Thursday, 26 July 2012


Scary Troll by Andy Lee
(probably slightly scarier than the Trolls in this poem,
but pretty cool all the same)

Calabrig’s a sad wee town,
It always seems to rain.
But even on a sunny day
There’s folk there who complain.
It’s not that they’re bad people,
It’s just they’ve lost control,
Because the whole of Calabrig
Is full of grumpy trolls.

There’s trolls on every corner,
There’s trolls in swimming pools,
They stand in queues at bus stops,
Or glaring outside schools.
If sunshine ever happens,
If it’s a bluesky day.
They grumble trollish mumbles
To turn the sky to grey.
“No fun today.” the trolls all say
“So don’t you even try.
Nothing good can happen here.”
And I think we all know why.

Wee Molly lived in Calabrig,
She’d had enough of moans,
She’d had enough of monsters,
And all their grumps and groans.
Molly went on troll patrol
And watched the trolls all day.
She came up with a brilliant plan
To make them go away.
She got all her friends to help her
And they dug some big dark holes.
Big enough, and dark enough,
To push down lots of trolls.

Then (this was the clever bit)
They put up a big tent
And invited all the trolls in town
To a Monster Truck event.
Now trolls love Monster Truck stunts
So they all came down to see,
And everyone got tickets,
Then complained that they were free.
Molly opened up the tent
And in stomped all the trolls,
They moaned about the seating
Then all fell down the holes.

“Help us out!” they grumpled,
“We’ve got completely stuck.”
Molly smiled and laughed and said,
“Oh dear. What rotten luck.”
All the people in the town
Came down to see the trap,
And everyone was happy
And gave Molly a big clap.
Big walls got built around the holes,
A sign said “Do not feed.”
But they threw in lots of homework
And magazines to read.

It does still rain in Calabrig,
You don’t often see the sun
But on the whole, without the trolls
The town is much more fun.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Albion Park

image from Graphics Fairy

I was recently emailed a document, some of which has been shared elsewhere online. It was originally produced for the Labour Government in late 2006 and looks at other ways for the UK to capitalise on the joint celebration of the Olympics and the Diamond Jubilee
The document suggests an even bolder vision for 2012, with celebrations spanning the entire year, As part of this Golden Age, a new major British theme park was to open, intended to celebrate the mythical idea of “Britishness” while providing a major new tourist destination more in line with the scope of American style themeparks. Perhaps mindful of the public’s initial reaction to the Millennium Dome, Albion Park was not to take any half measures, utilising many more instantly recogniseable licensed characters and toning down any pretence of being educational in favour of fun rides. As you would expect, the idea of “Britishness” perhaps leans more towards England than a fully inclusive UK, but all our countries were to be represented.
3 potential locations were identified, with the North of England being favoured in terms of jobs and regeneration. It’s a measure of how seriously the plans were being treated that cross party discussions were taking place with civil servants to ensure the development progressed even in the event of a change of government in the 2010 elections.
But then, in 2009, everything changed. All we have now are snippets of text intended for a mock-up brochure. Apparently a full park map was also produced to convince potential investors. I would really like to see that.
In 2012, austerity bites while we smile blankly at endless celebratory ceremonies, countries argue about whether we are stronger together or’s hard to imagine anything as patently ridiculous as this could ever happen in Britain now...our national theme park, an idea now as mythical as Albion itself....
Albion Theme Park
Explore the greatest myths and legends of Britain, follow Monty Python on a Quest for the Holy Grail, fly over the park on the backs of dragons, run through the forest of the fair folk and then dive beneath Loch Ness in search of monsters. Welcome to Albion.
From Shakespeare to JK Rowling, Britain can boast some of the best writers in the world, and Albion Park celebrates them all. Take a leisurely boat ride past the Isle of Innisfree on Ratty’s River Boats, make your own chocolate at Wonka’s factory, dig for treasure with Long John Silver and take a terrifying journey on The Demeter, where something unpleasant waits below decks. From virtual Quidditch by the Gruffalo’s forest to a splashdown right over the edge of Reichenbach Falls, all your favourite literary heroes are here.
Britain’s musical heritage is second to none, so whether you’re on a Magical Mystery Tour under the lake in our Yellow Submarines, performing live with a 4D Bono on the Zooropa stage or taking your own journey to stardom in our X-Factor studio, you’ll be sure to hit all the high notes.
There’s plenty of fun for all ages, little ones will enjoy a walk through Balamory onto Peppa Pigs balloon ride, while older kids will show no mercy on the Bump n Go Daleks and go snicker snack on the Jabberwocky roller coaster. Mum and Gran will love solving the Murder on the Orient Express and you won’t get dad and grandad off of the James Bond Car Rally, with replicas of every single Bond vehicle.
It’s not just family fun though, the more adventurous can rattle through the best of British Horror on The Devil Rides Out, go zorbing to escape The Village, leap across the rooftops of old London town on the Spring Heeled Jack or plunge into the dark on the Minecarts of Moria. And under no circumstances should you miss your appointment with The Wicker can really feel the heat.
The nations best companies have lined up to support Albion Rockstar Games GTAUK exclusively in our Gamesdome, celebrating the best in UK software development. And go crazy on the stomach churning Irn Bru Ginger Fizz.
Throughout the day you can catch our exclusive LIVE shows, featuring exclusive performances and recorded material from Britains biggest stars. Thrill to the Italian Job stunt show featuring specially recorded commentary by Michael Caine, join Britain’s most adventurous ghost hunters on a Most Haunted Live tour and follow full size holograms of cartoon band the Gorillaz into space. 
There’s too much to do in one day...why not stay on site in one of our theme hotels. Choose from the gothic chic of Hammer Horror Hotel, the 1920s glamour of Miss Marple’s Mystery Hotel, modern design and urban stylings at Hotel FAC 51, old fashioned seaside fun at Fawlty Towers or live like a King or Queen at Camelot.
Albion can dream.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Spoken Word

Here's a wee recording I did of one of my poems for the Stanza Digital Poetry Slam. No wait...

Also, from this week, the Glasgow anthology ClockWorks that I wrote a story for is available on amazon for kindle.

Writing poems, telling stories, taking photos, singing songs...whatever you enjoy...if you're doing something creative in Scotland this folk. Take a picture and upload it to Creative Scotland's blipfoto page as part of the See Us project, celebrating all types and styles of creativity. On ye go.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

From the Vault - Voodoo War

Boof. A classic Ross Ahlfeld cover sketch for the conspiracy zine Refractor.
Like my War of the Worlds story Terminus, or "The Whistleblowers Episode Guide" (my TV guidebook for a show that didn't exist), the 90's zine Refractor focussed heavily on conspiracy theories...largely British ones that I would just totally make up for fun. It was generally sent out free with Holocron and other UK zines. Even pre internet/ 9-11, the conspiracy theory world was a scary place, and I received some very interesting mail while I was producing it - including a letter written on black paper in invisible ink and a cassette of stone tape recordings.

This is a column from The Collector, a sort of antiques expert for unusual items (presented as written)

Voodoo War
Almost everyone knows about the interest the World War 2 Nazi party had in black magic and religious artefacts, but surprisingly little has been made of the UKs attempts to dabble in a supernatural solution to the war.

Towards the end of 1943, a questionnaire was circulated throughout the southern counties of Great Britain. A seemingly random set of both straightforward and highly personal questions (which we would now recognise as psychometric testing) were to be answered by the entire population of these areas. While many people may have been uncomfortable with the intimate nature of the questions, the stamp "Of importance to the War Effort" ensured widespread cooperation.

The questionnaire intended to asses both the latent and highly tuned psychic abilities of the inhabitants of these areas. Southern England was chosen as the test site following a series of countrywide investigations a year previously, which charted the regularity of "strange occurences"in certain locations. The southern counties were believed to be the strongest in "natural energy" and there was a suggestion that the population seemed to amplify and exude these forces. The returned questionnaires further confirmed this hypothesis.

Of all the counties, three towns were specifically selected - sadly records do not show which - and duly their part in the war effort was explained to them. Each person was handed a small doll of Adolf Hitler and told that the doll was not only a symbol of the enemy himself, but a representation of all Germany's  tyranny. They were told to hate the doll, to keep it with them at all times, and focus any anger they might have specifically towards the effigy.

The townsfolk were also told, that on an unspecified future date, a small group of Officers and specially trained psychics would arrive. This day would be the Big Push and the dolls would be physically destroyed. None were to be deliberately physically damaged until that point.

The areas were then effectively sealed off from the rest of the UK, with all supplies and mail arriving only through army routes.

And that it would seem, is where the story ends. There are vague insubstantial rumours that Germany discovered the doll plot, and by utilising their own psychics, succeeded in animating some of the dolls, resulting in fatalities in each of the villages.

It can only be assumed that all the dolls were destroyed on that "unspecified date", which I believe is more likely to have been D-Day than the eve of the surrender. However, from time to time, moving in the circles that I do, you hear rumours of dolls having been located. Naturally these occult military items are worth a great deal of money, and I would be very grateful for any information regarding their whereabouts. But if you can't find me one, don't feel guilty...theres many more things you can help me find...

From Refractor issue 3. I drew this all by myself. No really.
Note - this was marginally funnier in 1996, when people were reading a lot more
"ancient astronaut" books. Marginally.