Computer Weekly’s print title ends

Thinking about Print: Computer Weekly’s print title ends

Found out today that Computer Weekly magazine – a UK business journal that ran for over 45 years – is being sold.

While the company’s web site operations will remain the shutter will close on the print publication.

I worked at the magazine for just over a year. Walking into the newsroom and on your immediate right was a framed press cutting of a UK paper talking about the moon landing (1966 – the same year the magazine launched).

The magazine was a product of its time and chronicled the modernisation of offices through the proliferation of computers.

It’s ironic that the continued proliferation of computers in the office, as well as the home, would ultimately give rise to the web-first preference for news, which itself has seen the end of print titles in general across the industry.

In Computer Weekly’s print title heyday, arguably the late nineties to 2000, it was a magazine that could not be beat.

I remember reading features that were so ahead of the curve in thought, so well presented and with top notch art direction, that even if you weren’t interested in computers you would come away after reading a four-page spread with an education.

Although hundreds of sites are now available to get news, I have seen none reproduce the quality of editorial Computer Weekly had in its print title.

The focus for web remains velocity and interaction, whereas the focus of the weekly print title was authority and thoughtfulness.

Are the two ideals at odds simply because one is on a web site and one is printed in ink? As news production goes, I’d argue yes.

Audience also must be considered.

Computer Weekly’s print readership were predominately over 40s. These were people who grew their careers alongside Computer Weekly and were likely into the habit of buying a daily newspaper.

But facing a next generation of readership who haven’t grown up with the title, and who don’t buy a newspaper habitually, will the online version of the title really be their first port of call?

Computers form so much of our lives these days and facilitate so much commerce that the closure of the print title leaves a vacuum that will only be filled by generic consumer electronic articles about the launch of the ipad 2 and facebook privacy scandals.

Visibility about the technology that runs our world slips back into the shadows and the end user goes on clicking the “Next” button at the install screen, unaware of how his silicon soul is being tampered with or by whom.

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posted by JP at 9:41 pm  

DVD Review: The Door

DVD Review: The Door (dir. Anno Saul, Germany 2009)
The Door (2009)

What if Alfred Hitchcock directed a version of Dr Who?

Or perhaps even an episode of the Twilight Zone?

The result would probably resemble German thriller The Door, which mixes Hitchcock-like suspense with a clever time-travel plot.

The film follows Mads Mikkelsen‘s character, David, whose life spirals out of control after the death of his daughter.

A failed suicide attempt leads David to a door that takes him to five years into the past where he is able to prevent the death of his daughter and begins to live the life he could have had.

But, as is this case with most doors, they work two ways and when David discovers he is not the only person to seize the opportunity of travelling back in time, the film becomes a thriller about him maintaining cover as well as the family he never should have had.

The Door is a great example of an adult fairytale and follows in the footsteps of films like The Orphanage.

At its core, the film is a story about how adults cope with grief and the lengths they (or anyone else would go to) to get a second chance.

It’s coupled with an ingenious plot that keeps you guessing and yet remains believable at a human level.

Mads Mikkelsen, who’s previous credits include playing the main villain in Casino Royale, is convincing as a man desperate for a second chance and switches seamlessly to a rogue protecting his own dark secrets with ease.

If you enjoyed films like The Orphanage or The I Inside, or you’re in the mood for a darker more modern take on The Twilight Zone, then open up a copy of The Door which is available to buy from Amazon from April 18.

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posted by JP at 1:23 am  

New Horror Comic – free download

New Horror Comic – free download

Clearing up my hard drive I found this old story from way back in 2006.

It’s all-silent and in black and white but I think it gets the point over.

Click the pic to download.

London Horror Comic - free horror comic download

Web of Life – pdf approx 1Mb

Edit: Just a quick note to say that London Horror Comic will be attending the Kapow Comic Con in London April 9-10, 2011.

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posted by JP at 7:22 pm  

London Comic and Small Press Expo 2011 – round up

London Comic and Small Press Expo 2011 – round up

jp kamath at London Comic & Small Press Expo 2011

The show marked a return for me to the convention circuit after a few years and I’m glad I went.

There’s just a buzz about being in a room with like-minded creators who have also been up the night before getting all their materials ready.

Not that you’d know it from the looks on their faces. When the doors opened at 10am at Goldsmiths Univeristy, there was enough collective nervous energy in the room to get right to the business of selling.

But not a hard sell. The cool thing about the show was that it was large enough to accommodate a large breadth and range of work, while at the same time giving readers and passers-by time to talk to exhibitors.

What’s reassuring as a creator is to meet people that want to see diverse pieces of work. As pieces of work go, I was desk bound but I have to give a special mention to one piece of work I picked up.

Afterhours is a short black and white mini-comic by Laura N Tamara and it’s one of the best horror/romance stories I’ve read this year.

Drop by her website and ask her for a copy. She accomplishes more in 12 pages then some people do in 32.

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posted by JP at 10:29 pm  

Caged Review

DVD Review: Caged (dir. Yann Gozlan, 2010)

Caged [2010]

Caged is an odd mongrel.

It’s a horror film that switches between Wrong Turn, then becomes Hostel before finally sprinting for the end credits a la Texas Chainsaw.

Every time you think you have the movie pegged it becomes another film.

This isn’t normally a bad thing – if pulled off skilfully the technique can delight and keep the viewer guessing.

But with Caged the constant switching makes for a disjointed film.

The lack of coherency is made more noticeable by the fact that the central story lacks any substance.

Whilst on a humanitarian mission a team of three doctors are kidnapped and tortured by a group of criminals and have to find a way to escape their captors.

The lead female role has a fear of dogs from childhood, orignating when she couldn’t save her friend from an attack. At some point in the film she has to confront a pack of dogs to make good her (and a captive child she encounters, who incidentally represents a second chance at saving the friend she never did back when she was young) escape.

It’s almost like the film-makers have bolted on a story to a plot with neither working together to produce effective scares.

With characters and their relationships weakly fleshed out, it’s hard to stay interested, regardless of the film persona Caged adopts.

As the film keeps genre hopping, you get the sense that this is less due to a creative choice but more to extend the film to fill the 84 minutes run time.

Caged is available to order from Amazon UK from April 4

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posted by JP at 11:52 pm  

Superhero

An end to boom and bust?
From comicbookresources.com:
February was the fourth worst month for comic book sales since Diamond first started releasing final order information back in March 2003. It also set a new record low for the top selling item on the comic book list.

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posted by JP at 9:31 pm  

London Horror Comic @ London Comic & Small Press Expo

London Horror Comic @ London Comic & Small Press Expo

You may have noticed the appearances tab on the right.

Yep, you read right. I’ll be emerging out of my cave for a few conventions this year.

First up is the London Comic & Small Press Expo 2011 which takes place Saturday March 12th 10am-5pm at Goldsmiths University, New Cross, London.

Pop down and say hello if you’re down.

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posted by JP at 12:40 am  

Early works of london horror comic now online to read

Early works of london horror comic now online to read

Before the print edition of the London Horror Comic came out I published several on-line short stories.

You can view three of them for free here.

These comics were in black and white only and were all-silent.

The themes they explore are less about werewolves and zombies and more about the horror you find living in big cities.

They are presented here free for your enjoyment and may be collected as part of a special print edition one day.

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posted by JP at 7:11 pm  

Comic book review: Nothing’s the matter by Christopher Reeve

Comic book review: Nothing’s the matter by Christopher Reeve

Beautiful object. There’s two words you don’t hear too often in comics.

And yet a beautiful object is exactly what’ll you pick up if you read Nothing’s the matter by Christopher Reeve.

The book is a hefty bugger weighing in at 260 pages, glossy stock and a wonderfully tactile eggshell cover. And at £6.99 it’s a slab of story you can afford to take a chance on.

The book is presented as hand-written prose against sequential art. It’s almost like reading a diary and sketch book at once and the story-telling complements the production values of the book.

The unfolding story concerns a young businessman, Hamblin, who’s frustration with his job causes him to move to France and begin work as an artist and where he meets romantic interest Blanche.

The work has shades of Bret Easton Ellis – darkly comical in places, self-aware and spirals of introspection which start one place and lead you to another as well as brief explanations of demand and supply side economics.

The book is refreshing and makes you want to keep turning the page not because you want to discover what happens next, but rather what thoughts will be revealed through the eyes of the main character.

The fact that the thoughts between each page are so vivid and different keeps the book alive and warrants multiple readings.

You can pick up a copy of Nothing’s the matter from Amazon UK.

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posted by JP at 12:00 am  

Comic Book Reviews: Many Happy Returns Parts one and two by Jan Wheatly

Comic Book Reviews: Many Happy Returns Parts one and two by Jan Wheatly

Two great stonking reads picked up at Orbital Comics this weekend.

Jan Wheatly’s Many Happy Returns parts one and two charts the story of Natalie as she journeys through the seventies and the eighties, from young girl to teenager.

Each part presents an extended vignette about some aspect of Natalie’s life. In part one we’re introduced to her family and the relationship Natalie has with her brother Jason.

The backdrop to the story centres around the family going out for the day as they celebrate both Natalie’s and Jason’s birthday, unaware of the ensuing drama that is about to unfold.

What hooked me about part one was the attention to detail made in bringing the era to life. From the fashion to the language to the shapes of the car, you feel your firmly planted in the seventies. What kept me reading on was the honest characterisation of a family.

When an argument breaks out you feel the awkwardness as well as the laughs when the kids get a bit too honest.

A side plot builds the tension and gently weaves menace into what should be just an ordinary day. You feel the ending in part 1 because you believe in the characters and that’s what gives it its punch.

Flash forward a few years into the 1980s and we’re given a snapshot into Natalie’s teenage years as we catch up with her in class. Part two’s vignette perfectly characterises the interplay between students and teachers and students and students. Wheatly manages to set several plates spinning by charting the complex and understated relationships between characters that makes the story bubble and dance.

You can pick up Many Happy Returns parts one and two direct from the author’s website.

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posted by JP at 9:20 pm  
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