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Month: May 2009


Kindling, but in a good way



There’s no way to write this post without sounding like a self-promoting hack, so I’m not going to try. Hold your breath, here we go…

Since Bringing Nothing was first published in the UK last year, I’ve been trying to figure out a way to make it available in the US. Under the care and feeding of W&N, the book is available in bookshops from Bristol to Brisbane – everywhere basically apart from North America, the one territory where they don’t own the rights.

That lack of availability was annoying for a couple of reasons – one, I’m now living in the US and there’s no easy way for me to buy a copy of my own book; and two, judging by my Analytics stats, more people read this blog on the west side of the Atlantic than the east. Truth be told though, I’m pretty focussed on writing the next book now so the issue had become basically sidelined – although at least twice a week someone here will ask how they can buy BNTTP, or curse the fact that they had to pay an extra $10 to get it shippedfrom Amazon UK.

Well, for those people I have some news.…

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Keeping up with the Cardassians



Let me tell you how close I came to once seeing a Star Trek film.

The year was 1992, and a group of friends and I decided on a balmy Saturday afternoon that we’d go and see The Undiscovered Country at the Odeon cinema in Sidcup, Kent. There were maybe ten of us in all – twelve years old – each of us excited to be away from the shackles of the ‘rents, and high on McDonald’s milkshakes.

So of course, before the BBFC certificate had even appeared, we decided to start an epic popcorn fight with some older kids in the front row. We were sitting at the back. I’m not sure what the record for getting thrown out of a cinema is, but I’m pretty sure we came close to beating it that Saturday afternoon.

Since then I’ve always managed to avoid Start Trek – I’ve never watched an episode all the way through and I’ve certainly never been bold enough to go back to the cinema to see one of the ten – ten! – film adaptations. Until today.

Today, for reasons that aren’t entirely clear to me, I’ve accepted an invitation from Michael Arrington to his screening of the latest – and for Leonard Nimoy, let’s be frank, last – outing of the USS Enterprise.…

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Jumping the snark



I recorded a piece for BBC Radio 4 about online snark, which was broadcast today. It’s available online here for the next two weeks; I’m at 21mins:30 but the whole programme is worth listening to.

Just in case a) you missed the two week deadline; b) you can’t bear to hear the sound of my voice; especially when I seem to have adopted that delightfully pompous Radio 4 tone or c) you want to read the bits they cut in the edit, including my Wales joke – here’s the full uncut, linked-up transcript…

As a columnist and a blogger, it’s my job to be cynical about things. Rude even. And yet when I go online even I’m frequently amazed when I see the things human beings are capable of saying about each other from the safety of their computer keyboards. Spend just a couple of minutes trawling the blogosphere and you’ll see what I mean.

Start off with Perez Hilton.com. Hilton – whose name itself, by the way, is a snarky jab at American IT girl, Paris Hilton – is the current crown prince of online snark. The queen of all media, as he puts it. His blog specializes in poking fun at celebrities through a combination of short snarky posts and photographs with unspeakable things photoshopped into them.…

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