Despite an incidence of the plague here at BitR Central, we continue to have a busy year and arguably our most productive period since this podcast kicked off back in late 2019. Our episode talking The War of the Worlds is flying out of the door like hot cakes and, since that went live, we’ve had lots of pointers to other adaptations that I missed, the best example of which is the BBC Radio adaptation from the 60s (thanks Miles). It does update the story to be contemporaneous with the broadcast, but is otherwise pretty faithful throughout, with a standout performance from Peter (Last of the Summer Wine/Wallace and Gromit) Sallis as a truly vile curate.
On the show, Allister filled me in on the two C Thomas Howell Asylum films (they smell like ass), but I subsequently discovered another effort from that quarter from only the last couple of years. It similarly smells like ass, only in HD, and features one of Tom Sizemore’s final, and rather sad, appearances. I paid for it on Prime out of curiosity, but it appears that if you’re in the US you can watch it on YT. It also goes by the alternative name Alien Attack. Only for completists.
YT is a pretty good source for all things WOTW. As well as being able to view War of the Worlds Goliath there in its entirety, I also managed to dredge my memory and track down a full-cast audio adaptation there that I came across in the early 80s in newsagents in Hull. The AudiSee series of children’s picture books, complete with attached cassettes, only lasted six instalments, but I have strong memories of the War of the Worlds and Time machine issues and they’re still pretty impressive today.
In other news, after some hosting issues, BITR Radio is back up and running on Radio Garden. Also, because wordpress is a bit rubbish and I can’t embed simple HTML on this website without paying for a business account, I’ve set up a simple blogspot page that does allow HTML for free, so you can access the web player complete with playlist here. I’m still playing around with the new auto-DJ interface, so it’s just a big random playlist for now.
On the podcast front we have two in the can undergoing editing and plenty more on the schedule for the next couple of months so stay tuned and watch this space.
As it happens, the reason the plague arrived in BitR towers was me bringing it back from… The Moorcock Weekender.
By way of explanation, last year Dirk the Dice, host of The Grognard Files, invited me to join a weekend of nerdery and Moorcock themed gamery, This then ended up merging with The One Ring Road Trip, a long-standing Tolkien-themed gaming weekend. So, 13 or 14 middle-aged beardoes descended upon a very pleasant and massive old country house to eat, drink and game for a couple of days.
Night one: Elric – Battle at the End of Time (Chasoium edition) – This is something I’d never played (I have the older Avalon Hill edition simply called Elric) but it was entertaining if a little complex. It was also entertainingly swingy thanks and the ultimate conclusion was driven by Theleb K’aarna switching sides and leaving Pan Tang in the lurch late game. Good fun.
Game One: Agon (Moorcock Hack) delivered by Dirk – a more modern, collaborative narrative system that encouraged a lot of improvisation and a jointly created villain for which all the players provided details. I was extremely lazy and created my character as a very thinly-veiled GAC avatar – Jarko Neely (The Crane). Agon’s mechanics are designed to model epic-level play with demi-gods and Greek-type mythology and it worked pretty well on that level.
Game Two: Dungeon Crawl Classics overseen by Dirk’s co-host Blythy. Lots of fun manoeuvring and interplay shenanigans here. My hook-handed Nadsokorian beggar almost came up trumps after substituting the plot MacGuffin with a fake (made from a dinosaur egg and rhinestones from Elvis’s jumpsuit) and covering the King with a dead lizardman’s energy weapon as he made an end run with the fake magic chaos egg to deliver it to Arioch and co.
You had to be there.
Game Three: A switch of pace as we had a session of The One Ring c/o Orlanth Rex and visited Middle Earth. We went to an inn, hung out with nervous hobbits and killed a load of orcs. Very flavourful.
On Sunday morning was Dirk’s monthly book club where they discussed Stormbringer, but I turfed out as it was a long drive home and we will get to Stormbringer in our own time here on BITR.
All in all a very satisfying weekend. Not the type of thing I’d normally sign up to, particularly after it blew up to be a Moorcock AND Tolkien weekend with more than a dozen people I’d never met, but I did enjoy it. I came back with Dirk’s Groglurg though, so we’ve agreed a satisfying payback for later in the year and he will be coming back to D&Ts to have a few liveners and talk about something suitable.
Should it happen again in 2024 I made my pitch that it should be a Dannus/Gor Weekender. Not sure that will fly though.