I am a journalist, author, historian and photographer living and working in the Midlands of England, in that area which inspired Tolkien’s dark land of Mordor – the Black Country.
Looking into both past and future, as I do in so many ways, I consider myself to be a ‘retro-futurist’. This blog/site aims to showcase some of work, past and present.
I have been writing since the 1980s, mostly non-fiction as a freelance journalist in areas that interest me, such as computing, photography and astronomy, plus in later years as a result of my ‘day job’ as a local historian, writer and photographer (see the About page). The new factual genre of ‘retro computing’, ‘retro gaming’ and computing history are the main focus of my journalistic endeavours in recent years.
For the past few years I have also been writing seriously in those genres of fiction loosely linked together under the umbrella of speculative fiction – namely science fiction, fantasy, dark SF and steampunk, especially in the ‘pulp’ style – with some small popular success, but not enough to give up my day job!
I’ve outlined some of the things I have written over the years on the About page. I’ll use this page to introduce some of my past and present work.
I have been writing for computer magazines and latterly websites since the late 1980s. In fact I have been writing in this field for so long that the subject of my work has now morphed from computing into ‘retro computing’, a relatively new but internationally thriving hobby for collectors of vintage computers, consoles, games and software! I edit and publish Retro Computing News, and also write for Eight Bit magazine (for which I am their Apple correspondent), Retro Now! (my adventure games column The Wizard’s Tower) and a number of other websites as time permits. Back in the 1980s-90s I also wrote for computer magazines Amiga User International, Amiga Computing, ST Update, Atari ST User and Micro Computer Mart, the latter of which only ceased publication (in its incarnation as Micro Mart) in Christmas 2016.
I am presently collecting as much as I can find of my past work on my blog AMIGA meditations.
My ‘day job’ (now part time) is working for Walsall Local History Centre. As a result I have become known locally for my historical writing. I have also worked independently in this field on occasion, as an historical advisor to various projects.
From the beginning of 2001 I wrote a monthly local history column for a local newspaper, the Walsall Chronicle. That column was originally entitled Local Heritage. To fit in with new editorial policy in the Chronicle series, which is published from Wolverhampton by the Express & Star, it was later recast as Memory Lane. As of late 2014, due to changes at work, my work in this area concluded, with more than 100 articles published, more than any other local author in Walsall.
I also penned an historical article for the March 2013 edition of The Blackcountryman, entitled Captain Clark: The Leamore Lion Tamer. A longer version of this also appeared in the CFA’s King Pole magazine.
The history article writing led to my writing and editing books for Walsall Local History Centre. To date they number four in total: Billy Meikle’s Window on Walsall; Reflections of Old Walsall; Walsall Borough Past & Present; and The Two-wheeled Time Traveller. All four are still in print and available from the Centre in Essex Street, Walsall.
In addition I have contributed to Sorrow into Pride by Ken Wayman and Barry Crutchley (Reveille Press 2012).
A professional photographer since the early 1980s, when I worked for newspaper publishers West Midlands Press, I have over the years written and illustrated a number of general local news articles and provided feature photos for the Walsall Observer, Walsall Advertiser and Walsall Chronicle newspapers.
Since 2006, however, with a view to paying something back to my local community, I have been the editor, publisher, photographer and main writer of firstly The Bloxidge Tallygraph, the online community news and local heritage magazine for Bloxwich and district, England, and now The Bloxwich Telegraph.