Sunday, January 27, 2008

We Fade to Grey introduction

Gary McMahon recently sent me a copy of Mark Morris's introduction for We Fade To Grey. It's a jolly fine intro that not only comments on the stories in the anthology but also delivers a quick history of the state of recent horror publishing.

More importantly he said some really nice things about my story 'Bliss', describing it as "deliriously bonkers ... a fast-paced romp that manages to walk a fine line between gruesomely shocking and blackly funny ... a powerful and inventive tale."

Now I don't want to brag but he obviously thinks my story is the best in the anthology. Not only that but he thinks all the other contributors are talentless hacks who should never have been allowed to appear in the same book as a literary genius such as myself. But diplomacy forces him to compliment their stories no matter how awful they are. So he grudgingly admits that 'The Narrows' by Simon Bestwick is "a brooding, claustrophobic tale which accesses some of our most primal fears" and 'The Mill' by Mark West is "a beautiful story" and 'The Pumping Station' by Paul Finch is "a tough and uncompromising tale." Although he's clearly lying through his teeth when he calls 'Heads' by Gary McMahon "a well-constructed and satisfying tale."

Going above and beyond the call of duty Mark manages to continue his introduction by saying even more nice things about these poor excuses for stories. But when you buy the book the important thing to remember is that he's only praising these pathetic tales out of politeness. My story is the only one that he genuinely believes to be any good.


Sunday, January 20, 2008

John Connolly video

Hour long video of John Connolly discussing various aspects of writing at

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Korgoth of Barbaria

Bob Covington pointed me towards a cartoon called Korgoth of Barbaria which spoofs the old Robert E Howard Conan stories. Funny and violent with lots of monsters and buxom wenches but there's only been one episode so far. Quick clip at if anyone's interested.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Random Ramblings

Watched the beginning of Shadow Man starring Steven Seagal the other day. Just one of those masochistic things I do every now and again just to see how bad his films are these days. His current fare makes his old films look like cinematic masterpieces. Especially the fight scenes.

At least in the old days he used to do all the fights himself now he just waves his arms around while the camera does a closeup of his face and then the person he's fighting will fall down for no reason. Or more likely Seagal will just use a stunt double for the fights. Because the more bloated he becomes the more OTT his fights are. Full of dodgy wire-fu performed by stunt doubles. Except Seagal really expects people to believe that it's him doing all the stunts. Come on, look at the size of him, there isn't a wire in the world strong enough to lift that amount of blubber.

But bizarrely the fights weren't actually the funniest thing about Shadow Man. 'Cos believe it or not one of the other stars was Imelda Staunton. That's right, Vera Drake was co-starrring in a Seagal film! I didn't watch the film all the way through but I'm hoping she had a fight scene with Seagal and gave him a right good slapping.

And the surreal casting didn't stop there. Also appearing was Eva Pope from Waterloo Road (you know, that school drama with Neil Morrisey; basically it's the BBC trying to fob us off with Grange Hill as primetime telly 'cos it's got a different name and has proper "stars"). And there was also Trevor from Eastenders who used to beat up Little Mo. Unfortunately Seagal didn't pay homage to this by beating him up with an iron but I like to think this idea was put forward in an earlier draft of the script.

Of course the really exciting thing about this is that now Seagal has a potential "in" with Eastenders. The soap has a fascination with gangsters and ex-coppers (which probably explains why they have an exchange scheme going on with the cast of The Bill) so Seagal would be perfect. He could play an ex-NYPD detective who's trying to trace his East End heritage. He could even run the aikido school that used to get mentioned in every single bloody episode until the writers realised they didn't actually have any ideas how to work stories around it and quietly dropped it.

And the best thing woud be that Seagal could go up against Phil Mitchell. Just think about it, they make perfect foils for each other: they're both fat, bald has-beens trying to act like hard men.

If Seagal can't persuade any of his Hollywood stunt doubles to do the fight scenes for Eastenders I have the perfect solution. Westlife. Now this isn't just 'cos I want to see the Irish crooners get beaten to death (although that does hold a certain appeal). It comes from seeing their dancing in the video for their cover of 'Home'. Whenever they get all emotional during the song they start pulling faces and clenching their fists. One of them even stands on one leg and wobbles about wildly as he tries to maintain his balance. It looks like he's tried to walk off only to discover that someone has superglued one of his feet to the floor. Or that he's doing an un-PC impression of a special needs kid playing hopscotch. Whatever, he still obviously has greater athletic ability than Seagal.

The problem with Westlife is that these days the blonde one is a dead ringer for Boris Johnson. I keep expecting him to campaign to become the Mayor of London. But that's not as big as the other problem Westlife have. That they're shit.

Out of all the 90s pop comebacks the only group that have managed to impress me is Take That. Not that I like their music but at least they seem to have a suitably humble attitude. They appear genuinely grateful that people are buying their new records. To be honest they probably can't believe their luck. They know it's a miracle that anyone bought their stuff the first time round so having a successful comeback is something to be grateful for. Such humility is refreshing. Plus, their success will hopefully piss off Robbie Williams.