Scandroid: The (horribly inaccurate) Synthwave Stage Musical!

by Purple Wyrm on November 14, 2017

Those who keep up with my increasingly intermittent blog and interminable Tweets should be at least be peripherally aware of the existence of Scandroid the reto-synthwave, sci-fi music project by Klayton – and my ongoing mild obsession with the same.

Those who have followed along for a while may also be aware of the fact that sometimes my brain will latch onto an idea and uncontrollably run with it, despite the fact that said idea may be a terrible one that I want nothing to do with. These dreadful ideas hijack my brain like some kind of demon and will only depart once I write them down and foist them on the unsuspecting world (a process I sometimes refer to as ‘busfuckery’).

The more astute may have already seen the connection here (as if the title of this post isn’t enough of a give away), late last week my brain decided to go on a wild excursion into insanity and rework Kleyton’s music into something I am completely unqualified to have anything to do with – a stage musical!

Now, before you decide I’ve gone completely bonkers it should be pointed out that there is actually a story behind the Scandroid project. You can pick up large chunks of it by just listening to the songs, and there’s more info to be found out there on the net. I hadn’t gone terribly deeply into this additional info, although I had stumbled over a couple of brief summaries. It was these summaries that combined with the music to ferment in the depths of my brain and boil over late on Friday night when I was trying to get to sleep.

As I lay there in bed my brain started spewing out a scene by scene rundown of a stage production telling the story of Scandroid. How to link the songs into a coherent story of Red and Aphelion and the rise of electronic consciousness. I just wanted to sleep, but whatever diseased part of my brain it is that does this stuff wouldn’t let me rest until I’d got up, grabbed a pen and paper and scribbled it all down lest I forget even the slightest detail overnight.

So, I woke on Saturday morning and decided to do some more poking around to see what else I could uncover on the Scandroid story. Oh boy… It turns out that there’s a lot of info out there. The story behind Scandroid is pretty well defined and ties into a bunch of Kleyton’s other projects. And large, hugely important chunks of it are completely incompatible with the story my brain had assembled, turning the entire creation into nothing more than a ridiculous, continuity-violating piece of fanfiction.

Faced with this revelation I made the sensible decision to abandon the whole thing and conceal my strange hubris from the world.

However, the part of my brain that tortures me with this kind of thing would not let the project die. It has incessantly badgered me over the last few days to write the whole thing up and present it to the world. I don’t know why it insists on this (there’s probably something horribly wrong with my ego), but the only way I’m going to find any peace is to grit my teeth and just do it, no matter how pretentious and misguided the whole thing is.

So here – for what it’s worth – is the sketch for Scandroid: The (horribly inaccurate) Synthwave Stage Musical.

(I am so very sorry – to Klayton in particular and everyone else in general…)

SCANDROID: THE (horribly inaccurate) SYNTHWAVE STAGE MUSICAL

== DRAMATIS PERSONAE ==

The Narrator – A Sentient Android
Red – A Scavenger and Musician
Raven – A Scavenger and Musician
ATOM 7K – A Robot
E.E.V – A Robot
Aphelion – A Hacker
The Clone – An evildoer
Various Hackers, Agents, Robots, Clones and Street Scum

== ACT 1 ==

The NARRATOR introduces the world of 2517 [2517]. The floating, golden city of Neo-Tokyo hovers over the crowded slums of Old Tokyo, inhabited by human and robot alike.

RED laments his life in the slums [Neo-Tokyo]. He is interrupted by RAVEN who tells him their set is about to begin.

RED and RAVEN perform at a nightclub along with two obsolete robots (ATOM and E.E.V) slaved to their instruments. RED sings about his search for a way out [Salvation Code]. Their set ends. ATOM and E.E.V shut down, and RAVEN teases RED about the imaginary girl from the song.

RED and RAVEN pack away their equipment and head out scavenging. They sneak into EDEN, a derelict section of the city locked down by patrols from Neo-Tokyo [Empty Streets]. In the ruins they stumble over an advanced combat robot that has fallen from Neo-Tokyo – the Scandroid.

RED and RAVEN carry the Scandroid out of EDEN and decide to break it up for parts which RAVEN can sell through his underworld contacts. They agree to keep the head to incorporate into their act. RED sees the money they’ll make as his ticket out of the slums [Neo-Tokyo – Reprise].

In Neo-Tokyo THE CLONE addresses his Agents [a song of some kind will be required here]. The Scandroid has escaped and must be recaptured at any cost. He dispatches his clones to scour Old Tokyo and assigns teams of hackers to search the Data Stream for signs of the robot. Among them is APHELION.

In Old Tokyo RED has finished connecting the Scandroid head to the instruments in his workshop. He starts composing a new song [Singularity]. He is interrupted by APHELION speaking through the head. She has successfully located it, but is enchanted by RED’s music. The two converse with APHELION warning RED of the danger he is in by harbouring the head. Their conversation is interrupted by a call from RAVEN, saying he’s in trouble and needs RED’s help. RED rushes out.

In the darkened workshop the Scandroid head comes to life. It plays RED’s song, building on it and completing it [Singularity – Reprise]. ATOM activates and is awakened to consciousness. He sings to E.E.V, awakening her [Awakening With You]. The two robots disconnect from the instruments and head into the streets of Old Tokyo, awakening other robots [Singularity – Second Reprise].

RED locates RAVEN who has been found by the CLONES. RED and RAVEN fight them, but RAVEN is captured and shouts for RED to flee [Destination Unknown]. RED returns to the workshop, hurriedly grabs some items and goes to flee. At the last second he grabs the Scandroid head.

== ACT 2 – THREE WEEKS LATER ==

The NARRATOR explains the consequences of ATOM and E.E.V’s awakening [Pro-bots & Robophobes]. Robots have achieved consciousness all over the city, and the humans have divided into two violently warring camps. In the ensuing chaos ATOM and E.E.V have led the sentient robots to EDEN and declared it a robotic sanctuary forbidden to humans…

…and that’s as far as I got. I’d scribbled down a vague outline for the rest of the show with plans to expand it further, but on realising just how abominably off-target this version of the story was I abandoned it.

In brief RED would remain on the run [Empty Streets – Reprise], talking to APHELION through the head while she runs interference preventing THE CLONE from finding him. Naturally they fall in love, although RED despairs that they’ll ever meet [Aphelion]. RAVEN re-appears, having been brainwashed to work for THE CLONE. RED urges APHELION to leave Neo-Tokyo and join him [Connection]. APHELION discovers that the Scandroid was programed with a prototype self-aware AI, which combined with RED’s music (and a whole bunch of handwaving yada yada yada) led to the awakening of the robots. She escapes Neo-Tokyo and meets up with RED [Rendezvous] and/or [Datastream]. The robots continue to construct their Eden [Future Bloodline]. Eventually APHELION and RED discover that they can upload their consciousnesses into the virtual world being constructed by the robots in Eden [The Veil]. They are almost stopped by THE CLONE, but RAVEN sacrifices himself to buy them just enough time. THE CLONE is left with their dead bodies, and RED and APHELION live happily ever after in the electronic paradise of Eden. Oh, and THE NARRATOR is revealed to be RED, reincarnated into an android body and telling the story centuries later. The end, tada.

So there it is, the abomination in full. I apologise once again for foisting it on the world. If you’d like to learn about the real story of Scandroid the Scandroid Origins short story is a great place to start. Or simply listen to the music and try to forget my shoddy corruption of Klayton’s datastream.

A Machine for Living In

by Purple Wyrm on September 17, 2017

So, I was thinking the other day about what kind of house I’d like t0 live in.

I live in an apartment. And I get by OK in an apartment, but I must admit it would be nice to have a bit more space in which to store all my crap, and in which to entertain guests from time to time. I mean I could get rid of all my crap, but my possessions are the only things keeping me safe from the howling existential bleakness of reality, so they’re not going anywhere.

(Hoarder? I hardly knew ‘er!).

So a house would be nice. But what features would a distinctly bizarre peculiar unique person such as myself require in a house? I had a good think and came up with a list. And then I started playing around with how to fit the various features of the list together. And then I thought about how to fit the resulting vague, house shaped blob onto a block of land. And then I thought about how to adapt the blob to different block shapes and sizes. And that’s where I had my idea!

Object Oriented House Design!

What if one was to describe a house not in terms of walls and doors and square footage, but as a hierarchy of interlinked objects with various properties? You could define an entire dwelling in terms of what each room needs to do, and how it relates to the rest of the rooms without even sketching out a floor plan. You could then hand the definition off to an architect who could use their specialised knowledge to translate it into an actual house plan to fit onto an actual, specific block. Brilliant!

So I decided to try and define my dream house in just this fashion…


Notes:
* Any room may connect to any other room. Only required Access is listed in definition
* LargeAccess is defined as being easily able to move a couch, bed, or upright piano between rooms with a minimum of swearing.

Driveway:
Access:
LivingSpace
LargeAccess:
Street, Garage
Requirements: Space for two cars to be parked.

Garage:
LargeAccess: Storeroom OR Workshop
Requirements: Enough space to move comfortably around one car with all doors/hatches open.

Storeroom:
LargeAccess: Workshop, (Library), (Garage)
Requirements: Large room with plenty of shelving.

Workshop:
LargeAccess:
Storeroom, Courtyard, (Library), (Garage)
Requirements: Large room with a water supply, multiple power outlets and plenty of natural light.

Library:
Access:
Study
LargeAccess: Storeroom OR Workshop
Requirements: Large room with lots of built in bookshelves and room for a decent sized table and chairs and a few comfortable armchairs. Minimal natural light to avoid fading of precious manuscripts and gewgaws.

Courtyard:
Access:
Laundry
LargeAccess: Storeroom OR Workshop, MasterBedroom, LivingSpace
Requirements: Paved space open to sky. Receives direct sunlight in winter, filtered sunlight in summer. Retractable washing line. Provision for planters and pots. Private space protected from the nosy gaze of neighbours or random passers by.

MasterBedroom:
Access: Study
Proximity: BathroomOne, ToiletOne
LargeAccess: Courtyard
Requirements: Decent sized bedroom with large, built in wardrobes.

Study:
Access: MasterBedroom, Library
Requirements: Room for shelving, a decent sized computer desk and various computer accessories.

BathroomOne:
Proximity:
MasterBedroom, ToiletOne
Requirements: Reasonably sized bathroom with sink and shower.

ToiletOne:
Proximity:
MasterBedroom, BathroomOne
Requirements: Toilet room with own sink.

Laundry:
Access: Courtyard
Requirements: Laundry room with washer, dryer and room for storage.

LivingSpace:
Access: Driveway, Kitchen, Dining
LargeAccess: Courtyard
Requirements: Large, open plan living space connecting via open plan with Kitchen and Dining. Curtains and ceiling mounted projector provides ability to use as home theatre. Front door separated from rest of room by solid divider so the Mormons can’t peer inside.

Dining:
Access: Kitchen, LivingSpace
Requirements: Open plan dining area connecting via open plan with Kitchen and LivingSpace. Room for eight-seater table and chairs.

Kitchen:
Access: Dining, LivingSpace
Requirements: Open plan kitchen with all mod cons (except for obviously stupid ones like internet connected fridges or DRM plagued fruit juice bag squeezers) connecting via open plan with Dining  and LivingSpace.

Utility:
Requirements: Hot water heater, batteries for the solar system and other such gubbins.

GuestRoomOne:
Proximity: BathroomTwo, ToiletTwo
Requirements: Decent sized bedroom with built in wardrobes.

GuestRoomTwo:
Proximity: BathroomTwo, ToiletTwo
Requirements: Decent sized bedroom with built in wardrobes.

BathroomTwo:
Proximity:
GuestRoomOne, GuestRoomTwo, ToiletTwo
Requirements: Larger bathroom with sink, bathtub and shower.

ToiletTwo:
Proximity:
GuestRoomOne, GuestRoomTwo, BathroomTwo
Requirements: Toilet room with own sink.

Overall Notes:
* Entire house heavily insulated against both heat and sound.
* Roof festooned with as many solar panels as decency allows.
* Configurable LED lighting throughout.
* Use of passive technologies to control temperature and energy use.
* Rainwater tanks.


So there we go. Short of winning the lottery or coming up with a a really good way to blackmail some well-known public figure it’s unlikely I’ll ever have the resources to construct such a dwelling, but I think the exercise has value. Not least in establishing a new paradigm in architect/client/Kevin McCloud relations.

No Sleep ‘Till Nairobi

by Purple Wyrm on September 16, 2017

And yet another lyrics post, this time to the song No Sleep ‘Till Nairobi by the band S’ who seem to have gone out of their way to make their name impossible to either conjugate or Google. No matter, the song – from the far off days of 2006 – stands as perhaps the best invocation of the loneliness of the long distance traveler ever penned.

No Sleep ‘Till Nairobi

S’

No sleep ’till Nairobi,
I’m sorry to leave,
But honey, you know me, and you know that I need,
To shake off this laugh track,
And wander alone,
But I’m always half back here at home,

Where we’re running frantic,
Trying to move,
Above the Atlantic, I got nothing to prove,
I’m solving this cocktail,
While you’re on the run,
And I’m watching this rock sail round the sun,

No sleep ’till Nairobi,
These weeks are too long,
But as the days go, we sing traveling songs,
To hum throughout Heathrow,
Yeah, it’s duty-free,
Are you using that seat?
No, I guess it’s just me,

Yeah, I guess it’s just me,

Oh, I guess it’s just me,

Out on the tarmac,
Boarding a plane,
Staring at stars that, I cannot name,
Everyone’s weary,
What time is it now?
Well ready, ’cause here we go somehow,

No sleep till Nairobi,
The credit card’s cashed,
Sick of this so we, slowly get smashed,
When we don’t feel well we’ll,
Say our goodbyes,
But I can call from my cell, ’till the battery dies,

We find ourselves, in cheap hotels, wondering why we cannot sleep,
We sit and stare, just outside where, strangers straggle through the streets,
And up this late, we compensate, with hot black coffee and CNN,
Until it’s clear, that though we’re here, it doesn’t mean we see an end,

To lonely drives, and drinks in dives, and anxious rides to who knows where,
(No sleep ’till Nairobi, I’m sorry to leave,  But honey, you know me, and you know that I need,)
Propeller planes, and Amtrak trains, and soaking rains in summer air,
(To shake off this laugh track, and wander alone, but I’m always half back here at home,)
And since that’s so, it’s time to go, so grab your clothes from off the floor,
(No sleep ’till Nairobi, I’m sorry to leave,  But honey, you know me, and you know that I need,)
I think we might, just chase this night, that’s passing right outside the door,
(To shake off this laugh track, and wander alone, but I’m always half back here at home,)

Where we’re running frantic,
I’m trying to move,
Above the Atlantic, I got nothing to prove,
I’m solving this cocktail,
While you’re on the run,
And I’m watching this rock sail round the sun,

Not Worth Hiding

by Purple Wyrm on August 25, 2017

Fadades notwithstanding, I haven’t done a lyric transcription in ages, so I thought I’d get back in the saddle by getting down the lyrics of Alex the Astronaut’s beautiful new track Not Worth Hiding. Definitely going to be in my Hottest 100 list this year for both its message, and for just being a really sweet song. So here we go…

Not Worth Hiding

Alex the Astronaut

I learnt to drive to school when I was sixteen,
And I was happy with my friends and we skipped class for time to breathe,
We learnt about the stars and the trees,
I cried when I found kissing boys wasn’t for me,

So I tried every trick in the book,
I tried talking to the pretty boys, and changed the way I looked,
But wearing dresses to impress just left me lonely and upset,
And the boys could tell when I looked at her I wasn’t interested in them,

It’s not worth hiding if you’ve got something to say,
And it’s not worth smiling if you’re feeling in pain,
And it’s not worth hiding if you think you might be gay,
Or different in another way, you’re perfect just the same,

I opened the paper and it left me in shame,
Said that these contagious gays aren’t safe and you should keep your kids away,
But I grew older and bolder, and my friends caught on slowly,
Nineteen and withdrew the weight from my shoulders,

We sang,
It’s not worth hiding if you’ve got something to say,
And it’s not worth smiling if you’re feeling in pain,
And it’s not worth hiding if you think you might be gay,
Or different in another way, you’re perfect just the same,

So tell me, anyone?
If you love them as a daughter, could you love them as a son?
We all smile at different faces, we all blush at different names,
But holding someone’s hand should never make you feel ashamed,

Your story might not be at all like mine,
I don’t mean to simplify, this should be in your own voice and your own time,
But the cages that they’ve made us, should soon just rust away,
And this song just won’t need singing, but for now I’ll let it play,

It’s not worth hiding if you’ve got something to say,
And it’s not worth dying for the people who will smile at your name,
And it’s not worth lying if you’re feeling in pain,
And it’s not worth hiding, ’cause happiness could be on your way,

Weights and Measures

by Purple Wyrm on August 20, 2017

Measuring the distances between Worlds in Probability has always been problematic. As beings limited to perceiving reality in only four dimensions, direct measurement of the fifth is simply not possible. Instead proxy methods have to be deployed, the most common of which defaults to the amount of energy required to either open Gates or move matter directly between Worlds.

The best established measurement is the Wyrymyan ghəι (anglicized as “weyr“). The exact genesis of the weyr is lost to history, although it is noted it is very close to the amount of artonic energy required to directly (ie: without the use of a Gate) transport one ixh* of matter between Wyrymya and the ancient Wyrm colony World of Hfren, leading many to assume ancient travel between these two Worlds as its ultimate origin.

(* One ixh is equal to one 1728th of the weight of a cylinder of Wyrymyan sea-water with a height and radius of 12 ghi – one ghi measuring 6.875 cm. Bizarrely this works out to just over 1kg – 1.069kg to be precise.)

The traditional measurement of Probability among the Zurvár is the kâd, which is the minimum distance traversable via Gate in ancient Zurvár society. One kâd is equal to 16.8 weyr, which provides some commentary on the relative sophistication of Probatial travel in the ancient Zurvár and Wyrm cultures. The kâd has become the standard measure of Probatial distance across local Probability, with the weyr generally reserved for scientific usage.

(The Metaphysical Society of 19th century London created their own measurement of Probatial distance, the “Palmerston”. One Palmerston equals 77.4 kâd (or 1300.32 weyr), and is the distance between Earth and Neanderthan, the first World discovered by the Society. The Palmerston was abandoned shortly after contact was established with the Wyrms.)

The record for minimum Probatial distance traversable currently stands at 0.43 kâd (7.224 weyr) which was achieved at the Werinos Physics Institute in 2007. This is well above the theoretical limit of 0.14 kâd predicted by Probatial Resonance Theory. It is believed by many that the Goatsuckers have been capable of reaching this limit for centuries – if not millennia – or possibly even exceeding it, although the later would raise uncomfortable questions about their motivation in providing so much assistance in the development of an inaccurate theory.

He Returns!

by Purple Wyrm on July 5, 2017

I was recently reminded of Alsace’s greatest contribution to black metal music, the amazing Fadades. He inhabits a castle! He builds lasers! He wears knives! No one can figure out whether he’s parodying the genre or is terrifyingly serious!

In perusing the Fadadian oeuvre I stumbled across a – I do hesitate to use the word ‘song’ but let’s go with it – a song I hadn’t heard before. So of course I jumped right in.

The piece in question sees our hero returning to the same rich vein of landing his spaceship in Egypt and being annoyed. This time around he’s considering the “nightmare” of Ramses rather than his “rage”, and he’s managed to convert his spaceship into 3 dimensions! Well done Fadades!

He also discovers a domed city –  Ramses was terrified of domes you know…

Anyway, as is traditional I’ve decided to attempt a transcription of what he’s on about. I think he’s trying to organise catering for a party and it’s not going well…

Ain’t jealous!
Just a word,
Not jealous!
Seat yourselves,

Suey the yeah yeah yeah I guess!
Suey the yeah yeah yeah I guess!

Excellent guests,
Yet faith,
Eggs!
Yet faith,

Ah!
Delicious!
Humongeous!
You seated at us!

Eggs for guests!
Lettuce!
Eggs!
Lettuce!

Need to get suggestions for keggers!
Tomorrow’s furious sun-a-rise!
Need-a sauce!
Like some samboria say…
This is stupid, lists of guests,
Really need a secure swain!
Stupidest suggest, oy!
Get us!

Suey the yeah yeah yeah I guess!
Suey the yeah yeah yeah I guess!
Suey the yeah yeah yeah I guess!

On Oil Guzzling Spiders

by Purple Wyrm on June 25, 2017

Sometimes while wandering the lanes and byways of the internet one comes across information too fascinating to be ignored – even if it is of dubious immediate utility.

For instance, consider this extract from Volume 88 of the Edinburgh Magazine and Literary Miscellany (1821)

The sexton of the church of St Eustace, at Paris, amazed to find frequently a particular lamp extinct early, and yet the oil consumed only, sat up several nights to perceive the cause. At length he detected that a spider of surprising size came down the cord to drink the oil. A still more extraordinary instance of the same kind occurred during the year 1751, in the Cathedral of Milan. A vast spider was observed there, which fed on the oil of the lamps. M. Morland, of the Academy of Sciences, has described this spider, and furnished a drawing of it. It weighed four pounds, and was sent to the Emperor of Austria, and is now in the Imperial Museum at Vienna.

What, I ask, is to be done about that?

Kim Newman’s Vampire Romance – Annotations

by Purple Wyrm on June 8, 2017

Update: Thank you Mr Newman for taking an interest in this project, and supplying a few tips! I am not worthy! ;D

One of my favourite things about Kim Newman’s Anno Dracula series is reading the annotations – both those Mr Newman provides himself, and the ones various people have put together online.

Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find any annotations for the highly entertaining novella Vampire Romance. So I figured, why not produce some myself?

Now, when it comes to scholarship I am a dilettante at best. I’m not going to be searching through dusty tomes to track down every single reference. I shall instead mostly be throwing names and terms at Professor Google and seeing what comes back. And I’m not going to be spending huge slabs of time – I’ll just do a chapter here and there. It’s a long (or at least prolonged) project to which I shall be making occasional updates. So don’t expect the whole thing to be complete any time soon! But do check back now and then.

So without any further ado, here we go…

Chapter 1: Genevieve Bobs Her Hair

The chapter title is take from Bernice Bobs Her Hair, a 1920 short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Genevieve is of course Mr Newman’s original vampire character  Geneviève Dieudonné – specifically Geneviève Sandrine d’Isle Dieudonné, as opposed to her other versions (or “trans-continual cousins”) from Newman’s other series.

…Her appointment at M. Eugene was for just after sunset…

M Eugene is Eugene Suter, a Swiss immigrant who along with Isidoro Calvete popularised the perm in post WWI London.

…The salon was Cox and Box…

“Cox and Box”, meaning “to take turns” derives from a comedic play Box and Cox – A Romance of Real Life in One Act by John Maddison Morton, first produced in 1847. It concerns two boarders unknowingly sharing a room, one during the day and one at night and the chaos that ensues when they discover each other. It was adapted into a comic opera Cox and Box by F. C. Burnand and Arthur Sullivan in 1866.

…the pre-broken ‘Transylvanian’ crenelations of Tower Bridge…

Tower Bridge was constructed between 1886 and 1894 in a Victorian Gothic style. Prince Consort Dracula obviously had more influence on its design – and perhaps sped up the construction – in the AD universe.

…the ugly bat frescoes of the Sir Francis Varney Memorial…

Sir Francis Varney (from Varney the Vampire; or, the Feast of Blood, published as a serial between 1845 and 1847) was Governor of India under Dracula and came to a rather nasty end during the Prince Consort’s overthrow. The timeline doesn’t work out, but I can’t help but wonder if the Varney Memorial takes the place of our universe’s Albert Memorial.

…She loitered over a thimble of mouse-blood in the Maison Lyons on Shaftsbury Avenue…

J. Lyons and Co. was a restaurant, hotel and food manufacturing company founded in 1884 and eventually shutting down in 1981. In addition to a chain of tea shops they ran a number of more upmarket art deco ‘corner houses’ including the Maison Lyonses at Marble Arch and on Shaftsbury Avenue.

…Now, it was cocktails at the Criterion and a rag at the Troc…

The Criterion is the Criterion Restaurant at Picadilly Circus. The “Troc” is the Trocadero, another restaurant operated by J. Lyons and Co.

…the warm English comedian was ‘the Little Vamp’…

Charlie Chaplin’s ‘Little Vamp’ character is of course our universe’s ‘Little Tramp’.

…In the two-reeler One P.M

One P.M. replaces One A.M. a 1916 comedy in which Chaplin depicts a drunk encountering various mishaps stumbling his way to bed (and eventually falling asleep in the bath!).

…posters advertising Oxo concentrated blood cubes, ‘Nutrax for Nerves’ and NetherBeast gramaphones…

Oxo cubes are concentrated beef stock, first produced in 1910 and still available today. Nutrax is a nerve tonic that features in the Dorothy Sayers Lord Peter Wimsey mystery novel Murder Must Advertise. NetherBeast is a reference to the 2007 office comedy movie Netherbeast Incorporated, which is based around a telephone company staffed by the undead.

…Kink-limbed and -backed stick-figure men followed a leader…

The Crook’s cypher would appear to be a reference to the Sherlock Holmes story The Adventure of the Dancing Men. As Holmes exists in the AD universe it is not out of the question that the Crook was inspired to create his cypher by the one in Holmes’s case (or vice-versa given the Crook’s extended history).

…even scientific thinkers like Edmond Cordery…

Edmund Cordery is from The Empire of Fear by Brian Stableford. He researches the scientific causes of vampirism in an alternate 17th century ruled by vampires (it does not end well for him).

…Max Planck’s Black Blood Refractive Postulate of 1902…

In our universe physicist Max Planck investigated black body radiation. In the AD universe his research was obviously a bit more esoteric.

…straightening curls with terrifying Heath Robinson contraptions…

William Heath Robinson (1872-1944) was an English cartoonist who became famous for illustrations of elaborate and ridiculous contraptions – similar to the American Rube Goldberg. He is mentioned as designing armaments for the British in The Bloody Red Baron – presumably he did his cartoons on the side.

…The warm blonde girl – Miss Bunting, according to her nametag…

Miss Bunting is Daisy Bunting, played by June Tripp in the 1927 silent Alfred Hitchcock film The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog. The movie (and the novel it is based on) are centered on the hunt for a Jack the Ripper style serial killer.

…back numbers of  The Tatler somewhat surprisingly piled in Charles Beauregard’s Chelsea house…

The Tatler is a magazine focusing on high society and politics first published in 1901. Charles Beauregard is of course Mr Newman’s original character who features in many of the Anno Dracula and Diogenes Club stories.

…recognised the daughter of the millionaire Percy Browne…

Percy Browne should not be confused with British politician of that name who was born in 1923 and would hence would be a few months old at best at the time of the story. He is instead the millionaire father of Polly Browne from the 1954 musical The Boy Friend. Polly was portrayed by the model Twiggy in the 1971 movie adaption.

…She’d personally battened on half the young the young bloods in the Drones…

The Drones can be presumed to be the Drones Club from the works of P. G. Wodehouse – the first of many Wodehouse references in this story.

…Ivor Novello was carrying on with the drag artiste Handel Fane…

Ivor Novello (1893-1951) was a Welsh composer and actor and one of the most popular British entertainers of the first half of the 20th century. In a nice touch he stared as the title character in the already mentioned Hitchcock film The Lodger. Handel Fane (played by Esme Percy) is the cross dressing actor and killer in the 1930 Hitchcock film Murder!

…the organist Anton Phibes…

Anton Phibes is the title character – portrayed by the great Vincent Price – from the 1971 horror comedy film The Abominable Doctor Phibes. In the movie he is believed to have died in a car crash in 1921 but secretly survived with horrific injuries. Perhaps in the AD universe he overcame these by turning?

…a skirmish with Countess Verdel…

Countess Verdel (AKA ‘Ejacula’) was portrayed by Patricia Kennedy in the porn films Ejacula, la vampira and Ejacula 2, both from 1992 (thanks Mr Newman!).

…reading the latest number of British Pluck

I can’t find anything specific for British Pluck either, although a collection of articles from The Boys Own Paper titled The Best of British Pluck was published in 1977 – perhaps suggesting that’s the name of the publication in the AD universe.

…Next up was a floppy haired male dandy…

I strongly suspect that this is Dorian Grey. Oscar Wilde of course appears in Anno Dracula, but Grey is too good a character to leave out on that kind of technicality!

…Bywaters had gone to the gallows… …Thompson was hanged too…

Frederick Bywaters and Edith Thompson were executed in January 1923 for the murder of Thompson’s husband Percy. They had been having an affair and exchanged letters in which Edith encouraged Bywaters to “so something desperate” to free her from Percy. Despite Thompson carrying out the deed by himself – and a petition for mercy signed by almost a million people – they were both convicted and hanged.

…The dreadful Dr Sheppard, guilty of the Ackroyd murder...

Dr Sheppard is from Agatha Christie’s third Hercule Poirot novel The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, published in 1926.

…Caroline Reboux must do a roaring trade…

Caroline Reboux (1837-1927), the “Queen of the Milliners” was a French milliner and fashion designer.

…figure-flattening Eulalie Soeurs slips…

Eulalie Soeurs is the name of the lingerie shop owned by would be fascist dictator Roderick Spode in P. G. Wodehouse’s works. There will be more about him later.

…Garrard & Co. carried strings of all-black pearls…

Garrad & Co. are a famous London jewellery manufacturer founded in 1735.

…He stood near the door, waiting for her…

The man by the door is Edwin Winthrop, another of Mr Newman’s recurrent characters. He first appeared and is a major character in The Bloody Red Baron.

That’s it for Chapter 1!

Chapter 2: Mildew Manor

I am unable to find a specific reference for Mildew Manor, although it seems a somewhat common phrase on certain hotel review websites.

…bloody Aunt Agatha…

Aunt Agatha is Agatha Gregson, Bertie Wooster’s fearsome and least favourite aunt in P. G. Wodehouse’s Jeeves and Wooster stories. Bertie claims that she “kills rats with her teeth” and “is strongly suspected of turning into a werewolf at the time of the full moon”. In the AD universe either or both may be literally true!

…to vampire eyes, human veins throbbing red and blue in the moonlight…

If it wasn’t for the fact that the movie came out two years after the publication of Vampire Romance I’d suspect this description of vampiric sight was taken from the rather dull 2014 movie Dracula Untold.

…She’d heard that from Cousin Bertie…

Bertie Wooster himself, requiring ‘someone’ to take him firmly in hand.

…Miss Carlotta Francis, éditrice of The Dark Flame

Carlotta Francis is taken from an episode of Law and Order: Criminal Intent. She wrote a series of vampire novels (featuring a ‘Lord Fantomas’) in the 1950s before committing suicide. There seems to be a remarkable level of interest in her online with people searching for her (entirely fictional) books.

…Rudolf Valentino as Magnus in The Count, the film of the famous novel by Elinor Glyn…

Rudolph Valentino (1895-1926) was one of the first movie idols, who was already a sensation before his untimely death at age 31 sent his female fans into hysteria. One of his most popular films was 1921’s The Sheik – based on the novel by Edith Maude Hull – in which he played an imperious Arab who abducts a headstrong white woman (who then naturally falls in love with him). The Count is clearly the AD universe’s version of the film – the plot described is an amalgam of The Sheik and elements from classic vampire and mummy films.

The name ‘Count Magnus’ may be taken from the M. R. James story of the same name, featuring the undead (or something) Swedish Count Magnus de la Gardie. Or it may refer to the vampire lord Count Magnus Lee from the Japanese manga series Vampire Hunter D.

Elinor Glyn (1864 – 1943) was a British novelist and screenwriter who popularised the concept of It (in terms of charisma and sexual magnetism). She wrote a series of romantic novels that scandalised polite society and then moved on to screenplays in 1919. Valentino starred alongside Gloria Swanson in the film version of her novel Beyond the Rocks in 1922.

…Lady Diana, played by the kohl-eyed Norma Desmond…

Norma Desmond is the eccentric/insane washed-up silent movie star portrayed by Gloria Swanson in Billy Wilder’s classic 1950 film Sunset Boulevard. Mr Newman is clearly having a ball with his references here.

…The Dark Flame hinted the Italian actor had turned in secret for the role…

Given the unpredictable effects of vampirism on mirrors and film in the AD universe this would be an incredibly risky move for an actor!

..rat-ears, wolf-fangs, enlarged and almost hairless skulls, talons and long, long faces…

A fine description of Max Schreck as Count Orlok in the 1922 Dracula rip-off Nosferatu. I guess this makes The Count the AD version of The Sheik, On the Rocks, and Nosferatu all at once!

Orlok himself of course appears in Anno Dracula and The Bloody Red Baron.

…and is English-born to boot…

Valentino’s Sheik turns out to be respectably English as well, rather than a nasty foreigner.

…whereas Madame Glyn writes that the Count impatiently tears off her nightie altogether…

The movie version of The Sheik attracted some criticism from fans of the novel for omitting a rape scene.

…the (drippy, if appealingly floppy-haired) violin virtuoso Ralph Levé…

I can’t track down anything regarding this student of Paganini. I have an inkling I’m missing something extremely obvious…

…George Valentin as Rupert of Hentzau in The Vampyres of Zenda

Anthony Hope’s popular 1894 adventure novel The Prisoner of Zenda invented the Mitteleuropean kingdom of Ruritania, from whence hail several characters in the AD universe (including Rupert himself who turns up in Anno Dracula). Versions were filmed in 1913, 1915 and 1922, the latter presumably the version referenced here. One wonders if the AD version of the story is at least semi-historically accurate.

George Valentin is a silent movie start who encounters problems moving to sound in the 2011 film The Artist. Jean Dujardin won the Best Actor award at the 2012 Oscars for the role.

…stiff Lord Godalming (Lewis Stone)…

Lord Godalming is of course from Dracula and one of the major characters in Anno Dracula. Given that he was framed for the Silver Knife/Jack the Ripper murders it seems a bit strange to have him appear as a movie hero – perhaps Sherlock Holmes spread word of his innocence after the events of The Bloody Red Baron?

Lewis Stone (1879-1953) played the title role (Rudolf Rassendyll) in the 1922 version of The Prisoner of Zenda.

…to begin serialising Son of the Count

The Son of the Sheik was the 1925 sequel to The Sheik written by Edith Maude Hull. Presumably Elinor Glyn got her sequel written a bit faster. It was filmed in 1926 with Rudolph Valentino reprising his role, as well as taking on the title character. It was Valentino’s last film – he collapsed and died while on a promotional tour two weeks before its premiere.

…Otterbourne’s Nitelite Saga…

Salome Otterbourne is a romance novelist from Agatha Christie’s 1937 Hercule Poirot novel Death on the Nile. Her saga full of glittering vampires and swooning heroines can only be the AD version of Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight Saga (as such it’s a shame Jacqueline de Bellefort didn’t shoot her a couple of decade earlier…).

…Banks’s Mal de Mer mysteries…

Rosie M. Banks is a romance novelist from the Jeeves and Wooster stories of P. G. Wodehouse. Her habit giving characters names like ‘Snookie’ and ‘Lurlene’ suggests her works are the AD version of Charlaine Harris’s Southern Vampire Mysteries, (featuring Sookie Stackhouse) which have been adapted into the HBO television series True Blood.

…Vanes’s Vampyrrhic Chronicles

Harriet Vane is a mystery writer and later wife of Lord Peter Wimsey in the works of Dorothy L. Sayers. Her books written from the vampire’s point of view and full of long lectures on ancient history and Roman Catholicism must be Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles. One wonders if Lestat de Lioncourt – who has a cameo in Anno Dracula – features.

…Bram Stoker’s what-might-have-been novel…

Dracula of course!

…articles by Dione Fortune or Luna Bartendale…

Dione Fortune (1890-1946) was one of the most significant and influential occultists of the 20th century. She wrote a vast number of articles and books on occult and magical themes, and several occult novels.

Luna Bartendale is an occult detective created by Jessie Douglas Kerruish. She appeared in 1936’s The Undying Monster where she displays a number of psychic powers.

And that’s chapter 2!

Chapter 3: ‘Tell Tom Tildrum that Tim Toldrum’s Dead…’

The chapter title is from the traditional English folk tale The King of the Cats. In the story – first recorded in 1553 – a traveler hears a mysterious voice say “Tell Tom Tildrum that Tim Toldrum’s Dead”. On arrival at his destination he recounts this to his hosts, at which point their cat leaps up, says “Then I am King of the Cats!”, and vanishes up the chimney never to be seen again.

…’Sergeant Dravot,’ she acknowledged…

Sergeant Daniel Dravot is from Rudyard Kipling’s 1888 short story The Man Who Would be King. In the tale he and an associate carve out a small kingdom in remote Afghanistan by posing as gods, but their scheme is undone when Dravot is bitten by a local girl, revealing through his bleeding that he is merely a man. He is executed by being thrown into a gorge (it is tempting to suspect that in the AD universe the girl was a vampire, and Dravot  revived as one of the undead after making the plunge).

Dravot was portrayed by Sean Connery in the 1975 movie of the story.

As an employee of the Diogenes Club Dravot has a recurring role in AD works.

…How long had the Diogenes Club been keeping this eye on her?…

The Diogenes Club was introduced by Arthur Conan Doyle in the 1893 Sherlock Holmes story The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter. In the Holmes stories it is merely a (somewhat unusual) gentleman’s club, however many writers have re-interpreted it as a front for British Intelligence due to its connections with Sherlock’s older brother Mycroft.

In addition to including the club in the Anno Dracula universe Mr Newman has written a series of other works focusing on it, featuring alternative versions of many AD characters.

…But also Katharine Reed…

Journalist Katherine Reed was created by Bram Stoker for Dracula, but later cut. Mr Newman resurrected her in Anno Dracula and she has featured in his AD works ever since.

…Jennifer Chevalier… Grace Ki, the Ghost Lantern Girl… Lady Jane Ainsley…

I have not had much luck tracking down Jennifer Chevalier – it’s apparently a very common name in the real world! A Jennifer Knight appears in the 1980s classic Knight Rider but this could simply be coincidence.

Grace Ki, the Ghost Lantern Girl appears to be Mr Newman original and is mentioned as a former student in The Secrets of Drearcliff Grange.

Lady Jane Ainsley is portrayed by Frieda Inescort in 1943’s The Return of the Vampire – an unofficial Dracula sequel starring Bela Lugosi as Armand Tesla (who shows up elsewhere in the AD universe). The first part of the film is set around 1920 and sees Lady Jane defeat Tesla – presumably this incident bought her to the attention of the Diogenes Club.

…If Harold Lloyd does it they give him the key to the city…

Harold Clayton Lloyd, Sr. (1893-1971) was a famous comedy actor and stunt performer. He is best remembered today for the iconic clock dangling scene in 1923’s Safety Last! Genevieve’s comment may simply be referencing the movie, but it’s equally possible that in the AD universe Lloyd climbed buildings in real life rather than just on film.

…my friend Catriona Kaye…

Catriona Kaye is one of Mr Newman’s original characters, first mentioned as Winthrop’s fiance in The Bloody Red Baron. Winthrop may be being coy by calling her his “friend” or his experiences during the way may have altered their relationship.

…the Cult of Saamri…

Saamri is a black magician who rises from the dead to take revenge on his murderers in the 1985 Bollywood horror film 3D Saamri. He was played by Anirudh Agarwal who also portrayed the similarly named undead monster Samri in the previous year’s Purana Mandir. The later is perhaps more likely to be the entity worshiped by the cult.

== To be continued! ==

Elton, why have you forsaken me?

by Purple Wyrm on May 27, 2017

I’m rather late to the meme party, but I only just this week discovered the magnificence that is Neil Cicierega’s mashup back catalogue. For instance who would have ever thought that this combination was possible?

And what about this funky declaration that sleepin’ makes him feel good?

And how does this one even work?

My absolute favourite however has to be this little effort. There is something simply sublime about Serj Tankian’s pain filled screams superimposed on cheery Elton John pop-rock that sends the combination into the stratosphere.

If you find yourself liking this kind of stuff there’s a lot more of it up on YouTube, much of it involving Shrek. Enjoy!

Rampage Mode Activated

by Purple Wyrm on May 22, 2017

I was shocked and appalled today to discover today that the two hour long mix of retro synth-wave compiled by the Prime Thanatos that I’ve been using to get me through the work day has been taken down due to copyright claims. Outrageous! I mean there’s plenty of other two hour long mixes of retro synth-wave compiled by the Prime Thanatos, but how am I to activate rampage mode, without the assistance of that first retro synth-wave track, the name and artist of which I completely failed to note down?

So it was time to get my google-fu on.

In short order I was able to locate an archived page that, while it didn’t have the particular mix on it, had the track listing. And hence I was able to identify the track as the 2017 remix of Way Farer by SUNG and subsequently activate rampage mode successfully.

Along the way I also noted down this fine effort, the Dance with the Dead remix of Scandroid’s Neo Tokyo.

And for those of you who aren’t into retro synth-wave… I don’t know what to tell ya!.