Well hello there. Not a very interesting post, but just to let you know that this blog is moving. Its new home will be at my main site, http://www.michaelmarshallsmith.com. Or, here.

If you’ve been kind enough to link to the blog, please change your links accordingly.

In addition to looking somewhat groovier, the new version supports a special look for mobile access, for your smartphone-browsing pleasure. And yes, it’ll even have a new entry very soon. Or as soon as I can shift this bloody cold, anyway.

There’s no story or observation here. I just need to mark and honour out loud the passing of Ralph Vicinanza, whose unexpected death on Sunday was announced late yesterday. A giant in the publishing industry, and yet the most gentle and intelligent human being you could hope to meet: friend, mentor, an extraordinary person in every way, a man whose passing leaves a terrible hole in the world.

Ralph was my agent for the last fifteen years, but also far more than that: he was a core part of the lives of my wife and I: a supportive, thoughtful, beaming spirit – both loving and loveable – whose warmth and kindness seemed to know no bounds.

I can’t believe he’s gone. He always was, and always will be, Uncle Ralph to us. Our thoughts go out to Terrance, and all the others he leaves behind.

Well, I’m off to LA again soon. Not just for a vacation this time, I’m setting up some meetings. I’ve had this idea rolling around my head for a little while now, and I’ve decided it’s finally time to go do the thing and make it happen.

Here’s the submission letter I sent out…

[… I’m not revealing my great contacts, obviously]
Los Angeles CA

You may remember me as the guy who sent a long letter analysing your current hit series and explaining how it would be even cooler if you let me be showrunner on it. But hopefully that’s all behind us now – because I’ve got an even better idea.

It’s time for a new kind of superhero: a boy who looks like everyone else, but actually has a secret life where he fights, you know, aliens and monsters and shit. Of course the basic concept’s been done before – what hasn’t, right? — but not like this. Our kid is different. Our kid is called… NORMAL BOY.

Couple of teasers just to whet your appetite:

1. Normal Boy dresses not in a costume, but in regular clothes – the kind of garments a parent might actually wish to see their child wearing (and which are, coincidentally, easily and cheaply available from Gap or Target and so on, rather than at considerable expense and only on the internet).

2. He changes these clothes on a daily basis, seldom looking the same, rather than slavishly insisting on wearing exactly the same outfit for months and months at a time, even in bed, until it looks totally rank and starts to fell apart and his parents can barely remember what he looked like without it, or what it was like to go out in public with their child without other adults looking disapprovingly at them.

3. Normal Boy defeats aliens and monsters and the tide of ancient darkness via politeness, going to bed without a fuss, and by practicing his reading and writing – rather than through aggressively jumping on furniture, shouting, or striking odd poses and then haring off into the distance like a lunatic.

4. While he’s all about defending the universe and maintaining the age-old balance between good and evil, Normal Boy’s also aware of the timeless relevance of eating properly at the table and not dropping things down the stairs when he’s been told not to a million times, for the love of Christ.

5. He does not refer to anyone – much less parents, teachers or policemen – as ‘doofus’ or ‘butthead’. At no point does he (or anyone else in the show) drawl “Oh, man…” or “I’ve got a bad feeling about this…” Instead, once in a while he breaks off into brief inspirational monologues about the importance of a balanced diet, or simply falls silent in order to listen to the pronouncements of his elders and betters.

Cool, huh? Kinda out there – but in a good way. I haven’t actually got any of the plot worked out – I assume we’ll just hire a bunch of by-the-yard scriptmonkeys and plunder the usual sf classics – but I’ve got the ancillary stuff nailed, and let’s face it, that’s what’s going to rake in the moolah.

I’ve tried to make an appointment with one of your assistants, but they keep claiming you’re (a) in a meeting, (b) out or (c) dead. But I get it — you’re a busy guy, and you have to weed out the losers and wannabes. This is going to be so worth your time, as I’m sure you can see.

So let’s meet: let’s get NORMAL 🙂

Michael Marshall Smith

I’m very excited – I think it’s going to be huge.

Wish me luck!

There’s an awful lot of toss talked on the Internet. In real life too, of course, but it’s far, far worse on the net. The reasons for this are legion – lack of peer review prior to ‘publication’, the need to blog even if people don’t have anything new to say (and even if they never had anything to say), the social networking opportunities that beg to be fulfilled. It’s considered bad form to point this out or to question every human’s inviolable right to say what they want, all the time, but let’s face it – we are now surrounded by a whirling cloud of invisible bollocks.

(Example: there’s more than app, for the love of God, which enables you to tweet up a random quote, to help you keep up your posting rate during those periods when you don’t have anything whatsoever to say. Which is psychotic.)

Anyway. My point is it’s nice when you discover someone who isn’t talking toss, as I recently did in Dave Pell’s blog at www.tweetagewasteland.com (to which I was steered by Smoking Apples, another blog worth reading, assuming you’re rather too interesting in matters Apple-related). Pell’s blog is great: thoughtful, well-written and generally bang on the nail – and if you’ve got the time to spare, go check it out.

But do you, in fact, have the time to spare?

Real time, that’s actually spare?

I was at a kids’ party yesterday and found myself wondering: what on earth did parents do at these events before the advent of smartphones? Before they could while away the hours as their kids romped under the supervision of an entertainer and then stuffed themselves full of weapons-grade sugar while ignoring the statutory carrot sticks and humous (I have a fantasy about writing a novel from the perspective of a pot of childrens’ party humous, revealing that there’s only ever been one pot in London, which has been circulating around parties for the last ten years, never eaten, always scraped back into the container and then passed on)… what did they do? Presumably they talked. Or watched their kids. Or stared into space and thought about something else. But now they all stand staring down at their phones, finding they have no new emails, monitoring non-critical status updates from people they don’t actually know (in the old-skool sense of ‘know’, which meant to, like, actually, ‘know’ someone), or just catching up on… ‘stuff’. Information. Views. Facts.

And all this, as Pell points out in one post, is uncomfortably like a drug. TV was never this bad. We sit in front of too much TV because it’s easy, or a form of company – not because we have a twitching compulsion to know what’s going on there the entire time. The net is different. It’s far more addictive in quality. I’ve even found I’ve started to consume news merely because there’s cute apps for doing so. I’m reading about stuff that formerly I didn’t care about, just because I can do so in a GUI-lickable way. I don’t think this is making me a better person, or better-informed. I think it’s just plain bonkers, and I’m trying to reign back.

Now that I have an iPad (yes, they’re fabulous, and yes, you want one), I can – and do – set aside discrete chunks of time to consume the web’s rich bounty of information. That’s enough, I’ve decided. I’ve always had my iPhone email set so I have to manually check for new emails, and thinking about all this has inspired me to do something else that I’d been meaning to for a while. I’ve gone through my phone and thrown off (almost) everything that counts as a pointless diversion or too-easy time filler. I’m down to the apps I need to run my life, ones that work best or only at all with the portability of the phone, and a few other cherished trinkets (including a handful of games to occasionally yield a few minutes peace from my beloved child, of course: I’ve not gone totally insane).

I heart my iPhone. My iPhone and I are, frankly, sitting in a tree. But I don’t want my every waking moment sucked down the drain of checking things or monitoring things or reading things that I don’t need (or actually even want – there’s a sizeable neurotic component here) to be doing. The Internet is turning us into obsessive consumers of the unimportant. That’s not good. There’s no point saying it’s merely a matter of impulse control, either. If our species possessed that in large quantities, we’d all be physically fit, perfectly-sized, non-smoking and non-drinking automatons who never got distracted or had affairs or started wars. I’ve met people like that, and they’re no fun at all.

I’m aware this is not a novel observation, and I only really started this now over-long entry to recommend Pell’s blog. For all I know it may be hugely celebrated already – I tend to wander around the web like a rube in the big city, having no clue of what all the hip citizens of the place already take for granted (What are these wondrous buildings with more than one storey? What strange magic informs them?) And yes of course – oh, the irony! – I’m also aware that this post of mine merely adds more words to the great seething pile of toss already out there.

So if you’re reading this while out strolling, or at a childrens’ party, or when you could be doing something else… just stop. Put the phone/iPad/laptop aside. Go do that something else. Stare out that train window. People-watch outside that Starbucks. Stroke the cat with your full attention. Just be. These words are simply not that important – even to me. I should be working on a TV script right now. I’m only typing this because it’s occurred to me, because I feel like it, in the hope that it might be mildly interesting to someone. And I hope it has been, and no – I’m not going to stop reading the web either, and of course spending some time on it isn’t the end of the world. But there are people and things out there that are real, which matter to us, and that will die. The Internet won’t. It is the new vampire – immortal, life-consuming, indifferent to us – and it will be here long after we’re all dead.

On the day we die, we won’t wish we’d read more blog posts or status updates or RSS feeds. We’ll wish we’d spent more time strolling or sitting in a daze, emailing with (genuine) friends, or hanging out in an unencumbered and non-mediated fashion with the people we love… including our own, quiet selves. These are the things that are real. Information is not, views are ephemeral, and facts don’t matter. People don’t have to express themselves on a rolling ten minute cycle, and we don’t have to know what they’re saying.

Deal with the real, not the toss. Start now.

I’ll help, by… shutting up 😉

Anybody out there? Been a long time since I posted, I know. I doubt anyone cares, but the reason has been a headlong rush to finish the first draft of a new novel. That’s done (though an edit will doubtless occur soon, oh happy prospect). I’m doing some screenwriting in the meantime, and tomorrow I’m heading to Brighton for the World Horror Convention. But for now…

This may read rather like coming across a re-run of the snow-blown Christmas Special of some old sitcom in mid-March, but this lunchtime I happened to be leafing through old recipe cuttings (yes, my life really is that dull), and came across one of those features that magazines run like clockwork during the festive season:

“Why not try something different to boring old turkey this year?”

Indeed, I thought, as always — or, on the other hand, why not stop trying to establish some dreary measure of self-definition by opting out of well-established and non-harmful ways of being? Christmas and its associated culinary traditions are — for those not directed otherwise through parallel belief systems — one of the few moments of national or international bonding left (apart, of course, from those relating to the death of a ‘celebrity’ or the climax of some witless cultural cancer like The Gag Factor or Big Moron). And… it only happens once a year. How can something you do just once a year have got to the stage of being so unutterably boring? To be fair, allowance must be made for Americans in this regard, who may have eaten the same thing only a month before: but, for everyone else, let’s get this straight — can you only bear one pasta dish a year, or one pizza, or one Chinese takeout? No, I thought not.

So unless you’re actually allergic to turkey, suck it up and eat the bloody stuff. Share in the event. Join the party. Do what everyone else is doing for this one day: don’t try to prove you’re different and fascinating through smirkingly serving up boiled lark’s tongue or a remoulade of mutton with a tangerine foam. Nobody’s watching, my friend. Nobody cares. There is great peace to be found, once in a while, from doing what everyone else is, especially when the tradition has been around for a few hundred years. Take a few minutes off the endless battle to be an individual, from refining and promoting your personal brand. Melt into the undertow for a day. It’s actually a blessed relief.

Which brings me by a roundabout route to a book recommendation. I picked this up for my wife last Christmas, on a whim, and she enjoyed it so much she insisted I read it too. I’ve finally got around to it. The book is DELIGHT, by J. B. Priestly. Originally published sixty years ago — but available now, in the UK at least, in an attractive reissue from Great Northern Books — it’s a collection of over a hundred essays on things that happened to bring the writer ‘delight’. The subjects are extremely varied (I read entries last night on the sound made by an orchestra tuning up, family silliness, and the feeling you get the day after reaching the end of a long, hard piece of work), and all are short, two or three pages at most. The prose is superb (not flashy, just good-humoured, charming and very accomplished), and there are stirring insights into everything from the nature of friendship to the joys of procrastination, but what’s best of all is the project itself.

So much writing these days, especially on the web — my own often included, I know — consists of whining and critiquing and showing just how jolly determined we are not to have the wool pulled over our eyes. We live in a universe where everyone prowls with itchy trigger fingers, searching gimlet-eyed for fault and insufficiencies, where the default review is one star. DELIGHT is just the opposite, and there should be many more books like it. Not eating turkey is not a sign of being grown-up — and neither is the adolescent carping that so many of us seem addicted to, this oh-so-sharp but oh-so-cheap trashing of everything in creation.

Saying that something’s crap is easy. Saying that something’s great… is bold.

Let’s be bold.

I’ve got one. A stonker, in fact. In an attempt to prevent the day from being a total waste — and to prove to myself that, evidence to the contrary notwithstanding, I haven’t actually broken my brain — I thought I’d try to write something about them.

So. Hangovers:

1. They’re not good.

2. They’re not good. Christ, I think I’ve said that already.

3. There should be some kind of universally-agreed and internationally-recognised measurement of hangover, like the Richter Scale for earthquakes, or that one I can never remember the name of that relates to the hotness of chilies*. Come to think of it, I seem to recall that serious earthquakeologists don’t use the Richter scale any more, and have got some other new and groovier way of measuring the bloody things. But, Christ, you know? Why would they do that? Stop being greedy on the scale thing. Instead of chopping and changing over earthquake measuring, why not put your fertile minds to coming up with one for hangovers instead? That way people (by which I mean partners, mainly) would be able to see that the sufferer is really not very well at all, and needs to be treated kindly and if not exactly with sympathy, then at least tolerance. Maybe there could be a badge you could wear, in fact, or a digital read-out you could have installed in your forehead. That way when you went lurching out into the world to fulfil some unavoidable errand then other people would know to steer well clear and to do what they can to ease your progress, rather than just walking around and being themselves in a variety of challenging and unhelpful ways.

4. Alcohol should come with warnings that help. I don’t care about it being bad for pregnant women. I’m not one. Telling me to ‘drink responsibly’ is clearly a lost cause too. Instead they should describe the depths of pain, fear and confusion you will be wallowing in the next day, in quite small type, so you have to concentrate. Maybe every bottle of beer or wine should have a little mirror on it too, so you can see your face — and realise that instead of looking dashing and insouciant and man-about-town you in fact look like a leery buffoon whose features are in danger of sliding off his face.

5. Serious hangovers have a journey attached. You wake up feeling not too bad. This is because you’re still a bit drunk. Then slowly you start to feel really appalling. Then there’s a brief Indian Summer where for half an hour you think ‘Oh, okay, I’m feeling a bit better now, thank God for that.’ Then, sadly, it gets worse. It’s during this last stage that you will make fervent promises never to drink ever again. Then you’ll remember that you’re going out again tonight. Which I am. Oh lord.

6. I’m not sure there is a (6), actually.

7. One of the more distressing features of getting a little older is the advent of the two-day hangover. When I was young and full of hope, I used to be able to go out, have far too much fun, merely feel a bit pasty the next morning, and be back on form by early afternoon. Now I will be effectively in a coma for twenty four hours, and still feel ropey the next day. That’s not fair. Becoming wiser is not an adequate trade-off for this.

8. Here are two of my other memorable hangovers. The morning after my friend Zaz’s thirtieth birthday. She’s forty now. I can vividly recall how bad I felt the next day, a decade later. I should be able to learn from this that no evening is worth that level of discomfort. Have I learned this? No. Another would be a morning in Snohomish, Washington State. My wife and I had a fabulous evening in a bar called The Oxford, run by a charming couple who were extremely nice to us. I drank quite a few pints of some very cloudy local microbrew, and woke up the next morning feeling dire. Nonetheless we walked into town, and I checked out a second-hand bookstore I’d noticed the night before. It was big and excellent, and the presence of lots and lots of books made me feel a little better. But then my wife, who’d noticed they had some of my hardcovers, insisted on going up to the staff and asking if they’d like them signed. There was a long, long, loooooooong pause, before the guy said ‘Yeah, sure’ — which clearly meant ‘No, never heard of him, and why would we want some loser to scrawl his name on his books anyway? And also, just how frigging hungover is he? Look — he’s lying face-down on the floor.’ I signed the books, and left. I still feel a bit embarrassed about it now. And one day, my wife will pay.

9. I should probably have some lunch now. What do people have for lunch? I can’t remember.

10. When I come to power, people who get all smug and judgemental about other people’s hangovers will be put to death. Saying ‘Well, it’s your own silly fault’ or ‘If you’re going to be a man in the evening, be a man the next morning’ or ‘Personally I never get hangovers, because I only drink in moderation’ is not the sign of maturity. It’s a sign of being a knob.

I’m not going to go back and edit this because I can barely read. If there are any grammatical mistakes, keep them to yourself. I’ve got a hangover, in case that wasn’t clear.


* Aha – it’s the Scoville unit, that’s it. Just Wikipediaed it. See? I’m on top of my game after all.

In case anyone is in the N7 area this weekend, and fancies being a film extra… This just in from producer Elizabeth Pinto:

“We are about to start filming a short film based on Michael’s short story
LATER, and are looking for extras for a wake scene we are shooting on
Saturday 21st November 12pm-3pm, in Islington N7. Alternatively we are
shooting another “party” scene from roughly 4 to 10pm at the same address.

If you’d like to take part in the first translation of Michael’s work to the
big screen, please contact Elisabeth at this email address:

We are especially looking for people for the wake scene, and those aged 40+.
Please note you will be required to come in suitable funeral attire for the
wake. We can cover London Z1 to 6 travel expenses. Refreshments will be
available on set.

Thank you very much for your support.”


I went into town a week or two ago (by ‘town’ I mean central London), to have dinner with someone I’ve known for over twenty years. I emerged from the stygian depths of Tottenham Court Road tube and turned right into the top end of Charing Cross Road. I do this pretty much every time I come into the centre, because I generally need cash for the night and I habitually acquire it by taking a cut-through behind the hulking presence of the Astoria theatre, and thence into Soho Square, at the bottom end of which lies Frith Street, which holds a couple of ATMs.

But that evening, the Astoria wasn’t there. Instead there was just an empty space, surrounded by hoardings.

The Astoria was just plain gone.

I realised, as I stood there open-mouthed, that this has been coming for a while. A very long time, in fact. Fifteen years ago I worked for a slightly pointless association whose members were already up in arms about the proposed ‘Crossrail development’, which involves — for some reason I still don’t quite understand, and probably never will — an additional tube line being built under this very central area of London. As part of the process the block which previously held the Astoria (in days of yore a significant theatrical locale, more recently a battered and pleasingly seedy gig/club venue) has been demolished. It’s… history.

If you’d asked me ahead of time, I probably wouldn’t have thought that I would care much: but as I walked past the void its destruction has left — on the way to dinner, and back to the tube station afterwards — I remembered a few things:

The Astoria was the only venue in which I’ve played guitar to a sizable audience. Twenty-some years ago I was part of a four-man comedy troop, which (back when it seemed we might be, like, famous and stuff) were featured on a big TV show recorded in the venue. I got to play my Strat very loudly on the Astoria stage (actually it wasn’t my Strat, in point of fact, which proved to have a major shielding problem and fed back like a bastard; I had to play a replacement Strat rapidly hired from a place on nearby Denmark Street, instead). The show got cancelled a year later. So did our performing careers, eventually. We’re now a barrister, writer, writer and writer, respectively — and probably much happier for it.

It was also where I saw a band called Gun, twice. Both occasions were with one of my oldest friends, Howard (not the person with whom I went out to dinner, as it happens). Both were astonishingly good gigs. I remember the band strolling onto stage one by one, already casually rocking out, in a manner which will always define rock and roll for me. Later in the evening I also recall getting outlandishly stoned in the higher tiers of the venue. At the second gig, both my now-wife and my then-and-still editor came along. Gun were key to my listening life for a few years (Gallus remains one of the greatest rock albums of all time, according to me), then had a big hit with their cover of Word Up (previously a live favourite, which Howard and I heard morphed fabulously into Enter Sandman, at the first gig), became a bit shit for a while, and then vanished .

The Astoria was also the only venue where I’ve seen a gig from the VIP area. I’m fortunate to know the keyboardist of a certain band (I say ‘fortunate’ because I like the guy, and his wife, very much, not because I got to score a VIP ticket as a result). I don’t care how vapid this makes me sound, but being in VIP areas is cool. There’s space for more of that in my life, now any vague dreams of rock stardom are long-gone. Other bands, take note.

The Astoria was finally the place where, a couple of years ago, I went to see another gig with an old college friend, William Vandyck (again, not the guy went to dinner with on the night I’m talking about, but he was one of the guys in the comedy group (the one who became a barrister), and thus on stage at the same time I got to play my guitar). We went to see Bowling for Soup, the pair of us feeling about a bazillion years old, surrounded by excitable teenagers — and realising both that we really needed to get a grip on our music tastes and that some bands are far more acceptable on record than they are in real life.

These were all nights that mattered, but the truth of it is that I’ve only actually been inside the Astoria a handful of times. Its main role has been as something I navigated by or around. Were I a stone age man (rather than just behaving like one, sometimes), the Astoria would definitely have earned its own petroglyph in my mental map of London. It’s a building I’ve walked past hundreds and hundreds of times over the course of a quarter of a century — glimpsing posters for bands I’m not cool enough to like, or upcoming club nights I’m not gay enough to wish to attend. A place that had a significant physical bulk and heft, and behind which lay one of my quietly treasured little short-cuts, a quick duck-and-dive that doubtless looked scary and I-don’t-fancy-that to passing tourists, but which actually led to a sudden haven of quiet through a couple of dank side streets which threaded like narrow canyons between towering Victorian buildings, before re-emerging into a side road which led into leafy Soho Square. It was a secret corner of the very centre of one of the most amazing cities in the world, which few people knew about — a rat route than made me feel I knew the city in a way others did not. That made me feel like a Londoner.

That cut-through has gone. My secret way has disappeared. All of the above events have gone, in fact, at least in terms of the physical space in which they occurred. I have another very good and very old friend (the writer Nicholas Royle, who, predictably, was also not the person I went to dinner with on the night in question; but whom I met while working for the association whose members cared about Crossrail; and who was also the first person to accept a short story of mine for publication), who I’ve accused of having ‘emotional routes’ — geographically-dubious means of getting from A to B, which have very little to do with spatial efficiency and a lot more to do with ricocheting between locales of previous emotional significance. I realised only on the night I went to dinner that cutting around the back of The Astoria was one of mine.

I guess this is simply what getting older is like. Places go, demolished in the name of subway routes which you can’t see and have no need for, but which, you assume, are generally agreed to be a good thing for someone else. And that’s fair enough. People go, too. Dreams dissolve. Relationships die and friendships fade away. And yet we go on living, and keep on doing the best we can with what remains of what once was… and with what cool new things may come.

There’s no real narrative to this, let alone a moral. It’s just an event in my life, and I’m marking it in the only way I know how. The past is the past and nothing more, and the kicker is that I had a lovely evening that night — with great food, a good friend, and several hours spent bantering about stuff that matters now, rather than wallowing in back-in-the-day. That’s what life is really for — the endless now — and the loss of the Astoria made me realise how much I do have, especially when it comes to friends, and not just the ones whose lives have happened to once meander with mine through a place which is no longer there. You’re a bunch of utter bastards, but I’m very glad to know you all.


ps: On a tangential note, the Nicholas Royle mentioned above has recently started a publishing imprint, called Nightjar Press. He’s kicked it off with a couple of chapbooks, one of which is written by me. Don’t feel you have to buy that one — buy the other, by Tom Fletcher, which is excellent — but do check the site out either way. Nick is one of the very goodest of the good guys, and small presses like this have long been the lifeblood of genre fiction. If there’s a one run by Nick Royle, you definitely want to be reading what it prints.


DAVE 2.0b2
A man

Customer Reviews for current version:

Woot! A new version of Dave! Going to install now!! LOL!!!

Glad to see an upgrade at last, but I don’t like the new icon or interface changes. Dave seems to have put on weight, and has more lines around the eyes.

Dave sucks! There are lot’s beter people around than him.

I like some of the new habits, and actually think the few grey hairs are an improvement. I would have liked to see a little more wiseness (I have submitted a NUMBER of requests for this via the forums), but overall, a decent upgrade.


Hey – I’m Dave’s developer. Thanks for the comments… It would help a LOT if everyone would submit proper bug reports (with log files), though, instead of just saying Dave doesn’t work. For example: “Has tendency to get dogmatic after four beers [16/10/2009]”. Cheers!

I like Dave, and will continue to support his development, though like some other long-term users have been disappointed by his tendency in recent iterations to lack the verve and optimism of previous versions.
REPLY from DEVELOPER: The optimism plug-in proved hard to maintain due to underlying features in Dave’s Reality, and has been dropped. I’m working on increasing the Defeated Resignation options for the next beta.

Not the upgrade I was hoping for after all this time. The audio monitoring and response functions still don’t work as advertised.
REPLY from DEVELOPER: Increased Empathy is on the request list, and I’m working on it. For the time being, please use workarounds like not talking to him when he’s tired.

This should be FREE! Check out the open source John 0.4.6 instead. Can’t stand up or speak or breathe dependably, but its FREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!

I tried to use Dave to do my accounts and it got everything wrong. I want my hard-earned cash back.
REPLY from DEVELOPER: Dave has never understood accounts, and never will.


Dreadful evening. Just dreadful [log attached]
REPLY from DEVELOPER: Yes, I’m aware there are some compatibility issues with Dave 2.0 and YourFriends 3.1. Please try to use them at different times while I work on a patch.

Does exactly what it says on the tin!!!

Does this upgrade have Telepathy powers?

I have absolutely nothing better to do with my time, and so have just read every comment ever made about this software. I don’t specifically have anything to add. Christ I’m bored.

I just tried to run the exercise mode in Dave 2.0b2 and it crashed out after 20 minutes. FIX THIS, YOU BASTARD.
REPLY from DEVELOPER: Try using the “Walk” setting rather than “Run”.

I’m sorry but this just isn’t good enough. I’ve been a long-term supporter of Dave, and have paid the upgrade fee every time, but I’m just not sure I see evidence of meaningful development. Dave 2.0b2 is prey to increasing feature-itis (ability to make basic dinners for the children, occasionally remembering to pick his trousers off the bedroom floor, retention of endless trivia gleaned from the History Channel) but the basic flaws (lack of flair, decreasing libido, being generally annoying) remain – and are getting worse, if anything. Unless these are fixed in the next beta I’m tempted to try Co-Worker 1.0.
REPLY from DEVELOPER: Please be patient – and see the changelog on the website for under-the-hood improvements that should bear fruit soon. Also, be aware that Co-Worker 1.0 has a virus.

Seems to sigh a lot more than he used to. Is this deliberate?

What??? Dave is a man? It shuld say so here. I pade good money for this and wanted a Lady. Money back!!!
REPLY from DEVELOPER: It *does* say so here, you fucking muppet.

I have consulted with someone I met on FaceBook, who says he is a great lawyer, and he says Dave is not fit for purpose, specifically he can’t do my accounts for me like I want. Therefore I am suing you. To avoid this send me all your money now.
REPLY from DEVELOPER: I don’t *have* any money. Dave 2.0 is shareware, relying upon the honesty and decency of users. You do the math.

I’ve been using Dave since the early days back at college, and generally found him a good fit for my workflow and socialising goals. Well, times have changed, and after test-driving Bob 1.4 for a couple of evenings, I think I’m going to switch. I will keep Dave on my hard drive and XmasCardList, but won’t ever use him again.


Okay, fair enough, Co-Worker 1.0 wasn’t the solution (though I’ve had worse snogs). But I’m not getting any younger, am I, and I’m tired of living with a man with no drive, who never seems truly happy, and who never touches me any more. I’m downloading a trial version of Friend of a Friend right now.

Aha. Now THAT’S what I’m talking about, right there.

Earn$300 from home!! Click HERE!!!!!!!

It is with great regret that I am ceasing development on Dave. I’m simply not gaining enough satisfaction to justify the amounts of time required, and to be honest I think there are problems in the underlying code which will never get resolved. I’d like to thank everyone for their support. Dave should continue to function for some time, but will eventually succumb to an ever-increasing sense of pointlessness and doubt. No flowers, please.

I’m posting this here so it’s easier to find the coupon address, once my Tweet on the subject fades from the timeline of life like a tiny little drop of dew, evaporated by the fierce sun of ongoing twonversation.

How come I’m helping to offer a discount on this piece of software? No, not because I’m getting some kind of backhander for doing so. I’m not. I’m passing it on simply because I think you might like it.

Scrivener is my office. Since I discovered it a couple of years ago, it has replaced every other application I once used to write with — and there were a lot, trust me: I’m a certifiable software junkie — with the occasional exception of Word (after nine novels and seventy short stories written in the bloated behemoth, from time to time its quirky ways call to me, like an uncomfortable sofa which I’m wearily accustomed to). For everything else — and this includes prose, planning, information-gathering, treatment-writing, jotting screenplay notes, even collecting recipes — Scrivener is now where things happen. It’s where I’m banging out this blog post right now, naturally.

The developer has approached a few of his loyal users to offer a discount on the application, and I’m delighted to pass that on via the Twitter coupon below. If you’re writing on a Mac, you want Scrivener. There’s a ton of features to support every style of wordsmithing known to man (and more very cool additions on the way) but it’s also easy to jump in and start writing, learning extra tricks and using other tools as you go along, refining your workspace and flow as you learn what works for you. You can lob Word files into it, and export your work back out again with astonishing sophistication, even write to Final Draft format… It really is the Mission Control of writing, and yet very light on its feet.

But hey — enough of my yakking. There’s a 30-day trial available, and the coupon link below gives you 20% off if you decide to take the plunge.


No, don’t thank me. The pleasure on your faces will be enough. And do pass it on — this isn’t just limited to followers. It’s a discount bonanza. I must be mad. Or not me, actually, as it doesn’t cost me anything. The developer must be mad. Actually, maybe he is mad. But he makes a lovely piece of software anyway.

Check it out.


Says Who?

Michael Marshall (Smith): novelist, screenwriter and sitting-place for cats.

Go to Official Site.

Said When?

January 2023

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How Many?

  • 42,194 hits