Entropic State Report 13th October 2022

Breakfast in the Ruins podcast is three years old!

Well, actually three years and two days. Whilst we adopted Dec 18th as our OFFICAL birthday (for reasons explained in our second birthday show) this week marked  three years since Episode 0 – An Introduction to Breakfast in the Ruins & yesterday it was three years since Episode One – The Dreaming City.

It’s been a fun time and it continues to prove a satisfying and rewarding pursuit. It has led to great conversations and hook-ups across the globe and shows just how wide the reach of rambling, often drunken but always enthusiastic conversations about Moorcock, genre fiction, music and anything else that crosses our minds can be.

My better half and regular co-host Phil joining me on the ride has only made it better. 

Mad shouts from the mountain tops too to my Buds of Ages for their support:

  • Loz, getting stuck in from day one with drunken takes and hideous challenging beers only encouraged me to continue
  • Neil for all that early support showing me what a microphone is, how to plug it in and what is achievable with sound and editing software. He even stepped in and corrected the audio on a particularly drunken session with Tash very early on. Loz and Neil’s old band Giantkind is the source of the intro and outro music on the show too
  • And Wayne for all of his collaboration, creative and musical input on the Journal of Gerard Arthur Connelly.

Very specific thanks also to Simon Perrins. Simon has provided almost all of the art and banners for this podcast across a variety of platforms and, as a result, he’s a core part of its identity.

And finally of course thanks to all our you, our patrons, and to all of our friends & contributors!

I raise my wine mug to you all.

Here’s to the next three!

Entropic State Report 4th September 2022

Well, that’s summer just about over. A record-breaking heatwave, some muggy, humid weeks and now into September – rain. And more rain. Feels much more traditional now.

Accompanying the change, a good dose of lurgy has landed in this house and every couple of hours I’ve been alternating between teeth-chatteringly cold and slowly cooking in my own seepage. Not covid though so the D-Squads haven’t got to me yet. Hussein suggested that I must be possessed and there’s a battle going on between good and evil jinn for control of my weak human flesh.

Plausible.

I just wish one of them would hurry up and win or at least come to some form of compromise, the shirty fuckers.

Anyway, I used these past few days to do a lot of reading. Most of it bad. I was curious about the novelisation of Alien Isolation (although a video game, it is for my money the best tie-in/spin-off from the Alien franchise). As I’m a mug for a bargain I picked it up in a pack of 7 Alien tie-in novels and, long story short, they’re mostly incredibly mediocre. The exception is Alien: Cold Forge by Alex White, largely by dint of the fact that the central conceit is – what if a financial auditor visits a remote research station to cut costs and streamline operations. On top of that, what if the auditor is essentially Patrick Bateman in space.

Very entertaining.

It just so happens that, as I was ploughing my way through them, Ted AKA @tedankhamen sent me a link to his blog sharing his thoughts re gaming within established IPs (in this case Star Wars). His take really resonated, particularly given our previous shows on gaming, but I think those points apply across all expanded fiction based upon established IPs. Those Alien tie-in novels are a great example and they reinforce the beliefs Clarky, Dave and I expounded in the last show – make new shit. Take the themes and tropes and flavour, but freshen it up. Those Alien novels all revolve around the same tired, rote elements. Weyland-Yutani… colonial marines… ‘bug hunts’…

MAKE NEW SHIT!

I am of course guilty of this myself. The first section of The Journal of Gerard Arthur Connelly is set in Tragic Millennium Europe. In my own defence though, that was a write-up of a couple of Hawkmoon RPG gaming sessions so it is faithful to that at least. But I’ve tried beyond that point to diverge a bit. Wait… am I comparing my nonsense to licensed, published fiction? No. I’m just trying to not be hypocritical I suppose. And I’m not a writer. I’m a hobbyist. So I’m giving myself a pass.

That said, I entirely understand that being commissioned to operate within a juggernaut IP means that one must tick boxes. I do wonder if that’s why the Alien Isolation novelisation, based upon a game that does a nice job of expanding some universe details and features no mention whatsoever of colonial marines or any trappings thereof, introduces colonial marines elements by the fourth chapter.

All of this also leads me to a long sigh of sadness and some regret.

Ridley Scott’s Alien deservedly led to an initially modest but eventually pretty enormous  expansion of the canon and a multi-billion dollar IP. Sequels, comics, video games, novels, cross-overs (Judge Dredd vs Aliens!) and an upcoming TV show.

Meanwhile, Britain’s (the world’s?) greatest living fantasist can’t catch a break in any medium outside of comics and tabletop games, and in the case of the latter only currently in France. The Runestaff TV show is apparently still in development but the Elric project appears to be dead in the water. Unsurprising given that The Witcher and GOT/House of the Dragon have effectively taken screen ownership of so many of Moorcock’s trappings (sadly, whilst entirely jettisoning the themes). If a Warhammer 40,000 show or movie ever emerges then the gig is truly up.

That’s something to explore on a future show for sure.

Anyway, I’ve obviously had too much time on my hands (and brain). 

Fucking germs. As a result I had to postpone a couple of visits to Derry and Toms this past week, so apologies to Derek and Steve. We can hook up in the future ASAP.

On a positive note, two shows are already in the can. The first is the second part of our summer gaming diptych, recorded with the aforementioned Ted, where we look at his extensive take on Moorcockian gaming. That will be out in the next day or two.

The second is Book Two of The Mad God’s Amulet with Dave. That will follow in a couple of weeks.

Meanwhile, our patron poll for the looming Halloween episode has been live for a couple of weeks and James Herbert’s The Fog maintains its healthy lead. Still plenty of time for patrons to vote though and Shaun Hutson’s Slugs finally got a couple of sympathy votes.

Right. My Lemsip is wearing off.

Stay safe, avoid lurgy, see you again soon…

…on t’Moonbeam Roads.

Entropic State Report 12th August 2022

The world is on fire. When thermometers in Bradford, up in the hills of West Yorkshire, hit 37 degrees celsius something is definitely way off with the world.

The UK is in the midst of democracy spasms as around 150,000 mostly oldsters choose their favoured mannequin to take over the reigns of government. One an evil billionaire that wants ‘basket case cities’ like Hull, Liverpool and Newcastle to become Charter Cities (think Delta City with less attractive police officers). The other a ruthless void of empathy that seeks only to appeal to the right wing nutjobs in her party. Both will continue to eagerly blow their corporate sponsors, billionaires that want not just a continuation of the status quo, but an acceleration of the wholesale asset stripping of the country.

For most of us it’s like the choice between shit with nuts in or shit with sweetcorn in.

Truly it is the right time for a saviour.

Unfortunately we appear to be short on 12 foot tall golden hermaphrodites at the moment so we’ll just have to suck it up. And when the time comes, vote well. And avoid Russian smoked porters.

In other news, since our Winds of Gath episode (yes, it was about three years too long… don’t @ me) I’ve dived deep down that Dumarest rabbit hole and have ended up with about 17 volumes. I also discovered the joys of Mr Tubb’s Space 1999 novelisations. Excited I was when I realised he’d penned two original novels based on the adventures of the Moonbase Alpha crew. One, Alien Seed, is pictured above. The other, Earth Fall, actually concludes their saga. Unfortunately it’s a bit steep on the price front and I need to hoard my wing-wangs for fuel bills and pickled eggs, so that’s one only to covet for the time being. Irritatingly, friend of the show Miles picked up one of those S1999 novelisations and his cover is way better than mine.

Damn you Miles.

Speaking of Miles, he and his buddy Charlie X have just launched their new show, the Casual Trek Podcast. As a casual Trek fan myself (very casual – I’m TOS to the core with a bit of DS9 and TNG love to spare – all other Trek takes up no space in my brain) I’m looking forward to diving in. Follow Casual Trek on twitter. 

On our own episode schedule, we have:

  • more musings on RPGs are in the can and awaiting editing and there’ll be an addendum to that that is yet to be recorded
  • Dave is ahead of me on his homework for The Mad God’s Amulet Book Two 
  • Derek AKA Imrryr is up for talking The Black Corridor
  • Andy Darby will be coming on to talk Moorcock and his novel Me and the Monkey
  • The Fortress of the Pearl Part Two will happen when Loz and I can actually get co-ordinated
  • Tash has finally rocked up and demanded steak and to talk about Nine Princes in Amber
  • and a couple of other irons are warming

Of course we have also had the poll for our 2022 Halloween episode live for a week or so. The Fog is miles ahead. Still plenty of time to vote though.

That’s all for this report.

Take care… stay safe… something something moonbeam roads.

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 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.

Entropic State Report 7th May 2021

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 blackhillbooks@gmail.com

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.

Entropic State Report 6th January 2021

The new year is upon us and… without much further ado… it feels much like 2020.

Here in the UK we’ve entered another full lockdown and have been awarded the nickname Plague Island. Meanwhile our cousins across the pond once again have some 24 hour election coverage to get stuck into (and I must confess I’m keenly following developments as I type this). Therefore I expect that here at Derry & Toms we will be confined to remote recording for at least another three months. We’ve had some practice now though and are getting a bit better at it as we go.

In better news, our fellow traveller Jim successfully kickstarted Urish’s Horde: The Guide to Elric Collectibles. Jim assures me that us UK folks (and anyone else outside the US) will be able to pick this up via online retailing once its published. I can’t wait to get my mits on it!Meanwhile, I’ve continued to play around with The Journal of Gerard Arthur Connelly and have Chapter 8 recorded and 9 written. Try as I might to do 160 pages in three days, a la the man, the reality is a bit more creaky and painstaking. Still, it’s good fun and a nice distraction from the ongoing barrage of bad news. Even more exciting (for me at least) is the collaboration I’ve just undertaken with a very old friend of mine from my salad days. Way back in the mists of time I collaborated a little with a couple of friends on some electronic music and, 28 years after we last spoke, we reconnected on twitter and had a good natter. One of the outcomes is that, compared to previous episodes, Chapter 8 has had a polish and the Journal now benefits from an entirely original score. More will be revealed soon.

Finally, as we’re racking up the chapters, I’ve decided to have another play around and compile the Journal into a series of chapbooks. I’m working on volume one right now. If it works out Chaos Engineers and Jugaderos will get PDFs and Patron Demons will receive a hardcopy. This is a work in progress for now, but watch this space.

Right, that’s it from me for now.

Take care, stay safe, and I’ll see you soon… on the moonbeam roads.

Entropic State Report 11th September 2020

Autumn is upon us (or Fall for our American pards… interestingly I learned from the grey fees only a few days ago that the British nomenclature of Autumn is only a fairly recent thing (century or so) and prior to that we said Fall too, but I digress) and temperatures are plummeting up here int’ Bratfud ‘ills.  Also the plague continues to ravage the land, resulting in local lock-downs being extended and national restrictions being implemented and seemingly changed about every 37 seconds. I write this on a Friday and I suspect by Monday it will be mandated that we may not leave our bunkers lest we don full rubber suits and gimp mask accoutrements to nip round corner for all remaining bags of wine gums to restock the kitchen apocalypse box (or, at a push, sports mixture).


Given that in-person recording seems to have fucked off again for a while (Phil and I excepted of course) I’ve dusted off the online recording manual I wrote* after trial runs with Hussein (see previous Patron extra) and Loz (see pending patron extra… well you can’t yet but you will soon) and we’ll be giving that a ruddy good going over to keep our steady, some might say languid, pace up.  Hussein will be back in the saddle shortly, provided he stops causing mini-civil wars in the North-West of England. Loz and I will be coordinating a selection of stupid beers so we can crack on with part two of The Knight of Swords, and Phil and I will be shortly knocking out the final part of our look at The Eternal Champion. In the ‘to be pursued further’ pile, we also have the possibility of another ‘side-scursion’ into the realms of brutal WW2sploitation and a first dive into the realms of Moorcock-infused prog rock in the company of a true expert. So many pies, not enough fingers, or hours in the day.


Meanwhile, we’re spending this weekend in the entertainingly uneven seaside town of Skegness, the only place I’ve ever found a bucket and spade shop that also sells crossbows.  They don’t know it yet but my intention is to co-opt my travelling companions into an impromptu game of Stormbringer and record it.  I’ll let you know how that goes and if they don’t tell me to bury my head in the Skeggy dunes or take a crossbow to me, I’ll upload that next week as another patron exclusive.


Reet, as they say somewhere or other here in the North, I hear a transition approaching. Before I get whisked away, thanks again to Simon Perrins for another refreshed version of the BitR logo!


Take it easy pards, I look forward to setting you a table at the Terminal Cafe.
Andy


*did not actually write

Entropic State Report 26th August 2020

So, Bradford remains on localised lockdown for at least another week. Meanwhile the second of two shows we managed to record in that brief spell when Loz was able to visit has hit the…

Airwaves?

T’interwebs?

Grey fees?

It’s done nicely so far too, continuing the upward trend of downloads and listeners and taking the record for activity in the first 48 hours for an individual episode.

In sadder news, I was due to record The Final Programme Phase Two remotely with Hussein this week but yesterday he lost his uncle to Covid19. This coming so soon after losing his dad in March is a real blow. He’s doing it tough at the moment but he’ll be back and just like before he’ll have plenty of groovy insights to share.

On a slightly different note, I found out at the back end of last week that I’d been quoted and referenced in a Danish book of literary criticism. This is a rare thrill for me and all the more exciting and mysterious because I don’t read Danish. I instantly ordered a copy though and it’s a gorgeous tome. The chief side effect of this is that it’s nudged a Wheels of Terror episode that little bit closer and I already have a willing co-host.

There have also been some developments regarding the potential for a couple of shows looking at Moorcock’s relationship with music and Hawkwind in particular. I’m looking at a couple of very tasty collaborations with some esteemed and learned Hawkwind specialists. More on this soon.

Right, that’s about it for tonight.

Stay safe pards, and I’ll see you on the moonbeam roads.