A Year Of Doing Things Differently

It was another great year at SDCC, where I not only met Bootsy Collins – one of my all time favourite musicians, but launched our new book – Clockwork Watch: Evolution Two, alongside Corey Brotherson, and Megan Bradbury.

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San Diego was hot as hell again, but thanks to careful planning and a lot of Uber rides, I was able to sidestep the annual heatstroke dilemma that has plagued many of my trips to the West Coast.

We’d booked a two bedroom apartment on the outskirts of the Gaslamp District, which was within a 20 min walk from the convention Centre, and perfectly quiet. Corey, Mon and Claire raided the local Costco and packed the fridge full of goodies, but as usual we all ate out every night. It’s hard to cook when you’ve been standing on your feet in the conference hall, trying to get the attention of people walking past your booth for almost 11 hours. We sold well, but as usual, it was hard.

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Halfway into the convention I shot off to Las Vegas to DJ at a corporate event, which meant leaving Corey to manage the table, but I was back in San Diego for a conference call at 8am the following morning. This was a year where I juggled four projects, while on location in the US with jet-lag.


One of the best things about the event is cosplay – the amazing costumes created by people, many based on characters from film, TV and comic. Here are a few from SDCC 2018, for more head over to the Clockwork Watch production blog.

Evolution Two was well received, books were sold, Megan had her very first comic published – which was quite emotional – as you can see in the little video posted online, and the team has been invited to help produce an immersive theatre piece for a new comic arts festival in Huntington Beach outside Los Angeles.

Here’s to a year of doing things differently.

A Sneaky Way To Read A Comic…

This is the best way to read a comic – the #script to one side, and art on the other, but without the speech / thought bubbles. Welcome to Clockwork Watch: Evolution Part II (@clockworkwatch). Great work by Megan Bradbury (@BusyMatches) and awesome editing by Corey Brotherson (@CoreyBrotherson). We are creating a proper #Steampunk for #London. Some of this narrative is based on live events hosted at Weekend at the Asylum (Lincoln), and the Make Believe Festival (London).

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Larry Harvey – Another Legend Is Gone

He was a great friend. So much nice stuff has been said about Larry, yet each beautiful word is like a stab to my heart.

My best memory was him sitting at our kitchen table in a dressing gown, chatting philosophy and british politics, sipping a cup of coffee, as an auditorium of people were waiting for his keynote, several miles away.

I rushed into the house, thinking he was dressed and ready to go, but there he was chatting with Claire. I said “Larry, we’ve got to go” he looked up and said “OK”.

And in a blink of an eye, he was back to being Larry Harvey of Burning Man.

Our generation owes so much to this man. Even if you’ve never met him, I can almost guarantee his vision has impacted your world in one way or another.

My heart goes out to all his family and friends.

A shining light has just gone.

 

British Library Chat and We’re On Patreon

It’s been a long and amazing ride, but things are about to get super exciting in the final stages of the Clockwork Watch adventure – we’re on Patreon!!

This Patreon is to help fund bigger and more ambitious projects. With your generous assistance I will be creating engaging and immersive comics, films, and live events. So kindly support in whichever way you can.

We will be publishing three more books, as well as host several live events around the UK to open up the narrative a little bit more. The hope is that participants who have co-created the story with us since launch in 2011, will help make the ending go with a bang!

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Last week, I joined Bryan Talbot, Kate Ashwin, Daniel Merlin Goodbrey, and John Freeman at the British Library to chat about digital comics.

It was a great session, and the hope is that there will be more opportunities like this in the future. Much gratitude to the British Library team, and everyone who came to the event.

Photographs are courtesy of Jemima Gibbons.


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Spring is for writing

An absolute joy to have finished my first year of lecturing at the Royal College of Art. Huge gratitude to Eleanor Dare, and Neville Brody for giving me the opportunity to share my practice with the students, who allowed me to expand their understanding of storytelling.

From now till summer, I’ll be working on my writing chores, including the next immersive theatre piece from Clockwork Watch, which will debut at the Lakes International Comic Art Festival in Kendal this October, where Corey Brotherson and I will be collaborating with Kendal College, and members of the public.

A Digital Conversation at the British Library

The British Library has invited me to talk about my work with graphic novels and new forms of narrative, alongside the legendary Bryan Talbot, Kate Ashwin and Daniel Merlin Goodbrey. The event will be chaired by John Freeman of Down The Tubes.

I’ll be explaining how readers have helped to co-create the Clockwork Watch story for almost a decade through writing and role-play.

Tickets are available through the British Library Box Office

Stranger Than Fiction – 23 Years Late

Seems like I am trying to clear the deck for something big. Not sure what, but my past is really catching up.

In 1995, a friend and I wrote and produced a concept album under the title Subversive Technology. It was a break from the drum and bass stuff I had been working on, and became a fusion of the many forms of music that helped me through my formative years. In other words, it’s a mashup of styles.

At the time, we were told it was too diverse, so it sat for 23-years. Well, that was before YouTube, Soundcloud or the other platforms.

I’ve decided to put it out on Bandcamp, to see whether it will find a home in the myriad of styles / genres out there.

This is Stranger Than Fiction, by Neil Thorne and Yomi Ayeni.

My Past Catches Up With Me

Sometimes your past catches up with you. In my case, I had a record label that was at the very forefront of a music genre called Drum and Bass.

Tone Def Records launched in 1989/90, and guess what? We’ve just had our very first feature… in Ransom Note

“As with so many early 90s labels, Tone Def Records kicked off with a starburst of riotous creative energy, that burnt bright and quick. Unlike many of their contemporaries they were able to sustain this potency for the length of a golden age. Existing from 1990 – 1995 Tone Def signposted rave futurism; over at least forty releases they charted the technology driven genre evolutions that saw the euphoric Balearic rhythms of label opener Thank God mutate into the dark junglist pressure of their minimalist mid-90s DnB rollers.”

Read more…

 

River – Mobile Power Station (Update)

Happy New Year from the not-so sunny climes of London (UK). We’re back to GMT and knee deep in winter, which means little use of the River unit for camping and outdoor pursuits, but the field test continues.

Lost Charge
As promised, I am monitoring to see how well the River device holds up to Ecoflow’s promise that it will retain its charge for 12 months. Mine was fully topped up to 100% via the solar panel when I left Black Rock Desert in September 2017, but it has since dropped to 94% – a loss of 6% in 4 months. I will keep an eye on this and update in another 4 months. Kindly check back for updates.

AC Problem
As part of this trial, I planned to test the durability and robust nature of this product, and had arranged to DJ at London’s Santacon event using the River unit as my main power source. It was to power a Native Instrument Traktor S8 (18W), a MacBook Pro (60W), and a small amp 200W amp. All under the 300W output restriction.

While it will power devices via USB, DC, the AC ports are dead. I’ve tried every possible solution, and have an ongoing chat with Ecoflow’s tech team. I will keep you posted on developments.

*** I have since been informed that the device I am reviewing is an early hand-assembled pre-production prototype that has no functioning AC, as a safety precaution***

Solar In Winter!
As I write this update, I am so pleased to see that the solar panel is charging the River, even on a heavily overcast day. This is exciting news for people who live in places with very little sunshine through the winter months. And yes, I know it will take the best part of a year to do much, but every little helps.

Thanks for checking my blog.