Weeknotes March 6th: I made you a thing

I’ve started to feel a bit sorry for the people who follow and support things I make because suddenly loads of things are happening at once, and I can’t expect everyone to be equally interested in or supportive of all of them. Nevertheless a lot of people are currently being subjected to about 15 tweets a day from my different projects’ twitter accounts, with updates about these kinds of things:

Real, hardback copies of the humour book I’ve co-written with Tim Warriner, The Inner Head, were finally delivered this week. This book was supposed to be out quite some time before Christmas, but due to a series of unexpected delays, is now coming out for that less crowded, but just as in need of a laugh,’Lent’ market. It’s on Amazon and if you’re from the future, you’ll be glad to know there’s a Kindle edition, too. The cover design is our favourite thing, and it’s by Wes West. There’s a nice quote from “Iron Man” writer Warren Ellis on the back, and we’re posting snippets from inside (including Tim’s great and often very funny drawings) to our Twitter account, @theinnerhead.

Tim and I have also been adding to @8bitsatc (“The lost episodes of this vastly misunderstood retrocomputing series”) and a new thing, @sleepercoach– life lessons and tips taken from real dreams (e.g. “Calm Richard Dawkins down by taking him out to an American diner”). Given I continue to tweet for, but not as, my dog, it won’t surprise you to learn that I’ve been firing things off from the wrong Twitter accounts quite a lot this week. With hilarious consequences.

I’ve got a couple of articles in the latest WIRED UK: How to supercharge your router and How to shoot a movie on your iPhone.

I’ve interviewed some friends whose work I love, for the Makeshift site. They should be published soon. Valentina Fois is an art gallery director and digital supremo, and James Jefferies is an excellent chap who does interesting things with code and trains in Sheffield.

Roo and I have just made a new episode of Shift Run Stop, supplying a commentary to the first ever episode of Red Dwarf. I’m pleased with this one – we have a fair bit of Red Dwarf knowledge between us. And it was more or less a summer’s day in London yesterday, so we did a lot of the recording outside to a soundtrack of tennis balls.

Hack Circus (the magazine) is going to arrive at my house next Tuesday. Hack Circus (the event) is going to happen at Site Gallery in Sheffield next Saturday, March 15th. I need to meet up with some of my speakers before Saturday, write my intro to the event, and make a start on issue #3! Already. But it’ll be out in June which is no time away at all. Would you like to contribute or advertise? Let me know. (Soon).

I’m profiling the performers for the next event, all week, one per day on the blog. Find out what they’re going to be doing on Saturday, and what life has taught them about reality.

This week I had a chat with James Ward, founder of the “Boring” conference, and posted it to the Hack Circus blog. James and I have known/known of each other something like six years. I’ve spoken at a couple of Borings (my IBM tills talk got me into the, er, Daily Mail, last year) and James came to my first Hack Circus event last October, which I appreciated. He’s genuinely interested in boring things, and we’re both feeling a bit worried about our forthcoming events. We talked about why we do events, how it drives us mad, and what we get out of it. I think we found the discussion quite therapeutic.

Another nice thing, this week: I’ve been approached by several friends asking me to check things they’ve written or get advice about some of the things I know about. I’ll always make time for this. It’s a bit like doing the events: if there’s any way I can give support, contacts and some kind of profile to brilliant people who seem to be inexplicably losing out to lesser talents, well, that’s what it’s all about.

Having said that, I did just regretfully turn down an invitation to take part in a mentoring project in Sheffield – partly because I am quite profoundly short of money, and partly because I couldn’t think of any obvious ways I could help the people involved.

About the money thing. It’s fair to say I’ve had some very bad luck with employers over the last year. I say this by means of warning people about freelancing, really, though this is the first time it’s happened this dramatically. I’m waiting for almost half my annual income in unpaid invoices dating back to November. Please, employers: don’t mess your staff around. In the communities I work in, everyone knows everyone. There are a few people I’ll never work for again, however ‘interesting’ the offer, and a few people and companies I’ll warn my friends and collaborators to steer clear of. But if a man makes his own luck, I’m to blame, too. My 2014 lesson – from now on – is to work with better people and stand for less nonsense.

Let’s not end on that note. It’s not all bad. As I’ve decided to stop working for these clients until they pay me, I’ve got a) a bit of extra time to get Hack Circus stuff together and b) the prospect of a massive cash injection at the end of this little break. A lot of people have kept me waiting for a long time for things I’ve made and money I’m due. I’m going to try to lead by example. The least I can do is get everyone’s issue 2s posted out quickly when they arrive next week.

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