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London GeekMap

Dom (London Loves Comics), Den (YLLALKWAB) and I teamed up to make a map of London geekery. Whether you're in town as a tourist or a native in search of more shopping, this is our personal map of London's geeky treasures: markets, shops, museums & more. 

We've also added our own tips & tricks where we can... what's the fun of discovering something great if you don't get to brag about it?

View London GeekMap in a larger map

I really enjoyed doing this - great opportunity to swap favorites with some other local "experts" in the field of Unified Geekery. Please add comments, suggestions, oversights & omissions!

Also, if any local bloggers & geekish experts want to contribute, contact me with names & cities. 

Underground Reading: The Black Satin Jungle by Bart Frame

The Black Satin JungleThe Black Satin Jungle (1953) is a vaguely exotic behind-the-scenes expose of the fashion business. Originally titled "Indiscretions of a French Model", the book is heavy on the indiscretions and light on the modeling. 

Our heroine is Louise, a young, French woman who comes over the the US to marry her American soldier. Upon arrival, she discovers that the streets aren't paved with cheese - in fact, her husband is an ass and her in-laws are rude, drunk, smelly and perverted. The best of them - her brother-in-law - is a lazy blackmailer. 

Fortunately, Louise is a knockout. 

She flees the cheese-less slums and moves in with a dumpy (and therefore completely uninteresting) friend who works in the fashion industry. Dumpy friend gets Louise a walk-on as a lingerie model, and everything starts looking up.

Louise soon learns that, in progressive 1953, women that professionally model "sexies" for out-of-town businessmen are shockingly asked to do more than pose. She very firmly toes the line for an entire calendar week - almost two - but peer pressure and cognac combine to lead her down the path of debauchery. A little debauchery (fun!) leads to a lot of self-loathing (boring!), but Louise soon learns to temper her self-disgust with a lot of drunken sexual escapades, so the book's entertainment value never suffers.

Continue reading "Underground Reading: The Black Satin Jungle by Bart Frame" »

Art Spiegelman @ Kansas City, 1996ish

Art Spiegelman Finding this image reminded me of an Art Spiegelman reading/signing in Kansas City, over a decade ago (yikes).

The occasion was UMKC's annual Cockefair Lecture. Given the lecture's history of getting big name speakers, the crowd consisted of Ladies Who Lunch and me (wide-eyed and clutching my sister's copy of Maus).

Spiegelman promptly shocked the bejeezus out of everyone by giving a fantastic, forty-five minute lecture about all the New Yorker covers he'd done that got banned. With illustrations. 

For the first five minutes, the audience was pearls and horror. For the last forty, they were eating out of his hand.

A great start.

Spiegelman then proceeded to do three things that, even as a fledgling signing-snob, absolutely blew me away:

1) He signed everything. With little sketches for each. No limits. He was as patient and as friendly as anyone could imagine.

2) He never sat down. In fact, when various handlers tried to find him a chair, he waved them off, saying that it would be "rude for him to sit with people standing to see him".

3) He stayed put. When more handlers came to move him along to his next engagement, he refused to go, as people were still waiting in line. "You have a flight!" "I have people in line!" was the exact conversation.

Mr Spiegelman, you are a fine artist and a brilliant signer.

Underground Reading: Contract by Simon Spurrier

ContractContract (2007) is the story of Michael Point, who, by his own admission isn't particularly smart, funny or wise. However, Michael does have an impressively absent set of moral values - he's in it for the money. A talented social predator, he also understands how to make himself noticed or unnoticed, to get laid or to be ignored. 

His predatory cunning and mercenary ethics all add up to one profession: a hitman.

And he's very good at it.

In fact, Michael is so good at killing that he's been recruited by a mysterious group called "The Choir" to do a series of hits. The prize is immense, but they're high-profile and, more importantly, messy. The dead? They keep coming back. 

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New Releases: The Splendid Magic of Penny Arcade by Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins

6a00d8345295c269e2012876e54a9b970c-320wiI'm probably one of the rare few geeks on the internet that doesn't regularly follow Penny Arcade. I tried, briefly, in college (didn't we all?), but, even then, I was already behind on my video game references.

Still, regular reader or not, it is impossible to avoid the influence of Jerry and Mike (or Tycho and Gabe). 

Over and above a website read by 3.5 million people a day, they've created one of the premiere gaming conventions (PAX) and even inspired a video game. They're always at the front line of geeky causes - from founding a charity (Child's Play) to battling Crazy Jack Thompson. Read 'em or not, the pair are unavoidable.

The Splendid Magic of Penny Arcade recounts their 11.5 year journey from launch to now. 

Continue reading "New Releases: The Splendid Magic of Penny Arcade by Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins" »