Tag Archives: fairy tales

The Cottingley Fairies

The 1st Photo

The 1st Photo

As we wait excitedly for the release of Fairy Tale For Homeless Fairies, due out tomorrow, let’s visit one of the most famous Fairy photograph cases, The Cottingley Fairies, which was enormoualy controversial in its day and championed by none other than Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, author of the Sherlock Holmes stories.

In 1917 two cousins, Elsie Wright and Frances Griffiths, were playing by the stream on a lovely estate in Bradford, England. Their mothers didn’t like them playing by the stream, but they did anyway. When Frances returned that day with wet feet, her mother asked her why on earth she just had to play there. Frances told her mother she went to see the fairies.

Her mother and aunt greeted this statement with disbelief. Frances’s cousin Elsie added that she had seen the fairies too, and suggested to Frances that they borrow Mr. Wright’s camera and take some photographs of them. Within a half hour of taking the camera, they were back begging Elsie’s father to develop the film plates for them. After tea, Mr. Wright (with Elsie at this side) developed the film in his darkroom. The picture did indeed show Frances looking straight at the camera while a group of five fairies danced before her on an earthen bank.

However, Mr. Wright dismissed the fairies as cardboard cutouts and didn’t for a second believe the photograph was real. He knew his daughter was a talented artist who enjoyed drawing fairy figures. Eventually Mr. Wright stopped loaning his camera to his daughter and niece when two months later they took another photo with Elsie posed next to what appeared to be a gnome.

The Cottingley Fairies

The 2nd Photo

The story should have ended there, but two years later in 1919, the girls’ mothers,  Polly Wright and Annie Griffiths attended a Theosophy meeting. We’ve written about Theosophy in great length in other blogs, but in the early 1900s theosophy was the rage, encompassing all things esoteric.

After the meeting the women showed the speake the pictures. This brought the photographs to the attention of Edward Gardner, a well-known leader in the Theosophical movement. He wrote to Polly Wright telling her that the photographs were “the best of its kind I should think anywhere.” Gardner obtained from the Wrights the original negative glass plates and sent them to photographic expert Harold Snelling. It was said of Snelling, “What Snelling doesn’t know about faked photography isn’t worth knowing.”

After examing them Snelling concluded, “This plate is a single exposure. These dancing figures are not made of paper nor any fabric; they are not painted on a photographic background-but what gets me most is that all these figures have moved during the exposure.” What Snelling meant by his last sentence was that the camera’s shutter speed must have been set very low and that the fairies appeared to be blurred as if the exposure had caught them moving in their dance.

Snelling made better prints of the photos and they appeared in the Spiritualist magazine Light. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle not only saw the photos, but had been commissioned by The Strand Magazine to write an article on fairies for their Christmas issue, an article he hadn’t come up with an angle for yet. Thus Sir Doyle sent Edward Gardner to the Wrights to inquire about the photo, get a feel for whether the girls and family were genuine and look into the possibility of more.

It should mentioned that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was a well known Spiritualist and enormously interested in all things arcane and esoteric. Despite his most well known character Sherlock Holmes’ obsession with skepticism and evidence, Doyle had a predisposition towards belief in the supernatural. He did try to verify his beliefs in the way Victorian Theosophists were always trying to be “scientific” about the supernatural, but like Theosophists, was quick to accept a smaller amount of hard evidence then others.

So Gardner went to visit the two girls. He gave them two cameras and asked them to take more pictures if circumstances should arise. Frances stayed with Elise during the summer holiday and naturally, opportunity did present itself and three more pictures were taken.

The 3rd photo

The 3rd photo

The plates were packed in cotton wool and returned to Gardner in London, who sent an “ecstatic” telegram to Conan Doyle who was in Australia. Conan Doyle wrote back:

“My heart was gladdened when out here in far Australia I had your note and the three wonderful pictures which are confirmatory of our published results. When our fairies are admitted other psychic phenomena will find a more ready acceptance … We have had continued messages at seances for some time that a visible sign was coming through”

Doyle’s article appeared in the Dec.1920 issue of The Strand, and the article was an utter sensation. Everybody had an opinion. Many argued the photos were fake, many argued they was genuine. It was an uproar and Doyle ended up publishing another article with photos in 1921 and a book in 1922,  The Coming of the Fairies.

Flash forward 60 years. Frances and Elise are in their 60s and 70s. In 1981 and 1982 Joe Cooper interviewed Frances and Elsie for an article in The Unexplained. Elsie admitted that all five of the photographs had been faked. Frances claimed that the first four had been faked, but the fifth was real. Both ladies contended they had indeed seen real fairies near the beck on other occasions.

The 4th photo

The 4th photo

The hoax had been carried out by using the cutout and hatpin method as many people had suspected. Elsie had some art training and drew the characters based on drawings by Arthur Shepperson in Princess Mary’s Gift Book of which Frances owned a copy. Using a sharp pair of scissors owned by Frances’s mother, they cut them out and secured them to a bank of earth with hat pins. After the photographs were taken, they dropped the evidence into the stream and brought the camera back to Elsie’s father so that he could develop the pictures.

 Elsie said that she and Frances were too embarrassed to admit the truth after fooling Conan Doyle, the author of Sherlock Holmes: “Two village kids and a brilliant man like Conan Doyle – well, we could only keep quiet.” In the same interview Frances said: “I never even thought of it as being a fraud – it was just Elsie and I having a bit of fun and I can’t understand to this day why they were taken in – they wanted to be taken in.”

Frances however, went to her grave maintaining that the 5th photograph was in fact genuine.

The 5th photo

The 5th photo, which, real or not, is definitely the most awesome.

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Posted by on October 14, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Neil Gaiman On The Importance of Fairy Tales

Neil Gaiman

“When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than any talent for abstract, positive thinking.”
― Albert Einstein

My guest speaker today is Neil Gaiman. We will pretend i got him to write a guest blog and not simply cut and pasted an article he wrote for The Guardian because yay fantasy! Just for the record, i always really, really, really wanted to send him one of the Fairy Tale albums for him to listen to in hopes he’d enjoy it, but i never have. Perhaps one day.

This is an article he wrote  just before the film version of Stardust came out (which was surprisingly excellent, i might add. I’m never bothered when films change the books for the sake of the medium as long as they do a good job, and the film really was well done. But go read the book first.) on the importance of Fairy Tales:

Once upon a time, back when animals spoke and rivers sang and every quest was worth going on, back when dragons still roared and maidens were beautiful and an honest young man with a good heart and a great deal of luck could always wind up with a princess and half the kingdom – back then, fairytales were for adults.

Children listened to them and enjoyed them, but children were not the primary audience, no more than they were the intended audience of Beowulf, or The Odyssey. JRR Tolkien said, in a robust and fusty analogy, that fairytales were like the furniture in the nursery – it was not that the furniture had originally been made for children: it had once been for adults and was consigned to the nursery only when the adults grew tired of it and it became unfashionable.

Fairytales became unfashionable for adults before children discovered them, though. Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm, to pick two writers who had a lot to do with the matter, did not set out to collect the stories that bear their name in order to entertain children. They were primarily collectors and philologists, who assembled their tales as part of a life’s work that included massive volumes such as German Legends, German Grammar and Ancient German Law. And they were surprised when the adults who bought their collections of fairytales to read to their children began to complain about the adult nature of the content.

The Grimms responded to market pressure and bowdlerised enthusiastically. Rapunzel no longer let it slip that she had been meeting the prince by asking the witch why her belly had swollen so badly that her clothes would not fit (a logical question, given that she would soon be giving birth to twins). By the third edition, Rapunzel tells the witch that she is lighter to pull up than the prince was, and the twins, when they turn up, turn up out of nowhere.

The stories that people had told each other to pass the long nights had become children’s tales. And there, many people obviously thought, they needed to stay.

But they don’t stay there. I think it’s because most fairytales, honed over the years, work so very well. They feel right. Structurally, they can be simple, but the ornamentation, the act of retelling, is often where the magic occurs. Like any form of narrative that is primarily oral in transmission, it’s all in the way you tell ’em.

It’s the joy of panto. Cinderella needs her ugly sisters and her transformation scene, but how we get to it changes from production to production. There are traditions of fairytales. The Arabian Nights gives us one such; the elegant, courtly tales of Charles Perrault gives us a French version; the Grimm brothers a third. We encounter fairytales as kids, in retellings or panto. We breathe them. We know how they go.

This makes them easy to parody. Monty Python’s “Happy Valley”, in which princes fling themselves to their deaths for love of a princess with wooden teeth, is still my favourite send-up. The Shrek series parodies the Hollywood retellings of fairytales to diminishing returns, soon making one wistful for the real thing.

A few years ago, on Father’s Day, my daughters indulged me and let me show them Jean Cocteau’s La Belle et la Bête. The girls were unimpressed. And then Belle’s father entered the Beast’s castle, and we watched special effects of people putting their hands through walls and films being played backwards, and I heard my daughters gasp at the magic on the screen. It was the thing itself, a story they knew well, retold with assurance and brilliance.

Sometimes the fairytale tradition intersects with the literary tradition. In 1924, the Irish writer and playwright Lord Dunsany wrote The King of Elfland’s Daughter, in which the elders of the English kingdom of Eld decide they wish to be ruled by a magic lord, and in which a princess is stolen from Elfland and brought to England. In 1926, Hope Mirrlees, a member of the Bloomsbury set and a friend of TS Eliot, published Lud-in-the-Mist, a quintessentially English novel of transcendent oddness, set in a town on the borders of Fairyland, where illegal traffic in fairy fruit (like the fruit sold in Christina Rossetti’s poem, “Goblin Market”), and the magic and poetry and wildness that come with the fruit from over the border change the lives of the townsfolk for ever.

Mirrlees’ unique vision was influenced by English folk tales and legends (Mirrlees was the partner of classicist Jane Ellen Harrison), by Christina Rossetti and by a Victorian homicidal lunatic, the painter Richard Dadd, in particular his unfinished masterwork, an obsessively detailed painting called The Fairy Feller’s Master-Stroke – also the subject of a radio play by Angela Carter.

With her astonishing collection of short stories, The Bloody Chamber, Carter was the first writer I encountered who took fairytales seriously, in the sense of not trying to explain them or to make them less or to pin them dead on paper, but to reinvigorate them. Her lycanthropic and menstrual Red Riding Hood variants were gathered together in Neil Jordan’s coming-of-age fantasy film The Company of Wolves. She brought the same intensity to her retelling of other fairytales, from “Bluebeard” (a Carter favourite) to “Puss in Boots”, and then created her own perfect fairytale in the story of Fevvers, the winged acrobat in Nights in the Circus

When I was growing up, I wanted to read something that was unapologetically a fairytale, and just as unapologetically for adults. I remember the delight with which, as a teenager, I stumbled across William Goldman’s The Princess Bride in a north London library. It was a fairytale with a framing story which claimed that Goldman was editing Silas Morganstern’s classic (albeit fictional) book into the form in which it was once read to him by his father, who left out the dull bits – a conceit that justified telling adults a fairytale, and which legitimised the book by making it a retelling, as all fairy stories somehow have to be. I interviewed Goldman in the early 1980s, and he described it his favourite of his books and the least known, a position it kept until the 1987 film of the book made it a perennial favourite.

A fairytale, intended for adult readers. It was a form of fiction I loved and wanted to read more of. I couldn’t find one on the shelves, so I decided to write one.

I started writing Stardust in 1994, but mentally timeslipped about 70 years to do it. The mid-1920s seemed like a time when people enjoyed writing those sorts of things, before there were fantasy shelves in the bookshops, before trilogies and books “in the great tradition of The Lord of the Rings”. This, on the other hand, would be in the tradition of Lud-in-the-Mist and The King of Elfland’s Daughter. All I was certain of was that nobody had written books on computers back in the 1920s, so I bought a large book of unlined pages, the first fountain pen I had owned since my schooldays and a copy of Katharine Briggs’ Dictionary of Fairies. I filled the pen and began.

I wanted a young man who would set out on a quest – in this case a romantic quest, for the heart of Victoria Forester, the loveliest girl in his village. The village was somewhere in England, and was called Wall, after the wall that runs beside it, a dull-looking wall in a normal-looking meadow. And on the other side of the wall was Faerie – Faerie as a place or as a quality, rather than as a posh way of spelling fairy. Our hero would promise to bring back a fallen star, one that had fallen on the far side of the wall.

And the star, I knew, would not, when he found it, be a lump of metallic rock. It would be a young woman with a broken leg, in a poor temper, with no desire to be dragged halfway across the world and presented to anyone’s girlfriend.

On the way, we would encounter wicked witches, who would seek the star’s heart to give back their youth, and seven lords (some living, some ghosts) who seek the star to confirm their inheritance. There would be obstacles of all kinds, and assistance from odd quarters. And the hero would win through, in the manner of heroes, not because he was especially wise or strong or brave, but because he had a good heart, and because it was his story.

I began to write:

There was once a young man who wished to gain his Heart’s Desire.

And while that is, as beginnings go, not entirely new (for every tale about every young man there ever was or will be could start in a similar manner), there was much about this young man and what happened to him that was unusual, although even he never knew the whole of it.

The voice sounded like the voice I needed – a little stilted and old-fashioned, the voice of a fairytale. I wanted to write a story that would feel, to the reader, like something he or she had always known. Something familiar, even if the elements were as original as I could make them.

I was fortunate in having Charles Vess, to my mind the finest fairy artist since Arthur Rackham, as the illustrator of Stardust, and many times I found myself writing scenes – a lion fighting a unicorn, a flying pirate ship – simply because I wanted to see how Charles would paint them. I was never disappointed.

The book came out, first in illustrated and then in unillustrated form. There seemed to be a general consensus that it was the most inconsequential of my novels. Fantasy fans, for example, wanted it to be an epic, which it took enormous pleasure in not being. Shortly after it was published, I wound up defending it to a journalist who had loved my previous novel, Neverwhere, particularly its social allegories. He had turned Stardust upside down and shaken it, looking for social allegories, and found absolutely nothing of any good purpose.

“What’s it for?” he had asked, which is not a question you expect to be asked when you write fiction for a living.

“It’s a fairytale,” I told him. “It’s like an ice cream. It’s to make you feel happy when you finish it.”

I don’t think that I convinced him, not even a little bit. There was a French edition of Stardust some years later that contained translator’s notes demonstrating that the whole of the novel was a gloss on Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, which I wish I had read at the time of the interview. I could have referred it to the journalist, even if I didn’t believe a word.

Still, the people who wanted fairytales found the book, and some of them knew what it was, and liked it for being exactly that. One of those people was film-maker Matthew Vaughn.

I tend to be extremely protective when it comes to adaptations of my work, but I enjoyed the screenplay and I really like the film they made – which takes liberties with the plot all over the place. (I know I didn’t write a pirate captain performing a can-can in drag, for a start …)

A star still falls, a boy still promises to bring it to his true love, there are still wicked witches and ghosts and lords (although the lords have now become princes.) They even gave the story an unabashedly happy ending, which is something people tend to do when they retell fairytales.

In The Penguin Book of English Folk Tales, we learn that mid-20th-century folklorists had collected an oral story and never noticed it was actually a retelling and simplification of a strange and disturbing children’s story written by the Victorian writer Lucy Clifford.

I would, of course, be happy if Stardust met with a similar fate, if it continued to be retold long after its author was forgotten, if people forgot that it had once been a book and began their tales of the boy who set out to find the fallen star with “Once upon a time”, and finished with “Happily ever after”.

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Posted by on October 12, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Fairy Album Release Date: Tues. Oct 15th

Yes, it is finished and done and ready for your consumption It will be out on Tues.

I realize such news doesn’t fill an entire post very well, I mean, here you’ve taken the time and trouble to click over to the blog and all you get is the information mentioned in the title. That seems unfair. Like a blatant disregard for your time and the possibilities a blog post can contain. You ask yourself, if he’s so lame with his posts, so disregarding of my need for cheap entertainment and ignorant of the possibilities a blog post can contain, what must his albums be like?  Damn, this album that he’s talking about must SUCK.

FEAR NOT, Gentle Soul. I would not leave you with such a lame blog post just to tell you that an album of Fairy stories set to song, songs guaranteed to have slightly kinky intercourse with your heart is coming out on Tues.

Instead i give you the literal video version of the 80s song Safety Dance. It will make you inexplicably happy. The Fairy album won’t. As i have said many a time, my entire goal as an artist is to fuck your heart, then break it, then have you thank me for it.

Tragedy tomorrow. Comedy tonight!

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Posted by on October 10, 2013 in Uncategorized



The 5 Best Fairy Books

Ah yes, list time again. Where i can mention a few favorites of mine and y’all can tell me what i’m missing.

I haven’t read a fairy book in some time. The first thing i did when i decided to write an album of original faerie stories was NOT TO READ ANY. I’m serious. I know there’s a slew of new and interesting books with faeries and faerie lore, and i’ll real them AFTER the album, but i don’t want to be influenced. I know my basic faerie lore, and i want to subvert it in my own manner.

However, these 5 works have been enormous influences and of course, are all awesome books which you should read right now. A few are fantasy classics which i’d be shocked if you didn’t already know.

5. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Fairies, Paul Mason


This is exactly what it says it is. You want to know ANYthing about fairies? THIS is the book. You do not NEED other books on the subject this one is so insanely comprehensive and the best part? International. You know they have fairies in Africa? Hell yeah, My friend, there is Fairy lore across cultures all over the planet. It actually makes you start to wonder, how some of the fairy memes are strangely universal. Learn about every type of fairy you can imagine and some you can’t.

4. Some Kind Of Fairy Tale, Graham Joyce


A girl disappears and reappears 20 years later having not aged. She says she was taken by faeries to a strange place.

Okay, simple enough, right? And this as well as the following book are examples of why certain basic ideas can make flat out amazing books and the same basic idea could make a completely lame book: Great writing.

This book is so well thought out, so well written and so driven by depth of character that it utterly haunts you. The central issue is how the event and her return affect all around her. This might sound pedestrian, but that’s where great writing wins the day. It’s truly engrossing. If people interest you even in the slightest, you should read this book.

3. Little, Big, John Crowley


This is an obscure one that I ADORE. No one else seems to have ever heard about it, but I loved this book. It’s subtle and wistful. It tells of ones family’s relationship to the Faeries living close by them. It NAILS the essence of faeries to me. The faeries are something truly other. Magical and strange and wonderful but not quite… not quite comprehensible and with sinister edges. There is an art to getting that essence of Faery across just right, to keeping their sense of mystery and otherness and this book nails it to the wall. I cannot recommend it highly enough. The writing alone is beautiful and you must appreciate a light and subtle touch in order to best enjoy it.

2. Jonathan Strange And Mr. Norrell


All right, you’ve all read this. I mean you have, right? I’m going to assume most of you have read this and if you haven’t GO THE **** OUT RIGHT NOW, BUY IT AND READ IT. This book is so much fun and so utterly enjoyable I don’t know what to say. It’s thrilling and immensely imaginative, with this awesome magical mythology behind it, a wonderfully Englishness to it, and the most awesome Faeries EVER. I LOVE how Ms. Does not bother with new agey fairies at all (I HATE new agey fairies) and goes straight to all that sinister faery lore in her wonderfully English fantasy epic. I’m not kidding, my favorite Faeries of all time. The song Eli Miller and the Black Rock from the upcoming album is inspired by this novel.

1. Stardust, Neil Gaiman


It’s the best modern fairy tale written. It just is. It’s fun and whimsical and strangely touching and impressively imaginative and it just plain gets everything right. Honestly, the book is flawless. It’s the perfect fairy tale. The way he ties the plot points together alone made me want to give him a standing ovation. I feel so strongly about this book that if I keep writing I am going to need to open my online thesauras and just start typing alphabetically synonyms for Awesome. I am aware this would make for very bad reading but it’s the only thing I can think of to get across my complete and shameless fanboy zeal over this book. I have so much love for it, that I cannot even write my gushing love for it in capital letters BECAUSE THAT WOULD CHEAPEN IT.

There are few perfect stories in this world. This is one. ‘Nuff said.

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Posted by on October 8, 2013 in Uncategorized



The Possible Cover?

This is the current front runner for album cover.  Of all the stuff i’ve found this just spoke to me the most.  It’s available for use which is also a big plus.

Fairy Tales for Homeless Faeries by Paul Shapera

Basically, it’s done. I’m just waiting to get some spoken vocals back from someone and i’ll release the album. (The delay is not their fault, it’s entirely mine) It’s mixed and mastered, just missing one spoken vocal part that i’d rather be someone else’s voice instead of mine.

In about an hour i’ll give another listen to the full album, but my notes have gone down to almost zero. It’s right about ready to go and i am pleased as punch with it. I really had no idea that it was going to turn out so good. I will not however, be posting songs prior to release. I don’t know which one or ones to post and i feel a listener needs to listen to more than one to get a sense of the album and you can listen anyway when it goes live on Bandcamp. While all songs are complete stories in themselves, the album is carefully constructed to be best experienced as a full listen.

Ah, blah blah blah, i digress. Here is what is likely going to be the cover unless something really special comes across my lap.


Posted by on October 7, 2013 in Uncategorized



Help Me Find A Cover For Fairy Tales for Homeless Faeries

Hi all.

I am putting the finishing touches on the Fairy album, which i am immensely satisfied with as of this writing.

This is normally the stage in the process where i scour Deviant Art for some piece i like, then contact the artist and ask (beg) them to let me use it. Sometimes i pay them a reasonable fee and sometimes they just let me have it with their blessing.

I am at that stage and i thought i would enlist the help of whoever may know an artist or have an interest in finding a really cool cover to the album. If you want to send samples of your own work i am open, albeit picky.

Let me give a few guidelines:

1. The album is a series of stories about fairies, but what i DON’T want is a picture of some cute fairy in the middle of the cover. It’s a. Real overdone, b. Too obvious,  c. kitsch.

2. I prefer something more subtle and suggestive. Something that evokes a mood or a hint of mystery or sadness.

Like this one that i used Fairy Tales for the Lost and Wandering. I LOVE that one. Evocative but subtle:

fairy tales for the lost and wanderinig

Note: this is NOT the album i’m asking for help with. This is an already released album presented here as an example of something that worked well.

The album is all stories where fairies are involved, but much of it takes place in modern settings, usually in urban areas (either the city of Victoria or New Albion) or towns. So it’s not really in some woodsy setting (one track is). The image does not have to be urban or anything, i’m just pointing out i want to avoid the usual magical woodsy trope. You understand… look up fairies and you’ll the art. It’s a million variations on the same themes. These are what i want to avoid.

I should stress, these songs are mostly moody and dark.

I have worked very hard to create a  bunch of story driven songs that use various bits of faerie lore while either avoiding any obvious cliched tropes or subverting them. I have worked so very hard to make something truly interesting, engaging and sad and mysterious and at times achingly beautiful. That was my goal. How close i came is up to you. At the moment i need art. If you know an artist, have deviant art favorites, have stuff you want to send me, go off my brethren!


Posted by on October 6, 2013 in Uncategorized



Fairy Tales for Homeless Faeries

fairy, fairy art, sheila wolk, faerie

Chameleon by Sheila Wolk

So, the Fairy album.

This fairy album has perplexed the crap out of me. I always expected a fairy album would sound a certain way, and what i’ve got is…. something altogether different.

I had these stories, right? So i started putting them to music. And the music would want to fit with the story. But also, at the same time, i found myself making various musical decisions based around getting to play with new and fun orchestrations, ecletic stuff that didn’t all have to fit in a strict mold (like steampunk or dieselpunk). And i thought, what the hell am i doing? I’m making a fairy album that doesn’t sound a damn thing like a fairy album. What the hell? I can’t put this out. I’ll embarass myself. The people who actually like my work will think i’ve totally lost it and i’ll fail horribly and no one will ever listen to a thing i do ever again.

You know, the usual artistic thought process.

(this is sadly close to an accurate portrayal of me working:)

Anyway.. i was completely despondent. I had other work to concentrate on so i threw it aside and vowed never to release it, or at least to maybe come back to it after the AO when maybe i’d actually be able to make a proper album.

Time passed as i focused on other work. One night i thought what the hell and loaded the tracks for the Fae album thinking what the hell, it had been awhile, i’ll just check in.

I was shocked to discover that i really, really liked it. Once i got over the fact that it was simply not going to sound like what one might think it SHOULD sound like, one had to admit, it was truly interesting and engaging on its own terms. I think. I mean, the stories themselves are kind of awesome, and the music is good, just not… look, it ain’t gonna Loreena McKennitt, which i okay, since she’s already doing herself just fine.

So what i actually have is an ecclectic album of interesting fairy stories. I’ve got 6 songs basically done and need 2 more to complete the album. So let’s say in about a month. I want to farm out a part or two and i’ve got the illustrious Matthew Broyles helping me by playing some guitar and lord knows what i’ gonna do for the artwork… the stories seem to mostly be about urban fairies, but not exclusively… out of the two stories i have left to write, i think i have one written, but i’ not sure how to actually pull off a song about Crystalis, The Communist Factory Fairy… ah, the usual dilemmas that make up my day.

So yeah,  new album in about a month. The point was to pause in between the Dieselpunk and the Atompunk operas and do something different to give me time to gestate the atompunk opera. Which has worked really well. I’ve got things really well thought through before even playing a single note, which is good. Stretching out and trying new ideas and sampling some other methods is hugely important.

Anyway, there you go. A new album in a month. A simple $5 affair, like the previous Fairy Tale album. Sad and emotionally perplexing songs about people/fairy interactions.



Posted by on September 29, 2013 in Uncategorized



The Two Kings and the Two Labyrinths


I adore Borges. ADORE him. (Jorge Luis Borges. Argentine author of extraordinary short stories.) So let’s hear a short Borges story.

The Two Kings and the Two Labyrinths

by  Jorge Luis Borges

It is said by men worthy of belief (though Allah’s knowledge is greater) that in the first days there was a king of the isles of Babylonia who called together his architects and his priests and bade them build him a labyrinth so confused and so subtle that the most prudent men would not venture to enter it, and those who did would lose their way.

Most unseemly was the edifice that resulted, for it is the prerogative of God, not man, to strike confusion and inspire wonder.

In time there came to the court a king of Arabs, and the king of Babylonia (to muck the simplicity of his guest) bade him enter the labyrinth, where the king of Arabs wandered, humiliated and confused, until the coming of the evening, when he implored God’s aid and found the door.

His lips offered no complaint, though he said to the king of Babylonia that in his land he had another labyrinth, and Allah willing, he would see that someday the king of Babylonia made its acquaintance. Then he returned to Arabia with his captains and his wardens and he wreaked such havoc upon kingdoms of Babylonia, and with such great blessing by fortune, that he brought low his castles, crushed his people, and took the king of Babylonia himself captive.

He tied him atop a swift-footed camel and led him into the desert. Three days they rode, and then he said to him, “O king of time and substance and cipher of the century! In Babylonia didst thou attempt to make me lose my way in a labyrinth of brass with many stairways, doors, and walls; now the Powerful One has seen fit to allow me to show thee mine, which has no stairways to climb, nor walls to impede thy passage.”

Then he untied the bonds of the king of Babylonia and abandoned him in the middle of the desert, where he died of hunger and thirst. Glory to him who does not die.

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Posted by on August 14, 2013 in Uncategorized



Fallen Princesses

Here is awesomeness itself.

This photo art is by Dina Goldstein and is titled Fallen Princesses, for reasons which are bloody obvious.

You can check her site here.

Dina Goldstein Fallen Princesses

Dina Goldstein Fallen Princesses

Dina Goldstein Fallen Princesses

Dina Goldstein Fallen Princesses

.Dina Goldstein Fallen Princesses

Dina Goldstein Fallen Princesses


Dina Goldstein Fallen Princesses

Dina Goldstein Fallen Princesses

Dina Goldstein Fallen Princesses

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Posted by on August 1, 2013 in Uncategorized



The Death Of Simon The Albatross (The Albatross, Pt 8 Conclusion)

Simon the Albatross, New Albion, The Steampunk Opera

We now fast forward 18 years. The girls have grown into 35 year old women. Sam the Mouse and Simon the Albatross should have died long ago, but in fact they have barely aged due to the Faerie essence in their blood. Agatha is in her 40s and owns the library. In fact she has built a number of libraries all across New Alibon and is active in founding and funding literacy programs and scholarship foundations who give students educational grants for University.

The Gang is still active. After the Vault heist they became rock stars of the underworld and over the years have worked with and for numerous colorful characters and groups of various dubiousness. They have a solid reputation and almost every client and aquaintance in their history speaks highly of them.

For many, many years the New Albion mafia was run by a red haired dwarf. The Gang and the dwarf got along very well on the rare occasions their paths would cross. However, one day the dwarf was killed and his killer, his son, took over the mob. The son did things differently and brought a new philosophy to running the underworld. At the end of the day this is a story about competing philosophies and the fallout.

The red haired dwarf was legendary for a pair of silver dice he always carried wth him. It was said that for major decisions he would role the dice and base his decision on the outcome. Obviously he had a system whereby a certain number meant a certain type of decision. This legend was a favorite to tell and talk about, and the dwarf was loved for it. However, few actually believed it was true. Everyone assumed the die rolling was a showpiece, a piece of theater that was part of the dwarf’s colorful presentation. He was such an effective mob boss that he couldn’t actually be so insane as to really use die roles to determine his major decisions.

We will go ahead here and now settle this dispute. The dwarf most certainly did use the dice to make decisions. The dwarf believed in a chaos element, a randomness of chance or fate and believed embracing it made him a more effective leader since his style was more in tune with the way reality went about its business.

The Gang did not use dice or any colorful props, but they did agree with this outlook in their own way. In fact, the trouble started when Sam the Mouse argued this very point. Actually, no, that’s not fair to Sam. The trouble started with the red haired dwarf’s son brought the Gang in to swear him fealty.

The son had been in power a for awhile. He was little by little bringing everyone of any importance in the city’s underworld to swear allegiance to him. The Gang was not at the top of the list so it took awhile to get around to them, but one day they were indeed brought in.

The son was a different man from his father. In fact those stupid dice had driven him nuts over the years. The son didn’t believe in idiotic props or clownish displays of decision making. He knew they best way to run and even expand an empire is through tight control. He didn’t leave anything up to chance. He micromanaged, he got down into the tiny details, he believed in diligence and discipline, he believed in holding the reins tight, he believed in a strict regiment, in the pursuit of effectiveness, excellence, in hierarchy and dictatorship.

He lectured the Gang on all this. He went on for quite a bit. He had delivered this lecture before and in fact had worked it into quite an impressive delivery. There were a few lines the late middle he was still honing but he was almost perfectly satisfied with the final memorized lecture. The speech did go on, though.

It was Mags who rolled her eyes even though Sam was going crazy trying to bite his tongue. The son caught the eye roll. He stopped his speech and walked up to Mags and got in her face and asked her if there was something perhaps she felt she had to add.

It was Sam who spoke up. Sam had worked on strategy and mission planning for 22 years now. In his younger days he too had aspired towards the perfectly planned plan, but over time had yielded to the truth that no plan survives contact with the enemy. When he embraced this, embraced that plans must allow for improvisation and spontaneity and must be able to breath and turn on a dime, he became a much better tactician.

He explained this to the son. He pointed out that many of the son’s points were all well and good, the pursuit of excellent and a disciplined approach, but his obsessiveness with control and rigidness were flawed and were inferior to a more open, chaos embracing approach and would also simply create more resentment.

Obviously the son wanted to squash Sam right there and then. There were a number of people present, some of importance and this disagreement of philosophy was sure to be discussed at length for a long time afterwards. The son felt his only recourse was to prove his methods and he demanded a contest.

The son would plan and execute a highly difficult heist, as would the Gang. They must use the same number of people. When asked how many people the Gang wanted they said five. Considering they were known as the Gang of Four, this was interesting and the son made note. But five it was. Both sides were to begin immediately. The contest was not only to be judged on success but on elegance of execution and lack of detection.

The Gang won hands down. Both succeeded but the son’s methods were clearly not as elegant and creative. He got away with the heist but had some trouble as where the Gang not only succeeded but the people they stole from didn’t even know they had been robbed and swore after the fact that they hadn’t.

The judging council ruled in favor of the son of course, not wanting to lose their lives, but everyone, the entire underworld including the son himself knew he had been not only shown up, but shown up with flair and style.

The son was furious. Vengeance was necessary.

However to kill the Gang immediately after the contest would be an admission of defeat. He’d lose face. Again.

But…. but. There was a fifth. The Gang of Four was not truly a gang of four. There had long been rumors of a fifth and the gang themselves had confirmed it when they requested five players. This fifth was the perfect target. Eventually the son discovered Agatha and ordered her death. Her very painful, very gruesome death.

Men were sent to the library where Agatha now lived, having built very luxurious apartments both underneath the great library and in what was once the attic. The men entered at night, heavily armed.

Simon however loved to perch on the top of library and watch the city. He saw the men. He flew into the library. They entered the main room where Agatha was meandering and set upon her. But Simon flew in attacked the men before they could get near her. He clawed and bit at their faces and when they threw knives at Agatha he intercepted them, all three of them, one after the other, using his body as a shield.

The fact that a bird flew in front of one hurtling knife and stopped it by taking the blow then, with the knife sticking out of him flew and intercepted a second knife is downright preposterous. The fact that the same bird, with two knives sticking out of him still remained airborn and intercept yet a third before finally collapsing due to the weight and the injuries is outright impossible. But he did it. He loved Agatha. He loved them all. He would have died for any and all of them a hundrend times over. And laying there with three knives sticking out of his little body, that was indeed teh day he died.

Agatha had been roundly surprised when the men came in, but upon seeing Simon attack and then fall, responded as quick as she could. She was an accomplished witch, but her spells for tight spots were mostly defensive. She cast a quick protective spell, then caused the room to disorient for her attackers, then basked herself in shadows and escaped. As she fled tears streamed down her cheeks over poor Simon, and by the time the Gang found her was weeping uncontrollably.

The Gang buried Simon the next day. They were devastated, but Sam was inconsolable. For a week the little mouse would not rise. He just lay there in his little dollhouse unmoving. After a couple of days Mae would come  by twice a day and force him to eat and drink, force him to live.

At the end of the week Sam got up. He scampered up onto the table top where Mae, Mags and Agatha were sitting. He told them they were going to now systematically destroy the son and see his dead body hang from a bridge with three perfect knife wounds for all to see, and that dangling there, the son would wear a metal plate around his neck. Sam was very adamant about the plate. He then walked away to go eat. The three women looked at each other, then shrugged and nodded.

The war lasted 6 months.

It was not actually so bloody. Sam and the women were well liked and had built up a lot of good credibility and trust, and they cashed in on this. They worked hard to develop a strong series of allies before they ever even took a step towards engaging the son. For all of Sam’s rage, he conducted a campaign based on calm, cold, masterful tactician’s logic. It was not a war of armies, it was a war of subtly and out maneuvering and Sam masterminded by far the best campaign of his life. In fact, a large part of his end game relied on the Gang having spilled as little blood as possible. He was successful in this.

All right. He was mostly successful. Up until the end game was not very bloody, but the end game itself was pretty damn bloody. And when it was all over, he had the son captured, knifed three times in very exact spots then hung from a bridge, but not by the neck. Nor were the knife wounds instantly fatal. No, the son died very slowly while hanging off the bridge. And he was fitted with a plate sticking out from the front of his neck, extending out about 15 centimeters perfectly perpendicular to his face.

On this plate sat Sam. The whole time the son dangled, slowly dying, Sam the Mouse just stood in front of his face and stared him in the eye. Just stood there. For an hour and a half. Didn’t move. Just stared into his eyes.

When the son finally died Sam scurried up the rope and went home to where Mae, Mags and Agatha were eating dinner and trying to think of what to do as New Albion’s premiere band of thieves.


Posted by on January 15, 2013 in Uncategorized


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