Category: Thought-spillings

February 17th, 2017
Blog Entry

Cycling up that hill

I’ve cycled to work every day for about the last 18 months. It’s about 5km, and takes me around 20 minutes each way. My route takes me past a school, through a forest, and on a few quiet roads. It’s direct and I like it. In the morning it’s mostly downhill, and in winter, the rush of cold air is invigorating.

But every day when I come home, I come to the bottom of a long hill.

And every day a voice in my head says, “If you’re tired, or you can’t do this, it’s OK – you can get off and walk. It’s OK.”

And every day I keep cycling and make it up that hill.

Because my brain is quick to forget what I’ve already accomplished, but my legs remember. I tell the voice that I’ve climbed this hill hundreds of times. Every day it speaks up, and on my weaker days it’s tempting to say, “It’s OK to stop.”

But I keep going.

November 5th, 2016
Blog Entry

Opening Lines: C’est La Vie – B*Witched

Some people say I look like me Dad

As Elvis Costello said in that episode of 30 Rock about Alan Alda getting a kidney, “when someone starts talking in the middle song, you know it’s serious”, but even more serious talking comes at the start. Like this line from B*Witched’s 1998 masterpiece, “C’est La Vie”, such a gloriously bizarre way to start a pop career.

Apparently the band revealed a few years later that this song is actually all about sex, which makes that opening line even more enjoyable, because who doesn’t want to hear identical twins mention a resemblance to their dad?

More Opening Lines

I Run – Embrace
I Will Always Love You – Dolly Parton
I Heard It Through The Grapevine – Marvin Gaye
Do You… – Miguel

October 29th, 2016
Blog Entry

Nokia Lumia 735 wallpaper gallery

Last year I got my first smartphone, a Nokia Lumia 735. I really like it, and I’ve especially enjoyed making it look nice with custom lock screens, Start backgrounds, tile layouts and so on. It really is a beautiful looking device when you show it some care.

I thought I could help out fellow Lumia owners with some wallpapers. So if you’re looking for Nokia Lumia 735 wallpapers, you’ve come to the right place.

The album below contains my own favourite wallpapers, all photographs taken with my Nokia Lumia 735. I hope you like using them!

Self-made wallpapers for Nokia Lumia phones

September 15th, 2015
Blog Entry

What running has taught me

For Christmas 2012, Hannah bought me a GPS watch. It’s one of the best presents I’ve ever received, as I’ve told her about a thousand times since.

I didn’t run much in 2013; I got to 10km once, thought that was good enough, and stopped. In 2014, though, I did a lot better, completing about 600km over the course of the year. In total I think it was about 70 hours of running (yep, I am very slow) which gave me plenty of time to think. I haven’t run at all this year because of injury, but I still wanted to post this. Here’s what I’ve learnt from putting one foot in front of the other.


I’m a slow runner. Really slow, in fact; I finished in the bottom 15% of the Great Manchester 10k in 2014. My average paces don’t even make it onto the pacing charts in my running diary. At my pace, I’d be lucky to finish a marathon before they close the course.

I am fine with all of this.


That doesn’t mean I don’t want to get faster, though. After my disappointment with my result in the Manchester 10k, I started a half-marathon training plan. During the plan, I set a new 10k PB which, had I run it in Manchester, would have put me in the top 40% of the field. And I finished two 21k training runs, which I didn’t think I could have done in 2013.


I do not get medals or awards for running. Nobody high-fives or cheers for me. I do it for myself because I enjoy it and I know it’s good for me. And if you do the next thing that’s required of you, you get a bit better, and so on, until you’re somewhere you’ve never been before.

Unfortunately it hasn’t taught me everything: it hasn’t taught me how to go easy on myself when I fail, or to think something other than, “I wish I was that fast” when people speed past me (I have that on my bike, too.) But considering I never thought it would teach me anything, I’ll take what I can get.

February 2nd, 2014
Blog Entry

Celebrating 10 years of

On 13th February, will celebrate its 10th anniversary. What started as a dark blue site to host my music became a place of experimental blogging, then truly a “collected writings” as it evolved to capture everything I ever wrote at Nintendo Life, and later its sister sites.

Primarily for my own interest, here’s an evolution of over the last decade.

The first archive: 17th February, 2004

OK, so I had the domain from 13th February, but the site didn’t go live until a bit later. The text was a reference to that Grolsch advert, but we changed “beer” to “website”, setting a high standard of linguistic creativity that the site continually fell below.

Prosody version 0.1: 9th May 2004

This very, very blue site had everything a musician nobody had heard of could need: a guestbook, forum, biography, that sort of stuff. I think at one point the forum had around 20 members, so you can tell how big things were getting.

In January 2006 (I forgot exactly when, and Web Archive did too), I started writing at It used Pivot and had a really nice rainy blue theme with a fountain pen, if I recall.

This was the first time I felt excited about writing online.

The first “Collected Writings”: 4th June 2006

(Note: this link is actually to November 2006, just because it’s the first archive of this page that looks right)

I changed from Pivot to WordPress in June 2006, and launched the first proper “Collected Writings”. This was the first design I really loved – the top banner changed every month, and I did banners for special occasions, like this one for Tails’ 14th birthday.

This version of the blog was home to a lot of ideas, as I basically did anything I wanted. I wasn’t studying or working full-time, so I had time to write diaries for my Harvest Moon farmer; virtually cycle from Land’s End to John O’Groats using an exercise bike, Microsoft Virtual Earth and Wikipedia; do podcasts, and that sort of thing. Truly it was a golden age.

What this site means to me has changed enormously over the years. What started out as a promotional site for my ill-fated musical endeavour turned into a place I could try any idea I wanted. I created a Blog Carnival, podcasted, wrote match reports for Pro Evo 4, and loads more. It helped me develop my writing style and create a portfolio – there are over 1.25 million words here, spread across more than 7,200 published posts – and have a huge amount of fun in the process.

Since moving to Germany for work, I haven’t shown this site any attention. I’d like to change that in 2014.

Happy anniversary, URL. Thanks for everything.

March 19th, 2012
Blog Entry

Could GAME Stores Thrive as Dating Venues?

“No, that’s stupid, don’t be so ridiculous,” says anyone with any sense, but that hasn’t stopped dating website Date A Gamer from trying to cash in on the current media frenzy surrounding GAME Group Plc.

Here’s a press release about how single gamers could help GAME survive, as if that demographic hasn’t made up 95% of GAME’s customer base forever.


January 13th, 2012
Blog Entry

How to Make Your Games Website a Success

Since I started as Nintendo Life’s news editor in May 2010 our traffic has more than doubled. I won’t claim all the credit for this, but I have learnt a few things about how to make your site successful. Here are my tips.


December 16th, 2011
Blog Entry

The Best of Nintendo Life in 2011

2011 has been a phenomenal year for Nintendo Life, with fantastic statistics and even better content. I wanted to round up what I think have been some of the highlights of the last 12 months.


October 31st, 2011
Blog Entry

Happy fun promotion time!

It’s been a long time since I last blogged – almost exactly one year, in fact! – but thought this was worth writing about.

As of today I’m officially the Editor of the Nlife network of sites: Nintendo Life, Movemodo, KINECTaku and VitaGamr. Previously I was News Editor, but in my new role I now have full editorial control over all aspects of the sites. It’s a huge opportunity and I’m immensely grateful to the higher-ups for continually putting their trust in me.

I’m very proud of how far we’ve come in the past few years thanks to the hard work of a really talented and dedicated team: Ant, Corbie, Damien, Darren, Des, Jon, Thomas, Zach and all our reviewers and contributors who have given their free time and expertise to the network.

I have unbelievably high aspirations for the sites: there’s still so much left to do that this really feels like the start of something awesome. I’m proud of where we are and really excited about where we’re going.

November 30th, 2010
Blog Entry

My latest outings

kinect I haven’t written here for the whole month and with the last few hours of November now ticking away I thought I’d share this bit of gaming news with you.

As you know I write for three gaming websites, and recently the official Microsoft France blog asked me to write something to be posted on their blog. Yesterday it went up, and here it is!

If your French is as good as mine, there’s an English version at the bottom, or reprinted below. The website itself also has a photo from my wife so double bonus!

Gamers up and down the UK braved the cold to get their hands on Kinect first, but customers in London were treated to a touch of glamour at Kinect’s official launch party.

Above a glowing ice rink at the Natural History Museum, popstar Leona Lewis took to the stage to perform several of her biggest hits whilst staff from Kinect developers Frontier, Rare and Lionhead were on hand to discuss the new technology.

Following the party, the countdown to Kinect was on at Game’s flagship Oxford Street store, where boyband The Wanted were on hand to try out the games and serve the first customers at the tills, even taking part in a Video Kinect call with gamers attending the midnight launch at Game’s Leeds store.

They weren’t the only special guests, however: Kinect’s creative director Kudo Tsunoda was on hand to check out proceedings, snapping photos and chatting to customers about the sensor, its games and the future of Kinect.

Of the launch titles, by far the most asked-for was Rare’s Kinect Sports, without a doubt one of the most impressive applications of the technology out there, and MTV’s Dance Central flew off the shelves too. Both titles seem to have captured the imagination of gamers and non-gamers alike, although many customers spoke of their excitement at playing pack-in game Kinect Adventures.

The readers and staff at KINECTaku joined in with the excitement on their forums and via Twitter gamers counting down to the launch of the sensor and sharing their hopes for the future.

Whilst the UK launch didn’t quite match the sensor’s global debut at Times Square for spectacle and impact, it still carried the same kind of atmosphere normally reserved for new console launches. The excitement surrounding the product was unbelievable, with all ages and levels of gaming experience eager to become the controller.

Kinect got off to a flying start in the UK, and once word of mouth begins to kick in Kinect looks like being a huge success for Microsoft.

James Newton, KINECTaku

Let accusations of bias commence now!

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