Author Archive
Why nobody will use the Tesla patents, ever.

Why nobody will use the Tesla patents, ever.

Elon Musk makes huge waves by saying that anyone can use Tesla’s technology patents. Specifically, ‘Tesla will not initiate patent lawsuits against anyone who, in good faith, wants to use our technology.’ Note that weasel phrase, ‘in good faith’. No lawyer would ever let any company build a product using a Tesla patent on the...
The Billion Dollar Artist

The Billion Dollar Artist

A couple of years ago I wrote a proposal for a Damien Hirst biog and hawked it to my agent. He loved it and with a bit of work we got to the point of sending the proposal out to twelve publishers. None of them bit, and the project bit the dust at that time....
shedboatshed, a classic

shedboatshed, a classic

Simon Starling – Shedboatshed “He’s interested in the creation of objects; he is a researcher, traveller, narrator. He looks at the way things got to be the way they are, and reasserts a human connection between processes we take for granted” – Rachel Tant.
Decent stories will find great readers

Decent stories will find great readers

Hugh Howey writes a great piece for the Huffington Post about how his book became a hot movie property. Along the way he sets out why independent publishing will be a success despite the naysayers. How My Self-Published Book ‘Wool’ Became A Hot Movie Property With sites like IndieReader springing up to support the plethora...
Writing a shack

Writing a shack

Building a shack is like writing a book. First I waited years on a list to get a piece of hardscrabble hillside. They call them allotments and I have to grow fruit and vegetables and flowers on it. The allotment is in a valley of ramshackle allotments called Roedale. From a perch at the top...

Heart of Darkness

Started to re-read Heart of Darkness and came across this great quote for my work in progress: Takers & Keepers. He has to live in the midst of the incomprehensible, which is also detestable. And it has a fascination, too, that goes to work upon him. The fascination of the abomination—you know. Imagine the growing...

Think only of the book you are writing

From the very wonderful Brain Pickings: In 1932-1933, while working on what would become his first published novel, Tropic of Cancer, Miller devised and adhered to a stringent daily routine to propel his writing. Among it was this list of eleven commandments, found in Henry Miller on Writing — a fine addition to these 9...

The Museum of Innocence

I’ve always been a writer but I also became an artist along the way. I’m trained more as an artist than as anything else and for a long time I made more art than writing. It slowly occured to me that lots of the things I wanted to talk about in my art were very...

People I knew without the gelatin

“The deceased, as you know, have the inconvenient habit of cooling off too slowly; they’re burning hot. So they are turned into aspics by pouring memories over them–the best form of gelatin. And since deceased greats are also too large, they are cut down. The nose, say, is served separately, or the tongue. You need...

Getting through the decade

Following a significant birthday last year I wrote a list of things I set myself to achieve in the coming decade. Take up Yoga Publish a novel Earn more money than I consume Take up a watersport that requires a wetsuit Do something at the Edinburgh Festival Buy a freehold piece of land Lose two...

So, farewell then Encyclopaedia Britannia

Encyclopaedia Britannia is to cease publishing as a paper based product. This announcement has been twenty years coming for me. Almost the first commercial organisation to have its future questioned by the rise of the internet was the Britannia, a vast unwieldy publishing monolith from a previous age. It seemed obvious, even on day one...

Stop Stealing Dreams. That’s ironic, right?

Seth Godin: Who Decides What Gets Sold In The Bookstore? I just found out that Apple is rejecting my new manifesto Stop Stealing Dreams and won’t carry it in their store because inside the manifesto are links to buy the books I mention in the bibliography. Quoting here from their note to me, rejecting the...