East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


The comfort of strangers

It’s been rough going these last two months, and it’s not over yet.
I’m pushing myself to keep writing and putting together ideas, because it’s either keep moving or die, and yet I’m once again going through one of my bouts of black moods.

In particular, I’m somewhat tired of failing repeatedly in learning from past errors, especially where evaluating other people comes into play.
If I were as good at picking the right horses as I am in trusting the wrong people, I could make a living at the racetrack.

And yet there is an up side, and it’s the fact that in these two months, as people took a bad turn for a number of reasons and old friends and connections vanished or turned out to be more than willing to move to Cold Shoulder County, I was also treated, again and again at the kindness of strangers, receiving a helpful hand from distant acquaintances.

So I can’t really say I’m losing my faith in humanity – I am not, because humanity is great as always. Maybe it’s the slice of humanity I kept close that’s not that great.

Anyway – I’m wasting a lot of time, and I should be working on a thousand different projects.
But we’ll get out of this pit yet.

Meanwhile, some good music to close this dreary Sunday.

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Radio Karavansara #5: Work in progress

Yesterday I shared a few photos from the documentation phase of my current work in progress – and I said I was also patching together a sort of soundtrack, as I usually do when writing my major projects.
And considering today’s been a good day, I was able to take two hours off around lunchtime (who needs to eat anyway) to put together a proper soundtrack as an episode of Radio Karavansara

As the book will be set in New York’s Greenwich Village in the early ’50s (unless the publisher asks me to move it to San Francisco in the 60s, of course, or whatever), this is mostly classic jazz, with a few modern things thrown in for variety.
But this reflects the mood of the story I have in mind, and also the personality of a few of the characters.
I hope you’ll like it.

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Translations, monitors, contracts and a long walk

It’s been a long rainy day. I started this morning working on a translation (a screenplay for an animation series), then had to go and dig out an old monitor from storage when my brother’s monitor died, then finally got the counter-signed contract I had been waiting for … now the wait for the advance to arrive (and it will be never too soon … we need to buy a new monitor).

So, all in all, it’s been a busy day, waiting for tonight when we’ll start playing my new campaign.
Also, our regional governor decided we need a curfew, so no circulation between 11 pm and 5 am – and so our plans for a last dinner at Casablanca’s with our friends fizzed.

BUT, despite all that’s been going on, I was still able to catch a movie, and the good news is, you can watch it too, on Youtube.
Here is the trailer…

I watched it at lunch break, and it was a beautiful – if sometimes dramatic – experience.

More things tomorrow.
Now I’m off to dinner, and then to polishing my dice…

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Radio Karavansara # 4: Aeon Trinity

In about 24 hours I will start a new roleplaying campaign, playing online a game of Trinity – the science fiction RPG originally published in 1997 by White Wolf as Aeon. The game was just re-issued with a new engine as part of the Trinity Continuum by Onyx Path, but we’ll be playing the old ruleset and universe.

And as I have always done with Trinity, I’ve been sketching the campaign while listen to some music – and so I decided to prepare a sort of soundtrack, and put it up on Mixcloud.
Will my players (and my readers) appreciate it?
I do not know.
In case you are interested, it’s here…

And now, off to draw some pre-rolled characters.

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Radio Karavansara #3: Imaginary Girls

Nothing particularly clever for this new episode of Radio Karavansara, only a roundup of Imaginary Girls – some of them, like Sara, have been with me since my days in high school, others, like Gosport Nancy, are recent acquaintances. One of them, Lola, caused me no end of problems with my friends in university (and today would probably get J.K. Rowling’s knickers in a twist), and as for Pandora, she is a character in a few of my stories.

And because I did not feel like causing any embarrassment for the ladies, I have refrained from adding my voice to the transmission. I am sure no one will miss it – me least of all.

Enjoy the show, let me know what you think of the girls if you feel like, and stay safe out there!

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A little jazz for the young ones

I’m taking a moment to post about something I’ve just found out and it’s incredibly fun, and intelligent, and good.
In a nutshell: a bunch of musicians and youtubers (or youtube musicians, or something), got together to create a record of arrangements of classic children tunes, injecting in them all kinds of jazz goodness – off rhythms, key changes, triplets and quintuplets and what else.

The end result is a strange beast, a record of children songs that are also fun to listen to for grown-ups.

I started listening to jazz – properly listening to jazz, that is – with Dave Brubeck, and therefore I was spoiled for odd time signatures and exotic arrangements.
Thsi collection might be a good way to start the young ones on a strange musical journey they’d probably enjoy.

And all proceeds go to Save the Children UK, so you know you are helping a good cause.