the wonder stuff live – on the ropes

This is my favourite Wonder stuff song and this is my favourite version of it. Years after the band split in the 90s I bought their last ever concert on video ( remember those?) Watching it just reminded me what a great band they were. They have since reformed a couple of times and are great live. I had never heard on the ropes before and something in this song stuck. I’ve heard various versions of it and they are all great. Last time they played Aberdeen, they opened with this song. It was brilliant and the whole set was fantastic. So listen to the song and enjoy.

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Take these words and stick them in your head – Writers Commentary part the first

So I thought I would do a writers commentary about the recent Burstfiction story I have been writing.  It is an exercise in me looking at how I structure things and (for those who want it) a look into why I have written what I have.  I will only talk about bits of the story that may be of interest but do feel free to ask questions of bits I may have missed out.

So button yourself down and let me pull back the curtain

He Watches while we are lost

This is the only section where the title did not knowingly come from a song lyric.  We get the basic introduction to the main character (The Laird) as he watches the multiverse below his spaceship.  The idea of a multiverse is obviously not mine and has been used in many different iterations before.  However my biggest influence here is DC comics and the Crisis on infinite earths and Final Crisis (especially the look, at least in my mind)

The Laird sits drinking tea because many years ago, i was at the gym (not recommended) and was listening to my own music.  On the myriad of Tvs across the place, they were playing a music video.  In it a spaceship was floating above the earth and a man clad in steampunk style military gear was standing at a window sipping tea from a china cup (the only way to properly enjoy tea).  I was intrigued and then it became obvious that it was a Take That video.  I immediately lost interest.  however the image remained.

So the Laird watches the many worlds below him and senses something is wrong.  He turns to the right and vanishes.  This is a homage to the Timewarp (albeit a very loose one!)

He’s got the key but I have the secret

The Urban Cookie Collective song “The Key” provided the lyric here.  All because I received a pink plastic key in a Christmas cracker and I needed something for the Laird to be collecting.  This is the key to the Multiverse simply because it made me smile that something potentially so powerful could be something so insignificant.

You are lost but I know exactly where you are

Lyric slightly changed from the King Creasote song “Coast on by”

So where would one procure a map of the multiverse?  Well from the imagination of a child of course.  they are so much closer than most of us to the blurring of Reality and imagination.

This town is big enough for the both of us

Sparks of course.  Here we have a wee bit of magic performed by the Laird against a chugger.  i hate charity muggers and really wish that they did not exist.  I have no problem with donating to charity, i just do not want to do it because someone approached me in the street!  The magic bit comes from The Invisibles by Grant Morrison (Book one I think when the story turns to Byron).  In this comic, one of the characters mentions Aliester Crowley doing this exact trick in San Fransisco to prove Magik.

The Laird then encounters our secondary character here, George.  The see through man, who is invisible to the passing world.  Now union Terrace Bridge is pretty much the centre of Union Street in Aberdeen and that was why i chose it.  Sadly it is also a place where people have committed suicide.  The implication here is that George has had enough and wants to end it all.  The Laird needs him and arrives to recruit him to the cause.

He stares at the screen, the little words of green and he wonders what to do next

A slightly changed lyric from the brilliant song by New Model Army “225”

Here we have the Laird and George in an Everywhere and Nowhere room.  Thsi is shamelessly pinched from the idea of rooms that exist outiwth space and time – a bit like the TARDIS I suppose.  the name….well thats from the song “Hi Ho Silver Lining”, specifically the line “You’re everywhere and Nowehere Baby, thats where youre at”

I Know…I Know!!!

Anyway George is singing a lyric from a Sabbat Song.  Sabbat were a thrash metal band of the 80’s that gave away a flexi disc of a Warhammer themed song in the magazine White Dwarf.  This was enough for me to go out and buy their album (which i still have!).

It was not really my thing but you know, youth and everything!

The Laird is listening to Kate Bush because…well i was listening to Kate Bush when I was writing it and she is awesome.  Nuff said.

The Story of Georgie Boy

I think the song is called “The Ballad of Georgie Boy” by Rod Stewart.  This was a day where I could not think of what to write, so i started with a hopefully vague version of what George was and why he had become this way.  in my first NaNoWriMo novel “The Search for Goth Disco” there was a character called the collector and george is one version of this character.  Then collector was a hollow man who had the ability to take the bad memories away from people.  indeed he had to do this as some form of penance to fill himself back up again.  My good Friend Andy came up with the concept for this character many years before and this was a way to pay tribute to him and to tie this story into my earlier ones.

If this world is wearing thin and you’re thinking of escape

“Stay” by Shakespeares Sister.  Beautiful song.

Again I had no idea where to progress the main story, so this was my essay on why certain parts of the city we live in seem out of place. 

 

Ok That’s it for now.  Will continue with the next part soon. 

I have scuttled so far sideways

In a possible future you have only had nightmares about, there sit two people.  To the outside world, they are just like you and me.  Normal, everyday people.  One difference, they may never exist if certain choices are made in the here and now.

“He has gone” said the first man, his eyes clouded tiredness.

“Who?” replied the second man, tapping away on his mobile phone.

“The Laird.  He has gone, dissapeared.”

The second man puts his game on hold, the high score is just within reach and he did not want to lose his place.  That done, then he turned his attention to the first man.

“What do you mean gone?”

Sitting the first man places his head in his hands, exhaustion taking its toll.

“I was speaking to him about the optimum viewpoint.  he had found it finally, somewhere to the west of the city.  One minute he was there, the next, he was gone.”

A silence fell between them, eventually broken by the second man.

“Who has gone?”

The first man looked at him

“I cant remember.”

The Nexus viewer left the two of them and returned to scouring deep time.  Frob had been working straight for far too long but the need to find the two missing men took priority over everything.  They were special, they existed only throughout time, not across time and the realities like everyone else, Frob included.  If they had been taken off the game board then the rules would have to change to compensate.

Even then, it may not be enough.

Black Sheep, Come Home….

The man known as Frob stood at one of the many consoles in the nexus and double checked the results.  It had been a strange few days for him and he did not want this affecting his normal mode of operation.  A new agent had said that he was a six foot tall penguin, strange enough of course but this had been the product of outside drugs on the agents mind.  Still, Frob did wonder why he was the only one that looked different to the agent.

After a third time of checking the data, Frob made the call to the Artists two.

“Sorry to bother you gentlemen but I have discovered a hole in the fabric of the multiverse.”

The Monitor showed the Artists Two nodding, waiting for the news.

“The Laird and The Colonel have dissapeared.  They cannot be found on any wavelength or reality.  It is like they have just ceased to exist!”

The Artists Two conferred amongst themselves and then spoke as one.

“Find them”

 

(Burstfiction for the masses from the warped mind of the Lairdofdarkness)

Why Grant Morrison is my favourite writer

“I’m pissed and in about half an hour I’ll come up on drugs, so watch for that. Now any practising magicians in the audience?” The video below was filmed back in 2000 and is 45minutes of pure genius. Grant manages to go from the ramblings of a madman to absolute clarity, sometimes in the same sentence. I can’t find a decent video quality version but the audio is fine throughout. Watch, listen and enjoy

My problem with Superman

Is that he is a boring character, at least he is in my opinion.  Yes he is a Super human and could be argued that he is the ideal that we could all aspire to (I know he is not real but bear with me).

However to me, he is over powered and can only be hurt by Magic or Kryptonite.  Now if you do not have either in a Superman story, then you remove the sense of danger that superhero stories thrive on.  You are left with the supporting cast and I do not think much of Supermans circle.

However if a good story is written about anyone, it can transcend the character it is written about.  In Supermans case, I have only found these stories in Scottish Writers stories.

Superman : Red Son by Mark Millar, is a case in point.  What if Superman had landed in the Soviet Union instead of America.  He would have grown up a communist icon.  The same trappings from decades of Superman stories are there but melded into this new idea.  It is a really good read and one of the few Superman books I own.

All Star Superman by Grant Morrison is another recommendation.  Again the basic themes are there but they are handled with such love and care that they turn the story into a memorable and lasting one.

Now some would say Alan Moore’s “Whatever happened to the man of tomorrow?” but there are only bits of that story I liked.  You may think different.

Superman fans could point to any number of stories that they recommend but those two are the only ones that I own and am happy to point out.  They are full of interesting ideas and concepts, some that work, some that don’t.  However the overall lasting impression is one of two writers with great love for the character and that comes over to the reader.

Grant Morrison recently finished an 18 issue run on Action Comics (which is a Superman comic in all but name) and I bought every single issue.  It is 18 issues of high concept, fractured storytelling that comes together to form a rip roaring ride that left me with wonderful memories and concepts.  This is what comics should be like, though sadly few are.

Issue 19 was written by Andy Diggle.  A very good writer and I have enjoyed much of his work.  However the issue is just an average superhero comic.  Nothing to do with the writing and everything to do with the character.

That’s the difference for me. 

La Tristesse Durera

Dispatches from the Front line of the Memor-e war

Our combined forces were losing ground fast as the enemy had managed to infiltrate our ranks.  Our commander had dug deep into the reserves and had managed to stem the advance with the remembrance of music past.  It would not hold long.

The O/O switch was lost to us long ago and without access to this, our forces were losing this war. 

I write this from a rear echelon position, watching the casualty reports fly in as barrier after barrier fall to the enemy.  I can’t even find solace in my fellow soldiers anymore.