Saturday, 15 October 2016

Comics Belfast.

                I was delighted to be part of a collab with Mark Mc Keown in "Debaser" as printed on an earlier posting. A spooky wee tale set in town regarding the confusion engendered by multi media platforms and the question not enough people ask themselves these days ; do you own your communication device or does it own you?
               Mark  has included it in this lovely collection of his work, his comics, the imagery he toys with and the world as he sees it. The book itself is a lovely object with the feel of a found artifact attempting "to put this moment here." There are some lovely photographs taken around and off locations well known to those who like to browse in the soft outre.It is a kindly and timely reflection of some themes, places and people who enrich my own life.It is almost like a familiar piece of music.
                Hope the locations found in it can still be found years from now.
                It is a new publication from Mark but it did touch me in a melancholy way.The past is the now waiting to happen and sometimes I wish I could slow down the things I enjoy and speed through the things I do not. I suppose that is why we have such things as art, writing and music.To help us keep track and make some sense of it all. And that is why I think Mark is such a creative person.
                He can do it.

The Trick Mister Potter Is Not Minding That It Hurts.

Back in the day having a smoothie straw blown in my face by Peter O Toole. Hardly the stuff of celebrity Biography I know but it was Peter O Toole. Cool fellow to boot. He signed a copy of My Favourite Year for me. A story that was surely close to his heart and a great coming of age story. I still have his boarding pass for his flight out of Belfast. Which is a kind of stalker thing to say I suppose...but it was Peter O Toole.
                For any age.

My Starry Wisdom.

                                          ..Actually this is more HP Sauce than HP Lovecraft...

Willy Wonka.

                                                              (from my sketch book.)
                                              What if Marty Feldman had played Willy Wonka?

Sunday, 2 October 2016


The wind howled about the house and rain splattered against the panes of my rooftop bedroom window as I lay in the early hours of last night gripped by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu's tale of erotic compulsion and sly vampirism: a beautiful killer insinuates herself in the home of her victim and steals life from the innocent. It might well be an old tale but it feels fresh and right for this time of year. I have been immersed of late in Le Fanu's work and world. Until I read Carmilla I found no sense of eroticism in his writing but it is here in Austian doses. Which is to say it is not full on, more a  mannered terror to be sure, but one that will translate well in the telling because it is so perfectly formed.
              At some point in the night I heard the tap tapping of wind bare branches against the rain slick window pane of my room. It was only as I finished the novella and turned over for sleep I realised the branches of the tree outside my house were nowhere near tapping distance.

The Return.

After reading the Sheridan Le Fanu collection I had a look around on line to see if I could find if any of his work had been turned into films or telly shows and in the search I found this wee gem written by Le Fanu contemporary Ambrose Bierce and A,M.Burrage. A short movie made in 1973 that serves as a fantastic atmospheric mood piece that also delives a knock out tale of supernatural longing and heart breaking loss. Basically a two-hander with riveting performances from the always interesting Peter Vaughan and a deceptively mousy turn by Rosalie Crutchley, the atmosphere of remote and lonely longing builds to a haunting denouement.
                A late evening viewer arrives at a house that has sat empty for twenty long years and is shown around by the sitting house keeper. A tale of murder and madness unfolds.
                It also has a very haunting sound track by Marc Wilkinson. A fragile presence itself it makes itself felt at certain points in the narrative, sign posting oncoming tragedy.
                It seems like this an obscure and quite forgot about piece that deserves to be seen.
                An absolute treat foe forthcoming Halloween.

Sheridan Le Fanu.

Jim at Atomic Collectables gave me a copy of this collection of stories by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu thinking I might enjoy it as it had been edited by MR James.
              And how on the money he was. My da used to tell me ghost stories when i was a boy. Long rambling stories told in front of the fire. This is not a cliche to me it is a memory. Story telling is an art form and ghost story telling is an especially crafty one. Sheridan Le Fanu was a great teller of tales and his stories work so well on paper it is almost as if you have joined him on a chair before a crackling hearth on a windy wintery night. A few of the stories are collected versions of yarns told in a similar manner through out the Irish countryside. Mysterious figures that draw ever closer with no good intent. Stories that begin with an aged person relating the experiences of their youth. Fateful and terrifying experiences that change the course of the tellers life. There are encounters with chilling half real entities with talon like fingers that close around a bodies throat or come staggering judder man like out of dark places. There is very little whimsy present in these stories. They do not shy from the hardness of life particularly lives lived without love. Old Ireland could be a tough place to be weak and vulnerable I suppose it still is. Depending on the kindness is a lottery and there are way too many losers.
               I thought of the band from Dublin The Virgin Prunes and their macabre sound. I thought of old empty buildings where something stirred the dust and cold breath from undead lungs. Some of these stories should just be read out loud. To an empty room if need be.