The next book is going to different.

I’ve given up on “the next book isn’t going to be an ambitious book” because inevitably I churn out something that ends up doing so, or at least attempting. That said, I would like to write something funny, which is hard — at least if you’re aiming for something that is consistently funny. Then there’s the type of funny. Not all funny is funny to all, and that’s the main problem with writing something comedic: it has to have a consistency that you wouldn’t necessarily expect from other genres (as long as a thriller contains a handful of thrills then it earns the merit badge of its title), and not just in terms of how populated it is with humour; there’s consistency in terms of the volume of material but there’s also consistency in terms of texture — is this a satire that a smaller number of people with more rarefied knowledge will appreciate (think of the film The Square, a wry satire of the upper echelons of the art world), or a broader, more bombastic, plot-driven variety (see Hitchhiker’s Guide)?

It’s intimidating and I may abandon the whole thing, but Radioland, my second book (hello, publishers at this year’s London and Frankfurt Book Fairs — my agent will be looking for you!), took a lot out of me and I’m looking to try something stylistically different.

Wish me luck!



I love looking at The Onion’sWeekender“, their satirical take on the weekend magazine that comes with your major newspaper (a la The New York Times’ Sunday magazine).

They’re brilliant when, behind the jabs at fluff/news magazine inanity, there’s a “meta” quality. Their satirization of the way fonts and type placement are abused, for example.

They’ve even gone so far as spoofing the NYT fashion magazine

My recent favourite:


And The Winner Is…

As previously noted, Ingrid and I submitted “re-branded” book covers to Bookninja for their contest. Guess what? Even with a handicap of -10 (she is, after all, a professional book designer), Ingrid took first place by popular vote! But wait, there’s more – a selection of the submissions are profiled in the (bloody) Guardian!

Congrats to her. As for my submissions, I placed somewhere in the honourable mentions, but sadly did not have any pieces profiled on the Guardian. I shall live vicariously through her success today.


The Best Fake Book Cover

Over at Bookninja, they’re having a contest: design (aka misappropriate) an existing book into something entirely different.

Here’s the link – feel free to vote on the three you like best. I’ve submitted two, Ingrid has submitted four, however I will be agnostic and not reveal our submissions until the winners are announced (and I’m sure Ingrid will win).

A couple of samples:


The Best Forum Response Ever Written

So…I’ve got these speakers. Two tall, black PSB floor speakers, which incidentally choke about 6 square feet of space from our already cramped living room. In a vain attempt to re-purpose them, I thought to myself: wall mounts. That’s the trick – I’ll mount those two bastards off the floor and thus keep the speakers from being relegated.

So, like a late-20th century consumer, I proceeded to search the internet for said wall mounts (knowing in my mind that it was a lost cause, because I knew they would look ridiculous mounted on a wall – in a recording studio? sure, but not at home). It was then that I came across this thread on Yahoo Answers, where some doofus is asking how he can go about wall-mounting a (cheap) Logitech speaker system (ie. the sort used strictly for computers and not for any serious A/V purpose which requires aesthetics or the discernment of audio dynamics).

I glossed over the details of the first responder – a certain Mr. or Ms. “Faux Real” – only to realise that I was missing something very, very odd. So, I re-read the comment. Slowly. From the beginning. It was only then, snorting and giggling to myself, that I realised I’d found what is possibly the most hilariously sardonic forum response ever written.

At least I found it funny.


Cops and Actors

So far this year, I’ve worked on two productions (one TV series and one feature film) which involve people playing cops (detectives, in particular). One thing I’ve noticed on both projects (and in general) is that when actors plays cops they usually take one of two approaches:

1) 60-70% of actors will, well, act. They will play the part, for better or worse.

2) The remaining 40-30% of actors will dredge up some ridiculous “cop” pantomime, based loosely upon what they’ve seen (or remembered) from such seminal TV shows as Streets of San Francisco and films like Serpico. You can identify these actors by their insistence on swaggering up and down hallways, chewing up the scenery, and making any weaknesses in the dialogue that much worse with their ham-fisted delivery, as if they were channelling some sort of Bad Cop Actor deity.

It’s hilarious.

Quite often, there are two cops in any given TV show or film – partners, of course – and chances are, each of them will don one of the two examples listed above. Predictably, as follows the format of scripts these days, the “good cop” will be an actor trying to play a cop. The “bad cop” will be the person constantly slamming binders closed, and yelling things like: “Look, pal – we’re running out of time! There’s a killer still out there!“.

Okay, at least I find it amusing…