Archive for July, 2009

The Purple Butterfly by R J Dent

July 31, 2009

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The whole class looked at the diagram drawn on the board.

          “Do you recognise it?” Mr Knott asked.

          A few hands shot up. A few stragglers followed.

          “Yes, Katrina?”

          At the mention of a name, the other hands went down, ready to spring up again should Katrina answer such an easy question wrongly.

          “It’s a butterfly, sir,” said Katrina.

          “Yes, it is. Well done.” From behind his desk, Mr Knott helped the class make the connection with the previous lesson.

          “How many of you remembered to bring your butterfly-catching equipment with you?”

          About two thirds of the class put their hands up. It was approximately the number Mr Knott had expected – and had prepared for.

          “The reason I asked is because it’s a beautiful day and I think we should all go out and try to find some butterflies, don’t you?”

          There was a chorus of unrestrained approval. At the back of the classroom, Marvin and his four cronies – Ralph, John, Nigel and Nabil – exchanged glances. Going outside meant an easy lesson. Going outside meant no work. Going outside meant a crafty cigarette. Going outside meant Read more…

The Purple Butterfly by R J Dent

R J Dent says: ‘I was very surprised, but very pleased, when The Purple Butterfly was published for being a shortlisted story in the Writer’s Muse short story competition. I wrote it because I wanted to try and say something about creativity, and about writing poetry in particular. Sometimes writing a poem feels like breaking through rock.’

The Purple Butterfly (2520 words)

Copyright © R J Dent (2007 & 2016)

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The Sensational Alex Harvey Band

July 16, 2009

 

The Sensational Alex Harvey Band (often shortened to SAHB) was formed in 1972 by singer and musician Alex Harvey.

Alex Harvey joined forces with guitarist Zal Cleminson, bassist Chris Glen, and cousins Ted and Hugh McKenna on drums and keyboards respectively.

 

 

The Sensational Alex Harvey Band

The Sensational Alex Harvey Band produced a succession of highly regarded albums and tours throughout the 1970s.

Their albums included:

 

Framed (1972)

Framed (SAHB)

Next (1973)

Next (SAHB)

 

The Impossible Dream (1974)

 

The Impossible Dream (SAHB)

Live (1975)

 

Live (SAHB)

Tomorrow Belongs To Me (1975)

 

Tomorrow Belongs To Me (SAHB)

The Penthouse Tapes (1976)

 

The Penthouse Tapes (SAHB)

 

SAHB Stories (1976)

 

SAHB Stories (SAHB)

Fourplay (1977)

 

Fourplay (SAHB - without Alex)

Rock Drill (1978)

Rock Drill (SAHB)

 

SAHB albums are patchy, but each one contains four or five great tracks. Live, SAHB excelled, and – due to the charismatic and theatrical presence of frontman Harvey – their performances were always electrifying. Some of the video clips above show just how good they were live.

 

There is also a superb recording of SAHB Live at the BBC:

 

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Alex Harvey died in 1982, a great loss to music. He left behind some amazing songs and performances. Here’s to the truly unique Sensational Alex Harvey Band.

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Elric of Melniboné – by Michael Moorcock

July 12, 2009

Elric of Melniboné is a fictional character created by Michael Moorcock.

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Elric is the antihero of a series of high fantasy books centring in the world of Melniboné. The proper name and title of the character is Elric VIII, 428th Emperor of Melniboné.

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Elric first appeared in print in 1961 in Michael Moorcock’s novella, ‘The Dreaming City’ (Science Fantasy #47 June 1961); subsequent novellas were reformatted as the novel Stormbringer (1965), but his first appearance in an original novel wasn’t until 1973 in Elric of Melniboné.

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While not the first antihero to feature in literature, Moorcock’s albino character is one of the best-known in fantasy literature. The novels have been continuously in print since the 1970s.

‘It is the color of a bleached skull, his flesh; and the long hair which flows below his shoulders is milk-white. From the tapering, beautiful head stare two slanting eyes, crimson and moody, and from the loose sleeves of his yellow gown emerge two slender hands, also the color of bone.’

This is the description of Elric by author Michael Moorcock in the first book, Elric of Melniboné. Elric was the last emperor of the decaying island civilization of Melniboné. Physically weak and frail, the albino Elric must take special herbs in order to maintain his health. In addition to herb lore, his character is an accomplished sorcerer able to summon powerful, supernatural allies by dint of his royal Melnibonéan bloodline.

Unlike most others of his race, who are described as being psychologically similar to cats, Elric possesses something of a conscience; he sees the decadence of his culture, and worries about the rise of the Young Kingdoms, populated by humans (Melniboneans do not consider themselves human) and the threat they pose to his empire. Because of his introspective self-loathing and his hatred of Melnibonéan traditions, his subjects find him odd and unfathomable, and his cousin Yrkoon (next in the line of succession, as Elric has no heirs) interprets his behaviour as weakness and plots Elric’s death.

Elric’s sentient sword Stormbringer serves as both his greatest asset and greatest disadvantage. Forged in the distant past, the sword confers upon Elric strength, health and fighting prowess, but does so by feeding on the souls of those struck with the black blade. Most of the Moorcock’s stories about Elric feature his relationship with Stormbringer, and how it – despite Elric’s best intentions – brings doom to everything the Melnibonéan holds dear.

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Here are the titles of the Elric series – in chronological order:


Elric of Melniboné

The Fortress of the Pearl

The Sailor on the Seas of Fate

Elric at the End of Time

Weird of the White Wolf

The Vanishing Tower (The Sleeping Sorceress)

The Revenge of the Rose

The Bane of the Black Sword

Stormbringer

The Dreamthief’s Daughter

The Skrayling Tree

The White Wolf’s Son

Elric in the Dream Realms

Michael Moorcock’s Elric: Tales of the White Wolf

Pawns of Chaos: Tales of the Eternal Champion

 

Michael Moorcock

Michael Moorcock

Along with Jerry Cornelius, Elric of Melniboné is one of Michael Moorcock’s greatest creations.


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Rodney Matthews

July 5, 2009

One of the world’s truly great artists is Rodney Matthews.

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Rodney Matthews was born in 1945 and grew up in the rural south west of England. He studied at Bristol Art College.

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At a young age, he fell in love with both the fantasy world of Disney and the natural world around him.

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Much of his work is a fusion of these two perceptions.

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Since graduating from art college he has been a freelance artist, except for a short spell with an advertising agency while he was still building up his portfolio of book cover illustrations.

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He has painted covers for many science fiction and fantasy books.

 

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These range from Stephen Lawhead’s Paradise War to the fabulous paintings of Elric and Lord Jagged for Michael Moorcock’s End of Time books.

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Rodney has painted album covers for many bands and musicians.

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His cover art has graced the covers of albums by Thin Lizzy, Magnum, Rick Wakeman, and Asia:

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A recent venture was Rodney’s animation project for children called Lavender Castle:

 

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It was subsequently animated for TV by Gerry Anderson.

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In 1990 Rodney was commissioned to produce illustrations for a new hardback edition of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland.

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Rodney Matthews works as a free-lance artist, and lives in Wales with his family.

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Rodney Matthews is the author /illustrator of several books, including: Yendor, In Search of Forever, Last Ship Home, Elric at the End of Time, Norse Myths and Legends, Greek Myths and Legends.

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Rodney Matthews’ work is challenging, provocative and thought-provoking. It is also very powerful and beautiful. 

rodney matthews

 

Rodney Matthews’ official website:

http://www.rodneymatthews.com/main.htm


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