Posted in Mental Health Struggles, Thinking Thoughts on a Thursday

Thinking Thoughts on a Thursday 11: Raw

Hello internet people.

It’s been a rough couple of weeks and I have in no uncertain terms been struggling. Work was an unmitigated nightmare and I found it all very stressful. It has all felt so very overwhelming. I wasn’t coping and it was getting in the way of everything. I was feeling the weight of everything and wondering what had changed.

Worked it out, I was feeling the weight of it. About 6 weeks ago, I went to my doctor’s and informed him that I wanted to reduce my anti-depressants, with the overall goal of not actually taking them anymore. Since my breakdown I have been taking them daily and am getting the idea that they are no longer doing me any good and for me it’s a concrete sign that I am getting better. I hemmed and hawed about it. worrying that my negative and obsessive thoughts would make a fast return and I’d go back to the terrifying earliest days of my recovery. I’d wish that on no-one, not even me. So anyway, went back to the doctors and we agreed between us that I should go onto one every two days, rather than one a day. And apart from missing the odd one at the weekend, have been doing the one every other day since. So, when do I notice the difference I wonder?

Now, now is when I notice the difference. Anti-depressants, don’t as a rule fix depression, no single thing can do that. They don’t make you happy, nor stop you feeling sad, the idea is that they give you the head-space to deal with shit. But one of the ways they do that is by blunting the effects of the feelings. So they stop you feeling so sad, but essentially stopping you feeling that much of anything. So I went from repressing my feelings, to battling my feelings through to suppressing my feelings to finally now experiencing them. For the first time in a few years, I am feeling everything  that I am feeling. Or at least I am beginning to. I didn’t notice it at first because, it’s takes about 4 weeks for changes in medication to have any real effect. For the first time in a long time, am feeling what I am feeling more. This has been an uncomfortable fortnight as a result and am sure the road will get rockier, long before it will get smoother. But I feel, maybe that I am becoming more present. I miss my son (away for a couple of days with his grandparents) and I mean really missing him, but that’s a pain I am happy to feel, for it reminds me how much I love him. I love my wife the MIGHTY Rosie and being close to her is where I know what hope, love and home mean. I never really worked out how to do feelings, but I am right now in the best company to start learning.

I spent much of the last two weeks, thinking something was wrong, but really, my heart is beginning to wake up. I have a lot of learning to do still.

I am loved, it’s time to show that I love in return.

I fear, it’s time to face that fear.

I am not falling back, this is just a more difficult climb than I expected it to be. But I honestly think I am up to this challenge.

We are mightier than we believe, stronger than we know and more valued than we often feel.

Even me.



Posted in Podcasts

5 Podcasts that I am enjoying

It is a fair thing to say that the internet has been to comics (and general geek) fandom a heavily mixed blessing. Whilst it has given many a voice and a collective that they would not have ordinarily have, it’s sometimes a bit sad what we do with that voice.

For me, it’s been universally positive. The main reason for this is that I can treat the vitriol and offensive stuff for what it is, the impotent whining of people who should no better. Apart from the spoilers it’s all been positive. Firstly I’ve been able to do this.

For those who have followed me on this blog, you know that I have struggled this past four years or so. Truth is, I have been battling depression and anxiety for a long time and the past four years have seen me trying to recover from this, with vastly different degrees of success. One of the first rounds of therapeutic  measures led me to writing. This has been an outlet and a connection to the world that I would not have ordinarily have and that’s been a positive as has my experiences here on wordpress, you have all been so good to me here so thanks for that. Secondly has been podcasts. These lovely little audio programs have been a god send when I’ve been alone during times when that was the most frightening time. Now they’re just a form of entertainment that helps me get from A to B when I am out and about. I share individual episodes on here, but I wanted to highlight some of the ones that I am enjoying because it’s nice to share nice things, instead of our outrage and confusion.

1: Stacey’s Pop Culture Parlour

Brummie lass Stacey is joined on a mostly monthly (barring special episodes) basis with a rotating cast of guests. Varying topics based mostly on what people have been enjoying it covers a wide variety of pop culture topics, from music to TV to comics to movies and more besides. Warning, some choice language appears, but she is charming as are her guests and even if you don’t know what the episode is about ( much like those on the show) you’ll probably like something they talk about. It has for example made me a big Rick and Morty Fan. Also worth checking out on the same feed is her Community inspired Stace and Barry in the Mornin’.

2: Crisis on Infinite Midlives

Two Bostonian former stand up comedians love comics, tv and booze and it’s all on display here. Rob and Amanda are foul mouthed, often drunk and very ‘Get of my lawn!’ but they are also funny. A mixture of news, reviews, tangents and abuse, this pair are definitely NSFW, but there are very funny. Their episode titles are often quotes from the show and it’s often an interesting point about how they get to them and how Rob will slip in familiar sound clips whilst Amanda is expecting something else.

3: OHOTMU or Not

The fire and water podcast network is a loose affiliation of shows organised by the hosts of the Fire and Water Podcast ( Rob Kelly and the irreDEEMable Shag) who have gathered a load of podcasts by their friends and contributors. There are many shows by different people on different topics, including the Supermates show by the husband and wife team of Chris and Cindy Franklin, there’s PodDylan a look at Bob Dylan’s music, song by song, Film and Water Podcast, which obviously is about movies and a plethora of others. The one that I always look forward to is oHOTmu or NOT.

oHOTmu or NOT is a review of the Official Handbook Of the Marvel Universe by geeky bogger Siskoid. The difference between this and the other index shows of this kind is that he’s joined by 6 or 7 of his friends, all Canadians like himself, but with no great comics knowledge and often seeing these characters for the first time and giving a honest opinion on appearance, concept and brief history. What follows is also NSFW, but it’s usually funny as the drinks are flowing and there’s little held back. How hot or not the characters are is discussed and a good time is had by all, as a listener though, you skip the inevitable hangover.

4: Palace of Glittering Delights

There’s no way I could do this without looking at the Two True Freaks network of shows. Many of the podcasts I have mentioned already have either been guests of or hosted shows on this network of friends and fellow fans. This one is almost always a favourite listen. Andrew Leyland (from too many podcasts to mention) has his own little corner of the net to talk about whatever he likes, from films, TV and comics he enjoys and he does enjoy. Being a simliar generation to me, I remember a lot of the stuff he talks about and his also being and englishmen means there’s even more cultural crossover. His shows are well written, honest and funny and even if I am not a fan of what he talks about, he’s made me more curious about it. Have met Andy at comic marts here in Liverpool and he is as charming and personable in person, he’s also got me buying more back issues than I have room for, but that is the nature of the sickness that is comic fandom. His most recent episodes have been looking at Untold Tales of Spider-Man and it’s made me want to re-read them. Can’t ask for better than that from a Northern chancer talking idly about funny books.

5: White Rocket Entertainment

This is a relative new one, and there isn’t one particular show that has stood out for me as a result, but doing this 5 something posts, has got me in the habit of listing things in 5s. (Yes, am aware I need help)

This is a different set of shows with another vast array of hosts and topics. There’s the On her Majesty’s Secret Podcasts, Avengers Assemble, red-watches of Quantum Leap, Babylon 5 and Space 1999 as well as Comics with Normies, where a comic fan convinces his non-comics reading friends and neighbours to read a random issue he got from a car boot sale and they talk about it. This is a facinating idea, which is more or less entertaining each time.


Well now that’s out of my system, on to other things.

TTFN internet people.

Posted in Miscellaneous

Nights Kingdom part 2 of 2

When she awoke, Maria found Steve nearby on the floor, using his torch read a map. “You alright?” he asked.

“What are you doing?”

“Picked up an ordonnance map, just looking at where we could head next.”
“Can’t stay here in this cellar indefinitely, you’re out of food and I’m not sure how safe we are here.”

“Sorry.” He smiled, pausing as he couldn’t remember when he last smiled. “I was wondering if you wanted to come with me. If I found you and I am not the only thing out there, you might not be particularly safe.”
“I don’t know. I’m terrified, I don’t know if I can even go outside.”

“There’s a big sodding bump on the back of my head that says you’re braver than you think. I’m going to be outside for a while, if you don’t want to come, I understand. But if you do, I’ll be glad of the company.”


An hour or so later, she patted Steve on the shoulder. He smiled, she smiled and they started to walk towards the edge of town. She turned to him. “I swear though, if you start singing ‘we’re off to see the wizard’ I’m going to go back.”


It was a couple of hours of awkward and yet terrified silence later, Maria started talking again, about what she was calling the ‘fall of night’. She talked about the screams as the creatures she had taken to calling Darklings, started taking people, the fires that burned nearby fields and the howling sounds that came at random times. She talked about the fear that came from that and above all, the soul crushing loneliness until Steve arrived.


The road carried on into the eternal twilight, the trees here also seemed to reach towards the pair as they walked. The cold bit into them, Steve wondered if it was the actual cold, or sense of uneasy dread that permeated the landscape. After more awkward silence, Steve started to open up.


“I’ve not really ‘got’ people. Lost my parents quite early on, been on my own quite a lot since. Had friendships and such, the occasional girlfriend, but honestly they always ended up leaving. So I eventually stopped trying. The less I tried, the less I had to try, until eventually I was on my own.”
“That sounds very lonely.” Maria commented.

“Less painful, but I suppose it is.”

“So is that why I’m here? Am I your ‘people patch’? Some time with me and then you remember why you don’t like people?”

“Nothing like that, there’s just a point to it now.”
“I kept going because I have no better idea, not much else left to do. But now this seems like what I should do. I can’t just keep going for myself indefinitely, but if I can get you to safety, it feels like I’m being useful. To be honest, was seriously considering ending it all.”
“Oh…” there didn’t seem to be anything you could say after that. As awkward as the silence was, no one wanted to continue that conversation.


Hours went by till Steve broke the silence. “There’s a big shopping centre over there.” He pointed to a sign.

“Fancy a shopping trip do we?”

“Was thinking supplies, could find all sort of stuff in there, might even be a place to stay if it’s more defensible than the pub. Worth a try if nothing else.”
Reluctantly, Maria agreed then followed the signs for the shopping complex.


The shopping centre itself was a sprawling mass of glass and metal, surrounded by a half-full car park of abandoned cars. The main building was a supermarket with a couple of other stores attached. Some of the cars looked torn into, like the bus and the pub, but only the cars further from the doors. “Ever been here before?” Maria asked.

“Few years ago, did some building work to pay some bills, was an electrician for a while and worked here. This place was originally a hospital before St Mary’s was built nearby. The main buildings were levelled, but someone of the outer buildings were kept to use for utilities.” He stopped, thinking for a second. “I think I know why the cars near the front were left alone.” He walked to a smaller car and using his elbow broke off a wing mirror, he then threw it towards the main entrance. Then something neither expect to happen occurred… The lights at the front of the sore came on.


A blinding flash, far beyond the wind up torch the most light he’d seen in three weeks, or she’d seen in six months. “Hospitals have generators, I think the company who built this place, kept the generators in. That way during blackouts, people could keep shopping, no matter what.”

“It’s amazing that they’re still working.”

“It’s more than that, some of the stuff in there will still be working. We can get supplies, changes of clothes.”
“A shower?” she smiled. He looked at her. “Well I can dream.”


At the doors, Steve saw the shutters were down, but not locked, so he lifted one of the doors and the two of them slipped inside. It was bright, warm too, for the first time that either could easily remember, they felt some degree of normal.


As if struck by some need to be a child again even for one minute Maria ran down the aisles of the supermarket, then leant on a trolley, with her feet up. Steve wanted to tell her to pack it in and get to business, but realised that this girl had suffered more than him, so gave her a few more minutes of silly, this dark land of horrors seemed to have taken so much, and did he really need to add to it? Besides, he had shopping to do himself. A change of clothes, some knives, matches some more food and drink. Most display items didn’t work any better than anything outside of this place. If the generators had been working when everything else stopped, it’d be as dead as his mobile phone. He had just put a list together in his own head, when he heard the scream.


It didn’t take long for the trolley thing to stop making her giggle, she was in the cereal aisle and saw porridge, he dad loved porridge and just like that, the horror of everyone else being dead came rushing back. She was grateful to have met Steve, though she felt so uneasy about him, like he was a cat that had gone feral from being alone too long. He barely looked at her, she never thought she’d miss sexual harassment. She was moving along more slowly, when she saw it. It was a shadow, but not the shadow of a man, the shape was wrong. It moved towards her on all fours. It looked more solid as it grew closer, noisier too. Growling and snarling and then red eyes seemed to burn from inside it. It seemed to make the surrounding area gloomier as if it drained the light around it. She screamed. Later she would berate herself for being so ‘damsel in distress’. When it was ten feet from her, she heard the glass breaking, like a bottle being dropped. Then another and a third, this bottle hitting the creature. “Any others?”
Steve asked, walking towards them slowly. “I’m assuming you speak a bit there.”

“Only….me….no…..sharing.” A raspy voice, like something trying to sound like a person. “Well I’ll be honest, that is a relief.” Steve lit a match and dropped it into the puddles caused by the bottles. Maria knew the smell well, vodka, whiskey, she back aware further. The match fell and a ripple of flame raced towards and then engulfed the creature.


It screamed, a noise so horrific would stay with them for years to come. The fire consumed it completely, but it live for a few minutes within that alcohol fuelled inferno. When the fire died down, there were even ashes left from it. Steven walked over to Maria, who was pressing herself into the shelves, almost catatonic with hear. “It’s ok.” He whispered. “It’s ok.”

He held her for the second time and for the second time, she fell into a sobbing sleep in his arms.


They avoided each other the next day, as far as you can call it a day. That evening, they shared a meal of crackers and jam, drank some wine and for a brief moment, they weren’t last survivors, refugees or broken people trying to work out how to live in a broken world, they were just two friends, stuck somewhere, enjoy each other’s company. Maria was curious about what to do next, but what Steve said was to be frank, unexpected.

“We need people. The world as we know it, is gone, no national grid, no phones, no radio, no signs of life. But I’m alive, you’re alive, isn’t it possible that there’s more?”

“Ok, so what if there are?”

“We bring them here, this place has supplies, resources, fairly defensible.”
“Why us?”

“Because we can, because we need to. In the past, there was infrastructure, systems in place to help people, it’s unlikely any of that still exists. All we have is each other.”

“So where do we go?”

“We pick a direction, load up and go. There’s bikes next door, we could use them. It doesn’t have to be all Mad Max out there, does it?”
“Why do You want to?”
“If we hadn’t met, we might both be dead right now. Maybe there’s a reason for that, maybe there isn’t. We have though, been given a second chance.”
“A second chance to what?”

“To live. Not to survive, but to actually live. We can rebuild, we can go on. It’s dark outside, but we don’t have to be on the inside.”

“Let me sleep on it?”


They left the next morning, riding bikes up the motorway. She for the first time, was not afraid, and he for the first time wanted to find something rather than avoid something.


They wandered on.








Posted in Miscellaneous

Nights Kingdom part 1

This is another story from the old blog

He missed the sunshine, that difference between day and night. There was not a sound beyond his footsteps and the occasional harmonica music which he played when the silence became too terrible.


If he were to guess, he’d say it had been three weeks since he woke in a world of perpetual evening. The sky was dark, with sparkly clouds. This seemed to go along with no modern technology working. There was the trees, devoid of leaves, reaching out as if in fear of something as yet unseen. The streets of this town were empty and nothing was working, so he picked up some supplies from an abandoned shop and walked towards the next town of village to see what had happened. He’d been doing that since he stumbled onto that first town a fortnight ago. There was no one there, no one at all. He could wind up his watch, but 12am, looked very much like 12pm if you saw the sky.


As he hit the motorway, full of abandoned and stationary cars, his thoughts were cold and melancholic. What if this was it? What if there’s no one else? What if he was alone in the world? He laughed a morose laugh, wasn’t too long ago that it would be a good thing.


He name was Steve, not that many called him by name. He was a commercial pilot, when he needed work at least. He ferried post to more remote areas, some charter flights for photographers over hills and mounts. It was a job that required almost the bare minimum dealing with people. He’d work six months out of the year and the rest of the time he’d hide out in his cabin, far from anyone. He’d been delivering something by air when the sky turned black. There must have been a crash, but he didn’t remember it, he woke next to his plane three weeks ago and the sun hadn’t risen since.


On one of his raiding trips, he picked up a wind up touch, a mirror and some shaving stuff. Next to the the motorway was a stream, so Steve stopped to shaved. It had seemed a ridiculous idea at first, but that bit of routine and ritual, reminded him that even in this twilight limbo, he was still a man. He caught his reflection in the torchlight, his hair was more unkempt than usual, a mess of light brown hair with touches of silver, he looked at least ten years older than his 35 years and his grey-blue eyes looked colder than ever. He’d not read a book, listened to music, or even met a single person for three weeks, no sign of any people at all. Steve was a terrible misanthrope, but now even he missed people.


Even here along the motorway heading north, the trees were cold and twisted charactures of themselves, like gnarled hands reaching for a sun that no longer shined.


He found a bus, turned on its side, windows broken, the doors torn, there even seemed to be blood splattered on the steats. Steve looked at the door, it looked like it was torn, like with an axe, or something clawed. He walked on, unsure of what to do.


Hours passed and in the distance was a large building, looked somewhat like a pub. It had been a long time since he’d had any alcohol and it’s not like he didn’t enjoy that. When he got there, he found the door had been forced, more signs of axes or claws and parts of the doors were splintered. Steve walked in, the footsteps of his boots echoed through the place. The whole place had been ransacked quite comprehensively. He looked around to see if there was any booze left. After a fruitless look around, he turned to leave, then he heard a creak. He looked behind what was left of the bar and found a trap door to the cellar. He wound up the torch some more and made his way down. The steps creaked under his feet and when he was at the bottom of the stars, he felt what turned out to be a cricket bat, smashed into the back of his head.


He wasn’t out long, certainly not long enough to ease the headache he had. He was sat up, with his hands bound. In the perpetual gloom, he saw the light from his torch and heard the first words from someone else in 22 days. “If I have to kill you, I will.”

“And why would you have to?”
“Are you kidding me? After everything that’s happened?” It was a young woman’s voice, northern accent, a frightened tone.

“I have no idea what has happened, you’re the first living creature I have seen in three weeks, since the sky turned black.”
“Three weeks, what are you talking about? That happened six months ago.

“Six months?” Steve couldn’t believe it, for a second and least. Then it made a degree of sense, the lack of people, the unearthly quiet, the appearance of neglect. “Six months.”

“Sorry, figured you knew.”
Steve’s heart sank, the woman placed the torch on top of something and Steve saw her. She was young, early 20s, blonde hair, bound in a ponytail, he clothes were grubby and worn and her eyes were haunted.

“I’m Steve, from Richmond originally, but live in the Welsh mountains normally. Funny, never expected to introduce myself again. Been walking her from Conwy, you’re the first I’ve seen. What happened?”


She took a long breath and began talking, holding back tears repeatedly.

“I was working a shift, just wondering whether to quit or not, when the sky started getting dark. I saw some of it on telly, like black holes appearing in the sky. More and more until the whole sky was black. There was panicking and then looting and all sorts. I were terrified myself and everyone left to be with their loved ones, not really having loved ones, I stayed here. I hid. A day or two later, there was a flash and then everything sort of stopped working, phones telly, lights, even ….. other stuff. Few days or so later the creatures came.”
“I call them Darklings, you ever watch Lord of the Rings?”
“Read the books.”

“Kind of like the monsters and that in there. They were riding some other things, I can’t even describe.”

“The army and other locals went after them. I can’t even…… they were all killed. I grabbed whatever I could put my hands on and came back in and hid. Then they went door to door and went after everyone they missed. Men, women, children, dogs, all of them. The sounds, I can still hear all those sounds. They even broke in here, maybe looking for me, but I hid here. I’ve run out of food, but I can’t leave, after what I know is out there, I just can’t do it.”

“No one out there now, I haven’t seen any of this. The only sign that matches what you saw was an overturned bus.” Steve looked at her, shaking, but not just from fear. “I had a bag with me when you wellied me in the head, there’s some cereal bars in there, some drink too, willing to share if you cut me free after.”

“Why not before?”
“Then what’s in it for you? This way, you know I am not lying.”

After she ate and cut him free, Maria just started sobbing, a little at first, then uncontrollably. Steve was uncomfortable, but knew the thing to do was hold her. Though he was no more a fan of people then before, this was the first person he had seen in a long time and he would not abandon her to despair. He held her and the two feel into the sleep of the exhausted. The recent revelations spun Steve’s mind as sleep claimed him. Six months lost, black holes, monsters, where were all the dead bodies. Maybe some thoughts didn’t need to be finished. He thought that waking up in a world without people was harrowing, but worse was knowing why.




Posted in Miscellaneous

Exiled part 3

Part 3.. 
In space, no one can hear you scream, but in a pressurised ship on a metal floor, they can hear you vomit.


I awoke to a bad case of the DTs, my stomach emptying everything from the last day or two onto a metal grating. My head ached through the usual mix of dehydration and hangover. I couldn’t move my arms for some reason and there was a piercing pain in the back of my neck.

Wherever I was it was hot, humid and so very noisy. A voice deep inside my brain was yelling to me not to open my eyes, some things you can’t unsee. It sounded like reason, but haven’t listened to reason yet, so I opened my eyes. I was on my knees, my right arm and what was left of the other one, was bound by a blue cord, which seemed to be coming from my neck. I was in my jeans, trainers and a teeshirt, but there was holes and blood on it. I looked around. I immediately regretted it.

I was in what looked like a long corridor, it was split into several cubicles cut into the walls, which were a battle ship grey metal. The only light was a fluorescent tube sort of light in the middle of the ceiling, which was at least ten foot above me. It looked like I was on some kind of cargo ship, I suppose I would’ve been able to deal with that, Somali pirates or something like that. Ordinary world, scary situation. I held on to that fantasy for six or so seconds, until my eyes could focus on the people in the cubicles. Yeah, I said people, shows how much I’ve acclimated to all this.

Straight ahead of me was quite possible the largest person I had ever seen. But also the strangest. His was even sitting down as tall as I was standing, he was almost as wide across, his skin was more like alligator, or gila hide than anything else. His eyes, were yellow, with vertical ellipses as irises. His mouth had thick lip like things and as it opened a row of sharp teeth. It looked like a he, but I was guessing, he was reptilian and I wasn’t expecting boobs or anything, but he worse purple trousers (very MC Hammer looking things) and dark boots. He saw me looking and his head tilted towards the side and he…. was that smiling? Next to him, in another cubicle, was a four armed creature, looking like a big insect, that stood like a human. It’s large compound eyes were red and the rest of it’s body was a muddy brown. No clothes to speak of, but a blue amulet sort of thing around it’s neck. Next to that was what looked like (doing the maths in my head) a 12 foot long millipede, with reddish body, black legs and eyes and one of the same type of blue amulet on it’s head. It was coiled in a ball. Next to that was a spider looking thing, all covered in shadows, it looked like it was munching on a leg. Next to me was a huge sort of mountain of cloth, some creature with thick rust coloured fur underneath, from the part I could see. I looked around more and things only got stranger. There were creatures of all kinds, a sorts of colours and shapes, smells and sounds. The walls seemed to be closing in on me and I started having a panic attack.

I collapsed back into the cubicle, shaking, panic setting in, I was praying to a god I didn’t believe in, wishing on stars I couldn’t see, for all of this to be not real. I wanted nothing more than to wake up in that crappy flat, in my crappy life. There are song lyrics by the Rolling Stones, you can’t always get what you want, but sometimes, sometimes you get what you need.

The wall to my right slid open, just enough for a cloaked figure to the be thrown in to the corridor, although I now realised it to be a room, from outside. The cloak was a dirty brown and the person underneath worse some kind of boiler suit sort of thing. From my left, two sort of blue-ish sort of creatures walked towards this new arrival. They were thin, very thin, with skin that looked like powder blue ceramic. Their eyes were like sharks, round and black, their mouths no more than slits and their nostrils seemed to be on the sides of their necks, rather than above their mouths. They wore what looked like silver togas, but had nothing on their feet, which had two long toes at the front and another two at the back. Their arms were as restrained as mine, but I could see their hands had two long fingers and on each side a thumb. They may have been male, but it could just has easily be female. Then I saw what they were doing. They started kicking the person on the floor. I wasn’t sure where I was, who anyone was, or what anyone’s deal was, but I knew hate when I saw it.  I stood up, unsteady at first, but that changed once I heard something I didn’t expect. “Please stop.” I understood it, when heard it, I felt a tickle in the back of my neck, where the pain had been. I strode in front of the two blue men and squared up. Yup that’s  right, one arm, hungover and shackled and I thought two aliens with hard skin was a fair fight. “Back off now.” They stared at me, at least I think they did, hard to tell to be honest. Their heads tilted. “You ‘eard. Back off, we don’t need this to get violent.” And that’s when they hit me. “Not need, want.” a raspy voice, but clearly understandable. There was a warm tickle at the back of my head as it spoke. “You’ll not hurt us… savage!” I heard that and saw red. Their skin looked ceramic, I’ve broken cups before. I charged at them.






Posted in Miscellaneous

Exiled part 2

More from my failed blog
My last days on Earth were not an ending, only the beginning.


I liked living in that town for the most part, people were friendly, but kept their distance, got a job in the local shop, found a decent off-license and to be honest, had little use for anything or anyone else. I set up a tv with netflix, got some comics and things that Jez recommended, to keep his memory alive more than anything else and tried to get on with day to day life.

It was hard, constant nightmares, shaking through the day. Interacting with anyone was difficult, I had no real purpose and felt that if I went died tomorrow, it wouldn’t make much difference. Then the nightmares started to change. There had always been lights in the sky and strange noises here and there, this town was a hub for UFO spotters, but I noticed the locals reacted as though this was new and much more frequent. My nightmares had changed to being experimented on, I’d wake up afterwards coated in sweat and strange marks, which I had assumed were caused by me in my sleep. It turns out, these nightmares weren’t that exclusive to me. I overheard a number of times people describing the exact same dream. There were lights in the sky at night and strange power outages in the town and other strange occurrences that only start to form a pattern as I look back in hindsight. Then one night, it all changed forever.

It was an ordinary night, got some booze from the off license, drank my evening meal and watched the 1979 Superman movie. I remember it from my childhood and enjoyed it again, in my booze addled state. It made me want to be that guy. Not the flying and strength and that stuff (though would be nice) but the fact he was a genuinely good person, who helped because he could and saw no problem with helping anyone and everyone. I wanted to be a good guy like that, I went to sleep/passed out, wishing I was a better person, not the broken angry mess I had become. As I was feeling bad about myself the alcohol did it’s job and I enjoyed some blurry oblivion. Sad truth, I don’t even remember what I was drinking.


I woke up, the sounds of explosions and the smell of burning flesh. There’s an old wive’s tale about it smelling like pork or bacon. There’s truth to that, the first time you smell it. It wasn’t for me, I knew what that smell was. I ran outside, stopping only to pick up my baseball bat. S’funny thing about England, almost no real interest in baseball as a sport, but sales of baseball bats are surprisingly robust. I ran towards the noise and smell of burning and I have absolutely no idea why. At the centre of the town was a tall man. I say tall, 6ft9 at the very least. He was a huge man in some kind of black armour and in his left hand was what looked like halfway between a large remote control and a microphone. Every time he squeezed it, there was a red flash and burning and screaming. I charged him.


I’ll be honest with you, in a life full of stupid decisions, that might fit nicely in the top ten as with his free left hand he punched me. I have never been hit so hard in my life. My head was spinning, my balance gone and to be honest, not even sure where he hit me. He advanced towards me, a black helmet covering his face. I swung the bat and watched it connect with the helmet, shattering the front of it and causing him to stagger. The second hit, I knew was at my face, I fell back, but his arm caught me and pulled me closer to his, now uncovered face. The first thing I noticed was three small triangular pieces of metal over his right eye, red and slightly glowing. The second thing was that he was completely without hair. No eyebrows, lashes or anything like that. He spoke to me, a voice thick and gutteral, raspy and growling.

“Sprechen Sie deutsch?” I stared blankly.

“Parlez vous francais?” I shook my head.

“Do you speak english?”


“Good, quarter cycle on this ridiculous planet, 2o nation-states, 20 languages and thousands of you apes, you’re the only one, who was worth keeping alive. I have what I need now, my partners can have you, while I exterminate the rest.”


“I can.” he hit me again, it went black.

When I woke, it would be far from earth.

Posted in Miscellaneous

Exiled part 1

Post from a blog that I am going to delete through lack of interest.

Before the sky turned red over Seltor.

Before the Empire broke the Freehold’s world.

Before the space between the stars was aflame.

Before I travelled further than any man before.


Before all that, there was Whitford.


I was broken long before I got to Whitford, a nice little town in the heart of Yorkshire. It’s the kind of place you see in Sunday night dramas. I had a reason to be there that didn’t mean much and stayed there for no reason beyond having nowhere else to be. Fate often decides on a whim to change the course of our lives. My life is full of such moments. Am I getting ahead of myself? Okay, I should start at the beginning.


My name is Marc Hayes, a product of the foster care system. I was one of the lucky ones I suppose. I was orphaned at 6 and spent a lot of the next ten or so years with a lovely couple called Clare and Brian. That said I was less than a well behaved boy and much less than an apt student. I was sort of clever, but unfocused and I went a bit off the rails in my teens. Who doesn’t? It came to a head one day and the choice was given. Do something constructive eg join the army or get myself in more trouble and end up inside. We’ve all seen the adverts, all watched the exciting holiday like images. It all looked like so much fun, no one tells you about being sent off to die in some armpit part of the world for no proper reason or being under equipped and terrified watching good friends cut to peaces, so I signed up. I was happy there for a while in the Lancaster regiment. I played 5-a –side, did some boxing, training and maneuvers and it was ok. Then one day, the call came in, Iraq. Before we left some new people joined the regiment, one called Geoffrey Costello sat next to me on the flight out there. He called me Sparky, I called him Gez and by the time we arrived at camp, we were best mates. He was a bit of a sci fi geek and I was a film buff, we talked all the time and I remember at the time thinking, was this what it was like to have a best friend?

Over there was hell, long moments of boredom punctuated by extreme moments of terror is one of the ways I have heard this described, it fits. We spent months on patrols, waiting for IEDs to take us out. On foot it was no better.  We made no decision to be there, that was the politicians and other policy makers, but we were there and could see how much the locals hated us. Some of the lads learned some arabic words, but I don’t think I wanted to know what they were saying. It was hell, but I had a gang of mates around and I had Jez, no substitute for women, but at least I wasn’t going through all this alone.


I don’t want to talk more about this part of my life, so will skip to the end. Several months into my stay there, we were checking out a suspicious building. Jez went in before me with the sarge and as I followed behind, I remember hearing the wire being tripped.  I don’t remember the explosion, or being thrown into the rest of the lads, probably the reason they made it. I do remember waking up with pieces of my best friend all over me and the searing pain running through my body. I was told I went into shock very quickly after that.

My next clearish memory was being in an army hospital. I  was on an IV feed and in a great deal of pain. I remember looking down at my left hand and seeing a bandaged stump. I’ll be honest with you, I don’t think I took that very well. Within a few weeks I was discharged and home. The worst part I thought, was behind me. Then came the nightmares. I was diagnosed with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and there was other symptons, they patched me up, gave me pills and then I was sent off to make my way in the world again, a world I no longer had much experience of living in. The next few years didn’t really go well to be honest.

I’ll spare you the clichéd elements of drinking problems, gambling problems, drug issues and that brief period of time when I lost a place to live, but needless to say, by the time I got to Whitford, I was a broken mess of a man, not the unmotivated teenage tearaway I was, nor the soldier I later became, but now I was just broken and lost.

Whitford has a two distinguishing features, the first is that it’s a mecca for british UFO watchers and the other is…. well that’s the thing, there is nothing else. There’s little industry, a few factories and shops, no great areas of oustanding natural beauty, it’s just a town in Yorkshire, where everyday people live. Well lived. I was there because I remember Jez wanting to visit there for the UFO stuff and it felt like unfinished business, one of the plethora of counsellors told me not to hold on to stuff too much, so I felt this was one I could cross off the list. I applied for a job at the local shop, rented a tiny flat and got on with my goal of using my free time to drink myself to death.

I suppose I look fondly at the time as the last time my life made a degree of sense.

Posted in Comics n Stuff, TV Stuff

Champions of S.H.I.E.L.D. Part 1: Season 1

First airing 27 September 2013 on the US network ABC, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was the first attempt to put the Marvel Cinematic Universe on the small screen with a spin off and 5 netflix series, it can be considered something of a successful attempt.


Main Cast:

Agent Phil Coulson –  Clark Gregg

Agent Melinda May  –  Ming Na Wen

Agent Grant Ward   –  Brett Dalton

Agent Leopold Fitz    – Ian De Caestecker

Agent Gemma Simmons  –  Elizabeth Henstridge

‘Skye’   –  Chloe Bennett

Recurring characters

Raina –  Ruth Negga

Victoria Hand   –  Saffron Burrows

John Garret – Bill Paxton

Ian Quinn  – David Conrad

Mike Peterson – J August Richards

Agent Antoine ‘Trip’ Triplett – B J Britt

Agent Maria Hill – Colbie Smulders

Edison Po -Cullen Douglas

Overview: Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was a gamble, a weekly prime time series, set in the Marvel Universe, but without any of the recognisable characters that could be used in future films, or where there was rights issues. Straight away that takes the Avengers, X-Men, Fantastic Four, Namor and a dozen other characters right off the table, add to that the ridiculous weekly schedule and a TV budget, it would be understandable if this was a brief failure. Right at the start, we are shown that the world has changed since the ‘incident’ when the Chitauri invaded a small part of Manhatten, the Avengers formed and the fantastic elements wherein were exposed to a terrified world.

Initial Status Quo: Our P.O.V. character is Skye, who lands on S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s radar after videoing a superhuman saving a woman from a fire. Quickly recruited for the response team is Grant Ward who is a very James Bond-esque agent. He is interviewed by Maria Hill to gauge his suitability to join a team led my an experienced agent named Coulson. Ward points out that he’s a level 6, so he knows Coulson was killed. Coulson walks in and announces that Ward is now a 7. He then recruits Melinda May from administration to act as pilot and takes Ward and May to the ‘Bus’ which is a converted Jet designated 616. Ward is met by newly field-rated scientist Fitz and Simmons, or Fitzsimmons for short. Investigating the superhuman, they encounter Skye, who helps out and is offered a consultant’s position on the Bus. For the first bunch of episodes, it’s very much like that, we get the team investigating weird cases, unexplained events and battle an organisation called Centipede who along with the ‘Clairvoyant’ are trying to develop super soldiers. In between we have the search for the truth of Skye’s past, the facts behind Coulson’s return and his time in Tahiti and all the time trying to train Skye as an agent. The concepts are fleshed out and the writing is decent enough and there is the sense of it all going somewhere as the Clairvoyant starts manipulating events. The synergy thing of it, is that during the season, Marvel released Thor: The Dark World and an episode fits in around that and then Captain America: Winter Solider happened.

The twist: Winter Soldier had the 3rd act twist that from the beginning, Hydra had infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D and had been working in the background to make the world more dangerous, so to enable their takeover. The series then stops being what it was and becomes something else. Ward is revealed to be Hydra and thus becomes part of the antagonists for the rest of the season and S.H.I.E.L.D is now considered the same as Hydra, so the team are now outlaws. Now on the run, with minimal resources and betrayed at all sides, this rag tag team becomes not a team within S.H.I.E.L.D but the remainder of the organisation. It ends the season, showing that not all of the threats are dealt with and not all of the mysteries are solved. There are also guest stars, minor twists and turns and ultimately the series ends on a high with a final scene that leaves you wanting to know what happens next.

In closing: I liked this series better on the second watch, not having to wait week by week for each new episode and after a wobbly first half dozen episodes it found it’s footing early on and was consistently enjoyable. It’s not high art or award winning drama and to be honest it’s not really trying to do that, it’s an entertaining show set in the spaces around Marvel’s movies, but more and more are separate from them. The main cast do a great job with Ming Na Wen and Clark Gregg playing wonderfully off one another and the younger cast aren’t as annoying as they could have been. Over all this is a TV show that is worth giving a try for anyone who has a passing interest in the marvel movies and the comics they came from, it’s not the comics, nor the movies, but it’s not bad because of them.

Next Time: Rebuilding S.H.I.E.L.D., rival organisations and terrigenesis.