Wednesday, 30 October 2013

5 little months in the UK

Well. The time has come for me to move again - to continue the crazy travelling year of 2013, and to replay 2008 when I left for another country.

I always knew this time back in England would be exactly what I needed. But I couldn't know any of the wonderful, magical details.

Here's my favourite bits of a lovely English summer:

- Summer solstice at Stonehenge
- Opening BAY DAYS festival at the Chelmsford Fleece
- Playing solo gigs for old friends and new
- EUROVENTURE 1 to Zürich, Strasbourg (+ Germany) and Paris
- Seeing Kiwi friends in Europe and London
- London, London, London.
- Visiting Bristol and seeing old uni friends
- EUROVENTURE #2 to Krakow, Slovakia, Budapest and Prague
- READING FESTIVAL. Brilliant, just brilliant.
- Broadstairs Folk Festival
- Going on lots of dates and making new friends
- Learning about the kink community
- Getting comments about my semi-Kiwi accent
- Volunteering at the Chelmsford night shelter
- Going on my uncle's narrowboat around Birmingham canals
- Spending time with UK mates and laughing so hard at everything
- Spending time with family.

And many more little things, and some secret things I can't mention.

It's been frankly bloody amazing.

Monday, 28 October 2013

Feelings and Emotions...

Leaving on a jetplane in 2 days. Maybe I'm just tired today, but lots of emotions going on right now.

Sadness of saying goodbyes, yet again.
Smiling at how weirdly familiar it has all become.
Wonder at rediscovering old friends.
Anticipation of seeing NZ friends & family again.
Excitement and apprehension of moving to a new city, new country, again.
Curiosity of visiting Asia beforehand.
Frustration I can't be everywhere at the same time.
Gushing, pathetic relief at having such amazing friends and family.
Confusion in my life's uncertainty.
Pleasure that it's my choice.
Certainty over my identity.
Hunger for the future. The same hunger I've always had.
And a big, dirty laugh at how ridiculous and awful and wonderful everything is.


Friday, 25 October 2013

Highlights from Suede last night

I think this is my first ever fanboy post.

I'm a huge Suede fan and have been since hearing Coming Up as a 13-year-old in 1996.

This year, one of my best nights out was going to a Bangkok electro/indierock club night, where they played 90s indie/rock/pop songs and all the young Thai people sang along to all the words, including "Trash" and "Film Star" by Suede.

Last night I got to see them in Southend, Essex. Bear in mind Suede were formed in 1989, had their best success in the mid 90s, and before this year's new album "Bloodsports" have not toured or released a single in 10 years. (The last time I saw them was December 2003 at the Bristol Academy, at the end of my first term at university.)

Here's the highlights, setlist below!

- They performed excellently, and Brett was ON FORM - seriously, imagine a 46-year-old grinding and wailing and dancing and swinging his mic over his head like he's 20 and pulling it off perfectly. Richard Oakes is a guitar wizard. Neil Codling looked pretty and sang like a girl, as usual. Tight as all hell.

- They played 8 songs off the new album, with such conviction that you almost forget half the new album songs aren't really that special. The other half are awesome and sounded even better. Go listen to "Bloodsports", it's almost as good as Coming Up.

- They played some unusual b-sides: "Killing Of A Flashboy", a cracker; a song called "Painted People" I'd never heard; and "Where The Pigs Don't Fly", for the first time since 1992 (and 2nd time ever!). They also played "By The Sea", which was nice for Southend, and "So Young" and "New Generation" without any doubt for a band who've been around 24 years.

- Favourite bits possibly Metal Mickey, Animal Nitrate, Trash, Killing Of A Flashboy, It Starts And Ends With You, and every time Brett went down to the front and sang with the fans.

- Only downside was the audience, who were vocal but low-key, which is to be expected for a provincial gig by a band whose age and fanbase are about 45. There was barely anyone under 30 there, and lots of nicely-dressed adults, girls in heels and rotund middle-aged men, all of whose pogo-ing days ended long ago. I can only imagine how much sheer FUN a gig in central London would be.

Super glad I got to see a great band back in the UK, especially after missing out on the first ever Manics Aus/NZ visit!

  1. (first time played since 1992)
  2. Encore:

Thursday, 24 October 2013

NO UP Trilogy: Genres - It's a sci-fi, fantasy, comedy, adventure, apocalypse, detective, horror, psychological, love story. With aliens.
You want genre mashups? My book NO UP is the Swiss army knife of genres.

It's a sci-fi book. NO UP features bio-technology we can only dream of: people communicating directly from their brains; recording video with their eyes; and shaping rocks, materials and even their bodies with mental code instructions. The world is underpinned by the "Ethe", a mix of Mother Nature and the internet, which people use for social networking and marshalling the land. And like all good sci-fi novels, the social commentary on bureaucracy, online voyeurism, and the cult of celebrity says more about the real world than the world in the book.

It's a fantasy novel. There's monsters, centaurs, mantrels (goat-men/satyrs), lizardmen (and lizardwomen), trolls, a minotaur and an alcoholic four-armed bear. There's swords and crossbows and giant wolves. And there's magic - or at least, people with mystical powers which can't be understood, even with the technology and software described above.

It's a comedy. The laughs come from many angles, but mostly from the partnership of best friends Czioc and Pshappa. They speak, banter and swear with each other like real people do (unlike most books!). They get drunk, and argue, and make crude jokes about sex. Meanwhile Noksalika remains sarcastic and cynical even when in mortal danger, screaming "What if there was a fucking fire?!" when finding the sacrificial stadium fire-escape door is locked. And through the whole trilogy, the satire is thick, obvious and unapologetic.

It's an epic adventure. Monsters! Missions! Escape! Espionage! The thrills and spills weave through different worlds, battles and mysteries with flashing lights and action action action, taking the characters and the reader on a truly epic adventure in just 3 short books.

It's an apocalypse story. The world ends in the second book. Don't worry, there's a rave to celebrate.

It's a detective novel. Why has Noksalika faked her own death? Where is she going? The reader is just as intrigued as Czioc and the dead voice in his head, as they try to figure out what's behind her scheme to run away from a life of stardom...

It's a horror story. There's plenty of scary scenes with the alien monsters who melt objects and living people in disgusting ways. But like all good horror stories, the true horror comes from the real people, and what they do each other. The real monsters are other people.

It's a psychological thriller. The plot is saturated with psychology, as Czioc ponders on his past relationship with Noksalika, and as we learn about the tortured dreams and his withdrawal into himself. Meanwhile, Noksalika faces an identity crisis as she battles to keep her own personality from the electronic identity she's stolen.

It's an alien invasion! I had HUGE fun writing about the hideous black aliens invading and poisoning the land. Are they aliens from another world, or demons from hell? What do they want? What the hell can possibly stop them?

And it's a love story. Woven through it all is the love story between Czioc, an awkward and introverted hero, and Noksalika, an extravagant porn star and famous classical musician. Will they find each other? Will they end up together? Can they possibly defy the government, the aliens and the very end of the world to be together?

It's all of these things and more. Read it now, or why not buy the book? Buying books is very cool these days.

Read on:
Buy from:

Sunday, 20 October 2013

NO UP Trilogy Re-release Part 1: Print & websites updated

It gives me great pleasure to re-release my 2008-09 trilogy NO UP. NO LIES. NO NEVER. Go and check it out!

Some of you might know that I wrote a trilogy of books a few years ago. It's an epic sci-fi/fantasy/comedy adventure story, with sex, monsters, magic, telepathy and more, and it's one of the best things I've ever done.

It never got the full release it deserved, and this year I am changing that. Part 1 of that re-release is updating the print editions (which you can buy from my Lulu page) and the mini-websites which I have for them. These are live now. Huzzah!

Changes include:
  • Comprehensive editing and proofing - the story reads better, flows better, references are clearer.
  • Full story in HTML - the whole thing is available to read on the mini websites for free.
  • Websites simplified, clarified - the mini sites look much smoother, cleaner and nicer.
  • Updated artwork - the artwork for the printed books and logos, pictures etc. is now sharper, clearer and looks awesome.
  • Books released via Amazon - in a few weeks, these books will appear on Amazon. (But you should still buy them from Lulu because I make more money.)
  • Serif font - I replaced Verdana with Palatino in the printed books, and Times New Roman on the websites. (Except the title/about pages.) It looks a lot better and is much nicer to read.
So, please go and read it on the websites, and buy a copy (copies) if you like what you see! I promise you it's an exciting, funny, rock'n'roll adventure story with massive twists and a huge unexpected ending. Also, the world ends in the 2nd book! Enough said.

Part 2 - Hardback and eBook release

The next step is simple but big - release the trilogy as a single hardback book, and accompanying eBook.
  • The hardback will look BEAUTIFUL
  • The eBook will be FREE
I'll be doing this over the next few weeks (while I'm in Thailand and New Zealand) so this will be done and available by the end of the year.

Sadly, not in time for Christmas - so if you know someone who likes reading and enjoys sci-fi/fantasy/comedy/adventure, why not buy them the trilogy in the eye-catching individual colours?

Here are some other things that will happen:
  • Release on Redbubble - as well as T-shirts, photos and iPhone cases, Redbubble also hosts writing in a nice font on a nice blank screen. All 33 chapters and 2 interlogues will be going up, as and when, here on my Redbubble.
  • Blog posts - I'll be writing some descriptive and analytical blog posts on some of the themes and parts of the trilogy, including the (not-so-)weird names of people and places, and Noksalika's controversial soliloquys on beauty and shame.

I feel a bit strange, since it's work that should have been done in 2010 after the original releases. But, it's still very satisfying to see something you love achieve its potential, and it's great to have the trilogy read better and look better.

Below are the new one-piece covers for the 3 books. I hope you agree, they look pretty cool!

Keep looking out for updates, see you soon.
J-dog x

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Being a bad blogger

You may have noticed, friends, that I still owe you some blog posts. These include:
  • Photos from NZ #2 of 2 - My favourite pictures
  • "Exotic" Thailand #2 of 2 - Bangkok is a real place
  • How To Speak New Zillund #2 of 2 - New Zealand English
I apologise for not having written and posted these yet. I am a distracted little kitty getting distracted by life, the internet, and other little kitties. 
I will deliver the latter 2 certainly. The photos one, however, I might drop - I think I covered all the best/interesting photos in the first post!

Being an ideas generator, I also have a huge stack of blog posts in the pipeline. These include and are not limited to:
  • Privacy and Security - How our attitudes can, should and will change
  • Cute on the outside, Dom in the bedroom - Sex, Appearance, and Sociology
  • But Britain's IN Europe, right?
  • A Year In Cities & Countries (can't really be finished before 27th December)
  • Short story: Cold Jungle
  • Being an auxiliary feminist
  • Sci-fi names aren't weird, you just don't know any foreign people

I'll get onto these. Soon. Eventually. Soontually.

If any of you care enough, maybe suggest which ones you'd like to see? "In The Kingdom Of No Blog Comments, The One-Comment Commentor Has Attention Of The Blogger". Or something like that.