I am a nomadic author, journalist, and presenter hatched in Saaf London, and warped by a steady diet of sherbet lemons, medically prescribed comic books (absolutely true—ask me in person), dirty grey rain, and chips.
As a child, I was obsessed with books, comics, films, and TV; particularly the science fiction, fantasy, and horror genres. I played video games on the Binatone TV Master (possibly a clone), the Sega Mega Drive, the original beige Nintendo Gameboy, and the breadbox Commodore 64 (the system on which I first started programming). My parents shared with me their keen sense of history---I once even assisted my mother excavating a coin cache in our garden---and I constantly wrote stories, doodled, and snapped away with a series of film cameras. These early interests led to an education and career in science, technology, heritage, and finally media. This formative journey has, I hope, given my creative output a somewhat unique voice.
During an eternity in UK higher education, I cobbled together a peculiar mixture of skills and a bewildering array of impressive certificates, diplomas, and licenses, including a Masters degree in computery related stuff, and transferable credits and research experience in robotics, natural science, archaeology, and... Quite honestly, you could write an academic paper about my bizarre, spaghetti-like educational trajectory. Let's just say that I have accumulated an iceberg size mound of certification secured within the confines of an ancient sentient grey filing cabinet called Mr Bisley, who exudes a zen-like calm. Ommmmmmmmm.
My first career was a longish stint in the UK IT industry, before it went phut, thanks to the bosses, the bubble, and IR35. I started as a proper "have you tried turning it off and on again?" techie Morlock and ended running my own ETL consultancy (ETL—Extract Transform Load—sounds cool, right?)
Even while working, I never stopped studying, volunteering, and doing post-graduate research. After several years, I shifted sideways into the heritage sector. I first ran an archaeology practice, then became the curator and manager of a museum in Canada.
However, from the time I first entered the workforce, employment was never contiguous, (thank you very much late 20th/21st century economic chaos), but sandwiched between working in every conceivable job you care to mention, and quite a few you really would not, except astronaut, as my application was rejected by NASA. Damn it.
Let's talk about writing and presenting, which are what I do now. After impressing the publisher and editor with my blog and podcast, I started as a technology and culture columnist, writing a weekly column in an English language national broadsheet newspaper in Mauritius called the Independent Daily. When it closed in 2013, I returned home to the UK and worked as a freelance journalist. I wrote features, news articles, and opinion pieces for print publications. I am also an author, but that pre-dates every other thing I have done by many years. Ouroboros style career planning or wot? Other creative media things I can do, have done, or continue to do, include scriptwriting, copywriting, content writing, developing text based computer games, presenting, and podcasting. (The podcasting thing started because I got a taste of being both a guest and presenter on FM and online radio, and because I can't shut up about tech and pop culture).
As well indulging extremely eclectic, esoteric, possibly eccentric, tastes in art and culture, my spare time is spent attempting the ascension to rockstardom, technological tinkering, and on or under the big blue H2O.
Things written about me.
2006 Ridgley, Darren New Curator at the East Coulee School Museum, Drumheller Valley Times, Drumheller, AB, Canada
2006 Lehul, Dan East Coulee Museum Has a New Director, Drumheller Mail, Drumheller, AB, Canada
2006 Radio interview on Real Country 910 (CKDQ) (I think... It was a long time ago!), Drumheller, AB, Canada
2012 to Present Freelance journalist, Port Louis and Curepipe, Plaines Wilhems, Maurtius and UK
2013 Star Adventurer Magazine, Neo-pulp online magazine, UK
2006 East Coulee Cougar, Community news sheet, East Coulee, AB, Canada
1998 Taleford Computers Ltd., IT consultancy, Kent and City of London, UK
A Scanner Nerdly / FAQ
These are a few of my favourite things:
Toob? Star Trek, Blake's 7, Doctor Who, Thunderbirds, and Babylon 5.
Flicks? 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Man Who Fell to Earth, Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, Excalibur, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Blade Runner, Big Trouble in Little China, and Inception.
Lit? The Lord of the Rings, The Stars My Destination (Tiger, Tiger), The Man Who Japed, Dune, and Neuromancer.
Tunes? I'm fairly eclectic, but tend to favour the loud, punky, sinister, or all three, and Johann Sebastian Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D Minor; the admittedly clichéd choice of the discerning supervillain.
Jedi or Sith? Neither, as I enjoy limbs. I'd go with space pirate, but without the Solo smugness or family issues.
Empire or Republic? Republic!
Kirk or Picard? Kirk!
Doctor and Companion? Doctor? Jon Pertwee was my Doctor, but it's hard to beat the quirky Tom Baker. Companion? Ace or Leela? Hmmm... I'm conflicted, but I'll say Ace, after all, who can argue with Nitro 9?
Time Lord or...? Timelord? Pah! Let's just leave it at "or" puny humans.
Sartorial Aspirations? Throw Marc Bolan, Jon Finch's Jerry Cornelius, Bela Lugosi, and Yul Brynner into a washing machine and spin. Vigorously.
Self? A conundrum lurking inside the shell of a carefully hollowed out walnut.
Superheroes? Batman, Dazzler (shut up, she's brilliant), Vanth Dreadstar, Garth, Green Arrow, the Question, and Spider-Man.
Supervillains? Ernst Stavro Blofeld, Catwoman, Elektra, Mekon, Ming the Merciless, Captain Nemo, Omega, and Penguin.
Heroes? Han Solo, Flash Gordon, Indiana Jones, Sinbad, and Conan the Barbarian.
Anti-Heroes? Kane the Mystic Swordsman, Kerr Avon, Mister X, and Harry Palmer.
Tech? The PC is the best invention since the wheel.
Code? Loads, but C and Lua/LÖVE at the moment.
Martial Arts? Many, though currently Grand Ultimate Fist, and the terribly effective Way of the Spider. My special move is running away.
Yums? Mauritian caramelized coffee, Roquefort, croissants (the crescent shaped French ones, not the straight British monstrosities), and Parisian chocolate ganache truffles heavily dusted with fine cocoa.
Alignment? Chaotic Neutral
Peeves? Don't get me started.
Faults? Massive, and completely justified, superiority complex.
Places? Curepipe, Mauritian beaches, the pyramids at Giza, and here.
Utopias? Iain M. Banks's Culture.
Dystopias? The one in which I rule you puny humans.
HQ? A shape-shifting trans-dimensional vimana initially located within Hell Mountain Fortress in the Himalayan Kingdom of Garudastan, but now temporally and spatially unmoored and occupying the same XYZT coordinates as my spectacles. (All visa enquiries via the Embassy of Garudastan, At the ruined mansion, Grand Cabaret, Mauritius).
Descent? I was born in England of Indo-Mauritian, Hindu Brahmin parents and, as an adult, moved around a lot. Mars next?
Roy? Why, pray tell, does a Hindu chap possess the Norman–Frankish–Gaelic–(and yes, also Indian) derived forename? Dad's given name was supposed to be "Rohit", but the colonial British registrar's ears couldn't cope with something quite so Indian and wrote "Roy" on the birth certificate. When I was born, I was named after Dad.
Mathur? Although not an English name, it is made up of two syllables very common to the English language, and it is spelled phonetically, so if you mispronounce it, that's your problem. Don't expect me to help you with the pronunciation, because I do so love watching people squirm. Go on worm! Squirm, squirm, squuuiiirrrm! Hahahahahahahahaha!
More? That is as much as I can tell you without boring your pants off, but buy me a Betelgeusian Brain Buster and I'll talk the hind pods off an Arcturan zingbat. If you can't wait that long, feel free to rummage, but beware of the cabling, the carnivorous plants, and the giant wingèd thing. Aaaaaaawk!
Seriously? You actually read all the way down to here? What is wrong with you? There, there, have a scrumptious sherbet lemon.
About This Site
This cerebrally concocted and cleverly crafted grimoire is inspired by the foul d'elvish shadow scripts of Far Below (take the elevator down at Far Away). The spells within, cast mightily by the hand of sorcery wielding accursèd instruments cunningly wrought by dwarven-kind. Acknowledgements are grudgingly granted to the diverse legion of humans, gnomes, trolls, ogres, giants, the great and terrible Roc, rakshasa, satyrs, nymphs, djinn, skin walkers, centaurs, and other magical creatures and cryptids too numerous to mention, who have, under a terrible geas, unwillingly toiled in this villainous endeavour, and shall continue to do so (if they know what's good for them) unto the end of time! Hahahahahahahahaha! Look, I write... a lot, and I am a geek, so what did you expect? I mean, really...