Tony Talks

Tony Talks #24: A. J. Black – Published Author!

So it has finally happened guys… I am a published author!

Myth-Building in Modern Media: The Role of the Mytharc in Imagined Worlds is finally now available to purchase via Amazon and all good bookshops. It won’t necessarily be on all shelves but you can order online. I’ll provide links at the bottom should you wish to be very kind and purchase. The paperback isn’t cheap but the price point is a bit more agreeable via Kindle, and I recommend asking your library to stock it so then you can read it for free. If you do spend your hard earned money on this, my eternal thanks. Please do let me know what you think too, ideally via an Amazon/Goodreads rating/review, or by messaging me via this blog or my social media pages. I’d love to hear what you make of it.

Here’s the blurb once again if you remain on the fence:

Tony Talks #23: #TheShowMustBePaused

Hello, dear readers.

We live in interesting times, don’t you think? The tragedy in America is casting a shadow on the public consciousness certainly in the UK right now, even with the ongoing anxiety about Covid-19 and the British government, to the mind of scientists and much of the public, rushing to ‘re-open’ the nation’s schools, shops, pubs etc… before the virus has been contained. It’s hard for us all, in different ways.

What I’ve decided to do, as the tiniest show of support, is to not release anything on this blog until next Tuesday, and here’s why…

Tony Talks #20: Cultural Conversation Strikes Back!

Friends! Readers! Countrymen!

You may have noticed that around a month or so ago, I said I was saying goodbye to WordPress for a site called Substack – some of you may well have followed me over there (thanks if you did).

It didn’t, however, quite work out. Substack is great. I was really impressed with the style and presentation of it, how easy it was to use, and how it facilitates what I want with my blog writing – contact and interaction with *you*, the reader. What it lacked, for me, was the sense of curation. It is designed more as a newsletter to communicate and interact, rather than a way to importantly store work online as a repository, which is what I prefer about WordPress. So, I’m back, and I’m going back to basics.

I’m going back to the original name – Cultural Conversation.

Tony Talks #19: Happy New Year + 2020 Update!

Happy New Year (and decade) everyone!

Firstly, I’d like to thank each and every one of you who reads this blog when you get the chance. I’ve worked hard particularly in the last few months to keep content rolling on a daily basis and I appreciate any interactions I have with you, whether via likes on posts or comments or on social media. I hope for more of that in 2020 and to get to know many of you better, if I don’t know you already.

This blog has kind of become my central focus point over the last six months ever since I quit my role as co-founder/co-editor of Set The Tape in April. That was a really interesting almost 2 year project that taught me, primarily, that I am not an editor! I am a writer, for better or worse. I have enormous respect for anyone who edits copy and runs a website with multiple staffers and content daily because it is an all-consuming task with little financial reward that can end up quite the grind. It just wasn’t for me, in the end.

Ever since, I’ve been toying with what the future holds as we enter the 2020’s in terms of writing and podcasting and I thought I’d share my musings with you on this New Year’s Day.

Tony Talks #16: Me and Rakuten TV

The age of streaming is well and truly upon us, guys.

This, you already know. You no doubt subscribe to a wealth of different providers. If you’re in the States, you’re overloaded with cable channels alongside streaming giants. If you’re in the UK, satellite TV and the dominance of Sky has given way to Netflix or Amazon Prime, and soon the new big movers and shakers on the immediate horizon – Apple TV+ and Disney+. You even have, tucked away within Prime, a range of sub-channels depending on your taste – Mubi, StarzPlay, BFI, Shudder and if you want a reality TV fix, Hayu (though I doubt many readers of this blog are subscribers there…).

I’d like you to pause for a minute or two and consider another kid on the block. He’s been there for a while, lurking on your plasma smart TV’s, quietly waiting for a chance to impress. His name is Rakuten and he’s actually got some skin in the game, I’ve found recently. Here’s why.

Tony Talks #15: The State of the Nation(s)

Everything is broken. You know it. I know it. People are talking more about it these days, but still… everything is not just broken, it’s *exhausting*.

I was originally going to just put together a tweet thread about this but I feel compelled right now to write more about the desperate current state, not just of our politics in the West, but our societies in general. In some sense, David Cameron’s vision of a ‘Big Society’ in the UK has come to pass for Western democracy, just not in the way he imagined. We are one big, collapsing macrocosm of democracy which is being crushed under rapidly evolving systems and processes. Our society cannot cope with these quiet revolutions and, consequently, the centre—literally—is not holding.

At this stage, I’d like to, and this may sound weird, invite you to stop reading. I’m aware followers of my blog no doubt come here for discourse on cinema, TV, podcasts etc… and I’m equally aware, for some, never the twain shall meet when it comes to entertainment and politics. While I’m determined not to let this piece descend into a “Trump and Boris are c*nts” (they are) rant, I fully understand if this is the point you get off the ride. In fact, I encourage it if entertainment bloggers and critics discussing personal political views annoys you, especially if you hold a different view.

Still here? Great. Because I have thoughts.

Tony Talks #14: Loss and Hope

Greetings everyone.

While this may sound morbid, I often wonder about death. Sometimes we forget how omnipresent death actually is in our lives, even when we’re not directly experiencing loss. We often know people who are, or have. We see death in much of the media we consume, the TV and movies we watch. Some of the music we listen to concerns death, as do many of the books and stories we read.

As we live life, death is everywhere.

Tony Talks #13: Welcome to the Re-Brand!

Hey there, everyone!

Something looks strange, you may well be thinking on reading this post, and well, you’d be right. I’ve had a re-brand, a little re-design, and a larger re-think about my blog space.

Since parting ways as editor of Set The Tape in the spring, I’ve been going back and forth on what this blog space should be, as I anguished over in my last update. It strikes me that if my future doesn’t lie in running a website, and more as an independent author and freelance writer, then I ought to start framing what I do in those terms.

So! Here’s my plan…