Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Redder Than Roses at the Buxton Festival

Tickets now on sale for my new play Redder Than Roses - A Glimpse Of Mary Queen Of Scots at this year's Buxton Festival, world premiere - July 13th 2pm! Here's the link:

And here's links for two other plays I've done with the wonderful Wireless Theatre Company - available for FREE download is my surreal tragi-comedy MEDUSA ON THE BEACH, in which the head of the titular Gorgon from Greek mythology is found in a polythene bag on the beach of a modern British seaside town:

And for a nominal fee, there's BLOOD AND STONE, my scary variation on the true-life story of Hungarian bloody Countess Elizabeth Bathory - nominated for a Rondo Award (the horror world's Oscars) last year:

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Usher notes continued

Reflections of neon lights spangling Madeline's pale, almost white, hair.

As we crossed the river, our shared past came rolling back upon me.

Back at art school, the Ushers already stars of the scene, myself just an also-ran, but I made up the numbers at the parties they used to hold at the house of their widower father, a suburban vicar. Bluebeard's Castle & The Velvet Underground cranked up to full blast.

Loved Madeline, but never dared... not only because she was so intimidatingly, sublimely beautiful, but because there were rumours even then about the intensity of the relationship between brother and sister. Certainly neither one of them ever found a partner that anyone else ever knew about.

That one night... party at someone else's tenement flat - bed in the kitchen recess. Madeline crawling into bed in black bra and panties. Do you want to climb in? Ed (in Spiderman Y fronts!) sliding in beside her. 'Nothing' happened, barely touching, her soft pulse, dreams deep as the Clyde, the Atlantic even - that moment fresh in his head as he sat in divorce court ten years later. Most beautiful moment of his unbeautiful life.

Far end of old docks - warehouse on edge of quay, like granite bee hive. Inside, skeletons, Victorian clothes on rusty hangers like dusty angels, ragged maquettes. She pops pills, goes to bed. Ed alongside her.

Rod appears, furious. Your little bloodbath stole the show, all anyone's talking about.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Glasgow, Like A Stranger

Ted Gillman is coming home... to the murders that were never solved, the victim who didn't die, the lover who never forgot, the brother who disappeared but won't go away... and the city where every dark back street leads to the grave.

Now available from Amazon....

Doctor Who; The Lurkers At Sunlight's Edge

My Doctor Who audio drama still available from Big Finish, featuring Sylvester McCoy as the Doctor and essentially confronting the Doctor with a thinly disguised version of H.P Lovecraft and his nightmarish cosmos/mythos. Hear Ace embrace C.P Doveday as he shifts and slides in and out of monstrous extraterrestrial form: a spiky, slimy business. One day as a kid, living in the Glasgow suburb of Newton Mearns, I discovered the Lovecraft universe in one of the old US Skywald horror magazines and convinced all my little playmates that the entrance to the underground realm of the Shoggoths lay in a great broken end of water pipe feeding into the local burn: I stuck my arm in there, then screamed and pulled the arm out, a great bite mark conspicuous on the flesh (of course I'd already discreetly bit my own hand while my friends weren't looking). My own dramatic, if indirect, contribution to the Cthulu mythos was inevitable from that day on. Here's the Big Finish link:

Also available via Amazon. Here's their Marty Ross page:

Falling For The Ushers Sunday Morning Notes

Outside taxi... Glasgow sliding by in shades of burning leather and blackest oil.

The River Clyde... mightier than the Amazon, thicker than molasses, choked full of rusting ghosts.

Skeleton of a blue whale curled at one end of studio.

Bouncer's face like square sausage sweating in a frying pan.

Madeline: in that gallery full of spurious gestures, a single image with the
awesome, unnerving force belonging solely to the greatest works of art, the most unearthly gestures of nature - the image of Madeline Usher herself.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Heart Shaped Hole notes

One of my not-quite-schoolfriends once hacked another human being to pieces. Back in my PE class, we seemed to spend a lot of time sitting around the changing room and not doing PE (strikes?). There were two tough guys in the class - guy called Haughey was one. I actually liked him - his very Glasgow patter was genuinely funny and I'd sit quietly over the other side of the room noting his verbal panache with a writer's attention. But next to him there'd be Young-y, Gordon Young, a little imp of a guy who hardly spoke, who stared at existence with a kind of psychopathic malice that wouldn't even allow him to exchange a word with the world around him. Years later, I heard that he and a bunch of other guys had chased a promising student up a back alley in Busby and hacked him into pieces (with a machete?): it was a big case in the Scottish papers at the time. (What happened to him?) Heart-Shaped Hole 'hero' must be a sort of combination of Haughey and Young-y - the patter of one, the sheer hateful focus of the other.

Workbook Usher cont'd

1st sight of Madeline, hiding in corner by fire extinguisher.

Canapes less tasty after Rod slags Eddy off.

Chandelier has dead goldfish instead of crystal pendants.

Blogger: It's so exquisite, it's like looking death in the face, like watching Doctor Dolittle in a slaughterhouse.

She hardly seemed to have changed at all. My dream. My Madeline.

Bloody hand: Won't you kiss it better, just for old time's sake? It was a dare. Madeline had set me so many dares in the past. I'd never said no to any of them. Blood sweeter in my mouth than the canapes.

Their art: cheap jokes instead of howls of pain.

They're going to murder us. Tomorrow morning in the papers - they're going to murder us. Maybe it's about time. Like the man said: "we belong dead".

You belong with me. You always did. Although doubtless you forgot.

No, Eddy. I never forgot.

You've bled all over the fucking gallery. Well, at least there's some kind of statement of life and truth and pain - in among all the neon and bollocks.

You're still claiming ownership of Madeline's feminine side?

What kind of show is this where the only show of truth and passion is taking place in the ladies toilet?

Shut up and behave and get out there and SELL THE SHOW!

I can't sell myself any further down the river, Rod. It's getting terribly deep. And awfully cold.

My fingers are getting excessively acquainted with the back of your throat, sister dear.

Get out - get a taxi - and use the fucking back door!

I can't go back on my own....

Workbook; Falling For The Ushers

opening: "When you've been down and out in the artistic world for as long me, it's some small mercy to still be able to lig your way into the soirees of more successful artistic contemporaries."

The Whited Sepulchre Gallery: Ushers first show since relocating to Glasgow.

Trouble getting past brick shithouse doorman. Ushers agent Corinna Cleary sees him. "Ed Allan? I thought you were dead." Then I ought to be right at home at an Usher show. - Yes, darling. Stand near enough to the exhibits and we might get a decent price for you.

Exhibits: stuffed shark hanging from ceiling, belly hollowed, chandelier hanging from belly. Stuffed cow, back smoothed into dinner table. Word FOOD spelled out in neon in mouth, all teeth knocked out. Giant sculpture of a sperm, nails hammered into it (titled 'Fetish, doll'). Grand piano, dead rats heaped on the keys.

Critics thinks its passe, very 90s. Remember when Ushers used to REALLY shock us. One critic in particular - "thought you were dead etc."

Rod Usher amid circle of critics. Youngish - all those injections of other peoples' blood. like a slender white candle surrounded by popping flashbulbs. Critics niggling. Usher: no, this is our best work yet. True artists do one thing over and over again, but do it deeper every time. Only hacks change their approach.

He sees Ed, glad to get away from critics. A long time - thought you were dead. Well, it's a living. Rod went to buy card for cleaning lady - excess of lamb's blood on studio floor. Bought her a Thank You card - Jack Vetriano, ironically. Saw one of Ed's pretty watercolours of Loch Earnhead in a Force 7 gale: how lovely you go your merry way unswayed by fashion or the enormous mixed blessing of success. (Am I thinking of Dxxxxx? Yes, yes, yes)

Where's Madeline? Around - too busy to see you. You're not going to drag her down memory lane, are you? Trouble with third rate artists - memory lane's the only hang out they know. From the crit's response, you'll be joining me there soon enough.

He finds Madeline. Hanger on who runs Usher fansite. She cracks glass. Runs out. Hanger on sways into tray of canapes. Trail of blood spots. Critic saying: "Now THAT is impressive, like Pollock only more minimalist".

Ladies toilet. Bloody handprint on door. She's washing hand at sink, wincing with cold. What are you doing here? I'm a dead man, apparently, so your agent thought I'd be right at home. Helps her. Pulls out shard of glass with his teeth. Need something to bind it. She pulls off stocking. He wraps it around her hand. Smell of foot sweat and Chanel: exquisite. They almost kiss. She spurns him, angry at show: no blood in it, in any of those dead animals, all the blood's in here. She takes out rage on Ed, thumps him with fist.

Rod storms in: what are you doing to fuck up show? What's Ed doing there: it's one of the less imaginative pieces of art on display but that lady in skirt on door tells you its the Ladies. Well, you know us artists - we have to keep in touch with our feminine sides. Keep in touch with your own, not my sisters'. She swallows pills? He shoves fingers down her throat, makes her puke. Pukes over his arm. Have to get her out of here. You take her. Touch her and I'll stuff you and hang you from a ceiling with neon in your mouth: finally you'll be worth something artistically.

Ed guides Madeline out, wiping vomit from her chin and dress: in a state of bliss. Driving through Glasgow in a taxi: the beauty of the city by night, suddenly the same city they were young in.

Heart Shaped Hole notes

Them high-rise insects, clicking away in the walls.

Scraping wall apart.

Girl gunged all over with cobwebs and rags of cavity wall insulation.

Big eyes, shrunken face.

Doctor Eye - he was a doctor once.

The hotshit injection that has to go in straight throught the eye, clean through retina and optic nerve and through them into the forebrain.

Monday, 15 April 2013

The Storm Bride at The Flying Goose tomorrow

My storytelling show at The Flying Goose, Beeston tomorrow night (Tue 16th April) is SOLD OUT. Going to be a good night - the story THE STORM BRIDE is an 'ecological fairy tale' of my own devising... a full length story I'm just itching to perform live after a couple of weeks of solid rehearsal - and the whole thing is basically my birthday present to my beautiful wife Helen: I couldn't ask for a better muse.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

21st. Century Poe dates & times!

Scottish storyteller and playwright Marty Ross BBC radio's Ghost Zone and Catch My Breath, Doctor Who, Dark Shadows audio) radically updates Poe in three alternating full-length chillers for the 2013 Edinburgh Fringe: 

Monday 5th, Thursday 8th &  Saturday 10th August Falling for the Ushers transports Poe's haunted siblings to the contemporary art world. 

On Tuesday 6th & Friday 9th Aug. Heart
Shaped Hole sets the Tell Tale Heart pounding amid Glasgow tower block drug dealing. 

On Wednesday 7th & Sunday 11th Aug. Ligeia - This is (Not) a Love Song raises a post-punk diva from the dead. 

All shows 17.45pm at the Vault, Market Street, Edinburgh

Psychological terror, dark humour, perverse desires… dare you see all three? ‘Marvelously chilling’ (The Guardian on Darker Side Of The Border - Radio 4).

Sunday, 7 April 2013

21st. Century Poe - my storytelling show of radically modernised Edgar Allan Poe chillers is coming to The Vault@Paradise Green for this year's Edinburgh Fringe 5 - 11 August 2013. More details to follow!