Death is the beginning of something

Brentor Church Sign

The Ferocious Night: In January of 2011, I was walking on the beach at Marazion in West Cornwall and came across the body of a decapitated seal pup. After I’d got over the initial gruesomeness of the find, I was interested to see how, in death, the body appeared to be transforming into something else entirely. It was a strange time: two friends were diagnosed with cancer. Death seemed to be hovering nearby. I listened to Coil’s Horse Rotorvator album and paid particular attention to the track The Golden Section. How would a person approach Death? And how would Death approach a person? A local procession band – the Montol or Turkey Rhubarb Band – would appear at Penzance’s Winter Solstice celebration, dressed in black rags and masks, playing a dirge of a tune. They were perfect for the story and so were included (although, sadly, their musicianship has improved since I first saw them – it takes the edge off their performance). The story was originally called The Moth And The Flame, but The Ferocious Night seemed more suitable. After all, I don’t believe that Death is a passive Nothingness. And we don’t all die quietly.

The two stories published in Storylandia both begin with a question. These are (probably) the only stories I’ve ever begun in this way, and as far as I’m aware it’s purely coincidental (if such a thing exists) that this has occurred; the JT issue due for publication next year should have four or five new stories/novellas in it and none of them begin in this way. Perhaps I should edit them so that they do!

 

The Ferocious Night is dedicated to the memory of my mother, Molly Marie Haynes (1940 – 2013).

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Hallucinatory Queer British Paganism

On the haunted bridleway at Minions, Cornwall

This year’s Meltdown Festival, curated by Antony Hegarty, is going to be incredible. And very, very queer. Not only does it feature Diamanda Galas and Vaginal Davis (a drag performance artist I did the stage lighting for at San Francisco’s Dirtybird Queercore Festival in 1996) but Cyclobe, doing only their second live performance. Cyclobe are ex-Coil members Stephen Thrower and Ossian Brown. (One of their credits is providing music to The Dark Monarch, the Tate St Ives’ late 2009 exhibition on the occult in art, which was probably the best thing the gallery has ever done.) The Derek Jarman short film Journey To Avebury will be shown (amongst others), with a new soundtrack (the original was done by Coil). (I spent many, many hours in the Scala Cinema a couple of decades ago watching Jarman’s films and was lucky enough to see his house at Dungeness. Jarman was very ill from AIDS at the time and I have no idea if he was there, but it felt like sacred ground.) Plus countless other events. It’ll be hugely inspiring: one of the very few things that could tempt me back to the ‘vortex of bad energy’ that is London.

Meanwhile, back in the real world of fiction: Pieces is finally finished and I’m wondering where to send it to. I really want to start picking magazines that are are a bit more ‘out there’. Obscurity is something I’m happy with; invisibility is not. And, despite one of the golden rules of not having long story titles my new story is now renamed Darkworlds Pt. 2: Everything You Dream Is Real.