Wednesday, 1 February 2017

An Englishman, An American and an Indian Walk Into A Bar...


Sunday, 5 February 2017, 7:30pm at The Roundhouse, London NW1


Fellow Monty Python members Terry Gilliam and Michael Palin come together, for one night only to talk about their life and work in a one-off fundraising event for the Roundhouse hosted by Sanjeev Bhaskar.

An unforgettable evening of storytelling, improvised skits, hilarity and possibly the trio’s own take on some iconic British gameshows.

The night, is in celebration of our 50th anniversary as an arts centre and 10th year since reopening as a charity. All proceeds from the event will go towards the Roundhouse’s work with young people. Each year thousands of 11-25 year-olds have the chance to develop their skills and confidence through creativity – in music, media or performing arts projects at the Roundhouse.

Creativity inspires young people to reach further, dream bigger, and achieve more. Especially those from backgrounds that can feel limiting – or even hopeless.


Buy your tickets here:

https://tickets.roundhouse.org.uk/booking/production/syos/21735?performance=

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Writers & Illustrators of the Future Contest Winners Announced

MATT DOVEY OF LINCOLNSHIRE, UK AND ADRIAN MASSARO OF NEUQUEN, ARGENTINA NAMED GRAND PRIZE WINNERS OF THE 32ND ANNUAL L. RON HUBBARD ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS FOR WRITERS and ILLUSTRATORS OF THE FUTURE CONTESTS FOR SCIENCE FICTION and FANTASY IN LOS ANGELES ON APRIL 10, 2016



Los Angeles, CA (April 11, 2016) – MATT DOVEY, a writer from Lincolnshire, UK and ADRIAN MASSARO, an illustrator from Neuquen, Argentina were announced as the Grand Prize Winners of The 32nd Annual L. Ron Hubbard Achievement Awards for Writers and Illustrators of the Future Contests in Science Fiction and Fantasy held at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre in Los Angeles, CA, presented by Author Services, Inc. and Galaxy Press on Sunday evening, April 10, 2016.

Joni Labaqui, Director of Contests for Author Services, Inc. said, “This year’s packed awards show marks a historic moment in our contests 32-year history, in that it is the first time ever that the Grand Prize winning writer and Grand Prize winning illustrator won for both the story and illustration of the same story simultaneously.  Matt Dovey’s story, ‘Squalor and Sympathy’ was illustrated by artist Adrian Massaro.”

Matt Dovey was presented with the Golden Pen Award and a $5,000 check by distinguished writers David Farland and Orson Scott Card.  Adrian Massaro was presented with the Golden Brush Award and a $5,000 check by distinguished illustrator Sergey Poyarkov and the Awards Show Keynote Speaker, Kellie Gerardi.

Writer Matt Dovey and Illustrator Adrian Massaro Named Grand Prize Winners of The 32nd Annual L. Ron Hubbard Achievement Awards for Writers and Illustrators of the Future Contests in Science Fiction and Fantasy



Matt Dovey said, “Moments like this are unique and life defining.  Write without shame.  Do what you do with confidence.  Ours is the greatest genre, that of science fiction and fantasy.  Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.  Speculative fiction is what we tell our children.  If we are the writers of the future, it is up to us write the future.”

Adrian Massaro said, “I didn’t plan to win.  I was surrounded by equals in this contest.  All of the other stories that were so vivid; I never thought I would win.  I tried to put the emotion into my illustration for ‘Squalor and Sympathy.’  I find it difficult to find words to express the profound feelings I am experiencing at the moment.  It’s beyond words.”

Joni Labaqui, Director of Contests for Author Services, Inc. presented illustrator Sergey Poyarkov with the Inaugural L. Ron Hubbard Silver Star Award for his excellence as a science fiction and fantasy illustrator for the last 25 years.  Poyarkov won the Golden Pen Illustrator Grand Prize Award in the 2011 Writers and Illustrators of the Future Contests.  In his acceptance speech of this year’s first Silver Star Award he echoed what he said 25 years ago when he won the illustrator’s contest, which launched his career:  “Thank you America, thank you Los Angeles and thank you L. Ron Hubbard.”

John Goodwin, President and Publisher of Galaxy Press, which was emceed by
Gunhild Jacobs, Executive Director for Fiction Affairs at Author Services, Inc., unveiled the 32nd Volume of “L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future” featuring the work of 24 award-winning new authors and illustrators from this year’s contests.  Edited by David Farland, with cover artwork by Sergey Poyarkov, the book also features stories written by renowned writers like Tim Powers, Sean Williams and Brandon Sanderson.

Kellie Gerardi, a Space Science Strategist and Media Specialist of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, served as the Keynote Speaker.  Gerardi is one of 100 people globally currently being considered for space settlement to live on Mars.
Kellie Gerardi was presented with a Special Flag from Gunhild Jacobs on behalf of Author Services, Inc.  A USB chip was sew into the flag containing all the stories and illustrations from the latest 32nd edition of the book, “L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future,” so that in the event she is chosen to live on Mars, she can take the flag with her to start a library and art gallery there.

Awards were presented by actress Jennifer Aspen; authors Brianna and Brittany Winner; actor Jim Meskimen and artist Irvin Rodriguez, the 2011 Grand Prize Illustrator of the L. Ron Hubbard Achievement Awards.

Writer Matt Dovey and Illustrator Adrian Massaro Named Grand Prize Winners of The 32nd Annual L. Ron Hubbard Achievement Awards for Writers and Illustrators of the Future Contests in Science Fiction and Fantasy

This year’s 12 Quarterly Awards Winners of the Writing Contest were each presented with cash prizes and trophies.  They included:  Stewart C Baker of Dallas, OR; Matt Dovey of Lincolnshire, UK; Julie Frost of West Jordan, UT; Heather Fullerton (Pen Name:  H.L. Fullerton) of Fishkill, NY; Robert Graves (Pen Name:  R.M. Graves) of London, England (who was unable to attend); Sylvia Anna Hivén of Lawrenceville, GA; Rachael K. Jones of Athens, GA; Ryan Row of Berkeley, CA; Jon Lasser of Seattle, WA; .Stephen Merlino of Seattle, WA; Christoph Weber of Reno, NV and James Williams (Pen Name:  J.W. Alden) of Hypoluxo, FL.

In addition, a 13th writer, K.D. Julicher of Fernley, NV was selected as a Published Finalist for this year’s contest.  She was in attendance at the event.

Krystal Grell (Pen Name:  Krystal Claxton) of Brooklet, GA, a writer award winner from 2015 was also in attendance at this year’s awards show.

This year’s 12 Quarterly Awards Winners of the Illustrating Contest were each presented with cash prizes and trophies.  They included:  Christina Alberici of Sewell, NJ; Camber Arnhart of Albuquerque, New Mexico; Brandon Knight of Shawbirch, Telford, UK; Talia Spencer of Los Angeles, CA; Adrian Massaro of Neuquen, Argentina; Killian McKeown of Phoenix, AZ; Vlada Monakhova of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; Paul Otteni of Kirkland, WA; Jonas Spokas of Kaunas, Lithuania; Preston Stone of Loveland, CO; Maricela Ugarte Peña of Monterrey, Mexico and Dino Hadziavdic of Bosnia and Herzegouina.

The Black Tie Optional/Steampunk Formal event was attended by 13 members of Star Wars Steampunk Universe as well as by celebrities like Catherine Bell, Jennifer Aspen, Jesse Kove, Jim Meskimen, Pepe Reyes, Irvin Rodriguez and The Winner Twins – Brianna and Brittany Winner.  The show was kicked off with a rousing Steampunk body percussion opening number.  The evening also included appearances by EMCirque, a Cyr wheel performance, a dancer/dinosaur puppeteer performance and an aerialist performance.

Writer Matt Dovey and Illustrator Adrian Massaro Named Grand Prize Winners of The 32nd Annual L. Ron Hubbard Achievement Awards for Writers and Illustrators of the Future Contests in Science Fiction and Fantasy – Page 4 of 4

Event attendees also include 24 world-renowned writer and illustrator contest judges specializing the genres of Science Fiction and Fantasy.  The 16 Writer judges included:  Kevin J. Anderson, Dr. Doug Beason, Dr. Gregory Benford, Orson Scott Card, David Farland, Eric Flint, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Nancy Kress, Todd McCaffrey, Rebecca Moesta, Larry Niven, Dr. Jerry Pournelle, Timothy Thomas “Tim” Powers, Mike Resnick, Dr. Robert J. Sawyer and Dr. Sean Williams.  The seven illustrator judges included:  Laura Freas Beraha, Echo Chernik, Larry Elmore, Ron Lindahn, Val Lakey Lindahn, Gary Meyer and Sergey Poyarkov.

Following the 1982 release of his internationally acclaimed bestselling science fiction novel, “Battlefield Earth,” written in celebration of 50 years as a professional writer, L. Ron Hubbard created The Writers of the Future writing contest (www.writersofthefuture.com) in 1983 to provide a means for aspiring writers of speculative fiction to get that much-needed break.  Due to the success of the Writing Contest, the companion Illustrators of the Future Contest was created in 1988.

The intensive mentoring process has proven very successful.  The 368 past winners of the Writing Contest have published 1,050 novels and over 4,000 short stories.  They have produced 32 New York Times bestsellers and their works have sold over 50 million copies.  The 298 past winners of the Illustrating Contest have produced over 5,000 illustrations, 360 comic books, graced 623 books and albums with their art and visually contributed to 68 television shows and 46 major movies.

The Writers of the Future Award is the genre’s most prestigious award of its kind and has now become the largest, most successful and demonstrably most influential vehicle for budding creative talent in the world of contemporary fiction.  Since inception, the Writers and Illustrators of the Future contests have produced 31 anthology volumes and awarded a cumulative $930,000 in cash prizes and royalties.  Last year’s anthology, “L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future – Volume 31” was recently selected by Publisher’s Weekly as a National Bestseller; in 2016 the volume received the Benjamin Franklin U.S. Award.  For more information please visit www.writersofthefuture.com and www.galaxypress.com.

Awards Show Media Contact: Steve Moyer Public Relations @ 818.784.7207; moyerpr@earthlink.net; @stevemoyerpr

Author Services, Inc. and Galaxy Press Media Contact:  John Goodwin @ 323.466.7815, ext. 1600; jgoodwin@galaxypress.com

Sunday, 20 December 2015

References to the Kenwood Chef and other Kenwood Products in Popular Culture

Foot (Victor Spinetti) using a Kenwood Knife Sharpener before cutting Ringo's finger off in the Beatles 1965 film "Help!" 
Here is an ever-growing list of mentions of Kenwood or Kenwood products, or examples of where the name or products are seen in popular culture:
  • Kenwood knife sharpener used in The Beatles film "Help!"
  • Kenwood Chef seen at the start of Terry Gilliam's "Time Bandits"
  • Kenwood Chef seen in the kitchen of "Fawlty Towers"
  • A Kenwood Chef makes an appearance in 'Are You Going to be More Permanent?', a 1965 episode of Danger Man alongside Susan Hampshire.
'Are You Going to be More Permanent?', a 1965 episode of Danger Man alongside Susan Hampshire
  • Kenwood Chef mentioned in an episode of "Only Fools and Horses"
  • Kenwood features in one of Tim Vine's one-liner jokes
  • Kenwood Chef seen in Peter Sellers' film "Hoffman"
  • Graham Kerr, the Galloping Gourmet, always used a Kenwood Chef on his TV show
  • Kenwood products have appeared in many other TV cooking shows e.g. Raymond Blanc
  • The Lancashire Hotpot's video "Black Friday":

    Getting punched for a half price Kenwood Chef

  • Kenwood adverts from the 1960s appear in many books and Facebook posts about politically incorrect advertising
  • Kenwood usually have a stand at the Goodwood Revival Festival
  • The Kenwood 'kMix' Mixer is used on the Great British Bake Off TV show
  • There is a band called 'Kenwood and the Mixers'
  • The closing credits of the film "A Fistful of Fingers" by Edgar Wright (who also made Shaun of the Dead, The World's End and Hot Fuzz): 

    Food Mixer - Ken Wood

    Closing credits of "A Fistful of Fingers"
"So Pissed Off With Love" performed by Victoria Wood and Dennis Lawson

The lyrics of Victoria Wood's "So Pissed Off With Love" include the line:
"We don't need a ref. You can take the Kenwood Chef. Just get your pimply bottom through that doorway!" 

  • A 1969 Kenwood Chef appears in ITV's 2017 series "Tina & Bobby"

  • If you come across any more, please let me know via johnalexwood@gmail.com


    Tuesday, 22 September 2015

    Dinner with Saddam (Press Night)

    Dinner with Saddam at the Menier Chocolate Factory London
    What a treat it was to see such a great play by the mighty Anthony Horowitz, and then meet him and all the cast afterwards. An added bonus was to have even more celebs to meet at the after party! And I got a photo with all of them (except Ian Hislop and Meera Syal) and every member of the cast.

    I found Dinner with Saddam extremely funny and thought provoking. I loved it! It makes sharp comments about family life and politics, occasionally venturing into farce, laced with some very witty lines. It's also pretty tense at times! It has a very clever story line and each character is wonderful - what a great cast they've assembled for this show! 

    Go and see it! I guarantee you an excellent night out. 

    I see the play has got itself a well-deserved 5-star review on What's On Stage!

    See also: Review: Dinner With Saddam **** - Jewish News

    Click here for more photos from the Press Night.


    With Anthony Horowitz and Amanda Redman
    Sanjeev Bhaskar with Steven Berkoff being photographed by Rex
    Pretty much the whole cast & crew being photographed by Rex
    With Rebecca Grant (Rana Alawai) and Sanjeev Bhaskar (Ahmed Alawai)
    With Steven Berkoff (Saddam Hussein)
    With Nathan Amzi (Jammal)
    with Shobu Kapoor (Samira Alawai)
    With Ilan Goodman (Sayid Al-Madini/Hasif Assultani/Colonel Farouk)
    With Ryan Early (look him up yourself on IMDb!)

    Wednesday, 12 August 2015

    That 'flesh wound' line in MI5 is NOT a Python reference, but Chris McQuarrie IS a Python Fan!


    Isn't it wonderful the way Twitter allows you to reach out to celebs, those in the public eye or others who ordinarily would be completely unreachable? It's even more wonderful that, in some cases, you even get a reply!

    Here's a case in point: I couldn't help noticing that in Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation (aka MI5), there's the line "It's only a flesh would." It's in the scene just after the high drama in the opera house.

    I decided to find out whether this was a Monty Python and the Holy Grail (Black Knight) reference, so I asked the film's director, Christopher McQuarrie, on Twitter, and he replied!


    Christopher McQuarrie's a Python fan... #Respect!