AM Audio Media Interviews With Rikki Wright & Andrew Chalmers!

AM Audio Media | Doctor Who Dark Journey Radio Drama |http://amaudiomedia.com/subscribe

It’s finally here – the AM Audio Media interview with Rikki Wright and Andrew Chalmers!

If you’re not familiar with the fine folks behind the Doctor Who Dark Journey radio drama, check out the embedded #TWTT video or podcast below.  You can also visit the official AM Audio Media web site, home to delicious Doctor Who fandoms.  Skip ahead for breaking news from our friends at AMAM and the interview double-header.  It’s FANTASTIC!

As some of you know, I had a recent hard drive crash right after one of my computers started to act up.  We’ve been recovering from the losses but fortunately we had backups an the support of fine folks like Mike T.  He’s even sending us some new Doctor Who sound bits to use on our soundboard and post-productions.  The one and only MA Tamburro also added some breaking Whovian news that is somewhat exclusive so – YAY!

BTW We’re planning a launch of Series 2 of Dark Journey at the end of the month if you’d like to mention that to your listeners. We’d love to be on the show at some point in June and intro a full new episode.

So it turns out we are posting these interviews right on time, after all (PHEW).  Stand by…  AM Audio Media nterviews warping in!

Doctor Who Dark Journey HD Wallpaper - 1920x1280 - Art By SJA 2015

Download this FREE Doctor Who HD wallpaper, courtesy of AM Audio Media!

I’ve always been a fan of third person games, from the Doom and Duke Nukem era through Goldeneye through to current incarnation of the Grand Theft Auto series.  I like driving games too so when you combine them into something like Driver or Getaway, that’s what really cranks my chain… or floats my boat or… erm… let’s just say I’m particularly fond of them.  ~Rikki Wright a.k.a. “Just Fred”

Three Pantomimes & Interchangeable Pertwee Head Scarecrows

TWTT:  Before we get into your work with Dark Journey, tell us a bit about yourself. What do you do for fun, for example?
Rikki Wright:  For fun, I run marathon’s to raise money for various charities, I am an activist for certain group that promotes freedom of speech but who shall remain “anonymous”, and I actively get involved in the rescue of puppies from illegal dog fighting rings.  Really?  No, not really.  I rarely leave the comfort of my Lazy-Boy recliner where I spend most days as close to horizontal as possible while watching reruns of 1980’s game shows, eating cheesies and scratching myself with a medium sized stick (interestingly I found that a large stick whilst providing greater coverage was too heavy and hence required a greater consumption of cheesies to generate the energy to use properly).  Really?  Also no, not really.  The reality is almost less interesting than both of those extremes.  As a father of 2, I spend most of my “spare” time running kids from swimming lessons to hockey practice and birthday parties.  I am on the board and coach at my local rugby club and in those rarest of moments when I do find time for myself, I pretend to be an actor both on stage, on camera and in the case of Doctor Who Dark Journey, behind a microphone.  Occasionally I turn my pen towards paper and have written (and produced) three pantomimes. 
What does Doctor Who mean to you?  Does it have a special place in your heart?
As a child growing up in the 80’s in England, Doctor Who was quite popular and so when I think of Doctor Who (the classic era) it reminds me of my childhood.  More recently however, with the latest regenerations of the Doctor, it reminds me that my wife often goes to bed much earlier than me and thus I get free reign to watch whatever I want on TV!  Mixed emotions then.
EDITOR’S NOTE:  I know the feeling well..  My family hogs up the big screen TV..   But, on a positive note, I got my anti-sci-fi wife mildly interested in Doctor Who – it’s a start!
How did you come to be involved with the Dark Journey radio drama?
I became involved in Dark Journey after answering a casting call I came across online. I auditioned over the phone reading from a play I performed in when I was about 15 years old… so just a few years ago.
What is your fondest memory of recording with the cast (thus far)?
Andrew and I share a very similar sense of humour (or as he would pronounce it “youmer”) – recording with the cast was always a challenge as Andrew and I would crack jokes (often with double entendres providing the punchlines).  The challenge was always continuing recording after a good giggle and trying to keep a straight face.  I’d regularly have to close my eyes or turn away from Andrew to avoid making eye contact and cracking up again.  Unprofessional… maybe! I will not miss the small and overly warm recording studio that somehow managed to create the most unusual smells with no apparent source material.
Who is your favorite Doctor?   Least favorite?
I have a romanticised idea of liking the third doctor Jon Pertwee because of another TV character he played on Worzel Gummidge (a scarecrow with interchangeable heads!) I really should go back and watch some of the episodes from that era, particularly as he is often compared to the current Doctor Peter Capaldi whom I have a difficult time warming to.  If I were to pick a favourite Doctor (who I can actually remember clearly), without a doubt it would be Tennant. In terms of least favourite Doctor, I will probably be lambasted for this but I didn’t like Matt Smith, too quirky and full of self importance… although that could describe most Doctors.

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“Black Jester”, A Poem For Kind People In An Unkind World

Black Jester, story by Lord_Rakdos a.k.a. Andrew Murray. Art is not the property of GeekyAntics network or author.

I tell jokes to hide a sad soul

I laugh to hide a crying child

I listen so no one else is alone

I wear bright colors to distract from red-rimmed eyes

I am kind because I don’t want others to suffer

I teach so others may learn from my mistakes

I lie so no one else need feel my sadness

I help so no one else need be like me

I am the Black Jester

 

See more of  creative works by Lord_Rakdos a.k.a. Andrew Murray at:

http://geekyantics.net/forums/topic/black-jester/

Mini Zombie Photo Journal: #WalkerStalkerCon #Atlanta 2014 | #TWTT #HorsePLAY

UPDATE:  Had some tech issues.  All sorted out now.  This was supposed to be a early morning piece.  My bad!

Day One of Walker Stalker Con was pretty darn awesome.  It’s already almost time to head back but here are some quick highlights.  I apologize in advance for some of the crappy photos but, hey, it’s something!

 

IMG_20141017_131131

 

Eric and James of The Walker Stalkers podcast kicked off the event sharing a brief history of the event.  It’s hard to believe it hasn’t even been two years since WSC started.

 

They discussed how the event started as a simple fan meetup.  The expected turnout was 1K but, instead, over 10K people showed up.  This year, they are expecting over 50K at the event.  Their growth has been amazing and inspiring!  This reminds us that podcasts are still ripe opportunities.

 

20141017_132529

 

Walker Stalkers LIVE reminded us that this is a true fan event.  Eric and James offered General Admissions attendees a chance at a free VIP upgrade by playing The Walking Dead Family Feud.  It was awesome seeing old TWD cast members sitting right there with the fans.  The energy and wit the actors brought was refreshing and it really set the tone for the event.  This is huge considering Dania, a.k.a. Michonne, cancelled at the very last minute and other issues overshadowed Day One.  To that I say “shame on you” to the managers and agents who failed to see the importance of this event.

 

20141017_131839

 

Lots of great surveys were featured in this game of Family Feud.  The big one is shown above, when contestants were asked, “What are the biggest threats in The Walking Dead?”  Sadly, spoiled food and squirrels did not make the board.  Doh.

 

20141017_134137

 

The main panel room on the 3rd floor of AmericasMart building 2 is huge.  There is not much scheduled in the space, which is a shame, but the setup is nice.  Great lighting and set pieces.  This event space in Atlanta is impressive and spacious, yet it’s not overwhelming like, say, Jacob Javits Center in NYC.  There is a certain warmth here.

 

20141017_141321

 

The next panel I caught was Emory University’s Zombie Ethics discussion.  They went deep on the allure of The Walking Dead and what defines ethics under normal or apocalyptic circumstances.  Are zombies sentient enough to be subject to ethics ?  Is mistreatment of zombies animal cruelty?  Does choice and free will determine the responsibility of ethics?   I really enjoyed the discussion so expect a write-up on it.  There were audio issues but the presenters and experts were wonderful so I stuck around for the whole thing.

 

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Walker Stalkers 100th Episode & UNofficial Walker Stalker Con 2014 Guide

Greg Nicotero At Walker Stalker Con Atlanta 2013

Walker Stalker Con Atlanta is COMING!

 

UPDATE 10/17/2014:  There are a few last-minute  cancellations.  The latest was Dania G, known to us hardcore The Walking Dead fan as the super hero ninja – Michonne!  It’s a bit disappointing but there’s still much to check out and tons to do.  See you soon!

With just a few days til Walker Stalker Con Atlanta, we figured it’s time to share some love with our fellow zombie fans, podcasters, and cosplay geeks!  First and foremost, congrats to Eric and James on their 100th episode of The Walker Stalkers podcast.  If you haven’t checked it out yet, we’ve embedded the MP3 player below:

Eric & James From The Walker Stalkers Podcast With Robert Kirkman

Here are some of my favorite nuggets from The Walker Stalkers Episode 100:

  • TWD companion series has been ordered for pilot. It’s official! Robert Kirkman can’t spill the beans (though he would love to) but he can confirm that it’s not in Georgia.
  • TWD was one of many projects Kirkman was working in back in around 2003. He admits it was luck that TWD stuck. It was released under the Image label as part of a big horror push. Initial sales were abysmal. Storylines were rushed because Kirkman thought it would not last. By around issue 3, it started to gain traction, much like the show.
  • Robert Kirkman says, “The Walking Dead is essentially the Twilight of zombie series… It’s essentially a soap opera.”
  • Robert admits influence from Quentin Terentino, Stephanie Meyer, and others.
  • The Kirman workflow: bouncing around projects.  This keeps him invested and engaged so he does not burn out on any one project. If you are curious about Kirkman’s other projects, check out Invincible.
  • Robert Kirkman despises cameos because it ruins immersion. He realizes people seem to love it but he can’t do it. He promises he will never do it because it feels arrogant to him.
  • Kirkman says, if he had to cosplay as a TWD character, it would be Michonne.  The poncho is the closest thing to his “dress for comfort” approach.
  • Kirkman on clothing: “Pajama pants are to an extent my work pants… I like to feel to an extent I am naked.”
  • Kirkman admits he is not a music aficionado. He does dig Neil Young.  “My Top 5 is messed up Neil Young, Nick Cave, Presidents of the United States of America, George Michael (Faith album, not WHAM), and AC/DC.”
  • Tori Amos, Marilyn Manson, and Natalie Merchant are the only three concerts he ever went to.
  • Eric and James reminisce about the early days of The Walker Stalkers podcast and how far they’ve come along.
  • The trolls of yesteryear are called out..  Where are they nowadays?

Robert Kirkman is an inspiration to me because he is an everyday kinda dude.  He’s approachable, down-to-earth, and pretty darn humble.

What’s important here is that The Walking Dead wasn’t an overnight success but he stuck with it.  That’s success in simplest terms: it’s a marathon, not a sprint.  Sometimes, you just get lucky..  So don’t give up, geeks!

Similarly, Eric & James experienced great success with their podcast and eventually turned a fan meetup into a massive event.  It wasn’t always easy.  Like many creative works that start off as a  labor of love, there were critics and trolls.  But here they are..  You guys did it – CONGRATS!

Walker Stalker Con Atlanta 2014 - Lauren Cohan!

It’s not too late to get your tickets for Walker Stalker Con Atlanta 2014!

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POLL: #Whovians, Join Us For Tea? #DoctorWho #TimeyWimey @Yogizilla @Faryna

Matt Smith From Doctor Who Enjoys A Nice Cup Of Tea

It’s only been about three weeks since we did our pilot episode for Timey-Wimey Tea Time and it feels like so much longer..  The community is bustling, the love is blooming, and there is adventure around every corner.  We are humbled, excited, and eager to keep this going.  We hope you continue to join us for tea or your beverage of choice!

KarenGillanDoctorWhoClip1-amy-pond-enjoying-a-nice-cup-of-tea

Everyone wants to have tea with Amy / Karen.

This project is an evolving thing.  It’s organic because the community is every big a part of the experience and we go well beyond the video and audio podcasts.  The new friendships and opportunities we are forging together warm our hearts.  As a work in progress, we will continue to improve, experiment, and innovate…

…And it all happens with your help!

Please take a moment to complete the poll at the end of this poll so we can figure a few things out.  We want to serve the Whovian community and our fellow creatives better!

If you haven’t checked out our extended podcast cuts on YouTube, here is the playlist.  We include pre and post-shows here and there just because we are just so excited to share our hearts and souls with you..  Better yet, there’s tons of content already to tide you over and make up for our brief holiday, as some of you so cleverly hinted at!

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Ye Olde #Hearthstone Tavern and Inn #YOHTAI Issue No. 4

Welcome to my parlor!

Naxxramas Intro Screen

Handshakes, Nods and Shout Outs

Welcome (and welcome back) to Ye Olde Hearthstone Tavern and Inn. Our friend’s lists are growing, our kung fu getting funky and our murloc sammiches be mighty.

We’re a community that’s about Hearthstone. Hearthstone is an Online Collectible Card Game (CCG) that is easy to learn, yet challenging to master.

Connect and participate on Facebook, Steam and Horseplay Live!

Facebook Group

https://www.facebook.com/groups/hearthstone.heroes/

Steam

http://steamcommunity.com/groups/_hearthstone

You must check out the following awesome podcasts:

A Worthy Opponent Podcast

http://holosuitemedia.com/review/a-worthy-opponent-turn-30-the-magical-mystery-tour/

 Horseplay!

http://allgames.com/podcasts/horseplay

 
Yogizilla Rocking the Arachnid Quarter

Yogizilla Rocking the Arachnid Quarter

Curse of Naxxramas is Live!

The Naxxramas patch downloaded for several of us at GANG and the adventure began. Some breezed through the Arachnid Quarter in an hour but most do not. The Naxxramas AI seems to be cunning and smart. Pay attention to the cards – the new ones are surprising. If you have never ranked better than 20, Naxx may be tough on Normal mode.
Naxx Intro 2
Lag has been a little fierce in the first hours of Naxxramas, but we’re hoping it gets better soon. During lag, it takes a little longer for actions to execute. A day or two, however, is expected as everyone digs into the Naxx.
Bugs:Hogger doesn’t spawn taunting gnolls at the end of turn. This was fixed by 7:30 EDT.
Report your bugs to Stan (see email addy below) and he’ll add them here.
Below is a look at what you’re up against.

Anub’Rekhan

Anub'Rekhan

Anub’Rekhan

Anub’Rekhan’s hero power: (Skitter) Summon a 3/1 Nerubian (Normal)
Anub’Rekhan throws out a whole lotta low-life minions if given half the chance. Don’t let that happen.
Irrelevant?

Irrelevant?

The reward for defeating Anub’Rekhan is a cute little number: the Haunted Creeper.
Anub'Rekhan Reward

Grand Widow Faerlina

Faerlina’s Hero Power: (Rain of Fire) Fire a missile for each card in your opponent’s hand. (Normal)
Faerlina's Defeat

Faerlina’s Defeat

The reward for defeating the Grand Widow Faerlina is a cute little number: the Nerub’ar Weblord.
Faerlina Reward

Faerlina Reward

Maexxna

Maexxna

Maexxna

Maexxna’s Hero Power: (Web Wrap) Return a random enemy to your opponent’s hand. (Normal)

 

The reward for defeating Maexxna: Nerubian Egg


Maexxna Defeated

Maexxna Defeated

Reward for the completion of all three Arachnid Quarter bosses: Maexxna

Arachnid Quarter Reward

Arachnid Quarter Reward

 

Hearthstone News

Ranked Play Season 3 Card Back: The Magical Mystery Tour 

@aworthyopponent is guilty for proclaiming the Season 3 card (Joyful Rainbow) as “The Magical Mystery Tour” card back. Contrary to @aworthyopponent’s suggestion, mind altering drugs are optional when you play this card back.

As I’ve said before, new seasonal card backs are lower hanging fruit for lesser murlocs. But until we come up with some OP suggestions, what’s a greater murloc to do?

We are thrilled, however, to have the A Worthy Opponent Podcast team join GANG! Welcome to the awesome, Autumnsbane and Blacklace.

Ranked Play Season 4 Card Back: The Dread

The Dread

Love it?

Me, no.

2014 Hearthstone World Championship

$250,000 in prizes for the epic plays! Do you have a shot at a cash prize? Be a top 16 Legend player. The official competition rules are still here:

https://bnetcmsus-a.akamaihd.net/cms/content_folder_media/ETLD1OPHY4D31400717954136.pdf

Thank you

Say anything. Share anything. Almost anything – let’s not go XXX, ok. [grin]

Open Pack Hearthstone Faryna 4

 

Drink with me, friend. Share with us. Words, dreams, fantasies or art. Send it to me (Stan) at stan.faryna@gmail.com

Good luck, Interloper!

Awesome stories by mad geniuses here on the GANG!

One Red Shoe

Everything You Do Is A Snowball

What can Monty Python teach you about writing?

Do zombies do face palms? by @Faryna

Just because she’s dead doesn’t means she’s stupid.

FlasFiction

by Stan Faryna
@Faryna

Stan Faryna & The Blue Sky - Stan The Marketing Man!

The back of her head was pressed against the door, she did a face palm. Was it an aha moment? Or was it an acceptance of an inescapable inevitability? Or a physical reflex of memories or déjà vu.

Do zombies do face palms?

She was beautiful. It didn’t matter to him that her irises were silver or her pupils were rings of yellow and black. It didn’t matter that her lips were violet without lip stick. Her form and features were perfect.

The disease had not robbed her of everything. There were also memories – memories, fears and anger that were uncorrupted by the HK-63351 fungal-virus. 

It didn’t matter she was a zombie, Daryl thought she was hot. The violet hair was a total turn on.

“I know you can hear me,” he said from the other side of the door as he pulled the handcuffs out of his back pocket.

 

zombie girl

The Dilemma of Biological Imperatives



I know you’re in there. Somewhere inside that body. I know that you don’t have to be controlled by this thing. That you are more than your hunger.

I know that you can still love and be loved.”

She gasped for air. A tear slipped from the yellow-white edge of her eye.

“I’m going to open the door and if you can’t say something, maybe you can hear me out. Maybe, you can just listen to what I have to say. Consider my proposal…”

The door unlocked. She slid along the wall out of the way of the door.

“You’re so fucking beautiful,” Daryl said as he gently opened the door and admired her.

He was going to tap that.

She turned to him, gently put her hands on his unshaven face and lifted her lips to his.

He closed his eyes and she bit off his nose.

###


Other posts by Stan that you will find illuminating, uplifting or both
:

You Can Do Amazing Things
A Tribute to Maya Angelou
A Short Story of the Antichrist

About Stan Faryna

Stan Faryna is writing an epic novel. All of the world is crumbling like unrepaired, ancient walls but 18 year old gamer, blogger and entrepreneur John Dionysius finds the woman who he’s been dreaming about all of his life – a dream in which she is murdered as he watches helplessly from the eyes of a child.

Twitter: @Faryna
Facebook: Faryna.FanPage
Google+: +StanFaryna
Website: The Unofficial Blog of Stan Faryna

You can support Stan by helping his friend, Nisha Varghese, meet her campaign goals in a fundraiser to eradicate AIDS: http://www.justgiving.com/Eradicate-AIDS

Nisha Varghese

 

Everything You Do Is A Snowball by @StartYourNovel

Everything You Do Is A Snowball


Flash Fiction


by John Magnet Bell
@startyournovel

John Magnet Bell

I must shield my true purpose – the cops must not capture the data stored in my elbow. Oh! Not the data in my elbow. Wait… Those women in the orange truck! They are cops. I can smell it. I take shoes off and pad over the snow. Surprise!

###

Inspiration

Have a look at the news item that inspired the prompt:
Half-dressed woman attacks vehicle on I-5

Certain drugs can trigger psychosis. Yet others can trigger schizophrenia in susceptible people.

What are the symptoms of a psychotic break?


From Wikipedia:

Symptoms of psychotic breaks vary greatly, usually depending on the circumstances of diagnosis or any contributory substance ingested. Symptoms can range from harmless, sometimes unnoticed delusions, to violent outbursts and major depression.
Where a bipolar disorder is involved, cryinggrandiosityinsomniairritability, andpersecutory delusions may all or severally manifest themselves as symptoms. (Emphases mine.)

What are the most common schizophrenic delusions?


From Helpguide.org:

◊ Delusions of persecution – Belief that others, often a vague “they,” are out to get him or her. These persecutory delusions often involve bizarre ideas and plots (e.g. “Martians are trying to poison me with radioactive particles delivered through my tap water”).

◊ Delusions of reference – A neutral environmental event is believed to have a special and personal meaning. For example, a person with schizophrenia might believe a billboard or a person on TV is sending a message meant specifically for them.

◊ Delusions of grandeur – Belief that one is a famous or important figure, such as Jesus Christ or Napoleon. Alternately, delusions of grandeur may involve the belief that one has unusual powers that no one else has (e.g. the ability to fly).

◊ Delusions of control – Belief that one’s thoughts or actions are being controlled by outside, alien forces. Common delusions of control include thought broadcasting (“My private thoughts are being transmitted to others”), thought insertion (“Someone is planting thoughts in my head”), and thought withdrawal (“The CIA is robbing me of my thoughts”).

 

Imagination

 

I also imagined the half-dressed woman character as a film director with a predilection for obscure Japanese films and comics. What follows is an interpretive list of the films/comics/TV shows she would enjoy in her spare time, because I truly have no idea what any of these things are —

In which a silver-clad weirdo ruins a wonderful birthday party by setting the birthday ogre on fire and chopping her friends to pieces.

In which a woman returns home from work and finds her grandfather hosting gladiatorial tournaments on his tongue, instead of making dinner as he promised.
In which the heroic Graublar Shoggis III drives off grotesque little invaders from his home planet — for they only have two nostrils and wear red pants, both of which are anathema to the Mighty Goddess Barzulax.

Other posts by John Magnet Bell that you will find perfectly woody:

Captain Chunkypants

Stratospheric Beast

The Last Edwardian Stylite

 

About John Magnet Bell

John is a professional translator, writer and photographer. He writes about writing and he writes unconventional flashes of fiction at his website, Start Your Novel. Why? John explains his passion here.

Twitter: @StartYourNovel
Google+: JMBell
Tumblr: http://johnmagnetbell.tumblr.com/
Website: Start Your Novel

Please support John so that he can keep writing epic prompts! You can buy his shocking art at society6: http://society6.com/johnmagnetbell

Krag Tee Shirt by @StartYourNovel

Krag Tee Shirt by @StartYourNovel

Do you have an awesome story to share with us? Join the ranks of mad geniuses that make Geeky Antics rock. Email your proposal to stan.faryna@gmail.com

 

The Greatest Show on Earth is on Andaman road

The Greatest Show on Earth is on Andaman road

FlasFiction

by Stan Faryna
@Faryna

Stan Faryna & The Blue Sky - Stan The Marketing Man!

“I think I see something moving in the trees!” Dana gasped and pointed to a group of nearby trees as the tour bus inched down Andaman road.

 

George threw a bunch of bananas through his open window. Two young Jarawa scampered from behind bushes to the bananas laying at the side of road. Their eyes looked so full of joy. Dana snapped pictures with her iPhone.

 

The Jarawa young clicked and chanted. They stretched out their little hands and moved their fingers as if squeezing fruit.

 

“OMG!” said Dana. “I think they want more, George.

They’re trying to communicate with us! Do you see how they move their fingers? It’s so cute how they do it!”

A third Jarawa young appeared. He was holding an empty two liter plastic bottle of Coca Cola. He started to dance. His little black penis jiggled as he danced for the people on the bus.

“Do you think they like Coke,” George wondered outloud.

He took a last sip of cola and threw the half full can out the window. Cola exploded from the can and the three Jarawa dove for it. The victor pushed his lips forward against the top of the upside-down can to catch the last drops of Cola.

George laughed.

A thin, old Indian man with black skin and pink lips started yelling at George in perfect British English.

“Are all Europeans so primitive in your consciousness? These are human children. You are the animal. The Jarawa are not monkeys!”

“Mind your own business,” George replied. “We paid 100 Euro each for our seats. We’re all here for the show.

Are you here for something else?”

The old man smiled as he continued to point the video recorder at George’s face.

“I came to document the animals on the bus,” he finally answered George.

Postscript:

This flash fiction is based on a real life photo safari. It was inspired by a short documentary about a human tribe called the Jarawa – a so-called stone-age tribe that lives in India’s Andaman Islands.

Other posts by Stan that you will find illuminating and uplifting:

You Can Do Amazing Things
A Tribute to Maya Angelou
A Short Story of the Antichrist

About Stan Faryna

Stan Faryna is writing an epic novel. All of the world is crumbling like unrepaired, ancient walls but 18 year old gamer, blogger and entrepreneur John Dionysius finds the woman who he’s been dreaming about all of his life – a dream in which she is murdered as he watches helplessly from the eyes of a child.

Twitter: @Faryna
Facebook: Faryna.FanPage
Google+: +StanFaryna
Website: The Unofficial Blog of Stan Faryna

You can support Stan by helping his friend, Nisha Varghese (click on Nisha’s pic to make a donation).

Nisha Varghese

Nisha Varghese is an inspiration to Stan because she lives out the truth that she is bigger than her challenges. Among them, Cerebral Palsy. She too can save the world. Make it a better place for all of us. Nisha is a light and a gift unto the world.

Nisha’s website is here.

What can Monty Python teach you about writing? by John Magnet Bell

What can Monty Python teach you about writing?

by John Magnet Bell
@startyournovel

John Magnet Bell

Monty Python’s Flying Circus was an educational TV program which ran on BBC TV from 1969 to 1974. Forty-five episodes were broadcast in Britain, and two additional ones in Germany, where spectators needed a supplementary dose of education.

 

Monty Python Flying Circus

 

The Flying Circus was the brainchild of a select group of Oxbridge-educated psychologists, podiatrists (or is that pediatricians? I always forget which is which), barristers and architects. It may surprise you to know that the concept for the program was originally suggested by Eric Idle’s great-grandfather, an indirect descendant of William Shakespeare and the first man in Britain to report an encounter with a bar of soap.

This would surprise you because it is mostly not true.

 

In fact Monty Python owe their existence to the patronage of a Dutch-Slovenian aristocrat, Baron Von Took, who brought the troupe into the main BBC building one day thinking they would make good pets.

 

monty-python-shaven apes

Things got out of hand when a shortsighted production assistant mistook the six shaven apes for human beings and put them in front of a camera. Terror & hilarity ensued as the Pythons ran amuck all over the BBC, stealing people’s lunches, putting on dresses and pretending to be actors. It’s recently come to light that at least four and a half of them were old lady pensioners from Crawley.

The head of the BBC came up with a revolutionary notion: “Let’s tell people that this debacle wasintentional. We’re, uh, experimenting — Yes! Now there’s a word that captures the zeitgeist — Hodgkins, are you getting all of this? Good. — So, we’re experimenting with a new format, something no-one’s ever tried before. Gentlemen,” said the topmost Top Executive of the BBC, smacking his fist on the table, “we can turn this around. Fear not the wrath of the House of Lords. I’m going to put such a spin on this disaster, it’ll make the Second Coming look like two mentally-handicapped children trying to light their beefers on fire.”

So, what can Monty Python teach you about writing a novel, story or play?

 

Not much, admittedly, but keep reading to find out.

 

 

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will make me go in a corner and cry by myself for hours.

Eric Idle

 

Eric Idle

A Younger Eric Idle

 

There are two kinds of violence — physical and psychological.

Messing with someone’s mind causes lasting trauma, and the deepest scars are the ones you can’t see.

Combine physical abuse with mind games and you turn people into wild animals. Nothing dehumanizes a character and damages their core like a bunch of lies and broken promises.

Human relationships are built on trust and survive on fulfilled expectations. Consistent language and behavior are the glue that holds the trust network together.

A character that promises one thing and delivers another (the typical shapeshifter/betrayer) uses language to hurt and deceive. Whoever promises one thing and delivers on that promise — or dies trying — can rightly be called a hero.

We don’t think about it on a daily basis, but ‘heroes’ and ‘villains’ use language in very different ways.

 

 

 

Every age sort of has its own history. History is really the stories that we retell to ourselves to make them relevant to every age. So we put our own values and our own spin on it.

Terry Jones

 

Wafer Thin

Wafer Thin

 

Values change: your Shakespeare is not Orson Welles’s, though there may be points of contact. We don’t read Greek tragedy the way ancient Greeks did, so it would be pointless to try and resurrect that superannuated form.

It is because human values aren’t eternal that we no longer fling people off the Tarpeian Rock for the crime of perjury.

As values change, so does our understanding of History and, consequentially, our understanding of fiction. 

 

 

 

I think you learn a lot about a country from its art. To me, it’s part of the drama of life. It teaches you that there are places, moments and incidents in other cultures that genuinely have a life of their own.

Michael Pallin

 

Younger Michael Pallin

Younger Michael Pallin

 

Nothing brings a fictional world to life with more efficacy than a sudden glance at a painting, or two characters sharing a prayer, maybe invoking the name of a god.

Every human culture has proverbs, art, food — because every culture has a past. A country’s history underlies that country’s present woes, as no society exists in a vacuum.

In real life, the inhabitants of the bottled city of Kandor wouldn’t stay sane for very long.

 

Art is the place where collective meets individual expression and, as such, has the potential to weave many a silent thread into your story, to cast a transient light on the deep well of memory that a fictive society draws from.

 

 

 

For me, the great problem growing up in England was that I had a very narrow concept of what God can be, and it was damn close to an old man with a beard.

John Cleese

 

Younger John Cleese

Younger John Cleese

 

Cultures are self-reinforcing mechanisms, at least while the economy that sustains them is vital and capable of adaptive growth.

Nothing destroys a culture over the long term the way abuse of authority and widespread corruption do.

 

You see, poverty is no friend to diversity. The poorer you are, the fewer resources you can allocate. Keeping up with novelty becomes harder and harder until you cross a threshold where anything new, any innovation, be it technological or social, is something of a threat.

When a paranoid mindset takes over a human group, the group will either break up to allow for cultural renewal or slowly wither and die. It goes without saying that hypervigilance is a cancer, and fear makes for a monotonous backdrop.

 

 

 

I got my head bashed in at a demonstration against the Vietnam War. Police were losing control because they were up against a world they really didn’t understand.

Terry Gilliam

 

Terry Gilliam

Terry Gilliam (almost)

 

Drama needs tension.

No tension, no story.

 

Generational conflict is inexhaustible. The old want stability, the young want change. What happens when an irresistible force collides with an immovable object? Stuff goes BOOM.

Out of that boom, that chaos, comes new order. Call it ‘creative destruction’ if you like.

If you have people with clearly defined, opposing goals, you have the makings of a good story.

 

 

 

It’s nice to see that look of alarm on the faces of the others.

Graham Chapman

 

Younger Graham Chapman

Younger Graham Chapman

 

Chapman was the odd one out. He wasn’t there for the writing sessions — he would simply show up for rehearsals and recording sessions, often drunk.7

OK, he wasn’t the poster boy for a healthy lifestyle, but the other Pythons looked up to him. Chapman was a gifted, versatile actor who could imbue silly characters with unexpected pathos. Chapman’s Arthur in Quest for the Holy Grail will always be my favorite incarnation of the character. To the best of my knowledge, he was the only King Arthur to run away from a white bunny. (Granted, that bunny was dynamite.)

At Chapman’s funeral service, John Cleese gave his friend a rather tongue-in-cheek sendoff as, he explained, Chapman would have wanted him to shock people on his behalf.

All this to say that there’s some value in shocking people, especially if you mean something by it. Real shock is when you feel the blood freezing in your veins, when something disgusts you so deeply, and so deeply disturbs your sense of justice, that you rebel against it with your whole self, your whole body and being. Shock is opportunity.

Many writers, not a few of the Tinseltown variety, betray their narrowness of mind and poor education when they substitute potty humor for actual provocation.

 

Comedy works best when it challenges prejudice, not when it indulges a fixation on bodily fluids.

 

Other posts by John Magnet Bell that you will find perfectly woody:

Woody Allen
Mel Brooks
John Cleese

 

About John Magnet Bell

John is a professional translator, writer and photographer. He writes about writing and he writes unconventional flashes of fiction at his website, Start Your Novel. Why? John explains his passion here.

Twitter: @StartYourNovel
Google+: JMBell
Tumblr: http://johnmagnetbell.tumblr.com/
Website: Start Your Novel

Please support John so that he can keep writing epic prompts! You can buy his shocking art at society6: http://society6.com/johnmagnetbell

 

John Magnet Bell Surtur

John Magnet Bell, Surtur