This Was The Year

…that Twitter turned me into an activist.

The 38 Degrees and Avaaz guys had me signing petitions and writing angry letters to my MP (admittedly, I’ve been annoying Rob Wilson for a while now, but surely the point to democracy is to make sure your elected representative to government is aware of your needs?), forwarding links on, and in general becoming one of those people that the mainstream press like to demonise as a kneejerk reactionary. I make no apology for that. I’ve watched in horror as we ended up with a government that nobody voted for, that seems dead set on a swingeing series of cuts to essential services that is not only unjustified, but un-necessary. Not only un-necessary, but ideologically motivated. This, from Adam Ramsay on the @ukuncut blog:

…what George Osborne spotted is what right wing politicians around the world have known for the last 40 years: a disaster is a great time to radically change a country. From the privatisation of New Orleans’ schools after Katrina, to the corporate plunder of Iraq after the 2003 invasion, this trick is nothing new. Naomi Klein’s book The Shock Doctrine describes in detail how it has been used the world over.

There is a big problem. People understand this might require a big solution. And so they accept policies they would never normally countenance – policies not designed to solve the problem, but to radically change society in a way no one ever voted for.

And like this sleight of hand, Osborne’s “solutions” too are nothing new. The Conservative students I studied with at university – the generation who were born under Thatcher, and are now the researchers and aids to this government – were arguing for 30% spending cuts long before the recession. And their predecessors did too – in fact, in 1910, the Conservative Party brought down the Government rather than allow the people’s budget, the foundation of the welfare state, to pass. And they have used every opportunity since to rid this country of what they see as a dangerous socialist experiment.

And this “solution” is, of course, nothing of the sort. The idea that you solve a deficit caused by unemployment by cutting jobs is economically illiterate. Don’t take it from me – look at what is being said by the world’s leading economists, including most recent Nobel prize winners: Britain is embarking on a radical economic experiment which is not only un-necessary, but probably going to make the recession worse.

(The whole post is well worth reading if you want to whip yourself into a spiralling rage about the lies and nonsense that we are being fed about the state of our economy, it’s causes, and why the phrase “We’re all in this together” is the sickest joke of 2010.)

Twitter has also been the sharpest way to stay up to date on the happenings of the happy pranksters that have been shutting down tax avoiders Vodafone, HSBC, Boots and Topshop every weekend for a while now. Reading the streams from participants like @pennyred as stuff was happening had a giddy, unprocessed thrill to it. In events like this, the mainstream news media was left floundering to catch up.

Rest assured, there’ll be a lot more of this from me next year.


…that I was up on the main stage at FrightFest.

A seriously heady moment, as the writers and directors of Habeas Corpus (with the exception of Ben Woodiwiss, sadly) introduced the teaser, which was shown on the giant main screen at the Empire Leicester Square. This is a big deal, and we’re working towards getting the whole thing done in time to be screened next year. Once we can get the funding, of course… In the meantime, the final shot of the teaser is getting a rep on YouTube as “The Most Revolting Kiss EVAR”, which fills us all with a quiet sense of pride.

…that I wrote my head off.

Count ’em up. Nanowrimo and Script Frenzy this year left me with a completed 100 page graphic novel and two-thirds of a first draft of the second “Moon” novel. Five short stories. Innumerable blog posts. The thing is, I still feel like I’ve been slacking this year. God only knows what could happen if I light a fire under myself.

…that I made short films.

Dom and I finished Time Out, finally. It’s off to festivals, and we’re quietly hopeful of a screening somewhere. Meanwhile, experiments with a dirt-cheap Kodak digicamcorder and Garageband led to a flurry of creative output in July as I squirted out five short mood pieces in short order.  They were fun to do, and worked as document and commentary on a quiet moment. It’s a zen approach to film-making, and one that suits me. There will be more of these next year, promise.

…that I changed my reading habits.

Thanks to the Kindle. This thin, light, clever piece of kit has turned me back into a voracious reader and helped me to rediscover the hidden gems I had tucked in the depths of my hard drive as PDFs. My early worries about the open nature of the device were calmed as soon as I realised that it would flawlessly open just about any book format out there (and if it couldn’t I use the brilliant Calibre to convert it) and I am now a complete drooling convert. Much in the way that 2010 marked the end of my purchasing music in physical form (and, thanks to Spotify, barely buying music at all), 2011 will give the over-worked bookshelves at X&HTowers a much needed break. I’m eyeing up a couple of magazine subscriptions, as well as revisiting glorious indulgences from the past for surprisingly small amounts of money. I’m a blissful little bibliophile, I can tell you.


And as for 2011? Well, I want to be looking at getting something available for download on Amazon – probably Satan’s Schoolgirls as a start. Who knows, maybe even make some money off it.

Work continues on Habeas Corpus, Ghosts Of The Moon and Dom’s ongoing Banksy doco, which he hopes to have done by the end of January.

I want to start drawing more, as a complement to TLC’s interest in crafty stuff. A life drawing class is going to be vital, I feel.


Oh, and I pledge to blog more. No, really, I mean it this time. I’m signing up to’s PostADay initiative. That’s something new from me every single bloody day. You’re going to be sick of me by the the time I give up some time in February. There’s a very good chance, therefore, that X&HT will devolve into single line posts, photos and the occasional recipe. It’ll be different, that’s fur shure.

Right. 2011. Here we flippin’ well GO.





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Writer. Film-maker. Cartoonist. Cook. Lover.

2 thoughts on “This Was The Year”

  1. “we ended up with a government that nobody voted for” Except, of course, we did, by putting that tick in the box for our preferred party and due to the rules of our electoral system. The fact that it produced a coalition doesn’t mean no-one wanted, intended or likes that result. Good luck with the writing, wish I could do that much. C.

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