Rings, Men Behavingly Badly and 1984.

Czioc, a collector of the dead, must track down a long lost ex-girlfriend who has faked her own death - while a dark force gathers in the South, and the dead talk back to him...

Sex, magic, violence, love, secrets, lies and spies all bring to life a world where the landscape can be changed by thought ... and there is no up.

Is this a dark vision of a fascist future?
A free utopia of sex, drink and culture?
A dream-like reflection of the Youtube generation?

Jez Kemp combines astonishing imagination with epic adventure and dark British humour as he releases 11 chapters over 11 weeks from August 2008 on

Thursday, 31 July 2008

Sunshine is for enjoying, not tanning

Okay people of the world, explain this crazy shit to me.

People go to tanning lounges so they look brown enough to go on holiday.
You can’t be pale on the beach.

But people need to get a tan on holiday so they can show they’ve been on holiday.
You can’t come back looking the same as when you went away.

But often people don’t go out in the sun because it ages your skin and gives you lines.

So all year round people use fake tan lotion to look brown when they haven’t been on holiday, when it’s not sunny, and to avoid getting lines.

And most people who worry about all of these things are women.

Where and when did we get such weird ideas about the state of our skin?

Monday, 21 July 2008

I was ill recently

Having your first proper shit after diarrhoea is amazing.

You relax on the toilet, with that safe feeling where you know the door is locked and no-one can interrupt you til you're done. It's your right as someone on the toilet; you can take as long as you need, so long as you're not taking the piss like reading a book or something. The last traces of fever run through your legs and arms, with a few strange thoughts flashing quickly through your head. And when you finish, there's no surer, more wonderful sign that the illness has passed than being able to make shit that isn't liquid.

In other news, the book's coming on - big news very soon, very excited. Been designing some cover artwork for it, plus the first part will have 11 chapters, which is more than I wanted, but that's how it goes. Watch this space.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Innocent Smoothies and the PRSC

No, not a bizarre band name (got loads if you want any though?), but a couple of groups I like: Innocent Smoothies, and the People's Republic of Stokes Croft.

Innocent Smoothies kickstarted the whole flood of little smoothie bottles in supermarkets, corner shops, even pubs. So what? Everyone does a smoothie now. Shell will probably come out with an eco-friendly socially-responsible one any time now (pahahahahaha- ahem). What marks Innocent out? Well, here's something on one of their cartons:

"Have you ever considered joining a cult? We know a man who actually did it. He ended up burning all his stuff and changed his name to Lime-harp.
Of course, if you fancy joining a cult that isn't so demanding, maybe you'd like to join ours. You just sign up and we send you some nice emails and the odd present. No name change required. In fact, less of a cult and more of a family, and all are welcome. Even Lime-harp."

What kind of self-respecting company writes this on its product? Innocent's honest and amusing approach to it customers and business is one thing that drew my attention a few years ago, and still they stand out. Big companies can churn out all the smoothies they want, they would never dare put something on their products more from Eddie Izzard than business school.

Not sure where this pic is from - click for full size to read the writing.

Meanwhile, the People's Republic of Stokes Croft are a community group on a mission. Stokes Croft is a part of central Bristol with a mixed reputation, shall we say, but the PRSC are determined to put it on the map as Bristol's "cultural quarter":

"The well-executed decoration of public space is to be encouraged, and will engender pride and identity in our area ... The relative "poverty" of Stokes Croft has meant that its character has remained unique, and has not been swallowed up by the forces of mass media and consumerism ... The mission is to take control of the visual amenity of Stokes Croft, borrowing ideas from the past, welding them into the present, working within the framework of the historic fabric of the area to create the World's Biggest Outdoor Art Gallery."

PRSC have a crucial point in their inclusive community approach: that graffiti as public art can be warm, beautiful and create character - the complete opposite of gang "tag" graffiti. Below are some wonderful pictures from the area, check them out.

Stokes Croft is infinitely more dangerous than Chelmsford where I live now - stabbings do actually happen there, and someone was shot a couple of years ago outside Club UK (now renamed I think). And yet here is a positive public attitude to their own public spaces, with an aim to promote and unify the area and give it a character nowhere else has. A big thumbs up, and more than a slice of jealousy.

All following images stored, linked and nicked from - check out the galleries.

This is actually a shop (Mural to the rear of Sofa Riot, Nine Tree Hill)

Underground Dance Music shop on Stokes Croft Junction

Wall of Full Moon pub

And hey, it wouldn't be Bristol without a Banksy

Sunday, 29 June 2008

Why I'm going to New Zealand - Part 1

Well some of you may be wondering why I'm suddenly off to this place called New Zealand where they call each other "bro" (true), have Kiwi birds (true, although only just) and a footbridge to Australia (not true). I like travelling, but as I keep telling people, I'm not traveling this time - I'm just moving out in a big way.

I've never liked Chelmsford, or even Essex (where it's the county town). I went to university at Bristol, a buzzing city with lots of things to do all the time. When I finished in Summer 2006, other people seemed to stay in Bristol or move to London. I came home so I could finally - after years of waiting - make my band a priority. I did several shitty jobs for 14 months, finally getting a "proper" job last year where gigging etc. wouldn't be a problem. Sadly, we had a bad time with the band last year, took a long-overdue break, and after 6 months still couldn't agree we all wanted to do it.

So, back in a town I don't like, I have technically nothing forcing me to be here. I was moaning about it to a friend (you may have noticed I'm very good at moaning) who just called my bluff and said, "why not do this silly thing if you're that unhappy?"
I bought a visa and ticket for about £1000 GBP before I'd had time to talk myself out of it.

I could go on and on about why I hate Chelmsford and Essex, but that's another blog for another day. Basically, it's a place where a minority of good people with good intentions are pushed around by a majority of idiots and bad ideas. The Mainstream isn't just everywhere, it rules everywhere.

Of course, my friends and my immediate family live here, so it's not like I have nothing here for me. But it's the right time to do something different and go somewhere different. I've always intended to go away to live somewhere else, but I'd thought this would be maybe in my late 20s, or early 30s after I'd done a masters or something. But I feel like I'm stagnating here; I still dream of the life and buzz of a city. I don't think you can go through life without wishing the past was better - this happens to everyone. But I don't want to spend my entire 20s feeling I'm in the wrong place where I can't be myself.

So, why abroad? Well, being fair, it's not just Essex that I'm tired of. I'm not ashamed of being English, but England and/or Britain all has a kind of negative attitude, an unfriendly atmosphere, which I'm tired of as well. Going to Bristol or London isn't going to cut it, not here and now.

Well, that's a lot of waffle for you there, just in case you were wondering why I'm off to foreign parts. And it is just for 12 months - for now anyway.

Oh, and why NZ? It's a beautiful country. Nice people.

Saturday, 21 June 2008

So, anyway...

Well. A mate/friend last night expressed upset and disapproval about the previous blog entry, which is sad. I think he took it the wrong way, but inpterpretations matter, so I have deleted it.

I'm not the kind of person to withdraw things I say, even when people interpret what I say differently to how I meant it, as anybody who has read the F451 blog will know. But it's different when it's your mates/friends. If any of mine are reading right now, just want to say I love and appreciate you guys.

I still think there can be a difference between mates and friends, but sometimes they are the same people.

Had a little gig last night opening up on acoustic guitar, my voice turned out alright and a couple of new songs went well, but overall the set was a bit clunky and over-political. Always learning.
Main stars of the evening though were The Library Suits who were absolutely brilliant. These are 4 mates I've played with in the past (two from F451), it was their first full-band electric gig and they came out all guns blazing - great songs, massive sound, comfortable, confident. Their mysapce only has a couple of acoustic songs for now but they're still great so check it out:

Saturday, 31 May 2008

Folk, deodorant, cluster bombs and mister Barack Obama

Some of you might know about my folky roots - I say roots, as I can't really claim to be a real folky. I abandoned it at about 13 after being dragged year on year to folk camp, which were of course ridiculously uncool, and only got back into it at about 19 when I remembered some of the music I grew up with and understood the BEER factor involved in folk.

Anyway recently I went to Chippenham Folk Festival which was absolutely great, as usual. Here's a little vid of another thing I like about folk - my Dad's sword-dancing team East Saxon Sword, who've been dancing together for about 35 years:

Not bad for old men eh? (Facebook people, don't know if this'll come up, just go to my videos if not.)

The main thing I've enjoyed every time I've been to Chippenham though are the ceilidhs (pronounced "kay-lee"). Think a dance in a big hall with a band and caller who announces the dances and talks everyone through the moves; people mill about after each dance, and pick up a new partner for the next one. All of it's helped along by a lot of alcohol and it's great fun. However, in the summer they can be a little sweaty, so you may be pleased to know I have bought some anti-perspirant deodorant for the first time in a few years - sounds icky, especially for a sweaty person like me, but I've always found deodorant is overrated and most people just don't smell that much if you have a wash every day.

The new book is moving on, slowly - 16,500 words in 6 chapters so far. Still a long way to go though, the main character still hasn't been given his main mission! But I've been enjoying combining technology and magic as the same thing, and lots of sex and violence too.

Writing songs is going well, always got lots of ideas, recording not going so quickly but focusing and working hard.

Just quickly, you may have heard of some guy called Barack Obama - the only thing I like about this whole huge drawn-out contest is that everyone should now know who he is. After 8 years of catastrophe, war, US budget deficits, the war on sex education, etc. etc., let's hope he can give the Republicans a good kicking in November.

Also 3 massive cheers for the international community - even the UK! - trying to ban cluster bombs. Shame on the war-heavy countries who oppose the ban, including the usual suspect USA, Russia and China - and maybe Israel too?

Hardcore yoga tonight, tired and stretched. Night night.

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

I have a blog. And I'm going to New Zealand.

Hello everyone. I've got a new blog, this is it. Except ... maybe not. Because you could be reading this on Facebook, or even as the news page on my new website Either way, I hope you enjoy it and "partake in its wisdom" or something like that.

I've started a blog for two reasons. Firstly, it's like a news page for my new website (see below) where you can leave comments. Clever eh? So I can tell people what I'm up to and things I'm up to like my music and my writing.

Secondly - I'm going to New Zealand in the Autumn. It's for about a year, and no I'm not going travelling - been there, done that, had a great time. This is about moving away and just living somewhere different. So this will be a way of making notes and keeping people up to date - I might make it into a magazine column called "The Two Summers of 2008" or something wanky like that. Because indeed, I'm getting 2 summers this year. Oh yes!

This website thingy
Yes, I bought my name as a website. Egotistical, embarrassing, ridiculous - whatever. These things virtually sum me up anyway.

I'm writing again. I really want to be a writer and be able to work and travel - so the website is a platform for getting my writing noticed, and, in a way, getting me noticed. It's all about selling myself I guess. We're all whores now in the 21st century.

So anyway, if you fancy it please sign up to the blog (you can use Atom or RSS, somehow, I'm not sure how it works - just go to and see what happens).
As a taster, here's some things I've got on at the moment:
  • Writing my new book
  • Recording some new solo stuff
  • The end of my band (boo hoo)
  • Trying to find work and a home in NZ
  • The usual opinions on music, politics, culture, international affairs and other rubbish that you never asked for.
I generally hate the navel-gazing, over-analytical nature of blogs, so I promise I'll keep this a balance of honest and personal, but outward-looking and interesting.

Here's a reminder of my book that I have already written that is on my website, it's called DEVOLUTION and you can read/download it for free by clicking the picture.

Thanks for reading, hope you're well and catch you soon.


Sunday, 20 April 2008

Fact X Importance = News

Hello and welcome to my brand spanking new blog!

I'll be chronicling my life and some other random crap I have opinions on.

If you hadn't noticed, this is just a test post...

Ta ra!