Warning: Contains Language
DISC I: THE SHORT CUTS
 The Song of the Audience [1:38]
 Nicholas Was ... [2:35]
 Babycakes [4:54]
 Cold Colours [16:11]
 The White Road [20:57]
 Banshee [25:41]
DISC II: THE LONG HAUL
 Chivalry [32:55]
 Troll Bridge [28:35]
I stopped acting when I was sixteen, following a review of the school play I was in - it was called Little Malcolm and his Struggle Against the Eunuchs - in the school paper, by my good friend Dave Dickson, in which he pointed out that my accent began in Yorkshire, where the play was set, and gradually wandered home to my native Sussex as the play went on. Coincidentally Mrs. Whitaker's accent likewise wanders around England. Hi Dave. On the last signing tour I did, someone gave me a copy of an academic paper on feminist language theory, which compared and contrasted Chivalry, Tennyson's The Lady of Shalott, and a Madonna song. I hope one day to write a story called Mrs. Whitaker's Werewolf, and wonder what sort of papers that might provoke. I love reading this to live audiences. It's a very friendly story.
Not much to say about this. It was written for a publication to benefit People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. I think it makes its point.
For the record I wear a leather jacket and eat meat, but am quite good with babies.
Nicholas Was ...
This is a Christmas card. Exactly a hundred words long (102, including the title).
I love what Dave McKean did with this piece - the noises underneath it are wonderful: an aural portrait of electronic hell. It's a poem I wrote in 1989. It's about the end of the 80's, about London, and computers and the world of finance and the city, and black magic. Adam Stemple also did some remarkable things here.
This story was nominated for a 1994 World Fantasy Award, although it didn't win. It was written for Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling's anthology Snow White, Blood Red, a collection of retellings of fairy tales, for adults. I chose the tale of the Three Billy Goats Gruff. Had Gene Wolf (on of the very best writers in the world) not take the title many years earlier, it would have been called Trip Trap. It's been reprinted a number of times. I first read it before an audience in New York.
The White Road
The most recent piece in here, both in the writing and the recording. I wrote it after the rest of the stuff on here had already been recorded. Preston Smith, who twiddled the knobs in K.N.O.W.'s Studio M, where this gallimaufrey was committed, offered helpful suggestions. And, as you can hear, I had much too much fun doing it. This story is based on a number of old English folk-stories, particularly a wonderful gruesome one called Mr. Fox which I first read as a child in a paperback collection of horror stories for kids, but also on a variant of that story called Doctor Foster, in the Penguin book of English Folk Stories, and on all the strange Chinese folk tales in which ultimately, everything comes down to Foxes. (The White Road will appear in print in, and was written for, Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling's third adult fairy story anthology, Ruby Slippers, Diamond Tears. )
This isn't quite a pantoum (which is a verse form in which lines two and four become lines one and three of the following stanza, changing meaning as they go, if anyone's interested) although that was what I'd set out to write. In Banshee, three-quarters of lines two and four become the whole of lines one and three on the next go around. It is sung here by the Flash Girls, a gothic folk duo consisting of Emma Bull and The Fabulous Lorraine and this version is the only thing on the album not produced by Adam Stemple. (Adam did produce the version of this song that appears on the Flash Girls album Maurice and I. ) It's about love, or possibly death.