Archive for November 2014

This week’s everyday Gothic Horror story (set to music)

November 19, 2014

With visions of Shabbala playing on my mind I lost my way in the night. This was a street I had never dragged my feet down before. The eeriness was augmented with creepy shrieking sounds resonating from an alleyway. And from the darkness emerged a colony of bats swooping around my head. Bats! And Tippi Hedren thought she had it bad. At my feet I saw an estranged wheel trim that had once lived on a Vauxhall Astra. I picked up the cylinder and using it like Captain America’s shield I managed to send the night creatures back to the abyss.

The cobbled road was echoing with my lonely footsteps as I trudged on my, not very, merry way. Then I heard another sound in the deathly air -a scraping noise. I stopped to listen. From the roof of a building was heard the scraping of dead skin with a pumice stone. Scrape, scrape, scrape. Flakes of dandruff fell from above. I could only guess at what part of the anatomy was being sheared. I used the wheel trim as an umbrella and moved along. I dropped the shield with a clang as I saw in a shop glass window all that I desired.

The sign said Helga and Ruprecht’s music store. I opened the door

 

 

The shop was barely lighted but I could make out a variety of musical instruments. At the front of the shop was a harp. Its neck reminded me of a Burmese Kayan woman I used to date before she ran rings round me. Cobwebs littered the harp that had more than likely lain in state for years. I brushed the spiderwebs off. There was a stool nearby and I sat and began to strum the strings. It made a gut wrenching tone that brought together Hell, Hades, Halloween and Humpty Dumpty in one horrendous harpsidischord hymn.

From the shadows crept a sad-eyed woman. She was a woman with a difference. She had wings instead of arms. Her feathered form was all Zandra Rhodes. I could not take my eyes off her bingo bat-winged limbs. There’d be more of a tune in them than on the disharmonic harp.

“I am Helga. What do you want?” asked the unhappy Helga the harpy.

“Your harp’s out of tune.” I tried to hide my lack of musicianship by passing the buck. It’s true, a bad musician always blames his instrument. Yet with my musical still at the embryonic stage I needed some instrumentation. And It would be good to have a harp in it. “I’m a southpaw. What I need is a left-handed harp. Have you got one?”

“Just turn it upside down.”

“Good thinking, Helga, good thinking.”

Using Helga’s advice I twirled the device. It perched wobbly on the floor. A topsy-turvy harp. But the strings were now fashioned for a lefty. I wiggled my fingers imitating a maestro’s warm-up then I cracked my knuckles for good measure. Ouch, that was sore. Ready for a rumble I let fly at the machine. It was worse than before. The tumultuous nerve-jangling din could waken the dead. And it did. A sinister voice screamed from the depths of the shop.

“Stop that racket! BRRRRR.”

A shiver ran down my spine. Helga saw my unease as flapping her wings she explained. “That’s Ruprecht. I keep him in the dungeon. He’s insane. Insanity runs in our family. I only let him out on special occasions. When he gets angry he BRRRRR’s.”

“Thanks for that Helga. I must be going. I don’t think I’ll bother with the harp.”

Helga’s wings spread in fury as she twisted the meaning of an old adage used in shops. She commanded.

“You played that harp, you bought it.”

And from the cavern below. “BRRRRR. BRRRRR.”

My problems were mounting. Is this a special occasion for Ruprecht? Have I enough money to buy the instrument? Will I ever be able to play the thing? Will they charge me 5p for a bag? And how on earth will I get the harp on the bus? Thank God I didn’t touch the Bechstein grand piano.

 

 

This week’s business news (set to music)

November 16, 2014

It’s been a busy week at Whizz Towers.

Overture: To get a gist of the genre I have feasted my eyes and ears on the best musicals ever made: Grease 2, Xanadu and Sunshine On Leith. Now I can embark on my next project- writing a musical. It seems quite easy enough. A little bit of plot, a sprinkling of dialogue, some choreography here and there and a few catchy songs. I have some unfinished lyrics that have still to be tidied up slightly that should feature in the production. In this scene the male star is trying to woo the lead lady as he sings.

 

Don’t believe that fortune teller

When she says I’m a bad fella

Stop reading those tea leaves

All: (he wears tank tops)

There’s nothing under my sleeves

 

Staple your Heart to mine

Staple your Heart to mine

If you’ve got the time

I’ve got the staple gun

Let’s become one

Staple your Heart to mine.

 

The star running amok with the staple gun during this episode, extras fleeing all over the ship, would be good drama. So far, so good. The only snag is that I can’t play any musical instrument. Not a note. The musical will have to be put, just like Disney, on ice…

To take my mind off this tragic oversight I visited my old friend, Chibber. We enjoyed watching one of his favourite movies: Rampage of the Demonic Troll; Chibber always cries at the end of that one; the Troll dies (sorry about the spoiler, but thankfully you won’t need to watch it now).

The Chibber family have an extensive DVD library that is floor to ceiling stacked with shelf after shelf of discs. Truly, it is a Blockbuster sight. And it is in a kind of an orderly fashion. The vast collection covers a wide range of fields. There’s horror, comedy, action and a collection of music DVDs. One day my musical will be in there.

As he was putting the Demonic Troll disc back in its place I remarked that isn’t it funny how we both hate Googling. If there’s a question we don’t know we would prefer to either rack our brain cells or guess at the answer. There is a third way. We haven’t a Scooby and we chose to live in ignorance rather than use a search engine. Knowledge is power, my uneducated left foot.

Anyway, I remarked again that he has a system in place for cataloguing his DVDs. Wouldn’t it be good to randomise them and mix them up. It would be even better to turn the cases around so that you can’t see the name of the disc. There would be row after row of nameless discs all looking the same. Devoid of personality. Communism has prevailed over capitalism.

I fully expected this left-field idea to be piranhaed at birth. But it wasn’t. Chibber gave it full Marx as he replied. “Genesis! Let’s go back to the dawn of man. We will reverse the DVD cases.”

For an hour we mixed all the shelves up, juggling the DVD’s from one place to another and putting them the wrong way round. Eventually, we had changed all the DVD’s round so that no name was visible. Mission accomplished.

“You’ll need Lady Luck on your side to find something. ” beamed Chibber.

Just then Chibber’s wife arrived home. The only person more formidable than Chibber is Mrs Chibber. Kipling was right, the female of the species is more deadlier than the male.

“I couldn’t half go a watch of Phil Collins Live in Paris. Dig the disc out for me, will you Chibber?”

 

Me and Chibber looked at one another without joy. I said. “Hello. I must be going.”

I’m sure I heard a chainsaw buzzing on my way out. The Chibbers. A real-life reality show.

Time is precious and, while commuting, to avoid the crowds of land living humans I decided to take a short cut home through the sewers. I know the sewers like the back of my hand having mapped them during a spare weekend but this time I was chased out of my natural habitat by an angry, territorial alligator. I had two choices- go to the UN for a security council resolution or bomb the Everglades in retaliation. Where’s my Rocket launcher?

Coda: A musical without music would be novel. Nevertheless, I plan to compose melodies and complicated key changes because hey, Presto! even the greats have been known to write duff music. Though it does take a particular kind of genius to write something deliberately so bad it’s good.

 

One more Bandit for the road

November 10, 2014

Q: what’s a penguin’s favourite musical instrument?

A: a chill-o

News that the makers of penguins biscuits, United Biscuits, were bought over by the Turkish food manufacturer, Yildiz Holding, sent blasts of ice around the internet. The social media site, Nutter, almost went into meltdown as #make-your-own-penguin-jokes trended furiously. Everyone sent in a Nut. That’s my original Nut underneath the title. Forgive me, it’s hard going making up your own jokes.

So the penguins and Jaffa cakes of UB have become a Turkish delight. At least they haven’t went extinct. Like Bandit’s for example. Bandit’s were a particular favourite of mine. A chocolate covered wafer in an easy to open wrapper. Simples, as the saying goes. But now…why oh why do the makers of today insist on sealing the wrappers? There are much ripping, frowning, shredding with teeth and ultimately hammering and chiselling of the wrapper to get to the goodness within. It’s like blowing up a bank. You have to play the part of a bandit breaking into a safe. All this trouble just to open a biscuit wrapper.

Let’s talk media the Bandit adverts captured the Betamax zeitgeist with their second class catchphrases.

“I can’t stand it with Bandit keep your chin off the floor”
“Great big bar Bandit is as big as a door.”
bandits
Another vanquished great was the Banjo, a close cousin of the Bandit. Another touch of sheep cloning, another brick in the wall, another wafer. The Banjo had a chopped peanut layer under the surface of its cratered chocolate soil. Crunching under the bedrock it was like striking oil when you tasted those nuts. We’ve got a gusher, gaffer. Available in a two bar package just like a Twix, the Banjo had the better tunes. Until the day the music died and it was packed away in its case. Banjoed.

Moving onto the exotic we come to the Montego. A touch of the Caribbean about this one. Produced in the same style as a Club biscuit, the Montego was a double wrapper, a double wrapper (good job I‘ve ignored the Trio bar). The outer wrap was paper with the brand branding and the inner layer was a silver foil. Hi-Ho, a biscuit with jewellery. El Dorado! The Montego was a chocolate covered ginger nut paradise. It always comes back to nutters doesn’t it? Alas, Alad, Alot, the Montego has now gone the way of the Dodo.

I’m sure there’s many more gems that I’ve forgotten. Nutty bars and stuff like that. All this wafering has made me hungry. I’m off to put the Roger Kettle on.

There’s something in the Fog

November 5, 2014

fog

 

Visibility was minimal. You could just see past your nose. The deep fog descended like a creeping death. It was a time to be indoors. But the man was outside. And he wore a wolfish grin.

The man loved the fog. He could walk unnoticed through the streets. The anonymity thrilled him. I wish it could be foggy every day, he thought. When the Fogman brings the fog, he hummed along.

The precipitation cooled his face and he wished he were fog catching with the mountain men of Peru. Capturing fog. That would be heaven. He continued on his way through the low lying cloud. An invisible man.

Something human this way comes. A stranger passed the man without seeing him. The man grinned from ear to ear. This was no weather for small talk. We all must go on our merry way. His smile disappeared as the cloak of fog receded. This was no good. He hurried home.

After a good night’s fogging there was nothing better than watching a scary horror film on the box. The man turned on his TV to be confronted by…fog. The screen was a glowing mixture of white mist. The man was angry. He checked behind the television. All the wires were secure, including the aerial. He looked again at the screen. The fog seemed to be smiling at him.

“$%&* SAKE” He screamed.

“Mind your language, Nigel.”

Nigel’s cursing had wakened his mother who stood in the frame way of the door.

“The TV’s not working.” sobbed Nigel.

“Don’t be stupid. You’re just on the wrong source.”

“Source?”

“Yes. There are various inputs available for different devices, Nigel. On the remote control there is a button called source. Press through the options until you come to the correct one you need. The inputs are as follows: DTV, EXT1, EXT2, side AV, HDMi1, HDMi2, YPBPR, VGA/PC.”

“Oh mother, You’re such a controller freak.”