Should Have Known Better

Apologies to those of you like to check in natively at my site and blog... I took it back to its original design this weekend (broke it for a little while) and I see that a lot of the images are now running at 100mph in Full Size. I could go back and edit them but that's not a great use of time. I will post as much as possible and try and bury them in the depths of yesterday.

I still have a few bits and pieces to fix up here but it all works. I'm going reintroduce the calendar I used to have here too. I find it useful to know where I should be even if you don't - which is another way of saying, I finally got around to figuring out where I'm going this year, when and what for - although the little things I like to bolt on along the way are still up in the air for the most part. I'm working on raising the bar this year but I gotta tell you, with kids and dogs to take care of, it's tough getting out of the house sometimes.

This last few weeks has also seen me pick up the guitar more often than not and get quite serious about it. I didn't know quite how much I had missed it until we started spending a lot of time together and now I've got a serious hunger on for a new machine... namely this Ibanez:

I'll report back on what this beast is capable of later because there's very little online about it - though with a little research from my friend Mr Simmons, there may well be a couple of others in the running.

Having said that, old habits die really hard and I already have some ideas on where to go, along with a potential name for the project which will either be Deadbirds or Phantom Lullaby. I just can't help myself you know...

Sion Smith

It's the last day of the Big Bear Rescue for February and I have to say, it's pretty frustrating selling 'a few' and after the expenses of printing and mailing, pocketing what amounts to small change. That's not to say I'm not grateful to all of the people who have bought a shirt along the way so far - and it's not even saying that I think everybody in the world should want one. In fact, if I were to say anything negative about the whole thing, it would kind of cheapen it and I don't want to do that because I still believe in what I'm doing with it.

But there has to be a better way because when just 2% of people who visit the page actually make a purchase, I'm doing something wrong. There has to be a better way because when you ask the very organisation you're doing it alongside of to give you the briefest of mentions on social media as they have the hotline to the audience that cares the most - and they don't - I'm doing something wrong.

Seems to me that for all the fireworks in the sky over social media and all the Big Talk about 'everything being in your control thanks to the internet' - real media (radio, television and magazines) still rule.

I didn't want to take another break from the project but I might have to put March on the sidelines to figure it out. I feel guilty over the time the artists have put in that there's not more comeback from it. I've got guilt over the sanctuary I promised I'd support - but most of all, I'm beginning to wonder if my time wouldn't be better spent handing over cash out of my wages and lying around watching TV in the evening instead of trying to save a tiny corner of the world.

Somewhere inside, I know I'm just not reaching the right people but you get where I'm coming from right? People get famous in 2017 for being filmed watching TV and that's what I'm up against.

But the truth is, being like everybody is the same as being nobody and that road never was for me. 

Time for Plan B - because this is still unacceptable.

Meanwhile, on the writing front, aside from Neil Gaiman, I seem to be the only person in the entire universe who is still keeping a blog alive. I saw in the last week that Nikki Sixx had even given up his .com domain in favour of solely using instagram and he's not the only one out there. People of the world have so much information to consume, they don't have time to read anything properly let alone get involved on a grand scale with anything even if they wanted to, which mostly, they don't.

It's tempting to hit the instagram route. Twitter is dying on its knees - I lost 15 followers in the 15 minutes I chose to write about my own funeral... go figure, but I think I might be able to do some damage on instagram if I made that commitment.

Food for thought huh. I need to get some solid ground under my wheels if I'm going to crack this writing lark the way I want to.

Which means Plan B on that front also.

Every which way I turn, there are Plan B's lying all over the floor just waiting to be picked up and inspected. 

Sometimes, when you listen to the world, it doesn't have to shout at you. Let's get it on... soon.

Sion Smith

Dear blog fans/people who arrived here by accident:

I have nothing to blog about right now. I've put myself on a schedule of something called 'Actual Work' which involves umm... writing mostly. This is where a blog falls flat on its face. When you don't go out of the house other than to get more coffee or occasionally go to the gym so you don't seize up entirely, there's not a whole lot to say. I haven't even picked up a book since the beginning of the month.

I could post about the dog walks - there are plenty of those - but there's very little to report in this rainy season in which we are the only stupid people who still go out three times a day.

Thus, I shall proactively - though temporarily - retract myself from my own timeline because knowing it's here not being done is like wondering you let the gas on when you go out.

I shall return in a couple of weeks with updates, some news, travel plans for the year and with the wind behind me, I should have gotten very close to the end of what I'm up to.

That said, I'll also add this: yesterday I decided to close my flickr account where - because they kindly handed the whole world 1TB of free storage space - I opted to stash over 13,000 images. It took all day for a bit of software to download everything but now it is done and that's one less thing I belong to/worry about.

Mostly, I knew what was in there but there were a few surprises (not those kind of surprises) and a pic of something I had completely forgotten about. About eight years ago, I wrote a rough draft of a pulp-style detective comic-book story called Broken and a guy - whose name I can't remember but I thought was pretty good with a pencil - said he was up for illustrating it. Many, many, many months later, this one image found its way to my inbox so I mocked it up to see if it had legs.

...and even though it did have legs, that was where that story ended. Shame. 

Now my interest is piqued, I must dig back in the Box of Words and see if it's still around... 

Sion Smith
Time To Play The Game... Almost

I always know when things are going well because time I usually spend writing things for here is swallowed up by writing things that will appear somewhere else. To reveal very little - I'm a third of the way through the first draft of novel that didn't exist two months ago. The idea came fully formed and wouldn't go away - not that I wanted it to.

Running, running, running... not fallen over yet and neither am I running with scissors. Just a fountain pen that's proving to be quite the work-horse. Here's a thing that I've learned over the last few weeks: when you buy a sexy notebook to work in, such as a Moleskine type-thing, you will want to write sexy things in it neatly and make it into the sort of notebook that looks like del Toro created magical wonders in there. Who knows, maybe one day an important library might want to archive it because you rocked so hard. 

But what you really need to do to get rolling when you're nowhere but standing on a cliff with your face to the wind, is buy a negasonic truck-load of yellow legal pads on which to hammer your words out without worrying about messing up your sexy Moleskine... and when you are done and have typed all your words up, you can burn them in the garden because The Dead need stories to relax at night too.

This is what I have learned to be my truth - and if you try it out, I think you might find it's yours as well.

Talking of The Dead needing stories too, I got wind of this coming down the line in the next few months. John Connolly's work is such a massive buzz for me, its one of the rare occasions I take two days off work to 'do it'. This one will be no exception - and so far, the man has never let me down.

The Independent quote on the cover does not lie, but like I say every year, if you're going to do this, you have to start at the beginning (which is Every Dead Thing).

I got nothing else to add right now. Busy doncha know.

File Under 'Fucking Wonderful'

Writing is going great this week (thanks for asking) but I won't set the Jinx Monster loose by saying anything else on that. It's enough to know that my head is together and work is being produced at a rate that pleases my soul. Is it coincidental that my iPhone has been on holiday to Apple HQ for some TLC and I have been without a pocket sized comms device for a little while? Perhaps.

It came back this morning. I synced it up, checked in on a few things and then put it out of the way but I guess there will come a day soon when we will have a showdown - and I kinda like the way I'm feeling about having written a lot. Maybe I should just learn to discipline myself.

Anyway, this evening, as a 'treat' for doing what I'm supposed to be doing and having kicked the hell out of the thing I wanted to get done today, I thought I'd watch a movie to celebrate. Something with monsters perhaps... but I get sidetracked when I found a film I meant to watch a couple of years back, never did and subsequently forgot all about.

It's called The End Of The Tour which is, more or less, a conversation between two writers: David Lipsky and David Foster Wallace - and yeah, that's where the title comes from - it really is fucking wonderful - even the poster is fucking wonderful:

It's on Netflix if you're of a mind to check it out.

A few weeks back, while I was working on some Big Bear Rescue things, I found this great advert:

I've never heard of this campaign before but sometime soon, I'll dig a little further and see what they like to do. Fucking wonderful advert regardless.

To wrap up... I also found this pic of the handwritten lyrics to Soundgarden's The Day I Tried To Live which I'm going to repost here just because it's cool as hell and if nothing else, goes to prove you don't need anything beyond a pencil to write a fucking wonderful song...

So in a nutshell, this post is nothing but some semi-interesting stuff I found when I wasn't doing what I should have been doing. In Writer-Land, we call that 'taking a break'. 

And then I shaved. 

28 Days Of Time Travel

February - which appears to have arrived a little faster than expected - was the month I had assigned to temporarily abandon all other projects and get my act together to finish/rewrite the Doctor Who script I started far too long ago and 'put to one side'. At the start of the year it seemed like a good time to go back to it... and then that Capaldi guy handed in his notice earlier this week, so either a) it's the worst time ever with Mr Moffat leaving as well or b) it's the best time ever because we'll be looking at a clean(ish) sheet.

Coming back to it after far too long a break, I was pleased to find - unfinished as it was - the damn thing more than stood up for itself. It would be dumb in the extreme to write any detail of it here but regardless of something or nothing happening to it, if it gets finished and is as good as I think it is, that's going right there in the win column because there's nothing like a bit of positivity to keep the writing spirits afloat.

I haven't found many albums in recent weeks that fired me up too much. In fact it's been something of a audio graveyard out there - until yesterday when I came across All These Countless Nights from Deaf Havana. If you're looking for some an album that's written properly (i.e. doesn't run out of steam by track four) spend a few hours in their company - it's been time well spent around here.

More later... I have to confess, I am missing my iPhone (which is due back at the weekend) when it comes to posting here. I didn't realise quite how much I used it for keeping things updated. 

Sion Smith
Back Into The Deep

As promised a month or so back, I took some time to rework the Big Bear Rescue project for maximum effect. Thanks to Everpress for getting with the programme and making it easier for me to do just that. So...

The third Big Bear Rescue shirt is now alive and kicking and you can buy it right here. It was created by my most excellent friend Federico Amaterasu and it warms my heart to see this one out in the world. Please buy thousands of them just because it's that wonderful... I'll take care of the rest. It looks like this and for maximum impact down the line, is available for women and men in white only... it suits the design and gives the best kickback in the financials - and that's what its all about. If you want a red one, wash it with your pants. If you want a blue one, wash it with different colour pants. Simple.

A fair old whack of time ago, some of you might remember I adopted a Hammerhead Shark - I still 'have' it, though in the real world, it's taken a back seat to the bears when it comes to figuring stuff out. Today, I found this great story about Hammerhead DNA and wound healing which includes the quote:

“The immune system of sharks and rays has been battle-tested and evolved over hundreds of millions of years”

Which gives me licence to post a pic of one of my favourite creatures of the deep:

Posting a picture of a shark is always a good way to start the week don't you think? Maybe soon - once I'm into a good routine with the bears - I'll investigate how to get back on track with some ocean conservation.

For now... Le Fin. 

Darkness Falls

For those of you who are with me on the merits of Scandinavian/Nordic Noir, this is excellent:

Currently screening on NOWTV - and presumably SKY somewhere - it's about politics and energy supplies, Europe and Russia, friends who are enemies and probably most frightening of all, how smartphones have allowed people that normally wouldn't be allowed to own a fish to make themselves known to the world.

Standing between Norway and an avalanche of destruction is the man seen on the cover of the DVD here. So I guess it's kind of like an intelligent 24... only slower, better thought out and with subtitles. It also comes from the mind of Jo Nesbo and if you know Harry Hole, you know what you're in for.

Killer TV from every angle.

This has been a public service announcement on behalf of those bored with the status quo.

I have a show to fire up over the weekend, but as soon as I'm back on dry land, the new Big Bear Rescue shirt goes up for sale and I'm really looking forward to this one. So much so, that I might buy two this time around. After a year of this, bear shirts is the only damn thing I'll have in the drawer.

Just a little reminder that this is what it's all about. It's not a good look for a bear.

Slight rewind... I hadn't finished on the subject of Noir.

New read this week is the latest instalment of Ragnar Jonasson's Dark Iceland series, Rupture. This is one deceptive series. It never seems as though anything has happened as you drive through the pages - then you come to an abrupt halt at the end only to find everything has happened. I like the guy very much...

Thus ends the propaganda machine for all things Nordic. Now I must write. 

(It's a shame Welsh-Noir doesn't have quite the same ring about it. I can't remember if the BBC threw that description at Hinterland when it came out, but if they did, they should have thought much harder about it.)