‘Every infection needs a host,’ said Mac, ‘and the NotBeSpeak need the biggest host of all; the world.’
‘How do we stop them?’ asked Inteachán.
‘How do you stop them,’ Mac corrected her. ‘I am old and my days of fighting inter-dimensional demons intent upon cataclysm are long gone.’
‘How do I stop them?’
‘They can only be stopped by preventing them from taking their final form.’
Mac smiled sadly.
‘If we know what final form they wish to take then that is how we can stop them.’
‘But, I am only now beginning to understand what form their final form will take.’
It was Professor Mac an Bhaird who heard Inteachán sobbing late on that awful evening.
Who left his door open in case she needed someone. Who woke to find Inteachán curled up asleep at the end of his narrow bed. Who smiled and didn’t speak. Who allowed Inteachán to just sit. Until she was ready to talk.
‘You may call me Mac,’ he said kindly.
Now they talk all the time.
I recently had the pleasure of chatting to Dublin-based artist and illustrator, Shawn Bracebridge. With his distinctive style and eye for the quirky, Shawn’s artwork combines beautiful echoes of previous decades of graphic design with a vibrant, contemporary edge.
1. How did you get started?
2. Who or what are your major inspirations?
3. How would you describe your style?
4. How do you work?
5. Can you talk us through some examples of your work?
6. What are you currently working on?
7. What are your plans for the future?
Many thanks to Shawn for giving us such a fascinating insight in to your work. It was a pleasure chatting with you. Good luck for the future.
If you want to stay up to date with Shawn’s progress with The Cat’s Pyjamas and his other projects then you can find him on Instagram.
If you are interested in buying some of Shawn’s work then you can find his online store on Bigcartel.
Hyphen? No hyphen?
What’s in a word?
There is something very old-fashioned about the sound of the word(s) used to describe an electronic book.
Much like the way in which we still use the word ‘video’ today to describe moving images.
As a word, ‘video’ reminds me of watching dodgy copies of banned horror films on VHS in the 1980s.
Despite the fact that we use the word to mean something very different in 2019 ‘video’ just seems so old-fashioned.
For me, it is the associations.
The clunk of the door as you inserted the tape into the recorder/player.
The sound as the machine steadied itself.
The roll of the lines up the screen.
The occasional distortion as the sound synced.
The hang of the pause.
The song of the tape as it rewound in a different key to the one that played as you fast-forwarded past the adverts.
Do you remember these sounds?
Perhaps you have never heard them?
It is highly likely that you will never truly hear them again.
And we haven’t even started to think about another link in this word association game we are playing today.
The Eleventh Film VII
Some thought it had to be negligence.
Others proffered chance as an explanation.
A by-product of progress.
An unforeseen response to technological change.
It was all of naught.
There was no suitable analysis.
The cosmic die had been cast.
They were among us now.
Summoned by the Eleventh Film.
It was now simply as if they had always been here.
The Eleventh Film Part VI
Thank you to everyone who has supported my blog, shared my posts, followed me on Twitter, connected on LinkedIn, liked my page on Facebook and read the VIRO series.
I wish you all peace and prosperity at this time of year and hope that 2019 is everything you could ever want it to be.
We are quite literally inundated with lists of tips in their fives and tens and twenties about how to be better at things and how not to do things so badly. Inspired by this avalanche of tips I thought I would offer some top tips of my own. Here is my top tip for today.
Despite All Appearances to the Contrary The World is Still Full of Strangers
We are an optimistic bunch and for the most part we have come to believe that the proliferation of digital technology has made the world a smaller place. Not only that, this same technology has also brought people together in ways that we have never seen before. This is of course true but this does not mean that our lives are enriched in new ways by the enormous number of friends we now have, despite the various ways in which social media platforms encourage us to connect with each other.
The simple fact of the matter is that we are all now in some form of new relationship with a wider range of strangers than ever before. Once you chip away the real friends and relationships we have on something like Twitter, it is a simple fact that most people we follow or follow us are complete and utter strangers.
And here is the thing.
Once upon a time we might have understood our average potential social reach – pre- social media – as something like the number of people sitting on both decks of an average double-decker bus. We might not know everyone as well as each other but if we were to sit next to someone else on the bus it would probably be possible to strike up some kind of kindred conversation with them.
That was then.
Nowadays, especially given the constant exhortations that each and every social media platform bombards us with in terms of making new ‘friends,’ establishing connections, or adding new followers (and there is something very archaic about this very notion), it is simply the case that our new potential social reach is very often something less like a double-decker bus and now something more like a sports stadium.
A sports stadium?
I don’t know about you but the last time I went to a sporting event I was struck by the sheer logistical difficulties in gathering so many people together in one particular space at one particular time.
And by people I mean strangers.
Yes, we might go with some friends or family and we might see other people who have gone with their family and friends but for the most part we are alone in a stadium full of strangers.
Of course, we can further understand that this stadium full of strangers all have something in common; a love of the sport, for example or the affiliation with a particular team. Nevertheless, with very few exceptions, we would enter the stadium as strangers and leave the same way.
But how do sports stadiums relate to independent publishing?
If I was sitting on the top deck of a bus and and I started telling people about a project I was working on, or had completed, it is possible that very quickly I might be able to get some people interested in what I was doing. Of those people interested, it is also possible that some of them (a few of them) (one or two of them) might want to learn a bit more about my project. That would be great but very quickly I would run out of people to tell.
Now, imagine trying to do the same thing in a sports stadium. How long would it take before you ran out of either steam or people who were interested enough?
You could start by telling the people you had gone to stadium with – but they probably already knew (I’m sure you had told them about your new project the last time you saw them).
How do you tell a stadium full of strangers about your new project? More importantly, how do you get a stadium full of strangers to care about your project? Most of them probably already have projects of their own that take up all their time and mean more to them so why should they even care about yours?
And this is the crux of the matter.
For example, every time I am on Twitter – and I am on Twitter for an awful lot of my time – it is like being in a sports stadium and everyone in the crowd is trying to get each other to care about their projects by hoping that their voice will be louder than the other voices in the same stadium but they are not and so eventually we fall silent.
And concerned that our social media techniques are not as developed as they should be and then we start scouring the internet for lists of tips of how we might do things better and then we realise that everyone is offering the same and different advice and that essentially everyone is in the same stadium shouting at each other. Shouting at strangers.
Personally, I prefer to try ignore the sound of the crowd.
I have lost my voice too many times trying to shout out loud enough for strangers to hear what I’m saying. And even if they heard me they probably wouldn’t be able to listen for long enough for me to tell my story properly before another stranger caught their attention. Or before they needed to shout about their own project to the same strangers.
So what’s the answer?
I don’t think there is one. Other than the understanding that you wouldn’t walk down the street telling everyone you passed about your new project so why would you spend your time online shouting at strangers about the same thing?
Currently I’m working on simply talking to people.
As many people as possible.
More importantly, I’m asking people about their projects rather than shouting about mine.
So, you glorious stadium full of strangers, tell me about your projects.
What are you working on?