Vworp Vworp! Volume One

Well, it’s finally out there! Vworp Vworp! was officially released into the world on Thursday, at a launch party to learn more about infantile spasms at that regular haunt for Doctor Who fans, the Fitzroy Tavern in London, hosted by m’colleague and co-editor on the zine, Gareth Kavanagh, and Dez Skinn, who should need no introduction. And it’s gone done really well! The DWM team, who generously gave us loads of free publicity in their latest issue, love it. At the subsequent SFX Weekender convention, it went down an absolute storm. It even got the Dave Gibbons seal of approval!

Apart from co-editing and design duties, I also designed the Vworp Vworp! website, www.vworpvworp.co.uk. I know I’m very biased, but I do urge you all to snap up a copy while you can, if you haven’t already. I’m terribly proud of it and look forward to getting stuck into Volume Two, which should be out in five or six months…

Vworp Vworp! site

Some more links:

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Vworp Vworp! preview pages

Getting there… It will be out by the end of the month!

Click pages for JPG previews (open in new windows).

Dez Skinn interview

The Flood Design Scrapbook

Time Leech

Time Toons

Who Cares!

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Boxing Day

Hello all.

Been a bit quiet of late here, apologies. I’ve been hard at work on Vworp Vworp!, the fanzine of Doctor Who comics and things that we’re waiting for the printers to get round to. Here are the two covers:

Vworp Vworp!

More to follow when the zine hits the stands in January.

Vague review of The End of Time Part One:
I found yesterday’s Doctor Who the predicted mixture of the exhilarating and the irritating, and am putting off watching it again until I see Part Two. Didn’t much like the sub-Matrix Reloaded ending, but look forward to seeing some hard-ass Time Lord action next week… but what’s the betting that instead we’ll have another hour of faffing around, plot holes, annoying music that either drowns out important dialogue or signifies comedy, then, hopefully, a truly exciting and moving regeneration. Loving John Simms and Bernard Cribbens, and can’t wait to see more of Timothy Dalton.

Thanks to Alex Wilcock for sending me this. Apparently Russell said it was “really rather good”. Hurrah!


Anyway, turkey sandwiches beckon. I hope you’re all having a marvellous Christmas!

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New Adventurers

A flyer and poster made to promote the NovelCon event in Manchester last weekend:

NovelCon flyer / poster
Reverse of NovelCon flyer

And the definitive New Adventures cover, after a scuffle broke out over whose shoulder the owl should be perched on. Now with added Peter Anghelides.

NovelCon New Adventures cover, featuring the convention's attendees

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One more…

Do Gareth a favour and vote here!

Back soon with some other stuff.

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Hello all, sorry things have been a bit quiet hereabouts. I’m hoping to get my act together and post some more nonsense soon, but in the meantime I thought I’d show you a job I’ve just completed. Gareth at The Lass O’Gowrie, a terrific pub in Manchester, required a new logo…
… some postcards to promote the Lass’s food, booze, events and function rooms…

Lass O'Gowrie flyers
… plus a mocked-up retro computer game cassette inlay…

Spectrum inlay
Paul Redfearn’s the clever sausage behind the Ena Sharples artwork used in the logo.

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Nothing whatsoever to report so I thought I’d share some more Dagenham philosophy. Appearing on a 1965 New London Palladium Show, Messrs Cook and Moore discuss Kirk Douglas’s dimple, Jane Russell’s busty substances and the meaning of life…

Thanks to the excellent chap who originally uploaded this. I hope he doesn’t mind me airing it here.


I've decided to live in a lighthouse. I love the look of these beauties, how they could be perfectly ordinary Cape Cod houses, right down to the streetlights and chimneys, if it weren't for the inadequate-looking stilts and the bloody great light on the top.
lighthouse1 lighthouse2 lighthouse3 lighthouse4 (from the US Coastguard)

Susan - Part 1: Marked Man

 Marked Man is the first in a fun but wonderfully odd series of plays, entitled Susan, that exist only in the client’s head. Part one guest-stars Frank Marker from the marvellous Public Eye (I’d love to see Alfred Burke in Doctor Who), Turlough and Dodo. And it’s written by Dennis Potter.

With part two, things start to get strange.

(Open link in a new tab or window for full size.)

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Hello all, sorry I’ve not added any content in a while – been in a bit of a funk, so creativity’s shot to hell. I thought I’d introduce you to three fantastic little films you may not have seen before.

The Wolfman (dir. Tim Hope, 1999)

“I was sitting in my leather arm chair watching telly, thinking how marvellous it would be to be a werewolf. How fantastic and different my life would be…” You may have seen the brutally edited version used as Playstation2 advert, but this is the original six-minute mini epic, a masterful aural and visual trip into what I can only assume is the very weird mind of animator Tim Hope. Apparently it was created in Hope’s bedroom without any funding, using 2D cutouts and a basic 3D animation program. Wait until you get to the transformation into a “hairy person… a huge rancid dog”: it really is a rich, stunning rush. Here’s a link to the PS2 ad but I urge you to experience the full version, preferably with the lights down and the sound up. It’s amazing.


Barcelona, 1908 (dir. Ricardo Baños, 1908)

Simply put, this is a record of a tram ride through Barcelona, filmed by a pioneer of Spanish cinema over a hundred years ago. Why does it evoke a deeper response than the simple joy of watching bystanders play up to the camera, cyclists and cars crossing the tracks with apparently inches to spare? It’s hypnotic and fascinating, uniquely bringing to life an era now lost for ever. Gorgeous.


Manifestations (dir. Giles Timms, 2009)

Another animation coupled with a perfect soundtrack by Ceri Front. Not sure what it’s all about, apart from a cute four-legged chap called Mr Chip who finds love, but I’m in awe of the pretty pictures, how it all restlessly whips about and blurs and shakes, mixing computer animation with (apparently) hand drawn elements and grungy textures and dreamy palettes.


And here are some random funny bits…

There’s nothing funnier than seeing a merciless Peter Cook reduce Dudley Moore to helpless giggles, so here’s Pete and Dud visiting an art gallery.

Even more surprising than Stephen Fry’s hair is the realisation that it all actually makes complete sense.

There are people far richer than I who are a bit touchy about this being online, so I’ll say nothing about it. I expect you’ll have seen it before anyway, but it’ll still make you laugh all the way down to your gold-plated diapers. Nappies, I mean.

If I felt motivated enough, I’d spend my Sundays raging against the pointlessness of Sundays. Maybe if I wasn’t such a frightful heathen the day would mean something to me, or it might offer respite if I had much going on during the rest of the week, but to me Sundays have always been terribly, crushingly dreary. So, to give some purpose to this most maddening of days, I shall be posting random stuff; basically, whatever takes my fancy. And yes, I know it’s Monday now but today felt like yesterday all over again. Well, more like Sunday²… oh, don’t get me started on Bank Holidays…

Today, as the populace is gripped and confused by the threat of another terribly scary pandemic, this time “swine flu”, I was looking at some of the old “coughs and sneezes spread diseases” posters that inspired the Hancock clip above. Check out some awesome design work among the selection I’ve gathered together below – even the grimmest of them are inventive and aesthetically pleasing. I particularly love the Chinese propaganda poster from the 50s, “Are You a Fifth Columnist?” and the first two “Trap the germs in your handkerchief” designs from WWII. Those that graphically display spittle spraying from mouths are particularly disgusting but undeniably effective, although I can’t help but think of the Brundlefly when I look at “Cover coughs, cover sneezes”. The final two are very recent: love the humour of the cartoon and the photography on the last poster turns sneezing into something almost beautiful. Get the sniffles just looking at it, don’t you?

Oh, just realised it’s now Tuesday. The whole thing’s become a farce already…

UPDATE @ 8.35am : Nooo! Click here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/europe/5955534.stm
coughs58.jpg coughs63.jpg coughs54.jpg coughs59.jpg coughs13.jpg  
coughs01.jpg coughs02.jpg coughs03.jpg coughs04.jpg coughs05.jpg  
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Portrait coughs55.jpg coughs61.jpg coughs57.jpg coughs53.jpg  
coughs52.jpg coughs62.jpg
And just for a laugh, here are a couple of information films from the 1940s:

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cybermen, blowing shit up

Victory Anyone who remembers my Sword of Orion cover will recognise the origins of this. Sometimes a chap’s got to give in to the urge to just blow shit up. Comments welcome.

Meanwhile, over on the popular online auction website eBay, I’m flogging the jolly rare Press Gang novels: First Edition, Public Exposure, Checkmate and The Date. Go on, have a look – they’re written by Steven Moffat’s dad!

Did you know the name ‘eBay’ originates from a comedy tribute to the world’s favourite organ-liquifying disease Ebola? So, while you’re busy bleeding from every orifice, remember: only twelve minutes left on that chocolate-flavoured nipple spread (with applicator) you’ve been watching.

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The EP of destruction

The Edge of Destruction Big Finish vinyl EP, honest  
Of no particular interest or practical use to anyone, here’s the ultra-rare 1964 Big Finish Dr Who EP, ‘The Edge of Destruction’, found in the basement of a Satanic church in Uttoxter. I had a listen, it’s rubbish. If you right-click and open in a new tab (or window) you can get a much better (1685 x 1226px) look at it.

Edge of Destruction pulp magazine Made using Photoshop, Blender (thanks to Richard Marklew for the fantastic console mesh) and surprisingly little photography.

Also, because I’m really poor, I’m forced to sell more stuff from my house. Apart from a couple more piles of old A5 fanzines (copies of Auton, anyone?), you may be interested in purchasing a signed photo of the actor and cosmic hobo Patrick Troughton, looking a little bit simple and cross-eyed, for display in your very own home. It’s really rare because Mr Troughton’s not signed any autographs in, like, ages, let alone scribbled on the back like he has this one. Have a look here: http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=200336667513

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On not meeting Michael Kitchen

I watched some of the filming of the new series of Foyle’s War today. The driving rain and the card some cruel swine put under my windscreen wiper ( “Free scrap car collection” ) had conspired to depress the hell out of me, but I thought Michael Kitchen might cheer me up. Perhaps I might swap witty banter with Michael Kitchen, probe him about playing the Devil, the King of England and a rather dull policeman in wartime Hastings, maybe give him a few tips on how to improve his acting. I’d even decided on my opening gambit: “Hello Michael Kitchen,” I’d say. ”Aren’t you Michael Kitchen?” Really, I couldn’t fail to become Michael Kitchen’s new best friend.


Knockhundred Row in Midhurst, West Sussex, still looks much the same as it did a hundred years ago, when a youthful H G Wells worked there. By applying black grit to the road, dotting some lovely old vehicles about and sticking a few bits of paper over the signs, it’s easily transformed into postwar Hastings (because for DCS Foyle the war is now over – but will the series, recently rescued from cancellation, remain Foyle’s War?). I was particularly taken with the following sodden bit of set dressing. I should very much like a butterfly bomb:

Butterfly bombs sign

I’m not a fan of Foyle’s War, in fact I don’t think I’ve ever watched a full episode, but I’d never seen anything being filmed before and felt sure it would be terribly interesting. (Actually, that’s a lie – I was in the audience of an edition of It’s A Knockout in Arundel when I was little, but can’t remember a thing about it. Don’t even have nightmares.) But what struck me was how dreary and lengthy the whole process of getting a single scene in the can was. I stood for about two hours watching a young girl push a pram past a church, to be confronted and intimidated by a gruff American military policeman. I must have heard the line “If you think it’s bad here just wait till you get to the States” a dozen times. Here’s the start of the scene:

People were stomping around looking pissed off and soaked to the skin. The director, who looked like a thin Penfold from Dangermouse, was getting stressed because the rain wouldn’t let up. Batteries kept dying, planes and helicopters went over, lunchbreak was hours overdue. Michael Kitchen was due to film his scenes that afternoon but they just couldn’t get past that pivotal “If you think it’s bad here just wait till you get to the States” scene. Dozens of bored-senseless crewmembers stood around idly like the cluster of prideful extras, before springing into their few precious seconds of activity. Then it was back to the waiting. And the waiting.

In short, the whole thing was deathly dull. But I’d still give anything to work in telly, even if I’m the guy who kicks lumps of coal about to mark where the US army jeep has to stop, or the bloke with the tape measure, or that fella over there holding John the MP’s umbrella. Anyone got any advice? Seriously… (Although, as I write this, it’s just hit home how desperate we’ve become financially since I was made redundant in January, so maybe it’s time to give up the idea of doing something I actually enjoy, like graphic design or making Doctor Who artwork or kicking bits of coal around. Fuck.)

“If you think it’s bad here just wait till you get to the States”

I didn’t meet Michael Kitchen today: I got too hungry and wet and achy from all the endless standing around. When the battery ran out on my camera, that was the last straw – I left.  Michael Kitchen’s a rubbish, utterly immobile actor anyway, all he does is “smug and pompous”. Look, here’s Michael Kitchen’s range:

The many moods of Michael

I’d like to think it was Michael Kitchen’s loss, not mine. And while I would’ve liked to have seen his expression change when he realised he’d missed me, I imagine that particular feat would have involved a very long wait indeed.

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wankers wankers wankersNot even a month online and this site has become the target of spammers - seriously, what the hell do these fuckers hope to achieve by sending 289 messages about some drug or other, that will only get deleted anyway? Yeah, I know it's all automated (apparently for every twelve-and-a-half million emails sent, spammers can expect one reply - in their twisted world this is deemed a success), but there's actually some spotty, living, breathing shite out there who programmed the evil little thing that invaded my site. Anyway, I've hopefully found a way to combat the problem and normal service has resumed, but meanwhile can I take this opportunity to wish the individual(s) responsible nothing but the most painful and protracted flavours of harm? Thanks.

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