Hellfire. It's five in the morning and I need to do an airport run. The car tells me it's -5 degrees. My phone tells me I have five new messages. 

It's going to be one of those days is it.  

Sitting here waiting for the windscreen to clear, there's not a soul anywhere to be seen. Not even a cat or a fox. If I'm the last person left alive on the planet, I'm putting a brick through the shop window at the end of the street and taking all of their sandwiches - and that will only be the beginning of the raid.  

Another car goes past at the end of the street. Maybe I'll just buy some breakfast at the other end instead.  

One thing I have noticed about getting up stupid early is that I'm quite in the mood for writing. I'm wondering if I got up at five tomorrow morning and sat down for a couple of hours, whether I'd get much done. I should probably try it but being as I normally go to bed about two, right now it sounds horrible.

With a couple of hours under the belt, by the time it got to seven or eight, maybe I would even feel like I had done everything that was important for the day. Damn, If I put my mind to it, if I did two hours, I could probably hit the gym afterwards and get home before the world even demanded my attention.

What could I write in two hours? A couple of thousand words on a good day? I'm not sure - I've never sat down and logged it. I don't think I'd want to either. I might not get the answer I was looking for. I guess if the morning looked like being a disaster, I could always head back to bed and forget I'd ever gotten up in the first place.

i wrote this much in ten minutes. Maybe it's worth thinking about. 

Airport beckons.  


Notes On Leaving A Scar

I've just finished transcribing the second part of a really long interview I did recently with the artist Gunnar (you can find it in Skin Deep #272 and the forthcoming #273 - I had to split it over two issues to get it all in even with serious edits). As we got towards the end, we talked about creative people like Tex Avery and Walter Lantz and magazines like Mad and EC comics and how we were exposed to a dark kind of creativity that doesn't exist anymore. Hopefully it doesn't come across like two middle aged men longing for days gone by because that's not the spirit it was conducted in at all. It was more about how most people are only really exposed (and happily so) to the top ten search results you get back from google.

Such is the machine that you built.

Anyway, it struck me that so far as I know, there aren't a lot of places online that will really dive in to investigate little known authors and raise a flag for them - which begs the question, have I got the inclination here to begin such a thing? I think I have but it will be intermittent that's for sure. Maybe I'll make a shortlist of half a dozen of my favourites I think other people would get a kick out of reading, go back revisit their work and write about it here. I'll keep you clued in... well, you'll probably notice.

It's been my habit whenever I'm sending out books during the last couple of years, to throw some extras inside. Sometimes a postcard, sometimes a type-written letter, sometimes a hand written letter... that 'something' is anything I have at hand to make the experience of getting a parcel in the mail a little more personal. Things come and things go and we leave no trace in the world anymore - that's not a good thing.

I love the phrase 'tread lightly' but not when it comes to the things you spend the days of your life creating with blood. That's the one time you should leave a scar otherwise you may become one of those mentioned above. One of The Forgotten.

Take a look at this:

If that isn't a good reason to take a few moments out of your day to commit yourself to the history of the real world instead of the history of the digital, I don't know what is.

Oh the irony of blogging...

Burn Baby, Burn

On my quest to find a new home for the Big Bear Rescue t-shirt store, I found a great one - or at least I think I did. I figured I would test it out first just to be sure... and I decided to test it out with this, just because I could. 

Looks sharp on the screen and all the right things are in place... profits are bigger (that's item number 1 from the earlier post ticked off), the shirts ship within a day (and item number 2 ticked off), they're printed with 100% non-toxic vegan friendly inks... on 100% organic shirts and the company also sport a carbon neutral footprint. That's more boxes ticked that I bargained on.

So, I ordered myself this very shirt sporting the logo of my expired, yet somehow, legendary magazine and it will be here before the weekend. If you're interested in one, they're up for just two weeks (until January 25th) at £10 which is a low as I could make it for a trial and you can find it right here.

...and now, I need to figure out how to make the Big Bear Rescue project work more smoothly. Things sure move fast when you've got a wasp in your hair. The Bear navigation tab up top will now give you a page - that links to that will act as a hub for whatever there is on the table. 

I feel like progress has been made.

And now I need to write. In fact, I need to kick the writing up a notch. Today, I have a few things I need to take care of at the magazine, then, I am going into a very different kind of editor mode with my own work to figure out what's great, what needs work and what's drivel. My plan now is to hone (people don't use that word enough these days) my work into a very definite style and not waste time trying to be anything I'm not... not that I do, but sometimes you can catch me thinking such thoughts.

If you asked me to describe it, I would say it was minimalist dirty realism. That suits me just fine. It's what I do - though sometimes, I am guilty of drifting off into minimalist dirty magical realism. That's not even a thing - and because it doesn't exist, I'm finding it very attractive. I'll stick with the first description but that's warning enough that if a talking dog turns up somewhere, it's because it felt like the right thing to do and is more than likely an analogy for something.

I saw yesterday that somebody had described Murakami's work like this: "It is frequently surrealistic and melancholic or fatalistic, marked by a Kafkaesque rendition of the recurrent themes of alienation and loneliness he weaves into his narratives." 

Yeah. Try pitching that to a publisher and telling them the world will go crazy over it, so I'm not going to worry my head over it. Sometimes, you just have do what it is you do.

The world will figure the rest out by itself.

Monsters And Bears

To catch up on yesterday, I mentioned I wrote a review of A Monster Calls - you can find that right here. Leaving lots of comments and sharing it wherever you can will make my buddy Mike happy, so do that.

Big Bear Rescue:

I'm going to take the rest of January off from the bear rescue mission to move the store somewhere else. From the two t-shirts that have been on sale so far, we did OK. They were great shirts and the idea is still super-solid but what needs to happen next is 1: Getting a better return on each item - something I discovered wasn't the case as soon as the range was expanded beyond a white shirt and 2: Getting the shirt mailed out a lot faster. Using the current store, if you buy a shirt at the beginning of the campaign, you have to wait until the end to get your shirts. When I began, that seemed fair... but as I move along, it probably isn't doing us any favours.

You live and you learn. I think I know where I'm going to take it next and if I can get a decent business head on with it all, I can fix 1 and 2 above and have it knock on to 3: Even more eco-friendly shirts into the bargain. 

The next two shirt designs are ready to go already by a great artist and it needs to be out there as soon as humanly possible... file under pending but hopefully, not very pending at all. To dot the i's and cross the t's, I'm moving the bear blog from the 'Bears' tab above into this main drag.

Here's one of two bears trapped in a shitty cage in Russia as 'restaurant entertainment' where he was fed beer and cake by not so helpful visitors...

This story however, doesn't end with tears which makes a change. 130,000 people (that's a lot) got on board and the bears (the 'Sochi Bears' as they became known) were relocated to the Libearty Sanctuary in Romania.

20 years is a long old time to spend in a cage though. The bears got real old in there but you do what you can and in a couple of short months, the Big Bear Rescue fund has already helped chip away at similar cases. 

If you're moved to help me out, the bear shirts will be back soon enough but meanwhile, here's a link to the online collection where you can throw in some spare change if you have the mind.

Huge thanks to everybody whose come along for the ride with me so far. We've done good things.

I'm not really sure how to follow that, so ummm... more later.

Boxes With Things Inside

Places I'd Like To Sit And Write One Day:

It's supposed to snow here in the next day or so. Maybe it will snow enough that outside will look like this. In which case it's highly likely that I will change my mind and decide to write indoors instead.

I fell into a worm hole this morning that briefly sent me back to 1983. While Hector was looking for a cat that had disappeared into the great wide open, I saw somebody had put out their cardboard recycling and amongst the boxes, was the packaging for a toasted sandwich maker. That's always a sure sign that something is wrong with the world.

Anyway, I spent this evening (and much of yesterday evening) putting the finishing touches to my proposed radio show. I'm not 100% sure right now that it still has a home to go to, but it's finished and the notebooks are out to work on the next one, so I'm just going to press along. I'll find a home for it somewhere and if I can get eight to ten shows ahead of the game, I'll be in a good position to do something very cool with it.

What kind of music will you be playing you say? It's a good question - and the answer is: old rock, new rock, rock you don't think is rock but most definitely is and rock in disguise as something else... you get the picture - but it's not a noisy-ass show at all. This is a cool show with actual songs. I promise.

Which reminds me... I must decide on a name for it before the week is out. I'm still favouring HOWL over all the others, so maybe that's my decision made right there. I'll keep you posted...


...and then I wrote a review of A Monster Calls for a friend.  Le Fin.