Category Archives: Books & Comics

January 09

Has TV Just Reset The Bar?

We’ve been spoilt for incredible TV drama in recent years. The likes of Breaking Bad, The Wire and Sopranos are often talked about as amongst the best telly ever made. I have a lot of time for the six minute long tracking shot in episode 4 of the first series of True Detective – the […]

February 27

A CyberPunk Tabletop

In case you missed this post’s predecessor, you might want to take a quick look here, before reading this, which is the second in a multi-part post. For those that – entirely understandably – can’t be bothered, a quick recap: 1) I gave up booze some years back, meaning I wanted something new to do […]

January 14

The Joy of Kickstarter

Not enough people know about Kickstarter. If you’re reading this, then chances are that this seems a fairly ridiculous statement. Yet, if it merits repeating given the events of Brexit and the US election over the last year or so, those of us that do spend a great deal of time online (myself included) tend […]

July 07

The Trick In Adaptation

Here’s the thing: these days, a huge proportion of entertainment media is adaptated – and I’m rapidly coming to the conclusion that adapting a book or comic to another format, particularly TV or film, must be a largely thankless task where it’s virtually impossible to please both the material’s existing audience and a new audience […]

March 21

On Creative Writing

I’ve been keen to invest more time in creative writing for some time – and so this year, I thought I’d get back into it, having signed up for both LitReactor and a creative writing class. As any Weight Watcher knows, these are really good ways to avoid prevarication. Having to present and discuss something […]

January 27

On Reading

After four decades or so of reading, I may have finally unearthed what, for me, might be the perfect approach to getting the most out of a novel. Following the latest airing of HBO’s Game of Thrones last year I picked up the box set of all five GoT novels, spread across seven volumes.  Although […]

October 05

2000AD: Where Are They Now?

Warning – this post is really only for the nerdiest of comic nerds. If that’s not you, look away now. Here’s a link to one of my favourite sites, The Oatmeal, for some funnies. Despite the underlying fact that print media circulations are flatlining everywhere you look, it’s British comic 2000AD’s 2000th issue this week. […]

April 29

What’s Better: One Superb Stand Alone Novel or a Series-based Character Arc?

Increasingly I find myself reading books that are part of a sequence – from Philip Kerr‘s Bernie Gunther, to Peter James‘ Roy Grace, Vince Flynn‘s Mitch Rapp and even Lee Child‘s Jack Reacher. These range from guilty pleasures (Reacher – although this seems to be in sharp decline) to classy historical thrillers (see: Bernie Gunther, […]

January 02

12 Months Of Reading: The Highlights

So, in setting up my belated Instagram feed and having decided to use it as a forum for short books reviews, I’ve attempted to backdate it in order to cover all the books that I got through in 2013. Obviously I can’t be 100% – but I think I’ve captured the majority. Of the 60 […]

November 24

Instagram, Finally

I’ve held off starting my own Instagram channel for a while. Firstly, as a person, I’m far more interested in words than pictures, meaning I just don’t take that many (and I can’t bring myself to either photograph food or take selfies seriously). Secondly, I just wasn’t sure what to do with it. I use […]

September 08

What Happens When You Cross Charlie Brooker With Bret Easton-Ellis?

I’ve just finished Straight White Male, the latest by John Niven, author of several of my favourite books of recent years, including the incredible Kill Your Friends, which was first gifted to me as a birthday present and I’ve since bought at least three times for friends. The best way I can describe Niven is […]

May 15

An Alternative To Dan Brown

Hands up anyone that’s purchased the latest Dan Brown novel, Inferno. This kind of thing is a source of some debate amongst my friends and in our office, dividing the literary purists from those that are happy to grab a page turner to throw in the suitcase. I’ve always been amongst the former but as […]

March 10

New To Hitchhiking

I’m new to Douglas Adams. Well sort of – I’ve read a couple of his books previously, out of sequence. So, I have just set about reading the Hitchhiker’s Guide series from beginning to end. Consequently, it’s now hard not to see his fingerprints over many aspects of modern life, ranging from his prescience regarding […]

September 11

Changing Times & Buying Habits

So there I was, congratulating myself for not having spent any money for three or four days – until it occurred to me that although I hadn’t spent any cash money, I had downloaded a TV series to my tablet, rented an HD film to my laptop (which I then played via the TV), downloaded […]

June 22

Before Watchmen

I’ve bought and read the first three of the seven mini-series offering prequel arcs to Watchmen. Anyone that’s ever read comics will probably have heard of, if not read Watchmen. Along with a handful of others, this comic is rightfully considered to be one which resulted in the genre being taken more seriously as an […]

May 29

Four Thousand Pages and Six Months Later…

…I’ve finally finished book seven of Stephen King’s amazing sequence of books, the Dark Tower. Recommended, very strongly, by a friend who couldn’t believe that I hadn’t read them, this is easily the longest story I’ve ever read. Honestly, it’s a little too self aware and pompous in parts (with King introducing himself as a […]

More Comic Recommendations Required

So, the first hint of snow has started to fall and sure enough, planes, trains and automobiles in the UK have decided to stop functioning. Consequently it looks like this weekend might comprise a fair amount of reading. I’ve just finished book 7 of The Walking Dead and, at a friend’s recommendation – see below– […]

Deja Vu

Last Saturday I booked in a half day to go to a comics fair in Birmingham, which was something I used to do almost twenty years ago, including sometimes being on the other side of the table in order to sell them whilst I was at University. It was a really strange experience – and […]

December 21

Rediscovering Old Friends

Last week we had the Punch Christmas party and the theme was defining the Punch DNA. In the run up to the event I’d asked everyone about some of their favourite music, which I bought and turned into the soundtrack for the day and also a book that they had always wanted to read and […]

Never Let Me Go: Not A Comedy

I watched ‘Never Let Me Go’ last night, which I thought to be harrowing, provocative and highly thought provoking. Although the plot and situation are clearly very different, I thought that the theme borrowed heavily from Blade Runner’s source material – the Philip K Dick book ‘Do Android Dream of Electric Sheep?’ – ie whether […]

March 03

Deadmau5 & Eldritch Coincidences

As someone that enjoys this kind of thing I’m not entirely sure why Deadmau5 has passed me by until this point. I’ll put it down to the onset of middle age. Anyway, having listened so some this week, I quite liked it at first and then found myself becoming increasingly irate that it seems to […]

Kill Your Friends, Cloud Atlas & The Walking Dead

I’m just reading ‘Kill Your Friends’ by David Niven. It’s described by many reviewers as variations on the theme: ‘nasty’. And, whilst that’s most certainly true, it’s also brilliant. It is not necessarily for everyone, not least given the language and content, some of which is clearly intended to shock even a hardened reader, however […]

A Real Out Of Office Message

Delighted to be putting my actual out of office message on for the first time in a while as I’m flying to Spain with my girls for a week this weekend. It’s been a crazy start to 2009, we have another new person joining on Monday and are recruiting again. The great thing is that […]

New Look, New Home

So, a few weeks ago I moved this blog from it’s former home to this new location, for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the software I was using, from a site called ‘edublogs’ was proving extremely painful to use despite being based on WordPress, resisting updates on a seemingly arbitrary basis. Secondly I also wanted […]

Mayfield on Reputation Management

Very happy to hear that my mate Antony Mayfield is writing a book on the rising importance of personal reputation management. The future’s in safe hands.