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.
The year of…? Um. At this point I wanted to list some science fiction film or book from my youth set in an (at the time) impossibly far off future. I came up blank. I had seen a tweet last week that suggested Zardoz was set in 2023 but it was bollocks. I even did a wiki search but it came up with little of interest.
I did find a crappy clickbait article though (from whence I nicked the above image) that reckons deceased Bulgarian mystic Baba Vanga predicted devastating solar storms and massive bioweapons disasters for this year so I dunno. I suppose I’d best keep a week ahead in supplies of dodgy porters in case of catastrophic supply chain failures. I might also watch the director’s cut of The Divide this afternoon for survival tips.
Last year flew by and that old adage that time passes more quickly as you age seems to be fully checking out.
The festive period here at Derry & Toms was quiet and drama free, a little boring frankly, but that’s all done and dusted. I will share a few bits and bobs we picked up along the way though.
First, I stopped by Les Edwards’s webstore and picked up a glorious limited signed print of his cover for The Devils of D-Day:
And he threw in a Conan freebie too:
Thanks to Phil for the assists there! Les’s website is a fantastic. I think I must have spent a couple of hours poring over his work. Check it out. As is my wont, I’ve now become a bit obsessed with his imagery and have partially disappeared down another rabbit hole.
Next, I picked up the special printing of The Citadel of Forgotten Myths from the fine folk over at The Broken Binding:
You can still grab a copy via their web store and it has reduced in price a bit in their January sale so go and have a look (I just grabbed a copy of their edition of Alan Moore’s Illuminations for a tenner). Top marks for them on their wrapping skills too.
In other news, on a particularly boring morning here at D&Ts I created a spreadsheet to track the podcast’s output and, with my extremely limited Excel skillz, I created a table to show progress to date in terms of what we’ve covered so far at our half-century.
Stuff to note:
For Moorcock characters Elric leads in terms of episodes worth of coverage, with Hawkmoon one step behind. If we consider just how much Elric material is out there that seems fine for now, but because the sheer weight of MM’s content in that department is comparatively vast we should probably up the rate of output in that corner of the multiverse
I need to get back to Corum again – we’ve covered half of The History of the Runestaff already, but we’re only one instalment in with the Prince in the Scarlet Robe
I REALLY need to pull my finger out and get to Warlord of the Air and Warhound and the World’s Pain
There is a nice spread of other stuff going on with ventures into Moorcock-related discussions around music, comics and RPGs
Approximately 20% of our output to date covers other authors entirely thanks to Halloween and Birthday Specials as well as other examinations (hashtag FUCKINGDANNUS).
Another area we are yet to explore in any detail, but touched upon in our conversation with Andrew Nette in our Dangerous Visions and New Worlds episode, is the contents of New Worlds anthologies and books championed by Moorcock in his editing days. In terms of the latter I’m definitely thinking of Norman Spinrad’s Bug Jack Barron but there are many others.
We also still owe a couple of you Nine Princes in Amber. Natasha bought a copy in preparation. She’s moved down south damn her eyes, but we are determined to get a virtual date in ASAP.
On the more immediate itinerary though, we have:
A follow-up to our Halloween episode on The Fog looking at the progression of James Herbert (via the lens of The Dark) in concert with other musings on the ‘Uncosy Catastrophes’ of Herbert and other British authors of the time
Fortress of the Pearl Book Two with Loz
A first look at the history of legendary publishers of genre fiction New English Library, starting with some gritty bikersploitation, with Andrew Nette
The War of the Worlds with Allister Thompson
The Sword of the Dawn Book One with Dave (AKA SÖNUS)
The Final Programme Phase Four (The Last Days of Man on Earth) with Hussein
So that would appear to be enough to be going on with. There may also be a Part VI to the RPG musings at some point in the first half of the year but more on that later.
I’ll also be beavering away on vol III of the Journal with the intention of getting that out in the Spring.
But for now, take it easy pards! Ease yourself into this new year and I’ll see you out there… on the moonbeam roads.
Simon is back in Derry & Toms to carry on our chinwagging and this time we’re joined by Guy Lawley, author of Saga of the Man Elf. This 1989 five issue Trident comics run is my most highly treasured Moorcock-related comic and Guy tells us how it came to be, how Mike gave it his blessing and approval to use characters from the Jerry Cornelius chronicles, and how he worked and moved through UK comics and fanzines.
We also discuss the artists involved in the conception of the Man Elf character and story, and dedicate this show to the memory of Steve Whitaker.
Jerry and Una by Steve Whitaker in issue 1
A marvellously corpulent Bishop Beesley by Richard Weston on the cover of issue 5.
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!
Ted AKA @tedankhamen joins me in Derry and Toms for the second leaf of our Summer diptych musing on Moorcock, gaming and whatever else enters our eyeline.
Some choice cuts in here including miniature bashing, Tolkien (again), a shock Strongbow appreciation story, chaosium-isms… but mostly some good, chewy thinking on modelling Moorcockian worlds and cosmology. I also bang my BoL drum again.
You can check out the Tentacled Whisperer of Secrets Discord by making an offering to… THE TENTACLED WHISPERER… or just check out his profile. He’s pretty lax on gatekeeping for an ancient deity of unspeakable power.
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.