Tuesday, 1 January 2019


They gambol in the fields, those bookcases. The nice farmer sends picture postcards. I’m kept informed. It’s all rather lovely.
   I didn’t dismantle the bookcases in my torture dungeon. Honest.


A lie was told there, surely.
   The bookcases truly had to go. I tried keeping them together using all sorts of fiendish tricks. No, I don’t mean keeping them together as a family of three. I mean maintaining structural integrity, uprightness, and holdabookability.
   Borrowing from Comden and Green, the party’s over. The fundamental flaw in bookcase design killed them off in the end. Those bookcases weren’t designed to be moved around once constructed.
   A shift here, a relocation there, a move to the back of beyond and back again…and again and again, over and over again – again – only more so…
   The whirling storm of office updates down the years exacted the ultimate cost. Ask not for whom the bookcase creaks. It creaks for thee.


Rest in Pieces, Awkward Bookcases…we hardly knew ye. They are dead – most sincerely so. Oh, I suppose I could resurrect them from the imaginary ashes. I didn’t burn the awkward cases.
   Instead, pulling nails and pretending they were teeth, I dismantled, unscrewed, removed, and cancelled…
   The cracks showed. Revealing the naked underbelly of the bookcases, I discovered the situation was a little shakier than I thought when I shoogled a bookcase here and tested stability there.
   But this isn’t the story of bookcases long-past their best.


It is, inevitably, the tale of space vacated. This is the story of floorspace uncovered. It is the saga of finding replacement shelves for books dumped unceremoniously on the carpet.
   The dead bookcases…
   Whoops. No. They live on, in spirit, frolicking in the farmer’s fields…
   The belly-up bookcases live on, in the loft, lying there in bits. I could have them refitted at a small cost. Project for another era.
   Those deceased bookcases were half-size, located under the windows. They just coasted into place and no more. Perfect size. Ideal height. But move them, well…
   Never move them.
   You learn freely with ease and you learn the hard way to your cost. Both forms of learning are, sadly, valid.


I moved swiftly. Other half-sized bookshelves were all over the place, curling around each other for warmth. Out came the tape. Down went the figures. Scribble scribble, scratch, shaky diagram, miscalculation, measure twice and measure some more…
   The casualty in liberating floorspace is the imprisonment of wallspace. I killed three half-sized bookcases at the window, and more half-sized units, bookcases, and strange items rushed in to secure the territory.
   And that liberated a few sections of wall elsewhere…if I took pictures down. Down they came. I now have four full-sized bookcases where half-sized articles lurked before.


Once more, I elude the danger of saturation. You reach the point of no return all over again, and tread beyond the natural limit of things for a short time. It’s a dangerous pirouette.
   This year, clearing bookshelves takes on a different meaning. Usually, clearing a bookshelf means finishing the last of the unread books on that shelf. But I’ve been all over the place with storage. Looking around the shelves in front of me, I see STUFF perched here, balanced there, or “temporarily” stored yonder.
   Permanent features start out as temporary affairs. I must clear these shelves of items that are, bluntly, not books. There’s a box of bulbs – light, not daffodil. What’s that bottle of glue doing, sitting there? Gluing itself to the bookcase, clearly. Well, it dries clearly.
   How did it get to this? Gradually. An answer that covers a growing multitude of bookcase sins. Fear not, readers. I don’t store food there. Not yet.


Festive cards are time-stamped. They go soon. I can’t do anything about the bottom shelf to my right – it’s set up to carry the plugs for my computer. The office is a paperless office. (Insert rabid laughter here.) And the office is a cableless office, too. (Continue rabid laughter here. Try not to trip over the cables.)
   These Blu-Ray discs need to go somewhere else, though. I should just bite the bullet and go digital in film and book. But I can’t do that – what would I do without physical books on cases? It’s only the weight of all these dead trees that keeps the carpet in place.
   I couldn’t allow DAYLIGHT back into the writer’s crypt. Look what happened to Max Schreck in that F.W. Murnau documentary.


Yes, some things that aren’t books must, by law, remain on the bookshelves. What else would I do with my Spider Glass? I can’t leave that lying around the kitchen. The glass has played temporary home to a legion of spiders and lions and bugs, oh my.
   I keep meaning to add a label to the glass, saying SPIDER GLASS. Clue’s in the title. You may suspect, but, if you must know…
   The Spider Glass contains a fold of paper. These items serve as a spider trap. The Spider Glass does whatever a spider trap can. First, spot your spider. Next, curse your spider for stopping at an awkward spot high on the wall.
   Your stepladder is always in another room. If you leave to fetch the ladder, your steps are bound to set up warning vibrations – alerting the arachnid. No go. Instead, teeter on tiptoe with the Spider Glass at the ready.
   Pop the glass over that spider. Slide your fold of paper under the glass. Whisk the contraption outside, and deposit the arachnid in the wild.
   That’s the short version. There’s usually more of a struggle, with the odd threat to life and limb. If you don’t hear from me again, a spider got me. A spider got me to throw myself carelessly down the effing stairs and the glass shattered across my throat.


The Spider Glass must stay in place on the bookcase, with the warning piece of paper inside. I could write Spider Glass on the paper, warning people off. My heart’s not in it. Besides, I know the purpose served by the glass with the fold of paper inside.
   Readers of this blog who find themselves in my company are forewarned, and need never fear accidentally quaffing a libation from the Spider Glass. There’s a remote chance that a visitor might seize the Spider Glass in a fit of madness and rush to the sink for a thirst-quenching session that takes in whatever invisible spider shit happens to be in the receptacle at the time…
   I, for one, think the possibility unlikely.


Anyway, I’ve freed up wallspace by liberating floorspace, and the films sitting on my bookcases here will soon open their plastic cases and flit, batlike, to a far-off stamping-ground.
   Yes, I know I’ve bought the last of the very last of the last-ever lastest final never-again no more lastestest latestest bookcases. And I’ve hefted them, danced with them, narrowly avoided being butted in the head by them…
   The only difference this time around was the use of an electric screwdriver to cut assembly down to something resembling an aeon.


Every single time a new bookcase arrives, there’s the opporchancity to review the array of books on the old bookcases. Can I finally take that one awkward book and reorganise half a library just to fit the bloody thing upright instead of in that unfortunate yoga position the tome adopted?
   And that is the long answer, as well as the short one. Buying a bookcase isn’t about placing new books on new shelves. It’s all about easing the congestion elsewhere. How long before I reach saturation again?


Sooner than I think, I think.
   I bought a few more digital books this past year. Not many. A few. Book-buying shifted again, into different types of physical book. I bought a lot of rulebooks for boardgames, so that I could run my boardgaming channel on the YouTube…
   Sadly, these slim rulebooks are accompanied by bulky games. There seems no way around that arrangement. (I downloaded a lot of digital rulebooks, read them, and deleted them if I thought the games no good. Saved me a lot of bad purchases.)
   There are no boardgames on bookshelves here in the office. (Okay, there’s once small card game in a bag, perched on a few jazz albums. And a prop statue with a gaming theme. That’s all. Apart from the prop watch. And two parts of a Terminator model from a cheap boardgame. The glue isn’t for use with that model.)
   No boardgames here in this office. (Fifth edition D&D sits on the studio table, but that’s not a bookshelf. And I never use the table as a bookshelf or impromptu storage area between video shoots. Honest.)
   My library is split between three rooms. I could consolidate, and shift all of the fiction and non-fiction books into Library One from Library Two, and then move all of the games out of Library One to form a game library…
   But that means altering the height of adjustable shelves to account for game boxes in one location and altering the height of adjustable shelves to cram more fiction books into place…
   That’s a lot of adjusting. Truth be told, I prefer to wander from one room full of books to another room full of books…


And that means reintroducing the writerly rule. An author’s library is not a library in the conventional sense. Books are not stored alphabetically. They are stored where they damn-well fit in.
   Pauses to think hard about the next bit…
   No, I am fine. I am living carpet-clear now. Books are on shelves, and all is right with the reading world. There was a carpet migration, back in the depths of time. Do not store your books on carpets – store your books on dead trees on top of carpets. The alternative is to stack books freely, and that way madness lies.
   Madness and a peculiar death brought about by a bookalanche triggered on hunting a particularly devious spider. We’ve all been there…we’ve all died like that. And then recovered at the last gasp, also a last grasp, seizing the one piece of stable stone in the place and clinging to it for dear life.
   Spiders, I am informed, never have that problem themselves. It’s a technical thing: they just don’t go around trying to trap humans under glass.

Sunday, 2 December 2018


If you thought book titles were protected under copyright law, you thought wrong. I wrote about this at length in my book on the limits of copyright law, From Russia, with Love.
   Then I did a follow-up piece in Harry Potter and the Shameless Cash-Grab Rip-Off Bogus Tie-In. 
   Available in shoe shops.


Another day, another petty online squabble over shit that was obvious if the squabbler on the squeaky side of the street had bothered to check first.
   Book titles are not protected under copyright law, with an exception I'll shortly stagger to.

AUTHOR ONE: I've written Stacking Vaginas - One Archivist's Quest for Love in the Cutthroat World of Industrial-Strength Shelving.

AUTHOR TWO: (Remains silent. Has already written a bawdy comedy called Stacking Vaginas. This has nothing to do with archival research.)

AUTHOR ONE: (Discovers book with near-identical title.) Holy fuck-shit-balls on a stick with suggestive bells on. I AM FUCKING OUTRAGED AND WILL NOW SHIT-POST THE LIVING HELL OUT OF THIS GOLD-PLATED CLUSTERFUCK. And I'll blame the other author.

INTERNET: Calm thy fucking tits.


Copyright law does not protect ideas - only the presentation of those ideas. I've decided to create a womanising drunk of a man who kicks around in the Royal Navy before embarking on a career as an operator in the glamorous world of spies and large rockets with symbolic meaning.
   Next? I'll keep him so secret that I only refer to him by number. He's 07. How am I doing so far? Andrei Gulyashki tried this just after Ian Fleming's death. 

Old Andrei there tried to cut a deal to make his Bond book official. This KGB-backed approach through a Bulgarian scribbler might have tickled Fleming's fancy as a collaborative project earlier in Bond's literary adventures...
   But Fleming was soured on dealing with people who wanted a piece of Bond, after being dragged through the courts over issues with Thunderball, so this Bond project would've been no-go in Fleming's later life.
   With Fleming's estate protecting the property, that Bond story wasn't going to happen over the author's dead body either. We've had the technicians at GCHQ run the title through every process imaginable, and...
   It seems highly likely that 07 stands for James Bond, 007. One copy on Amazon, a snip at four hundred quid. Used. No reviews.


Back to the original topic. Book titles are not protected by copyright law. However, if a book contains a Trade Mark in the title then that part of the title is afforded a level of protection.
   So be aware of that hidden branch on the forest floor.
   Beyond that, though...
   There is protection against passing off. You can't get away with passing off your work as someone else's. If I write a book called From Russia, with Love, by Ian Flamming, then I am attempting to pass my work off as Ian Fleming's. And that's no-go.
   There are plenty of rip-offs having a go at Harry Potter, and Andrei's stab at the espionage story is a blatant rip-off...but Andrei isn't passing his story off as an Ian Fleming tale - even if 07 is the largest image on that book cover.
   Yes, the difference between rip-off and passing off is a sketchy one at times. Parody is another matter entirely.


Don't infringe a large corporate entity's Trade Mark in your book title: that's a battle of the wallets you'll lose in court.
   Parody a work if you must.
   Rip it right off if that's the limit of your ability. We hope you expand on your ability to the extent that you stop ripping things off.
   Don't pass your work off as someone else's.
   With these things in mind, be aware that there's no copyright in titles. And you are very likely to find other books out there with your title on them. So, yes, run a title search online the moment you come up with a title, and save yourself the hassle.
   And this, yes, this above all else. If something pisses you off, don't run to the internet to whine about it first. Check up, and do your research. Ask people about the regular state of play inside the industry.
   Learn that titles are not unique. And learn that it's a bad idea to run to anti-social media with non-news that someone has ridden the tails of your coat when no such free taxi-service materialised.
   Now I'll expand on this short piece and bundle it in a book. Needs a suitable title. Stacking Vaginas...

Thursday, 1 November 2018


For a minute I considered setting up another blog, to handle boardgame content. Then I reconsidered. With boardgame-themed videos going up regularly, my video outlet is the gaming outlet.
   This is my blog, and I'll talk about whatever I want to. And if I want to, I'll mention gaming here as well. No call for a whole new blog, to handle gaming articles.
   I'll let the blog post titles take care of all that. You'll know from the title if there's gaming in the air.
   Somewhen in the history of the universe, before our planet blows away into the cosmos, I'll post revised rules for a tiny game. And you'll know this from the blog title.
   Frantically checks unpublished blog post.
   Yes, the title is game-related.
   (Discovers there are eighteen unpublished blog posts. Hardly any of those seem remotely publishable. Must work on this problem over coffee. Lots of coffee.)


An extra blog, devoted to gaming, is an extra headache in terms of admin. Too much admin. I chant this by the light of a misty full moon, razorwire cobwebs clinging to doorways, as autumn crystallises into winter.
   A lot of coffee fuels the effort that goes into scripting, filming, editing, and sound editing those gaming videos. Mostly, if I want to say anything about gaming...I'll say what I must in videos.
   All that content goes to YouTube, and I can't justify the admin on creating a gaming blog that I won't post to frequently enough. Game stuff is welcome here. It's simpler to make this simple. Keeping things simple is the complex part.


How are things in gaming-land, and is there honey still for tea? The last two videos (checking game components, and The Raven by Poe) were heavy on sound editing.
   It's possible to script, record, film, edit and sound edit, and publish a video in one day. But I'm taking two to three days to nail the jelly to the wall each time.
   Filming game components took over an hour to furnish the raw camera footage. The rule is brutal: film more stuff than you need, and chop that shit down to fit the audio.
   As much as possible, I script what I want to say. That noble endeavour throws itself on spiked railings after two minutes...
   I'm often forced to go in and paraphrase, drop a forgotten point in, or just damn well scrap the audio and start over, ad-libbing like a maniac let loose in the Louvre with an open pot of purple emulsion.


Now I must away to clear the gaming table for another video. Off goes the giant plastic skull. Farewell, I say, to the more accurate life-size skull. Goodbye to the statues and cheerio to the restaurant frames that hold murder-themed posters.
   It's time to set up the next miniature movie. Lights, camera, action, camera glitch, inaction, darkness...

Monday, 1 October 2018


I'll get to the FUCK ME messages later.
   In my experience, Twitter hasn’t been the place for fraudulent hijinks. Except that one time. I gained a follower who was hard to pin down. This person changed Twitter description and the visuals quite often. I’d see a comment from WORLD HATES MICE and the @TWITTERCRUSH part of the name stayed the same…next to a different image. 
   Who is this? MURDER FRIED DOLPHINS @TWITTERCRUSH (image of strawberries) came in and made a comment. What sort of comment? Oh, dropping into a self-created conversation in mid-flow and wondering what I thought of the matter.
   Being American, and aiming at politics, @TWITTERCRUSH made references to politicians down at county level, and I cared not. Later, finally noticing this Space Cadet (wired to the back end of the moon), I made a point of checking out the main feed.
   I hesitate to describe the account as belonging to the OLD MAN RANTS AT CLOUD school of public discourse, but I don’t hesitate long.
   Easy choice. I dismissed this wave of negativity. No, I didn’t bother unfollowing…I just turned and did something else with my life. (Which I suspect involved coffee.)


Then, one night, a funny thing happened on the way to the Twitter. I received a Direct Message. If you haven’t experienced the Direct Message on Twitter, it’s as useful as a fart in a spacesuit. At least it tells you that your sense of smell is working.
   Regular Tweeps send me Direct Messages of worth. These are rare birds.
   This message was from a semi-random individual with a familiar picture up…and a name I vaguely recalled. We’ll say this was a woman. We are all cats on the internet.
   This woman said hello, and apologised for using a second account…as…gasp, shock, horror…her first account was hacked. I ran checks on both accounts. There they were. Same photo. This meant nothing.
   She was planning a trip to the big city, and her idea was to meet @TWITTERCRUSH. I seemed to have some involvement with the @TWITTERCRUSH account…
   (A lie was told there, surely.)
   On that flimsy basis, was this big city person trustworthy?
   From across the school playground, using the power of Twitter, someone played out a game of MY MATE FANCIES YOUR MATE. WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THAT?
   I think the catfish lurks on the bottom of the pond, waiting to strike.
   Scam e-mail is a thing. Those African Princes don’t fund themselves, y’know. Being from accounts almost exclusively in France, I suspect more than a few African Princes of not being African at all. This is a theme we’ll return to very quickly.
   I’ve only had this one Direct Message in Twitter playing that game. I decided not to play. Instead, I made my excuses and left, reeling off a witty comment about @TWITTERCRUSH and “her” identity. If a man, he was a very lucky man based on his past. How so?
   On regular Twitter posts, @TWITTERCRUSH commented about going to a school that I checked for authenticity…it was an all-girl school with a mostly-black student population. By that, we’re talking 99% of the school.
   On normal Twitter, I knew something was deeply twisted about @TWITTERCRUSH once I noticed the character, so I was running background checks even before I needed to run background checks.
   You always need to run those before you need to. There’s no such thing as normal Twitter.
   Catfish swam away, with a laugh, finding me witty and entertaining. I didn’t bite. But I did look long and hard at @TWITTERCRUSH and associates.
   A world of negativity over there. I did some fishing of my own. One night, I decided on a very public Twitter cull. I started calling out certain types of account as I zapped them one by one. No fucks given, slash and burn, slice and dice, eat shit and die, fuckers.
   The usual suspects.
   I reached for ManageFlitter, and called up the inactive accounts.
   Here’s a media consultant who started the account a year ago. Ten Tweets in all that time. I remembered following media consultant when the account opened. Nothing since then. Zap. Bye. And so on.
   Amazon Best-selling author. I once gained that title and know exactly what it takes to earn the pointless trophy, meaning…I am not impressed. Goodbye, best-selling advertiser.
   Twitter expert. Following fifteen people. Followers 20,000. Hasn’t Tweeted in a month. No loss there. KAPOW.
   I don’t follow these accounts now, so how did they appear then? Overnight an otherwise okay account can add best-selling author to the bio, or during Happy Hour the media pundit slashes the following to immediate family and pets, reducing admin.
   Gone fishin’. I waited to see if @TWITTERCRUSH took the bait. In went the worm, wriggling…I sent the Tweet out…
   Here’s one. Ah. Twitter crush. Gets a pass. But for how long? One Tweet will save that account.


Without naming the account, I moved on and zapped accounts with no profile picture, accounts with no biography, and accounts that were clearly dead. I’m choosy, these days. Though I was choosy, back then.
   My Twitter feed is full of hashtagged coffee Tweets and references to STAR WARS and random stuff. I rarely Tweet my own books out there. I’ve taken to cutting ultra-heavy self-promoting authors as I go along. But, yes, I was still choosy, before.
   It wasn’t long before @TWITTERCRUSH snapped at the bait. “She” checked in, and wondered if “she” should Tweet more often to avoid my cull. Joke. This motherfucker did nothing but Tweet, so was safe from my cull.
   I gave it a week, and started force-unfollowing the scabby accounts around the crush. Hangers-on and like-minded bottom-feeders. Bit by bit, I dismantled a poisonous network built into this Space Cadet’s Twitter activity. No ties to me, as I severed the tentacles. There was one genuine account, and I let that stay.
   Then it was time to remove the offender “herself” – which I did without difficulty. This was a weapons-grade troll, and my gradual actions played out as defusing a bomb. I had no more contact with the crush after that.
   Except, of course, through that one genuine person who was tied to the old network. Years later, seeing a Tweet on that feed, I noticed the @TWITTERCRUSH account still going, but not at the same fast-paced rush.
   The account posted a picture of a black woman and…
   No, come off it, that’s not true.
   The account posted a picture of an old white guy, finally emerging from that all-girl school with a sex-change and quite the palest skin I’ve ever seen on an African-American. Maybe it was the filter on that photo. You know the one. The bullshit one.
   Yes. @TWITTERCRUSH was severely ill, and the account turned robotic. My Twitter crush died. Hashtag sad face.
   This prompted me to check my Twitter settings. Over the length of my Twitter journey, I’ve blocked 30 accounts. They were all fake spam accounts that sprang up for a short irritating period before Twitter clamped down on the wriggly pus-filled worms.
   That’s why there weren’t many of them. And they didn’t show up immediately. Took a wee while for the bots to crawl out of their vats.
   I’ve never blocked an actual person. Bots, yes. No, I’ve never retired a human by mistake.


Why tell this story? I tell stories.
   People tell me their stories about the Direct Message. Those stories involve women and dick pics and pumpkins, oh my! There are hacked accounts, obvious fake identities, backstage author-bashing from authors who never knew better but should know now. (Though they never will.)
   I don’t get any of that. Yes, I mean I don’t receive any of that and I don’t get any of it, either. Meanwhile, in fraudulent e-mail land, I am offered banking upgrades I suspect are financial downgrades.
   My PayPal account has been suspended so many times they went and outlawed hanging. I don’t think I’ll ever get back inside my non-existent Bank of Ireland account. Damn it. How else am I to liberate Sani Abacha’s missing millions?
   I could e-mail strangers for help with the processing fees. Wait, what’s this? An invitation to explore the depths of Lake Toplitz? The only gold to be made out of that scheme is by renting diving equipment to explorers. And as the government keeps a lid on that activity, there’s precious little gold in them thar depths.


So a funny thing happened on the way to this blog post. I had these stats at my fingertips, showing dead accounts. However, I ignored one category - the influential.
   Inactive accounts were easy to spot, right?
   Wrong. There were "influential" accounts that only Tweeted robotically, to avoid being flagged as inactive. That did it. I took a flamethrower to my Twitter and burned...
   The sly fuckers with multiple near-identical Twitter accounts, who followed me at much-delayed intervals...
   Non-bio accounts that had a biography once, long-ago.
   All of those active accounts that generated best-seller status long after the fact...
   Accounts that were accounts on behalf of other accounts...
   Strange accounts that were protected for no discernible reason...
   Advertising accounts pretending to be people...
   Bundled accounts that were all part of the same business...
   And many variations on a theme.
   Flame on.
   I killed a lot of advertisers, about three serial killers, and enough best-sellers to stock a fucking library of trashy airport novels.
   They fell before me like ripe grain before the reaper's scythe. On into the Valley of Unfollow rode the 600. I've never had a massive Twitter audience. That's thanks to aiming for a bit of quality rather than quantity.
   I may fell more Twitter trees by year's end. Or by day's end. Depends on my mood. Hashtag scythe.


And the FUCK ME messages?
   Unfeasibly pneumatic breasts surgically attached to women are now popping up on my screen, thanks to Google fucking Chrome, coinciding with e-mails from similarly-endowed boob robots.
   I put this down to my YouTube channel. Starting that up, I opened another e-mail avenue to the data-skimming automatons out there in the cloud.
   It took a while to notice, as the e-mail is bumped to the rubbish. And my screen doesn't register anything on the right edge - the on-screen notifications are somewhere inside the right border of the TV, where the plastic frame lies.
   Some accounts, useful ones, official ones, are kicked to the rubbish by my e-mail settings. For this reason, I rake through the leaves looking for gold...
   And find the FUCK ME e-mails. I suspect the pop-out pop-ups are in a different resolution now, so a right boob squeezes onto the interface from time to time. Always in lycra. I suspect that's what the boob is made from, too.

Saturday, 1 September 2018


No, I'm not late to this party. I went to the other place, and dropped by here as the dawn rose and the clean-up was well underway.
   The dust settled over the dust that had already settled over this one. That's deliberate. I didn't feel like jumping in feet-first and head very far behind the action when the story crashed into the wild. Here's the long and the short of it...


I wish more authors would read copyright law and cast a glance over trade mark law when deciding to embark on the stormy journey of turning themselves into authors.
   Do you want to be a writer? Read the copyright law covering your jurisdiction. Check out the law in other countries where your work might wash ashore.
   I've been involved in copyright issues as a matter of routine. Occasionally, I've brushed up against copyright's industrious cousin, trade mark law.
   And I've resolved all the issues without recourse to a single court battle.


Before I chased after publishing deals, I made a point of reading copyright law. Scandalous, I know. To think that I'd go and check up on the primary piece of legislation governing the industry I wished to operate in. Yes, BEFORE I sent a manuscript off anywhere.
   What the red wet fuck was I thinking?
   I was thinking...I don't want to be sued over anything, ever. But I definitely don't want to be sued over something that I can easily bring under control - behaviour relating to copyright.
   And that's my behaviour covering my own copyright material as well as my responses to all the other stuff by everyone else and the kitchen sink, too.
   The main copyright law I work under is the 1988 act, amended down the years. But I've looked at the law in other countries and from other time-frames.
   There's nothing in there, or in any of the trade mark acts, letting you smash your stamp down on a generic word like, oh, say, why not choose one at random...the word...
   This sort of nonsense didn't work for the (far from) Fine brothers when they attempted to stamp a trade mark on (PEOPLE) REACT TO videos, and it didn't do Faleena Hopkins any good when she tried her land-grab on the real estate known as the word COCKY.
   You can't make money from putting my work out as your own. I will Liam Neeson your buttocks. Just take out the reference to daughter in that scene and put the phrase my writing there, instead. Copyright law is there for me.
   But as Robert De Niro insists, there's a flip-side to that coin. I can't charge rent from the entire world and half the moon just by grabbing a trade mark to the word COCKY.


If you register a trade mark, don't make a mess of it before you start. The money you spend washes away in the rain of your own tears.
   Not the tears of your lawyers - the legal eagles are paid promptly, after all.
   If you think you've come up with a property that you should be charging everyone rent on, ask yourself this important question: did you bother to read and really attempt to understand the law?
   Even then, professional legal advice is recommended thrice-over.
   Authors should stick to writing stories, and not have endless stories written about their conduct. We all learn that the hard way. Some of those scribblers learn it harder than the rest of us, it seems.
   This purple-faced incident was another of those writerly things boiling away over in the world of the romance books. I list a few romance authors in my group of writer friends, and they rolled their eyes so hard at Faleena's moment of madness that the world almost tremored.
   That tells you everything. And so...
   I don't have anything left to say about Faleena Hopkins and her land-grab over the word COCKY.
   Crank up your search engine and wade into the mire as deep as you dare. Plenty of people are out there in swamp-boats, and they've mapped the hazards in detail.


Read copyright law. When required, read it again. Those acts are amended, after all. Not to the extent that we, as writers, get to camp out over words...waiting for flies to run into the webs we've set up. Hell, no.
   Cast a glance over trade mark law, too.
   I've said it before. Avoid litigation. Instead, create. But I should add...avoid grabbing a word for your own evil purposes. The world will mock you for being too...
   Come on. You didn't think I was going to end with the word cocky...


Tuesday, 21 August 2018


The thing about posting your first YouTube video is that you should post a second one.
   When you post a second one, YouTube sends congratulations on creating a proper channel, doing responsible things, and saving the day. You aren't a one-video wonder.
   That's YouTube progress.
   I went through this before, publishing on Amazon. With my first book published, I closed in on a deadline to put out a second work, and had a deadline beyond that to publish the third one. These deadlines were measured in weeks.
   On YouTube, I had a deadline for my first video, based on a competition. Publish and be damned. I could put out a video more-or-less every week, right?
   These videos are meant to run around ten minutes. Okay, the second one turned into an epic more than double that limit. I'm all for experimentation.
   Learned that from a nutritionist named Frankenstein.

How are things going so far?   
   And that's good.

This first video was cut down to fit inside fifteen minutes. I spent a week navigating my way through, on and off - and that was with a load of equipment to hand. With the unboxing video out of the way, I turned to gaming equipment...

I tightened the scripting process and made my dice tower video in a day. Boom. I felt it important to tell beginners what a dice tower is and why you might want to use one in boardgaming.
   Why not start with a video on dice before discussing dice towers? Well, m'lud, y' see, it's like this...

How to get into this dicey subject? I knew any talk on dice would end up as a long talk on dice. This video turned into a week of effort down in the lab, and couldn't be scripted, filmed, and edited inside a day.
   The battle was to create a video out of the clean-up from the video before. And I struggled to keep that down to half an hour. Editing the hell out of sound as well as vision, the best I managed was dropping the finished product as close to twenty minutes as I could.

You'd think a ten-minute video on content creation would be a quickie, done in a day. But I had to fix a few bits and pieces with a second run of filming.

   These ten-minute videos are all longer than ten minutes. Raggy? Ruh-oh.
   If I can script, film, and edit in one day, then I always have the option of a second stab at filming extra scenes to emphasise a point or to address pacing issues...
   And I'd like to do that second run on the same day. It isn't always possible to stick to the plan. But it's no great failure to return to a project a day later and see what sort of glorious mess you've almost come up with.
   There'll be more videos. Longer videos. Not just game equipment movies or unboxing sagas. There'll be no more unboxing sagas, though. This, I vow.
   Just as I vowed there'd be no unboxing videos on my YouTube channel...
   That went well. What's the first video on there? Sensitive readers, look away now.
   The inevitable Patreon, and Patreon video, must follow. But I've decided I need a good ten videos out there, trying to be helpful to gaming beginners, before I wave the monetary flag.
   And then we'll run into the technical difficulties of actual gameplay. The plan is to run games internationally, from my Top Secret Volcano Base, without being jammed by the Soviets.
   Did I just say Soviets? Must be thinking of a spy boardgame with a Cold War theme to it. Koff koff.

I am dropping hints about future videos in the mini-movies I'm making now. Where is it all leading? That's obvious.

   The channel will play Dungeons & Dragons with Vin Diesel on the Orient Express and then alight for a game of Istanbul in Istanbul, followed by a chilly game of K2...at the foot of K2. Not climbing that one.
   We'll top it off with a quick trip to Mars for a game of Mission: Red Planet. These goals are all easily attainable. Diesel on the Orient Express.

Though we may have to curb Mr Diesel's dice-rolling techniques., to avoid shattering the crockery...

Attainable goals. Turkish coffee in tiny cups. The game has nothing to do with coffee - it's all about rubies. Unless you play the game with the expansion that's all about coffee...

Mountaineering in a game without doing any real mountaineering. Hell, we can throw in caving without going to any caves. Call it a two-for-one deal...

The mission to Mars I am not sure about...that may mean having to travel with Elon Musk. Always a risky proposition. A good anti-fungal cream should see us all through.

Image of Vin Diesel taken from D&Diesel with Vin Diesel, and used here under the copyright doctrines of Fair Dealing and Fair use for purposes of illustration. Click on Vin Diesel to go to that video.

For my video channel, click here...

Wednesday, 1 August 2018


Alchemical procedures concluded, I posted a video on YouTube. That post saw the start of my YouTube channel, featuring videos on tabletop games: equipment, gameplay, random thoughts, and, yes, an unboxing.

RISE OF TRIBES, by Breaking Games, may be the only game to feature in an unboxing video on the channel. We'll call it a first and a last.
   The channel isn't about producing unboxing videos. It's all about telling stories based around games, whether those are boardgames, card games, or roleplaying games.

Still, you must start somewhere. There's a competition to win loot, and a deadline hovers. If you wait around for the perfect moment, you'll never create content. But if you have the rocket of a deadline up your arse, that tends to focus your concentration.

I'll continue with a few game equipment videos after the unboxing. Soon enough, I'll tackle a gameplay video.
   If all goes loosely according to my non-plans, the first game video will be an international event of a piratical nature with Melissa C. Water. We'll play a game in the face of her Tourette-related issues...


Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder might be the trickiest thing to deal with, but I will steer Melissa through a few games in which the problem is lessened.
   Her swearing, from the Coprolalia, shouldn't cause us too much difficulty. YouTube videos are routinely demonetised based on changes in the weather and the letter R in the month.
   Or the word DAY in the day of the week.
   You'd think a video highlighting the difficulties of dealing with Coprolalia wouldn't be demonetised thanks to the swearing, but Melissa has experienced flagging for that.

Filters that flag the word breast affect articles on breast cancer. Think before you blink.
   Tourette is called the Swearing Disease, but it's not true - for 90% of the people with that particular neurological condition.
   We are going to swear in the Tourette videos. Melissa belongs to the glorious 10% of people with Tourette who have the sweary aspect to the condition.
   And I'm Scottish. You can't step outside your door without batting swearwords away with a shitty stick, in Old Scotlandia.


Will Melissa fuckshitbuggerhellyeahsuckitPluto her way through boardgames? Yes. She may end up ruling the Coprolalia Clan in RISE OF TRIBES. And there's nothing wrong in that.

Here's the full video of Melissa on flagging videos...

For the RISE OF TRIBES unboxing video, click the picture below. This takes you to my YouTube channel, which is named after this blog: REPORT FROM A FUGITIVE. (Though, officially, YouTube forced me to name it after myself in the small print.)

Friday, 27 July 2018


Melissa C. Water is helping me gradually close in on the target. There'll be piracy on the high seas in low company. And a good time had by all.
   You can lay to that, shipmates.


My first YouTube video won't be a gameplay example, though. We're still sailing into port across choppy waters on that score. However, the video introduction is done...
   What to expect, in a video dealing with games? Dice, of course. 

There'll be several piratical games in time, so anticipate the arrival of treasure chests. I decided YouTube videos on tabletop games needed a sense of the theatrical. That's when I opted for the use of many props.
   What else to expect, in videos dealing with games? Cards, of course...

I'll make videos on gaming equipment. Cards. Dice. The table. A much-needed cloth. Daggers. Gunpowder. Small quantities of uranium. The usual stuff.
   There'll be games, too. Shocking, I know...

I determined, quite early, that gloves make great props for introducing games thematically. Piratical gloves go well with tales of larceny upon the seven seas, and so on.
   But, as handy tools, gloves are effing useless when it comes to moving game components around. Luckily, I only bought a few different pairs of gloves for the channel.
   They'll be used for effect here and there. No need to stuff a wardrobe full of them. Practicality outbids theatricality in this game, every single time.

Pictured: a still from the unboxing video I am planning to open my channel with. This is a shot of RISE OF TRIBES, by Breaking Games.
   I had a terrible time great fun lifting components out of the box with my awkward cumbersome begloved fingers wonderful atmospheric gloves. Would rather eat glass than attempt that again. Fun times.

Running a game internationally brings a whole host of problems to the gaming table. Fiddling around with counters on the end of gloved hands...isn't going to be one of those problems.
   I will face Tourette-based issues with Melissa C. Water, joining the game all the way from French Canada. We might be interrupted by full-on body tics. Convulsions. They appear epileptic in nature.
   We won't feature in the games as visual players ourselves. The emphasis is on telling a story and capturing game board imagery. The privacy issue, therefore, doesn't come up.
   I wouldn't be publishing footage of Melissa in convulsions anyway. What kind of Sick Space Muppet do you take me for? That leads to another point, though. How much of the audio do we use in the videos?

In my dealings with Melissa (editing her Kindle book), I found that she remained relatively calm when she latched onto a subject of interest to her. Tourette-based behaviour rose in frequency the more she talked about Tourette itself.
   Discussing audio tics, generated by Coprolalia, draws attention to the audio tics and increases the frequency of those sounds.
   I feel we face a vicious downward spiral and a virtuous upward spiral when we speak privately, depending entirely on the topics covered.
   It's my hope that gameplay will be of benefit to Melissa. We'll see. The channel is here to tell stories based around games. Winning and losing are of far less importance. The old adage applies.
   Did you have fun? Then you won.
   As far as audio is concerned, the videos are all going to be edited anyway. This is a real problem with gameplay videos online - lack of editing.
   I'm not going to name names here, or point fingers, and the people involved weren't famous YouTubers or big names in the boardgame side of things anyway.
   But I watched this video waiting for a game to start, and the people concerned were more interested in consuming meals. If I ever make game videos, I vowed, then I am not going to start game set-up with an introductory preamble that involves baking an effing cake.
   (Veering off, I must add this. There's a team out there on YouTube called Sugar High Score. If anyone could do a fascinating gameplay video about baking a cake, they'd take the biscuit.)
   My Bad Pun Detector is broken. Where was I?
   Yes, back to what I was saying about dusty desert-blown game videos. I was stuck with the charge of the pizza brigade. Well, I think it was pizza. Frankly, I'd lost the will to care by that point.
   Edit your nineteen-hour videos, folks.
   I'll do my best to edit out the faffing about. That means the Tourette-based videos face the same treatment. We might be forced to edit the worst tics out. But I might just as easily be forced to edit away the worst fumblings over intransigent game counters. Note to self: gloves are problematic.
   Luckily, Melissa is keen to see where this takes us, and she's game. You kinda have to be game, to game.
   Also, Melissa has a cool piratical gaming bonus...

Melissa C. Water's photos appear by kind permission.