Monday, 20 March 2017

Interview with Andras


How shall I start? Shall I start with the stars? The position they were in on the morning of my birth? Shall I tell you about the little stone house in the middle of nowhere, where my mother struggled alone through labour?

I remember putting the chickens away, shutting them in against the foxes, and the nights getting longer. I remember the stars in the cloudless sky. Bright, like eyes staring down at me; the moon barely illuminating the path that led into the small woods at the foot of the mountain.

Or shall I start with the position of the stars on the night I was born for the second time? Born into the life I have now led for nearly two hundred years. I was shutting the chickens away, making sure the door to the sty was closed, and I remember the snow swirling down from the dark sky. I knew that the morning would see the farm covered in a blanket of soft, white snow.

Our stew was cooking over the fire, my mother was knitting as she always did, and my two brothers and I huddled on the blankets. Even the dogs felt the cold that night, so we covered them in blankets too. Whenever I see a wool blanket, I think of that night. That's when we heard a knock at the door. It was late, too late for visitors. The knocking came again, more insistent. A voice called out, asking to be let in from the cold.

I was the one who got up. The one who went to answer the door. I often wonder what would have happened if one of my brothers had gone in my stead.

I don't really know what happened next. It's a blur of screaming and pain. I know that he killed my mother and brothers, but I'll never know why he didn't kill me. He left me for hours, on the floor, desperately clutching at my neck to stop the bleeding. 

I could hear him moving through the house, I assumed he was looking for anything valuable. I felt like laughing out loud - we had nothing of value in that small stone house.

He stood over me. His face was dark, his breathing heavy. He knelt down and picked me up as though I weighed no more than a child. I remember being confused, because he held me so gently. I was drifting in and out of consciousness, probably from lack of blood, but I do remember that he spoke to me. His voice was deep and soft.

It was a voice I'd come to know very well, a voice I'd even grow to love.

"Drink," he told me "drink and you'll live." and he held his wrist to my face. I felt his warm blood gush over my lips and into my mouth. I felt it burn as it hit the back of my throat and then as suddenly as my heart stopped and my body died, I felt more alive than I'd ever been in my whole life.

The night sang to me, a glorious song full of lust and loss, decay and fecundity. Everything and nothing. I felt time speed up as the world seemed to stop turning, and galaxies flashed through my eyes - the nebula of my stopped heart filled me, and was me.

Then I was in his arms and the dark night pulsed red and gold.

Friday, 17 February 2017

Dolls in rooms


If people were dolls, they'd need a house. Rooms. If people were dolls, they'd need a house.

Rooms for sleeping in, rooms for cooking in, rooms to for sleeping in, rooms for cooking in, rooms to watch television in. No fourth wall until you shut watch television in. No fourth wall until you shut people are not dolls, just as dolls say - people are not dolls, just dolls at the door, then what's that wall for? We open the door, then what's that wall for? We open the wall to look inside, see what the people behind the wall to look inside, see what the people are doing.

What are the dolls doing? Are they are doing. What are the dolls doing? Are they if they pretend to be all dolls. When a child plays, it pretends to be the mother, the father, but in the shadows - the mother, the father, in the shadows - alive only when we play with them, or only alive only when we play with them, or only when we shut the fourth wall?

I can hear you when we shut the fourth wall. I can hear you say - who knows what is waiting there silently. Silent. In the shadows. The shadows play along the wall. Imagine the shadows. The shadows play along the wall. Imagine you're in this house. We're both there right now. You’re in this house. We're both there right now. Dolls. People. But you're wrong. We are not people. We are all dolls. When a child plays, it closing and the space gets smaller.

It is red, I know you don't believe me but it's true. As soon as I started speaking, we started to go as soon as I started speaking, we started to go small, and go into the rooms. We are small, and go into the rooms. We are who knows what is waiting there silently. Silent.

Hold protective stance against them too. They're here, here right now. Look around. The cold. No one told me where to go. We're in this room. Small, here right now. Look all I told is all I know. Around. We're in this room. Small, compact space. The walls are close together. They keep compact space. The walls are close together. They keep closing and the space gets smaller.

It is ten red tears. Make-up, and it is too warm. We aren't the only slack ,and jaws are closed, 'No' is gone, 'Yes' is here. You are too warm. We aren't the disposed. Big dead dolls are walking upright, stumbling, feeling only ones here. You must be able to feel uptight. Paracetamol turns its back. Ibuprofen turning black. All them too. They're here, must be able to feel this light is hard to speak.

They are drawn to you, like ghosts on all fours. Big dead dolls and rotten factories, workers drawn to Saturdays. They are drawn to you, like ghosts gone endless Saturdays. Flip the switch, connect the dots to the pink. There is an orange glow - buried young are collecting plots. Making love in under it and pink. There is an orange glow for ten years, taken ten to make it.

Ultraviolet, really. Really, just behind the walls. Their eyes glow neon black, don't look back, don't look back. All when you're just behind the walls. Their eyes glow the time. The time is all yours. All yours when you're near, whenever you play with them, whenever time opening doors. All this time the time was you. Speak. Near. Whenever you play with them, whenever all yours.

All your time spent down living, moths to the light. Do not deny them. Big dead dolls and kitchen surfaces, children grown like moths to the light. Do not deny them. Happy nurseries. Take the time to shine the sun, that’s my advice to you. More of a warning.

Food and water and having fun. Smooth your skin, that’s my advice to you. More of a warning. Fashion eyes. Record your voice, it's saving time.

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Puclinella's story


Hello again, it's me, Mrs Judy. I've come back to visit you. I'm going to tell you my story.

My real name isn't Mrs Judy, I just use that name as I'm bored of my real one. My real name is Pulcinella. Perhaps you've heard of me? I come from the Commedia dell'arte. The Commedia was a type of theatre invented in the 16th century. The "comedy of craft".

I come specifically from Naples, where my character rose to fame. I had many friends, in the old days. Arlecchino, Pantalone, Pierrot. Perhaps you've heard of them too? I ate them.

My character evolved into many different forms - Punch of Punch and Judy, several trickster puppets - and my friends, the zanni, evolved into what you now know as clowns.

I was sick of being the puppet, sick of my idiot friends and their tiresome ways. That's one of the reasons I ate them.

I ate Harlequin, Pierrot and his idiot mate Pierrette, and all the sad clowns and mimes of the world. The ones you see now are mere shadows of what they once were.

I changed my voice. I hated speaking in that high pitched way. I hated my wife, I hated the Policeman, and most of all I hated that crocodile. They were all my children, and I hated them. So I ate them up, soul and all. That's the way to do it.

I hear that we clowns are making a comeback. You might have seen some where you live.

I know all about them.

Most of them are human. Idiot humans trying to scare children. Jumping on the bandwagon, you might say.

But some of them aren't human. Some of them are me. Bits of myself that I sent out into the world to finish the work I started so long ago.

So if you see one of them, if you see a clown in your local park, or the corner of your street, be very careful. It might be me. I might have come to eat you.

Tinkinswood witchcraft

I meant to post this ages ago, but I forgot to press "publish", it's been stuck in my drafts!

We went to Tinkinswood burial chamber on the weekend, and saw definite evidence of witchcraft. Good witchcraft though, so it's all good :)





Tuesday, 23 August 2016

I got married!

On 12 August 2016, Christopher and I got married and became Mr & Mr Murphy-Williams! 





We got married at City Hall in Cardiff, which is 18 years younger than our house in Splott!


It was a tiny, but perfect wedding. We only had immediate family - not just because we wanted to keep the costs down, but because we only wanted the closest people to share our day. Getting married is quite an intimate thing, to us anyway - declaring our love and commitment to each other felt really special, so we had our specialest family around us!




Our lovely photographer, Emily Wells (http://www.emilywells.co.uk/) absolutely captured the day. These are just a few of the photographs. 







My Mam and Dad made the wooden hearts as name places, and they doubled as wedding favours too! I sang a song with my niece - a song I wrote for Chris two months after we met - all about proposing to someone... turned out pretty accurate :)

The reception at Cameo Wellfield Road was perfect. Chris and I eat there all the time anyway, the food is always superb, so when we were looking for a reception venue we popped in to see if they could accommodate us. I can't say enough good things about Cameo. The preparation was amazing, the service faultless, and the food? It was delicious! Everything we'd hoped for and more. Sally and her team were friendly, efficient and so enthusiastic! Honestly, I think they were as excited and Chris and I were. If you're thinking of somewhere for a small, perfect reception, then you can't get better than Cameo Wellfield Road (http://cameoclub.co.uk/wellfield-welcome/)

Or if you want a delicious breakfast, or lunch, or Sunday dinner! They also do great cocktails, and the wine is lovely too!




Thursday, 21 July 2016

Oscar & me

Just wanted to share a photo of Oscar laughing, and me trying on a shirt. No reason other than we both look cool!


:)

Pokémon Go

I am addicted. It's such good fun. I am very fed up of all the snarky comments and people being horrible about it - it's a game! Nobody is forcing you to play it! Stop being such a misery guts over a fucking game! You're not being big or clever by not liking something that lots of people like - you just come across as grumpy and horrible.

It helps people with their mental health, it makes kids want to go out for a walk, and it's super fun! One of my favourite things is to take a screengrab when the pokémon is being cute!






Monday, 18 July 2016

Onion and oregano white soda bread



This recipe is so quick and easy. It makes a delicious loaf that's great with soup or stew, and you can use it for sandwiches the day after. It doesn't keep very well, but that's not a problem as it gets eaten up straight away!

Ingredients:
350g plain flour
50g self raising flour
2 heaped tsp onion granules
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt
1 tsp bicaronate of soda
1 tsp sugar
330ml buttermilk

If you can't find buttermilk, you can make your own really easily. Just add two tablespoons of lemon juice to the 330ml of milk, and give it a stir. The lemon juice sours the milk and makes it a bit thicker.

Method:
Preheat the oven to gas mark 8 / 230 C - very hot.
Sift the flour and add the rest of the dry ingredients to a mixing bowl, give it all a quick stir with a spoon.
Make a well in the centre and pour in the buttermilk. 
Bring together quickly to form a sloppy, wet dough. Do not over mix or your loaf will be tough!
Turn the dough on to a baking sheet, and scrape it into a round. 
Sprinkle some flour on the top, and slash three times with a sharp knife.
Bake for 15 minutes, then turn the heat down to gas mark 6 / 200 C, and bake for a further 25-35 minutes.
When ready, the loaf will sound hollow when tapped underneath.
Leave to cool on a wire rack - and don't worry if it feels tough, it softens when cooled.

Alternatives:
Rosemary and raisin
Garlic and cheese

I'm looking forward to trying different flavours.



Friday, 10 June 2016

Charlotte Church - The Last Mermaid - review

★ - five stars



I'm nearly at a loss for words. I don't think I've ever been to the theatre and enjoyed myself so much. I made a  venn diagram of some of the influences I could see last night:


I wasn't aware that it was a kid's show until today. It certainly kept the adults entertained, as it worked on more than one level. 

The set design and lighting was beautiful. Shimmery shiny, gossamer silk, seaweed and water... the costumes were gorgeous. sumptuous, on point and decadent. Church was obviously moved by Dylan Thomas' words in Under Milk Wood, the whispered opening lines sounded like Thomas. The three singers/dancers who represented the sea, sang in unison, like a Greek chorus. The first movement was just beautiful: frenetic, but restrained. Energy contained, and controlled. Then when the last mermaid was released from her (shell? Womb?) the music and dancing was glorious.


The plastic bag dance was perfect, and hinted at the eco message of the play. Is it a play? It is, by turns, a dance, a play, an opera, a mime performance, a puppet show. It is all of these things, and none. A whole that is so much greater than its parts. The drowning fisherman moved like a man underwater - I forgot I was in a theatre, I thought I was viewing a huge water tank. The man who played him should be nominated for some sort of underwater dancing award.

The whale! Oh my days, the whale. I loved the tenor and bass singers who sang the whale, I loved their costumes, and I loved the projected presentation of the whale. A little boy sat next to me, tugged his Mum's sleeve and said "Mammy! Eye!" before he dropped his marshmallows. I genuinely had goosebumps when the whale turned her into a human - then laughed out loud at the bit on the beach. "My legs. My legs in the sun!"

My friend Nina described the next movement as "the Depeche Mode bit", I described it as "the Kraftwerk/Daft Punk bit". It was a spectacular spectacular.


Then things got a bit darker. The last mermaid's cries of "my whale" brought tears to my eyes. Church's voice was at its strongest and surest here, full of grief and love.

I won't give away the ending, it was beautiful. None of the story was overtold. None of it was laid on thick. You either got it, or you didn't. And even if you didn't, you were swept along anyway.

It was fucking magnificent. I want the LP soon please, Charlotte.




Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Indian wall hanging

We got a beautiful Indian (we think) wall hanging from a charity shop. It's up in our dining room, which persuaded us to theme that room as our "world" room. We have lots of lovely things from all over the world - a hand carved aboriginal lizard that my Mamgu brought from the outback in Australia; some lovely Shiva and Ganesha  statues that I got from a lovely little hippy shop I used to work in; lanterns and frames and all sorts of things.

We're also going to make curtains out of recycled saris and scarves, to match the room.




Monday, 18 April 2016

Charity shop selfie

Part of my new job is to take photographs to illustrate the stories I write. I spent an afternoon at one of our charity shops, taking photographs of a professional photographer (who is also a volunteer) taking photographs of the shop volunteers. How very meta!

One of the photos had one of those perfectly timed, serendipitous moment; an older lady walked past and looked to see what was going on just as I preess3ed the shutter release. Perfect!


I also took a selfie, but I've changed my hair again since then :)


Gingerbread & other stories

While I (finally) finish  writing my novel "Greenboy", I thought I'd publish a collection of short stories. They're all loosely based on folklore and fairtyales, both rural and urban, Welsh and English, and almost exclusively queer. They're gay re-tellings of known stories, or completely made up contemporary tales for modern fairies.



Here's the contents/tracklisting:
 1. The kissing tree
 2. Fairy tale
 3. Hiraeth and the ladybird

 4. The three sons of Gwydion and Gilfaethwy
 5. Gwydion and Blodeuben
 6. Y Gwernfrenin (The Erlking)
 7. Footprints in the Sand

 8. Finding a bible
 9. How to make an egg
10. Gingerbread

11. Days of our lives
12. Reasons


The reason I say 'tracklisting' is that everybody who buys the ebook, will get a voucher to download a whole LP of music for free. Each short story will have its own music track, evoking the mood and feel of the story.
 
'Fairy tale', 'Days of our lives', and 'Finding a bible' have all been previously published, the rest have been marked as "too weird to publish" by all of the publishing houses I've shown them to. Everybody wants me to write modern gay urban - but I'm only one and a bit of those things! I was brought up on Tolkien and The Mabinogion; I was told stories by both Grandmothers of ancient Welsh Kings, fairies and goblins; it's in my soul.

I thought that to show that I have more in me than the modern gay urban being pushed on to me (yes I'm gay, and yes I live in the big city, but I'm not very modern - my soul is green) I'd self publish this, and make an album of weird music, to go with my weird words.

I'm planning to make it free for a while before it goes up to £1.50 or something. It's not for making money, it's for expressing myself. There will also be some poems in it, and maybe a knitting or crochet pattern too. Like I said, I'm a weirdo: unashamedly so!

Watercolour sketch

I just found this little watercolour sketch I made, ooh, probably about 22 years ago!

Splott beach

Well who knew there was a beach in Splott? I've lived in Splott for nearly ten years and I first heard about it a few weeks ago. I did a quick Google and one of the first hits was Doc Mortimer's blog.  I'm not going to link to it as I didn't think it was very nice, to be honest.

Yes the beach is made up of debris from old Victorian factories that fell into the sea, yes there are wave-worn bricks and bits of glass... but it's beautiful. I'm going to make a film about it. I love Splott, it's the place in Cardiff I've lived in longest, and where I've made my home. Chris and I are currently renovating the house, and have spent the last few years really getting to know the area. Shirley Bassey used to live here, and I walk the dog down the road she used to play on as a child. I walk him past grass verges that used to be pubs where working class people spent their wages on a Friday having a pint or two.

I'm trying my best to get Cardiff Council to reopen an unused park to turn it into a community garden for the area. I run a flytipping and litter action group called Tidy STAR. I sing in a choir in Splott. My band has band practice every Thursday in Splott. I'm an adopted Splott boy!








 
The Bugs Bunny is a cereal toy from 1984 - which means it's older than Christopher!

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Putz houses

I made some putz houses. I found instructions on Pinterest (though I did cheat and use a Sizzix die), and made seven of them. I love them! I made them to sell but I want to keep them all :)










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