I’m a 30-year-old (as of this writing) member of several privileged groups (white, male, heterosexual, cissexual, English speaking) who has somehow managed to parlay that advantage into a very low-paid job (and since that sentence was originally written is now in a quite successful job).

I’m a member of a band called The National Pep who are currently going through some pretty major line-up changes, but who have made what I think are two very good EPs. I’m working full-time, politically active and also trying to collaborate on scientific research papers. This explains why I’m often too tired to blog.
Politically, I’m a member of the Liberal Democrats and on the left of the party.

My taste in comics and fiction runs to intelligent genre stuff, but I have a weakness for the DC Universe that means I’m more tolerant than I should be of merely adequate DC superhero comics. Conversely, I don’t buy enough indie material, even though the stuff I do buy I love.

Musically, my tastes go toward the very melodic or the very abrasive with not much in between – I love Bach and the Beach Boys, but also Varese and Beefheart. There are very few genres I dislike, and none I dismiss out of hand.

I don’t own a TV, but love Doctor Who – the original series only, though.

Comment policy – I have a low tolerance for idiocy, and none at all for personal abuse. First comments by new people get held for moderation, to prevent spamming, but I’ll let through anything that engages, however tangentially, with the topic of the post. However, if you insult me twice, or otherwise try my patience, you’ll get blocked. In particular, if you whine about what I ‘should’ be posting, or make demands that I respond to you, you get plonked. I’ve been trapped into reasoning with trolls before, and have no desire to waste any more of my limited time repeating that mistake.

On spoilers – don’t read any of my posts unless you’re prepared to deal with the fact that I talk about plot when reviewing comics, films and what have you. With very few exceptions, if a plot twist can spoil a work then it’s not worth discussing anyway.

31 thoughts on “About

  1. Can’t find an email address for youse – sorry if I have it somewhere and have lost it down the back of the sofa. We now have a Manchester Liberal Drinks group on the book of faces. Please invite yourself!

  2. Ooh, well done, you managed to find out an address I moved from nearly a year ago, and only get two misspellings in it.

    And no, I’m going to report you – definitely now – for repeatedly threatening violence against me and now trying (and failing) to find my home address.

  3. Pingback: I Wouldn’t Have Thought This Needed Saying « Sci-Ence! Justice Leak!

  4. Hey Andrew,
    It’s Claude from Hagley Road to Ladywood and sometimes Liberal Conspiracy writer.
    I need to contact you about something. Could you very kindly drop me an e-mail as I can’t find your contact address?
    Thanks very much and speak to you soon :-)

  5. Hey Andrew, only just today found your blog through a mention on bleedingcool[dot]com and have to say great blog, I’m currently reading the Seven Soldiers posts, very cool. But also looking forward to reading your piece on Dave Sim’s Cerebus, your blog seems to be a goldmine of great articles.

    I also wanted to ask if you had the intend of compiling all the essays on Seven Soldiers into book form, like your Sci-Ence! Justice Leak! book (which I’ll be grabbing a copy of through Lulu as well)?

    Hope your well and looking forward to future articles.


    • Thanks for the kind words!
      The 7S pieces are being written very specifically to be published as a book, which I hope to get out towards the back end of next week, once I’ve finished the last two essays. I’ve only written a couple of pieces on Cerebus so far, but am planning on doing the same with it over the coming months.
      I write on all sorts of subjects, not just comics, so feel free to ignore anything you find dull, but I hope you’ll find enough here to keep you interested.
      Thanks again.

      • I’ll definitely be looking at all articles really, music being a big draw for me as well.
        Just wanted to say, are you aware of createspace[dot]com, which is Amazon’s seller side of their website as their pricing/costs scheme is a bit more favourable then Lulu’s (both eBook and hard copies).

        • Thanks.
          Yeah, I know about CreateSpace. I think Amazon is dangerously close to a monopoly as it is, though, so I’d rather disperse the rights to my stuff as widely as possible.

  6. Hello! Just wanted to drop a line and say how much I’ve been enjoying your blog. Dr Who, Beach Boys, Beatles and Kinks under one roof – your taste could not be better and I feel like I’ve just come across my long lost brother! As a fellow blog writer myself (www,alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/www.alansalbumarchives.moonfruit.com) I know how hard it can be to find the motivation to write when no one seems to be reading, so rather than simply nod appreciatively at the computer screen and keep it to myself I wanted to say thanks – and please keep up the good work! I’ve added you to the links page on my site, hope that’s OK: we don’t get much traffic but it might help to spread the word a little! Thanks again! Alan

  7. Andrew, congratulations on Dave Sims forthcoming “visit” to Mindless Ones, you must be excited; it seems like a great opportunity to grill one of your artistic idols (if you don’t mind the word “idol”). I’m impressed that you and the other mindless’ haven’t backed down from asking difficult but pertinent questions. Fortitudinous. One more thing, do you think that at any time in the future you will re-embark on your Cerebus posts? Cerebus is such a daunting work and it is useful to have an informed enthusiast as guide, particularly one whose mindset and generally fastidious approach will illuminate the darkness of Sim’s more extreme (and unpleasant) beliefs as they close in in the later volumes without harming appreciation for the very real artistic accomplishment or pretending the problems don’t exist. If that makes sense (fricking tortuous sentence construction there I know!).

  8. Hello Andrew,

    Thanks for your howto-strip-adobe-drm-in-debian-gnulinux. Finally an up to date conversion titorial.

    I got to the point of installing ADE in Wine, but having a problem getting the pdf. I have an .acsm file pointing to a pdf on OpenLibrary. I tried opening it with ~/.wine/drive_c/Program Files/Adobe/Adobe Digital Editions$ ./digitaleditions.exe /home/carl/dl/FiveYearsattheRadLab.acsm
    … but ADE comes up and says “Sorry, the file you are attempting to open cannot be opened by Digital Editions.”

    Apparently this .acsm file is my ticket to download the pdf, but it’s claiming that ADE doesn’t understand a .acsm file. This is all your software I’ve installed.

    • Hi,
      I’m afraid I can’t be of much help — I didn’t write any of that software, just linked to it.
      From a quick Google, it looks like the problem is actually with either your file or with the content provider — apparently some content providers use old versions of Adobe’s DRM that aren’t supported in newer versions of ADE. The best I can suggest is that you try redownloading the .acsm file — the command you’re running is the correct one.
      Sorry I can’t be more help :-/

  9. Hi Andrew.

    Found your site via Mindless Ones. Enjoying your Doctor Who write ups as I work through the archive and want to know if you’ve reviewed any of the later Matt Smith stuff, especially Name of the Doctor, Day of the Doctor, or Time of the Doctor. I’d very much like to read your thoughts on those. If you could let me know I would greatly appreciate it.

    Thank you!

    • Hi,
      I didn’t review the latter two because after my Fifty Stories series finished I was burned out on writing about Doctor Who. I thought I’d reviewed Name, but apparently not — I certainly can’t find it.
      The short version is, I much preferred Name when it was called Alien Bodies, thought Day was quite fun, and thought Time was useless.
      Glad you’re enjoying the essays.

      • Andrew,

        Thank you for the reply. I echo your sentiment regarding “Time” and will search out Alien Bodies.

        I’d never come across Lawrence Miles or Faction Paradox before reading your work so thank you for that as well.

    • Thank you!
      I plan to start writing the third book when I’ve finished writing my current music book, California Dreaming, which I expect to be around May. I’ll then start posting the essays for the third book, in draft form, on my blog. At my normal rate of writing, it will take about six months to do that, then a few weeks to do rewrites and edits, so you can expect the book to be out *hopefully* around Xmas, but more likely very early next year.

  10. Pingback: Weekend Links, 11/01/14: On free speech

  11. Hello Andrew, hope you’re well :) I can’t find a contact e-mail for you and going by some of the other comments on this page I gather you don’t want to publish one (totally understandable), so could you potentially drop me a line instead please? I’m at feministaspie(@)hotmail(.)co(.)uk. Nothing at all to worry about, just running into a slight issue (entirely my own fault!) re: theoldreader. Thanks!

  12. Hi Andrew, I had two questions really. Well I say questions, more interested in hearing your opinion about two things I came across and couldn’t help but think of you. :)

    The first is the news of Jeremy Corbyn making a bit for Labour leadership. I know you are a LibDem supporter, but am curious to see what your take on Mr Corbyn is as he seems to be someone you would vote for (if that makes any sense). I myself am following things closely as he seems like someone who could bring about real change, but feel like we’ve been fooled too many times to take him at face value just yet.

    The other thing is a bit more left field I guess and it’s concerning the Hip Hop variant covers that Marvel are doing at the moment. As I followed the “fallout” when these covers were revealed, I couldn’t but help and think of your Seven Soldiers: Mr Miracle essay and particularly the idea about authenticity. Many are citing Marvel are simply employing a cheap trick (which they of course are) to sell more comics and is encroaching on cultural appropriation to do so.
    Any thoughts?
    Although not a remark or meant to rake away from the point those who claim it’s cultural appropriation are making, I couldn’t help but feel that although Hip Hop music is definitely an intrinsic part of African American culture it was also (very successfully) marketed and sold to a white audience all across the globe. Not that that gives a white audience any claim of ownership over Hip Hop of course, but surely also can’t be blamed for wanting to celebrate it’s achievements either. And this wanting to celebrate Hip Hop surely isn’t cultural appropriation, like for instance a rich white kid wanting to be a gangster rapper quite clearly is.

    Anyway, as always thanks for your wonderful blog.

    • Hi,
      As far as Corbyn, I think he’s a decent man, and his principles overlap with, but aren’t identical with, my own. If we had a decent voting system, and he was a candidate in an area I was able to vote in, I would give him a relatively high preference — lower than the Lib Dems and the Greens, but far higher than any of his Labour competitors. From a Lib Dem pragmatic view, as well, a Labour party led by Corbyn would be both easier to work with to get the Tories out, and
      easier to distinguish ourselves from without ugly centrism, than any other option.

      The main problem with Corbyn for me would be that he’d be a decent leader leading a Parliamentary party made up almost entirely of people who are very far from decent. I don’t see that lasting very well.

      It’d be interesting, as well, to have leaders of Labour, Lib Dems and the Tories all actually presenting distinct ideologies for the first time since 1983. Since then, at least two of the three leaders at any time (and at the last two elections, all three) have been presenting a centre-right consensus view. A real choice — for those outside Scotland, at least — hasn’t been available. But now you have a hard-right Tory leader, a genuine Liberal leading the Lib Dems, and the possibility of an actual Socialist leading Labour.

      Maybe in 2020 we’ll have a new coalition government led by Corbyn (I don’t see Labour getting a majority next time), with Farron as deputy PM, and with the Greens as a factor as well. I think that would be a better government than any other of my lifetime, even though I wouldn’t want a majority Labour government.

      As for the Marvel hip-hop thing, I am *really* reticent about issuing an opinion on what is and isn’t cultural appropriation when I’m not a member of the culture in question, and I’m neither a black American nor a hip-hop fan, so I think my place is to listen to the voices of those who are. David Brothers, who is someone I respect a great deal on these issues, seems to think it problematic, and lays out why in a way I find fairly convincing: http://tumblr.iamdavidbrothers.com/post/124166143967/can-you-explain-why-marvel-thinks-that-doing-hip

      • Thanks for you candour response. Incidentally last night a few Labour MP’s came out with the statement that if Corbyn does get elected they would vote to have him thrown out of the party. That says it all I think. Labour really does need a big change and stop the march to becoming another Tory party.
        I’m not convinced about Tim Farron yet either though, there are still a couple of darker passages in his book that I can’t reconcile with, to be able to vote for him. Mainly that he espouses certain Christian values which have no place in modern society anymore. For me this came to ahead with his passive aggressive decision to abstain from voting on equal marriage.

        Regarding the hip-hop thing, you are right of course, it’s ultimately not about those who aren’t part of the culture in question. Thanks for the link though, a very interesting read and definitely answered some of my questions.

        • Tim voted for same-sex marriage at the second reading, where the principle of the bill is debated, and only abstained on the third, because he had problems with some specific clauses in the bill (one on conscience exemptions and also the trans spousal veto) and knew it would pass without his vote. He since voted for all the extra bits of enabling legislation, such as extending it to members of the armed services. He’s not opposed to same-sex marriage at all.
          Despite his opponents’ claims, Tim is not a homophobe, and his big campaign as Lib Dem foreign spokesman during the general election (sadly underreported) was to extend same-sex marriage rights to British embassies, allowing British citizens with a foreign same-sex partner, living abroad, to marry in an embassy.
          More importantly, I think, the supermajority of LGBT+ Lib Dems I know who have had any contact with Farron voted for him in the leadership election and believe him to be good on LGBT issues. When that Channel 4 interview (which was a complete car crash, I freely admit) aired, I put together a storify of what my LGBT Lib Dem friends were saying — https://storify.com/AndrewHickey/lgbt-reactions-to-tim-farron-s-interview
          This goes back again to the listening to the affected communities thing. I actually find that I am *less* comfortable with Farron’s stand on these issues than many of my LGBT friends are, but I defer to them on this. The people in that Storify are among the people whose political opinions I respect the most. They consist of one cis bi poly woman, one trans bi poly woman, two trans poly lesbians, and two cis gay men, all (I believe) atheists. If they are all comfortable with Tim’s stance on LGBT rights (and many of them have discussed it with him in great detail, as most are on the exec of LGBT+ Lib Dems), then so am I. And knowing those people, if they *weren’t* happy with him, they would not be keeping quiet about it.

          • As always, you’ve given me a lot to consider :)
            I’ll be keeping a close eye on both Corbyn and Farron to see how things develop though. One thing is true I feel, and that is that we need proper social change and maybe, just maybe, one of them will provide it.

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