Entropic State Report 8th June 2022

It’s been a joyous few weeks since I sent out the Patron Demon and contributor copies of Vol II of the Journal and I’ve heard back from most folks that they arrived safe and sound across the globe. So, despite frequent reports to the contrary, Brexit has not quite fucked up our postal system. 

HUZZAH!

Sunlit Uplands and all that.

Since bunging FotP Part One out in May we continue to get some nice feedback from various angles around the social media landscape. It’s very satisfying. We’ll be hitting you up with part two very soon but, in the meantime, Hussein is coming back to Derry & Toms to pick up our last bits of chat around The Final programme. Back when we did Phase Three we didn’t spoil the climax, which is quite unlike us as we generally spoil everything. However, part of the reason for our return to JC is my successful effort to convince H to dive into the film adaptation and having done that there are things to talk about. If you’ve seen the film you’ll be fully aware that one can’t really talk about it WITHOUT looking at the different approaches to that climax. So that’s coming up very soon and I would dearly love to coerce him into watching a few other films that, in my opinion, align with The Final Programme rather nicely (Jubilee, The Bed Sitting Room, Performance, any of Lindsay Anderson’s Mick Travis trilogy but probably Britannia Hospital in particular… there are many others). As it took me months to get him to do this though, that may be a long shot.

Meanwhile, in music news, I came across experimental, electronic music duo Network 23 and their epic release Elric of Melniboné. I dropped them a line via Bandcamp and they groovily allowed me to give them some airplay (netplay?) on BITR Radio too. Very cool. The album is excellent, driving electronica with some rock overtones and also has a really nice cover c/o Isra Llona. Their discography is extensive and there’s plenty to go at including some atmospheric Lovecraft-inspired ambient pieces if that’s your bag. Check their gear out and give them some support if you can.

I have something of a mixed relationship with HPL. Oddly, I never got any of his stuff from Pops and only became aware of him due to the one-liner from him on the cover of  the Sphere edition of The House on the Borderland by William Hope Hodgson, describing it as “a classic of the first water”. Later, I came across the Call of Cthulhu RPG in an early issue of White Dwarf and decided to give him a look. I picked up the Grafton editions with the excellent but entirely misleading Tim White covers. I was a bit underwhelmed by most of it but did come to appreciate bits and pieces in later years, although it’s a good twenty or more since I gave them any real attention. As HPL is much maligned (including by MM himself as briefly touched upon in the Wizardry and Wild Romance episode) and more recently has received much criticism for his politics and attitudes to race, I have been thinking about dusting off his Dreamlands cycle for another look. Not to pull him apart for any of the aforementioned reasons particularly, but rather because I do remember enjoying them more than his ‘Mythos’ heavy tales.  Also, I was listening to The Silver Key again by Ah Pook the Destroyer on a long drive recently, an excellent album. Don’t be put off by the odd name.   They recently followed that up (after a ten year hiatus) with The King in Yellow, also well worth a listen. They are quite theatrical but thoughtful, layered and proggy as fuck.

Anyway, should anyone be interested in listening to us waffle on about Randolph Carter, the Plains of Unknown Kadath, Thog, Ghouls and the Cats of Ulthar, give us a shout.

That’s all for this update, TFP Phase Four (The Last Days of Man on Earth) coming in the next week or so.

Have fun out there.

Andy

Entropic State Report 23rd February 2022

My dear breakfasters,

We have returned from our sojourn to the windy Highlands where our digs were in a converted 18th century cell block originally used to house debtors in the historic Inverary Jail. It was a deeply refreshing break despite having to return home early to avoid having to drive the 6 hours home through Storm Eunice. It blew some cobwebs away and we managed to pick up a few nice second hand books on our way up there thanks to an overnight stay in Wigtown (known as Scotland’s Book Town), including a Karl Edward Wagner Kane novel that I didn’t own. Some nice synchronicity there too as only a couple of days earlier I’d been discussing Kane with Dave Wachsman and I’d pulled down the three I do still own from a dusty shelf.

I just need to actually read them now. We may cover a Kane novel at some point soon. Let us know if that’s something you’d like to hear.

In other developments, a couple of weeks ago I was surprised to see the artwork that I commissioned a couple of years ago for the podcast avatar appear on an Instagram post on a mug. I was a bit disappointed at this to be honest as, until that point, the representation of Moorcock was unique to this podcast and its social media presence. So to find that the artist was selling it on mugs from his website took the shine off a little bit. On an extremely positive note though, this prompted me to drop Simon Perrins a line to see if he was up for designing a replacement. Just one short week later he sent me the pic above and blew my mind. So, as of now, the imagery around this website is exclusively down to Simon and he is an integral part of our identity. This makes me very happy as all of his work is glorious AND I get to frame that painting for posterity.

In wider Moorcock flavoured music news, friend of the show Imrryr is closing in on releasing his opus based upon The Black Corridor and that book will be the subject of an upcoming show so watch out for that. I’ve had an advanced listen of that new album and it is immersive, doom-laden and cosmic. I’ll be sure to let you all know when it drops on the Imrryr bandcamp page.

This week the Appendix N Book Club released their latest episode looking at The Jewel in the Skull with our good pard Rob AKA Menion . They made some great observations (as always) on this occasion about Hawkmoon and the implementation of Moorcockian tropes in gaming and AD&D in particular. Rob is a deep thinker and he complemented Jeff and Hoi perfectly. It’s been a while since we’ve talked gaming here at Derry and Toms and Rob was involved in one of those shows himself of course. I am now itching to gas about that stuff again and I may just be making an appearance on Confessions of a Wee Tim’rous Bushi in the near future to do just that.

In book news (and sheer frustration at seeing our pards across the pond showing off their Saga Press editions of the Elric Saga vol 01 yet only having delivery dates over here in Blighty repeatedly pushed back), I’ve picked up three more Millenium editions in hardcover. As I go about this grand replacement project (ie drunken impulse purchases) I’ve been piling up the paperback editions they are replacing and they will go into a draw for patron giveaways in the next couple of months. I have a couple of other bits n bobs for that pile too.

Speaking of the Elric Saga, new Elric novel The Citadel of Forgotten Myths is available for pre-order. It just seems to be inevitable that whenever a new, definitive collection of Elric stories emerges it’s never too long before a new tome emerges from Mike’s pen to disrupt the state-of-the-art, but within a couple of months must set a new record. Fortunately design-wise and stylistically the hardcovers look to match nicely, even though this novel will interrupt the I – III sequence on your shelf. I’m anticipating these volumes with a little bit of trepidation though, as you’ll know from our reaction to the revisions to the 60th anniversary edition of The Dreaming City on the last show.

Right, I think that’s about it for this report. New show will drop in the next couple of weeks, but in the meantime take care and stay safe.

Entropic State Report 19th October 2021

October has been a productive month. Hussein and I FINALLY managed to hook up and cover Phase Three of The Final Programme and it was great to get back in the saddle. Alongside him. On a weird two saddled beast. Or a motorbike and sidecar. Perhaps that was a poor choice of words. It was great to get back in the Duesenberg together!

As you’ll know if you listened, we eschewed the opportunity to talk about the finale (Phase Four) on that show as it was already well over two hours long. On discussion with some of you though, perhaps we missed a trick. There’s obviously a lot there to unpack. As it happens we also discussed getting back together to talk about the successes and failures of the Robert Fuest film and, in all honesty, I don’t know how we can do that WITHOUT referencing the end of the book. So, in the near future we will do just that.

Hussein and I have also had a quick conflab about our next project. I came across a really interesting article on Twitter thanks to David Currie (thanks DC). As Dune is about to hit UK cinemas there have been a host of articles and think pieces about the Frank Herbert book, particularly regarding cultural appropriation, lack of representation and white saviour narratives. This piece however is from a very specific perspective. So, I sent the link to The Muslimness of Dune: A Close Reading of “Appendix II: The Religion of Dune” over to H.  It’s fascinating to get the POV of a muslim scifi-fan but, as H has brought an Islamic perspective to some of our discussions on Jerry Cornelius and Moorcock, I though it would be equally valid to get a view from a muslim NON-scif-fi fan! So, we have a project for the new year. At our pace it will probably take 18 years to get through it but what else are we going to do with our time.

It’s solidly in scope too, as I got my intro to Dune via Pops c/o the copy of Children of Dune pictured above. At the time I read a bit, had no idea what the bloody hell was going off so waited until, inevitably, copies of Dune and Dune Messiah dropped into my lap via my Uncle Phil some time later, obscured within two bin-liners of paperbacks. Yes, I have three copies of the Pennington covered Dune Messiah. No, I don’t know why or how.

In other news, the second volume of the Journal is just about written and, timely as ever, N Λ Ṇ D has released the first track from the Journal vol II – Gallery of the Lost. Grab that and the first part of the GAC-inspired music project, Journal vol I, at the N Λ Ṇ D bandcamp page.

In terms of new shows, the patron poll for the Halloween episode had a decisive winner and Guy N Smith’s Night of the Crabs is my bedtime read this week. Phil and I will be recording our thoughts on that this weekend and it will be out in time for Halloween.  

I also recorded a great show last week with Andrew Nette. We talked about his upcoming book Dangerous Visions and New Worlds: Radical Science Fiction, 1950 to 1985 , as well as a host of other stuff. That will be out in the next couple of weeks and in the meantime check out Andrew’s website Pulp Curry. It’s a treasure trove of pulp and genre goodness and includes a recently unearthed and previously unpublished interview with BITR favourite James Herbert.

Reet… I’m dry for now.

Catch you again soon pards.

Andy

Entropic State Report 5th August 2021

Following a great episode shooting the breeze with author and musician Allister Thompson the first of the three patron giveaways has been spotted in the wilds of California (thanks to Malpertuis for the pic).  The other two should be winging their way to the other winners as I type.

The schedule for upcoming shows continues to alter and mutate in response to various issues and, sadly, the first in-person recording with Loz for a year had to be bumped again due to the usual issues that I’m sick of mentioning in these reports… but we will overcome. As it happens, we had been planning to do a couple of short stories but a twitter conversation has nudged us onto a slightly different course and we’re mulling over… THE REVENGE OF THE ROSE.

My intention all along had been to go in some kind of chronological order with this podcast, but at our current rate it will be 2029 before we tackle some really great subjects so we might just have to say sod it and jump about a bit.

Hussein and I are still trying to pin down a slot to finish The Final Programme too. In this case it’s weddings that keep getting in the way! And Robbo will be back at some point to pick up where we left off with Wheels of Terror, but he always seems to be on bloody holiday the waster.

Meanwhile Tash is moving castles, but the good news there is that her new pile is about half an hour closer so that’s progress. Recording remotely with Tash just isn’t the same. Of course that goes for all of my co-hosts and guests but the rum-soaked hours spent with Tash just… well… more so. I also miss out on that banging Trini cuisine.

As evidenced from the choppy audio quality on the show with Allister, some of my tech has decided to be a pain in the arse too and I’ve had to postpone a couple of other guest appearances over the last month or so but I’ll be getting back to them as soon as they’re resolved. Meanwhile though I have my trusty Tascam available so Phil and I can record our take on City of the Beast independently of that so that’s our plan for this weekend.

On the Journal front, I recently completed chapter 12 and have probably one more to go to close out the second act of Connelly’s journey through the miasma.  It’s been a while since the audio chapters have featured on the podcast but we hope to correct that soonish, although it may be in a few more episodes’ time as the demands on N Λ N D are not insignificant (and I need to pull my finger out and record the vocals with my new improved set up, although that is also dependent upon my PC behaving).  Once 13 is written however I’ll be able to start layout and the next chapbook with all new art c/o Ed and Simon will hopefully be available mid-autumn.

In the meantime, you can continue to stay in touch with the sounds of the million spheres via the N Λ N D and DECADNIDS albums Journal and The Black Corridor. We’ve also had a few more additions to the Breakfast in the Ruins Radio playlist and you can find the details on BITR.com 

Entropic State Report 5th June 2021

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:

WHATEVS!!!

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, we further 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.

Watch out for us on the moonbeam roads.