Dave AKA SÖNUS returns to Derry & Toms and we pick up the exploits of Dorian Hawkmoon and his amusing companion Huillam D’Averc in The Sword of the Dawn, third volume of Moorcock’s epic The History of the Runestaff.
Meliadus gets miffed, Hawkmoon’s stoicism is tested, D’Averc gets naked and Count Brass is bored shitless.
Graham and Miles join me in Derry & Toms to delve into more James Herbert disaster action and muse over the glut of uncosy catastrophes coming out of the 70s paperback boom to answer Aldiss’s dismissal of the British sci-fi apocalypse novels of the 60s.
We talk about The Dark and touch upon some other examples we’ve been picking up.
As trailed in the show you can find The Casual Trek Podcast on all good podcatchers and you can still find the episode of the Closer to Midnight Podcast covering John Christopher’s The Death of Grass and the Cornel Wilde film adaptation No Blade of Grass on DeathofGrass.com
Phil and I have embarked upon our winter retreat, on this occasion to the incredibly picturesque harbour town of Barmouth.
Yes, Barmouth. The scene of Guy N Smith’s terror double-bill of Night of the Crabs and its subsequent sidequel, Crabs Moon. Now I’m not saying we decided to commit a whole week of our annual leave allocations to visiting the site of a brace of 70s horror novels, but we may well have committed a whole week of our annual leave allocations to visiting the site of a brace of 70s horror novels.
It was a good choice though.
I’m not going to knock Smith’s literary credentials for a second, but he didn’t really sell Barmouth’s qualities. It’s a really beautiful bit of coast and the key landmarks do not disappoint, with Arthog Bridge being a particularly impressive piece of Victorian engineering. That was obviously wasted on that down-in-the-mouth train driver but not on us.
Amusingly, our digs are in Llanaber – the very site of Professor Cliff Davenport’s boarding house (and scene of his alarmingly immediate bond with Pat). We’re going all in for the authentic experience. Shell Beach awaits.
Amongst our holiday reading we have the final instalment in the Cliff Davenport triptych, CRABS ON THE RAMPAGE. Sadly it isn’t set in Barmouth, but, weirdly, it does feature some of our older holiday stomping grounds up in the highlands of Scotland that we are very familiar with.
Anyway, enough of my holiday snaps.
It’s suddenly February and 2023 is already feeling productive. We’re keeping up a decent pace with the show, I have two more in the can undergoing editing, and Phil and I will hopefully record our thoughts on The Phoenix in Obsidian AKA The Silver Warriors very soon. This month I’m scheduled to revisit the NEL story with Andrew Nette and Dave will be back to pick up the Hawkmoon saga with The Sword of the Dawn.
To add to that, if you missed it, I popped up on the Appendix N Book Club and that was a fine time all round.
In a addition to that, we passed a couple of Podbean milestones in January too…
…and I have to say Podbean, you could put a bit more effort in with your badges.
Still, it’s always good to note progress. Long may it continue. And thanks to all of you for supporting us and making it happen.
That’s all for now though, I have to go down Barmouth beach in search of crevices (I remain unconvinced).
So go steady out there and we’ll catch up again soon… On t’moonbeam roads.
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!