Putney Pies Sept Session – Claire’s Surprise Birthday.

Last Friday I was back at Putney Pies, my London regular night, where I have a 4-hour set of deep house. It also happened to be Claire’s birthday. So we mixed both things up, and had a blast.

Happy Birthday Sweetie.

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Evolution at Thought Bubble Convention in Leeds.

Designer Megan Bradbury, Corey Brotherson and I will be launching our new book, Clockwork Watch: Evolution at Thought Bubble Convention in Leeds this weekend. Evolution is the 7th graphic novel in our Steampunk story, and is based on live events that we have hosted over the past 6 years. Want to know more? We’ll be at table 22, in Victoria Hall. Come say hello!

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19-Year-Old Virgin

First up, people who know me will attest to the fact that I am NOT 19-years-old, neither will I admit to being a virgin, BUT this story started in 1998, when I made my first trip to the USA.

Working backwards (so kindly bear with me), I am going to Burning Man again – this is 2017, and my experience in the desert will be quite different from every one of the 18 times that I have attended the event. I did miss one year, which I call my ‘leap year’, but have been involved with the organisation in one capacity or another for the past 18.

So much of the event has filtered into, and governed my life for the past two decades, it is almost impossible to disentangle things. I’ve helped create a European burn event, hosted a film festival, met business associates, and made great friends, become a community leader of sorts, it even inspired me to change my career.

So why will this year be different? I hear you ask. Well, in all the times that I have attended the event, I have not once been a real participant. My first trip was as a reporter for the BBC, making a documentary, while subsequent years have been spent protecting the integrity and image of the gig as an active member of the Media Team.

Having ‘stepped away’ from all my roles and responsibilities I will now attend the gig properly for the first time. I have a fear that I could even come away hating the experience all together.

I have no preconceptions as to how this will turn out, other than believing it will change my whole perspective of the week long activity. This year I will be camping in Illumination Village, which is at 3:30 and Esplanade, I’ll also be hosting two radio shows on Burning Man Information Radio (BMIR), as well as DJing at several theme camps.

While my first year was spent filming, this time round I am taking a 30 year old Hasselblad to take photographs.

So…. I’ll hang up my pen, and report back on the other side.

Grief Becomes Me…

**I wrote this in June, but didn’t get a chance to post it. No sure why, other than I was feeling quite raw at the time. It’s now August, the pain has definitely not gone away, but I feel a little stronger and would like to share my thoughts. **

Two bereavements in two weeks…  this is enough to push a person over the edge. It is hard to guess how such an experience will manifest itself, but to call it a living hell is an understatement.

My heart goes out to my brother, my dear nephew and nieces, my mum, and the rest of my family in Nigeria, but also closer to home. My dearest Claire, losing both her parents within a year, my brother-in-law, and his wife, words just can’t express my sorrow. We all sat around Mum’s bed daily for a month, and watched her gradually fade away. Seeing someone you love, and respect lose a little piece of themselves every day, is a harrowing experience

I had thought this mind of mine was almost unshakable, but this experience has taken its toll on my creativity. There’s a malaise that wasn’t there before, a dark cloud blocking out the smiley person that used to be, I just can’t see beyond where I am right now.

This really shouldn’t be about me, I’m not the husband, or child of either person, but it is very hard to shake the grief, yet I have to be there for all members of the family, while they deal with their own emotions and loss.

2017… please let up! There’s only so much I can deal with. I don’t do ‘death’ that well, and this year it has hit harder then most.

Here’s How It Started by Corey Brotherson

Seems like a “When harry Met Sally” situation, but having editor Corey Brotherson at the helm of Clockwork Watch has changed lives. Here is his annual round up of how we started the project.

“Rounding off a busy year was the launch of Clockwork Watch: The Arrival (Clockwork Watch Films, 2012), which was my biggest project since I started fiction. Former BBC gent, filmmaker and Drum and Bass pioneer Yomi Ayeni came a-knocking after I was recommended by our mutual friend Matt Gibbs (now games/comics writer and Improper Books editor). He needed a comics writer to help adapt Clockwork Watch – a more inclusive, less colonial based Steampunk universe – across comics, live events, participatory articles and more. Read more

Please, Don’t Take My Baby…

How would you feel if someone took your newborn baby away from you? In Evolution – Tale of the Alchemist, we follow Saccadius Cartwright’s fictional life from birth…

Being born out of wedlock in the Victorian age was seen as a shameful thing. This stigma meant many children were taken into social care and adopted, irrespective of the circumstances that led to the pregnancy.

A rich man’s mistress might not have the respect of everyone, but with the right resources – money from a lover – she could live quite well and be accepted in a certain segment of society. On the other hand, a single woman with a child had little opportunity to earn her own way, and if there was no one to help she could soon be lost to poverty or prostitution, which could lead to more illegitimate children.

And then there was the issue of title or inheritance, which is something we take seriously here in the UK. An illegitimate child was not entitled to the family name or to inheritance – even sons of royalty were often granted titles, but they were not entitled to inherit the title from their father – essentially Jon Snow in Game of Thrones.

During the Industrial Revolution, women migrated to cities for work and many lost family support. Some weren’t particularly streetwise – which led to a rise in illegitimacies. Some were desperate enough to abandon newborn babies, leaving them to die, others were dumped in the doorways of the local church or a foundling home.

When local villages couldn’t afford to subsidise living at home for the poor, the ‘workhouse’ came into being. All types of poor, including women with children, were put in such institutions. Many turned to prostitution to support themselves and their children.

“In earlier times, a girl had little opportunity to run away to hide her shame and start a new life. A single, pregnant girl would be hustled out of town quickly so the child wasn’t born in the parish and thus a local responsibility.”

“When cities became larger and more anonymous and the middle class had more money, another option became available. A woman might go away for an extended visit to a relative in a distant location. She might return a few months later as a ‘widow’, having supposedly met and married a husband who met an untimely end, leaving her with a small child. Or, she might take an extended trip and give up the child for adoption before returning home.” – www.geneaology.com

Evolution – Tale of the Alchemist, will be on sale at San Diego Comic Con, and other conventions including the Lakes International Comic Art Festival, later this year. The whole Clockwork Watch series is available through our online shop.

Follow updates on Facebook, and Twitter.

When Three Becomes One

As the first part of our story concludes, we’ve put together a book that includes every step taken over the past 6-years.

Behold the Clockwork Watch Omnibus, a combination of The Arrival, Breakaway, and Countenance, all part of our interactive and participatory storytelling, with a decent dose of and fantastical fun!

You can order copies here!.

Moving Along…

The year has started in a frantic style. A project I’ve been working on for the past 2 years was not selected for a main exhibition. Not sure why, but seems our efforts weren’t appreciated, so we are going to pivot and do something different… Can’t say much more, but YAY!!!!

I’ve been writing… just finished editing a short story for my editor, Corey Brotherson, and we are both adapting a novel into a pilot to be pitched to a TV channel.

And HOLD the front page – I have started writing Breathe Act 2. It’s almost 10 years since the first act, and I’ve been eager to finish Clockwork Watch so I can start plotting the story.It is darker than the first act, and we hope it features some of the original cast.

Escape The Volcano!!!

What a blast! Last week, I was part of the “Super Volcano” experience, by SmashfestUK – Deptford’s free annual Science, Engineering & Arts Festival. It was all about engaging / teaching children through experiential role-play. I gather we had over 1800 children each day, which was amazing.

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The aim of the project it to teach science, technology, maths, and medicine subjects through storytelling, so we created a participatory obstacle course. To get round the room, participants had to answer a whole series of questions to progress to the next stage. They also had a chance to be part of a Guinness World Record attempt, at the end of each day!

One of the best parts was the ball pit, where they had to dive and and find a single yellow ball, amongst 5 thousand other colours. It was a riot!