It’s a steely cold and foggy day up in the hills of Bradford, which I’m fine with. It beats cold, wet and muddy and I do find the crispness and crunchiness underfoot weirdly energising. I’ll just listen out for the creak of massive wheels and remain vigilant regarding strange, distorted shapes in the fog and we should be fine.
I had a lovely delivery from Christos AKA Fortress of the Pearl – psychedelic black metal dungeon synth from Greece – timely as I’m in the middle of editing the second part of our deep dive into Moorcock’s The Fortress of the Pearl! Loz and I indulged in some appropriately funky beers along the way, but two ended up being a stretch too far for the evening. Well, technically only one for me but Loz rolled snake eyes on the resistance table so his final brace are going out to a lucky patron – Paul Hillary, they’ll be winging their way to you shortly. Exactly how lucky you are will be for you to judge.
A couple of nights ago I hopped on a call with our friend and collaborator N Λ Ṇ D to talk about a variety of things, not least of which was the second album based upon volume II of the adventures of Gerard Arthur Connelly, my old roleplaying alter-ego from the olden days. As with his first, this is an album suffused with the smells and colours of our own meandering Moonbeam dreams. We’ve nailed down the running order and album art and that should see the light of day very soon. As ever, N Λ Ṇ D’s compositions are inspiring to me and have already provided high-calorie fodder for my imagination as I continue drafting and fleshing out volume III.
The latest edition of Jim Kirkland’s newsletter Pursuit of the Pale Prince is in inboxes right about now. This issue has news about a pending blu ray release of The Final Programme, a Silver Warriors skate deck c/o Frazetta Girls, the latest Centipede Press release and more. Get on that subscription list.
In a week or so the Appendix N Podcast will release their 133rd episode featuring an all new guest. Me! It’s very exciting to be asked to drop in to other talking shops and this was the third time, having previously appeared on Rob Aka Menion’s Confessions of a Wee Tim’rous Bushi and Ralph Lovegrove’s Fictoplasm. I had a great time despite being far too ignorant of the intricacies of D&D. I’ll boost that when it drops.
Tash has settled in to her new country pile in Gloucestershire. She messaged me last night to suggest a date for our next, long past due appointment at Derry & Toms when we will finally take a look at Zelazny’s Nine Princes in Amber. More on that soon.
Take care friends, the Moonbeam Roads are slippery right now, and see you again soon.
Andy Darby joins me in virtual Derry and Toms to talk his tales of the Monkey God, Moorcock, and lots of other stuff including reminiscences about Johnny Seven, Lion annuals, Commando comics, Mme. Blavatsky, My First Two Thousand Years and tripping in Amsterdam.
You can pick up Vol I and The Paddington Incident now and Vol II releases on 5th November. There are QR codes with the illustrations in Vol 2 and The Paddington Incident that link to audio sections narrated by Andy, and you can connect with him on Goodreads.
This episode is played out by the title track from The Dreaming City III by Immryr. At the time of recording (and at the time we released The Black Corridor) this was the latest release from Imrryr but, characteristically, there is another available for pre-order already. Check out One Flesh, One End.
Andy’s reading recommendations:
C J Cherryh: Gate of Ivrel, Well of Shiuan, Fires of Azeroth, Exile’s Gate
Madeline Miller: Circe, The Song of Achilles,
Pat Barker: The Silence of the Girls, Natalie Haynes: A Thousand Ships,
Conn Iggulden: Conqueror series (these are just fucking epic!)
Tim Willocks: The Religion (awesome!), The Twelve Children of Paris (awesome 2!)
Ben Aaronovitch: Rivers of London series
Jonathan L Howard: Johannes Cabal series
Catherynne M. Valente: Deathless
Kim Newman: Anno Dracula
Karl Edward Wagner: Kane series
Chris Carlsen: Berserker series
Stewart Gordon Suaine and the Crow God
Iain Banks: The Wasp Factory, The Bridge Walking on Glass,
The world is a funny place right now and, with Hussein experiencing a very difficult bereavement and Tash stuck in Sri Lanka, the BitR schedule is naturally taking a back seat to events.
As a result it will be a wee while before we get back to Jerry Cornelius on the podcast. Hussein was brilliant on the Phase One show and I have no wish to continue on to Phase Two with anyone else but Hussein so it’s on hold.
The more I learn about and see how the current world crisis is unfolding, the more I’m convinced that the Jerry Cornelius stories are as relevant today as when they were written. A few days before the pubs were closed Phil and I were sitting in a Bradford pub called The Corn Dolly with a small handful of locals and listening to them talking of flash mobs fighting over bog roll in Tesco. The landlord was speaking about his holiday, due to commence on Monday, being cancelled due to the destination country closing its borders. Meanwhile I was reading an Italian nurse’s blog on my phone in which she described ‘war-like’ conditions in her hospital and deaths of her colleagues due to ‘the virus’.
If Shaky Mo had come in and tried to sell me some ‘ludes and stolen army gasmasks from an old Derry & Tom’s carrier bag he wouldn’t have seemed out of place.
At times like this I wish I had the talent to do some Jerry Cornelius fan fiction, but I’ll just have to settle for getting something off the shelf for Phil and I to cover. Now we’re under lockdown we’re determined to fill our time with constructive activity lest we murder each other or end up like Steven and Fran in Dawn of the Dead. That would be terrible, particularly as it would mean I’d end up a zombie and Phil would fly off in a helicopter with young Ken Foree.
I’m just not down with that.
So, we are going to set ourselves a target of doing a show every weekend (setting myself up to fail there I’m sure). We have no idea whether this will work but we’re gonna have a go and in the meantime I’m going to figure out remote recording so we can pick up the schedule with Loz, Tash (if she ever gets back home) and hopefully one or two others.
Phil favours covering the first Erekosë novel but I’m going to dig out some other old stuff that Pops gave me to give us another potential switch from Moorcock. There are a few options when I think back on it and I still have a number of those original copies kicking about so we’ll see what we’ll see.
Stay safe out there and we’ll see you on the other side (on the moonbeam roads, obviously).
Loz is back with me at Derry and Tom’s as we dive into Straasha’s ocean depths to prize open the mysteries below and discuss (most of) Book Two of Elric of Melniboné. Elric is full of pith and vinegar for a change and we get a good look at him from a different perspective.