Inspired by Spider Jerusalem

As most of you know, it was my birthday a couple of weeks ago and – amongst a whole host of other things – these arrived from my good friend Tarek

– The first two books of Transmetropolitan, Woo! –

I started book one yesterday morning and had finished book two by the afternoon… There’s ten books in total, (eleven if you count Vol. Zero), and I am a fan.

There’s more to come on this – just as there’s more to come about my birthday – but I just wanted to share something with you that I read a few pages into ‘Lust for Life’…
(Transmetropolitan: Vol. 2).

In the image to the right, Spider – the er… ‘hero’ of said work, is talking to his new assistant. The reason he’s making this request of her?

Well, she wants to be a Journalist. Spider’s response to the question asked is:

“If you’re going to be a real journalist, you’re going to need to learn how to look.”

Upon the assistant’s return, Spider elaborates on this further…


This exchange, as I mentioned, comes quite early into book two… but upon reading it, I closed the pages together and stopped reading.

“You need to learn how to look…”

“You need to learn how to look…”

“You need to learn how to look…”

Over and over these words reverberated around my head and, as I was scheduled to be leaving the house within the minutes that followed, I decided that I would try and capture and/or record whatever I could. Observing that around me that I’d normally idly pass by.

Thing is, I thoroughly enjoy taking in the world around me most of the time and yet I’ve never really felt the urge to try and capture it, live and as it happens…

I walked out of my house this afternoon and set off to the train station. As soon as I stepped outside I started walking and I started talking… and – thanks to the wonders of SpinVox Memo*…

(*I speak in one end and an email pops out the other… and Yeah, I know I work there Dudes, but the service is actually bloody handy and the Memo part is FREE!)

This what I said/saw:

Walking out of my front door. The light is blinding, the air is cold and the trees are dark. The Sun is setting and yet still so bright. The ground is muddy. I can hear hammering in the distance and yet there is not a soul in sight. Two cars sprinkle the road like forgotten toys while a plane soars through the sky leaving a trail like a scar across deep blue skin. No clouds, not a single one. A couple of people appear but nothing to report. Life in constant transit. This is what I do…

It must be noted at this point that it’s not that I ever didn’t know how to look… it was more, as I said, never having the urge to capture it in actual words. The words spoken above aren’t about to win me any awards, nor are they ever going to. The point is; just reading one snippet from a comic book that a friend bought me for my birthday has changed how I now look at the world… if only slightly.

I’m going to start capturing more of what I see around me… and no doubt use whatever I end up with in future blog posts.

In the mean time however, I need to locate Transmetropolitan: Book 3.



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Author: James Whatley

Chief Strategy Officer in adland. I got ❤️ for writing, gaming, and figuring stuff out. I'm @whatleydude pretty much everywhere that matters. Nice to meet you x

13 thoughts on “Inspired by Spider Jerusalem”

  1. James,

    I enjoyed this article. You’ve challenged me to pay closer attention to my world.

    What you’re describing is called the Child’s Mind or Beginners Mind in Zen. Ahh, to see the world through the eyes of a child… The goal is to retain that type of vision and not become complacent.

    I’ve noticed this mindset when I’m traveling too. It seems like it’s so much easier to meet people when you’re traveling. I guess it’s just being aware and open to new things. I call it Tourist Attraction.


  2. @Matthew – Hey man, thanks for dropping by. Great comment dude… I’m determined to try and do this a LOT more… I recommend it.

    @Eric – There’s Forbidden Planets here in the UK too man, in fact – I might just nip to one later on today… Good thinking Batman! 😉

  3. i got into transmet a a good few years ago now when i was going through my ‘must assimilate anything to do with Hunter S Thompson’ phase, it’s seriously awesome, i almost bought a replica set of his glasses on ebay for a silly amount of money once, and love the memo service, as you well know, just posted about it 😉

  4. What you describe is very similar to mobile commentary. This is used in training pursuit drivers and the like, and I also make use of it in my self protection classes. It’s a great way to improve awareness and retention.

    2 questions about spinvox memo – how do I make a recording and how long can they be?

  5. Rich – I *have* to see those glasses… Pics or didn’t happen dude! 😉

    James – Self protection and awareness? That’s a really good point…Makes sense, a lot.

    Re: SpinVox Memo – 30seconds mate. However, I’ve managed to find a sneaky work around. I *used* to have a SpinVox Blog account – which I used to speak posts to this blog etc… the email delivery address for that converted message *was* my blog’s secret email-to-post address… Y’know what I mean? Anyway – I just logged into my SV account, changed that address to my Gmail one and now I have a ‘memo’ account straight to my Gmail which can be up to 3mins long!


    (Does that all make sense?)

  6. It’s funny what happens when you slow down and start looking.. Sometimes, it’s nice to just ignore the world, and go real slow, just to take everything in.. Might get a bit overwhelming if you tried it in the middle of Oxford Circus, but out in the country, or where it’s not “too” busy, it’s actually quite nice to just slow down, and watch the world rush by!! Don’t think I could capture it in words like you did though.. You definitely have a poetic eloquence in the way you write 🙂

  7. Excellent, another TransMet reader! You may enjoy, if you haven’t already, the series by the name Preacher. See what you think. There’s even a namesake of mine in there.

  8. @Tom Reynolds – LOVING those shades dude… Awesome posing action. Also, found Warren Ellis’ blog the other day. Thanks for the link.. 🙂

    @Fahran – Too kind Sir, thank you 🙂

    @Kassidy – Dude, read Preacher a few years back. Fantastic collection of books… and I hope the name is where the similarities start and end my friend.. 😉

  9. Pingback: SpinVox - Blog
  10. Hehe, yeah, the similarity ends there. Or at least it does now. Used to have a similar hairstyle, but I’ve never quite had the same taste for blood. 😉

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