Saturday, 1 October 2016

Sobriquets & Seasonal Winter Chills

First draft of 'The Mine Field' 

A short while ago I decided to commit to writing mainstream contemporary literature under three of my real names e.g. Christopher Richard Barker. However, I still feel the irrepressible urge to occasionally compose work of supernatural horror (I refer here to the more intellectually sublime edge of the genre, haunted by the likes of Robert Aickman, Angela Carter and Reggie Oliver). To that end I created the sobriquet 'Jane Fox'. 

As 'Jane Fox' my short story 'The Mine Field' won third prize in a recent British Fantasy Society short story competition; this tale is set at the former workings of Magpie Mine in the Peak District, Derbyshire. If you have ever visited the site you may have been struck by its strange, eerie atmosphere. Also as 'Jane Fox', my longer piece 'Better Than Borley Rectory' is soon to appear in Egaeus Press's 'Midwinter Entertainment', alongside work by the superlatively decadent Vincent O'Sullivan

'Better Than Borley Rectory' recounts the experiences of a television crew who seek to film a documentary about the famous ghost-story author M.R. James at his former family home in Great Livermere, Suffolk. It is based upon my personal visits to the house and a real-life ghost story told to me by one of the subsequent residents. My fictional characters discover the childhood diary of M.R. James under one of the beds, and their plunderment of this dangerous volume unleashes a series of disturbing supernatural incident. 

The story is an homage to the televised ghost story as perhaps best exemplified by the BBC's excellent 'Ghost Story For Christmas'.

Still from 'The Signalman' (BBC 'Ghost Story For Christmas', 1976)

"Now listen to me, Hobart. We are going to inject you with a dangerously high dose of methyl amphetamine, but first we'd like you to sign a waiver exonerating us of all responsibility, just in case you decide to do something stupid - like jump out of a third floor window."

From "Night Of The Demon" (1957.)

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

What's that noise?

If there's one thing guaranteed to make my blood boil - apart from, that is, a champagne socialist pretending he has a conscience, or a racist UKIPER feigning patriotism as a mask, or the way that supermarkets manipulate my time by inconveniently locating milk and bread in the farthest corners of the retail galaxy - it is having to wear a blood pressure monitor clamped to my arm for 24 hours. Squeeze that exquisite agony every 30 minutes.

Saturday, 6 August 2016

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Jimmy Driving Round Toys R Us

The following movie contains images of strong autistic cuteness. It depicts my then 9 year old son driving round Toys R Us in Colchester back in 2012. Further cast members inc Edwin & Denise as themselves. 


(With apologies for the poor video quality.)

Saturday, 13 February 2016



February is the shortest month,
Stretching to barely four weeks
That is, twenty eight days
Most years (three in four)
Show me the shadow of the proposer, who
Rises to stalk you, on
The 29th of Feb., and
I shall show you a face full of fear.

Ta ra ra boom de eh
Ta ra ra boom de eh
Read some poetry today
My mind flew away
Ta ra ra boom de eh
Ta ra ra boom de eh
Etcetera ad infinitum.

I, Morrissey, I who have forsaken all
Enacted upon this same patio or decking
You see on all the makeover shews
"Oh push me, Stephen
Push me pull you
Shove me in the rose bed
And let's call it quits"

No Mike, no. I wrote them ditties
Compos├Ęd upon my ruffian antiqued rug
Wry, poignant, biting words
But perhaps – perhaps - just everso archly smug
While you – you! - just thumped along
Dum dum dum dish dum dum dum dish
Dum dum dum dish dum dum dum dish.
See, it wasn't that hard, was it

The judge was a fool
I wrote a song castigating him to hang upon mine own petard,
But I lost it
I lost it
I lost it down the back of
The sofa.
('Of course sir, no animals were harmed during the construction of this'.)
On the advice of my brief – he warned of slander
'Oh just shut and take my money then.'

'Anyway, I said, they don't want to
Sell smut like that in here, not
When there are schoolchildren and grandmothers
Buying jamboree bags and ten Capstan Double Strength
And Panini stickers for their albums, supercars, footballers and the like
I mean it stands to reason don't it'
'Take my Brian for example, he don't want
For nothing in that department
If you know what I mean
Nutu nutu risum risum
Every Saturday it is, regular as clockwork
Always after Match Of The Day never before,
(Thank god for the Bristol Cream I say, Lord knows I need it to get in the mood)
Just as Father O'Brien advocates
You know Father O'Brien
Him what's always got that young cousin staying
You know the one, 'Angel Eyes' the one with the boyish smile
He could almost be a girl
Anyway where was I oh yes should we run out of matches or milk or a visitor call unannounced
(Present company excepted of course
And do pop round for a slice of fruit cake tomorrow, I ground fresh nutmeg special)
Well then I have no choice, do I
"Bry", I say, "Bry love, do be a dear and pop down to the cornershop,'
'It seems we are wanting a drop o' milk."
"Rightyo," he pipes all cheery like,
Paper quickly tossed in the fire familiar slippers briskly closeted,
Skip in his step to the coat stand in the hall because it means
A swift half 'n half at the Jack 'O Knaves
Where it's all
"Who's running at the weekend Desert Orchid you say hmm might be worth a punt"
"How's the missus good good I'm pleased to hear that how's mine you ask well mustn't grumble there's a war on after all ha ha"
(Slaps leg, titters 'n chortles, oh yes there's nothing I don't see)
"Anyway I'd best be off no doubt I'll be seeing you (drum roll) on the other side!"
(Slaps leg again, titters et cackles, exeunt.
"That Brian, he's a card, make no mistake"
"Cunt more like. He still hasn't divvied out them winnings from Spot The Ball even if it were 'is cross what won it.")
But when he comes back I just know
            I just know
He's been looking at that top shelf
You know the smut shelf
Where glossy young tarts laugh at your wrinkled yellow marigold life
Stealing husbands' eyes from childfat wives
It's in his eyes, you see, it's in his eyes, that mordant smoulder'
'That unslaked thirst for distant waters
No, I tell him firmly, no
It's fried liver on Wednesday and leftover treacle tart
I'm not dressing up and pretending
To be a wicked nun for you Mr Brian Smallbridge.
And if you don't like it you should have
Married Anne with the blue silk blouse.'
'No thanks Amjay is it all right if I settle up with you Friday
As usual, coo thanks you are a dear
Ta ra love if I don't see you tomorrow for fruit cake I'll see you at the bingo.'

Dry caked field iced with mud
Burning sun Latin quotes by Pliny
Homer, Socrates and that other one.
How the stalk craves the light
Is how I crave fallen sight
Blinded, withered, parched, quite
How I run with this dead veg thing
Perplexes me.
I am not a farmer.

This morning I saw you walking backwards in my dream
It was funny watching you walking backwards in my dream
It seemed -
It seemed -
As though I might
                               have been

Always always always I said
Always you beat me
Always you hit that flying saucer that blips blips blips along the top
While I
I always miss
Standing beside that electric confession box
Egyptian blue, Prussian, cobalt
(You may have heard of those
But Caeruleus does it for me)
Twisting wrenching zapping alien code
Quickly dashed down coke and puff of a Dunhill
Then back to the purple slaughter, back
Your face reflected lividly upon the shimmering glass
Levantine opal glimmer, ivory missile flash,
Brut, Denim, Old Spice, cheap fag smoke
Bus stop diesel fuming through the draughty door
Chink and tinkle of silver and slotted gold
Is this my youth?
Is this my future?
Your quest for extra lives
'Do you want a go?'
What me
I never win
What's the point of taking part when you never win

C.R.Barker 2016