Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Coming soon...

My wife versus Vic Reeves. Which is the same story as Auntie Joan versus Matt Lucas. And the cool thing. She doesn't read this blog so she'll never know.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

My Wife Versus the Chick from Thunderball

How many years ago is it now? It must be at least ten. We went to the National Film Theatre on the South Bank to see a premier screening of the Jeremy Brett Sherlock Holmes TV movie "The Master Blackmailer" - the cast and crew were mingled in the audience - minus Jeremy Brett who was seriously ill, close to death, in fact. As the credits rolled I saw Claudine Auger's name scroll upwards and almost involuntarily in a stage whisper said words to the effect of - "Hey! The girl from Thunderball!" Shortly thereafter, Ms Auger appeared on screen and my wife, in a voice several decibels louder than a stage whisper said, "My God! Hasn't she aged!"

Unfortunately, it seemed Ms Auger was sat in front of us. She did stay for the whole movie but kinda slunk out at the end without joining the rest of the cast on stage for a question and answer session.

But you know what? We all age. And I'm sure it is better to age gracefully that to go the cosmetic route. Claudine Auger, I salute you.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

The Last of Old Harrah

You have been patient my here goes.

Yes. This story involves me mercilessly killing a spider; so best that you mentally prepare yourself now. Not that I'm necessarily an arachnophobe...but I certainly wouldn't ever touch one. The household is full of family members who are arachnophobes though and it's muggins here who is called upon to terminate with extreme prejudice. Why not just put 'em outside, I hear you ask. Well, I'm pretty sure that the British house spider isn't designed for outdoor life and wouldn't last long anyway. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it. Oh yeah...and the other thing you need to know is that the Fortean Times message board has a thread about spiders psychically communing with away we go.

Last summer we stayed at a friends beautiful thatched cottage in Wiltshire...several days into the holiday my wife called my down to the hallway and said words to the effect of 'That has to die' as she pointed to the largest house spider I have ever seen as it ambled slowly in the direction of the under stairs pantry. Ambling is uncharacteristic of the species but this thing was frickin' huge - looked like it was four and a half inches across (maybe more). It is looked like it was changing course for the lounge where the kids were watching The Brave and the Bold. I took off my blue suede slipper (indicative of both middle age and an admiration of Elvis Presley) and whacked it. Just as I brought the slipper down the following thought (swear to God) popped into my head - "I've got a name, you know!" And then it was dead. I cleared up the mess and wondered why I suddenly thought of/or rather 'heard' the spider claim to have a name. Just pangs of guilt perhaps.

Our good friend Paul - the owner - dropped by later in the week. "What was the name of that giant spider that used to live in your pantry," I asked.

"Used to?," said Paul. "That was Old Harrah."

The spider had been right, he did have a name.

Monday, 26 October 2009

It begins again...

Yes. I'm feeling slightly better so it's back to blogging this week. Tomorrow I will be revealing the unearthly and telepathic true story of low strangeness that can only be called, "The Last of Old Harrah."

See you then.

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Torticollis Endurance Blogging

OW! I've hurt my neck and can't type for longer than thirty seconds. That's not good for blogging. Ow! Again. Sweet Jesus it hurts...

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Sunglasses to hide behind

Yes. My darkened sunglasses were to blame - but I didn't realise this until a few days later when I was walking along the Trent embankment and saw a purple duck. Yup, somethin's gotta be wrong with that, I thought!

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Purple Bullfinch

I'm not much of a gardener - but if I don't garden just a little the whole place turns into a jungle. I'm even less of a birdspotter. But a coupla years back I did see a massive purple bullfinch in my garden - not just a little mauve on the wing - but all over dairy milk chocolate foil purple. Big, beautiful, large as life and totally impossible. For there's no such animal. Of course, nobody believed me and I got a little flavour of what it must be like to see the sasquatch and have no one believe you. A few days later I solved the ornithological mystery of what I'd seen and how I'd come to see it...have a think about it...let me know and I'll reveal all tomorrow if I get chance.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

The Penny that Gravity Forgot - a tale of low strangeness

I guess if I have one complaint, it's that my life isn't strange enough. Don't get me wrong. It's not completely mundane. But you probably couldn't turn it into a TV show. Over on their forum at the Fortean Times website there seems to be plenty of people who've seen ghosts, monsters and so forth...and so I wonder do we all (hmmm or maybe just some of us) have some overwhelming psychological urge to connect ourselves to the extraordinary - to what Fortean Times would call "High Strangeness"?

Since I can't, in all honesty, quite manage set me wondering...if something weird but pretty small scale happened to me (what I shall call "Low Strangeness") would I even notice? Then I remembered what my subconscious was probably trying to tell me all along...this is the tale that I call "The Penny that Gravity Forgot."

Back in the early 1990's I was living in a small flat in Bethnal Green in the East End of London - the lounge was about the same size as the bathroom in the dilapidated mansion in which I now reside. I was working as a Law Clerk but since I'm really a writer I was sat in my lounge writing in a notebook in pencil. I made a mistake in my writing and reached for a plastic eraser (we sometimes call them 'rubbers' in England - but US readers please don't get the wrong idea). Leaning againsty the eraser at an angle of 45 degrees on the bookshelf was a penny. I removed the eraser from the shelf - rubbed out the offending error - and went to return the eraser. The penny had remained balanced at a 45 degree angle with nothing holding it up. I made a mental note to clean the shelf; there was obviously some sticky residue holding the penny in place. I carried on working for a moment but the precariously balanced penny distracted me. Finally, I pushed it down so that it was horizontal with rather more force than was probably required. I picked the penny up and also examined the shelf. Dramatic musical chord - DUN-DUN-DAAAH! There was no sticky residue nor indeed any other reason why the coin had stayed at that angle. I leaned it against the eraser several times and tried to duplicate the feat - even when doing it extremely carefully it was impossible to reproduce the effect. I had the penny that gravity forgot. I probably should've had it framed or mounted or something but I didn't. So the penny is just out there somewhere in circulation.

Tomorrow: The Mysterious Case of the Purple Bullfinch

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

D C Thomson Blood Debt

I suppose owe a blood debt to D C Thomson for buying my first comic story
back in 1988. I grew up reading "Bullet" comic - always my favourite. In particular, the Tales of Solomon Knight; mysterious gentleman raconteur. Here's "Black Dougal's Blood Debt" by (I think) Carlos Freixas (unless you know better - D C Thomson stories are uncredited). Naturally, the story is copyright D C Thomson. Hopefully they will put out some reprint vols and then I'll be able to tell you to buy them.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Who Nose?

Here's one of my favourite Atlas Comics - "The Two-Faced Man" by Joe Maneely. Maneely died tragically young, but had he lived I'm sure he'd have gone on to be one of Marvel's biggest artists. A Marvel Masterwork of his work will be issued shortly (featuring his work on the Black Knight). I urge you all to buy it.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Nessie Photo Query

CP Dean has a letter in this month's Fortean Times querying the captions on the Daily Mirror cover which accompanied my article in FT 250. He's quite right that they appear to be incorrect. I'll look into this further but the second from left is the famous 'surgeon' photo taken in 1934. The two right hand side photos are notorious Frank Searle fakes - so beneath the contempt of Steuart Campbell in his definitive and scholarly work "The Loch Ness Monster The Evidence" that he doesn't bother to reproduce them, But he does say: "No doubt frustrated by N's (Nessie's) non-appearance he resorted to photographing models and logs....later he began to photograph pieces of a brontosaurus stuck on a water background." I suspect these right hand side pictures are earlier than the attributed dates (1975 anf 1976) and will look into this further.

I have no idea about the extreme left hand pic - dated 1964. Suggestions anyone?

Monday, 20 July 2009

Homicidal Vs. The Blood Beast Terror

So, one night in...maybe 1975 or 76...I begged my Mum to let me stay up and watch a horror film. The film showing on (I think) Yorkshire TV's "Appointment with Fear" segment was William Castle's Homicidal - a rip off of Psycho. We started watching it and then at about 11:00 PM my Dad came home...

"What are you doing?" he asked.
"Watching a horror film," we replied.
"This isn't a horror movie - it's some rubbishy thriller - a rip off of Psycho." He checks the newspaper listings. "There's a horror film on the Midlands TV (our other ITV channel) - It's the Blood Beast Terror."

He insisted that we switch was from about the point you see in the You Tube clip...but within fifteen minutes he was asleep. Mum got up and changed the channel back to Yorkshire so we could watch the end of Homicidal (see other clip).

To this day, I'm not sure I've ever seen either film all the way through...this was my second successful attempt to 'beg to see a horror movie' the other being a [few] weeks earlier...not really sure of the timescales after all this time when I managed to see the vastly superior and infinitely more frightening "Brides of Dracula."

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Only a Man who's Pure in Heart...

Wow! I'm working on a new project involving a story about a werewolf. Can't tell you much at the moment - but it's big potatoes. Right, I'm off to buy some silver bullets. And tomorrow, I'll tell you about the evening I watched The Bloodbeast Terror and Homicidal simultaneously.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

The Monkeys in the Wallpaper

This is the Five Arrows Hotel in Buckinghamshire. While staying here for a family wedding when I was very small - probably about three - I came down with a fever and became delirious. At one point that long night...I was convinced that monkeys were coming out of the wallpaper in the bedroom to attack/bite me or whatever.
I'm sure that the hotel has got rid of the monkeys by now - it's probably perfectly safe to stay there. Probably.

Saturday, 11 July 2009

The Blue Kite

When I was about three years old, my Dad woke me up in the middle of the night and carried me out of the house to the car. I looked back at the house and caught in the guttering was a midnight blue kite with a white (very frightening) face painted on it. The kite was rattling in the guttering making a terrible noise. My Mum was in the car too and so we drove far away - as you should if ever a kite is caught in your guttering - EVACUATE - get as far away as you possibly can. We started a new life far from the terrifying kite and though I missed our old house and my toys it was obvious why we had left - and certainly best not spoken about. Then, a couple of weeks later my Dad announced that we would be going back to our old house. How could he have forgotten so soon about the evil kite? I reminded him - he had no idea what I was talking about. Apparently, I had just had a dream; and we had not started a new life - this was just a holiday.
We returned to the house and lived a comparatively normal life. And today, of course I don't have a phobia about kites, but if I happened to see one leering down at me while it flapped against the barge boards - well I wouldn't really be exactly surprised.
NEXT: The Monkeys in the Wallpaper

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

The Girl Behind the Glass

This is one of my favourite old Atlas Comics stories - art by Jay Scott Pike. I hope you enjoy it.

Monday, 29 June 2009

Thylacines 2

Sorry. Can't stop for long. Have to clear a lot of thylacine doo-doo off my lawn and then I need to feed the dodo's.

Friday, 26 June 2009


If you people get any of these coming into your garden you better let me know as soon as possible. They are best dealt with by us professional monster hunters.

Monday, 22 June 2009

The Goons Vs. The Loch Ness Monster

We're inching even closer to the end of Loch Ness Monster theme month here at Cryptid Kid...and I've discovered I feel dizzy if this site doesn't have a Loch Ness oriented posting. The Goon Show was a BBC radio comedy show from the 1950's featuring Harry Secombe, Peter Sellers and Spike Milligan. Here is a comic strip of its incarnation as The Telegoons - a BBC animated show circa 1966 (which even I am not old enough to remember). Naturally the Telegoons travel to Loch Ness where they [SPOILER ALERT]. Just kidding. I think you get the general idea around here now...
Peace my people...

Saturday, 20 June 2009

A gentle rain falls softly on my weary eyes...

Here's a link to some You Tube footage from the War of the Worlds stage show. This is an older version of the show and for people interested in such things the Richard Burton hologram is now considerably better...


Thursday, 18 June 2009

The Chances of Anything Coming from Mars

Last night I went to see the War of the Worlds show at the Trent FM Arena here in Nottingham. Wow! If this ever on anywhere near you go and see it. A true multi media experience - CGI, full size model work, cinema, holograms, pyrotechnics and live performance. The band and orchestra were superb - with Jeff Wayne conducting - driving the whole thing forward by effort of will and personal charisma. A brilliant ensemble cast, yet surely special mention must be made of Justin Hayward. His rendition of 'Forever Autumn' was a tour de force. The only possible criticism might be that they need to build in more time between numbers for audience applause. It also seems incredible that a show as technically complex as this is being moved around the country performing one night stands. I suspect they could've filled the arena for a couple more nights.

Not Yeti

People are always saying to me, "Surely, there's more to Cryptozoology than the Loch Ness Monster?" And I say, "Huh? Really? Are you sure? Let me google that and get back to you." As the end of the month approaches let me ween you off the heroin that is Nessie with the methadone that is the Abominable Snowman courtesy of the artistic genius of Don Newton - also a great artist on The Phantom. This page is from the Many Ghosts of Doctor Graves by Charlton Comics in 1974. This page was, I think, also reprinted in Peter Hainings Ancient Mysteries book - don't have that to hand but I guess it was mid/late 70's. Peace my people.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Nessie Regina

Well, we are getting near to the end of this series of posts which are intended to share material linked to my article in this month's Fortean Times (the Crypto Kid Investigates). Here is the novelty certificate mentioned which 'proves' ahem that I saw Nessie. As the article tries to point out - I guess no one really 'sees' the creature:- they either mis-observe the chimera of various other phenomena (did I coin that phrase? Don't even know any more) or they deliberately fake.

Today I am feeling I feel that if a plesiosaur rose out of Loch Ness and bit me in the ass (to paraphrase Matt Hooper) - I'd probably just say, "Hmmm, nice animatronics! Where's the film crew...?"

The question remains...what did George Spicer and his wife see cross the road and dive into the loch? It is the genesis of the modern myth that requires the most explaining still. They had little to gain and risked widespread exposure to ridicule. Which is a nasty thing. I think if I ever did see anything beyond the normal mode of human experience (whatever it was) I'd keep it to myself. And so probably should you.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

A Lifelong Affair with Ingrid Pitt

Thirty two years ago in self-catering accommodation Inverness...I began a love-affair with Ingrid Pitt. I was just 11...she was chronologically 40, but immortalised in the movie Vampire Lovers - showing on late night TV. Yup, just the right age to watch Popeye in the late afternoon and Hammer Horror at bedtime. My bed was conveniently located in the lounge...she by turns was beautiful and yet also scared the bejesus out of me. She pops up in some great films: The Wicker Man, Where Eagles Dare and even Who Dares Wins (and that's just the movies beginning with 'W').

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Tales Out of School

I am reminded that my parents took me out of school in June 1977 to look for the Loch Ness Monster. I think the Local Education Authority might frown on that now - but I'm assured that all necessary forms were filled in. Note my Chinese sounding school name - a 'wong' is a field in old english. I also think I arrived back about the same time as the postcard.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

The Face in the Water?

I've mentioned that I'm posting things that wouldn't fit into the pages of the 'Crypto Kid' investigates article in Fortean Times this week. Here's a page from the Daily Mirror circa 1975 which shows the Rines photos of...well...of what...these pictures seemed quite freaky in 1975...but they don't really match the expectations of us plesiosaur fanboys. Roll forward to 1977 and my Dad drew what was supposed to be a scuba diver complete with breath mask/regulator in felt tip over the image of the 'monster's' head to demonstrate to me that it could be anything. If you ignore the diver-cum-parachutist Dad drew and turn your head 90 degrees you should see the rocky bottom of the loch instead of the sea-slug/monster. Did nobody realise this at the time? Well as the guy on CBBC's Prank Patrol is always saying...High Five? Scuba dive!

Monday, 8 June 2009

That's me in the corner...that's me in the spotlight

See down on the bottom right? That's me they're talking about y'know. I don't know who's more fed of me plugging this particular issue me or you. Good magazine though...worth the price for the article on imaginary friends.

There's the link. See how they call me the Crypto Kid? It's confusing having two very similar nicknames. Oh well.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

They Won't Let You Live Past 30

This week I'm thinking a lot about June 1977 because of my "Crypto Kid" - still not figured out why my name had to change in print - article in Fortean Times (#250). If you're on the same continent as a W H Smith or other major magazine retail outlet I crassly exhort you to spend your hard-earned cash on it (while you still can). In the article I make reference to the fact that my eleven year old alter-ego found Scotland a much better country than England because of the easy availability of Marvel Comics and so scanned in here is one of the comics that made him feel that way. Superheroes were slightly (and very unusally for me) out of vogue at the time. I was strongly attracted to Logan's Run because it was a comic of an 'adult' science fiction movie. This film had a 'AA' admission certificate (fourteen years and above) so realistically there was no way that I was going to get to see it in the foreseeable future. Issue 6 is an epilogue to the events in the film but it does recap the events around pages 6&7 making them look very exciting indeed. What you can see here is a Jim Steranko cover - really stood out from the morass of other comcis on the Inverness newsagent wall rack where I saw it. I really enjoyed this issue - John Warner's script is great - not sure what else he wrote, I'll have to check. And Terry Austin's inking could probably make even my pencilling look good (and an artist I ain't). The euthanasia at 30 concept in Logan's Run never struck me as a problem at the time. Even when I was 18 I remember thinking people who were 24 were positively ancient. How did they get to be so old?
The picture is me at Lower Foyers - monster hunter Frank Searle's base of operations. Taken a few minutes after he gave my question about sightings of the monster on land short shrift. So yeah, probably went home and read the Logan's Run comic to console myself. In the back is a Thanos solo story - which was cool - and allows dealers even now to ramp up the price of the issue.
See you in the the funny papers, my people.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Stranger than People

Here's a couple of things that didn't quite make it into the latest issue of Fortean Times - one grainy polaroid of me and my mother, Shirley, on top of the tower at Castle Urquhart overlooking Loch Ness. She was freaked out by the height but is trying not to show it here. This is June 1977, so I am just barely eleven years old.

The other is the cover of the Stranger than People annual circa 1968 - I first saw this book in infants school - maybe even in a rainy playtime box, can't recall now. But this picture is the first image of the Loch Ness Monster that I ever saw.

Since it's now almost exactly 32 years since the events described in the article I'll be telling you more tomorrow about what happened that week...see you then people.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Asylum in our Backyard

People often ask me...does your dilapidated mansion really overlook a former insane asylum? Yes it does. Although in the summer the trees block the view so you can only just make out the very top of the chapel bell tower. It is like living next to Arkham Asylum from Batman or maybe Dr Seward's asylum in Dracula. Some people who live even nearer to it than I do have become excited and contacted the BBC. See link below - this is my first ever link so I hope it works.

Compare and contrast to Enrique Alcatena's Arkham Asylum (pictured). Did I ever tell you how Gotham in Nottinghamshire is the inspiration for Gotham City in Batman? No? I'll explain it some time. All I need to do now is discover that Mapperley is the inspiration Arkham - but H P Lovecraft never came to Nottinghamshire - as far as I know.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Barnabé at Loch Ness

Etienne Gilfillan, the multi-talented designer on Fortean Times, recently sent me this Barnabe comic strip that he wrote for the French magazine Spirou. I'm sure he wouldn't mind me sharing it with you, just don't ask me to translate it. The only thing worse than my French is my Spanish!

Slayer in the Mist

Over on his blog Enrique Alcatena has been posting some superb images from his STARBLAZER days. Time for me to follow suit but with something slightly's the cover to Slayer in the Mist painted by Ian Kennedy but based closely on Enrique's interior art work. The script written so along ago that I don't even want to think about it...bashed out on my girl friend (now wife!)'s portable typewriter when owning a word processor was a far off pipe-dream.

Monday, 1 June 2009

All the Fun of the Fair...

I've been obsessed with the British Hardover annuals, probably, all my life. They stand like mileposts in my childhood. Here's a couple with interesting covers. The TV Comic Annual 1968 shows 2nd Doctor Who, Patrick Troughton, taking a roller coaster ride with Beetle Bailey and Popeye - now there's something you don't see too often! Unfortunately, it looks like the Daleks at bottom left are going to spoil everyone's day - or at least Adam Adamant's (caped guy jumping onto the ride superstructure...if you recognize any of the more obscure characters then let me know.

Next! The TV Tornado Annual (not marked with the year but copyright 1967). From my point of view great to see the Phantom and the Green Hornet in the same place at the same time. Not sure why Magnus Robot Fighter is taking center stage - weren't too may kids pretending to be him in the schoolyard...nor why fleet of foot Kato is getting left so far behind. Maybe he was tied up parking Black Beauty. Take it easy my people.

Friday, 29 May 2009

And so it begins...

Welcome to my first ever blog post...I have finally joined the late 20th Century several years too late.

If you are interested in Cryptozoology and the Loch Ness Monster please check out the latest issue of Fortean Times (that's #250), where for some reason I have become known as the "Crypto Kid" - confusing eh? - the NSA may sue at any moment! Here you will find a full-length illustrated article about when I went looking for the Loch Ness Monster in 1977 at age 11!