This page shows everything I have written, edited or project managed to do with Books/Audiobooks:

Short story for Big Finish Doctor Who Short trips (October 2010):
Dr Who - Short Trips Volume 3
Peri's life is in danger when she and the Doctor land on a planet populated with mysterious holograms...

Co-written with my good friends Michael Deacon and Chris Wraight, we entered a Doctor Who short story into a Big Finish writing competition and won! It was read by Colin Baker and released on CD. Available to buy here!

Tags:  Doctor Who Short trips  Fiction writing  Science fiction  Writing  Consumer  Books/Audiobooks  

Contributor to Quarto Publishing's 1001 before you die books (July 2009):
1001 beers to try before you die
This bewitching, thirst-inducing, gorgeously illustrated book is a guide to the best beers in the world with a succinct history of the breweries, tasting notes, temperature recommendations, and what food to serve them with, together with entertaining anecdotes about the breweries.

I wrote entries about Guinness, Butcombe Gold, Wells Bombardier, Hopback Summer Lightning, Palm Speciale, Tsiang Tao, Tomislav Pivo, Karlovacka, Wells Banana Bread Beer, Deuchars IPA, Fraoch among others. Hic!

Tags:  1001 before you die books  Food and drink  Writing  Consumer  Books/Audiobooks  

Contributor to Quarto Publishing's 1001 before you die books (January 2009):
1001 Children's Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up
1001 Children's Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up is the perfect introduction to the very best books of childhood: those books that have a special place in the heart of every reader

I wrote entries about Chocky By John Wyndham and Johnny and the Bomb by Terry Pratchett.

Tags:  1001 before you die books  Literature  Writing  Consumer  Books/Audiobooks  Children  

Contributor to Quarto Publishing's 1001 before you die books (January 2008):
1001 inventions that changed the world
1001 Inventions That Changed The World aims to give you a wide and varied offering of scientific and technological breakthroughs that have shaped and aided human development throughout history.

Tags:  1001 before you die books  Technology  Writing  Consumer  Books/Audiobooks  Science  

Contributor to Quarto Publishing's 501 Great... books (January 2008):
501 Great Writers
A comprehensive guide to the giants of literature

I wrote about Herman Hesse, Dylan Thomas, Moliere, Thomas Mann, Tolstoy, Edward Albee, Jack London, Jules Verne and Muriel Spark among others.

Tags:  501 Great... books  Literature  Writing  Consumer  Books/Audiobooks  

Contributor to Quarto Publishing's 501 Great... books (December 2007):
501 Great Artists
A comprehensive guide to the giants of the art world.

I wrote about Guillaume Bijl, Pepon Osorio, Pietro Lorenzetti and Rufino Tamayo.

Tags:  501 Great... books  Art  Writing  Consumer  Books/Audiobooks  

Contributor to Quarto Publishing's 1001 before you die books (March 2007):
1001 buildings to see before you die
1001 Buildings You Must See Before You Die is a visual testament to the beauty, grace, and fortitude of the world's greatest architectural achievements.

I wrote entries on Sydney Opera House, Silodam, Salisbury Cathedral, The Royal Pavilion, Cardiff millenium Stadium, Seattle Central Library, Reichstag, La Sagadra Familia, The Royal Crescent, Pisa Baptistry, Tokyo International Forum and Masia Fraxia among others.

Tags:  1001 before you die books  Architecture  Writing  Consumer  Books/Audiobooks  

Contributor to Quarto Publishing's 1001 before you die books (August 2006):
1001 paintings to see before you die
From ancient Egyptian wallpaintings to contemporary Western canvases, this book is truly comprehensive in scope and beautiful to leaf through.

I wrote about The Blacker Gachet I by Mark Alexander, The Suez Canal by Albert Rieger, Untitled (Emergency Room) by Fiona Rae, King Gustav I Vasa of Sweden Addressing Men from Dalarna in Mora by Johan Gustaf Sandberg, View of the 'Grossglockner' mountain by Marcus Pernhart and Road to Zenica by Peter Howson.

Tags:  1001 before you die books  Art  Writing  Consumer  Books/Audiobooks  Lifestyle  

An 80-page guide book to Birmingham given away with the Observer newspaper and which appeared on the Naked cities website (June 2003 to May 2005):
Naked Cities - Birmingham Guide
Welcome to Birmingham. Now before we start, try to erase all preconceived ideas you may have of Britain's second city. Think Birmingham, think M6 traffic jams, spaghetti junction, Jasper Carrot, balti curries, Ozzy and a whole populous blighted with one of the daftest accents this side of Suffolk. Well, that may be true for the majority of the country but we Brummies know that there's far more than meets the eye to this great city of ours. Visit Birmingham and prepare to be surprised!

Tags:  Naked cities  City guides  Travel  Editing  Consumer  Books/Audiobooks  Writing  Project management  Entertainment  Nightlife  Food and drink  History  Websites  

An 80-page guide book to Brighton given away with the Observer newspaper and which appeared on the Naked cities website (June 2003 to May 2005):
Naked Cities - Brighton Guide
Brighton is an experience not to be missed, so let Naked make sure that you make the most of Britain's favourite city.

I co-wrote and edited a city guide to Brighton including sections on eating out (restaurant reviews), nightlife (bar and club reviews), accommodation (hotel, and B&B reviews), travel information, city history, quotes from famous local residents and interesting facts.

Example text:

I include the piece I did on Brighton's history below:

Brighton's known history starts with the recent discovery of a Neolithic encampment dated at about 2700BC. However, the lazy buggers didn't write anything down so little is known about it.

The area was mentioned much, much later in the Domesday Book in 1085AD as Bristmestune. It was described as a small fishing village owned by a guy called Ralph and valued at 12 pounds. The villagers paid 4,000 herrings a year in rent - which goes to prove that even back then taxes stank.

Later recordings tell of a settlement called Brighthelmstone which was plagued by French invasions due to its nice open beaches. In 1514 the little fishing town was burnt down by and this led the English, commanded by the appropriately named Sir John Wallopp, to sail to Normandy and burn down 21 of their villages - a bit excessive, but then they did start it.

While the English-French wars continued, a fort was built to dissuade further attacks and by 1635 the area still known as The Lanes was becoming established. Under run with tunnels and steeped in legends of foul deed, this is where King Charles II fled through on his way to France after his defeat by Oliver Cromwell in 1651. This is where the Escape Club got its name and why there is an annual Royal Escape yacht race.

As time went on, the fisherman of the area were finding it harder to make a living from the sea due to fierce competition from foreign boats (forget fishing quotas, back then they sank each others ships to get the catch of the day). Then, in 1703, a number of massive storms swept houses and cliffs into the sea. People were leaving the area in droves and the fishing village was almost abandoned.

But the seawater that had almost pounded Brighton out of existence was also what saved it. It was given a reputation as a restorative cure after a Dr Richard Russell advocated its health-giving properties in 1749. People started visiting the area to breathe the air from the sea, bathe in it (in special bathing boxes to hide them from prying eyes), even drink it, and they then told their friends how much better they were feeling. This just goes to show what any faith healer will tell you - people can be cured by anything if they believe in it.

The influx of visitors led Brighton to become an area dedicated to pleasure, with one in every three houses offering rented accommodation (and back then, as now, pleasure meant not only seaside frolics but food, beer and sex). More and more of Brighton was given over to the pursuit of happiness and people arrived in their thousands to promenade their riches and fashion (the early Tara Palmer Tomkinsonites and their parasitic ilk infested the Old Steine area).

Soon royalty was getting involved. Prince George IV bought a residence in 1780 and over the next few decades commissioned The Royal Pavillion with its Indian domes and minarets and its Chinese-style interior. Soon architects were transforming Brighton by building terraces, squares and gardens, not to mention the piers and promenades.

The Prince Regent also could be said to be responsible for Brighton's reputation for a place to go for a dirty weekend, due to his relationship (and secret marriage) to the already twice-married Mrs Fitzherbert. In fact, his building projects and leisure pursuits almost bankrupted him - but he didn't care, he was a real royal wild child and used the liberal town of Brighton to escape from his more boring duties and go bull-baiting instead (now that's what I call real royal scandal).

Of course, in the poorer areas there was poverty and disease too, and more drunks than in the George Best fan club, but it was still quite a forward looking place. In the 1880s the Volks electric railway was built along the beach. The train was connected to the track by stilts 24 feet high so 150 people at a time could ride over the waves with the rails under the sea - it became known locally as the 'Daddy Long legs'. It was the brainchild of the famous inventor Magnus Volks - he also introduced the telephone to Brighton, designed an electric street-fire alarm and was one of the first people to light his house using electricity.

In the 20th Century, Brighton managed to almost totally escape attack during World War I and injured Indian soldiers from the Western Front (no, not the pub) were housed in the Royal Pavilion, perhaps because it would remind them of home. Once the war ended, gang warfare, crime and poverty also made a home for itself in Brighton throughout the 20s and 30s (as depicted in Graham Greene's novel, Brighton Rock).

World War II saw bits of decking taken out of the piers to prevent the Germans from using them to land on the English coast and this caused an end to the popularity of the West Pier (now sadly a burnt-out shell, but still apparently set for renovation).

Tourism slowly increased and in 1973 three and a half million people visited the Palace Pier alone. A couple of Carry On films in the 1970s kept the naughtiness boiling over nicely, whereas the 1979 film Quadrophenia depicted the gang warfare in Brighton in a similar state.

Brighton, along with Hove, was given city status by the Queen in 2000, and with its liberal attitude and numerous places given over to the pursuit of pleasure, it remains a great place to party. With a range of famous locals from Steve Coogan to Norman Cook and with eight million visitors a year, it's likely Brighton is going to remain a place to be seen for the foreseeable future. Right lesson over, where's the nearest bar?

Tags:  Naked cities  City guides  Travel  Editing  Consumer  Books/Audiobooks  Nightlife  Writing  Project management  Food and drink  History  Websites  

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