I met Dan B back in 2005 whilst he curated an art show; I was seeking advice on printing digital photos onto canvas and he impressed me with his immense knowledge of different inks and their playful effects – and his none ego way of sharing his experience and knowledge. I also liked the fact his facial aspect reminded me of Malcolm McDowell – very A Clockwork Orange.
Dan B is one of those people who gets on with life, sees ideas through and does things.
Like customizing V-Dub vans with NOS systems and drag racing them at the Isle of Wight.
He’s one of those rare human beings that are a treat and a pleasure to befriend, who tackle all the issues of living and fulfilling dreams with the mind of a builder and the hands of an artist.
How many times do you hear somebody complain about a particular aspect of their lives and declare a solution: “I’m going to… [ fill in the blank with some green dream ]”?
They utter the statement and yet never follow through. Usually, it’s a way of expressing frustration whilst the comfort-of-what-we-know keeps people in the same paradigm.
Skip a few years and Dan is living in a very nice, very comfortable four-story house near the centre of the city, complete with hand-crafted wooden decking and balcony area; something he put together from old railway sleepers.
One summery evening, supping beers in the fluttering light of a dozen church candles he turned to me and said, “Dave, I’m bored with living here. I’m going to sell up and buy myself a warehouse so I can park my V-Dub van in my front room.”
A few months later I get a call from him:
Hey Dave, come around and see my new place.
I find the address is a few streets away from his old house, in a row of industrial units.
And suddenly I’m transported away from Bristol into a realm of my imagination, a scene from the novel God Seed, something I wrote back in 1996 but based in the near future Sci-fi Cyberpunk genre; I’m now on the fringe of the vast urban sprawl of New Tokyo, Florida, in the dUSA and I’m approaching the private den of smuggler and wagon driver, Lex Landro.
Blurry overlap with reality. Knock on the roll-up shutters that occupy the entire front wall of the address.
Dan opens a smaller door set into a sidewall and with a broad grin spreading across his face gestures me inside.
I step into Cyberpunk heaven.
The whole downstairs in one massive open plan space; no interrupting support columns. Just space. A home-made kitchen area at one end, a couple of sofas around a coffee table enclose a nice TV system and there, a massive work area for his creative projects and there, just inside the rolling shutters, parked up beside the arrangement of sofas is his V-Dub van.
Later we watch Battle Royale II; I’m sprawled on a sofa with the smell of engine fumes wafting over me and the sound of the van ticking and cooling down.
At the back is a set of plush folding french doors that opens up into a small private garden; once industrial waste ground. A couple of years later Dan rolls a vast, circular, 3 metre diameter, 1.5 metre deep, carp-breeding tank through from the front to the back, and out into the garden. Setting the massive round tank on the level garden, and with the ingenious use of a log-burning fire brazier and the metal coil from inside an old water heater tank, he creates a hot tub capable of holding nearly a dozen of us one winter night, where the air temperature dropped to -6c.
A staircase leads up to another vast open plan space, in the process of being converted into a series of passageways and rooms by the introducing of stud walls.
Bloody brilliant, basically.
You can read about Lex Landro in God Seed, a novel that kicks-off in Bristol and places that urban fusion of medieval history and future energy onto the Cyberpunk map.
“Mankind will be judged, and smitten and cleansed”
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Lovecraft brought screaming and thrashing into the 21st Century!
David Rodger has created a World where Lovecraft’s mythos enters the near future. This, one of […] novels that he has set in a Gibsonesque environ, is a fulfilling piece of sci-fi horror, something that he evokes well. You can see the inspiration of Alien, beefed up with some Andy McNab-style action. The narrative sometimes sacrifices depth for pace, but is ultimately a fulfilling read. If you like Philip K Dick, or indeed William Gibson, and enjoyed some of Lovecraft’s genre, this will definitely appeal.
– S R Pyne, Bristol
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