Sunday, May 25, 2008

Well good God damn...

... and other such phrases,
I haven’t heard a beat as good as this in ages!

The immortal words of Scroobius Pip, which brings me neatly to my topic of the day: Things That Will Improve Your Life.

Several things have improved my life significantly in the last week or so, and it would be churlish of me not to share them with you. The first would be the aforementioned Scroobius Pip. I urge you to seek out and buy the album ‘Angles’ by Dan le Sac vs Scroobius Pip. Now, this isn’t my kind of music at all. I believe, he said in a crusty old man voice, that it might possibly be ‘rap’ or ‘hip hop’. It’s certainly one of those new-fangled youth sounds that a man like me is far too old to ‘be down with’. However, it’s f**king brilliant (sorry Xhalax). Quite apart from the fact that it’s exciting and exhilarating and sounds really good played loud, it’s packed full of the cleverest and funniest lyrics since Tom Lehrer was writing songs. Buy it, simply for the outstanding track ‘Thou Shalt Always Kill’, which is a small masterpiece. If you can’t be arsed to buy the album, at least look the video up on Youtube. By ‘kill’, Scroobius is referring to the intended aim of all open-mic rappers... to ‘kill’ with his lyrics. Anyway, it’s what Big would call ‘the tits’ and I defy any of you not to be both profoundly stirred and amused by it.

In terms of music more suited to my age and demographic, may I recommend the debut album of the London Bulgarian Choir. It’s called ‘Alyana Galyana’ and you can only buy it on their website. I’ve been aware of Bulgarian choral music for a while, but when I heard this on Radio 4 earlier in the week, I was blown away. It’s quite astonishing and really rather 40K. The sound the choir produces is the sort of thing you might hear on the ‘Gladiator’ soundtrack. Go and get one for yourself: you will be pleased you did.

It’s no secret that H P Lovecraft is one of my favourite authors. I can’t help myself. I own several different editions of his works: the old and dog-eared Panther paperbacks from the 70s, which first introduced him to me, and several hardback Arkham editions. For reading pleasure, I tend to use the satisfyingly fat Penguin classics (there are three volumes, buy them all! You’re doing yourself a favour!) but thanks to a review in the ‘Fortean Times’ (which is a publication you should all subscribe to, because it is simply wonderful) I was made aware of a hard cover commemorative edition of Lovecraft’s works published by Golancz. It’s only £20 and it’s gorgeous, packed full of illustrations. I already own several versions of all the stories, but this was a must-have. It’s called, no surprises here, ‘Necronomicon’. If you own any H P Lovecraft, then this is the deluxe version that you must own. If you don’t own any H P Lovecraft, what the feth’s the matter with you? Any book that contains ‘The Call of Cthulhu’, ‘The Colour Out of Space’, ‘The Shadow Over Innsmouth’ and ‘The Dunwich Horror’ has got to be a keeper.

Also, says Nik, buy cardamom flavoured chocolate made by Rococo. It is also ‘the tits’.

If you seek out the above things, your life will be commensurately better. See what I do? I try to bring a little gleam of betterness into your existences.

And so on to any other business:

Hello Jack.

Rory - Yes we have found a new room. It turned up at the back of our house. Sadly, it had nothing to do with the odd keys and rather more to do with the nice builder we got in to erect a conservatory. Having said that, I walked out into it the other night and heard what I presume was cats fighting in the garden. They made the most alarming, human sounds. For a moment, I thought of opening the back door and looking out, expecting to find my youngest daughter crouched outside, making silly noises. But she was upstairs and the curious verbalisations were coming from cats. Or foxes. Or both. Or the hussar, you never can tell. Will try the keys soon. Am expecting to find access to Narnia, Middle Earth, Hogwarts and Erehwon any day now.

Boom - Will the world that the Ghosts finally win be a Death World? Interesting and slightly cruel suggestion. I think the next Ghost book, ‘Blood Pact’, will answer all sorts of questions like that, in surprising ways.

Xhalax - Eurovision. Song. Contest. Three of the most leaden words in the English language.

Leemxt - You asked if any of us find any pieces of my books emotionally moving. I’m interested in all of the responses you post, but I feel I ought to tell you about ‘Riders of the Dead’. The scene where the rocks and stones in the desert start whistling and speaking to our hero is the only time I’ve written something that has seriously spooked me out. And the ending of the same novel, probably because I knew what the last few words would be, weeks in advance, reduced me to spontaneous tears when I finally wrote them. Nik has just reminded me of the scene in ‘Ravenor’ where Frauka is guarding Zael. That’s got to be up there too, along with Varl’s report of the death of Gaunt in ‘Only in Death’, and the final act of ‘Double Eagle’. I won’t even begin to tempt you with the emotional heart tugging that occurs in the final moments of ‘Titanicus’.

Leemxt (2) - Sithee. Ezrah’s speech pattern is undoubtedly buried in British vernacular. I make no apologies for the fact that he speaks the way he does, because I studied Anglo-Saxon at Oxford. It’s pretty bastardised, but the essence is there.

Courtney - Please e-mail your address to my website and I will be happy to send you a signed copy for your boyfriend. You might also tell me your boyfriend’s name, so that I can dedicate it appropriately.

Sredni - Clone 43 counts my words. He took over from Clone 27, when Clone 27 killed itself out of boredom.

Jeff - I’m Alpharius. I’m delighted your wife likes my books. I wish I was coming to Chicago too, but I will be in Baltimore.

Hiwayrobry - Having done a number of readings to captive audiences, I have been told that I don’t do a bad job of it. I may mention this to the Black Library. I’d love to read some of my stories for audio.

Dukeleto - Moffat rules. We’re in safe hands with him.

Hurrah for the Hussar - ‘Titanicus’ is a great big sprawling epic that has many protagonists. I feel sure, however, that you will warm to Cally Samstag, Erik Varco, Major Gotch, Executor Crusius and Adept Feist.

Hiwayrobry (2) - ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ is an ongoing series.

Al and Xhalax - I have it on good authority from someone who knows Rory Bremner that accents are easy to cue-in if you can remember certain key words. As I understand it, Geordie is easy to do if you can say ‘Kawasaki’ and ‘conjunctivitis’. I stand to be corrected.

Veyron, schmeyron... Jaguar, schmaguar... I drive a 300C (f**k it, I’ve earned it). It’s lovely, and a real beast. My daughter’s friend, Sarna, was being driven to school by her dad when I drove past them. “That’s Lily’s dad’s car!” Sarna exclaimed. After a short pause, her dad replied, “What is he, a gangster?”

And yes, I probably am. Or a gunshark, at least. My 300C, black as the ace of spades, is called ‘Ramona’. Is it so odd to name your cars? My last car was called ‘Grace’ and the one before that was called ‘Serena’. The one before that was called ‘Kylie’, because she had a nice bottom and also ‘Jacky’ because of her number plate. When I was a kid, I had a bicycle called ‘Hawkeye’. The first car I ever owned had previously belonged to my maternal grandfather. It was a racing green Ford Escort, and it’s registration number began with ‘KLM’ because of which, my grandad had named it ‘the Flying Dutchman’ (KLM being the Royal Dutch Airlines). Go figure.

Big - SinDex returns to 2000AD shortly, and it will delight you, I’m sure.

And finally...

‘Lamentaly’ Xhalax - that’s a great new word, and I intend to use it. A lot.

Now go to bed. Aren’t you all tired?

Saturday, May 17, 2008


New post! Zing!

I must apologise for the delay in posting. Titanicus is finished and I have been lying in a heap. A good heap, but a heap none-the-less. I had a lovely time at my library talk a couple of week backs, and I’d like to thank all concerned for their gracious and accommodating hospitality. The sugar was very welcome. Tomorrow is Black Library Day, officially. I hope you’ll all go out there and be Black Library-ish.

So, the squeaky gate. We’re having a sun room built at the back of the house, and the floor plan extends over to the wall where the squeaky gate sits. As a result, the squeaky gate had to go. Nik and her brother pulled it out of its settings and carried it up to the back of the garden, for later use. Funny thing is, it’s still squeaking, even though it is not there any more. How do you like them apples?

Andy Lanning came to visit me today and brought with him the lovely Eddie Berganza of DC fame. As we told Eddie the story of the squeaking gate his grin became more and more fixed. We went to lunch in town and as we wandered back, I pointed out the White Rabbit and the other places around my house that had once been military residences. “Your local pub is called ‘the Dragoon’,” he said. “Exactly,” I replied. “There are hussars everywhere.”

His fixed grin became even more fixed. Sorry, Eddie, didn’t mean to scare you.

Oh yeah... Titanicus is done. I think I mentioned that. One hundred and forty thousand words worth of stomping titanic chaos. I’m pretty pleased with it, but it drained the hell out of me. I hope you all like it.

And now to business...

Al - I’ve had an ‘awesome handlebar moustache’ for a very long time. The folks at BL used to refer to is as my ‘big gay moustache’. I’m comfortable with my sexuality and therefore laughed at their derision, derisively.

Ryknow041 - Welcome (ltbfth)... long time blogger first time hello. I think you’re probably right. If the hussar isn’t speaking quasi-old-english, I’d be surprised. Thanks for the Guardians of the Galaxy comment. Yes, there will be some inquisitor-related shorts soon. Eisenhorn in short pants is a vision sequestered by the Holy Ordos, as I’m sure you realise.

Sredni - Already on it.

Ashley T - Thanks. I’ll come to Bath when Bath invites me.

Leemxt - You’ll see more first person perspective on the Pact in the next book, which is, funnily enough, called Blood Pact.

Jack - Groot and Cosmo in the same book? It had to happen. Read Guardians of the Galaxy to see how cool that meeting can be.

Rob - Using the key marked ‘R. Carter’ would, of course, be a very bad idea. I’ve put that one in the bottom drawer of the bureau.

Jack - Hello. Thank you very much for the comments on the Torchwood audiobook.

Kid Dork - Thank you very much.

Bigwill - They’re called ‘auto-reactive shoulder-guards’, because that’s what Games Workshop calls them. They’re ‘auto’ and ‘reactive’, because they’re ‘auto-reactive’ shoulder-guards. Hey, I don’t make this stuff up (much).

Turain - I’ll do my best. All I can do for now, is hope.

The-seventh-son - Prophaniti would be a great name for a child, if you wanted a child that sicked up on you every five minutes and rotated its head, laughing gleefully. I’m not sure Dju wants that. Can you imagine what you’d find in a chaos nappy?

Big - Yay! Big’s back! All kinds of win! Get set to check out your ‘Big Steve’ name-check at the start of Titanicus. Thanks for the books, Big. SinDex? There’s bundles more SinDex out there, and it’s running in 2000AD right now.

Hurrah for the hussar - I’m a huge fan of the Warhammer world, I just don’t get to write it that much. Still, have you checked out Riders of the Dead, Fell Cargo, the Hammers of Ulric and Gilead? Demand them! They will be reprinted!

XHALAAAXX! - Where were you girl? Mexico? We missed you! And now the gang’s all here! Explain your strop. It’s better out than in. Do it, Blondie.

John Phillip Law just died, aged 70. Three score years and ten. Everyone go and rent ‘Barbarella’ immediately. And enjoy.