Musician and author Allister Thompson navigates the frozen Northern Wastes (Canada) to join me in Derry and Toms and talk about Moorcock, music, writing and, most importantly, his debut novel The Music of the Spheres.
We also run our first competition (sort of) and The Singularity repeatedly attempts to shut down our groove.
Over half way through the year already and here in blighty we have the now traditionally farcical approach to trying to regain some semblance of normality dominating the news cycle. Cases are on the up again whilst our overlords declare ‘freedom day’ to almost be upon us.
It’s a bit of a mess, as usual.
Therefore remote recording remains de rigeur for the most part BUT Loz is popping over at the weekend for a few silly beverages and we’re looking at some short stories from Pawn of Chaos, a collection of eternal champion tales by various authors.
EDIT: Covid has pissed on our chips once more and we have to delay a fortnight or so. I had some truly stupid beers lined up too. They will be put aside and saved.
Also on the slate, Phil and I are still doing City of the Beast aka Warriors of Mars when we get some time (she’s been ridiculously busy with her work as an NHS Angel). Coming up next week I’m talking to Allister Thompson about his Moorcock inspired music and his hugely entertaining debut novel The Music of the Spheres, and after another aborted launch August will see the return of Hussein as we conclude The Final Programme with Phase Three.
I’ve had some groovy messages over the last few weeks and Nine Princes in Amber continues to surface as the most likely candidate for our next excursion into the wider content of Pops’s bookshelf.
In other news, our guest from a few weeks back Ralph Lovegrove (Stormhack) invited me into his virtual podcast studio to look at the Strugatsky classic Roadside Picnic. Not only was it great to revisit it and the Tarkovsky movie adaptation Stalker, but Ralph is a top fella and it was great fun hopping on to another show. You can listen to episode 97 of the Fictoplasm podcast here.
Finally, Chapter 11 of the Journal is written and 12 is prepped in draft. I’ve made some progress with my recording set up so the grand revisit of the audio versions of chapters 1 to 7 is underway. Meanwhile, the creative machine Ｎ Λ Ｎ Ｄ has unleashed the album Journal on Bandcamp, a suite of tracks inspired by the adventures of GAC and thematically linked to the soundtracks to the audio episodes. It’s terrific. Also, our very own @opensussex aka Apkallu of Enmerkar aka Decanids, in collaboration with Ｎ Λ Ｎ Ｄ, has released an astounding adaptation of The Black Corridor on Bandcamp. We’ll be looking at that and the book in due course.
Right. That’s all for now. Take care, stay safe and I’ll see you again soon… on the Moonbeam Roads.
We’re almost half way through the year and things are hotting up. With our gabbing with SÖNUS and Imrryr fired across the void last week I got down to recording again on Friday night and a new show will be up in the next week or so. My latest guest is podcast royalty. Dirk the Dice of The Grognard Files joined me to talk Wizardy and Wild Romance. We had a few tasty vittels along the way too.
Meanwhile, for those of you that have been enjoying the latest episodes of the audio version of The Journal of Gerard Arthur Connelly, you’ll be familiar with the soundscapes of N Ʌ N D and the tunes that have played the show out on a couple of occasions.
Well, the N Ʌ N D bandcamp page is now live and new tracks are being added. One of the best things about dusting off that 10 year old word doc and folding GAC into the podcast has been the opportunity to share the steering wheel with great artists like Neil Burton and Simon Perrins (and soon Ed Scott in volume 2). To be able to add the chance to hook up again with an old mate of almost 30 years (with a significant gap without contact for most of that time) and collaborate on the audio journal and then hear these compositions is amazing and inspiring.
Work on the Journal, audio and written, is progressing nicely. I’ve learned a thing or two since the first half dozen or so instalments, and after the introduction of the N Ʌ N D scores from chapter 8 onwards we decided to re-record and re-score the earlier ones to match the higher quality. At the moment I’m the one holding that up as I get my technique nailed. More to come on that soon.
Other pending shows mentioned in the last report will be going under the mic in the next few weeks.
Thanks for reading folks and I’ll see you soon… On the moonbeam roads.
In search of Moorcock-tinged sonic experiences and the stories behind them we pack up and hit the road on a coast to coast trip across the USA to talk Mike, space rock and bleak electronica in the company of SÖNUS and Imrryr.
June already. Ridiculous. The year seems to be running away.
Tolstoy said, “The strongest of all warriors are these two—time and patience.”
Now, apart from the fact that that is plainly bollocks (the right answer is undoubtedly Conan and Thrud), time has definitely kicked my arse this past month in more ways than one. On the other hand, as Phil will attest, I regularly fail my patience tests. As a result, the BITR schedule has gone slightly off beam.
We still have City of the Beast (AKA Warriors of Mars) lined up and Loz and I have fixed a date to record in person this month for the first time in yonks and we’ll be looking at a couple of short stories from the White Wolf collections (as randomly rolled at the end of The Knight of the Swords Part Three). Also, excitingly, as we tentatively emerge from the fug of lockdowns and begin to populate our filofaxes with actual social events, Hussein and I have time allotted this month to hit Phase Three of The Final Programme! I suspect we will set a new record for:
1. Time taken to cover a book in terms of calendar – Phase One was unleashed way back in the ‘before-times’ (January last year) so it’s looking like it will have taken eighteen months to cover it
2. Time taken to cover a relatively short book in terms of actual minutes – by the time we’re done we’ll probably have spent almost five hours on The Final Programme! I’m not sure we’re doing it right. Too many diversions into wrestling in Featherstone library perhaps… But as the kids would say:
To cap it all off I’ll be finally catching up with an esteemed guest to depart from our shabby opinions about Moorcock and look at Moorcock’s own musings on his inspirations and other giants of the field in some of the essays collected in Wizardy and Wild Romance.
So, we’re getting back to our re-read, but whilst the schedule in terms of direct Moorcock action has wobbled a bit over the past couple of months I have had some terrific opportunities to talk music once again with a couple of creative geniuses in the fields of MM inspired space rock and bleak experimental electronica. Watch out for that over the next few days.
As it happens, I had mulled over the possibility of them being short standalone episodes, but as we breeched the two hour mark with the last show and nobody pelted us with tomatoes I’m going for another bumper bonanza. It could be of course that you’re all just terrible shots but damn it, I’m committed now.
In other news, the Journal of Gerard Arthur Connelly continues to progress and I hope to have volume 2 completed in the Autumn. The audio versions are once again undergoing an overhaul as, in the splendid company of ＮΛＮＤ, wefurther refine and develop the sound and format.
In short then, we have enough lined up to make Summer a bumper bonanza of Moorcockian meditations.
On a final note, I had lunch with Tash the other day and we mused upon the existence of three pubs in Yorkshire called The Moorcock Inn, thus raising the possibility of an additional theme for the show… eating and supping in Moorcock Inns. Whilst we may not all agree on the veracity of that idea in terms of interesting content for anyone else, Tash and I (and our bellies) will nevertheless do our best to explore the notion to the fullest.
BITR has landed on a ’20 Best British Fiction Podcasts of 2021′ list c/o Best Startup, itself a startup online business magazine looking to showcase British businesses. Breakfast in the Ruins isn’t a business of course, but as a hobbyist podcast/t’interweb radio station it’s always gratifying to make ANY list.
There’s some interesting stuff on there, including a Blakes 7 podcast I was totally unaware of called Zenith by Decorative Vegetable. Those chaps have covered not only B7 but a ton of Doctor Who and a whole host of other scifi TV shows on their Inevitable podcast series including… STAR COPS! Well worth digging into.
The other big find on there for me is Here’s Looking at You by Dr Ellen Wright (aka @DrSmut). The latest episode looks at British exploitation cinema publicity & includes conversations about Tony Tenser & Norman J Warren (along with Pete Walker one of my favourite low budget exploitation film directors).
Graham, Neil and Norman also drop by to talk Stormbringer 3e, ploons, shit sailors & what would make our own ideal Moorcockian RPG. It’s a really Deep Fix. No prizes for guessing who provides the soundtrack!
Unbelievably it’s May already, 2021 is galloping by, and hanging a shipwrecked monkey suspected of being a French spy is now officially only the second most eye-rollingly baffling thing enacted by the good folks of Hartlepool. Stay strong Hartlepool. I still love you for your patties. They may now be Tory patties but heck… patties are patties.
In other news the third and final part of our Moorcockian RPGs triptych is a few days out from upload (guest starring @oldshabbygamer, host of the Confessions of a Wee Tim’rous Bushee podcast and the stout party that braved the depredations of my rusty games mastery). Following that we’ll leave RPGs alone for a good while, or at least until we’ve something substantially different to play with.
Next up will be another look at some terrific musical projects inspired either all or in part by MM, and a delve into some of the great man’s own musings on the fanstastical fiction form in the company of an all new guest co-host! Looking forward to that one and I have some interesting libations lined up, one of which was care of our very own Randall Gatlin! Randall, thanks again for the bevy. I can’t wait to reveal it to the world in all of its thick, syrupy glory.
In other news, Tash and I had a great time gabbing about Dannus (no really, we did) and I’m considering what other diversions may lay ahead in the coming months. As it happens, since the Halloween episode on The Rats Guy N Smith has been popping into my eyeline regularly and, with a degree of synchronicity, I’d just picked up another vintage New English Library edition off the auction site when a Guy N Smith account emerged from the twittersphere and liked a couple of Guy related tweets from a week or two back. The account is being operated by Black Hill Books, a publishing company dedicated to keeping his extensive oeuvre in print as well as other new writing from a small selection of other authors in the horror, thriller and mystery genres. If you want in a new Guy N Smith newsletter mailing list you can send your request to firstname.lastname@example.org
Finally for this report, I had a really good chat with O.G. patron Norman about a potential recommendation from him as, when I originally set up the patron tiers, I asked Patron Demons to suggest books for us to cover that impacted upon them in the 80s much as Pops’s hand-me-downs impacted upon me. For better or for worse. So, after a bit of back and forth we settled on a formal nomination…
The Survivalist 01 – TOTAL WAR by Joe Aherne.
I’m surprised I never came across these back in the day, but then Pops mostly read things with a scifi or fantasy bent. Having had a peek into the Survivalist rabbit hole I can see that there is an element of risk attached. It’s a Dumarest/Gor/Casca-like series that never ends but I just thought in for a penny, in for a pound and picked up a bundle of 5. They can always go the charity shop. Also, the briefly discussed alternative was Tarnsman of Gor and I need a much longer period of contemplation before I put my toe in that particularly wacky mudhole. So I just need to identify a guest for the Survivalist mission. It might even count as a one-shit book recommendation but Tash has her eye firmly set on covering Nine Princes in Amber. Anyway, it will be a fair way down the track as we have more Moorcock to talk and Phil is getting into City of the Beast in preparation for her next trip to Derry & Toms.
Last thing before I go, massive thanks to David Dempster AKA the Tentacled Whisperer for the fab Eternal Champion t-shirt. I’m wearing it whilst typing this and I automatically feel 769% more metal!!! The Whisperer is running Stormbringer games and is often looking for interested players for his Friday and Saturday night sessions, so seek him out if you’re looking for some Moorcockian table top action.
Take care, stay safe, and I’ll see you soon… on t’moonbeam roads.