Saturday, 26 November 2016

When Milo Met Michael Myers.

Milo travelled back in time to rescue young Michael Myers from his fate as a terrible Samhain possessed baby sitter killer. He is going to show the fledgling nightmare figure it is possible to be a good guy by living a good life. Not that Milo has a lot of empathy for mankind. He believes we are all a bit mad.That the fact we are self aware in a universe that has no need for such a state of being has driven us as a race collectively insane.
             Think he needs to chill a bit.

You Will Obey Me.

                                                                  (From my sketchbook.)

The Doll Named Silvio.

Discovered this darkly glittering wee gem of a ghost story in a battered copy of The Times Anthology Of Ghost Stories.A book first put together in 1975 and which was the result of a competition put together by the newspaper to collect thirteen stories for under this very banner. A competition which had as its judges Kingsley Amis, Patricia Highsmith and Christopher Lee.(Oh well, no pressure there, then.)The first prize of this competition went to Michael kernan and it merits such a distinction. I do not really like the idea of these types of competitions as the art form is so subjective. I have also discovered the results generally do not age well but in this instance the competition appears to have produced a very respectable crop.
             The Doll Named Silvio would have stood out even if I had not known the results of the competition before starting reading it.Sure, it is the stuff of Henry James and even MR James;a governess
This is Fad gadget.Back in the day He performed a song called Saturday Night Special which I really liked."Every man should have the right to own a gun, Every man Should have the right to shoot someone." Very haunting song.

Its That Time Of Year.

Oh you do not half know what time of year it is when you see the Good Doctor on the cover of The Radio Times. One can almost hear sleigh bells tinkling in the distance. Or is that The Sisterhood Of Karn ringing their devitional bells signalling the burning of a heretic.

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Unbearable Rightness of Being a Bear.

                                                               (From my sketch book.)

The Massacre Of Mankind.

Stephen Baxter once wrote a well received sequel to H G Well's The Time Machine. I think it might have been his first published work. Wow, no pressure there. Now he has just gone and done the same thing for the seminal and Genre affirming War Of The Worlds. A book written over a century which has never been out of print and one which has inspired a host of adaptions, movies, television shows , comic books and even a musical. H g wells was a profoundly influential creator whose written work has been much beloved by generations.(The most recent and enjoyable variation on that theme being Wilds End by Abnett and Culbard. A fantastique anthropomorphic take that is genuinely exciting and authentic to the period and tone of the original novel.It was one of those comics that seems to come along every now and again that has me agog between issues. Is it out yet?Is it out yet?)  The book comes from an era where the intellectual is revered and heroism and belief in the basic decency of mankind is the default position. Although he was never blind to the atrocity mankind is capable and the gruesome burden of moral ambiguity in times of war. When the necessity of virtue is never more imperative. It is not so much nature but mankind who abhorrs a vacuum.  We fill it with beasts, Sometmes alien ones because that gets us off the hook.
           Mind you this is actually about an invasion from Mars.That being said their presence on Earth changes history as we know it. Certain conflicts which shaped our familiar world, or the world as our learned history leads us to believe in, have either taken directions or forged events differently.. Its a different world because of what the invasion spelt for the destiny of mankind so we are in speculative history, pure science fiction territory. Stephen Baxter navigates these unknown waters with the aplomb of a born Shackleton.( You know I almost wrote Schalken there. Now that would have been an entirely different context.) It is a tense novel with old school discovery and heroics. It uses characters from the original book in interesting and quite believable ways.Even that text itself becomes an artifact of the possible real.
               A great book.

Milo And The Planet Of The Men.

                                                             This is Milo. Milo Popodopolis.
I met Milo at a book group. He was doing a talk on the work of Edgar Rice Burroughs and cultural appropriation and even how he read Swift as satire and Pierre Boulle for shits and giggles. I tried to affect an air of cool disinterest ( Intellectuals always make me feel unsure of myself so this is my default defensiveness.)  but I actually found it fascinating. He does not claim to be an expert on all things simian and insisted it was more by chance than design he was talking about monkey books.Modesty on his part, I suspect. He is currently working on a book about a monkey astronaut who crash lands on a planet where mankind has evolved to be the dominant species.
             He is going to call it Planet Of The Men.
             It is probably going to turn out to be no where near as racey as the title suggests.

Celtic Super Moon.

I have a theory that it was the proximity of the Moon to Earth at the weekend that contributed to Conor Mc gregor's victory in the ring. Oh yes, the lunar energy of the Celtic Goddess flowed through her favourite son. For that man is a Celtic Warrior reborn. He has the spirit of an otherworldly being and there is no arguing about the sheer "lunartic" energy he seems to channel.He reminds me of the Native American trickster god imp or a Viking deity enjoying a horn of honey mead.
            Next time the Super Moon comes close to Earth (Around 2034 or so.) do not be surprised if you look up into the night sky and you see this face looking back at you.

Saturday, 5 November 2016

Scarlet Traces.

If the fancy takes you why not pop over to The Gerry Anderson News Site and have a look at a piece I wrote for it based on my enthusiasm and admiration for The Captain Scarlet closing credits.Captain Scarlet : The Closing Credits  Great site, lots of cool information about a well spring of joy. Cheers.

Second Best?

Fifty years ago today a miracle took place. One of those alchemical moments that are only possible in the isoteric when anything seems possible and the impossible becomes plausible. Or to put it another way some one had a great idea that allowed a television and cultural icon to perform the greatest Deus ex Machina in television history. They did not call it a regeneration then. The character was not sagging under the weight of canon at that point.
             These were the days when "Who" meant Who?
              How did he do it? There was no template for what Patrick Troughton was about to try. To not just replace a lead character but to become that character. It was unprecedented at this point in television history and it was probably only really believed by even the most generous that the BBC were only extending the life of a much loved show by perhaps another season. Yet here we are...I remember hearing John Lydon say in the Julian Temple movie that when it comes to performing he never knows where it is going to come from. that he has to dig deep and pull something out of the bag. Well Patrick Troughton did that in spades.
                So much is owed to Patrick Troughton.I will be quietly thanking him today.
                And missing him.

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Well Read Bear.

What is that I am is reading? Why its Gentle Ben by Walt Morey. Anyone remember the television series from the late sixties? Ben's friend Mark was played by Clint Howard the brother of Ron Howard. What a talented family. The world seemed filled by friendly animals back then. There was Skippy, Flipper, Clarence the cross eyed lion, Champion the Wonder Horse and Ben the rat to name but a few. I had one called Handy Andy. He was a friendly octopus I made up stories about. Good stories too. In them he met other sea faring characters like Marine Boy, Captain Nemo, Aquaman and Desert Island Dick.
              Boy, I was a lonely child.

Jacks Back.

Ash seems to everywhere these days (not the kind from radioactive dust clouds mind you.) Still laugh at that prank from April Fool's day this year when it was announced that the first American Doctor Who had been cast played by himself.(Bruce Campbell.) with a great and groovy poster to go with it.
                Oh how the anglophiles shuddered.
                "A child of the lost colonies playing a British icon,Heavens above!"
                Looking forward to reading this.Great cover by Kelley Jones.
                What will be next?Freddy Kruger meets Edward Scissorhands?
                That might actually work what with both their unusual hand extensions...

The Haunted Bookshelf 2016.

Just a handful of the books I was lucky to have with me on my journey into the October Country.
                                                                    Some great covers,eh?

Oh Mandy You Came And You Gave Without Taking.

They told me that Mandy was Just For Girls but I read it anyway.That is how I roll.No body tells me what to do. I am an anarchist. A risk taker and a rule breaker. A big foot with a big sock.
              And I just have to find out if Sally will ever get her memory back and escape from the clutches of evil Mrs Crabstick and her crooked orphanage in Who Is Sad Sally?