For S.O.P.H.I.E – the GOMK charity book

A wonderful side effect from my involvement in the Rochester Literature Festival was being asked by one of our exhibiting artists, Richard Jeferies, to write for his charity book, Goth on my Keyboard.

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The Goth character has an adoring public on Facebook and beyond, and is now using her celebrity to publicise a good cause close to home. Myself and fellow writer, Alison Eley, have responded to Richard’s brilliant drawings and character in this book, and Richard himself also adds emotive words to his images, as well as deliver the short and sweet cartoons that are GOMK’s usual platform. It’s a true life mix of humour and poignancy and frankly, well worth your time to read it. I’m thrilled and honoured to be a part of it.

Most of us are free to express ourselves in any way we see fit, whether through our choice of music, art, or the way we dress. Sadly, even these days, there are those who seek to destroy anything they don’t understand, or like, or is different, and Sophie Lancaster paid the worst possible price for this.


The book is  now published and all the proceeds go to the S.O.P.H.I.E Lancaster Foundation, a charity set up to help fight hate crimes, following the horrifying attack that led to her death. Kicked to death for looking different. In the 21st century, in a civilised, mainly tolerant society, how can this happen? The book, including VAT, costs just £2.39. Please buy it by downloading from the link, and aid this cause in the following aims:

  • To create a lasting legacy to Sophie.
  • To provide educational group-works that will challenge the prejudice and intolerance towards people from alternative subcultures.
  • To campaign to have the UK Hate Crime legislation extended to include people from alternative subcultures or Lifestyle and Dress.

To find out more about the S.O.P.H.I.E Lancaster Foundation, visit the website here.

Stamp Out Prejudice, Intolerance and Hatred Everywhere. Thank you.

Council of Mystical Creatures

Other Worlds, Other Voices … right up my street!

Legends of Windemere

Dragon:  I call this meeting of the Brotherhood of Monsters to order.

Elf: Can we have a different name?  Some of us aren’t monsters any more.

Orc:  Yeah!

Dragon: Put in a petition later.  What do we have to discuss?

Griffin: Many of us are still being used and altered to the whims of humans.  Am I supposed to be a monster, a mount, or a pet?

Hippogriff:  At least you get remembered while I get confused for you.  One fandom seems to remember me, but that’s it.  It sucks being your cousin.

Orc:  Yeah!

Manticore: Nobody thinks of me.  Do any of you know the last time I was used?

Centaur: Probably a God of War game like many of us.  The harpies are still in traction from that series.

Dragon:  This bickering and whining does nothing.  You should be happy with what you get or do you want…

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Hear that lion roar!

Yep, that would be me! I recently took part in a sweding workshop at coFWD,  the coworking space at 161 Rochester High Street, and brilliant fun it was too! The awesome Sophie and Mdhamiri led us through it, overseeing roles such as Director and Location Manager, although we all mucked in with props and sound effects. This is the result – you can also see photos on the coFWD blog.

Sweding is becoming more and more popular – basically taking your favourite movie or trailer and remaking it from scratch, sourcing all your own props and creating your own scenery and locations. This is the Skyfall teaser trailer we used – why not get a bunch of mates together, take your pick from all those fantastic movies out there and give it a go?

If you’re in Medway and you don’t have a bunch of creatives to hook up with, you’ll find some of the coFWD community at the Deaf Cat in Rochester High Street on Monday morning, from 9.30am. Otherwise known as Tuttle, it’s a chance to mingle with a bunch of like minded souls, bounce a few ideas around over a coffee and otherwise chill out in company who might just spark a few ideas inside you. See you there 🙂

Happy Star Wars Day #Maythefourthbewithyou

Not that interest ever really died away (not in my world, anyway) but it has piqued again recently with news that Disney has taken over the Star Wars franchise – George Lucas is still involved – and that director of the resurrected Star Trek film series and all round awesome guy, JJ Abrams will be directing Episode V11. Therefore, today’s Star Wars day is being celebrated more than most and how better to share what’s happening than using the new forces of nature/evil empires (delete as appropriate) Twitter, Facebook and Youtube.

First up, the stunning video by Graham Putnam. Luke’s Change: An Inside Job parodies the conspiracy theory over 9/11 and is just brilliant.

And it had to happen – Call Me Maybe, starring the cast!

Then we have the Galactic Empire State of Mind – who disabled embedding, sadly so you’ll have to make do with the link.

Into the Facebook world (the Dark Side) there are some wonderful fan groups and pages sharing much Star Wars love: Retro Star Wars is posting lots of random images (with a rather lovely one of Han Solo *coughs*) while Star Wars Rocks My World is inviting you to caption many other images. And of course, Talking like Yoda because you’re a Legendary Geek is just one among many more – search Star Wars and individual names and you’ll find more than you can shake a light sabre at, including the Folkestone sci-fi celebration, if you’re in that area today.

Jedis unite on Twitter but the best parody account, in my opinion, is actually the @DeathStarPR. With quotes like “If you named your son Luke but have never dropped the “I am your father” line on them, why did you even bother?” and “Sticks and stones may break my bones but giant space teddy bears will never hurt me.” Stormtrooper just before the #Ewokalypse.” And they take social responsibility seriously to “Don’t think of it as building “Death Stars”, think of it as building “Communities”. Check out their timeline for some fab photos too.

@-_-@ is my new favourite discovery, just because of the Chelsea Buns, while Emperor Palpatine is only in it for the hats – he’s been a bit quiet of late, which seems ominous. But you’ll find everyone on there: Lando, Han, Chewie, C3Po and R2 – again, just seek and you will find – use the hashtags – Happy Star Wars Day, for example.

May the force be with you!

Medway school criticized for over zealous health and safety rule

Following an incident in which a girl twisted her ankle, PE teachers are told to restrict ascendency based activity.

Another school has come in for ridicule this week, after the banning of triangular shaped flapjacks at an Essex comprehensive.

PE teachers at Greengables Specialist Sports College in Medway, Kent, were told to tie a piece of PE knicker elastic to a point just 1.5 metres on the climbing rope, suspended from the apparatus, and insist that all students begin to descend again the moment it was reached.

It is understood that the decision was made after a Year 7 girl jumped – voluntarily – from the traditional piece of gymnasium equipment when still at least six inches off the ground. She landed on a large blue crash mat but still managed to turn her ankle.

Medway council said the ban was “not a council decision” but confirmed that a full blown emergency meeting was called, complete with lunch, to discuss the school’s decision and if they should be seen to support it, as it was felt it had been a quiet week and they hadn’t been in the news enough.

School spokesman and part time teacher of Russian, Ivor Readan of Greengables, 32, said: “I can confirm that the said piece of knicker elastic was volunteered by female teaching assistant, 36 year old raven haired strumpet, Miss Ima Goer, in an act of generosity at short notice. At no point was Miss Goer coerced into removing her standard issue navy blue PE knickers and no-one was heard to make any comments at all along the lines of “they’re a bit in the loose side anyway, not that we’re suggesting anything” you understand.”

Reports suggest, however, that Head of P.E, 93 year old Didley Squat-Thrust, was seen to ‘tut’ at the instruction, given by the Pastoral Care team, before mumbling something about “we only had a bloody flat green bit of rubber to land on in my day, but we didn’t go round twisting our ankles all the time, bunch of wusses …”

Witnesses report that Mr. Squat-Thrust was subsequently hushed by Pastoral Care Manager, Mrs  Feeble, 52, who herself was forced to deny that she had consistently misused cotton wool from the first aid box.

Year 10 boys reacted by stringing their school ties together and using them to scale the canteen in protest.

Bloggers celebrate as the mainstream ask: Where now for Clark Kent?

Clark Kent, aka Superman, has resigned from The Daily Planet. His position there became untenable when he “voiced his disdain for the direction the newspaper is headed, lacking real journalism and real reporting”, according to staff at a comic book store in New York’s Time Square.

1994 Daily Planet Pin

Daily Planet  (Photo credit: JD Hancock on Flickr)

There was derision from some quarters that Kent would become little more than a blogger, in a sweeping dismissal of the online community. However, bloggers of the world are thrilled to have such a high profile writer now featuring in their number and believe it will gain them a lot more respect from mainstream media.

There was some confusion at the decision. David Mitchell, writing in The Observer, said: “Initially, I assumed he was protesting against all the nasty commenters on the Daily Planet website: the thousands calling him an arsehole without having paid for the paper, or complaining that he only got to save the world because of his posh upbringing on Krypton. But apparently not: as well as his other powers, Superman is super-thick-skinned and embraces the internet age. He’s off to work in new media and, according to Scott Lobdell, writer of the Superman series, is “likely to start the next Huffington Post“.

However, according to my sources, Kent was quick to deny this, saying: “It isn’t like I’m just going it alone. Contrary to earlier reports, I’m not starting my own Huffington Post, I’m heading up the new publishing arm of Wayne Industries. The owner, Bruce Wayne, is assembling an awesome editorial team and has already snapped up top freelance photographer, Peter Parker, along with feted investigative journalist and features writer, Diana Prince.”

He continued: “We are committed to providing a comprehensive news service and guarantee to be in the thick of the action, bringing you live coverage via social media and live event blogging (you can follow me @superclarkey). We’re confident that no other world service will compete with or have access to, the quality coverage we’ll be supplying our readers.”

Surveys of mainstream media readers suggest that many will be deserting their regular news source in favour of WWN (Wayne’s World News).

An insider at News International reported that Rupert Murdoch was said to be furious, believing Kent’s friendship with Superman would give him the edge when it came to eaves dropped conversations. Less concerned with popular culture than his newspapers would have you believe, it’s unclear whether anyone told Murdoch that Kent and Superman are, in fact, one and the same person.

Ex-colleagues of Rebekah Brooks said she had, allegedly, tried to seduce Kent away from the Daily Planet on numerous occasions, and for the very same reason. Privately, Kent told associates that “he wouldn’t touch it with the Green Lantern’s, let alone his own.”

In a statement written by Steve Lobdell and released via DC Comics, Kent said: “The truth is that somewhere along the way, the business of news became the news. Growing up in Smallville, I believed that journalism was an ideal, as worthy and important as being a cop, a fireman, a teacher or a doctor. I was taught to believe you could use words to change the course of rivers – that even the darkest secrets would fall under the harsh light of the sun. But facts have been replaced by opinions. Information has been replaced by entertainment. Reporters have become stenographers. I can’t be the only one sick of what passes for news today.”