Monthly Archives: April 2008

the con, for comics, in new york

Friday, the first blazing day of summer. The ComiCon, New York’s biggest geekfest kicks off.

I duck out of work to make the 6pm start of Neil Gaiman’s reading and Q&A. After the highlights of Sandman, American Gods, Miracleman and Beowulf it’s a must-see. I’m going with my colleague Andre, but his ticket says 5pm. An hour difference, what the-?

Turns out Andre has mistakenly been given the extra-special Willy Wonka VIP golden ticket of legend, worth $500. So I go for a hotdog with the plebs while he goes for an hour-long hangout with the man himself in some kind of suitably gothic green room. He emerges afterward with Ye Autographed Death sketch and a taut swag-sack full of enough exclusive gear to make four figures on eBay from delirious uber-fans.

The boy Gaiman is an excellent speaker and fires through narrative like a decorated Jackanory veteran (or Storyteller, depending on your era). He pings off a clutch of well-formed short stories, wrestles a small pile of enthusiastic fan-questions and finishes us off with a chapter from the unreleased Graveyard Book. The latter is fine but not so enjoyable for adults as, say, the actually-creepy Coraline.

Many, many people crowd and mill around a vast space of stands, banners, screens. Books, posters, artwork, obscurely referencing geegaws. Cameras flash. There is cosplay. The Star Wars and Batman cast feature heavily. Here and there wander Ghostbusters, Henry Jones’s and a vast array of anime characters far beyond my understanding.

Kids wandering laden with branded plastic bags full of stuff. Everyone, including myself has an uncontrollable grin. I notice Amanda Palmer from The Dresden Dolls scurrying about, beaming. “Here no one makes fun of you,” points out Sam (my new friend and evident con-veteran) tellingly.

It’s exciting and frankly overwhelming. I thoroughly recommend having at least one beer before diving into the madness. I didn’t try too hard to make the most of it: there was a ton of missed stuff from Orson Scott Card, Grant Morrison, Scott McCloud. I did try to get into the session for Kevin Smith’s new film but we were brusquely told to fuck off by security as it was overcrowded to a potentially-fatal degree.

No good photos from me, but flickr is your friend. Comic conventions are great.

the guide to bromance

Have you ever spoken to a friend or relative who has travelled in Africa? Or maybe India? They will mention how in those countries, normal guys on the street will often hold hands in friendship. And it’s just one of those normal things. No accusative fingers are pointed; no jokes are made; no rectal integrity is threatened.

Imagine those cultures at one end of a spectrum. (Actually as a clue to where this is going, watch this clip of the phenomenon in India. Note who took the video and why).

Next along that imaginary line I would venture comes France, home of cheese, military surrender and the astute planting of lips on strangers. Dudes who haven’t seen each other in a while will freely go in for the hug with a bonus kiss on each cheek.

Further along, somewhere here in the middle comes the UK. The gentlemanly handshake is king, but a hug is still perfectly acceptable with only light back-tapping required to maintain straightness.

Now, I can reliably tell you where the other end of that spectrum is, and fuck me sideways it’s right here in the ever-sophisticated USA, where they actually have special words for two straight guys socialising.
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RSI: Miami

Well it has been a crazy few weeks, as they say. Where ‘they’ are kind of lacking in imagination but generally quite concise and often good company.

First I was in Houston (to be written up, an interesting place), then I made the emergency trip back to Arbroath, then Glasgow, then Dundee (also some great notes to write up), then Edinburgh, then NYC again. I’ve taken this week off work as my first wedge of vacation time. The original plan was to spend it in Arbroath but that’s not really an option any more.

So I’ve done some last minute research and tomorrow I fly to Miami. I’m staying here at the Clinton on South Beach.

I watched an episode of CSI:Miami on the plane coming over as vague and ineffective research. The programme is almost-intentionally hilarious. It’s worth watching just and only for the amazing legendary performance of David Caruso.

For mind food, I bought the whole Ender’s Game quartet today. I need a break from the current pile of science I’m hacking through (Dennett, Dawkins, Pinker). Excited to get stuck in with eyes narrowed against the sun.

Bah / Hurrah*

Hurrah: Dune is being remade! Bah: zero confidence in the director.

Hurrah: I got a ticket to the Neil Gaiman reading/Q&A at New York Comic Con next Friday. Bah: it’s on at the same time as the Silent Rave at Union Square.

Hurrah: The New York Asian Film Festival is coming. It’s bonkers and truly excellent. Bah: it’ll all be on during the day. No use for us corporate puppet nine-to-fivers.

* I promise I will never do this again

holiday sunday, cheesy games

cheese. yesterdayBack in the US now and on holiday. Spent a fairly great Sunday morning with:

  • Cold, sliced, rare roast beef and roquefort cheese. An untouchable combination. When I was a kid, blue cheese used to be the vile stuff that my Gramps would pollute the fridge with, but now I fucking love it.
  • Cawfee
  • New music: Elbow, live Camille, Fleetwood Mac, Neon Plastix
  • Indie games. There’s a post on this needed, it’s a fascinating scene. For a quick amuse bouche, spend five minutes playing You Have To Burn The Rope. You need to hear the sound. Don’t turn it off until you see ‘Game Over’.

Will try and write up the travels in the next few days.

enter the gravatar

Well it’s been an interesting few weeks.

Currently in a hotel in Glasgow. I took some time out to update to the new version of WordPress. If you ever comment on TF, note you can choose the image that appears by your incisive and pithy spewings.

Head to to pick your icon.

Update more in a bit.