ARISTOPHANES BROWN – A Mystery in Stripes

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“You know”, said Aristophanes Brown, walking arm in arm with Alexia Laplace along a quiet stretch of the Thames near Richmond, “this is had been the most appalling summer for bees I can remember. No wonder the flowers have been dismal.

The moon-a-muck, trailing behind Carina on a lead, in its doggy disguise, hooted to itself. It felt that songs, not bees, ought to be the key to a successful summer bloom.

Alexia admired the winter waterfowl out on the river, then looked up to take in the graceful sight of a swan in flight, no doubt searching for inspiration for her design and gadgetry.

“This is true Ari, although I’ve never figured you for a botanist. It’s been a year short of colour anywhere where our moon-a-muck hasn’t sung its song.”

The moon-a-muck skipped along, delighted to hear its name in conversation.

“Well, at least we won’t get stung” Aristophanes opined.

“That is small consolation for world starvation when all the crops fail, Ari.”

“Surely not, my dear?!”

“Surely too. Without these pollinating insects, we are, to be frank, bloody well doomed.”

Alexia adjusted her flaming hair, and lit a cigarette.

“Do we know what’s behind it?”

“No, I don’t. But if we don’t find out, then no matter how much our mucky sings, we are going to be eating each other in a few years.”

They walked on in silence.

Not so many miles to the North West, under the grounds of a family country estate just outside of Oxford, a man releases a thousand bees from an enclosure in an underground chamber where there buzzing echoes with apocalyptic feedback from the concrete walls. Then another thousand. And a thousand more. And he wades through the swarm, happily allowing himself to be stung as his mind homes in on the centre of the galaxy.

You Can See the Tire Tracks!!!

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I was a latecomer to the monthly meeting of Newark’s Steampunk group last night; well, we do meet rather early and at my advanced age I worry about my ability to last the pace.

I understand that it was another excellent get together at The Flying Circus, with more newcomers meeting up with us, and other folk visiting from the Lincoln group. Topics of conversation; well the return of Jay after hospital was one, and obviously there was plenty being said before I got there.

The conversation I remember concerned film cock ups, started by myself and Steven remembering a beach bound piece to camera on Countryfile where the footprints in the sand indicated where the presenter had done three previous takes, and ending where we mentioned how Maximus’ farm in Gladiator is covered in tractor tracks.

Are you not entertained!!!

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Flying Circus Steampunk Takeover

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I seem to have established a tradition by which photographs of the last meet go out just before the next one is due to occur, which is very silly of me indeed. The Steampunk who looks not much like one was off his A Game, as he was in the middle of a shift, but he was pleased to see such a good turnout, with so many new faces.

Some were from distant lands too!

Sadly Mr Frisby did not leap onto the stage and blow his harp or bash his spoons, but there was plenty else going on to keep people entertained.

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Hereward Blyth and the Great Striped Advance

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Fin du Siecle and Hereward Blyth, a scientist working out of the Botanical Gardens at Kew, made a discovery of importance.

He was collecting honey from the beehives the garden ran as a semi commercial, semi scientific operation, when he tripped on a badly placed hoe and fell into one of the hives, knocking the top off and understandably causing the bees within to get very angry within. Sadly – or not – for Hereward, his protective helmet had become dislodged in his fall, and he was badly, indeed terribly, stung.

But as he lay, deep in his anaphaytic shock, he noticed a most wonderful occurrence. The centre of the Milky Way suddenly appeared, bright as the sun, in the sky towards the horizon, and he felt himself moved towards it through the vault at an accelarating rate. He had only moved, without moving, a shade of the way across this galactic disc. but as a person, he knew staring at the expanse of hot gas and stars whipped into elliptoids by the speed of their orbit, he knew he could never go back.

Shortly after, he came too on the lawn, and life could never be the same again.

<i>5 minutes work, a strange tale that may be going somewhere</i>

ARISTOPHANES BROWN – Autumn is the Best Time for Moon-a-Mucks

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Ever since the strange animal with the musical nose trumpet had first mysteriously appeared, padding down the steps of the Poincare Machine in the warehouse lab of Lady Alexia Laplace and Aristophanes Brown, they had wondered about some of the creature’s odder quirks.

One of the oddest of these was its obvious great interest in any passing moth or butterfly that fluttered past is Cleopatra eyes. On its muzzle disguised walks, the sight of a red admiral would always cause it to emit a “hoo-heee-hoooooo” of joy. But now it was autumn, and butterflies were less numerous on the Embankment.

However, in the equinoctal nights, moths would flail in through open windows, and the moon-a-muck would behave very differentlly. It wouldn’t be excited, it would be as calm as a manatee in a warm ocean having its tummy tickled by a mermaid.

The cause of this was the night-time moths of autumn, the yellow underwings, the drinkers, the vapourers. They would swarm around the moon-a-muck, gently landing on its silvery-grey fur, and everytime one did so, the creature would gently croon “woooooo” until it fell asleep, more satisfied even then when it hooted up a whole bowl of crystals.

The moon-a-muck’s love of moths must mean something. But what?

Copyright Bloody Mulberry 09.09.15

Steven Steampunk Makes Music

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I’d completely forgotten I’d taken these photographs of our July gathering at the delightful Flying Circus, so I thought I’d whizz them up for you. I still feel like a bit of an outsider as my literary interests and ability outweigh my dressing up ability, not to mention finances.

But luckily, other talented members of the group make of for this, and we always look a striking crew when we are doing our “Steampunk Outreach Work” – i.e. drinking in busy pubs. STeven in particular was keen to show off his spoon playing, although the photographs may be unclear in what he is actually doing.

I’m pretty sure it was spoon playing.

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ARISTOPHANES BROWN – The Ceremony

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The crowd gathered as the sunset over the stones, and sat politely and waited for the dawn. June 20th 1899. There was music, a strange but fair string quartet of ladies playing Holst’s “The Planets”. There had been hawks in the wind in the twilight, looking for titbits from the picnics.

Stonehenge. Where antiquarians gathered in the sounds of the pipes of pan.

3AM. Now the 21st. Just before twilight began to paint the eyelid of the horizon. There was a fuzzy crack of lightning, and a flash of blue radiation washed out over the crowd like Thor had hit his hammer.

They ooohed. They ahhhed. They swallowed their laundunum for the sunrise and looked for their gods.

And sitting atop one of the triptychs within his Poincare machine, Aristophanes Brown and the moon-amuck chuckled and hooo-eeh-hoo’d their little heads off, before repeating the process as they headed back to London

Because Ari has been under neglect.

ARISTOPHANES BROWN – The View from Above

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“One gets a sense of perspective up here, I find” said Aristophanes Brown, as he surveyed the London he loved so much from a relaxed slouch.

“That phrase, Ari, is a cliche now, was a cliche before and will be a cliche long into the future of this pitiful planet.”

“Well often cliches are cliches because they are true. I love looking at the West End from up here, puts me in my rightful place above the sycophants and cretins of Theatreland!”

“Anything you say” sighed Lady Alexia Laplace as she went back to minding the compressor controls. “I’d hate for anything to take you off your lofty perch,” she muttered, before giving a swift twist to a valve, causing Aristophanes’ chair to lurch drunkenly back and forth.

“Ow! Stop that!” he said from his eyrie about the roof of their warehouse.

He was sat, in smoking jacket and rather raffish striped trousers cut for him by Sieberg of Chelsea, in his favourite garden lounger, some 15 feet above the parapet of their building. A flexible india rubber tube of some length reached up to the chair before splitting into four just before the legs, whereupon they were directed downwards to provide upward thrust. A device with little practical purpose other than to act as an ego trip for the dandy theatre critic, it was far too earthbound top ever provide an easy form of transportation.

And as Aristophanes found when he looked back down to find Alexia gone inside, it’s lack of onboard controls were a nuisance.

Copyright Mulberry Lightning 07.07.15