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).
With all this weirdness and anxiety rattling around right now, friend of the show Nis aka @Zen_Sunni landed in my DMs with impeccable timing to get me back on track and remind me what’s important.
I think I’ve mentioned before that I’m a big fan of those early 90s (late 80s?) oversized Millennium editions, despite the fact that they’re not overly practical for bedtime readers such as myself. They weigh a bloody ton.
When they were re-released in snack size a few years later I missed the boat with them, although I did pick up the Corum volume in Penzance a couple of weeks ago.
Thanks for the pics Nis. You’ve reminded me that I really need to pull my finger out, get all of my editions in one place and snap them for the blog.
I finally found a reason to look at Instagram beyond my daily ‘like’ of Dave Mosley’s postings of ace paperback covers – I see you arkwright99.
There’s a ton of great art on there and I happened across the work of Wyrmwalk and it’s brilliant stuff. In particular I was taken by a charcoal image of Moorcock and, after looking at his posts on there, I realised this was a guy I could shovel a whole lot of money at (and at some point I will do).
For now though I dropped him a line and he agreed, for a very modest price, to turn around a Moorcock head sketch for the podcast and he really came through.
At some point soon I’m intending to do a quick overhaul of the presentation of the podcast across all platforms and this is a great start. I can now also add the original sketch (which should be winging its way to me over the Atlantic – crazy world developments permitting) to the superb pieces already on the wall at Derry and Tom’s courtesy of Clint Langley and Simon Perrins.
As for the podcast itself we’ve experienced a slight delay in the itinerary due to one of Team Ruins suffering a tragic and sudden bereavement. Therefore Phil and I will be plucking something from the shelf over the next week or so and having a chinwag about it.
Meanwhile stay safe friends. We live in interesting times. I hope to see you soon on the moonbeam roads.
Phil and I have just spent a marvellous few days in Penzance, Cornwall. A combination of ancient pubs, excellent seafood and shopping for old books has ensured we’ve managed to do everything we love when away from the daily grind that constitutes ‘normal’ life.
There’s something about the British coastal town that I can’t resist. Coming from a port town (or port towns, Phil is from the opposite side of the Humber Estuary) ensures that we feel at home with the salty air and the unique combination of ancient historical buildings and more modern, run-down, charity shop dominated high streets.
Yesterday I finalised the last episode covering Elric of Melniboné with Loz and we’ve confirmed that our next show together will commence coverage of The Knight of Swords. Fitting then that I had a view out over the bay to Moidel’s Mount (St Michael’s Mount in our World) as I completed the final edits.
Even more fittingly, today we hopped on a train to Redruth where we discovered a fabulous second hand books and comics shop called The Idler. Not only did I find a tidy copy of the first Corum trilogy (as well as a couple of other less salubrious items in the shape of two of John Norman’s Gor series), but I had a good chinwag with the proprietor too. Lovely fellow. If you’re ever in that neck of the woods give The Idler a look.
After resisting the urge earlier in the week I also caved in and picked up a tidy, signed first edition of The Dragon in the Sword from an Oxfam shop in Penzance. So it’s been a good week all round.
This evening we’re eating at the pub just by the causeway over to Moidel’s Mount. I’ll keep my eyes peeled for the Brown Man of Laahr.
Loz is back as we conclude our coverage of the 1972 Moorcock novel Elric of Melniboné.
Join us as we are horrified by a challenging beer and Loz offends Scunthorpe (as well as narrowly avoiding a date with Dannus). As usual we struggle with pronunciation and saying The Ship That Sails Over Land and Water.
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.
After a degree of arm-twisting and one false start, Hussein finally gets his head into a sci-fi/fantasy book and agrees to tell the tale!
We cover the first Phase of The Final Programme, the introduction of Jerry Cornelius into the world of Michael Moorcock.
Hussein pops a couple of cherries, appearing on his first podcast AND reading his first ever scifi/fantasy novel! He also gets to marvel at the wonders of psychedelic 70s scifi covers. Meanwhile I keep mixing up my Perssons with my Brunners.
Massive thanks to new patrons Matt and Tom, as well of course as existing Chaos Engineers Norman, Fred, Malpertius and David. I’m ruminating on what I can do in terms of patron exclusives. Watch this space.
Another fab shelfie here from Twitter compadre @jedwardscott1. Despite being very fond of some of the newer editions and omnibuses I just feel so much closer to those 60s, 70s and 80s paperbacks and there’s a lovely blend of Mayflower, Grafton/Granada and Quintet editions in here. In particular though I’m intrigued by The Warhound and the World’s Pain on there… That’s one I’m not familiar with.
Thanks for sharing!
Make sure you check out J Edward’s art, comics and RPG related goodies on his site too.