Once again, it’s not like I expect anyone else but me cares about this; but once again, it’s useful for my own reference to put together a list of some of the better things I bashed out of keyboards this year.
Obviously the main creative endeavour was A Brief History of Time Travel, the majority of which was written by me and James in the first quarter of this year, before an intensive editing process took up most of our summer prior to an eventual series launch in late September. If for some reason you’re reading my blog and yet this is somehow the first you’re hearing about it, then you might want to head on over to abhott.com and have a listen. And thanks to everyone who’s backed, bought, streamed or mentioned it so far – we know it’s not perfect, and it’s been a bit of a slow-burner just getting it into people’s ears in the first place, but it contains a lot of work that we’re hugely proud of.
Aside from ABHoTT, I continued to turn out my weekly work over at reddwarf.co.uk, and was able to find the time to contribute some enjoyable feature, review and interview material for usual haunts Den of Geek, Film4 and WSC. I was also chuffed to get offered a couple of new assignments. The first involved filling in on BBC America’s brit-centric blog Anglophenia for a couple of fortnightly stretches; while the second was something I’ll talk about in more detail at a later point – but it’s a print-based thing, and it’s basically a regular job writing about superhero comics. So, you know, that’s been nice. But it’s work I’ve been racking up behind the scenes that hasn’t seen publication yet, so when I know it’s actually properly out there, I’ll be able to talk about it more.
Anyway, if you’ve made it this far, here’s a selection of things I’ve written in 2013 that I’m in at least some way pleased with…
If you’ve read and/or liked any of the stuff above, or anything else I might have written but forgot to mention here, then thank you muchly for your support – and happy new year!
As much for my own reference as anything else – and because it includes a few things I didn’t get around to mentioning/linking to here – here’s a roundup of some of the things I’ve written, and for whom, this year.
While still bound by the fact that my writing is done around a full-time job – and the fact that outside of my full-time job, a good chunk of my free writing time is spent doing the weekly updates for reddwarf.co.uk, the fifty-two weeks of which surely make this my most prolific year in terms of published work – I’ve managed to expand the range of outlets I’ve worked for, even as a couple of the ones I’ve done pieces for in the past (and would have liked to have done more for) have dropped off the radar a little bit.
Of course, the most significant writing-related development of the year wasn’t any of the below, but the fact that James and I now have a budget to make a sitcom. Which also means that, given the bulk of the first half of next year will be given over to writing and producing the thing, I imagine 2013 will generally be a bit quieter for this kind of stuff. But I still feel happy with the way things have developed over the last twelve months, particularly the opportunities people have given me to write for their somewhat noted publications, and I’m hoping that will continue.
Anyway, here’s the incomplete-but-covering-most-of-the-important-stuff list of what I’ve churned out in 2012…
While not out yet, all being well I should also have the back page column in issue #312 of WSC, due at some point in early January.
Yes, you may note my general attitude of “Why the heck isn’t Roy of the Rovers still going?” as something of a recurring theme this year. Distinct from the article in WSC #309, however, this piece – which I was commissioned for as part of NS’ British Comics Week – took a slightly different tack and focused more specifically on comics.
A handful of comics news pieces:
Reportage from the 2012 Kapow! convention:
Obviously I was writing a new article every week for the site – often just simple news bites and the like – but here are a few longer articles I was quite pleased with this year:
We were largely concerned with our podcasts (yes, two of ’em – we cancelled and replaced the original one) this year, but we still found time for a few thoughtpieces, including:
In slightly resurrecting URP! as a haven for occasional Who reviews and thought pieces, I wanted to take a slightly different tack with the style of writing on there. I didn’t get to do as many as I would have liked (though I’m still intending to cover the Christmas ep at some point), but I think I succeeded with the ones I did. I’m especially pleased with the Asylum review, probably one of my favourite bits of my own writing this year.
Damn, I didn’t manage to put out a single one of my “Livery History” articles on F1C in 2012, despite giving the site a massive redesign and relaunch at the start of the year. As is customary I gave my thoughts on the 2012 cars, and prior to that had come up with a “Fantasy Grid” – but still, the site was somewhat neglected after the season began in March. That’s one I really need to give some attention to next year.
And that was my 2012 in keyboard-bashing. If you’ve read and enjoyed any of the above (or indeed any of the waffle I’ve posted on here), then thank you, and happy new year!
“Would you like to write us a Liverpool fan’s perspective on Alan Davies’ comments re Hillsborough and the subsequent fallout?” they said. I did have a few things I wanted to say about the matter, so I said “Alright”, while also thinking “Christ, I hope he doesn’t end up reading it and shouting at me on Twitter, though.”
Anyway, I wrote it – sneaking in a Doctor Who reference in the process – and the magazine is now out in shops (as well as being available to order online). I don’t think I was especially hysterical or excessively critical, and I refrained from making personal attacks against Davies (who I think was misguided rather than downright evil) himself. Although I did sort of slightly, possibly, a little bit, compare him to Richard Littlejohn.
I hope he doesn’t end up reading it and shouting at me on Twitter, though.
So, er, yeah. Although this has been in the pipeline for a couple of weeks (and in fact, I actually officially started work at the beginning of this week), it’s only now been made public and can be announced: I’m now the writer/editor/whatever of The Official Red Dwarf Website.
It’s still sinking in, really, even though the first weekly news updates from my pen (keyboard) are already up on the site for all to see. I’m actually, officially, part of the Red Dwarf “family”. It’s been a long and odd journey getting here – from watching the show as a nipper, to setting up my first blog about it in 2004, to playing Doug Naylor (the Doug Naylor I now work for) in a fan film, to joining the obnoxious loudmouthery of peerless fansite Ganymede & Titan, to publishing a book about the show. Even then, I never expected through any of that that I’d ever really get to have any official connection with the series – even though, like anyone else, I’ve always had a dream that I’d one day be writing it (fitting it in and around my Doctor Who and Superman commitments, of course).
But now I do. I’m responsible for the weekly site news updates, as well as keeping it generally ticking over – and some other bits and bobs of work that I can’t really talk about now, to boot. And there’ll be a lot of news updates to come – in case you didn’t know, Red Dwarf is imminently entering production for a brand new series of six episodes, to be broadcast next year on Dave. And I’m going to be seeing a lot of that first-hand, and telling the world about it. In a lot of cases (as with our already-teased big announcement next week) I’ll be the first person to tell worldwide fandom of major goings-on (although in other cases, Digital Spy will probably beat us to it as we negotiate the “Can we publish this yet?” legal minefield that they’re not bound by).
Unfortunately, this also means I have to keep my opinions about Series VIII to myself from now on, but hey ho.
It’s a bloody exciting time, though. Unlike the man I’m replacing – the eleven-years-serving, pretty-much-impossible-to-follow Andrew Ellard, now a scriptwriter/editor of no small renown – this isn’t my full-time job, and I’m not involved in the production side of things, or anything like that. I’m the part-time news-monkey, basically. But still – all of a sudden, I’m getting paid to write about Red Dwarf. Every week.
It’s definitely one of those “wish I could tell the teenage self” moments, I’ll tell you that.
Ooh, a few things to catch up on, here. So! To business! If you haven’t seen me posting about these things elsewhere:
Thing the first: Captain America!
I saw it! It was great! And I wrote about it for Film4, thusly:
It’s true that it doesn’t aspire to be anything particularly weighty or original – but at what it sets out to do, it rarely puts a foot wrong. Director Joe Johnston, in full-on Rocketeer mode, crafts a charming and entertaining period action romp that may never exactly hit an unpredictable beat, but is no less enjoyable for it.
Miles better than Green Lantern, not quite as good as X-Men: First Class, but about on a level with Thor. Splendid.
Thing the second: New podcast!
My regular collaborator/partner in crime/argument board James Hunt and I have launched a new comics podcast, via our website Alternate Cover. It’s called The Graphic Novel Book Club, and it does exactly what it sounds like – each month, we solicit comments from our readers/listeners on a different graphic novel or trade paperback collection, setting discussion topic questions but also looking for any opinions/insights/etc. that people might have – then we throw them into the mix with our own thoughts and sit there chatting about it all for three-quarters of an hour. The first episode is now live on Podomatic and iTunes, and we’ve already posted discussion topics for the second, which we’ll be recording in a couple of weeks. Have a listen! Some people say it’s listenable and entertaining even if you don’t know the comics we’re talking about. I couldn’t possibly comment.
(And yes, it does have a slightly tautological name. “The Graphic Novel Club” might have been better, but then it wouldn’t have been as clear that we were specifically using a book group/book club format. It would have just sounded like a club.)
Thing the third: When Saturday Comes #295!
I’ve written at unnecessarily gushing length in the past about how much of an honour it is to write for When Saturday Comes, so I won’t retread all that ground again. But! This month is quite special, because for years now I’ve read their annual season preview supplement – in which one writer for each club in the league answers questions about their opinions on the previous season and expectations for the coming one – and thought about what I’d say if I were doing the section on Liverpool. So it’s quite exciting that this year, those answers are actually in the real supplement. I actually did a little double-take when I got the email asking if I’d do it. No, really.
What’s more, in the issue itself, an article I did a little while back about the history and merits (or lack thereof) of the away goals rule has made it to print. It’s not quite as exciting a piece as I was hoping when I started it – I was hoping to go into more extensive details about the circumstances of the rule’s creation/introduction, but discovered surprisingly little readily-available information despite doing some extensive library-based research and everything – but it’s still a relatively fun skim over the rule’s history and musing on whether or not it’s still a valid method of settling draws nowadays. Er, if you’re into that sort of thing.
Anyway, the issue’s out in shops on Wednesday – I’d post a picture of the cover, but WSC haven’t put it on their website yet. But it’s issue #295, it costs £3.50, and it’s got Stewart Downing, Phil Jones and Jordan Henderson on the front. So, you know. Buy it, if you like.