New post: ‘Funny money: Boom Bust Boom’

My latest piece is a review of Boom Bust Boom, a new documentary about the global economic crisis co-written by  Python Terry Jones, for Daily Waffle. You can read it here 

 

What’s new?

Just before Christmas, I found myself newly unemployed, so I’ve been focusing my efforts on freelance writing, which is my passion.

 

The year started off on a sombre note, when I wrote a painstakingly personal essay on what David Bowie meant to me, timed to coincide with the release of his album Blackstar. It was published by The Malcontent, a new voice for current affairs and media, but sadly doubled as a requiem, when the news of Bowie’s death broke in the early hours of Monday, 11 January.

 

I decided to pay my own personal tribute to the man who sold the world, by heading down to London the following weekend, to pay my respects at three major sites: Heddon Street, where the ‘Ziggy Stardust’ album cover was photographed, the now famous Bowie memorial at Windrush Square directly opposite Brixton station, and the house in which he was born, on Stansfield Road, Brixton.

 

During that weekend visit, I got to meet fellow creatives, including blogger Jasmine Storm, writer Paul Ebbs, and poet and novelist Ange Chan, and I danced till dawn at Duckie’s Bowie tribute night at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern, where I also got to say hello to online friends, Paul Burston and Lucie Tobin, who loved Bowie just as much as I did.

 

The end of that sad month saw me marking my fortieth birthday, where I got to see my name in print within the pages of Celestial Toyroom, the Doctor Who Appreciation Society’s long running fan magazine. It was an essay that I’d sat on for some time, and it was nice to finally see it given some justice, thanks to editor John Davies.

 

February was a quiet month as I struggled with a chest infection and rib pains, but I resolved to reconnect with blogging network Daily Waffle, who had aired my work in the past, and endeavoured to expand upon other connections in the pursuit of more writing exposure.

 

Inspired by the outpouring of grief and affection that followed Bowie’s death, in conjunction with J.R. Southall and Jon Arnold, “Me and the Starman” was launched – an opportunity for fans to pay tribute to the different ways in which Bowie had connected with them on a personal level. So far, we have recieved tributes from not only fans but also musicians, and the finished result should be something really special.

 

March opened up with an essay peering behind the scenes of Absolute Beginners, the late, great, David Bowie’s last major hit single, which received a lot of positive attention and a goodly number of hits and retweets, not to mention some great feedback.

 

Keen to keep flexing my writing muscles, I’ve been providing Daily Waffle with regular features, reviewing and commenting upon new creative projects that interest me personally but deserve a wider audience, from Ange Chan’s poetry trilogy, and Obverse Books’ new range The Black Archive, to Tim Worthington’s mammoth discography of BBC Records, and forthcoming pieces on former Python Terry Jones’ documentary about the global economic crisis, Alan Clarke’s acclaimed BBC documentaries, and Barnaby Eaton-Jones’ revival of 1960s radio show I’m Sorry I’ll Read That Again.

 

I’ve experimented in diversity by, for example, providing product reviews for multiple award winner Cara Sutra, book reviews for Emily Dubberley’s well established feminist-friendly adult website Cliterati, and a well-received guest blog for social media and online marketing agency Nick Lewis Communications.  I also have articles lined up for a tribute to Douglas Adams

 

I continue to prepare guest blogs for Daily Waffle, maintain an online presence with this very blog site and my twitter feed @jamesgentwrites, have some niche material in the pipeline for fellow Doctor Who obsessives, and continue to look for broader opportunities both inprint and online, as well as continuing work on my massive biography of Monty Python, which I began researching in great detail five years ago.

Please, stay tuned for further developments!

 

 

New post: ‘Stars on 45: Tim Worthington’s ‘Top of the Box’

My latest blog post is a close look at ‘Top of the Box’, pop culture expert Tim Worthington’s indepth guide to BBC Records’ singles output. As you will find reading the article, it was a wildly eccentric, eclectic range, quite unlike any other commercial label, and Tim was more than happy to discuss the range and his book with me. Click here.

New post: ‘Doctor Who’s Black Archive: The unfolding text’

Just up on The Daily Waffle, my feature on the new range of critical studies of select Doctor Who books, The Black Archive. I spoke to publisher Stuart Douglas, range editor Philip Purser-Hallard and writer Jon Arnold to get the inside track on this exciting new line of criticism. Read it here!

‘Me and the Starman’ (book)

It’s been suggested we do a You and Who style book about David Bowie, a suggestion that’s been greeted with some enthusiasm. What better way to celebrate the life of one of the 20th century’s true and enduring icons? So here it is.

For those of you who are new to the You and Who project, these are a series of themed books (all royalties donated to charity) which are generally as much as, if not more, about the fans themselves as they are the topics. The idea is to submit an essay talking about your connection with David Bowie, rather than simply reviewing his work. Something autobiographical, or anecdotal; a short essay about the time you met him, or an anecdote about a concert. A piece celebrating a particular record, and its place in your life – maybe the story of how you discovered Bowie, the first record of his you bought, or how you felt when you first saw him performing (whether on the television or elsewhere). You get the idea; it’s about you as much as it is about him.

There are no rules regarding who can write what this time; this isn’t the place for rules. So treat the idea with as much or as little conformity as you think appropriate. Be aware, though, that we are not accepting artwork submissions at this time (this will change). And please don’t make your essay about the passing of David Bowie; this will no doubt be a common theme of much of the book, but we’d like the book to celebrate his life rather than simply mark his death.

The completed volume will be available through the Watching Books website as soon as it is finished, hopefully sometime this summer. The initial deadline for essays is March 31st 2016. This may be extended if the editors deem it necessary or appropriate. This book will be edited by Jon Arnold, with James Gent assisting. The editors will have the final say on which essays are included in Me and the Starman; we’d like to include everyone, but that may turn out not to be possible.

For details on submissions, click here