Last week I attended what had to be the gig of the year, seeing the tremendous All Them Witches at one of my favourite venues, the Brudenell Social Club in Leeds. Admittedly, it doesn’t have a huge amount of competition for that title, since I’ve only managed a handful of gigs in 2016. They’ve all been fantastic, but there’s something about seeing the particular magic of a band hitting their perfect groove, and All Them Witches didn’t so much hit it as much as carve it into the mantle of the earth, then let us all run about in it, giggling like idiot children.

So, the gig was good. If you’re not familiar with the band, I heartily suggest you acquaint yourself with them. But there was an extra added benefit to the whole thing, when I ran into book designer extraordinaire, cover designer to the heavy metal stars, and all round lovely chap, Dom Sohor.

I first met Dom nearly a decade ago, when I was in the process of setting up a grown up website for childish music, Demon Pigeon. I say met, but it was a purely digital thing. We needed a logo, and one of the others suggested Dom, who was at that time just starting out as a designer. We were all starting out, really, and Dom happily designed our logo for us, and we stayed in touch. Over the intervening years I’ve admired his work for the likes of Orange Goblin, Raging Speedhorn and many more (as I type this I’m actually wearing one of his designs), and so, naturally, when it came time to choose someone to design the cover for my first book, Blood on the Motorway, there was only one choice. I had to wait a while, but that’s what happens when you work with really talented people – they tend to be busy.

So, when I tweeted a photo of the support band the other night and got a message saying he was in the very same venue, I was extremely happy. Over the years I’ve made loads of really great friends on that there internet, and even had the joy of meeting a few of them, and here was someone I’d known for the best part of a decade, in the same room as me for the very first time.

It always amazes me, meeting people who live in the internet and not in real life, just how lovely they tend to be, and I wonder about those people who claim that internet friendship is not the same as real friendship. They must be terribly stuck in their ways to really believe that. I’m lucky to have great friends in both realms, and to have many creative friends like Dom, whose success both inspires and drives me to reach for the same. The bloggers, writers, designers, musicians, and artists that I’ve met on the internet are a constant source of inspiration for me. Knowing that the people who make it are the ones who work hard, who stick at things, it bolsters me. Seeing Dom work his way up from designing logos for idiot websites to designing artwork for bands we’ve both long admired is truly inspirational to me, quite aside what a lovely chap he is.

Anyway, this whole blog post has been an excuse to post this photo, which makes me chuckle every time I look at it. Look at the terror in Dom’s eyes, the horror as he tries to get away from me. Good times.

You can find Dom’s impressive portfolio here.

Blood on the Motorway – An apocalyptic tale of murder and stale sandwiches, is available on AmazoniBooksKobo and more besides.

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