Monday, January 31, 2005

THE H.Q. SAGA COMES TO A CLOSE:

That's it.

Horror Quarterly is no more. I decided this morning that with the protracted teething trouble getting issue 3 back to 100% after the move from the crap server to the decent one in the States, with the general lack of interest from submitters, the lack of hits from readers, as a benefit to both myself, my beleaguered webguy, the readers and the writers, it's best if it stops.

Horror Quarterly issue 4 DRUG HORROR will not be published and everyone can get on with their lives - when the domain expires, someone else can have it (unless they wanna offer me a couple thou' for it now).

I see this as a sad day for subversive creativity and a stunning victory for franchised mediocrity.

*smiley of irony here*

As you were.

ESTROGEN - THE RAPE DRUG:

In looking at the Natural World for instances of 'rape' we find it all the time: sqirrels chasing mates up a tree; mass rape of the queen bee as she exits a hole in the ground; elk or moose getting as many partners' sperm as she can when in season.

What humans would consider to be 'rape' - ie the forced sexual demands of a man (generally) upon a woman (generally) - may in fact be a misplaced socio-chemical by-product.

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not condoning rape. It is a wicked and amoral practise - in our society. Elsewhere in Nature, rape (non-concensual intercourse) is rife and accepted part of sexual maturity. But there's a social structure that supports as that is now lacking in the human model.

There's evidence that the struggling reflex in rape victims is actually another mechanism to select the strongest partner, as is the flee mechanism for squirrels, or the rutting of males - it's all about having children who's father was the strongest, fastest, had the most stamina (all good survival traits).

I wondered whether there was a correlation between modern human rape and these ancient biological partner choices. I wondered whether a woman is more likely to be raped at a certain time in her menstrual cycle. In this Natural History context a female is most likely to be 'raped' when she is 'in season'. I wondered can this be applied to the time when women are likely to be raped?

Estrogen levels are high when a woman is ready to fertilise one of her eggs. Her whole body changes to show the male of the species that she is ready (and willing) to have her eggs fertilised. She shows physical and chemical signs of her readiness. In Nature, it's not a case of NOT WANTING TO BE RAPED - it's merely a case of that's the way Nature propagates the species and the most important choice is to choose a Darwinistically relevant partner, the so-called "strongest choice".

In human culture 'personal choice' ie not wanting to bear children, gets in the way of this natural attract mechanism - we give it the name RAPE. Maybe men are still 'sensitive' to the pheromones shuffling off an in-season woman? Maybe there are some other attract factors of a woman in-season? Either way, I can't find data that supports this fertile-rape-time theory yet because I haven't really started looking. But I did find this:

There's a paper on the 'net I found called WHY MEN RAPE - it's informative, controversial and enlightening.

REVIEW: CATS 'N' CORPSES:

Well, it's Hideshi Hino graphic novel horror #5 and #6 - just recently reviewed on REALLY SCARY . COM

Mwuah ha ha ha!

Saturday, January 29, 2005

ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS DICK:

Well, I thought it was a funny title, and apt - in that Charlie Kaufmann's recent screenplay THE ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND is about as much of a Philip K Dick screenplay as you could possibly muster without actually crediting him in the opening titles. Why doesn't this film start "Directly lifted from three or four of Philip K Dick's greatest books"?

That's the impression I got from it. I mean, don't get me wrong, I LOVED The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Of course, I did. I'm a real Philip K Dick fan.

In fact, I was sat there watching the film going... you know I've just written my first PKD screenplay based on a story that has so far not been optioned. Can't say which one I adapted yet but I imagine there's a shortlist (just phone up Dick's New York agent and find out for yourself which one it might be if you're really keen). Anyway, there was a visual effect I created for a couple of key scenes. And I thought, "Hey, that'd be a nice way to show that." And there it was in Charlie's film.

I felt like I had been opened up like a just landed fish. My gills were still spasming as the very sharp, very flexible gutting knife slid down from my throat to my tail.

Charlie, great film, but credit where credit's due - call it a Dick film and have it done with.

Friday, January 28, 2005

INAPPROPRIATE NUDITY REPORTED:

Yeah, that's what I thought?

a) it sounds like one of those crazy ENQUIRER headlines.
or
b) someone is being a bit of a jobsworth over on DeviantArt - re: my latest uploaded photomontage SKIN.

I did considerately put the disclaimer that it contains ADULT material. And Deviant Art do slap a large-size banner all over the thing saying ADULT CONTENT ADVISORY or something, so...

It's a good debating point - what is inappropriate nudity for an adult audience? And why? Who the fuck says so?

I look (again) at the image and I see a vertical line of photomanipulated and blended together breasts. In the centre of the image I see a close-up of a genital coupling (actually the male is embedded quite deeply into the female). It's all been generously retouched, split, mirrored, repalettised, repainted, morphed and blended together so that it would be very hard to trace the source images (which were freely available on the 'net). Such is the creative manipulation of this 'porn' that it's even hard to call it NUDITY any more than any item used in a new context can still retain its old identity (flash frame memory of Magritte's "Ce n'est pas une pipe" or Duchamp's "Fountain" (a white urinal, recently voted the most influential work of art among the art world's elite). "Nudity" implies a nude person, maybe seated or standing within an environment of some sort - but SKIN abstractifies the human surface to a glossy patchwork of the purely decorative.

You could say it had inappropriate erotic content in that by separating out these elements from the subject it has totally denuded the porn from its erotic intention and branded flesh as nothing more than a frameable commodity. I wonder if art should be categorised as something you can't get turned on by? A better way to ask the question is why should porn be considered something to turn you on? Why should being turned on be right or wrong? Being turned on (biologically) means you wanna share your sperm with a female of the species - or are we all forgetting that?

Fine. You wanna report SKIN? Then report all those wealthy rap stars who 'sample' refrains, lyrics or melodies from other artist's songs to enhance their own shouting matches. I'm all for that. Justice for all OR damnation of all creativity - but don't sit on the fence, eh, or target one instance of using flesh as an art form.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

A SCANNER DARKLY - FIRST IMAGES:

God Bless AIN'T IT COOL NEWS for supplying the first batch of post-produced shots of the forthcoming film adaptation of Philip K Dick's trippy freaked out drug novel A SCANNER DARKLY. Scanner is one of my very favourite PKD novels and I'm so looking forward to Linklater's (a waking life) version of it.

Oopsidaisy - a little internet searchery takes me straight to the Austin Chronicle article about FlatBlack films, who are currently in post production on the live shoot - seems they need more artists/illustrators to finish off "Scanner". The joy of this article is, yup you've guessed it, more shots from the film - enjoy.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

FREE MIKE PHILBIN FICTION:

I've just uploaded a few more pieces of FREE FICTION to the recently-recovered Mike Philbin Online site. There are now 7 pieces online for you to enjoy.

MIKE PHILBIN GALLERY @ DEVIANT ART:

I've just opened a new ART GALLERY at the Deviant Art site. Sorta my kinda people.

Enjoy, crits welcome, have fun.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

MP.com + HC(rip).com BACK ONLINE:

After a final mad binge of file-editing, extension renaming and content uploading, I now have those two lost sites back online on a more reliable LINUX server in the states - the problem was the Australian server who had hosted both sites for the last five years was suddenly no longer there.

MIKE PHILBIN . COM -- all of it, all four galleries worth of images and all that free fiction and books to come, it's all there.

HERTZAN CHIMERA R.I.P. . COM -- I've also left a skeleton presence of the old lewd bastard online in case any of you wanna buy psycho-erotica as it should be, in the raw.

Vive la revolution!

IF THERE'S NO EYE, THERE'S NO IMAGE:

It dawned on me early this morning, as I was reading the sporting pages in the Sunday paper. It was a very clear image of a cricketers on the front page, nice depth of field and everything so that the player was crisp and the cheering face were just blobs of light...

That's it.

If there's no mechanical process to register an image, there's no image.

Only because the pixels on the sports cameraman's apparatus are aligned in such a way that we can scan them as an image, only because the rods and cones in our eyes are wired in such a way to our brains can we guess what light is.....

Without the eye, there'd be no visible universe. Yes, there would, say the physicists, there'd be electromagnetic radiation. Well, would there? Isn't it merely a case that the structure of the eye can pick up light, the structure of photographic film (or CCD) can pick up light or X-rays, that these phenomena exist?

What is a photon? Nobody has ever given a decent description of this. If you have a retina that vibrates towards a hand at the right frequency, you can count the pores in the skin; if you have a 'retina' that vibrates towards a hand at the right frequency, you can count the bones.

Without the aparatus to pick up light, it would NOT EXIST. Disprove that ... well, you can't.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

30 MINUTES, THINKTANK:

I'm sat there watching channel 4 tonight and some televangelist for the yobbo culture Peter Osborne is whining, "why do they give me a ticket for parking on a double yellow line? why do they give me a fine if I drive faster than the speed limit? why do street wardens fine me on the spot just 'cause I'm dropping litter in the street?"

Well, those are the fucking laws of our land.

It's like, "Why can't I play my new BLAUPUNKT stereo on number 11 at three o'clock in the morning? why do I have to be a good neighbour?" Why why whine? It's like the bloke who saw me on the bus (he was with his yobbo mates) and he goes, hey there's that bloke who got you kicked out of your flat. I went, no YOU got you kicked out of your flat. Loud music polluter. He'd might as well have shat in my bed all night. Same thing.

Personally, I am so sick of those lazy bastards who take their kids to my daughter's school in their cars, driving up a cul-de-sac (which serves a doctor's surgery) and causing blockages and traffic problems on the servicing high street in my town when there is ample FREE PARKING on the car parks just across the road (they would have to walk their kids 1 minute to school). ONE MINUTE.

I set out from my house ten minutes earlier to walk my daughter to school, they can't even get out of their fucking cars. ANGER does not cover my feelings.

RED KITE RAMBLIN':

Today's ramble involved a 45 minutes bus ride south and a fantastic fantastic bird-lover's paradise called Watlington.

It was a relatively easy 5 mile jaunt up hill and down dale.

The highlight of the walk was a FLOCK of red kite (well, seven or eight of these exotic birds of prey is a flock to me). It was like being stalked by circling vultures, they hung over our heads as we ate our sandwiches on a grassy incline overlooking the countryside spread below us; the sun tearing through the tattered clouds dramatically. You could almost reach up and touch these elusive birds; beautiful.

Friday, January 21, 2005

PK DICK SCREENPLAY COMPLETE:

It's not been a bad week of work - just finished the FIRST DRAFT of my first Philip K Dick screenplay adaptation. Other than my own books, this is the first novel I've turned into a screenplay. It was quite an interesting cut&paste exercise to actually leave enough of the story/dialogue in there without leaving it a boring film. It's interesting how much you can butcher a book and still leave narrative signposts all over the script that somehow (when done visually or by a comment at the right time) means you can obliterate 10-20 pages of book at a time.

It was great fun and I hope to be doing some more screenplay adaptations in the future.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

SCIENCE WITHOUT GOD:

Oh, my God.

I've just watched the Horizon show THE LAST DAYS OF EINSTEIN (part 2 E=MC^2 is next week for some reason). It seems he was still banging on about his mathematical quest to link gravity with electromagnetism until the day he died, all under the auspicious eye of his God, probably a Jewish god, but a purist God at least.

Albert is Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.
Albert Einstein, "Science, Philosophy and Religion: a Symposium", 1941

This reliance on God may have been Albert's only downfall. His theories were merely moving in the wrong direction. I've said it once, and I'll say it again.

The only theory worth discussing is Universal Equilibrium. It's a cop-out, yeah - it's merely the reversal of the vector of physics. It decries the Big Bang. It decries the contemporary understanding of 'the photon'. Universal Equilibrium spits in the face of Doppler shift and shows a deterioration of 'light' over time. Yep, it's a topsy turvy view of the universe. But Occam and Holmes all knew what it was to cut the true cut, only the evidence that remains, no matter how ludicrous it seems must be the truth.

Here's the ONLY holistic way you can make a universe... Any potential universe is a trade-off of structure. Matter comes right at the end. Gravity is ALWAYS the prime mover. First you form the structures of super clusters, galaxies, stars, then matter falls out of the ass-end of this universal function without any help or magical spark.

Light (or any other electromagnetic radiation) doesn't spatter out of a source, the same Universal Equilibrium falls in (oh, yes, at the speed of light) to settle debts. Light is not photons (or wave-particles) it is THE ENTIRE FABRIC OF UNIVERSAL EQUILIBRIUM settling debts.

I'm with Einstein on the annoying unpredictability of quantum physics. In the same way that c is the speed at which Universal Equilibrium settles its debts, is quantum mechanics merely the unpredictable gimbal lock in the granularity of those universal forces. I'm with Einstein on a simple solution to the power of the universe and even though I'm no mathematician, I can think and dream. And, for me, the universe to work in reverse is the only answer to the complex problem of linking the sub-atomic and the galactic.

There is no GRAVITY in an atom. The atom is formed by the structures of gravity.
There are no individual photons. All photons are the universe falling in (the fact of a 'quanta' suggests that the universe falls in in drops - this beggars the question are all drops the same - remember in Medievil times they had drip-clocks because they thought all drips were formed over the same amount of time).

Where is this going? Well, you'll notice that not once (other than for profane exclamation) have I refered to a hand of God in all this. God is for the blind, illogically painful images scorched onto their unerstanding. The deaf are deaf because they hear only the word of God.

Poor scientists. Poor, poor believers.

BIRD SONG - PRETTY ARIAS:

With the PK Dick screenplay well into the final furlongs, I delivered my daughter to her school this morning; a refreshing walk in the frosty air. On the way down the hill, we'd spotted a Kestrel perched on a garage roof. A beautiful, proud silhouette: straight back, that curved beak. On the way back up, the birdsong caught my ear. I've always wondered what sort of language birdsong was but I'm not so sure it is a language.

In the same way that birds fluff out their plummage and make pretty nests to woo their future mates, maybe birdsong is nothing more than pretty arias of attraction between the sexes. Communication of a sort, but not language, as I had always thought. Well, it better not be a language or that's gonna give humanity a real fucking shock when we crack the code.

What sort of belief system would such an old race as the birds hold? What sort of insightinto how the world works? What opinion of humans, if anything?

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

MIKE PHILBIN OFFLINE:

It had to go wrong just when things were going so right...

Mike Philbin Online is no longer online, neither is the backup Hertzan Chimera R.I.P. site. This has also effected Horror Quarterly, currently languaishing in some sort of internet Purgatory. I know what the problem is, just not how to solve it.

The psycho-erotic nightmare has crumbled - long live the mediocre revolution of polite yes, please and thank you. Long live pats on the back for a mediocre scare. Long live the corporate mass-market career stool...

Monday, January 17, 2005

DRUG LAW:

People steal for drugs, people kill for drugs, people sell themselves and their children for drugs.

For good reason, the government controls the supply and demand of drugs.

But why? Why is 'drug control' in the hands of a higher authority? Isn't a drug the highest form of COMMERCIALISM in action? Aren't we living a 24/7 supply and demand culture? Don't we have access to anyone via our mobile phones? Though I feel I have escaped this trend and retained my freedom, is anyone truly free? Isn't the idea of a modern world that you work hard (up to but not beyond your level of incompetence, hopefully) and you can then afford any luxury the western world tempts you with?

And it is more about temptation, isn't it? A drug is temptation. But what then is a drug? Is it some coca-leaves refined into white powder that you treat yourself with? Is it some tobacco leaf rolled into a cigarette and smoked? Is it some new pain killer or sleeping tablet? Is it alcohol? Is it gambling on the dogs, the horses, teh raindrops on windows? Is it the internet? Is it simply opening your eyes and lusting after your colleague at work? Are you and your proclivities a drug? What if you're depressed? What if you're depraved? What if you're a food junkie? What if you're a soap junkie (Eastenders, Corry, Emerdale, Neighbours) gotta have my soaps - aren't you then as much of a junkie as the guy shivering in the high street with his filthy hand out?

Why are there such arbitrary and differing laws (and supposed standards) about the "drugs" we are and are not authorised to legally purchase for our own entertainment? For years, our government levied huge taxes (or duty) onto cigarettes and alcohol - a lucrative business if ever there was one. But who owns this product? We do, by purchasing it, we own it. We use it. The drugs are ours.

This country is ours.

You can buy cancerous cigarettes in any supermarket. You can buy cancerous alcohol at any time of the day. You can enter a cancerous gambling casino every evening, a games arcade every day (though you're less likely to actually contract cancer from such a non-chemical 'habit'. You can live and breath. Stalk anyone you want. Do anything you want.

This does have a detour down a dingy sidestreet into total jurisdictional chaos due to the arbitrary nature of laws but that's for another post. Another revolution....

Saturday, January 15, 2005

JUST RAMBLIN' ACROSS TOWN:

My wife's a member of the Rambler's Association but frankly we haven't really been out on one of these mad dashes across the countryside as yet. Not as a family + them (those ramblers in their latest outdoor weather gear ready to benefit from any landowner's right of way). They send her this 'literature' all the time, monthly newsletter and stuff (she gets reductions at Millets and that sorta thing).

So, my grand idea for a day out today was to find our way by public transport to Glastonbury from Oxford. Erm, I don't think so. Getting to Castle Cary is relatively easy (takes two hours through Reading) then you hit the big problem. Castle Cary - Glastonbury. I mean wha? how? there's NO PUBLIC TRANSPORT between these 10-mile distant towns. Yep, we could very easily take a taxi - but that's not public transport in my eye.

So, instead we followed a less likely Rambling course through, wait for it, Central London. It was a great 6 mile walk. We took the X90 coach from Oxford to Bakert Street in London. There we took a Tube replacement because the Jubilee line was closed for some reason to Swiss Cottage (yes, there is actually a quaint and rather stunning Swiss Cottage there at a prominent fork in the road).

We wandered down over the Primrose Hill with its glorious vista. Down past the London Zoo then onto the canal (where we met my wife's ex-headmaster at the school where she works. A nice man called Phil - I'd never met him before. It's a small world.) We took the canal all through town to Piccadilly Train Station. Up London Street. And there it was.

The Beefeater Restaurant where (it seemed like so many years ago already) I was lucky enough to witness that great American writer 'polycarp kusch' in full flow - asking this dumb-faced waitress to not put "too many onions" in his dry Martini. I'd never heard of THAT expression before. And evidently, neither had she. It took us like fifteen minutes to order our drinks and she ended up giving polycarp a free shot of vodka when he demanded Stoly (a brand neither of us had heard of). He then went on to challenge the taxis in the middle of the road right outside the Beefeaterie. Fabulous fun, a great drinker for such a skinny man and a great writer to boot.

We ended up down at Marble arch having wandered into Hyde Park on the eastern side and doing a circuit of the serpent. Knackered now and looking forward to my chips and cheese.

Friday, January 14, 2005

39 TODAY:

Yep, that's right. January 14th 2005. Just one more year to wait for the BIG 4.0.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

THE SLAUGHTERED PAINTINGS:

It's a tenth anniversary thing.

Yes, ten years after I took an axe to the majority of my life-size oil-on-hardboard psycho-erotic pieces of human angst, I finally got round to uploading 12 slaughtered paintings to the new MIKE PHILBIN GALLERY.

Enjoy - if that's the right word.

H.C. R.I.P. FEEDBACK & DICK SCREENPLAY:

I was recently honoured to receive a request to reprint one of my old Hertzan Chimera stories in a forthcoming paperback anthology. We agreed on a story and the deal was done. The editor said the reason he wanted an Hertzan Chimera piece as he thought that H.C.'s work was all about fun. That, I think, is the greatest compliment a writer could receive. I decided to look back long and hard at the old Hertzan Chimera self-publicity and self-parody and of all the pieces, I thought this bit of blatant neo-marketing was the most fun stunt I'd like to be remembered for.

UBIQUITOUSLY, HERTZAN CHIMERA R.I.P.

In other Dick news, I have been spending my last few days writing a Philip K Dick screenplay based on one of his earlier novels. Yeah, there have been MANY terrible Dick movies. Maybe they forgot to let the words speak from themselves. One thing that really struck me, with the writing of this screenplay and with the reading of A Scanner Darkly, is that Dick is one hell of a dialoguist. It's all over his work. You can transcribe DIRECT from the page to the screen. Don't try to alter it or update it to modern vernacular. Dick's universe is like a costume drama; William Shakespeare, Thomas Hardy, Jane Austen... you've really just gotta find the correct setting and let it flow.

Writing a Dick screenplay is great fun because Dick was clearly the maddest man writing - so far ahead of his time.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

CGTALK IS THE BIZ:

It's only recently that I rediscovered the delights and sheer jaw-dropping goodness that is CG TALK a members-only online forum for 2D art & illustration, 3D models and animation. Some of the work on there is unbelievably good. There's also some great forums for technical issues, users of specific software and other goddies associated with 3D art. I recommend it to everybody who gets a kick out of digital art.

Monday, January 03, 2005

MIKE PHILBIN.com - ONLINE:

If it's January 2005, it must be time to announce the new "grey is good" Mike Philbin website. This is where all my new artistic, literary and editorial work will be featured. Since deciding to kill off the Hertzan Chimera writing persona in August of 2004, I have been as active as ever and there are already a number of short books in the region of 40,000 words I am soon hoping to secure a publisher for. Already this year two books THE LIFE AND DEATH OF HERTZAN CHIMERA (my official auto-biography) and JANE'S GAME (a 66,000 word reworking of the 1990 novella RED HEDZ) are looking like finding a home but I'll not prejudice the publishers concerned by announcing it before signing of the contracts. My two latest novellas THE PLANET OF THE OWLS and FREELANCER are with a specialist novella publisher.

I've added a more comprehensive gallery area featuring all the art and illustration and photomontage I've done over the decades (yes, even the destroyed artwork from the late 80's will eventually appear on the gallery section).

I've added a new feature to the site, Free Fiction. It's been an interesting time subbing out these stories to ever-failing small-press websites and zines, so what I'm gonna start doing (if I don't sell any short stories to PLAYBOY for £3,000 a pop) is publishing new stories live on the site. Here's an excerpt from ANGEL RIDER, already up there... We are in fact the Dream Catchers. Guardians of unconscious prayer. Machines of movement through the inter-galactic ether. No religion taints our actions. We are pure vector. A body of evidence draped in sin.

Click this link to see the new site - MIKE PHILBIN . COM