Feb 14 2015

Nouveau Obento

192X, in the month of Hrēþmōnaþ:

It’s late spring, the heat of the encroaching summer is oppressive, and beneath Ardhagate tube stop in Central London, Professor Fiona Yau has discovered the first complete temple of an early Hellenistic mystery cult.

Across the city, in Oldbourne within the Metropolitan Hundred of Ossulstone, the bard, Dàibhidh Franciscus is experiencing uncomfortable visions of an avatar of Sol Invictus he has never encountered.

And on the stone of side streets and alleyways, someone is carving the curious likeness of a fish.

This is the world you cannot remember, the world you may never have known.

Imagine a world in which there was no deathbed confession from Constantine I; imagine a world in which Christianity was never elevated above the level of other contemporaneous mystery cults – imagine a world in your entire considerations of faith and government have been ignored in favour of a world without the Dark Ages, a world with a continuous debt to Roman social structure, a world with myriad, unfathomable deities of inconceivable origins.

For our Nouveau Obento arc, Bento Box is looking for four writers to contribute five-part monthly serials of 1000 words maximum each taking place following Professor Yau’s Ardhagate discovery. Tell any kind of story in any kind of genre that moves you – we welcome detectives, heroes, magicians, paladins all – just as long as you tell your story with conviction.

Think of this a micro-shared-universe, a gentle reminder that we all once used the internet for more than cat memes and YouPorn.

We are accepting your applications now.

Mysteria Press: Bento Box

Feb 10 2015


Back in January of 2013, I was asked to write a small brief for a planned multimedia series that would be developed by one of the then burgeoning indie publishers. Obviously, I decided to be a troll instead.

It goes without saying that the project never quite took off.

Georgie Calohan is puking solar systems. Dazzling new constellations peppered with glistening stars and planets like the honeycomb of Maltesers once the chocolate has been sucked off now festoon his vomit.

It is the summer of 1983, the heat makes the pavement sticky with discarded pink bubblegum, chewed like cud by the girl he lost his virginity to, so to speak, last summer. Coke bottles litter the gutters and men in heavy winter coats and balaclavas stake out the alleyways, sweating it out for the chance to relieve pensioners of their allowance.

George is 12 and a half years old, and up until his fever, the only world he has ever truly known has been East London.

Now, every morning without fail, he is leaking whole new worlds and stars from his mouth and nostrils with alarming regularity.

Dabbling in his own smears, Georgie begins to find that the movements of his fingers have an effect upon the short-lived denizens of his vomit ant farm.

Slowly he begins to realise that each cosmos he births is not in fact unique, rather it is a reincarnation of the last… and they are learning.

One day, Georgie does not vomit. Despite willing himself, despite lodging his fingers in his throat, he does not puke. Instead the universe chokes him to death.

Leaving behind a swollen corpse overfed on gristle and Mars bars, Georgie discovers that whilst he created the world that rose up from his gullet, he did fashion the spirits of those who dwelt within.

The residents of the puke ant farm are descended from another cosmos higher than the one Georgie fashioned, higher even than the one he himself inhabited.

With his worm ridden and abrasive childhood terrier as guide, dead some seven years now, Georgie must travel the stars to the origin point of the spirits he trapped in his universe of vomit and at last make amends.

Feb 5 2015

The Black Freres Book of Beasts: Demogorgon

There is a secret inherent in the title of the dread Demogorgon. Buried by antiquity and mired in secrets, the name of this particular spirit comes to us from the ancient Greeks, though no precise origin has yet been uncovered.

Equated in Christian tradition with a great devil and name-checked as such by the playwright Christopher Marlowe in his seminal work, The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus, Demogorgon’s true associations are much more mysterious.

Marlowe’s Elizabethan contemporary, Edward Spenser, familiar to most for his epic poem in praise of Elizabeth I, The Faerie Queen, also made mention of Demogorgon, “prince of darknesse and dead night,” in his famed aforementioned work.

First associated with the commentary by an unknown author on the Thebaid by Publius Papinius Statius, who draws a comparison between the poem’s mention of ‘the supreme being of the threefold world’ and a supreme creator whose name, like that of the true G-d in Jewish tradition, is taboo to impart.

Displaying influence from both Judaism and Mithraism in the commentary, the unknown author’s suggestion is of a primordial creator deity.

Sometimes considered a corruption of the more classically renowned term demiurge (see Plato’s Socratic dialogue, Timaeus), the more traditional assumption is that the Demogorgon was a principality in its own right, yet it is impossible to not note a certain correlation with the Gnostic parable of Yaldabaoth.

This association with Platonic allegory is considered at the heart of French philosopher Voltaire’s work of early science fiction, Plato’s Dream.

But how did a concept so neatly associated with creation and Platonic thought come to gain demonic status in medieval Christian thought? Of course, the Abrahamic faiths are no strangers to the demonisation of deities in other faiths, but how did such a specific figure enter into the grimoires and lexicons of demonology?

Let us, for a moment, enter the realms of pure conjecture: imagine a time in which the leontocephaline figure found etched upon the walls of the uncovered mithraeum of the mystery cults is both named and known; imagine that it is the early 2nd century AD and the serpent that winds about the fierce lion-faced countenance of that mysterious figure is none other than the Demogorgon itself.

Beneath the arc of the cave’s roof, beneath the decorations and depictions of the constellations that mark both time and space, you have inherited the truth of possibility, the knowledge of the supreme creature and the three dimensions in which it exists.

Gazing up at its monstrous face, you know it as the Nemean Lion, the Strength card of the tarot’s major arcana; reaching out for the keys in its hands, you know it as Aion, his presence representing the unbounded mastery of time—and wrapped about the monstrous frame of the deity is the aged and wondrous serpent, the bringer of knowledge, the liberator of Eve from the Garden.

It is in this moment that you realise that the figure is none other than the insane and rabid creator of matter, Yaldabaoth—and in this moment that you realise that the creator is not so much the demiurge of Plato’s imagining, but rather the true aspect of the fiendish Demogorgon.  And in this, both the fallen angel Samael and the creator deity are once more revealed as once.

Jul 20 2013

Mufti Day @ MCM Manchester Comic Con

For those of you attending the former MCM Expo in Manchester this weekend, make sure you pick up a copy of the free guide booklet on your way in/out for my article on the evolution of cosplay.

Mufti Day

Mufti Day

And then later on we can all talk about the term ‘mufti day’.

Jul 15 2013


… that moment when you see your way of doing things become the house style…

Jul 15 2013

Sophia Chance

Just so you know, this is a thing that happened:

Sophia Chance.

Originally this was going to be a prop for Marvel for a certain unnamed character. That was a very, long time ago. Eventually it became this. And then it sat on the shelf for a long until finally, through the grace of Mister Watts, Particle Surge picked it up. And now it’s with you.


(Or don’t).

Jun 30 2013

This is a Book About Emily, by Emily

This is a Book About Emily, by Emily

This is a Book About Emily, by Emily

“The first time I saw her, like not in one of those god-awful videos they show endlessly on VH-1, was at my dad’s house during some big Thanksgiving celebration. my dad sort of came out of nowhere and told us we were going to be celebrating Thanksgiving this year and I was all like, what the hell have I got to be thankful for? But, as is kind of the case in our family, my questions were conveniently brushed aside.”

This is a Book About Emily, by Emily

May 29 2013

IMAX Poetry

Always one for the employ and proliferation of pithy new genre terms – especially when I can claim to be the point of their origin – today, whilst in conversation with Artifice force majeure, Lisa Knight, I decided upon the term “IMAX poetry”. The notion is, of course, a conceit – an idea of playfully assuming that we can further the notions of established epic poetry by going one step bigger and one step bolder.

Whilst not quite ready to bust out old teenage notebooks or song lyrics myself – at least not yet – there are some big things on the cards in the future relating to this topic.

Until then however, and related to her endevaours as the primary PR force behind Psychopomp, Lisa has been reading excerpts of Sophistry as part of the Artifice & Outright Fakery podcast.

It is an honestly strange sensation listening to someone else reading your words, giving them new nuances and meanings in the way they are spoken, transforming them into something both familiar and alien. It is like encountering a friend or relative after the longest time, only to discover they have since undergone plastic surgery.

As for what I have been doing with my spare time since last we spoke, dear reader, the honest answer is simply editing and scratching away at the next project.

On the few occasions I have been allowed to leave my small box room, you might have seen me on Camden Road, at Custom House for ExCeL Centre, or in dear, beloved Hampstead.

And that’s it.

That’s my entire excitement for the whole year.

May 4 2013




There is none.

Apr 14 2013

Hissatsu Teleport!

Hissatsu Teleport!

Hissatsu Teleport!

When you decide at 5:00 am that making new lecteur de tarot cards is a good idea.