On Christmas Songs

So this is Christmas, and what have you done? No, really, what have you done, hypothetical audience? Anyway, now that’s out the way, I thought I’d use the last blog of 2014 to talk about Christmas Songs, or more specifically Christmas Pop Song, since I don’t want to get into the tangled mess that is carols. Yes, every year from around about halfway through November until about Early January every publicly tuned audio system up to and including radio stations in the UK are saturated with pop songs that came out at, are about or even just loosely associate with the festival of Christmas. There is literally no escape, no matter how hard you try, so best hope you enjoy that kind of crap. I, as you can probably predict from the tone here, don’t (with a few caveats) and thought I’d go into why.
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On Creative Block

This may not be immediately apparent, dear hypothetical audience, but beyond blogger and graphic designer I have aspirations of being a writer. I know I’ve written about narrative subjects before, but my actual fiction output has been, to be frank, a little lacklustre of late for various reasons. So in an effort to try and dislodge the creative malaise that’s afflicted me I’ve decided to write about it, and it’s creative block ilk, and how I occasionally manage to shake the damn things. Look, I never said I’d win any points for originality did I?

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On the Love of Bad Movies

Apologies for this one being a bit late, as I have had yet another busy week dashing around the country and had no time to write & polish this before Monday evening.

There’s been a lot of negativity in the air around this blog the last few weeks, so I thought I’d redress the balance and talk about something I genuinely like this week: Terrible Movies. No, really, there’s something incredibly entertaining to me to sit down and watch a film try it’s hardest and yet fail so hilariously completely. It’s something that’s becoming increasingly common across the media consuming public, especially with the rise of the internet as a corner stone of modern culture. But, still there are some in my experience who don’t fully get why we do, so here I am, explaining my reasonings to you in blog form. You lucky, lucky people.

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On Christmas Adverts

Do you know what time it is, Hypothetical Audience? Well, as I write this it’s half two on Sunday, but that’s not what I’m getting at all. It’s actually that specific time of year, just past Halloween and Remembrance day, where the retail sector in the United Kingdom cranks into high gear with it’s marketing engines and bombard us, the consuming public, with christmas adverts until Boxing Day. It happens every year, obviously, and each company seems to try to out do both each other and themselves year on year. We get a whole cornucopia of thirty-seconds-to-a-couple-of-minutes films intended to sell us stuff, some directly by rubbing their products in our faces, others by desperately trying to pull at our heartstrings to make us forget it’s an advert. All in the name of crass commercialism, you see, for an event appropriated from Christian tradition that was likely appropriated from elsewhere ad infinitum. What fun!

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On Rail Travel

Recently I’ve been spending some time planning various excursions around the country across the coming months, mostly to use up what holiday time I had left at work. Due to neither owning, being able to afford or wanting a car right now I am pretty much at the mercy of public transport, which around here means inevitably the railway when long distances are involved. While I’m not really averse to rail travel, the state of the railways in the mainland UK are, to be blunt, not brilliant these days. So in an effort to generate some catharsis on recent rail based experiences I’ve decided to put typeface to word processor and write about the whole thing and bring you, my loyal hypothetical audience, along for the ride. You Lucky, Lucky People.

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On The Controversy Gate

Ever notice, dear hypothetical reader, that while you’re out and about on these here interwebs that there seems to be an awful lot of controversies going on that seem to have been instigated by gates. Once trusted guardians of area security seem to have their hands in a lot of dodgy dealings I can tell you, and I don’t think I’ll ever trust them again, or their shady consorts railings. Ok, in case you haven’t guessed yet I’m being facetious for comedic effect, but in all honesty, the phrase “-gate” tends to get added to pretty much every controversy big or small these days. Sometimes it’s by the media, other times it’s by normal folk, but always with a weary sense of inevitability.

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On Online Voices

I am told, dear hypothetical audience, that I sound much angrier online than I do out there in real life, and although I am deeply cynical, the effect is made all the much worse over pure text. This isn’t intentional, as I’m a bit more laid back in the real world, but hardly comes across as surprising to me, and is not a phenomenon restricted entirely to one person. It is, however, incredibly interesting how people can have an entirely different “voice” when communicating via methods other than voice online.

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On the Past’s Future

Ever notice how the future never quite ends up how we thought it would? No matter how lofty our predictions, or how optimistic we think, things always fall short and we end up stuck in a boring era totally bereft of jetpacks and flying cars. Not that that stops us from trying to dream up such improbable futures, oh no. Every generation has their fair share of fiction taking wildly different ideas on how the future will turn out with varying degrees of seriousness, and the whole thing fascinates me deeply, often not because of what they get right but what they get wrong.

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On Smart Watches

As ever, technology marches on. Just take a look at how things were at the turn of the century compared to now, and then go back even further and contrast with now. Within my own lifetime, a paltry 25 years, consumer technology has gone from clunky CRTs, beige computers dominated by command lines and the internet being a niche oddity to sleek, flat touch screens, silver tablets with intuitive GUIs and the internet dominating modern life from how we talk to how we shop. This process will keep going whether we like it or not, with new things coming out of the woodwork and then its up to us to figure out what to do with them. And one of the latest bits of technology to present itself to us is this weeks subject: The Smart Watch.

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On Writing Fiction, and Upcoming Content

When I wrote the first entry here the other week I mentioned in passing that I’d be uploading ” the fiction I write for my own entertainment” and thought I’d elaborate on that point a bit, talk about my writings and what I was talking about and give some info on current and future projects. This is also a way of both coming up with something to post this week, and a simultaneous update for my “scores” of Weasyl and DevArt followers, so two birds with one bloggy stone as it were.

Anyway, to abuse an oft-paraphrased and misquoted movie line “All my life, all I ever wanted to be a writer.” Ok, maybe not all I ever wanted to be, my career path shows as much, but you get the gist. From an early age I was coming up with random weird stuff, which friends and relatives can attest to (possibly to my eternal embarrassment). As time progressed the random weird stuff became less random, and more crafted, turning into stuff that, while rough, actually resembled stories and similar.  At school I loved creative writing, so managed to get duped into doing the LangLit flavour of English A-Levels on promise of doing more (which turned out to be something of an exaggeration at my school, both courses did the exact same amount). Despite heading into a career of Graphic Design, I kept at the writing mostly out of fun, and fell in love with the art of world crafting. Often coming up with how a setting worked was as, if not more, fun than writing within it. It was around about that time I decided, in spite of my erratic levels of self-confidence, to start uploading whatever I was writing to the internet. The reception was… almost nonexistent but I kept at it, which brings us nicely up to today.

Moving in to the here and now, currently I upload my work at the art sites Weasyl and DeviantArt (links under the blog title), and am planning to upload anything new simultaneously at both and here if possible, although certain things may be limited to one or the other due to the different way sites handle formatting. While I’m not particularly tied down to any particular style or genre, though because I’m a massive geek I do write a fair bit of science-fictiony stuff, simply because it interests me how much can be done with it. There’s also usually a cynical edge to a fair bit of what I write, which is mainly a reflection of my world view.

Which brings us neatly on to what I’m currently working on, which will probably be what you fine people will be seeing soonest (unless I write something in it’s entirety on a whim). As of now I have two major projects in the works, both extending onwards from pieces I have already written:

First off is “…But It Pours,” the follow up to an earlier piece of mine  “Ricochet”, part of  setting I’m calling “Century23.” Essentially it’s a cyberpunk piece, currently in short form, following the exploits of a nameless hitman in a 23rd Century urban dystopia. The setting started off as an affectionate parody of things like Blade Runner and William Gibson’s Sprawl Trilogy, but has evolved into a slightly more serious world, but I’ve still used some opportunities in the background notes to parody the world as it is today. Currently “…But It Pours” is working out to be a longer piece than Ricochet, but still within the realms of a short story. Unless I really go overboard it should be split into 3 parts when finally posted, although currently I’m not giving any time frame for it due to other concerns. Depending on how I feel after it’s out in the world, there may be more Century23  stories coming in the future.

Secondly is an ongoing project called “Redshift: The History of the 36th Century,” which started with this piece (which I may repost here at some point for continuity’s sake). This one is a bit more unusual, as it’s going to be a series of pieces written in false-document form chronicling a future history heavily inspired by things like Battletech, Firefly and the 2003 reboot of Battlestar Galactica. This means, unlike the previous, it’s unlikely to be prose based or indeed tied down to a single style and format, since I want to be able to experiment while writing entirely from an in-universe point of view. Also, unlike the previous cyberpunk world, this one will be more harder sci-fi than the “rule of cool” employed in Century23. I’m currently trying to keep the “One or Two big lies” method, meaning beyond a couple of unavoidable breaks from reality, the whole thing will be grounded in plausibility (if not possibility). Since I’ve got over a millennia of time to play with, I imagine this will go on for a while, and depending on how long and how well received it is I may spin it off into its own blog to avoid filling here up.

And there you have it, that’s where I’ve come from and where I plan to go with my little writing hobby. Honestly, I don’t write for anyones pleasure beyond my own, but hopefully someone will get something out of it. And as always, any opinions and criticism are always welcome (although please, constructive criticism), so if you have something to say on anything I type, factual or fictional, please speak up, I do like to hear what others think of my work!

–Ndro
–A Man Of Words!