The Lee-gend releases metal Don Quixote album on his 92nd birthday.
Metal happy returns Sir Christopher of Lee! \m/ \m/
I always wanted a pumpkin patch.
My earliest Halloween memory is of Trick or Treating with a hollowed out turnip dangling from a string that threatened to snap as the candle flame licked at it and my tender young fingers. Actual pumpkins were in short supply when i was a kid (back in the late 1800s). But they became easier to pick up as the years rolled by, and are now a seasonal staple in farm shops and supermarkets across the land.
My first attempt at growing my own jack o’lanterns took place two decades later in a tiny, urban garden in the heart of Camden Town, London. The soil composition was mostly thick clay and cat poo, so it was a miracle when one green little fruit appeared – and not at all surprising when it died a week later.
Fast forward another decade and here we are at Lee Cottage. It’s our second Halloween out here in the countryside (…the October Country, if you will) and as the Season of Mists fast approached I was more determined than ever to give growing pumpkins another go.
We started them off in my office, on the windowsill that gets the sun. I read M.R. James Ghost Stories to them to get them germinating, and pretty soon we had four viable plants. We planted the best three of them outside and, after a lot of feeding and watering and slug wrangling, got two lovely pumpkins per plant.
The smaller ones we ate in September (one roasted in a risotto, the other souped up) had a very mellow flavour. But October’s batch has ripened much more, with that classic earthy sweetness.
Our biggest, prize pumpkin will be carved up by our two little monsters today. I like to think my sons will, like their Dad, marvel at the fact that they are scooping seeds from a pumpkin that we grew from a seed.
And at this special time of year (when the cycle of life, death, and birth is embedded in our Samhain rituals and customs) i can’t think of a more perfect way to celebrate than with a pumpkin plucked from my very own patch.
I always wanted a pumpkin patch.
Well, at long last i got one. And next year, it’ll be bigger.
Happy Halloween to you and all your pumpkins. Young or old, shop-bought or hand-cultivated, enjoy them!
Big news today – my publisher Samhain Horror signed a deal with Audio Realms who will produce audiobooks of The Lamplighters, The Lucifer Glass, The Jack in the Green, and the forthcoming The Skintakers for release in 2015.
Audio Realms has released horror audios by the likes of Brian Keene, Ramsey Campbell, H.P. Lovecraft, Bram Stoker and many more – so to say I’m thrilled about the deal is a bit of an understatement!
More details as I get them.
(Sadly, Vincent Price is not available for narration duties. I don’t get to choose who performs the reading, but if I could my shortlist would be Doug Bradley, Robert Englund or…Christopher Lee!)
Read on for some pharmaceutical advice!
Take it away Matt…
3 Terrifying Side Effects of Mixing Drugs and Horror
If I’m going to chase this dream as a hungry zombie would chase a prime piece of living flesh, I’m going to do so with an eye removed from skull, looking closely at the embarrassing image of myself. I’m going to be honest. From the now to the then, I don’t plan on dodging questions, pretending to be something I’m not or allowing public opinion to sway my own impression of myself.
Matt Molgaard is, was and always will be Matt Molgaard.
Why in the hell is any of that relevant?
Because the things I write about will reflect aspects of my own life, away from the keyboard and the internet. The Matt Molgaard you don’t necessarily see. Say No to Drugs is stuffed with references to actual events I’ve experienced. Full of inspiration birthed in miserably uncomfortable moments of my own youth. The point is, while I’m not proud of where I’ve been and what I’ve done, at just 33 years old I have been there, and I have done that.
That’s why I hope you take the following notes seriously. I’ve got three excellent reasons to steer you from the idea of blending drugs and horror. They could save your life.
Paranoia Will Drive a Man to Do Strange Things
Here’s what you don’t do, if you hope to uphold a fair reputation with local police: Take pharmaceuticals after consuming three or more beers. There’s a strange sense of paranoia that swarms the mind in this situation. Everyone is your enemy. Your best friend could very well be bending your wife over the coffee table while you’re away at work developing blisters on both hands, and – you’re not positive since you can’t get a great look, but you’re pretty sure – your chode. Your mother may have been the conniving devil that stole the $300 you were certain you had prior to your trip to the local bar on Saturday, but went “mysteriously” missing on Sunday morning. The paranoia will swallow you whole, I swear it!
Drinking, Driving and Role Playing is Terrible
Who hasn’t gotten a little sloshed and thought, I’d love to relive that ‘pedestrian point’ scene in Toxic Avenger! I mean, really? Come on, we’re all a little sick… right? What—ever! The point is, it is a terrible idea to hit your local cinema and catch the new chiller on the big screen right before you head to the nearby bar, right before you’ve got to drive your drunken, fantastical ass home. You just never know what turn may be a bit sharper than you’d anticipated, what late night bike rider may be just a bit too far outside the bike lane.
Drinking, driving and watching awesome horror movies doesn’t work well. Great movies inspire us. Great alcohol provides us with enough courage to defy all established rules and role playing has never led to anything positive… outside of the bedroom.
Smoking Weed Leads to Driving Slow, Which Leads to an Ultra-Violent Ass Whipping in Public
This one can potentially be the most painful to experience, and I’ll be damned if it isn’t real. Smoking weed, if you don’t know, slows response time. Our reactions lag. Our decision making falters. Sure, we get it all together, eventually. But imagine the insanity that can unfold during that eventually time stretch.
Close your eyes.
You’re sitting in a car, stopped at a red light. Time is dragging, and despite the reasonable weather you’ve got a bead of sweat trickling over your right brow. You aren’t doing jack shit physically, but you can hear your heart beat. It’s pounding. It’s pounding inside your head, the sound pressure bullying your ear drums and you’re pretty fucking sure the whole world can hear that son of a bitch doing the jackhammer. And then you realize (keep those eyes closed!) it’s not your heart that you’re hearing beating frantically, it’s a man. He’s standing outside your car window with no shirt on, and he’s pounding your window with zero regard for your property or personal well-being.
And then the driver’s side window shatters. Seconds pass and you’re being hauled out of your Prius. A few more ticks pass on the clock you can’t see and the impact of two fists on your face have your brain running in circles. This lunatic beats you until your orbital bones have shattered. Your jaw hangs at an unnatural angle and your lolling tongue verifies the belief that not only are you utterly conscious, but you’ve got no control over that grill any damn way. Talk about broken? That thing is annihilated.
And why did it all happen? Because you thought it might be fun to spark up a J, but you wanted to obey the law and then some. You wanted to drive 21 miles an hour under the speed limit, and the guy behind you, who just so happened to have an appointment, well, he wasn’t the patient type.
Here’s the deal kids, drugs and horror are bad. No two ways about it. But the rebel in me screams for the youth of today to be bad. To be downright rotten. TP your neighbor’s house. Light that bag of dog shit on fire before you ring the bell. Stick a banana in that asshole’s tailpipe. And most importantly, learn the ins and outs of the rebellious craft by first reading your guide to drugs and horror, appropriately titled, Say No to Drugs.
Just popping out of summer vacation hibernation (or “writing” as i like to call it) for a quick blog post on the touchy subject of internet piracy.
I meant to post this sooner (but i’ve been writing, see above), following an interesting debate on Farcebook sparked by an alert sent out to a bunch of authors whose books were listed on an illegal download site.
For a long time, I’ve held the belief that people downloading my books for free were stealing from me and taking the food from my family’s table. (and look no further than Brian Keene’s impassioned, insightful post on this aspect of internet piracy)
But i was also painfully aware that piracy is inevitable in this day and age and could, in effect, provide a free marketing campaign for an author’s work. (who else but Neil Gaiman can sum this up for us so eloquently?)
Then author/filmmaker/all-round-mighty dude John “yer pal” Skipp showed me the way, and the light. He said (by the way I, ahem, stole the following quote from the aforementioned Farcebook debate thread):
The thing is: the first time I got file-shared, I went fucking ballistic. I got ahold of the perps, took out my psychic reaming tools, and gave them a good what-for. Once I was done screaming, they kinda shrugged and went, “Okay. We took it down. Didn’t mean to piss you off. Take care.” And by the end of the conversation, I felt kind of like the dad who finds his kids partying in the rec room and loses his shit. They didn’t actually break anything. They just got high and watched TV. I never liked that dad, and sure as shit never wanted to be him. And that’s when my perspective began to change. I guess what I’ve come to accept is that a lot of my readers are outlaws. You make outlaw art, you get outlaw fans. GO FIGGER! (John Skipp)
Outlaw books, outlaw readers. Hadn’t thought of it that way before.
And then Carlton Mellick III added (again, quote stolen from Farcebook):
Two things to keep in mind: 1) these people wouldn’t be buying your book if it wasn’t free. It costs you nothing, but you might gain a reader who might spread the word about your work or start buying your work in the future. 2) most file-sharers are also the biggest consumers. I admit that I download stuff all the time, but I also spend at least $1000 a month on books, movies, comics, video games, and mp3s…mostly by creators I discovered through free downloading. (Carlton Mellick III)
An interesting distinction. These people wouldn’t be buying your book anyway.
I took a peek at one pirate site and one of my novels has had over 1,000 illegal downloads. That would buy a lot of groceries for my family if the pirates were to buy those books. But they’re not. They never intended to buy the book, and if no pirate copy was available they still wouldn’t buy it either. They’d just go on to the next available title.
But now they’ve read it, maybe they’ll recommend it to others, leave a glowing/or damning Goodreads review, or (saints preserve us!) maybe even buy my next book.
That’s how it is now, so maybe we should all stop worrying and learn to love the pirates.
What do you think, me hearties? Yarrrr? or Arrrrgh?
Comments below please – i’d love to read ‘em!
I couldn’t not post about this one. My love affair with the films of John Carpenter goes way back to the days of dusty old video stores and those rental VHS tapes in big, squidgy boxes. It reached fever pitch when I was lucky enough to enjoy a run of his movies on the big screen, a personal highlight being Prince of Darkness (i had bruises on my arm from my poor terrified date after that one, let me tell you!). I was a gibbering fanboy mess after seeing his talk/screening on the films of Howard Hawks at the National Film Theatre (he smoked liked a gunslinger throughout). And yes, I am one of the few who enjoyed Ghosts of Mars and rocked up to see The Ward on release day – so sue me, even when his movies are slightly below par they still rock my world.
It’s heartening to know that Carpenter is out there, still doing it (this time in comic book form with a Big Trouble in Little China spin-off). And when I read this interview, I just had to share it. Here’s a choice cut:
“Horror is the most durable genre in cinema,” Carpenter says. “It’s outlasted the Western, it’s outlasted the musical, it’s outlasted all sorts of genres.”
“It will live forever.”
Long live John Carpenter! And long live horror!
Lovely tribute to the late, great Rik Mayall from the talented folk at http://brunelwriter.com
Rik will be laid to rest tomorrow at a private funeral, with a public memorial planned for September.
R.I.P. bogey bum x
Originally posted on Brunel Writer:
” – and punks and skins and rastas will all gather round and hold their hands in sorrow for their fallen leader. And all the grown-ups will say, ‘But why are the kids crying?’ And the kids will say, ‘Haven’t you heard? Rick is dead! The People’s Poet is dead!’ And then one particularly sensitive and articulate teenager will say, ‘Other kids, do you understand nothing? How can Rick be dead when we still have his poems?'”
Comedy lost a hero this week. It is with a heavy heart that we say our goodbyes to Rik Mayall – the People’s Poet, the Young One, an imaginary friend; one of the most lovable comedy geniuses of the last thirty years.
It is rare to see someone’s popularity stand the test of time, and even more rare to see their jokes do the same. It is a testament to him as a person…
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Some kind readers (hello kind readers!) wrote to me in support of the Author’s Note (pictured below) I included in my recent horror novel The Jack in the Green – in which I highlighted the threat posed by the UK rail Project HS2.
In brief – HS2 is a high speed rail line that will cut through acres of ancient woodland, farmland, and communities – including those in Buckinghamshire where I am lucky enough to reside.
The initial proposals for the scheme made journey speed a key selling point: business travellers could shave off a massive 30 minutes or so if they travel via the high speed line. When many voiced their opinion that 30 mins of train time actually = 30 mins of uninterrupted work time, the scheme seemed to change tack, this time citing capacity as the new justification behind the project.
Now comes the bombshell that the rail line would displace thousand of graves – without the assurances in place that sacred remains would be properly relocated. I mean, haven’t these crazy HS2 people even seen POLTERGEIST?
My opinion (because everyone has one, right?) is that HS2 is designed, primarily, to make money for those behind it. Well, duh. It is a rich* man’s train (*for the financially rich, but spiritually bankrupt). I am utterly disappointed to see cross-party support for HS2 in UK politics – and feel especially betrayed that the Labour Party appears to back the project – so much so that for the first time in my life I cast my vote in the European Elections for the Green Party (among other, personal reasons). You see, I have just not seen any justification for the project that convinces me the environmental cost is worthy of the line’s creation. As with all things infrastructure, there is always another way (the clever folks at StopHS2 and HS2 Action Alliance have some excellent suggestions).
Sigh. I am aware that I’m just a local yokel author, banging on about this on his blog. What difference is that gonna make? Not a jot, of course. But there are things we little people can do to stop the goose-stepping forward march of ecological destruction. Maybe those of us who oppose HS2 are like Arthur Dent, trying to stop the Vogon Constructor Fleet in our dressing gowns. Maybe lying down in front of that bulldozer will be all the protest we have left – if, and when, the decision comes to decimate our wildlife and destroy so much that is green and good in the land.
But we have to bloody well try. And try we shall. In that spirit, I’ll sign off this post with one last video – this time from an inspiring young voice that should absolutely be heard – that of 9 year-old Midlands schoolboy Alexander Rukin.
And as ever, thanks for reading.
The Lee-gend releases metal Don Quixote album on his 92nd birthday.
Metal happy returns Sir Christopher of Lee! \m/ \m/