Tuesday, February 26, 2013

It means "really very good"

It's Black Library Live this coming Saturday in Nottingham, home of the eternally burning galaxy. I hope we'll see you there.

But besides, that... Other business.  I do like to collect a good phrase, me. A nice, fresh, unexpected use of language. A few weeks ago, the writer Sarah Pinborough declared on her Facebook thread that "If I write more than four thousand words a day, my brain turns to wang." Turns to wang. I ask you. That's just brilliant. You don't see Shakespeare doing that.

Sarah's a great source of such elegant combinations of words. She said something about the Pope's resignation too. She described it as him "fucking off from his Popehood." Because that's what it should be called, officially. In the Vatican. On scrolls.

She's a fine writer, so it's no wonder she turns a memorable phrase. Another memorable phrase that dropped into my lap recently came in an email to this very website, which described one of my books as "pretty boss sausage". It means "really very good". I am now using it. I am also now using the "turns to wang" thing too.

Nik found something that was pretty boss sausage the other day (behold how I am using it in a sentence AND making a passable segue out of it? Yeah? Yeah? Get me and me fancy writing footwork). Anyway, it was this, a write up of Ravenor that properly made my day. Enjoy.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Me, in the middle of No Man's Land

... No Man's Land being the independent gaming store in my home town of Maidstone, which is a very friendly and convivial place to hang out, play some games, and generally be. Here's a link to their website.

Anyway, next saturday, the 23rd of february, they are going to be opening in a new premises not far from their old site, and I'm going to be generally hanging around in a menacing way during the afternoon to help celebrate their new opening.

The new shop address is Unit 32, the Royal Star Arcade, High Street, Maidstone ME14 1JL. They're going to be open from nine thirty to six on the day. If you're in the area, or feel the inclination, please come by and support the event. It will, I'm quite sure, be possible to persuade me to sign stuff, or answer questions, or even – can you believe it? – play a game of something. I believe there's also going to be a raffle or a competition... it'll be fun, anway. And if you need further incentive, there's a psychic fair on in the arcade the same day,  so you'll also be able to find out how grim and dark your own far future is going to be! Ba-dum tish!

No, wait... wait.... I've got a better closing gag... ready? Ready? Ahem... "And if you need further incentive, there's a psychic fair on in the arcade the same day, which we all should have seen coming."

Nothing? No? Really?

I'll get me coat.

Friday, February 15, 2013

In which I go back to college

Just a quick thing today, a reflection on the rewarding day I spent last weekend at my old college, St Edmund Hall, which held a celebration of "writing at the hall". It was enjoyable and inspiring. I'd like to write about it at length - and I may well do that - but I've got a full workload in front of me, and this Horus Heresy novel isn't going to just write itself (before you ask, it's The Unremembered Empire, direct sequel to both my Know No Fear AND Aaron's Betrayer, and The Lion hasn't actually punched Guilliman yet, but the fan and the faeces are going to meet when they both find out which other of their brothers are present in Macragge City...).

Anyway, the day was great. I particularly enjoyed the talks given by Samira Ahmed, Emma Brockes, and Stewart Lee (who, I discovered last night, name checks me in the extras on his latest stand-up DVD, Carpet Remnant World, which surprised and chuffed me). I also loved the fact that Samira was live-tweeting from the audience of my talk. And I found truly fascinating the fact that all of us, though we use writing in vastly different ways, had almost the same thing to say – or parallel, comparable things, at least – about the basic practice and craft.

As I said, I'm a little too busy writing to spend time today writing about writing, but I will direct you to Samira's blog where, unsurprisingly, she provides an excellent report of the day.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

TV Highlights to look forward to...

Here’s the inside track on some of the new directions that TV will be going in 2013. Some very exciting developments, all of which are guaranteed to combine your favourite shows.

Now that Disney has secured the rights to the Star Wars franchise, we can expect a number of films and shows exploiting the potential variations of this immense licensing opportunity. My sources indicate that Disney is particularly keen to combine the crowd pulling appeal of Star Wars with the massive television audience ratings of the classy BBC period drama, so before the year’s end look out for the flagship new drama series “TaunTaun Abbey”, featuring Hugh Bonneville as Grand Moff Crawley, Rob James-Collier as the sinister looking one who skulks around in the back rooms and gives away the location of the Millennium Falcon’s landing bay while wearing goggles and a big nose, and Maggie Smith as a scruffy looking nerf herder.

Death Metal of a Salesman. Hotly anticipated reality tv show where the front man of Metallica joins creative forces with members of one of Sweden’s most notorious black metal bands in an effort to bring to the London stage a brutal yet muscular musical version of Arthur Miller’s classic play.

Last of the Summer Winehouse. The BBC scrapes the very bottom of the barrel in an attempt to find bits of Amy Winehouse footage that have not yet been anthologised, and comes up with some fleeting segments of the 1993 Jules Holland’s Hootenany when she was in the crowd at the back.

Big Shit, Little Shit. Frankly I can’t believe that the commissioning editors at CBeebies thought this was a good idea.

Gran Torino Designs. Clint Eastwood takes over from Kevin McCloud and talks us through the design and construction of some extraordinary and pretentious, middle-class self-build projects, before slightly curling his lip to camera and explaining why the World is a better place now that they’re dead. Featuring an Arne Jacobson chair with no one in it that Clint talks to as if it’s his co-host.

Nigella Lawson Lets You Actually Touch Them. I think the appeal of this show is aptly demonstrated in its title. May include meringue.

Goodness Gracious Meerschaum. In a desperate attempt to find a fresh take on the Holmes myth, Channel 4 relocates the story to Bombay, where a call centre worker (The Big Bang Theory’s Kunal Nayyar) discover’s that the random “western name generator” has allocated him the name Sherlock. He decides to uphold the legacy and become a detective. Capers ensue. Featuring Lucy Lu for no readily apparent reason.

TOWIE (The Only Way Is Exhaust-port). Set your deflectors to double-front for this new, high-octane quiz show, presented by Philip Schofield and Clare Balding. Part first-person-shooter and part one-of-those-ridiculously-complicated-games-they-play-before-the-national-lottery. Contestants are coached by Philip on how to hit a target not much bigger than a womp rat in Beggar’s Canyon back home, in order to win the Big Money Prizes. Highlight of the show is the moment when Clare Balding suddenly goes strangely slack-jawed and clacks out the program’s key catchphrase, “it’s a trap!” in a muppet-stylee.

Beastenders. From the people that brought you Masters of the Universe and the people that brought you Eastenders. Look! They’ve brought you something you didn’t even know you wanted. At all.

Richard Hammond’s Secret Service. Honest to god, dude, you really don’t want to know what this show is about.
Top Gear. With Gok Wan. On the Nurnberg Ring, Gok brings a whole new meaning to the phrase, “Show us your bangers.” Also, James May repeatedly says, “please stop touching me.” in an increasingly plaintive voice.

Gok Wan, Purl Wan. Knitting show.

Time Time. Tony Robinson and Phil Harding get their hands on a flux capacitor and a DeLorean, and haphazardly rewrite the history of 80s cinema. Nothing good results from their escapades, but Phil gets to say, “God, aaarrhh!” a fuck of a lot.

Flog it! Paul Martin comprehensively reinvents the antiques show in such a way that it is no longer an antiques show at all, but rather a gruelling catalogue of human perseverance. Featuring Philip Serrell.

Master Chief. Greg Wallace and John Torrode oversee the nail-biting competition to find the next HALO petty officer. Featuring Michel Roux-117 as the acceptable face of the Covenant.