I liked Altered Carbon the series – I did, but the book for me opened itself up on such a huge canvas, and the characters had such a real interiority, that I was sucked into the story, much more than the show was capable of. When I came to it the first and the second book were already out, and I had read Market Forces, and I was waiting for Woken Furies to come out eagerly. I feel like the whole delay of news and being able to order, and working out whether I could buy it in a certain place was part of the romance of the whole thing.
I read Richard Morgan round the time I started reading Simon Ings, and Jeff Noon was my gateway drug, and I was kinda digging into what you might call the second wave of cyberpunk. And I think it was Needle In The Groove that rolled The Manchester Free Trade Hall in the mix, nringing real punk in. I read Gibson at University – all the seminal stuff, so around this point it was the Blue Ant stuff I was reading. And I was reading Wire Magazine too which was a real product of the nexus of art, music, and film.
The nineties was all about this stuff for me, and it was the word punk that drew me in as much as the science fiction conventions. I got into Transmetropolitan around this time too. Pulled by the genre and the memory of Lazarus Churchyard. And I suppose as we were edging into the two-thousands The Matrix dropped. So I already had Invisibles under my belt, and The Sandman was featuring big in my thinking too. And it all mashed up.
Mid-nineties was doubling down on the Beat Generation, who I discovered around the time I got into Ray Bradbury, and read every damned entry in the Encyclopedia Brittanica I could find on Celtic Mythology. So I was rolling the jazz into the punk, and digging into Celtic stuff too. The Cut-Up Trilogy rocked my world, and Kerouac’s spontaneous prose really resonated with me.
Throw Japanese, Hong Kong, and Korean movies into the mix, which echoes back to my interest in early Anime and I was rolling.
I’ve always mixed it up, and there are certain things that have stuck in my head as big significant landmarks in my cultural education.
At 5 I read the whole Bible. 6 or 7 I copy out and adapt a Doctor Who Dinosaur Book. I have religion and philosophy and science fiction firing in my mind from early on – add in David Bowie’s Velvet Goldmine as the b-side to Space Oddity and the music has arrived. Comics, with 2000ad making for a very British sensibility. I watched everything I could, listened to all I could, read all I could, and stood before as many art pieces as I could.
I like to draw on as many different things as I can, so sometimes I have the attitude of Johnny Rotten rolling over a sea of Mile’s Davis, with the intellectual muscle of Ondaatje and the whitenoise of Burroughs, and the flow of Kerouac, with paintings by Schiele, being filmed by Wim Wenders. And me – me in the guts of it, the thinking of it, and the rolling kicking rhythm of it.