Publication date: October 2013
108% funded
410 backers
Cover of Constable Colgan's Connectoscope

A paper-based portable wireless device that connects everything to everything else

PLEASE NOTE: Constable Colgan's Connectoscope is in production so your name can not be listed in the back of the book. However, you are guaranteed a copy of the special Unbound edition that will not be available in the shops.

I found myself fascinated and somewhat dizzy. Most impressive.

Quite simply the best way to spend time when not shopping, sleeping or preparing food
TONY HAWKS (author of Around Ireland with a Fridge)

For many years, we have known about something called Six Degrees of Separation; the idea that every person on this planet can be linked by a chain of just six, or fewer, individuals. Now I’ve designed a machine to do the same thing with facts; a kind of Six Degrees of Information.

I’ve called it the Connectoscope®

Imagine the scenario. I’m in my office, deep in the bowels of Scotland Yard, sipping Earl Grey tea and pondering upon the intricate and myriad connections that bind the universe together when, all of a sudden, a colleague bursts in and says 'PC Colgan! We have to find a connection between Batman and koalas or the kidnappers will throw the Duchess of Wycombe into a pit of ravenous Komodo Dragons! Fire up the Connectoscope®!'

Thus begins a frenzied flurry of detective activity… staccato word association… frantic whipping through the pages of an encyclopædia of marsupials… finding out every fact I can about the Caped Crusader… Everything is fed into the miraculous steampunkish thinking machine that is the Connectoscope®. The cogs whirr, the flywheels spin, as connections form and break apart only to regroup as solid chains of association. In a moment, the links are all forged and the case is solved.

Sound good? I hope so, because I’m going to need your help to build it.

Pledge to make it happen through Unbound and I’ll share some of the Connectoscope®’s most interesting discoveries to date:

- what humans taste like to robots
- why there were bluebirds over the White Cliffs of Dover
- how a tree became the New York Stock Exchange
- why Bob the Builder has more fingers in Japan than in the UK
- who the patron saint of medical record librarians is... and
- how to make Superman gay

Pledge at the higher levels and I might even get the machine to solve a case for you.

Remember, everything can be connected; the fun lies in figuring out how.

Why Unbound??
By choosing Unbound, I’m nailing my colours to the mast: authors and readers should decide which books get published, not accountants. Books should be sold to readers, not to retailers. I believe that this is the future of quality publishing.

Spotting connections is in my DNA. For thirty years I was PC Colgan of the Metropolitan Police. I worked in criminal intelligence. I researched and analysed crimes and community problems and helped design solutions that were more permanent and sustainable than the usual short-term enforcement-based tactics.

Now I’m an artist, author, songwriter and speaker currently living in Buckinghamshire. Among other things, I’ve been a potato picker, a chef, a police officer and a lecturer. I’ve written briefing notes for Prime Ministers and scripts for TV series. I’ve helped build dinosaur skeletons for the Natural History Museum and movie monsters for Bruce Willis to shoot at. I was the official artist for the 2006 National Children’s Book Fair and am an exhibitor at the annual Royal College of Art Secret Auction. I regularly contribute to the QI Annuals and my artwork has been seen on the BBC TV series. I have spoken at events in the UK and USA for audiences as wide ranging as police chiefs, doctors, magicians, entrepreneurs, comedians, politicians and prostitutes.

I have two books currently in print: Joined-Up Thinking (Pan Macmillan 2008) and Henhwedhlow (Kowethas 2010). The latter (translated by Tony Hak) is a re-telling of eight classic Cornish folk tales in both English and Cornish languages and is the largest collection of original Cornish prose currently in existence.

I fully intend to return to the Westcountry (I’m originally from Cornwall) some day to become the grumpy old sod at the end of the road who won’t give local kids their ball back.


CASE 2: Terry and chewin’ Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) is an edible plant used to flavour food – particularly fish. It is also a primary ingredient in making the spirit Absinthe. Its gentle aniseed-like flavour can be found in its feathery shoots but is concentrated in the bulb, which can be cooked and eaten as a vegetable. In mediaeval times, it was used as a medicinal herb in conjunction with St John’s Wort as a charm against witchcraft and other evils. It was also once said that eating fennel improves the bust. Modern chemistry has revealed that the plant does contain phytoestrogens that can promote growth of breast tissue so it’s maybe not so much of an Old Wives’ Tale after all.


Introducing ... Borrowed.

Monday, 18 September 2017

Hello all.

Just a short, sharp shedpost (Is it called a shed anymore? I must check) about a project that I'm involved with that, with your help, will be published by Unbound.

Borrowed is a short story collection featuring contributions from Unbound authors Shona Kinsella, Ian Skewis, Claire Patel-Campbell, Lou Allison, Paul Holbrook, Elena Kaufman, Erinna Mettler and me. 

ALL royalties…

Pottering in other sheds

Monday, 7 December 2015

Hey shedfolk!

I haven't written anything in this shed for a while because I've been pottering in some other sheds.

Firstly, Dr Sue Black's Saving Bletchley Park, which I contributed a large chunk of research and writing to, is being sent out to subscribers next week and will be in the shops early next year.

Secondly, my next book Why Did The Policeman Cross The Road? is fully funded and will…

Cornbury 2015

Sunday, 12 July 2015

2015 07 08 23.16.02

It's been a while since I've posted in this shed - sorry about that. All my efforts have been going into getting another book Why Did The Policeman Cross The Road? funded (which it now is) so I have somewhat neglected this book. But yesterday I got to talk about the Connectoscope again, in a roundabout way, and even sold a few copies of this book. Happy face (and how cool is it to see your name on…


Tuesday, 9 December 2014

It's always nice to read nice things written about oneself and I was delighted yesterday to be directed by a friend to some reviews of 'Connectoscope' that I hadn't seen before on sites like Goodreads and Waterstone's. These are all customer reviews (the ones that count) and it makes me very happy to think that a book I wrote is making people smile. Even better - I haven't found a bad review yet!


Friday, 26 September 2014

Hello m'dearios.

Just a quick shedpost to ask a favour.

If you liked 'Connectoscope', you might like my new book Why did the policeman cross the road?

Admittedly, it's a very different kind of book to 'Connectoscope'. Although it is full of interesting facts.

It's the story of my time in Scotland Yard's experimental Problem Solving Unit, where we were asked to find innovative new solutions…

Joined-Up Thinking is back

Sunday, 31 August 2014


If you enjoyed Constable Colgan's Connectoscope (and thank you if you helped to fund it!), you'll know that it was the sequel to a previous book published by Pan Macmillan called Joined-Up Thinking. You can still get copies of the original hardback and paperback in shops and on the web. However, I recently got back the rights to J-UT and so I've updated it and slightly expanded it and it's now available…

'ello 'ello 'ello

Friday, 4 July 2014

Well, I said that I'd do it and I have. My new book, Why did the Policeman cross the Road is up on Unbound and, I'm delighted to say, is already 11% funded after just 4 days. Of course, that means there's still 89% - a long way - to go yet but I'm hopeful that I'll get there.

Of course, I can't do that alone. I can bleat on Twitter all I like but it's personal recommendation that gets people pledging…

Well Hello!

Friday, 25 April 2014

Blimey Charlie, it's been a while hasn't it? I figured it was about time I said hello to all you lovely people who helped to make Constable Colgan's Connectoscope happen. And it's about time I brought y'all up to speed on what's going on in Connectoscope Land.

I've been extraordinarily busy since the book came out. Apart from working on the new series of QI and The Museum of Curiosity, I've also…

Shall I? Shan't I?

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Hello Sheddyfolk

As usual it's all hands to the pumps, all feet to the pedals, and buttocks to the grindstone here at Castle Colgan. Work on writing the new L series of QI continues apace - it's going to be a good 'un! - and we're startng to think about who we'd love as guests on this year's series of The Museum of Curiosity. I may also be working on another TV show as well but more news of that…


Wednesday, 29 January 2014

At last! After several months of behind-the-scenes wrangles (it's not as easy to get an audiobook online as you'd imagine) the audiobook of Connectoscope is finally ready to be downloaded INTO YOUR BRAINS. I recorded it last year at the amazing House of Strange Studios where various Mumfords, Trapped Tigers and other excellent bands have beaten a path before me.

I hope you enjoy it! Now I can be…

A belated Happy New Year!

Friday, 17 January 2014

Hello Shedfolk

Welcome to twenty fourteen! Or two thousand and fourteen. Or two hundred and one four. No, that doesn't work.

Oh my bushy beard, it's been an age since I last threw some words into my shed hasn't it? I can only apologise. Well, I could also chastise myself with a sharkskin scourge but I'm not going to.

In my defence, it's been a monstrously busy year. I've been the length,…

Constable Colgan's Hallowe'en Quiz

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Can you guess all of the answers to my quiz? Be one of the first three people to enter correctly in the comments below and you could win a copy of Constable Colgan's Connectoscope.


1. With her green skin, pointy hat and cackling voice, The Wicked Witch of the West from the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, has become the iconic popular face of fictional witches. Throughout the films and books, she…

It's all over bar the shouting ...

Saturday, 18 May 2013


Hello Shedfolk.

At last, finally, amazingly ... the Connectoscope has arrived! Actual physical copies - that YOU made happen - arrived in the warehouse yesterday. So they will start to be posted out to you soon. I'll be signing the ones that need signing and the ebook is well on the way. The audiobook gets sorted next month.

I'm so chuffed. In fact, I was so excited yesterday when my copies…

Busy Busy Busy

Wednesday, 1 May 2013


Well, it's all go at the mo!

Work continues apace on the new series of QI. We're recording three episodes per week at the moment and it's all going very well. Lots of your favourite guests are back, plus some QI virgins. At time of writing this we have six in the can and 10 more to go.

I'm also out and about doing talks and appearances. A couple of weekends back, I did QEDCon in Manchester among…

Print and be Damned!

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Today is a BIG day shedfolk. For today, Constable Colgan's Connectoscope has gone to the printers. I am almost embarrassingly tumescent with excitement.

And YOU made it happen. Yes, you.

You believed in me. You believed in the book. You stuck your hands in your pockets and rummaged about. Then, when you'd finished, you went and found some of your hard-earned and precious money and, despite the…

Cor! It's Constable Colgan's Connectoscopic Cover!!

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Sc and tg s

Yesterday evening I went into London to meet with top-Johnny artist and all round lovely fellah Mr Tom Gauld. The reason? Two-fold really. Firstly, I wanted to catch him before a signing of his marvelous new book of cartoons You're All Just Jealous Of My Jetpack (and, of course, get my own signed copy).

But, more importantly, I wanted to say 'thanks' to him because he's only bloody gone and…

Well hello!

Monday, 22 April 2013

Hello Shedfolk

It's been an AGE hasn't it? I'm really sorry about that but life simply got in the way. Quite apart from the work on QI, I've been all over the place promoting the book that you've helped to make. In the past couple of months I've done talks in Oxford, at the Institute of Engineering and Technology in London, Conway Hall (the Humanist Society), the Royal Masonic School, Buckinghamshire…

And the doors slam shut ...

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Hello Shedfolk.

Well, it's all over bar the shouting. If you were looking at upping your pledge to get the amazing print of the cover, I'm afraid you've missed the boat. You'll be so mad when you see it!

Oh, but I jest; I know that times are hard and I'm hugely grateful that you could spare any of your hard-earned cash in making this book happen. I'm sure you won't be disappointed. You may …

We're creeping up the hill of completeness

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Hello m'dearios. A quick update on all things connectoscopic.

This week I've been looking over the galleys. By that I mean the proof copies of the book, laid out as they will be in the final tome (rather than examining some old Roman boats). The Connectoscope is looking delicious, really pants-stretchingly exciting. The care that Unbound is taking over it is truly flattering. The book already feels…

Unbound Oxford - Eight Minutes about Eight Minutes

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

I've just got back from Unbound's first live event in Oxford and it was great fun. You can see a little write-up about it on my blog here. My talk tonight was called Eight Minutes about Eight Minutes because that's how long we were given to speak. So here it is, exclusively for my Shed Folk ...

Eight minutes is the average time people take to ... load a dishwasher after feeding a family, hoover a…

And the winner is ...

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Heather Wilde!

Well done Heather - you win the painting (if indeed you want it!). It will form part of the front cover of the book when published.

Someone will be in touch shortly to find out how to get it to you.


The 25% Competition!

Monday, 11 June 2012

Hello lovely Shed Folk.

To mark me reaching a quarter of the total I need to get my new book published, I've decided to hold a competition. The winner will win a beautifully hand-bound, utterly unique signed copy of my first book Joined-Up Thinking (see my previous Shedpost). To get some idea of what it will look like, have a butcher's at some images of bookbinder Amanda Slope's work over on my blog…

Aural Sexiness!

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Hello Shed Folk. So, here's the thing ... with me not being as famous as Terry Jones or as popular as Robert Llewellyn or as fashionable as Hardeep Singh Kohli or as good a dancer as Katy Brand or as downright sexy as Mrs Stephen Fry or Adrian 'Ferocious Duck' Teal, I felt that I needed a way to give you, my supporters, more bang for your buck. You see, £10 for an ebook - the lowest level of pledging…

These people are helping to fund Constable Colgan's Connectoscope.

Jenna Nunziato
Adrienne Seel
phiilp sims
Solitaire Townsend
Katherine Rasmussen
Leroy Kettle
Jonathan Marks
Rhian Price
David Cooke
Dave Dyke
Andrea Jones
John Auckland
Elma Goncalves
Maike Muller
Paul Smith
Yasuhiro Waki
Janet Robertson
Kirstin Bradshaw
Clare Fowler
Aaron Roberts
Lynette Sherburne
Lesley Watson-Burn
Robin Ballard
John Dexter
Donal Brannigan
Sietske van Vugt
Adam Olivari
Erwin Oosterhoorn
Tamasin Little
Kenn Roessler
Steve Clark
Allen Goodreds
Ralph Barker
Dawn Coxwell
Carl Hutchinson
Phil lindsay
Matthew Sylvester
Elsie Mary Green
Juliet Chen
Kerry Bossons
Lucy Spielberg
Steve Walker
Janice Staines
Marcus Butcher
Matt Davies
Jo W
Nick Walpole
Chris Elliott
Derek Mace
Elsie Mary Green
Erin Johnson
Karen Christley
Olwen Sshaw
Joanna Howard
Steve Wright
Kenny Chapman
Janice Staines
John-Paul Flintoff
Isabella Perner
Matthew Porter
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