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100th Post: Reflecting on Nearly 3 Years

It’s really surprising to see that I started this blog nearly three years ago. And to find that this is my 100th post. Have I really had that many interesting things to say?! Excuse the self-indulgence here, then, as I look back at what’s changed since my very first blog post on 30th April 2010. (In no particular order…)

1. I’m now a freelance writer.
2. I’ve interviewed Matt Smith. (I know; I haven’t said anything about this massive event on this blog yet. But stay tuned!)

Matt and Moffat

3. I launched the Make Mine A Marvel Omnibus site in October 2010.
4. I had my first article printed in Real Travel magazine.
5. I work for the Doctor Who site, Kasterborous.
6. Amy and Rory left the TARDIS last year. (Don’t press me on the matter; I’m still a bit teary.)
7. I have an FdA in Professional Writing. (You can read more about that course here.)
8. Spooks has finished. (Thank God for DVDs!)
9. I’ve started my first novel.
10. I’ve written for the Weston College Higher Education Prospectus.
11. I did the web copy for Lovarzi’s Fourth Doctor Scarf for both their own website and Amazon.

doctor-who-scarf-4

12. As well as doing the official press release!
13. I’ve started my first children’s book.
14. The Amazing Spider-Man reached #700.
15. I’ve worked for Kasterborous’ sister site, CultBritannia (and you can read my first article here.)
16. I’ve learnt how to add videos to my blog!
17. I wrote The British Comedy Guide’s 10th anniversary celebratory article of The Office.
18. I’ve started a few scripts…
19. … And am searching for an agent.

Armstrong and Miller Guide2Bristol review

Armstrong and Miller Guide2Bristol review

20. I reviewed the Armstrong and Miller Tour for Bristol247
21. … And for Guide2Bristol.
22. The latter of which has been quoted on the official A&M website!
23. I copy-edit regularly for Kasterborous.
24. I reviewed the Day of the Daleks: Special Edition DVD for Kasterborous in two parts (here and here).
25. Then reviewed it for ItchyBristol here.
26. I’ve ran two blog advents across December 2011 and 2012.
27. I’ve worked on four Doctor Who ReKapped articles (learn more about that here), with another one in the works.

A Town Called Mercy 3

28. Clara Oswin Oswald has joined the TARDIS (sort of).
29. Neil Armstrong has passed away.
30. And so has Sir Patrick Moore.
31. The Killers have released a new album, Battle Born (and you can read a review of their single, Runaways here).
32. Avengers Assemble! has been released.
33. My review of the Doctor Who graphic novel, The Dalek Project went online here.
34. I’ve contributed two features to the upcoming Kasterborous Magazine (stay tuned for that).
35. Ray Bradbury has died.

The Illustrated Man

36. I’ve joined Twitter!
37. I’ve reviewed the last episode of Sherlock, The Reichenbach Fall, for Cult Britannia.
38. I have worked in a shop, Giggs, during the Christmas 2011 period – a shop which has since gone bust! (Nothing to do with me, I might add.)
39. I’ve read countless books – and you can see my top 10 reads of 2012 here.
40. Two episodes of 1960s Doctor Who have been found!
41. I reviewed Mission to the Unknown for Kasterborous’ Doctor Who@50.
42. The Gunfighters too! (And that’s certainly not the last of my involvement in the project.)
43. I created the Introducing: Doctor Who series for Kasterborous.

The Gunfighters 4

44. Doctor Who Confidential has been axed. (And was voted the best show ever on BBC3. Typical.)
45. I previewed Forbidden Planet’s Doctor Who Fun Day for ItchyBristol.
46. And in a short piece for The Mercury.
47. And finally for Bristol 247.
48. … For whom I also reviewed it.
49. The price of a 1st class stamp has increased to 60p.
50. I reviewed Lovarzi’s Fourth Doctor Scarf.
51. I write a regular column, Bristol Comics Corner, for Guide2Bristol.
52. Death in Paradise debuted on BBCOne.
53. Tuition fees increased, with a cap at £9,000.
54. … Something which I argued against in this Bristol247 article.
55. Brandon Flowers released his first solo album, Flamingo, and I reviewed it here.
56. I was thanked for my article about Jack Vettriano’s Bristol exhibition.

Vettriano on the Bristol247 homepage

Vettriano on the Bristol247 homepage

57. I previewed the Slapstick Festival in 2011.
58. I created my own website, using Moonfruit…
59. Then deleted it, as I wasn’t happy with the inability to update.
60. The Dandy ceased publication. (Read my article on that here.)
61. I’ve submitted an article to the Doctor Who book, Celebrate, Regenerate.
62. The Doctor Who Experience opened in London –
63. – Then moved to Cardiff.

JLC dress and Dalek

64. I reviewed Mack the Life, Lee Mack’s autobiography, for The British Comedy Guide.
65. I interviewed comic writer and artist, Jerry Holliday.
66. The Ice Warriors have been confirmed to return in the second half of Doctor Who, Series 7.
67. The world didn’t end on 21st December 2012. (Always a good thing, I find.)
68. The Bristol Comic Expo returned to Brunel’s Old Station.
69. I previewed the 2012 Expo here.
70. And reviewed it here.
71. The James Bond film franchise hit the big 5-0.
72. My former tutor, Marc Leverton, who’s a freelance writer, has written a guest blog post about his experience of publishers.

How To - Journalism

73. A review of his book, How to work as a Freelance Journalist, can be read here.
74. Steven Moffat has left Twitter. (Again, nothing to do with me!)
75. I’ve seen Steven Moffat at the Doctor Who Experience!
76. Sherlock burst onto television in July 2010.
77. I’ve helped Kasterborous begin their 50th anniversary celebrations with monthly Introduction articles.
78. January’s was Frontier in Space.
79. And this month’s is Vengeance on Varos.

Frontier 3

80. Tying into this, my editor called a second Frontier in Space piece I wrote one of the best articles the site has ever published. A massive compliment. You can read The World Behind: Frontier in Space here.
81. I reviewed Lee Mack’s Going Out live tour for Guide2Bristol
82. … And Bristol247!
83. I’ve visited the National History Museum for the first time.
84. Colin Baker appeared on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!
85. My article, Room with a View?, was the most-viewed article on Kasterborous in 2012!
86. I’ve begun work on a number of non-fiction books – but researching is a long task!
87. I reminisced on the anniversary of Matt Smith’s debut as the Doctor, Karen Gillan as Amy and Arthur Darvill as Rory here.
88. And celebrated Matt’s Doctor here.

The 11th Doctor

89. I’ve started a short story collection.
90. My jewellery article, With This (Time) Ring…, was surprisingly popular, making the Kasterborous top 10 list of the most-viewed articles of 2012.
91. I looked at the top 10 guest stars in the Tenth Doctor era here and here.
92. I’ve started reading the Sherlock Holmes novels by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
93. T4 On The Beach (held in my hometown) has been cancelled.

David Tennant

94. I’m working on a particularly-exciting documentary idea – though it’s only in development in my head at the minute!
95. I’ve seen Peter Kay live at Manchester’s M.E.N. Arena.
96. Parts of Doctor Who: The Snowmen were filmed in Bristol, as were bits of Night Terrors.
97. I previewed tours by Micky Flanagan, Ed Byrne and Stewart Francis for my local newspaper, The Weston and Worle Mercury.

Micky Flanagan Mercury preview

Micky Flanagan Mercury preview

98. I’ve seen the asteroid, 2012 DA14!
99. I’ve added a new section to my blog: Testimonials.
100. I’ve written 100 posts!

But don’t go anywhere. This is just the start.

Thanks for sticking with me this long.

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Doctor Who Reviews: The Dalek Project; Fourth Doctor Scarf

Any followers of my blog will know that I’ve been a busy bee doing some PR for Lovarzi’s Doctor Who scarf. (And if you didn’t know that, you can do your research here.)

I happily received a scarf as part of my fee, and proudly displayed it where no one could see it, so it’ll avoid getting damaged. Naturally. Hey, I’m a fan, first and foremost – and a worrying, pernickety one at that.

But I still put it on, because I’m only human. Plus it gave me chance to do a review for the Doctor Who website I write for.

You can read the review here. And here’s a brief snippet. Ooh, I’m a tease.

“The colours are wonderfully bright, and as it’s 100% Acrylic, the scarf’s resistant to fading caused by sunlight (a massive relief for dedicated fans), as well as some oils, chemicals and, somehow, even moths!”

A big perk of working for Kasterborous is I get some special privileges that others might not. I’ll elucidate on this at another time, but I recently received a review copy of the new Doctor Who graphic novel, The Dalek Project.

You can read my review here, and, again, here’s a sneaky preview:

“There are quite a few new Dalek designs, all impressive, with very effective reveals. Two spoilerific models are particularly cool, channelling the ‘steampunk’ feel. There are some brilliant visuals, especially when a few Daleks emerge from the ground, and there’s a scene that’ll take readers back to that surreal cliffhanger in The Dalek Invasion of Earth.”

Finally, if you hover over my ‘portfolio’ tab, then click on ‘Introducing: Doctor Who,’ you’ll find a newly designed page, which I’ve been mulling over for a while now. Let me know what you think in the comments section of this post.

 
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Posted by on November 29, 2012 in PR, Published work

 

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Review: The Killers – Runaways

It’s been over two years since The Killers announced they were going on hiatus at the end of their Day & Age Tour, but the band is back with Runaways, their first non-Christmas single since 2009’s A Dustland Fairytale.

To some, it may not seem like nearly four years since Day & Age was released, with three Christmas singles available to download – and proceeds going to charity, Product Red – a concert on the White House’s South Lawn as part of 2010’s Independence Day celebrations; and a few solo efforts. But to their die-hard fans, it’s been forever since their last album. So what’s comeback single, Runaways, actually like?

The band’s decision to release a song that both echoes the past and the future is a clever move; Runaways is reminiscent of their second album, Sam’s Town, and sums up their style perfectly, while lead singer, Brandon Flowers, has told Billboard that it “definitely has a couple of ‘brothers’ on [upcoming album, Battle Born].” It certainly appeals to the fans who’ve longed to hear that familiar Killers vibe again, as they continue their pop-inspired rock anthems.

A gentle beginning harks back to Flowers’ own hit-single, Crossfire – even though Runaways was apparently written before it – while others have likened it to their last release, The Cowboys’ Christmas Ball; Runaways certainly runs in the same vein of these fun-but-beautiful songs (and I think I heard a bit of Brandon’s Swallow It in there too!).

Never shying away from their influences, The Killers’ tale of a doomed marriage is akin to Springsteen’s Born to Run. The synth-feel of Day & Age is also represented in the keyboard backing – but much of it is drowned out by the elating heartbeat that builds up through the chorus, a drumbeat vibrating like the road markings glimpsed in the video (directed by Warren Fu).

There are lots of memorable lines for fans to sink their teeth into – I swore on the head of our unborn child that I could take care of the three of us/ But I got the tendency to slip when the nights get wild – proving that Brandon’s skill with crafting layered, heart-felt lyrics is just as good as when Somebody Told Me and Mr. Brightside hit the radio in 2004.

Runaways initially seemed a bit like Marmite, but many opinions have changed into something very favourable – readers of Rolling Stone magazine even chose it as the best song of the summer – so maybe it’s a bit of a ‘grower.’ Certainly after two or three listens, the epic beat and smooth lyrics will be bleeding into your head.

If it is Marmite, I know which side I’m on.

 
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Posted by on July 30, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Review: Sherlock – The Reichenbach Fall

Sherlock may have finished, but the internet has been set alight with theories on how the Consulting Detective survived The Reichenbach Fall.

Far be it from me to take wild stabs in the dark, but I have been writing about the incredible show for Cult Britannia, a site run by my Kasterborous editor, Christian.

My biggest challenge was reviewing the final episode. You can read it here.

Elvis lives in the Mind Palace.

It was tough, and I felt a bit of pressure – though none from Christian – after the reviews of A Scandal in Belgravia and The Hounds of Baskerville.

Plus, it’s such a brilliant show. Hard to do it justice. I’m very happy with the end result, though.

"Well, that was tedious."

And just before that, a news item on The Daily Mail giving away Sherlock DVDs… and how it’s a bit of a rip-off!

I plan to work for Cult Britannia again soon – and hopefully, we won’t have too long to wait for series three!

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2012 in Published work

 

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50th Post: 2011 in review

Happy New Year, everybody! I hope you enjoyed the festive season.

WordPress.com has prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog, so feel free to check it out when you have a moment…

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,200 times in 2011. If it were a cable car, it would take about 20 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

I’ve been really pleased with the site stats this year; I don’t expect much traffic as this is, essentially, a personal blog, advertising me as a writer – though I do try to add entertaining and informative posts whenever I can.

I just want to say a huge thank you to anybody who had ever ‘liked’ or ‘tweeted’ a post, or left a comment.

But in particular, thank you to all my subscribers. It’s hugely appreciated.

…And don’t forget to follow me on Twitter (@prbates36), and look at my other blog, Make Mine A Marvel Omnibus: marvelomnibus.wordpress.com.

Thanks!

 
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Posted by on January 7, 2012 in Unpublished work

 

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Day of the Daleks

I don’t normally get the Classic Doctor Who DVDs immediately after they come out. As a student, with limited funds, I tend to wait until they’re a tenner over at HMV, but when the Doctor Who Appreciation Society offered Day of the Daleks for £20 – signed by three of its cast! – I just couldn’t help myself.

And I’m so glad I got it so quickly.

Firstly, it’s a great story. Nestled at the start of series nine (1972), it’s a timey-wimey tale of a group of guerrillas arriving from a bleak future to assassinate a delegate at the second World Peace Conference – in order to stop a Dalek invasion!

Secondly, alongside the original transmitted version, there’s a Special Edition, with brand new effects, scenes, and Dalek voices by Nick Briggs, voice of many-a-modern-day Who monster!

The Special Edition is amazing, really adding to the strong performances and plot.

And finally, it gave me the chance to write some reviews for Kasterborous and ItchyBristol.

Here’s the ItchyBristol one, which had to be relatively short to fit in with its surroundings. Even so, I think I managed to get in quite a bit of detail, and I’m pleased with the final piece:

http://www.itchycity.co.uk/article.cfm/25/9579/City-City-Guide/article/Day-of-the-Daleks-Special-Edition-DVD

One of the big benefits of Itchy is that the by-line is, in fact, a link… to this very blog! So if you’ve been directed here by that – Hello, and thanks for reading my work!

I’ve further explored the DVD for Kasterborous, and huge thanks must go to Christian, my editor, for giving me the chance to delve deeper into the tale. I felt that I needed to include as much detail about the serial and special features as possible, especially as Kasterborous has such a loyal following that its readers want that sort of depth. They know Doctor Who intimately. So it’s imperative to cater for this.

Though it was quite a challenge, I really enjoyed fully reviewing all aspects of the DVD, and I’m very pleased with the two articles, which can be found here:

Part One:

http://www.kasterborous.com/2011/10/day-of-the-daleks-special-edition-1/

Part Two:

http://www.kasterborous.com/2011/10/day-of-the-daleks-special-edition-2/

I hope you enjoy them. As always, any feedback is always appreciated.

And don’t forget: it’s Day of the Daleks Month over at Kasterborous (http://www.kasterborous.com/2011/11/day-of-the-daleks-month/), so if you want to discuss the story or any elements of it, get over to their forum now.

 
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Posted by on November 11, 2011 in Published work

 

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I work for Kasterborous now. Kasterborous is cool.

The Doctor, The Pandorica Opens: “Hello, Stonehenge! Who takes the Pandorica, takes the universe! But, bad news, everyone, ’cause guess who! Ha! Listen, you lot! You’re all whizzing about. It’s really very distracting. Could you all just stay still a minute, because I. Am. Talking!

Now the question of the hour is, “Who’s got the Pandorica?” Answer: I do. Next question: Who’s coming to take it from me? Come on! Look at me! No plan, no back-up, no weapons worth a damn! Oh, and something else I don’t have: Anything. To. Lose! So, if you’re sitting up there in your silly little spaceships, with all your silly little guns, and you’ve got any plans on taking the Pandorica tonight, just remember who’s standing in your way! Remember every black day I ever stopped you! And then, and then…! Do the smart thing: Let somebody else try first.”

Thanks to this blog (and my reviews of The Doctor Who Fun Day), I’m now a regular contributor to Kasterborous, a Doctor Who fansite which I’ve visited every day since I found it – hey, I love my Doctor Who!

It’s quite exciting for me, actually; I’ve wanted to write for Who since I first saw it, and this feels one step closer. Just to prove I know what I’m on about and to entertain and inform like-minded people is brilliant, and I’ve produced quite a body of work for them, though I’ve only been a contributor since July.

It’s also great to talk to and work with my editor, Christian, so thanks to him for being supportive, understanding and generally just a great guy.

My ongoing articles are listed here:

http://www.kasterborous.com/author/prbates/

Scroll through; I hope you like them all, and if anyone has any advice or feedback, please feel free to leave a comment.

Here’s a link to my first article, Fiver for Six, which was a fairly standard affair, but it’s set me on the right track:

http://www.kasterborous.com/2011/07/fiver-for-six/

Okay, so which article – so far! – am I most proud of? Well, this is a bit of a surprise to me, but it’s probably Eleventh Heaven, which got a fantastic response from readers:

http://www.kasterborous.com/2011/10/eleventh-heaven/

I’ve never done anything like it before, but as long as the readers – and Christian – are happy, then I’m happy too. And it was so hard. Why? I don’t know. Maybe because it’s impossible to narrow down exactly why Matt Smith is my Doctor. Maybe not. I dunno.

Either way, I hope you like what I’m doing. ‘Cause I do.

 
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Posted by on October 22, 2011 in Published work

 

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