Another Monday evening

It was ridiculously hot in the darkened office.  Johnny knew that he could switch on the cooling air con but he also knew that he could not afford it.  Not this month, very possibly not next either.  The picture business was not what it once had been.  Sure, people still wanted art to hide the grim reality of the industrial mess outside their living quarters, they just wanted that art cheap.  Cheaper than Johnny could make it.  There was still some regulars, mostly from tech corporations that wanted to stand out from the others.  It still was not enough.  He had started making detailed, fully interactive landscapes that the user could enter and move around in.  This had quickly morphed into vivid colours and sounds.  In turn this became generic views of places that no longer existed.  Probably never existed but that was what sold.  What had started as a passion project had become a drudge.  Employment was hard to find and he had decided to just scrape by for as long as he could.

There was a knock at the door.  Putting down the laser brush, he flicked on the nearby monitor to see who was there.

“Jesus, what the hell does he want?”

The words were formed in anger and as the front door of the studio slid open, in walked what could only be described as a floating mess.  Flies buzzed around outside the studio, the invisible electric barrier had clicked on and was doing its job keeping Mother Natures less desirable creatures from polluting the sanctity of his space.  The man was hunched over, the result of a broken arm that he had not been able to afford to have set properly, as little fizzes of electricity burst all over his manky clothes as the barrier cleansed him.  Camero was a man of the street and was a walking reminder to Johnny to never go outside again.

“Ah Johnny, I always love visiting you.  I leave here feeling cleansed”.  His voice was raspy and liquid.  He liked the drink and when he could not afford alcohol, he would move onto anything he could lay his grubby hands on.  Johnny sneered and was about to turn back to his work, when he noticed a second person enter.  Dressed in the grey uniform of the recently revived, the man looked confused.  Future Shock was a horrible thing and while he had seen many people struck by it, Johnny had not seen anyone go quite so pale during a bout.

“Who’s the grey?” Johnny indicated with a nod as he stood up, placing the canvas behind him.  Something did not feel right and he wanted to have the protection of something in case he had to fight.

Camero was grinning.  This in itself was an unnerving sight.  The combination of missing teeth with the ones that still clung on was testament to the wonders of ignoring dentists.

“This man Johnny,” a dramatic pause while the mess gestured theatrically, “is you.”

A sigh forced its way out of his mouth.  He was already calculating how long before he could force them to leave him alone.  Johnny’s hand had subconsciously gripped the edge of the canvas, readying itself for whatever was coming.

The silence lasted for what seemed like an age, Camero still gesturing to the Grey while he looked for a reaction that was never coming.  Slowly he lowered his arms, checked his fly and then walked over to the confused man.  Putting his arm around him, Camero guided him towards a nearby chair and helped him sit down.

“He’s still a wee bit ice sick, the poor loon,” a grubby hand ruffling the mans hair as if a proud parent.  Then he turned and  walked straight up to Johnny.

“So you know me?  I hang around outside the freezer and greet the new born as they leave.  Show them around, tell them what has changed, some of which is even true.  Help them spend their cash to get them started and graciously accept the inevitable reward for doing so.  It has made life that wee bit easier over the years.”

Dirty fingernails prised open a can off alcohol that he had somehow liberated from the nearby cool box.  One sip, two sips, three sips later, the can was empty and Camero looked directly at Johnny.

“In that time I have made a number of acquaintances that have made the whole job so much easier.  Imagine my surprise when my latest friend,” he hooked a thumb over his shoulder towards the grey, “when we go through his papers and find out that his name is…”

Frantic ruffling through his many pockets produced a relatively neatly folded piece of paper.  Unfolding it, Camero jammed it towards Johnny’s face.

“…Johnny Todd Christos.”

Johnny relaxed his grip on the canvas and noted where his laser brush was.  If it came to it, he could probably use it to distract them long enough to force them outside.

“Yeah Camero…..having the same name is not really going to convince me is it?”

With the paperwork not having the desired effect, the street tramp lowered it slowly.  There was a look of total defeat on his face.  If you had looked close enough (assuming you could bear to be that close) you could swear there was a tear in the yellowed eyes.  The paper was folded again and slid into a different pocket than the one he had removed it from.  Turning his head, Camero looked at the grey and sighed.  Then his left hand slowly rose and in it was clasped a very official looking police report.  It was almost comical to see the lengths that he was going to.  Johnny decided he was not going to play along, so he grabbed the report and scanned the contents.

100% DNA confirmation of identity

100%?  Nothing was that accurate.  Before the question could be asked, Camero continued.

“You see, I walked into the station on Queen Street and just happened to mention that I had witnessed a very well to do man jump from the railway bridge.  While I could not find an actual body, I did manage to find a rag of  bloodied clothing that had been left on a ragged edge of the bridge.  They tested it to get the name and guess what?  It came back as a match for you.  I would imagine the police will arrive here at some point in the next few months to check if you are still alive.”

Anger is a very unpredictable emotion and Johnny was struggling to keep it under control.  He could now see a rip in the grey mans sleeve, caked with a small amount of blood.  What kind of nutter was Camero?

“Johnny…Johnny, calm yourself.  This is Chiba level man…..Fucking Chiba.”

The grey suddenly became focused at the mention of that.  He whispered “Chiba” and then his eyes became unfocused as his mind started to search through the memories to place it.  Camero grabbed Johnny by the shoulders and span him round to face directly at him.

“All those churches that believe that their god will take them and put them back into the time stream way back, way before all the world went to shit.  Every single one of them will play a pretty penny to get proof buddy.  You are that proof.  You are fucking Chiba”

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My little experiment

In an effort to keep myself writing as often as possible, I have been taking songs I like and then penning a wee story that is kind of based on the lyrics.  It is just a bit of fun and there was a part of me that wondered if the source material would shine through too obviously.

I was way off the mark with that thought!!

So there are 3 stories on this blog that are based on songs.  The songs are as follows

68 guns

225

Say Hello, Wave Goodbye

They are not literal interpretations, more a cover version in story form.  Bizarrely the Soft Cell one was the least read of them all…despite it being the most mainstream song…

This all came about because when I hear songs with lyrics I like, I seem to always conjure up little pictures in my head.  What did they mean?  What was happening?  That sort of thing.

The first time I was fully aware that I was doing this, was when I heard this Roxette Song.

The line “The sound of silence and all around” conjured up a vivid picture of lonliness that kept getting more detail with each time I heard it.

So when that keeps happening, you should realise that the world is telling you something.

It only took me 20+ years to realise what.

 

Another song to story will appear later on today.  Not a particularly obscure song but offbeat enough.

 

Let me whisper a story to you

Part of trying to pull together all the wee stories I have written over the years, is having to read them again.  Often I do not even remember them.  Almost as if they had been written by someone else.

Then as the words envelop me, I remember how I was feeling at that time….reality spilling out over the page.  Morphing into words that helped me cope with my life at that time.

I also notice a recurring theme in my stories.  Identity, frustration with how things are and wishing they could be different.

The following is from 2013….reading it back now, it is rough and ragged and needs to be wrangled into a better form.  Yet there is a beauty to it, to me anyway.  A perfectly frozen moment of time. The fear that if I edit it, then I am losing something from it.

I wrote a superhero comic script way back when I was in my late teens.  It is awful.  However when I read it now, it perfectly captures that time of my life.  Changing it for publishing today would surely remove the energy that echoes from the words.  That may change the whole feeling that the story has.

Maybe all writers feel this and the good ones are able to let that draft go?

Anyway, here is a blast from this blogs past.

Continue reading

Hey…you fancy something to read?

I was on holiday recently.  Well I say holiday, I was off work looking after the Bat Kids.

I had plans…such grand lovely plans.

I ended up playing video games with my spare time and my plans were put back on a shelf marked “C’mon man…..just do it”.  On the plus side, I cleared a few games from my backlog (Ryse, Outlast, Rise of the Tomb Raider, D4 and Gat out of Hell).

On the down side…I did not edit my stories into a book.

Yeah….I know….believe me I do.

So back to work and full of woe wishing I could just go back to sleep for a couple of hours, I have spent my lunchtime looking at my old stories.  They are not too bad and although they need a good edit and some obvious song lyrics changed, they could form the spine of a not bad book.

So as it is Friday and I am feeling generous….here is the beginning of what will eventually be self published.

Please read and let me know what you think – good or bad.

Many Thanks

Remember I love you all

Continue reading

This has been on my mind a lot

Specifically the section on writing yourself into the story.

I’ve posted this before and discussed this before. So why repeat it?

Well as we go through life, things change, you learn and you adjust.  This video always makes me feel able to handle those changes.

Plus how many other videos start like this?

Fan Fiction – ideas for Game Of Thrones

After a conversation at work, where I had suggested to a colleague that due to GOT being released later in the year next year (Possibly) that she watched something else….this was not acceptable!

So I suggested that she write really good GOT fan fiction and get famous enough to be invited to read the scripts before they were filmed.  I then came up with a couple of ideas off the top of my head for her.  I present these below fully aware that my spelling may be wrong, my understanding of the mythos is flawed and that there are very possibly already versions of these out there.

The Erotic Adventures of Tyrion and the Khaleesi – Not as you might think, a badly written erotic story about the two of them getting it together, rather they visit all these parties and get with other people…..

Daenerys and Tyrion – the search for the dragonrider – A kids tale where the two of them have adventures with the dragons, while searching for the third rider.  Tale 2 would obviously involve Jon Snow

Hijinks with the Lady and her Pod – Brienne is clearly a strong woman with a mischievous streak.  Tales of what the two of them get up to when they have not been on-screen.  Pod obviously being the voice of reason in this scenario.

Ned Stark – The Return – The Faceless ones, using strange arcane magic, realise that Arya Stark will become their leader one day.  So they replace Ned in the kings landing dungeon with a Faceless one and he is hidden away.  Maybe he is the Faceless man?  Maybe Not.

Who’s that at the Moon Door? – Kids book using pop up (or pop down more likely) art to depict the various people, animals etc who have “fallen” through the Moon Door.

Melisandre and her Smoke Babies – Childrens tale of an old woman living in a remote cottage with just her smoke babies to entertain her.  A little bit like Snow White but with more smoke.

A day at the wall – Harrowing tales of life in the Nights Watch, written as Haikus.

 

And with that I must stop.

 

 

I once claimed I was the Scottish Green Lantern

Dressing up at Conventions.  I am totally for it, even if I do not particularly like the term “cosplay”.  Recently Aberdeen held its 2nd Comic Convention and social media was full of pictures of the various efforts at dressing up.  There were some great costumes and some average ones but it did not matter because everyone involved was doing what they wanted to do.  This is what being a fan is.  The ability to embrace your inner geek (nerd, princess whatever you want to call it) and enjoy what you enjoy.

For instance, I do not get Harry Potter (Or Gotham, Agents of Sheild, etc) but I know there are a lot of people who do like those fandoms.  My not getting them does not make me want to stop those who do from enjoying themselves.  Just don’t push it on me (a bit like religion or politics) and enjoy yourselves.

However I was not always so open and accepting.  Mainly because I was, you know, growing up and learning all the time.  It was a bit like my personal established Continuity was being rebooted every few years and the old me was cast away and forgotten about.

I have struggled with parts of the concept of cosplay.  To me, dressing up should be fun and all costumes should be home made.  Seeing these beautiful costumes that have been bought is nice and all but are quickly forgotten as soon as you see someone who has poured their heart and soul into something that they have cobbled together.  That to me is a true fan (of course that is just my opinion).  The other bit of cosplay I dislike is….well….the “skits” that some fans put on.  Again that is my personal view as I know there are people who like that and that is fine.

It has been 25 ish years since I was at a comic convention (22 ish since I was at a Dr Who one).  I went to my first ever one down in that London.  I don’t think I had ever been there before and I went with my eyes ready to be opened.  Boy were they.  I had noticed on the information leading up to the con, that if you entered the costume parade, you got your convention fee refunded.  That was all I needed.  That year I dressed up as Robin the boy wonder, my costume made from the finest cheapest materials I could find in charity shops.  I think I even had green washing up gloves.  As a naive 18 yr old I was in awe of the costumes around me in the dressing room (the winner was a guy who was the Fantastic Four – him and 3 dressed up rubber dolls – to be fair he deserved it) and I ended up involved in a Skit of sorts.  One of the other contestants had a Batman costume.  Now my memory of this may well be wrong but I remember thinking that it was perfect.  The host of the parade (the wonderful Hass) was dressed as the penguin and the plan was I went on, got interviewed by Hass, then attacked and Batman would stride on to save me.  A picture of that event made it into Zones (A british reprint mag at the time) and my only sadness at that, was that they did not know my name and I went uncredited!!!

Still I have made it into a comic and that makes me happy.  I have also been in a music video, so I am slowly invading your consciousness a little bit at a time.

Over the next couple of years I went as various characters to the costume parades (Both at UKCAC and GLACAC).  Jay Garrick Flash, Middenface McNulty and Green Lantern.

It was London that I dressed as Green Lantern.  Green Tshirt, white gloves, green boxer shorts, black thick tights, I looked ….well…like I had made it myself.  However I did dye a pair of white sandshoes, and they looked good with my green socks (I think they may have even been the same colour!)  My proudest achievement though was that I had found green luminescent paint.  I painted a ring on my glove, painted my domino mask with it and painted the Green Lantern Symbol onto my T-Shirt.  I thought that they could lower the lights before I went on and the glow would look cool.

They couldn’t.

So I was standing at the side of the stage feeling a little bit down.  My costume was awful but I did not really mind that.  It was part of the fun of the parade.  I remember a Glasgow con, a guy went as Buster Gonad with two Pillows attached to his jeans…genius idea.  He may have even won.  No I felt a bit sad that the effect I had planned would never be seen (hey I was 19/20 …I am just surprised I never wrote a poem about it).

At that low point, a young child in the queue asked me which Green Lantern I was.  Maybe it was being in London on my own, maybe it was just tiredness, maybe it was defensiveness.  Whatever it was, I turned and sneered at him,

“The Scottish One”.

Not my proudest moment.